RMAF Loudspeakers?

Seeking ideas for high sensitivity (95+dB), 6-8 ohm nominal, flat impedance loudspeakers to audition at RMAF.

Daedalus Audio is one I am aware of.

I would have liked to listen to offerings from Devore, Zu Audio, WLM and Audiokinesis, but those manufacturers are not listed as exhibitors.

Any other ideas I may have overlooked?
Omega Loudspeaker Systems is introducing the Stick. See: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=71837.0;topicseen at RMAF.

May be a touch less sensitive than 95dB, but still a worthy SDL candidate.
I would recommend JM Reynaud. Hopefully they will be at RMAF. Slightly less efficient but they will hammer the above mentioned companies with style and grace.
sonist! very nice and wellpriced too. i have heard them with
55 watts pp kt88 and also 5 watts pp el84 nice either way.

tonian labs will not be there but i can certainly vouch
fristhand to the quality of the sound of these speakers as
also make sure to hear the new openbaffles at
GR Reasearch. no i haven't heard them. but i have heard
the AV3 and it just about qualifies too. great stuff.

have fun.
Tvad, I am looking for the same type speaker as you. I plan to listen to the Horning speakers in the Highwater sound room. Also Classic Audio Reproductions. I am looking forward to hearing the Daedalus as well.
I'll listen to the Classic Audio Reproduction T3.3, but at $21,000-$45,000/pair, they are way beyond my price point, as are the Horning offerings.
definitely listen to the Emerald Physics CS2.3 and CS3s. The new series is a phenomenal improvement over the older series.

If you do check it out, pls do post your opinions here
Green Mountain Audio
I spoke with Duke on Friday. Although he won't be exhibiting at RMAF he will be participating in a seminar on speakers and room acoustics. I have listened to several of his speakers and would recommend looking him up and discussing your preferences. He is very knowledgable and would be a great resource in your search.
Green Mountain Audio speakers are not 95+ sensitivity.
I can also recommend the Tonian (I have owned the original TLM-1 and now have the Classic 12.1)
I have also heard several of the Horning models and they are excellent.
I'm sure they won't be there but the KCS SEAS Exotic is a winner
I'm sure Duke's speakers are great.
Tonian Acoustic's not exhibiting at RMAF, nor is Audiokinesis.

I was interested in the Classic 12.1, but the price is well beyond my budget.

I prefer to keep it under $10k.
might be worth your time going to the GR Research room.


I'm going to build a pair of the V-1's (max)
The AV-1 has s sensitivity rating of 88dB.

Is there a model 95dB+ sensitive?

Guys, I appreciate your input, but please check the requirements of the
speakers I am seeking.
Check out Vaughn Loudspeakers out of California. Here are the specs. The bass impedance is higher than your requrements but with a low watt amp this will not be a problem. They were at last years RMAF and I seem to recall others making mention of this room serveral times. I never had a chance to listen myself.
Here are the specs:


Tweeter: 5" Ribbon
Full Range: 8 Inch w/ 8" rear passive
Woofer: 12 Inch w/ 12" passive
Impedance: 8 Ohms (14 ohms in bass)
Sensitivity: 97db
Response: 28 - 40,000 hz
Power Min/Max: 2/100
Weight each: 98 lbs
Size inches: 11 x 16 x 44
warranty: 5 Years
Cabinet: Amber Bamboo
Front Panel: Carbon Fiber
Rear Panel: Marmoleum
Bybee Filters: Large + & - Standard
(Gold Purifier on + add $500.00)

Suggested Retail: $12,995.00 USD

Direct Price/pair: $6,495.00 USD
Free shipping to continental US. or US port of export
Great info, Irish65. Thanks!
As a point of reference, a vented speaker of one cubic foot internal volume and 90 dB/1 watt/1 meter efficiency will be -3 dB at about 44 Hz, assuming good boundary reinforcement from one room surface (woofer close to floor, for example). Different loudspeaker modelling programs may give slightly different results, but this should be in the ballpark.

If we factor in moderate boundary reinforcement from the two closest walls and the ceiling, we can extend that to perhaps 35 Hz.

If we put the speaker up on a stand way out in the room, our -3 dB point could end up closer to the 55 Hz ballpark.

Here's how you can make use of this point of reference:

If we want to lower the -3 dB point by 1/3 octave, we'd have to either trade off 3 dB of efficiency or double the box size. Put another way, if we double the box size we gain 3 dB of efficiency or 1/3 octave of bass extension. Put yet a third way, in order to gain 3 dB of efficiency we'd have to either double the box size or trade off 1/3 octave of bass extension. Or some combination thereof.

To calculate the frequency that would be 1/3 of an octave lower you multiply by .793; and to calculate the frequency that would be 1/3 of an octave higher you divide by .793.

To estimate box size, assume 3/4" thick walls and then deduct 10% from the gross internal volume to allow for bracing, driver magnets, and ports.

If anyone sees significant errors in these numbers please feel free to make corrections.

Different speaker manufacturers make different assumptions about the room's contributions, and the information above will allow you to estimate how much room contribution the manufacturer is factoring in. Recognize that you probably are not comparing apples-to-apples when you rely exclusively on specs from different manufacturers. In general, a smaller speaker cannot be both more efficient and have deeper bass than a bigger one if they use the same type of enclosure and both are competently designed. There are exceptions where a designer trades off bass extension for transient response, but that's another topic for another day.

Duke - Are you the only manufacturer who is hampered by these physical parameters or do they influence all speaker makers regardless of claims to the contrary?

Tvad - I achieved what you are seeking by contacting Bill Woods and ultimately buying his AH300 horns. When combined with B&C 50 mm compression drivers, these horns provide a remarkably coherent voice ranging from 400 Hz up to 14Khz. I mounted mine on top of a pair of JBL L-200 cabinets using only the LE 15B woofers and cabinets and bypassing the inboard horn and passive crossover. Mine are actively crossed over by a DBX Drive Rack but the native crossover divides the signal at 800 Hz and works pretty well with less complexity and less expense than my arrangement.

I'm sure you won't see Bill at RMAF but the Oswald Mill system that was there last year uses the same horn as does the Cogent system. Chris Brady of Teres turntable fame uses them too.

My frequency response is limited at the low end at about 50 Hz. and on top at about 14 Khz. This might be a deal breaker for you but I don't find it to be very limiting at all. Efficiency is limited by the JBL woofer which I'm guessing to be about 97 db. Maybe Duke can give a better estimate of that. The cabinet is 5 cu.ft. and ported. You may have better bass cabinet options in your area than the JBLs I already happened to own.
Not sure if you can get to hear a pair of Lamhorns
They seem to fit your sonic characteristics

I heard them at FSI in Montreal - Very nice sounding speakers
Hey kurt
I see you went back to Tonians Again
You still have the Lamhorns
Hi Macrojack, ya got me... I'm among the few manufacturers dumb enough to be limited by physical-world constraints.

Seriously, I'll admit that it's possible to manipulate the shape of the frequency response curve in the bass region to give the perception of louder & deeper bass than would normally be possible, or to use resonances to boost the apparent bass (a sound that decays slower will be perceived as louder than a sound that decays quickly even if both have the same peak SPL), but there will be tradeoffs that are likely to be perceived.

[As an aside, in general I believe we should base our designs on perception, not strictly on measurements, because we listen with ears instead of with microphones; but measurements can be a very reliable tool if we can reliably extrapolate perceptions from measurements.]

The real-world in-room picture does include some complications and mitigations that can explain discrepancies between the published figures of different manufacturers. When speakers are positioned so they get a fair amount of boundary reinforcement (like on the floor and near a wall but not in a corner), we can expect approximately 3 dB per octave boost below 100 Hz or so. In other words, the deeper a speaker goes the more the room helps it out. This is more complex than the boundary-reinforcement situation I described in my post above, which was streamlined a bit for the sake of brevity.

The point-of-reference numbers I gave can be reproduced by anyone using a speaker modelling program, and are based on the Thiele-Small parameters. Midband efficiency may be higher, but usually it's the efficiency in the bass region that sets system efficiency because otherwise the tonal balance is off unless boundary reinforcement is used to restore it.

Some manufacturers design for and specify placement up against the wall or in a corner, and in my opinion that is perfectly legitimate. Some manufacturers give an "in-room" spec which includes several dB of broadband reverberant field contribution, and in my opinion this is justifiable (if they disclose it) but does work against making an apples-to-apples comparision. Finally, some speakers because of their configuration have significantly different sound propagation characteristics that make it impossible to adequately measure them by the same yardstick. For example, a line-source speaker's SPL will fall off by 3 dB per doubling of distance (under anechoic conditions) rather than by 6 dB per doubling of distance, so a 1 meter measurement will under-state such a speaker's real-world efficiency at the listening position.

Macrojack, which JBL woofer do you have? I suspect that in your 5 cubic foot box it's one of those cases where the designer has traded off some theoretically available (based on box size and efficiency) extension in favor of better transient response and better in-room behavior once boundary reinforcement is factored in. If so, in my opinion this is the ideal way to design a vented-box woofer system for use in a home - namely, not shooting for deepest-loudest-possible bass, but going for a more shallow roll-off that starts higher up.

By the way, JBL's specs for their woofers are conservative. If their specs say 97dB, that's what a modelling program and a careful measurement will confirm.
Duke - My woofer is the LE 15B mounted in it's native L-200 enclosure. There are two round port tubes, 4 inches in diameter and 7 1/4 inches deep, in the front baffle.

The literature says this woofer has a 19.5 lb. Alnico magnet and edgewound copper voice coil. Bill Woods says it is one of the finest 15 inch woofers ever made and comparable to the best that TAD makes today.

The character of the bass is very refined and detailed but, as I said earlier, the extension only reaches to 50 Hz. or so. I roll it off below 37.5 Hz. with my crossover but I think it is already down more than 6 db at that point.
Tetra 506/505 look interesting. Mixed reviews (positive from Jim Merod and Jeff Dorgay, negative comments from JohnAtkinson, and an appreciative, if not positive review from Paul Bolin).

Not high sensitivity at 92dB (Atkinson measured it at 87+ dB), but flat impedance at 8 ohms nominal and 7 ohms minimum.

Anyone have any experience with them?
Pardon the Interuption:
This is off topic, but I wanted to invite you all for a meet and greet for Audiogoners at the RMAF.
Vetterone (Steve) and I have organized a get together directly across the street from the Marriott Tech Center on Saturday night @ 6 PM at Garcia's Mexican Restaurant.
We did this last year and had over 50 Audiogoners join us. Garcia's are creating a Happy Hour for our group and the Beer (5 brands of Draft) and Mix Drinks will be half price.
They also will serve some Chips and Salsa (gratis). You can eat there afterwards if you like. The food is quite good Mexican and priced reasonably.
Hopefully, you can all join us. Please pass the word.
Best Regards,
Larry (Cello)
Check out Daedalus
Gr Research will have their new Open Baffle speaker, called the V1 or V2 I believe. It is about 96db sensitive and full range. Danny Ritchie is the designer and he has a couple of rooms at RMAF. I own his lower priced bookshelf speakers and I'm pretty thrilled with them
The Zu Essence is going to be there in the Peachtree Audio room.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
Heard some really outstanding rooms at RMAF.

In no particular order, my favorites included:

Classic Audio Reproductions T1.3/Atma-Sphere M-60 (grand, lifelike sound)
Merlin/Joule (Bobby always has his room dialed in. The small hotel rooms lend themselves to the Merlin speakers, IMO)
Audio Note (Both rooms. Rich, alive, dynamic room-filling sound))
Joseph Audio/Bel Canto (both the Pearl and monitor models. Musical as heck. And they look like jewels.)
Sonist Concerto 3/Glow Audio (Very, very good sound from this modestly priced system)
Von Schweikert Unifield 3/Moscode (The VS/Moscode combo has been proving itself optimal for several years)
TVAD -- As I wasn't at RMAF, I'm curious to know what you thought of Daedalus, which you mentioned in your initial post above. I've started thinking about my next speaker purchase (although it may be a year or two off), and the Ulysses have really intrigued me.

-- Al
The Deadalus Ulysses and D-Rma were both driven by Modwright amplification, preamplification and front end gear.

I thought both models were strong overall, however I am going in a different direction with speakers.
Would it be possible to get a little more info on the deadalus.Perhaps thier general sonic character why they can't take you in the direction your headed.
Stereodad, I'm going to be using low power tube amps. Daedalus speakers do not fit the profile of a speaker that will be optimal with this type of amplification.
Thanks for the reply,good luck in your speaker quest.
So, it sounds you've narrowed down your speaker's choices down to...???
I've been following your postings of late, and dying to know the results of your search.
I used to own Silverline speakers, as well, and also looking at high efficiency speakers+ low power tube amp combo.

My nascent audiophile spouse and I attended all 3 days of RMAF...it was our first audiofest. We would agree the Classic Audio Loudspeakers/Atma-Sphere/Tri-Planar sound was incredible - it conveyed us back to the venue where we first heard this band, Fuzzy and the Bluesmen, live in San Diego! Also, concur with your assessment of the Merlin/Joule Electra room...Bobby played some Boz Scaggs - Boz never sounded better over a stereo rig.

I'm also interested in where you end up along the low power tube amp/hi efficiency speaker road. I've also thought about setting up a system along those lines, maybe as an upgrade for my current two-channel A/V second system that runs pretty well currently off a vintage, low wattage SS Yamaha receiver.

I recall you endorsing Klipsch Forte. Are those in the big leagues in your opinion for the type of system you describe or more of a minor league (though cost effective) contender?
I'd put Klipsch Forte in the cost effective category, but there's nothing wrong with that...
My first visit and my last. Not that I did'nt enjoy it, It's just too expensive to come from the UK. I did'nt ask if anyone else had come from abroad, as a civilian that is. There did'nt seem to be many. The place was crawling with working Brits.
In general I thought the sound quality was a cut above British shows, with some pretty awful exceptions. They tended to be, as in England, the most expensive ones. Some set ups seemed far too ambitious for the awful hotel room environment. The smaller speakers seemed more satisfactory.
I agree with Tvad, one of the most suprising was the Moscode/ Von scwhiekert room. A really integrated, enjoyable sound. I have become very interested in the Moscode amps.
I liked the LSA room with the basic integrated amp and standmount speakers. I liked the new version of the Silverline Bolero's on demonstration, but at $14000, way too much for me with shipping and import tax. I liked the Sanders Electrostatic speakers. I hate horn speakers, a defect in my character, but the Rehm speakers were making a very nice sound too.
Ultimately, I went to choose a new, last pair of speakers and to convince my wife that I needed said speakers. I managed on both fronts and hopefully, a pair of Daedalus Da Ra mas will be over here in 2 months. Lou was helpful and patient as usual.

Thanks Larry, for arranging the meet at Garcias, the cheap beer helped too. It was a great pleasure speaking to a few of the guys at RMAF
Thanks Larry
The Von Schweikert/Moscode combo just works for some reason. I once owned Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III HSE and drove them with a Moscode 401HR, and the result was excellent. Wish I still owned that system, in some respects.

IMO, the Daedalus DA-Rma were superior to the Ulysses at this particular show. More cohesive and balanced. The bass went surprisingly deep...no doubt assisted by the smallish room.
I don't mean to go against the grain but I spent some time in the Von Schweikert room and I thought they were not great. I thought they imaged well but I found the soundstage from top to bottom to be totally unrealistic. For instance on one track one guitarist sounded like he was coming from the floor and another from about 4-5 feet above the speaker. Having heard that track in other systems it was totally distorted. I would suspect the detached cabinets gets in the way of seemlessly integrating. Just my two cents. I was on a similar quest in terms of speaker selecting and I didn't come away with anything that totally fit the bill that I loved. The best I found was a speaker I'd never heard of called Salk. The materials in that speaker are probably close to 1/3 or better of retail. They only sell direct. That's a far cry from the 1 to 10 ratio most manufacturers try to hit.
10-05-09: Mmike84
I don't mean to go against the grain but I spent some time in the Von Schweikert room and I thought they were not great.
No need to apologize for having a different opinion.

If everyone had the same taste, then there'd be only one room at RMAF.

You and I must have very similar tastes as my list of favorite rooms are nearly identical to yours.

The Classic Audio room was my favorite. Merlin/Joule was also fantastic as were the Joseph Audio Pearl/Bel Canto room.

I also liked the Esoteric room and the odd combination of Parasound and Wharfdale.
Jim- what was the show special in the Classic Audio room? i've always wanted to hear them with the Atmaspheres.

Did you guys hear the new Zu Essence? i am considering a pair of Def 1.9s for my next speaker.

seems like the new Vandys are the real deal as well.
Keith I'll give you a call maybe tomorrow to discuss... the Classic Audio paired with Atma-Sphere was really special.
Were the Blue Cicle Pennys being demoed this year? Did anybody hear them and get any impressions?
Grant- Did you get a chance to hear that new GR speaker w the small Dodd battery amp and battery passive tube pre/buffer? I thought it was remarkable w rock and blues, also the Nils Lofgren acoustic live cd? Did you or anyone hear it playing some acoustic jazz/vocal/singer songwrite at lower volume? I thought that rig w 15 wpc on the full range co-ax (w 250 or so wpc plate amps on the servo subs was killer on the loud stuff. Dynamic as hell (micro and macro) no distoration or congestion at 95+ dB. I thought it had perfect live "bite" of an electric guitar. Wonder what they sound like at lower volumes over the long term. Of course you gotta build them, but since they are open baffles, it shouldn't be that hard. I also like the ZUs, BTW.
10-06-09: Swampwalker
Grant- Did you get a chance to hear that new GR speaker w the small Dodd battery amp and battery passive tube pre/buffer?

No. There were many rooms that offered interesting experiences, but if I can't afford the stuff, or there's a barrier to entry (e.g. kit), then I'd rather not spend the time.

I really want to like the Zu speakers. I like the passion of the company. I like the fact they're made in the USA. I like the attention to detail. However, I can't warm up to the speakers for some reason. I think I'm growing tired of uber resolution and fatiguing top ends.
Those GR speakers were amazing. They were also $5500. as they sat, assembled into those black cabinets. The gray cabinets were about $500. more. I believe the power rating of the servo-woofers was 370 wpc. Also, Danny has no problem doing the assembly himself into whatever color cabinets you want, for a small fee, and sending them pretty much anywhere.
I believe he called them the "super-Vee" and said they would be on his website in a few weeks. He called them his "fun" speakers.

The GR room is my pick for the best "value" at the entire show, and 1 of the 5 top rooms I heard. The all-Esoteric room was also a top-5 for me - I had never heard the MG-20 with its magnesium drivers. Now I understand why it has garnered so many awards - a very good deceptively small speaker. It should have an excellent WAF as well.
As I understand, you don't want to reveal your speakers choice yet?