eggleston andra-I or andra-II.
a pretty forgiving/unfussy speaker imho, if you have
high-qualilty 100w/ch minimum amplification.
imaging might not be the best, but
my pair have improved significantly with
better cables, without having to move them around
(200lbs/ea!)- mine are about 3ft from side/front walls,
the only realistic place in the room that i could put them.
Try Dynaudio Confidence C4. Midrange is terrific and highs are very sweet and smooth.
If you are looking for midrange with overall coherent sound and have the proper space to place bipole speakers you should listen to soundlab's larger electrostatic speakers or an innersound eros mark 2 or 3 (which have a narrower sweet spots). I use small maggie 1.6 speakers but the larger 20.1 model will have plenty of bass if you have plenty of space. As you can tell, I prefer planar speakers to horns and cones but room set up is paramount in getting the proper speaker performance.
For guitar reproduction and imaging, check out a planar speaker. I would highly recommend checking out Wisdom Audio M-50 for your set up. I had a similar set up with my M-50's separated by my equipment. They would rival the Megalines but beat them out when it comes to acoustic guitar music especially slack key styling. The detail is phenomenal with the planar magnetic line source and the 12 inch woofer captures the bass. One disadvantage though could be that they require bi amplification. Worth listening to!
I do not claim to have a golden ear, but have listened to several speakers on your list. I play guitar, so the sound of guitar is important to me too.
Revel salon auditioned in a room with some treatments on the walls, but other speakers in the room too (so a suboptimal setup) with levinson monoblocks (I believe no.436), krell preamp and a denon cd player. I don't know if it was the denon or the room or the fact that the salesman disappeared (I didn't know if the rear tweeters were on or off, etc), but the imaging wasn't comparable to the others I'll comment on below. The bass was great. Everything else sounded a bit subdued. Salons do have adjustments for bass and tweeter level, but I didn't know how to adjust them.
Wilson sophia auditioned with meridian 800/861 combo and classe cam 350 monoblocks in a dedicated treated room. Sounded great to me on acoustic and electric guitar and imaging was great. I have since listened to watt puppy 7 and alexandrias with krell amp/ vtl 7.5 and halcro preamps/ wadia cd player in a lightly treated room and the sound was totally lifeless and inorganic. During the sophia demo I also listened to Maxx 1 and WP7 and sounded MUCH better to me with the meridian/ classe combo.
JM lab alto utopia beryllium auditioned with meridian g series preamp, cd player, and amp. Imaging was great, sounded great for acoustic and electric guitar. Not quite as dynamic and "raw" for electric guitar as the wilsons, but could have been due to smaller amp, etc.
I also did demo on b&w nautilus 801(before diamond), and martin logan ascents, odyssey, prodigy. I was not impressed at all with the b&w, but source for all of these was a musical fidelity integrated amp, so likely didn't have enough juice for them. Martin logans sounded awesome to me for acoustic guitar and vocals, but sounded fatiguing for electric guitar after about 10 seconds. Each larger logan had better bass than the other. Logans apparently are very finicky to setup, though and likely this played a role.
Hope this helps.
>Room is smallish (14' x 17') and speakers have to be on 14' wall, pushed back toward corners with TV and audio equipment in between<
At 10K, you are wasting a lot of money to place speakers as such.
Wilson Benesch ACT speakers.
Get a pair of Caravelles from Star Sound and a Velodyne DD-18 sub and you'll be very happy for a long time.
I own and can recommend the Revel Studio speakers, as they are very good and a nearly full range speaker. (They have good treble extension, and the mid-range is quite good, and it has deep bass response, albeit not a deep as the Salon though.) They can be had, used, for around $6-7K.
However, if you can afford to stretch your budget a bit, you can get a truly world class speaker, IMHO anyway.
The Avalon Eidolon is one of my favorite speakers.
They typically run around $11-12K used, depending on finish, although I did see one pair go for $10K, only once though. I will point out that these speakers are somewhat difficult to drive (they like a lot of power, like the Revels actually), and are very finicky about both the associated electronics as well as their room placement. (They sound only their best with really high end amplification and need to be pulled well into the room.)
If you are going to spend the full $10K on speakers, I highly recommend that you give them a listen.
Good Luck in your search.
My speaker placement situation is VERY similar to yours, in that I'm forced into near wall speaker placement. You absolutely should not consider a rear ported design, such as the Revel Studio/Salon, Wilson's, etc., regardless of how good they are, because they need about 3' behind them to breath... and you don't have that.
I'm presently looking to replace my Piega P10 which are rear ported. An outstanding speaker, but underperforming because of the near wall placement.
What I would recommend to you is "My" short list of speakers (non of which are rear ported) that would work near the front wall:
- Piega C10 Ltd
- Dunlavy SC-V
- B&W 802D (a huge improvement over the 802)
... and others. These will all be in your price range and should work well in your application.
Avalon Ascendant brand enew for $8500, especially if you have a smaller room.
If you must spend 10k then ignore this, but for what you want I highly recommend Tyler acoustics, the Linbrook (monitors only). Guitar/acoustic instruments are gorgeous through them, with fine detail and spacial info. They will give you the bass you are looking for (35 Hz), can be placed closer to the walls, and for another 3-4K add two good used REL subwoofers, one on each side. Really a fantastic system, and if you don't like the speakers you can send them back. If you're more into the svelte looks of the more expensive gear then go for it...! But room placement does seem to be a limiting factor.
I think the Megalines might be overkill for your room size (although I did like their sound)... Maybe a better choice from Dali for your needs is to look at their Helicon800s. I liked those too, and they are more practical, IMO.
I concur with the Tyler recommendation by the way, but the Linbrook Signature Monitors are rear ported, so I would not recommend that particular model for your needs. That said, Tyler has a Linbrook Signature System 1 piece model that is front ported, and goes down to 25hz cleanly for about 5K new (for disclosure purposes, I own the two piece, rear ported version of these that sells for the same price and has the exact same specs). Also from Tyler in your range are their top-of-the-line Woodmeres at 10.2K new that would also work nicely (also front ported)... They go down to 22hz, and are amazing speakers in every way.
Other contenders I can easily recommend are the McIntosh XRT-28s (at about 9K used, a fabulous speaker that goes down to 18hz with ease -- these sound great with rock and female vocals in particular), the VonSchweikert DB99SEs (6-7K used -- great all-arounder, that does not take up a lot of floor space), and the Ayon Butterflies at $5.5K new (hard to find, and bass extension to only 38 hz, but *very* clean).
With 10K i would buy Hyperion 938 and a pair of Nuforce Ref 9.
Great great match, bass is fast with impact, the soundstage is huge and very stable...
Dave, your reasoning is based on sound principle (no pun intended), but from experience with similar rooms the rear ported Linbrook Monitor (NOT with the bass modules, which need 4-5 feet from the wall), as long as thy're at least 12-18 inches from the wall, offer nice bass without being boomy, and really get down into the listed 30 Hz range, and based on his set up I think would be a good match, since many of the fuller-range speakers listed would probably, in fact, be boomy. Although exactly how close to the corners the speakers needed to be was never stated.