Salk bookshelf or Dynaudio bookshelf? Or something else?

Hi folks,

I'm considering Salk speakers but may not have them close enough to audition them.
Could anyone compare the bookshelves with my current leading prospect, the Dynaudio Evoke 10 or Special 40?

Here are some facts that relate to my situation:

ROOM: either 13x10 ft; 7 ft ceilings or 15 x 27ft w/10 ft ceilings.
POWER: Adcom separates (535L 60w/ch. with GTP 400 preamp)
MUSIC TASTES: mostly jazz and classical but a fair amount of rock.

CURRENT SPEAKER MOST LIKELY TO BUY: Dynaudio Evoke 10 or Special 40

SongSurround I
SongSurround Plus
Supercharged SongSurround

Focal 906
B&W bookshelf (I forget the number)
Dali Oberon
Elacs of any kind
Martin Logan

Finally, has anyone tried the Salk 30 day trial for bookshelves? What did that cost in shipping, overall? (A rough estimate is fine.)

Thanks again for your time and insight.

Best wishes,

David in Denver

P.S. There are Totems in the area but I have not heard them yet.
What are your current speakers? Perhaps they're fine. The Adcom components won't do the Dynaudio speakers justice. In my opinion, unless your current speakers are really hurting, I'd upgrade to a quality integrated amp versus the old Adcom separates.
The Adcoms are a bit long in the tooth, though excellent value for money in their day.

If you go Dynaudio, the 40s will be better than the Evokes.

Dynaudio and Salk are both very good; though if I were looking at monitors, I'd be seriously thinking about Fritz or Buchardt.
Thanks for the advice. I’ll look into those other speakers and reconsider my Adcom stuff. 
I did like the 40s a lot but they’re double the money. But if amp can’t do them justice, what’s the point!

My main speakers are older AR 48s and small, also old, Pinnacle PN5+. 
I’ve got old stuff, clearly, and they need to be refreshed. They sound decent, but...

maybe it’s just a midlife thing... ;-)
Thanks for the extra information. Unfortunately, I'm not up on vintage speakers, so I'm unable to offer an opinion on either of those speakers.
Email Jim and ask if there are any of his speakers near you.
Some owners will let you check out their Salk speakers.
I did and he responded already, though bookshelves are hard to find.

I think the advice I have seen here is already sinking in — I need to rethink power and speakers, both. Obviously, power is another thread altogether and I know I can just search those threads to find advice. So far, I’m seeing Schiit and Peachtree as two good, reasonable options (where reasonable is $2k or less for power). 

If truth be fully disclosed, I am also needing to think about the source of my music — a lot is streaming or ripped from disc at rates that would make folks “tsk tsk” me (which I would deserve). So there’s that piece.

Overall, what I have been trying to do is to reinvigorate my listening equipment without being sucked into a rabbit hole — either with money or with all the technical ins-and-outs. I can learn what the language means and try to educate myself, and of course I have been going to listen, but at the end of the day I need to make a reasonable guess and get things upgraded. But with kids still in the house and older parents (and an academic department to run), I lack the time to become a fully invested audio hobbyist. 

The advice here has been great and I appreciate nudges in a better and more informed direction.
I would start with your source. If using a computer for streaming and file (ripped CDs) playback try re-ripping a couple of your favorite discs to WAV or AIFF(if Apple) and play these. Should provide you with a new reference as to what your current system is capable of.

Please provide more on you source(s).

The Adcom gear is old but the 535 amp is the best sounding in the lineupThe classic Vandersteen 1CI will work well together in a room that size.  As mentioned above a good source would be a step 2 and 3 refresh your cables AQ works well with all above driving you further into the music.JohnnyRVandersteen dealer 
Good to hear about the Adcom. Perhaps I just need to consider lesser speakers for now (for my office) and then if I get more demanding speakers I can up the game on the power. (Totem speakers are small...hmmm.)

Sources. Sigh. I used to have a Thorens D166 turntable, but it’s now not working (bent tonearm, missing stylus, off-speed). So I have a MacBook Pro and an Audioengine DAC. 
What in particular are you looking for in terms of sound? 

How old is your 535?  Have you had it recapped/refurbished?  I did this with an older Carver preamp and amp (~25 years old) and have been pleasantly surprised.    I use it as one of the three amps that I voice my speakers with.  I have a range of stand mount / bookshelf speakers.  We also use a Rogue Hydra and Art Audio Quartet mono-blocks.  

You ought to be able to get a new tonearm and cartridge for your Thorens and if the speed is off, could be time for a new motor and/or power supply.  A Rega RB220 is like $400 and you can get a good cartridge like an Ortofon 2M Blue for $236.  

Audio-engine makes a decent DAC.  You probably want to focus on improving your file quality.  That is a lot of effort though and can be pricey if you have sold your CDs the way I did.  I subscribed to Tidal or you could look at Amazon.  Ultimately, the price of like 10 to 20 CDs per year.  

Thanks, Verdant, for your reply. What I'm looking for in terms of sound is clarity and precision in midrange with adequate and accurate punch in bass. It's ok for it not to rattle the furniture, I just want to be convinced that a jazz upright bass sounds like itself. I'm a middle-aged guy, so I have no illusions about what I can hear, but I want good staging.

My Adcom is from roughly 1993 or so. It has not had any work done. I'm not sure what I'd be asking someone to do. Advice appreciated and some sense of what it might cost.

Thanks for the amp details and turntable suggestions!

I have not sold my CDs, luckily, but it would mean a lot of re-ripping. Oh, and I need a disc ripper, now that my Macs don't have them anymore. (Oh, technology, I love you and yet you make so much trouble.) Perhaps I just go the subscription route. I listen to Spotify all the time, anyway.
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What you should decide first is which room/system you want to upgrade, or where the speakers will ultimately end up. Will they be in the larger room? The smaller room? Placed close to the wall, or well into the room?

A small bookshelf like the Evoke10 will be too small for your larger room, especially without subs. The larger Special 40s could overload your smaller room, depending on your taste, but the Special 40s will certainly require room to breathe for best bass response, based on what I see in the Stereophile measurements. So if you can’t pull them away from the wall in your small room, the 40s are probably a no-go.

If you can’t audition anything locally, stick with products you can return or purchase under a trial period. Ascend Acoustics, Spatial Audio, Zu Audio, and Omega are all comsumer-direct brands that offer generous trial periods. Of these, I only have experience with Spatial and I feel they offer one of the best values out there. They may be beyond your budget but they do compete with many speakers of twice their retail cost. Since you mentioned wanting accurate sound of upright bass, you’d be hard pressed to beat an open-baffle design at any price.

I was having issues with my Carver and it needed to be re-soldered.  After about 15-20 years, you want to have any electrolytic caps replaced.  The service on my Carver was $400 and it sounds like new. The reality is, Carver was probably not as well made as Adcom in that era so the situation might not be as negative.  

The need for caps will be driven by use.  If used regularly, you will see that they will have ballooned out due to heat through time.  

Good CD Rippers can be had for modest amounts of money, the bigger issue is the amount of time.  

Regarding speakers, I make one that would be a good choice. It was explicitly praised by Part-Time Audiophile for it's delivery of upright bass but is pricier than what you are looking at $3999.  

Harbeth's would be a fine choice.  ATC has a speaker in that price range that would be interesting. A little pricier, you could look at the Devore Gibbon 3XL though it is also a bit pricier at $3499 

@helomach: Which room? That's a good question. I suppose I'm just working on the smaller room setup for now. They will be close to a wall.

I think the 40s are a no-go for now — but presumably, they could always emerge later. This fact returns me to the intial thread question: Salk or Dynaudio Evoke 10? I'm now leaning Salk but I'm yet to hear a lot of argumentation using the details of the speakers' acoustics given my other constraints — though some here have said that my Adcom isn't up to the task. I guess I need to see that for myself.

Thanks for the additional brands to consider — I've not heard of Ascend Acoustics, Spatial Audio, Zu Audio, or Omega so I'll take a look.

Appreciate your taking the time to write up your thoughts and address what I've been asking. This is truly a special community here at Audiogon. Thank you.

@verdantaudio: Thanks for the info about your Carver. I may at least get an estimate about my Adcom if issues arise (I get some drops but I think it's just the pot.). No ballooning, I don't think, is happening. Thanks too for the info about cd rippers and the speaker you make, as well as the others. When I get to the point where I'm buying new power and setting up a larger room, I may be in touch!


There’s a pair of Joseph Audio Pulsars at US Audio Mart for $3650 (retail $7700).  They’ll do all that you’re looking for and more and would be a great starting point to build a system around.  If in the unlikely event they’re not to your taste you can sell them for likely little or no loss, but once you hear them I doubt that’ll be the case.  They’re also not a difficult load so should work fine with your current amp for now.  Totems are great too but usually require more power to get the best out of them.  Best of luck. 
Salk makes such a wide range of products, with a wide range of driver types, that I think it’d be impossible to ascribe a house sound. It appears that linear frequency response is one of their design goals, but that doesn’t mean all their speakers will sound similar. Even a 1db dip or peak at a midrange frequency can drastically influence the speaker’s voicing as heard by a listener.

I believe Salk offers a trial period, but if I’m not mistaken, it’s only for speakers finished in one of a few standard veneers, and not for every model they make.

 If I were shopping in this price class, I’d be most interested in Salk's version of the Philharmonic BMR monitors:
@soix -- thanks for pointing me at usaudiomart. I assume there are some guarantees about what's purchased there? Or is it like Craig's list -- caveat emptor?

@holomech I believe I can trial some of the smaller speakers but it's true this should be double-checked. Regarding the suggestion you make, I'm reverting back to looking for a smaller office/desktop speaker, so the Philharmonic is a bit large and expensive for that. But for the future... hmm.
@twoleftears Budget ceiling: I'd say $1700 or so, max. As for the Carbons, given that I'm just seeking something smaller for my office, the size of the speaker seems a bit much -- and the price is now a bit high. I started out musing about the Dyn Special 40s but now those seem too large for the room and probably will not sound very rich given my present power (Adcom 535 60w). I'm glad to see another vote for Fritz and I'm bookmarking them because clearly they have people's attention.
I have used my Macbook Pro with Pure Music playback program playing CDs ripped as AIFF files into a DAC. Also usb input is asynchronous, placing DAC in charge of data stream vs. computer. . That would make for an improvement over compressed files. The Pure Music Program costs $129 and uses itunes as archiver.  

There are other playback programs. if interested in continued use of your Macbook Pre I would start a thread under the Computer Audio section asking a specific question oh how to improve your sonics using one.  
@mesch Thanks for the suggestion. I'll go over to Computer Audio to continue that line of questioning. It's good to stay focused on the theme of one's own original post. Have a great day. -- Dave
No one has mentioned "Audience The One V3 Speakers" or "ClairAudient". These are speakers near me in Colorado. Any views about these for nearfield listening?
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