Shopping for speakers at $1500-$2000 is a chore.

I have been amazed at how many $1500-$2000 monitor speakers are out there. Just to name a few: the Wharfdale Jade 3's; KEF LS-50; KEF R-300; B&W CM-5S2 and CM-6S2; Focal Aria 906. and though NOT a monitor, Golden Ear Technology Model 7 small floorstander at $1500 a pair (which received raptured and orgasmic praise at CES 2013)

I have heard both KEF's , especially LS-50, but despite excellent sound staging and accuracy sound lean and at times lifeless The B&W were better, but the CM5S2 sounded lean and often edgy,However(the CM6S2 is very good to excellent, but also more expensive than the others)

The Wharfdale Jade 3 was the bane of one our members in a recent thread claiming they just did not sound right or what he expected.

However, the Choral Aria 906 monitor has often popped up in discussions, and as I mentioned to another member, they have received very good and solid reviews from generally reliable sources, However, the Focal 906, and the Golden Ear Technology model 7 are harder to find to audition.

So I would like to get some input from owners of either or possibly both speakers about which they preferred, and also the better sounding or most satisfying to listen to. I will greatly appreciate this feedback, as I seek out a dealer of either or both, but hopefully not in a city or state that requires air or train travel to reach.
Tekton Lores are well within your budget. I haven't heard them but they're considered by many to be a hands down winner at that price point.
Where in California do you live?
I recently purchased a set of GE Triton 7s to replace a pair of Spendor SP1/2Es I'd had for years. (The wife finally won the battle of getting the 1970s-looking boxes out of our room.)

I am very pleased with the Triton 7s. Vocal reproduction isn't quite as magical as the Spendors, but they are extremely good. My benchmark is natural reproduction of voices (male voices tend to be difficult for many speakers) and acoustic instruments and the Triton's are excellent. The bass goes deeper than the Spendors while the midrange and highs are balanced and clear. Driver integration is quite good and GE resisted the temptation to add the "Kodachrome" extras one finds in many audiophile speakers.

In short, they are an outstanding buy for the money.
System synergy matters.... Big time.

There are a buzzillion pretenders and contenders out there, and this suggested price strata echoes this in spades

Whether a particular brand (or model within that brand) actually works in your system is an unavoidable journey (there is no finite quick fix or destination) of audition and comparison after doinzg your homework.

I wouldn't put any stock in anecdotal and heavily biased blind recommendations pushing their faves ....simply because it "works" in their unique system and listening environment is a nil assurance that it will work in yours .

The variables are huge and impossible to gauge by anybody other than you. Similarly, inserting $2K speakers into a cheap system won't save the day either.

There are la plethora of reviews online to sample what others have mated with their gear. Find yours that matches their experiences and use that milestrone as a good first step to thin out the herd.
I don't know your assoc equip but try to find one of these if you can. alon II'S or IV'S, psb status goldi's used if you can. you cant go wrong with any of them and you will pay right around $600- $800. new - the psb tower I think, and axiom t 80's are nice.
try shopping in that price range for a USED CAR ... will make speaker shopping seem like a cool breeze on a warm summer day
Why a minimonitor in the first place? Throwing the Triton 7 into the mix is like saying you can't decide between a Mazda Miata and a Lincoln Town Car.

What are you trying to achieve? What's your room size, listening distance, musical tastes, etc. etc.? If you define what your room and listening position require, what your musical tastes are, and what's most important in musical reproduction (e.g., dynamics, frequency extension, transparency, dispersion pattern, clarity, inner detail, etc.), that will go a long way toward narrowing the field of contenders.

Unless your room is small and/or your listening position is close to the speakers, and/or you plan to add in a well-matched subwoofer, choosing a minimonitor could result in years of aggravation and tweaking, because two things minimonitors generally don't have are realistic bass extension and dynamic range, essentials for musical satisfaction that become increasingly important the longer you go without them.

That said, one standmount speaker series I've heard that delivers balanced bass, reasonably transparent midrange, smooth extended treble, and room-friendly dispersion is the Triton Aon series, whether the Aon 2 or Aon 3, depending on room size. They're even under your budget.
Spent 10k thats easy.
I've owned bookshelf speakers from Dynaudio Focus 140, KEF 201/2, Paradigm S2/S4, Usher Be718, and others I am not thinking of. Some used newer version TSMs for around $1,500 is about as close to state of the art you are going to get from 50hz up if tonal accuracy and natural sound is your goal. The KEF for example projected a huge sound into the room and was detailed as all get out. It was also pretty genre specific so I am not convinced these were true to life despite the glowing measurements. The Merlins play everything with aplomb but are not show offy.
In one of your previous threads, I recommended the Ascend Acoustics Sierra2 speakers as something you should consider. I don't know how close this is to you, but you can arrange for an audition at their facility in San Clemente.
YEs, many good choices in that range.

Goldenear Aon3 is the best I have heard recently that costs less than that and might compete well with more expensive alternatives. If saving any money matters maybe give those a listen. or maybe have some money left for a powered sub which almost always helps with smaller monitors in most modest size rooms or larger.

Of course the amp being used and listening habits is probably important to know to say what has best shot at sounding best in that range.
Thanks to all who have responded so far. I can't answer everyone. But let me fill you in on some general facts: current system; room size: music generally listened to. Johnnyb53 seems to want every aspect addressed, including my heart rate.

Nevertheless, The room is 12X15; and, the music generally played: is classic rock and jazz/rock fusion; also some big band; and, it is played loudly, but no head banger craziness

System is: Rogue Sphinx hybrid integrated (100RMS) so far a winner in my experience; a Ayre CX7emp2 CD player. outstanding and worth the bucks whether new or used and upgraded; Interconnect is a older Nordost Red Dawn Flatline cable and has not been a disappointment despite a tad of overbrightness which is very tolerable. Speaker Cable: Grover Huffman which was purchased unknowingly from an AG member who works for Warner Brothers possibly on the music side of the company. He swore on ten bibles and a rabbit's foot that this was the best cable he had ever heard....AND HE WAS GENERALLY RIGHT. In my current system the Huffman provided about 25% improvement in sound, withdrawing a light veil overall from the sound which gave the AZ's Adagios a new level of transparency even more so than AZ's expensive Hologram II cable. However, both were sold and gone!! Finally, a AZ Tsumani Plus PC to the Rogue integrated which is no lightweight performer.

Sure, I would like the new Nelson Pass integrated (to tweek the new speakers) in the same way I would like having dinner with Taylor Swift, but odds and age and her tour schedule make it impossible!!!(LOL).

Lastly, I live in Los Angeles; most high end dealerships are located in the western end of the county. There is an above average number of Golden Ear Tech dealer, but here is the problem. Several do not display the Golden Ear model Seven in favor of the model One, and the powered model 5. These, I was informed by a dealer are the money makers and big sellers, especially the model 1 retailing at $4995. There is a shop in Carlsbad California approx. 130 miles from L.A.; the road to it can be a traffic nightmare almost anytime of the day, and especially on the weekend.

Another GET dealer in newly named "City West" claimed my that neither the Aeo 2 nor Aeo 3 will play loud enough in 12X15 listening room. He was a disagreeable, self-righteous prick who stated that his shop has limited floor space, and no room for the model 7 and its cartons....A real charmer... this guy!!!

To sum up, I don't intend to take a grand tour of Los Angeles county audio dealers looking for either GET or Focal dealers. (BTW, some Golden Ear dealers are custom installer with no show rooms!! The Focal dealers are few and far between, and their website even listed a dealer who sold Pro equipment and not the audiophile line, though they "might be able to get a pair of Aria 905 or 906...", So that is the round up. Thank you and have a Nice Day!!!!

P.S. This quest for new speakers is making comrade Jim, less and less Sunny
I almost bought a Rogue Sphinx.

It should work well to suit your needs with most any speaker mentioned in that room which is not large. You'll know what you like best when you hear it.

Were it me, I would audition Goldenear Aon 3. That should do nicely if you like the sound and leave money to spend again. i can't imagine why anyone would not, but tastes vary. Some might find Aon 3 too polite perhaps.

Don't forget with Monitors the right pair of stands is essential as well for best performance. My recommendation would be to try Isoacoustics pro monitor stands for about $100 on Amazon first before anything else.
Thanks, SunnyJim. 12x15 and your listening tastes certainly help narrow the choices. I've heard the Triton 7s twice, the demo room was at least 12x15, and the bass output overloaded the room so much I couldn't explore the speaker's reputed potential.

OTOH, I also heard the Aon 3 in a similar-sized room and it was a nice match. Unlike most mini-monitors, the Aons have two side-mounted passive radiators, which enable more bass extension and higher speaker sensitivity. The mid/woofers are quick and linear, and the Heil-type folded ribbon tweeter is deceptively detailed because it is much smoother than typical domes, especially some metal ones. The folded ribbon has several square inches of radiating area, which means it doesn't have to move much and thereby is not subject to the inertial artifacts (overshoot and ringing) typical of conventional tweeters.

BTW, the Triton 5 is passive like the Triton 7, but with bigger cabinets, woofers and passive radiators. The Triton 5 also has four radiators per cabinet vs. the 7's two. I hope you can find some Aons to audition locally.
You know, my wife and I heard the KEF LS-50 and the Blade at Axpona a couple of shows ago. Neither impressed us. The room was pretty large but, still... The Blade was better. I wouldn't own the LS-50.
Ls-50 is very good with high power high current amp in a smaller room but is undersized for larger rooms. Any small speaker can only go so far.
We have a few options from proac to dynaudio to dali. We are big into bookshelf speakers here as well as value for the money. Please give us a call to discuss.

Hollywood Sound
What sonic properties of speakers are most important to you?
Elac Debut B5 or B6
$229 and $279 a pair
Thanks to those who responded since my overlong first response

To Mapman and Johnnyb53, Thanks for your recommendation of the Aeo 3; I have read something before about the Seven's bass overloading a medium size room, such as a 12X15 room. However, I am sure you are both aware as to the type of amp driving that particular speaker which must tightly control those size woofers which are 6 or seven inch

. BTW, any reason the Aeo 2's will not work almost at well as Aeo 3's Yes, the 2 has smaller woofers, with bass only to 42HZz's, instead of 38 Hz of the Aeo 3's,. However, it may image better because of a smaller cabinet. However, I would not appreciate if they just get swallowed up by the size of my space which I never mentioned yesterday is partitioned off by a 70 inch couch A dining/kitchen area continues behind the couch which is also 12X15.

For what it is worth, Aeo 2 received an outstanding review in Stereophile in 2013 by the now deceased Bob Reina who was honest and a straight forward reviewer with no bullshit or major bias in his writing.

There is a pair of Aeo 2's on AG right now, unless they have been sold. Cheers to all!!
I would look into finding a used pair of Marten Logan Vantages. This is one hell of a speaker for around $2000 used (depending on finish) they are the best deal on the planet! IMO. You will not be disappointed, give them correct power and great electronics and you are in audio nirvana! Regards,

Matt M
"P.S. This quest for new speakers is making comrade Jim, less and less Sunny"

That's a bit of an understatement. You weren't Sunny way back when you were looking for your amp. Now you're MonsoonSeasonJim.
Aon 2 or 3. Whichever fits best.
NO IT's NOT! Sonus Faber Toy Towers are easily in your budget range,they take up no more room than a monitor on a stand & they will pretty much lay waste to ALL the competition under $2K!

Have owned a lot of above mentioned speakers, and now own & love the Aperion Verus Grands which are $2k with free shipping. If you don't like them, return them for free. Beautiful sound and to die for good looks.
"10-23-15: Freediver
NO IT's NOT! Sonus Faber Toy Towers are easily in your budget range,they take up no more room than a monitor on a stand & they will pretty much lay waste to ALL the competition under $2K!"

Those things are a steal at $3500!! You normally need to spend $5000 to lay waste to a $2000 speaker.

Contact Evolution audio and video in Agoura Hills. They are a Golden Ear dealer. Talk to John Guidi. He has been selling audio for 30 years. He is the nicest guy in this attitude driven business. He also knows his audio. Make sure you only talk to him. The other guys that work there are more video heads.
To ZD542, Yes, I am going monsoonal over this speaker quest , but there is still for Tsumanic (two of which occurred when I lived in Hawaii, and fortunately did little damage to Honolulu....the other Islands were not so lucky.) I have yet to go Earthquakic or Volcanic.... but give me time.

Telescope trade, I will at least check out the Aperion Verus Grands. I recall seeing a review in Stereophile a few years ago or less

Freedriver, I will also check out Sonus Faber Toy towers.

P.S. Has anyone an opinion or comment about the new Reference 3A DeCapo BE monitors which now use beryllium tweeters, and gray Nextel finish that supposedly has some magical effect on the acoustics of the speaker. I have seen a few for sale on AG over the last year. The feedback and press attention on this version and its predecessor have been scanty. It can't just be another Canadian speaker, especially at $3595 retail (?)
Fritz speakers are CA nased. The Carbon 7 is excellent, at around your price point

Fritz is also a very nice guy who will spend time working with you.

Highly recommended.
To Jdoris, I did consider the Fritz Carbon 7 but was not comfortable with their sales approach. I did not want a pair Carbon 7's planted in my living room unless I am enthusiastic to hear them, and not just to be convinced by their presence in the room. However, thank you for the recommendation

To Taters, I saw their listing on the GET website. However, many dealer in this area are selling at retail, and no matter if they even provide 10%, you still must pay the high California state sales tax of 8.5% I guess this is why many audiophiles shop on Audiogon. Thanks for heads up
Why were you not comfortable with Fritz's sales approach, SunnyJim?

I've spent multiple hours on the phone with Fritz, and hung out in his room at RMAF, and never felt a bit of pressure (I do not own his speakers).


There are a couple of pairs of Sonus Faber Toy Towers currently in the A-gon classifieds. I totally agree that they would be a really good candidate for this situation. Sonus Fabers have a very enticing sound with lots of resolution without sounding annoying or edgy. The Toy Towers have a small footprint and should be a perfect fit for SJ's listening area as well as for his listening tastes.
Thought I'd weigh in here with some things that might be helpful. Yes, component shopping and swapping can make a person cranky; no argument there.
That said, I owned a pair of the Reference 3A De Capo's; they were not 100% current: they had the older, veneered cabinet, but they did have the current main driver with the Surreal Acoustic Lens. And when the BE tweeter became available, did the upgrade.
The De Capo is a classic for a reason; it's a great speaker. And if you don't have a Reference 3A dealer in your locale, Tash Goka will sell to you direct at a small discount, and give you a 30 day return trial; you're only out shipping if not happy. You can find my very detailed De Capo BE review here.
All that said, and even given my fondness for the Reference 3A sound and company, if the De Capo is now selling for nearly $3600, I believe you can do better for the money.
To go back to an earlier post in this thread, I got to live with the Fritz Carbon 7 SE for a couple of weeks and posted this review on my blog. At $2500, it's a great, great value. Heck, at $3000 it would also be a great value. If I could afford to own several pairs of speakers, I'd easily have bought the review pair. In terms of imaging and low end extension, they smoke the De Capo's, at least in my room with my equipment. And the icing on the cake is that Fritz Heiler is a prince of a guy to deal with. Just my 2 cents. If you're in LA anyway, you might as well take advantage of that fact and let Fritz show you what he has available.
I will say Fritz is one of the nicest guys in the business. I wish the retailers in Southern California were half as nice.
The KEF LS50 is the best of the bunch IMHO by far.  BUT they must be fully broken in and placed the right distance from the wall and they will not sound thin.  
The other thing is that they literally shine with tube amplification.  I too heard them at AXPONA in way too large of a room with coarse sounding solid state amplification.  The KEF team seemed to be attempting to push them to their limits to compare side by side with the blades.  In the process they did a total disservice to the sound quality capabilities of the LS50s.  
When heard on a nice 25 watt tube amp they are spectacular and believe it or not sound reminiscent of the Joseph Audio Pulsars.  
I spent the past 6 months diligently searching for a the best speaker I could find under $3,000. I've listed to almost all the speakers mentioned in this string. I even made a 9 hour drive to the Denver RMAF to be able to compare most of the finalists in one place. For me, it came down to the Triton 2s and the Spatial Audio M3. I ended up buying the M3s. They are only $1,595 -- one of the best values in hifi. I had the money in hand to buy the Triton 2, but I liked the sound of the M3s better. They are an amazing speaker, and can be shipped to your house for a 45 day(I think) trial. I purchased them to replace my 1977 Klipschorns (sadly, I have to downsize), and they are a worthy replacement.