recommended speakers for SET amp?

I'm seriously considering a (Zen) SET amp. Since it only puts out about 5w it obviously requires very efficient speakers ideally along the lines of 95+db (which I don't currently have).

I'm looking for suggestions for a fast, full range 'floor tower' (no teeny 'bookshelf' type) speaker in the $1000 range. I'm thinking I'll have to go the used/auction route to meet that price range. I'd love some Planars (maggie MMG's) but apparently they just aren't sensitive enuf (87 db)

My listening room is approx 12 X 20 and I'm not much inclined to go with the physically large horn speakers (which seems to be the 'recommended' route some take with SET amps).

My musical tastes lean toward to female vocalists (Joan Osborne, Emmy lou Harris, Holly Cole, Ricky Lee Jones etc.), small piano/horn Jazz groups (Foreplay, Roy Hargrove, Kiko Sumato, etc.), 'contemporary' (Lyle Lovett, Paul Simon, Madonna) and eclectic 'world music' (Baka Beyond, Gregorian chant, etc.)

While I don't currently have a TT (only have an Ah! Tjoeb CD as my source) I do plan to drag out my vinyl eventually.

Any advice/suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.
Mmccoy: The only affordable (in this case) speakers that come to mind, with efficiency and dimensions such as this, are the modern Klipsch models (probably get a better deal used) and also a speaker kit from that retails for around $600. With the kit you have to supply the materials for and build the cabinets yourself (or have them built). There should be quite a bit of info on both plus many other possibilities at, which also has a high efficiency speaker forum. Bottlehead also has speaker kits available, but I am not very familiar with them. If you are using the Zen amp from Decware (there are two Zen amps) I found that the earlier model seemed to do very well with 4 ohm speakers when I tried one out for a weekend. I do not know if this is true of the later versions though. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that the specs (efficiency & impedance) do not really tell you how a speaker will perform within a particular setup (sometimes those with less favorable specs perform better than ones with great specs). So, other than setting up auditions at home, you are doing the second best thing that you can do by hitting the forums. The SET amp that I have is not commonly used, and hopefully you will have better luck finding owners of your particular amp to share info with.
I am currently auditioning a paid of Zen Sig. mono-blocks and am mightily impressed with not only the sound but the build quality and customer support from Steve and everyone else at Decaware. I think you are being a bit generous with the 5wt rating, Steve told me the actual RMS is around 3 watts max. However!! I am using 86db Proac Responce 2.5s and these damn little things and driving them amazingly well. The Proacs have an easy impedance load but Decware says the important thing with their amps is the sensitivity of the speaker. I can hear the problem my Proacs are giving the amps, too insensitive. If I keep the Zens I'll have to get new speakers, and on and on it goes, this desease of ours. By the way, the Zens, at 3 wts, drive my speakers better than a highly regarded 2A3 monblcok with 5wts and almost as good as a 35wt push/pull design I'm also auditioning.
I don't have any advice on SET speaker matching, but I do have the full-sized maggies, and I can predict that these would be poor canidates for SET. I tried to drive my MG3.5R's originally with an amp I love for more efficient speakers- the single-ended [transistor]PASS Aleph 5 and they just couldn't produce bass or dynamics. I'm now running BiAmp'd Bryston 4B'(thats 2-200wpc amps) and although noticeably better, still can't seem to get enough dynamics and am looking for more power or other speakers.- The magneplanar approach would appear to favor much more power than I think you will be able to deliver with the Zen.
The sensitivity of the SIlverLine Audio "Sonata"is 95db as well as there "Sonatina speaker is 94db and they work great with set amps
You might look into the Von Schweikert DB100 specifically designed for set amp.Very very efficient. Go to
dekay - Yes, for the quality I'm looking for (in my price range) the Klipsch's 'mini horns' are an obvious and good candidate. FYI, the Zen I'm buying is the Zen Select. Later (after speakers) I plan to buy a second Zen and strap them both as monoblocks. I've also been perusing the high efficiency speaker forum on audioasylum but it appears to be focused on DYI. Unfortunately I just don't have the cabinetry/woodworking skills (or patience) to attempt a 'scratch' DYI speaker.

tomryan - you were correct in that I was being generous in assigning 5w to the Zen SET Triode amp. It's what happens when you combine memory recall with old age ;). I'm hoping I can get by with my current speakers for now (90'ish db) but I'm fully expecting the Zens to illuminate their insensitivity (and as you say, thus it continues....).

Thanks to all for the suggestions... I'll be checking them out. Keep em coming!
sheesh sattothestars, those Von Schwiekert DB100's are $7500 the pair. I'm sure they're nice but unfortunately a tad (make that a BIG tad) out of my price range.
Coincident Speaker Technology Conquests are 90 db+ and would probably work well with your amp. You can speak directly with the builder ( Israel Bloome ) if you call their number. They retail for about $1900 but you should be able to find a pair for considerably less if you put out some WTB ads. I have never heard the line but Soliloqy also has some efficient models but have not seen any being offered for less then $1200 to $1300. Good luck and I hope this helps.

I have used a Zen se84c to drive a pair of klipsch rf-3's with an ah! tjoeb as my source for about 10 months now and am very happy with the synergy of this combination.
Look into whether you can get hold of living voice auditoriums in your price range. They ought to work, though you should contact living voice to confirm. Work majically with most tubes, though havent heard the zens.
Mmccoy: Yes, I am in the same boat as far as building the cabinets myself and the use of a jointer would be needed in order to get a proper fit (why do it half arsed)? I know that Lak at this site was using Klipsch speakers with a 2A3 amp (I found the Zen that I tried to be "similar" to these types of amps in both current and linearity at the frequency extremes). Perhaps he will see this thread and comment. The problem is that your room is fairly large, otherwise you could probably get by with a more run of the mill speaker. You may also want to contact Steve at Decware as far as choices as I suspect that a high impedence speaker may not be the best choice with this particluar amp (I seemed to have better luck with a pair of 4 ohm speakers, which was a bit odd, but which was a reality of the pairing).
Sam Tellig reviewed most of the Triangle line in the August 2000 Stereophile Magazine. He especially liked the Triangle Antal xs, a floorstander, with his low powered tube amps. I have the cheapest Triangles, the Titus xs. At $495 list, the Titus is unbelievable with tube amplification. The soundstage is huge, the detail is incredible and the vocals are sooooo sweet. If the $1600 Antals are even better, they might my make you giddy!!


BTW, Alan at Audiowaves has a 30 return policy for Triangles. He also sells the Antals for $1595 vs the $1695 list.
The DB100 are more around 6k.They do sound very nice.