Add a sub.
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Interestingly enough, I went through the exact same quandary just a year or so ago. I too owned the Revel Studios, (a very good, all around, speaker that had no real weaknesses, but was not truly a great speaker, as it was not great in any one category either at least IMHO anyway). I did have some constraints to my choices, which eliminated some speakers, as my wife really did not want me to have really tall speakers. (She loved it when I bought my Revel Studios, as they were much shorter than my previous speakers, the Martin Logan Sequel IIs.) Nor did she want really big (wide) speakers, such as the Quad ESL speakers. (So, my first choice would probably have been some reconditioned Apogee Diva speakers, as I loved those, but they would have gotten me divorced! Plus having Apogee out of business was a deterrent too.)
(I should point out, that at this point in time, my friend, (whose system's sound I love, and who has similar sonic tastes as my own), and who used to own the Avalon Eidolons, had upgraded to the Rockport Antares speakers, which is as close to the perfect speaker as I have heard, at least in a dynamic type of speaker. They are a very, very transparent speaker, with little to no weaknesses. Their imaging and soundstaging is fantastic. They have a deep, tight bass response, a lovely mid-range, and an extended and very refined treble response. Since I could not afford to get those, (they were $45K new), I wanted something as similar to those as I could afford.)
So, with those considerations, I contemplated several speakers, including:
The obvious upgrade, the Revel Salon, as that was a true full range speaker. But, after five years with the Studios, I really wanted something different, both aesthetically, (even though I did, and still do, like its stylish and modern looks), as well as sonically. (Basically, the Salon is just a Studio with deeper bass, at least IMHO.)
The second obvious choice, (for me anyway), was the Avalon Eidolons. These are wonderful speakers, (and great looking too!), but they just lacked the bottom end to be a truly great (full range) speaker. (Their bass response was no better, and maybe not even as good as the Studios.) Although, I do feel they are a great speaker, just not a great full range speaker.
The Wilson WP 8 was another alternative, but these, for some reason, just did not float my boat, either aesthetically, or sonically. Aesthetically, they look very modern and clean looking, but a bit too robotic, and sterile looking for my tastes. (i.e. they are not as stylish as I would like.) And sonically, they sounded somewhat similar to my Studios, (detailed and somewhat analytical), and I was looking for something that just sounded a bit different, (i.e. more musical, is the best way I can describe it).
I thought about the EgglestonWorks Andra II speakers as I had heard nothing but good things about them. But in looking at them in the pictures, I really did not like their looks that much. Their shape had a kind of a barn look to them, and none of the pictures ever showed them with their grills on, and I prefer to have grills on my speakers, as I dislike looking at the drivers, particularly the woofers. And, I have kids over occasionally, so grills keep little fingers off the drivers. (But, most speakers grills either affect the sonics or dont look that great, or both. (The Revel Studios had a nice grill covering the woofers, which I always liked, and which did not affect the sonics.) But, in desperation, I reconsidered them, when a local pair showed up on Audiogon for a really good price. I went to the sellers house and looked at them, and they looked much nicer in person than they do in the pictures. The black granite sides really class them up in person. (And the speakers come with really nice looking grills, and they are designed to not affect the sonics at all.) So, I spoke with the seller, and he agreed to let me borrow them to try in my system. (A totally classy seller by the way! Way to go Richard!!!!)
I took them home and set them up and listened to them for the weekend. By Monday morning I had decided these were the speakers for me. They had all the transparency that the Eidolons had. They had that last little bit of bass response that most supposedly full range speakers lack. The mid-range was very nice, and made vocals really come to life. The treble was well extended and much more refined than the Studios were. (FYI, they have the same Isotar tweeter that my friends Rockport Antares has.) And they imaged and soundstaged very similarly to the Antares as well. (In fact, I look at the Andra II speakers as being the little brother to the Rockport Antares. The Antares are built slightly better, (but then again, NO speaker is built as nice as the Rockports are, IMHO), look slightly better, (I love their looks), and sound slightly better (they are just a bit more neutral sounding that then Andra II speakers). But their similarities outnumber there differences, and that was exactly what I was looking for.
(Note: The only downside to the Andra II speakers is that they do have a bit of a mid-bass hump. I solved this via room treatments, (i.e. using a bass trap and echobusters in the corners), as well as (possibly) via my speaker cables, Nordost Valhallas. (I say possibly the speaker cables helped, because when I was putting in my room treatments I also upgraded the speaker cables at the same time, and I can not tell how much they helped. I have heard that some people consider the Valhallas to be slightly lean in the mid-bass, so maybe they helped.) My system has never sounded better, and I am pretty much through upgrading my system now. It also helps to have some beefy power amps in order to drive the 12 twin (Isobaric) woofers. I use the 200 wpc Lamm M2.1 hybrid monoblock amps. (Your Krell amp should work nicely as well.)
Well, I hope that helped.
(I am home waiting for a repair man, and had lots of time to write on and on, so if this was long winded, I apologize.)
Kurt. I had the original Andras for a few years and loved them. You should see the hunk of granite they put on those bastards. Like two inches thick. Only reason I got rid of them was I was selling my house and put them in storage. Winter was approaching and the place I had them was not climate controlled. So I let them go. I found a house 2 weeks later. Pissed me off. Like you I wanted to try something new as well. The Revels took their place. Which was better? Hard to say. Many months between listening. A different listening room. Etc. Both were great. I imagine the Andra II would be a hands down winner but havent heard yet.
What is with the 20Hz? If you are serious and want to maintain equal quality with your revels then you need a couple of good subwoofers like a couple of JL112's or 113's or a single high quality monster subwoofer (15" or greater) and you can get close 20 Hz. I'd budget around $10K to achieve this goal with less than 5 to 10% distortion at decent SPL levels. If you think there are any number of 20K speakers that can achieve 20 Hz with any kind of accuracy at decent SPL levels then I am afraid you have been reading to many reviews and manufacturer's wild claims...you need to look at sounstage distortion plots - most speakers are playing extremely high levels of distortion at 20Hz or the better ones are sensibly rolled off before 20 HZ.
A room 20 foot square is smallish? Not ideal to be square but by most standards that is a very big room.
I'm with Shadorne, I think you lust after something that is unobtanium. It is inconceivable to me that with your room you are going to find a full range speaker and a placement in that room that will give you everything from 20Hz on up. If you optimize them for very deep bass everything else will be screwed up. At some point you have to learn to live the limitations of your situation. The only possible solution with your room is a sub that you place in the ideal location to augment the very bottom or consider some digital room correction, which by the way is getting very good.
You say you really like the speakers you have, and according to specs they do 30 Hz, and since there is very little below that (unless you are doing home theater) you are chasing a ghost. A speaker that will do solid bass below 40Hz is very satisfying for almost all music. I suspect you have some imbalance in the room or upgrade fever that is causing you to miss what the Revels you have are capable of.
I'm wondering why you need 20 hz too. I would think that would eliminate virtually everything in your price range; at least if measurements are done accurately and honestly.
I read Kurt's response. As an owner of Rockport Antares myself, I suggest at least thinking about a used pair; or look into the less expensive newer Rockport models.
The V5As are excellent and extremely good bass performance, especially with the ability to "tune in" thew bass to the room, not sure even they do 20Hz, not do I think that should be the goal of a speaker. It would be easier to answer the question if the OP just wanted better bass performance than he is currently getting, which could also be done with the very same speakers and room treatment. For "extreme" low bass, it does seem to me the subwoofer approach would be best because it is awfully hard and or expensive to get that kind of bass from a speaker and not be compromised in other ways, especially at 20K. I suspect your 5As would provide world-class bass in most rooms, for most music.
1st, Enter 'room mode calculator' in Google. The lengths of sides being 2 1/2 times the height is awful, not to mention the room being square!
2nd, In this case the room is really your enemy. Spend some time and money on the room. If the total budget is 20 large, apportion some of it to getting the acoustics fixed. Do that at the same time you install your stereo.
Finally, 'Add a sub' is probably not advised at this point. When I did as I suggest in point #1, so many frequencies popped up that were even, or near even multiples of 20hz that I can only imagine the room as a big, vibrating echo chamber.
You can put 20 large in speakers only, which is 2x what I have in my entire, reasonable sounding system, add another chunk into electronics and a GOOD source and still have unsatisfying sound. Before you get on this merry-go-round, consider your room.
I'll bet your EchoBusters are some of the best money you ever spent! Low Frequencies are the absolute worst!
Spend the money on improving your listening environment if you really want to (it's a free world), but real 20Hz with decay for ambience is going to be extremely difficult with the dimensions of your room. And why? Most music has little to no first order 20Hz cycles. Are your trying for "Dafos", organ music, HT action movies? There's so much good music out there without 20Hz and trying to keep this particular parameter is going to be a money sink where you'll just piss it down a hole.
I've done it; Double Entecs, Maggie IV Bass Panels, Pow Wow. I never got it right to my ear and even turned those subs off during all my regular listening. Honestly, IMHO a well balanced music system with 20Hz bass is not in the cards for $20K.
I just auditioned (again) the Devore Fidelity Reference Silverbacks. It is getting more and more difficult to not pull the trigger on these incredibly musical and beautiful full range speakers. They sell for around $17000 new but outperform a lot of speakers costing much, much more. Definitely worth a listen!
I had the original Revel Salons for a long time. I sold them and I will get the Thiel CS3.7 in a little while. I think The Thiel is an incredible sounding speaker. I may not go down as low as the Revel Salon but i think it sounds better overall. I would also consider it an improvement over the Revel Studio.
I would go custom. Why just buy off the shelf in loudspeakers never getting a good match to your room system listening tastes and budget. See many do this over and over again. Lots of cheap parts but a good audiophile aproved name. Thats what most are buying at 20k. I would rather have the good stuff at 20k not the highly profitable to sell 20k loudspeaker where bean counters have had as much say in the design as the loudspeaker designer did.
i heard both the V3 and the Sasha in the past week---the V3 is clearly the more musical speaker and does some uncanny imaging and soundstaging (guitars and vocals perhaps the most lifelike i've heard). i was very impressed with both, but came away much preferring the V3.
I did really like the Maxx3s, but that is an M5 competitor, not V3.