Rock and Roll System

I am thinking of selling all and starting over. Spent lots of $$$ trying to recreate I guess what you would call the small club scene. In my past I played a some rock and roll with a couple of bands and that is what I am after. I think I will need speaker that will deliver about 110-120db's ( I know about the hearing thing ) I plan on using 1or 2 subs.

My room is 20 x 25 with a 9'ceiling. I am doing the room treatment thing as we speak.

My electronics arent the problem I dont think. I have a meridian 506.24 and a 541 processor, nbs cables, nordst connects, burmester amplifier and adcom 565 mono's for bottom end. Speakers are Old altec studio monitors, gallo and platinum audio reference, legacy focus, meridian active m60's martin logan quest and monolith 2's and my very beautiful and lovely sounding german physiks borderland's.

I like the horn top end feel of the altecs, love my martin logans for feeling and sound but they run out of steam, the focus are getting there but I get tired of listening after a few cds. The german physics are the best by far for jazz ( ben webster,miles,holliday) and piano and horn music be cause you are there in the middle of the group. This is holographic sound beyond belief.

But what I am after is something that can pass the van halen / ac-dc test that can play that with a realistic`slam when the guitars come in.
I like to play the old les paul with my stack of marshals with my music but my guitar amp sounds better than my mega $ system.
Do I look for dunlavy 5 or 6 or revel salon's. Didnt like the vmps cant liten to the duo's or do I go to pro audio? What about westlake audio. I live in the middle of nowhere
and a hi end dealer is 3-4 hrs away

Is there someone else like me out there. I mainly listen to classic rock and modern alternative.

Where does this journey end?


Pick up two sets of Klipsch Heresy's and stack them ala Dunlavy SC series, tweeter to tweeter. Some simple modifications are easy to do and will take this set-up to the next level. This will give you appr 98 - 100 db's @ 1 watt, have plenty of punch in the mid-bass, GREAT "snap" to kick drums and bite for guitars and will set you back well under $1000 for everything. Use of two subs would help the extreme bottom end, but not necessary to start off with. Sean
Oh, i almost forgot. Sell all of your electronics and buy "mid-fi". Rock and roll NEEDS "grundge" to sound its best. This is why multiple systems are mandatory if you want to listen to a LOT of different types of music. Sean
Kelton- I own a pair of b&w n 802s they can handle just about anything you can dish at them Metallica, Sepultura, nickleback ect. However, they are a little bass shy. Which is why I would suggest you go for the n 800s, great dynamics image detail with a better low end extention than I've got, couple them with a(or apair of velodyne hgs-18s) and I believe your needs will be met.
Try the larger ATC loudspeakers. They come both powered and unamplified. They can go very loud cleanly and they can deliver nuance/texture extremely well. Your system doesn't need to add anymore grundge then is already in the recording.
I listen to about 25% rock, and my VR-4's just eat it up.
I have them hooked up to a Spectron Musician 2 amp, and power/volume is never an issue. Whole Lotta Love becomes a rollercoaster ride, like you would not believe! These suckers play deep and tight.
They'll still give you some of that disappearing that ML you mentioned do. I love the 'where are the speakers' sound of electrostats, but have to have the full range of dynamics, so I went with the VR-4's as a nice balance. In your large room, they should really kick.

Avant Garde Duos or Trios... or Pipedreams... either of these can move more air than just about anything out there.
just thinking about hearing classic rock on avant garde's has led to my ears' bleeding. and, yes, new colors and all, they're still butt ugly. YMMVBIDI. -cfb
I agree with 2001impala in that my Krell syetem with B&W 801 III w/North Creek and 2 front B&W ASW800's kicks ass but will play anything very convincingly. I would hate to be limited by listening material on my system. You would be a canidate for the N800 or maybe N801.
Get the Sand amps out.Or go with some tube pre gear.
I had Herseys for 20+ years/They Rocked with a Kenwood KA-8100.Some mods to the amp will kick.
I think the ATC suggestion is an excellent one. Another possiblity: speakers from Meyer Sound. This is pro gear and it seems to be what goes into every high-end sound reinforcement setting I see these days. A friend of mine has a pair of small ones he uses nearfield for producing a radio show. I think they would suit your application, though my impression is that they are very clean sounding, not grundgy. Not sure where you'd buy them, but I imagine you have the connections in pro audio.
I've got the same dilemna - what in the high end is best for steamrolling all the great rock and roll I grew up on? Anyone have an opinion regarding aerials powered by strong solid state stuff for this application?
I owned Heresy's for many years. As Sean says, they'll play loud...that's the good news. The bad news is that they are mid-range forward and light on the bass. Your room is pretty big so you may not get below 60Hz. A sub is needed especially for rock. In a 20x25 room Dunlavy's should work well. I've heard the Cantata and Aletha and both are worth a listen and wouldn't need a sub (these speakers have great bass, actually the best I've heard).

Oh, by the way, listen to Kelly's advice on the Avant Garde's. My ears, too, are bleeding. Dave
The Klipsch KLF 30 Towers can do it all. Not that pricey either!
Milo, did you have the original Heresy's or the Heresy II's ? You can tell the difference as the II's had plastic horn bodies rather than metal.

Something else that you need to check into on these is how the mids are wired. Some of the earlier versions had the midrange aka "squawker" wired out of phase. For best results, it should be wired in phase i.e. following normal polarity. This made a VERY noticeable difference right off the bat if you had this problem. Mids INSTANTLY become more cohesive and liquid.

I will agree that the bottom end is somewhat light on the Heresy's. They will do an honest 50 - 60 Hz in stock form and that is it. That is why i recommended "stacking" a pair, as it not only increases the output capacity, you also double the surface area of the bass drivers and increase baffle size. For those that don't know this, baffle size IS directly proportional to bass capacity. In stock form, the bass that they do produce is very "quick" and clean with good snap. As you know from the above post, i still recommend subs to help fill in the extreme bottom end.

As to being "forward" in the mids, the complete spectral balance of the speaker changes once you damp the horn bodies and perform some basic mods. One of the regulars at AA performed the very basic stuff that i recommend on the older Klipsch "Classic" series to his Heresy's. He thought that the lower bass was almost TOO strong and that the speaker was now "too warm" sounding. Before this, he too had complained about the typical "horn sound" of these i.e. being too forward, somewhat hard and bright, etc...

Obviously, going from (and being used to) something that was lean and bright / forward to something that was much smoother with increased bottom end might seem like TOO much of a big change. This is an easy thing to correct though, as all of the basic mods that i recommend are done in a manner that are easily reversible, step by step. As such, you can do them in stages to find out what you like / don't like and progress accordingly. Due to the differences in room acoustics, tonal balance of the system, personal preference, it is not that hard to achieve a good blend of"smoothness" and "bite" with the horns and "warmth" and "speed" from the bottom end driver. One HAS to be willing to experiment to achieve this though, so that lets a lot of "non participating" type audiophiles out of the picture. Sean
hello Dunlavy 5's will play 110 DBC weighted at listening position in a 20X23 room with Conrad Johnson Premier 8 amplifiers[275 w@8ohm tube amps] plenty bass slam and definition. More bass available with high current solid state amplifier like Rowland 9 a bit too much bass IMO.
This is the system you should consider if horns are a little crude for your taste: Dunlavy IVa, V or VI (depending on your budget), with Dunlavy's companion tower subwoofers. The TSW IV addition alone, with its 8 high end woofers is one hell of an addition to the IVa's. And the $6000 price is quite reasonable for what it is. With a used pair of IVa's you are still under the $10k mark! (The V and VI's companion subwoofer towers are even more heroic). The above set-up will easily "outrock" the Ariel, Revel or B&W's. Now we're talking some serious clean spls!
You want LOUD AND Clear as well as accurate?
Only 1 name for you my friend.....ATC's.
They make recording studio monitors and are now into
the residential market. Their SCM300's are made to
play at 121dB continuously! Funny story is that
these were built because the Rock and Rollers were
blowing the drivers out of their less powerful

Go to
and be amazed at who all uses these in their recording studios, including Pink Floyd's Studio, Robert Plant, and AC/DC!!!

ATC recommends the speaker size for the room that you
want to energize. I'd recommend no more than about
a pair of Active 150's. Max. Continuous SPL (1m) 117dB!
Includes 4 discrete amplifiers built in. Just add a
CDplayer and GO! At $22,000 a pair and includes the amps,
I guarantee the loudest and clearest purple haze you've
ever visited. I've heard ATC's demo's here at a dealer in Denver. I bought me 3 of the ATC 100's (only 115dB)!

Write if you want the contact for these loudest of all monsters...
My room is about 8000 cubic feet. I play a lot of AC/DC Metallica, Iron Maiden, Motorhead etc when not listening to classical. By measurement (not regular listening) my Dunlavy SC-Vs will do about 112-115 db and stay within the 250 watts rating if there are a quite a few people in the room. I think they sound great on both classical and rock (one of the major reasons I bought them was that I listen to both). Make sure you give them enough power. Most speaker damage at high volumes comes from the amps clipping and the distortion products frying the tweeters. I don't agree with Sean on electronics. Most heavy rock has enough grunge built into the recording.
Ditto for Dunlavy V's. Although I switch-in the REL stadium subwoofer set at 46 HZ for the club scene in 20x14-12*12 L shaped room. I used Classe Amplification and oh yes, I use Stereo surround mode for on my SSP-50 to direct sound to the rear dunlavy-ii's also. The results is very slamming-club scene. Although I never dared go beyond 100 db, nor I need to in my room. I play system of a down or mettalica or Darude or The newdeal with complete satisfaction.
Man. Talking about rock on Dunlavy V's me drool. I can only imagine what that must be like. So what amps are the Dunlavy V's owners using to push the V's?
I too own a Les Paul and a Marshall 4x12 cabinet with Hughes&Kettner valve/solid hybrid head. It also has much more impact than my hifi, though I usually don't play my hifi too loud because of the hearing thing.

Part of the problem is that rock CDs are usually massively compressed in the CD mastering so they will sound OK on car radios, boom boxes etc. I am not sure high end hifi will ever make it sound live because of this compression.

I have also found that a "live, dynamic" sound requires a lot of low frequencies, so pick main speakers that are flat to at least 20Hz, or get a sub(s). I notice you've got this angle covered. Here again you're at the mercy of the recording/mixing/mastering engineers, though, since many CDs which should have these low frequencies don't. (e.g. they replace kick drum with crappy sampled sounds, record bass guitar directly with a cabinet simulator etc).

In summary, it sounds like you have good gear already, and buying more expensive gear may just highlight the deficiencies of the recordings. Ever wondered why some relatively cheap car stereos sound so foot-tapping .... they work well with the crummy source material.

As a caveat I should add that my experience is with much cheaper equipment (Mission/Cyrus/Audiolab/Densen/Spica/REL) but I think even my equipment shows how poor the recordings are, so I dread to think how they might sound on your gear.
Aroc, I am using two classe CA-400's (one each for main and surround pair-very effortless) and one CAV-150 (for center). The REL has its own amp, only 100W albeit very efficient.
Aroc; I use 400 watt Melos Monoblocks with my SC-V's
I based my comments on the fact that most live rock has an EXTREMELY high distortion factor along with being reproduced by a speaker system that is primarily horn based. Duplicating that scenario as close as possible will give you the most "realistic" reproduction of that type of event. Keep in mind that i'm speaking from two different points of view. I have worked / still do work as a professional sound engineer. I also enjoy "jamming" to some of these same bands at home.

Since most "mid fi" amps tend to compress and smear when pushed hard, this produces similar sonics to the Crown, Carver, Carvin, Crest, Peavey, BGW, Yamaha, etc... amps that are used at these events. The horn section / large woofer used as a mid will break up and distort in a similar manner to what you hear when bands are "jamming" at a concert. This also helps to recreate the "grunge" that accompanies the normally "cleaned up" but still highly compressed recording. The fact that the Heresy runs a 12" for the upper bass / midrange just like MOST front loaded PA cabinets also helps to duplicate that same type of presentation.

As to volume, concert level for hard rock / metal requires a MINIMUM of 108+ db's AVERAGE at the LISTENING POSITION. If you're not getting "chest compression" on kick drums, it is NOT loud enough or your system doesn't go low enough at volume. I experienced this watching the primarily "acoustic" band "Days Of The New" at a distance of appr 60' from the stage. As many of you know, this band is not "heavy" at all.

If you listen to your speakers at one meter, use the figures presented by the manufacturer. Otherwise, you'll have to measure for yourself in your room at your listening position to see what you think is "loud enough".

For the record, Klipsch La Scala's are rated to produce 128 db's at one meter. I know for a fact that they can do at least 118 db's average at a 10' listening distance. They do not sound as good as Heresy's in unmodified form, but will play louder and sound less strained doing it. For rock and roll, more power is better and too much is not enough : ) Sean

PS... WHAT ????? Did you say something ??? : )

Forget the Heresy's - get KHorns. NOTHING plays louder or with more punch - and you'll *never* need more than 100 watts per channel. Your room *requires* a big speaker, the KHorns fit that bill and produce substantial bass output, too.
There are more than a few speakers out there that will play louder than K-Horns. The problem with the Klipsch's is that they WILL go into compression when you start throttling them. This is much less noticeable than with most other speakers simply because they have far greater dynamic range to begin with. If they used better drivers, this would not occur.

If you want to hear some good "pre-built" horns that use VERY high quality drivers ( TAD ), check out the CAR's ( Classic Audio Reproductions ). These will sound much better than even the most highly modified Klipsch and play even louder. The vocals are also better, as they use front loaded drivers, no "cavern" to deal with in terms of a folded box. Sean
I like Sean's recommendation of Classic Audio Reproductions speakers. Very enjoyable long-term, with excellent dynamic impact. Soundstaging isn't their strong suit, however - a more conventional system like the big Dunlavy's would do better in that respect. Overall, though, the CAR T-1's would probably be my first choice for a 110 db+ rock/jazz/blues speaker.
Duke, where ya been ??? Is business THAT good that you don't have time to play on the puter anymore ??? : ) Sean
Go with Wisdom Audio. A good rock guitar sound has lots of bass. The WA systems have lots of well controlled bass. AND THEY PLAY REAL LOUD TOO!!!. I routinely have the Stones or Hendrix over for a live concert performance, at realistic concert volumes. These are absolutely the BEST LOUD speakers I've ever heard.