I can speak to the Response 2 but not the Reference 3A. I replaced a pair of Magnepan III speakers with the ProAcs and my friends considered me nuts. But they sounded MUCH better on tubes (then CJ MV75A1s). And even better on low-watt SET amps designed and built by a friend. I eventually sold the ProAcs to this friend and he has them still. Superbly musical speakers, very tube-friendly (obviously). I now consider them boxy-sounding, compared to my Gallo Reference 3s, but I sure didn't then. Good luck, Dave
As different as you can get.
I previously have owned deCapos and a former colleague owned R2s at the same time. We spent a lot of time working together in front of my speakers or his. Both of us were using primarily vinyl and lowish powered tube amps.
The deCapo has a "laid back" or "polite" tonal balance. Some will find it wonderfully transparent, revealing and musical. Others will find it dull.
The ProAc is more forward and dynamic. Much more energy from the presence region through the high end. Exciting or edgy, depending on who is doing the evaluation.
I don't want to overstate it, because both are good speakers, but they do - IMHO - occupy opposite ends of the "reasonably neutral" tonal spectrum for monitors.
My guess is that most people will strongly prefer one or the other. At the end of the day, I'd personally go with the ProAcs, but they're really not my long term cup of tea, either.
I'm beginning to lean toward the ProAc R2's myself, but I am a bit leery about appropriate stands for them too. All reviewers strongly recommend $700 Target stands that are no longer in production. Does anyone know of a modern day substitute that would fit the bill?
Also, thank you to all of you who've commented so far.
Dave, I'm tempted to go for the Gallo Ref 3's but then I'd have to look at all new amplification too!
Marty, what is your current cup o' tea?
Are there any other suggestions for a fairly efficient $1500 or less used speaker?
Thanks again for any feedback!
I'm using (primarily) Ohm 100 omnis with DRC subwoofers. This is a full bandwidth (my main issue with both the ProAC and deCapo), though highly inneficent speaker system. Definitely not what you're looking for.
I also use the Merlin VSM which loves tubes, meets your sensitivity requirements, and has a small footprint (it is a floorstander, however). Tonally, it's response is pretty similar to the R2 through the range that they share, but the VSM is much better balanced IMHO due to its extended bass response. However, I'm pretty sure that a decent used pair (even an early version) would be over budget. Merlin also makes a monitor version (TSM) of the design that might be viable for you, but I honestly don't know that product at all and I mention it only because the VSM is such a goofd fit for you on all fronts but (alas) price.
For the record, Lincnabby, I've run my Gallo Ref 3s for the last 5+ years with 12 wpc SET monoblock amps.
Marty and Dave,
Very interesting. I must say I would LOVE the Merlin VSM's or the Gallo Ref. 3's. Marty, you're right in thinking that the Merlins are out of my budget. But as you suggested, I have looked seriously at the TSM monitors. Still a bit concerned about power issues. Some reviews seem to suggest they need more than 35 watts of push-pull power. Am I confused?
And Dave- wow! I always heard that the Gallo Ref 3's only sounded their best with 100 watts + of SS power. I've heard nothing but great stuff about them. Do you think my Fisher could drive them with reasonable volume and dynamics? And honestly, I don't completely understand the pros/cons of SET vs. push/pull tube amps. Any basic explanation would be much appreciated. And again thank you gents!
Lincnabby, I'm almost as puzzled by this as you are. A good friend designed and built my SET amps (845 output tube, EL34/KT77 driver tube, 6N7/ECC31 input tube, solid state rectification) and swears the output is 12 wpc. They sound very powerful, though, probably due largely to the huge transformers he used (no, he's no longer building them). I have a pretty large room, 18 x 40' with an "L" off one of the 40' sides. And as far as I know I've never clipped the amps. BTW, they replaced Conrad Johnson Premier 12s (140 wpc) because they sound much more open, dynamic and detailed than the CJs did.
As to whether your Fisher would handle the Gallos, I think so, but I can't say for sure.
Very interesting, Dopogue.
I've encountered another strange twist. John Ruttan, suggested I try out a Vandersteen X2 50k high pass filter capacitor. It plugs directly into my amp's input between it and the CDP, and will limit bass output some, but he says it will dramatically increase transient response and take some of the load off of the Fisher. It's a $60 experiment, so I figure what the heck?! Perhaps that and a matching Vandersteen sub (again John Ruttan's suggestion) will take me to the promised land. We'll see. I'd still love to audition ProAcs or Ref 3A's, but so far the opportunity has eluded me. If anyone out there in Audiogon land knows someone in Southern Arizona who owns either of the above speakers, please let me know! I'll be happy to supply them with scotch, wine, beer, whatever, for their hospitality!
I should have mentioned that the Ref 3 woofers have dual voice coils which are intended to be driven separately and that I have the Gallo scbswoofer amp on the 2nd voice coils of mine. There are two sets of speaker inputs but the Ref 3s are NOT biwirable -- the second set goes to the second voice coils. So my SET amps don't have to handle anything below 40-45 Hz. Dave
Tell please What is the difference in sound ProAc Studio 100 -ProAc Response Two- ProAc Response D Two..would be very grateful.
I have owned both and still have a pair of the ProAcs. Cory Greenberg wrote an excellent review of the Response 2 way back in the early 90s in Stereophile, basically saying they were the cure for the wimpy state of high-end speakers at the time. I bought a pair then and I agree totally. They are alive, have an ideal tonal balance, can do boogie or refinement, and work well with tubes. The Ref 3a also had its charms but there seemed to be a small area in the upper midrange/lower treble that I could not tame, perhaps some type of impedence interaction with my tube amps? I have not tried the ProAc with another stand besides the Target R2, Greenberg did and was convinced the Target was the way to go. I think the ProAcs would be a speaker you could live with for a long time and have lots of fun with.
Ladok.Thank you very much for your reply.!
There are two top stand choices for the D2. First are the Skylan Stands, second are the Sound Anchors. I bought the Sound Anchors for my new D2's. The Skylab stands are nice, imo not quite as nice as the SA,s but they are about $200. Less.
I had the Response D2's and the MM De Capo I in my listening room at the same time. Mac MC275 mkV amp.
I sold the ProAcs and kept the 3A's. It was not even close. Much more air and realism (and better bass) from the 3A's. Stunning imaging as they truly disappeared. I had wanted the Proac Response 2 since reading the Greenberg article oh so long ago. I enjoyed them very much -- until I heard the 3A's.
BTW, I used the same four post Sound Anchor stands with each speaker set. Sound Anchors are very, very worth the money.