Should I try to improve speakers at $2000.00 range

SPEAKERS...Celestion SL700SE...old but Like new
AMPS...Quicksilver 90 watt silver monos
PREAMP...Quicksilver LS model
DAC...Rega...Theta Miles as transport
CABLES... Kimber 8tc/8tc bi-wire (speakers), Kimber kcag and silverstreak (interconnect), Kimber 75 coaxial (Miles to DAC)
Unless you know what you feel you are missing, and want. The quest is not likely the be productive.
I enjoy the Celestion's (purchased 20 years ago) and satisfied. Not being that savvy on these matters, I can't help wondering if technology has passed them by. I have a small listening room (12x15)... thinking of trying something like Spendor SA1 Mini or SCM11 or should I bother or spend more.
You have a really nice system!

For $2k on the used market you can find a better speaker than the Celestion, but that doesn't mean you will like how those speakers sound any better than what you already got. My suggestion is you should upgrade the Celestion's crossovers. Replace the old parts with premium ones. It's a cheap upgrade with the potential for a big sonic payoff.
For $2k on the used market you can find a better speaker than the Celestion, but that doesn't mean you will like how those speakers sound any better than what you already got.


I agree with this as I have been through it. Kept trying speakers with better pedigrees, looked better on paper and had stellar reviews. But they never made me smile like the speakers I was attempting to replace.
If you go searching my advice is to keep the Celestions as a reference.
if it ain't broke don't fix it...leave well enough alone and pay attention to improving your listening space
{room acoustics}..tell us about the room is it treated?
The SL-700s are still hard to beat. The crossover components can be updated but the fact remains that the aerolam enclosure is still state of the art and the drivers are very high quality.
A Silverline SR 17.5 would better or equal the SL-700 in every aspect.
Well I would say by all means. Just a quick look at used speakers and I see a pair of B&W 805's a pair of Reference 3A mm deCapo's and a pair of Quad 57's.

You only live once....
I knew the Celestion 6's as great speakers, but did not and don't know the 700's. I own the Spendor SA1's and they are superb little speakers, sounding much bigger than their size would indicate.I formerly has the S3/5 and the "R" version. The SA1's are a major leap forward.Very sophisticated little devils. You should give them a listen.

We sold the Celestions back in the day nice sold speakers
With your Quicksilver electronics the latest 2 K plus Vandersteen 2CE Sigs now features the Vandy Fives Mid range and Tweeter will offer a much better transition and play light years above what you have now.

Cheers Johnnyr
if the celestions were made today, they would cost much more than 2k. they are keepers.
((04-03-09: Jaybo
still putting drivers in haven't missed much
Jaybo (Threads | Answers | This Thread)))

Jaybo maybe you need to get out more and hear this stuff
his Quicksilver system would optimize with the Vandies
no contest
Best JohnnyR
This thread demonstrates one of my pet peeves. I should say at the outset, that I am not singling out Johnnyr or Dayglow. But, I have to ask Dayglow has he ever owned a pair of Sl-700s? Has Johnnyr heard a pair of Sl-700s since "back in the day"? I own a pair of SL-700s, as well as other speakers. You may agree or disagree about my assessment. I don't know whether they are better or not as good as the Silver 17.5, because I never heard the latter. Relying on aural memory from 20 years ago, probably with different source components or amplification, or based upon what you may have read about other speakers is largely meaningless. It seems obvious that answers to these types of threads many times are responses based upon what that individual currently owns and rarely based upon actual comparisons. Rant button off.
I can understand your passion for the 700s with the right
system they can sound A! superb.
I sold Celestion loudspeakers for over ten years SL 6 SL 12 SL 600 SL 700 and know what they are capable of.

With what Zoot45 owns now with his existing Quicksilver Rega electronics which I am acutely experienced
in this scenario even you would agree the latest Vandies together would serve his Systems Performance and music best.
Cheers JohnnR

If you like the speakers you have, that's a very difficult question; especially when there are so many different flavors of speakers, and you can't possibly know which flavor you like best without "auditioning".
I think that most listeners who have never heard the Celestions would probably prefer one of many newer/used $2000 speakers; however, having lived with and enjoyed them for so long, that might not be true for you. I have never been happy with the Vandersteen 2 or 3 series speakers.
Nostalgia is good for emotions but horrid for building the best audio system one can.

If I had $2K for speakers and the desire to upgrade those old Celestions would be dumped so fast you'd hear them screaming on the way out the door. :)
At POLK, the price of poker just went up!!! You get nothing for 2000. (floorstanding that IS)
Disagree with Doug.
Most speakers made today cost twice as much as 10...20 years ago so @2k doesn't seem to be argumentative enough to replace current speakers at all.
It's only $3400 after Celestion speakers are sold so the question still remains weather it's possible to find an upgrade(used might make much more sense) spending $3400 to the current Celestion?
...Had been long time in desire to listen to Nola Contender with powerful tube amp such as QuickSilver M90.
The new price is exactly $3400 I've mentioned in the previous post.
Another way is to wait to double your upgrade budget and shoot for Nola Viper II.
Nice system.

I guess if I were you, I would buy some used Merlin TSMs, and see what I thought. I'd then sell either the TSMs or 700s. If you liked the TSMs better, you could probably upgrade them later as well.
If you like why change? How do you know you would enjoy a change? And since already happy why risk it?
Improve is hard to say but you can certainly go for a lot of different sounds for $2000. If you are asking, chances are you will consider at least some to be improvements as long as you match to amp and room well. the devil is all in the details.....
I tried a number of speakers, at a lower price point than yours, but ended up with a pair of Snell K/IIs. Liked them so much, I grabbed a pair of J/IIs off Ebay and couldn't be happier. Older isn't necessarily better, but sometimes old can be very, very good.
Make that $3k instead of $2k and you will have probably one hundred good speakers to choose from that will better what you have now. Used, of course. I would never save much on speakers upgrades; $2k or $3k should not really be a point. Save on something else like lunch and drinks.
You are right on. I can hear the shrill of those aluminum tweeters while I am typing this.....Ouch!

And... I mention the Quad ESL 57's and no one even gives them a thumbs up....
If I wasn't a dealer I would surely have a pair.
Johnny Audioconnection, Wow!, don't you think a disclaimer is in order?
Nostalgia kills great audio aspirations. Sometimes I get stupid and go for a nostalgia purchase; bad move in terms of sound. About two years ago I saw some Mission speakers nearby - had to get them. I ended up selling them about three months later since they didn't sound good. I've had a lot of vintage/nostalgia gear and without fail it all goes away since it never measures up. Working with older gear intentionally to develop one's best system makes it virtually impossible to accomplish the task.

Budgetary constraints are an absolutely valid consideration, but aside from that variable I don't believe I would ever seek older gear (i.e. past 3-4 years) to build my best rigs. You let yourself get off the pace of innovation and things fall apart sonically fairly quickly.
I'll take a different approach - and largely steer clear of the value debate (new products vs old products/technology advances vs. high end price inflation) - and point out that you can probably add an octave of bass extension to your system (even in a smallish room like yours) for $2k. I think I remember the SL 700s pretty well - they were very good speakers and, though they had better extension than the 600s, they still came up short in the bottom end.

Johnny's Vandy recommendation would definitely get you better low end extension, but so would carefully chosen subwoofers (with a controller).

Personally, I suspect that $2k, carefully spent either way, would pay off for you. I know it would for me.

BTW, in addition to the Vandys, there are many other $2k replacement speakers that would also get you more bandwidth than the SL 700s. Many small $2k floorstanders (I own the very fine omnidirectional Ohm 100s, which are one example) are available to do that trick.

I can only add a couple of comments. You really need to figure out yourself, what you want different in a speaker. Certainly things have changed, that doesn't mean you have to. If you can say, I really want more detail or I really want a better sound stage or midrandge is too recessed or too forward, top end isn't smooth, you can then get firm recommendations. Otherwise "can you get better speakers today for $2000?" the answer is clearly yes, but will they make the difference of what you are after? Only you can answer that. I don't know where you live, but my guess is that some audiophiles out there would let you visit and make comparisons with your Celestions. If you don't know what you want differently, you need to listen for yourself and decide what you would like to hear differently. Everyone here could then chime in with clear examples of how different speakers sound differently from your SL700SE
Marty, the potential for greater frequency extension was among the first thoughts to enter my mind when I saw that the Celestion speaker in question was a smallish bookshelf. It's not only a matter of build quality or house sound; it's a matter of absolute sonic potential - and $2K can buy you a lot of sonic potential, especially if one buys previously owned speakers!

I am absolutely not attempting to belittle or marginalize those who have a limited budget for audio! My principle holds true whether considering a low cost or high cost system. Technology changes and assures that better sound is available at all price points as time goes on. i.e. I would much rather have my $300 Denon receiver in my living room system than a 20 year old receiver for $200! I had a vintage Sansui receiver; no way would I prefer it over the Denon. The Sansui was sloppier sounding with poorer transients. You don't have to spend inordinate amounts to take advantage of the more recent developments in technology. :)
2000$ is a VERY busy place in the world of speakers. Given the age of the celestions and the advances in materials, modeling and manufacturing, I'd see NO reason the amount of $$ mentioned in the post should not easily better the Celestions.
The rest of the system is somewhat better than the speakers, so I'd go for a listen. Couldn't hurt, now could it?
The best advice is to go out and hear as many speakers as you can. Hear stuff above and below your budget, so you can determine what the relative value of things are. If you hear something that really appeals to you, see if you can bring it home for an audition. If you can't bring it home, see if the dealer will let you bring in your speakers to compare. If they won't let you do either, find them here and compare at home. If you pay the right price, you can sell them for little to no loss if they don't measure up to what you've got.

That's all a bit of work, but consider it a labor of love. If you don't hear anything that makes you want to change the speakers, you'll be that much happier listening to music with what you've got. It's a win-win IMO.

We can all recommend stuff for days. We can recommend what we own and/or would buy in your situation. At the end of the day, it's just food for thought, nothing more, nothing less. Nothing beats hearing this stuff for yourself. I own Audio Physic Yara Evolution bookshelves. To me, they're absolutely perfect in my system for my budget and quite a bit more. I came to that conclusion by listening to a ton of stuff. Doesn't mean you or anyone else would agree after hearing them.

I haven't heard Celestions, but everything I've heard about them has been very positive. Trying to improve them may be futile or fruitful. Either way, you'll have an answer that's certain to you.