Add the Gershman Acoustics Avant garde RX 20 and the VMPS RM 1 to your checkout list - I own the RX20's -- great - I also own the RM 40 but the RM 1 is an exceptional value and easy to handle and place - a friend has a pair.
Have you considered the Revel M-20's? Read the review in the Feb./Mar. Absoulute Sound. I heard them recently -- very impressive.
Totem model 1.The're tiny,they play every kind of music well,and can really pound out the bass if you like.
I'm having very good luck in a small 12x12x9 room using the Spendor S3/5. I was previously using the excellent Martin Logan Aerius i but wanted to find a small speaker that didn't make me feel like I was taking a step backwards in sound quality. The Spendors are doing great on 26" Sanus ultima stands. I'm driving them with a 300b (Cary 300sei) 11 watt integrated amp. Since the Spendors are sealed boxes, the low frequencies fall off at a gentle rate and extend flat to 40 hz with room reinforcement. I have never been able to achive this when auditioning bass reflex ported high quality monitors. The S3/5 are easy to drive and have steadily improved over the first month of ownership. You can get away with small watts if 1. you have a small room, and 2. you do not listen at high sbl levels (80db is loud in my room). Your 80 watt per channel amp should prove terrific.
More info would be helpful.
What's your source?
What are your musical tastes?
Will this be a music-only setup?
What is your budget? There's a pretty big price difference between the Khites and the S3/5s
Mirage MRM-1 Reference Monitors. Great in small listening rooms. For moving convenience, they come in their own little wooden crates.
I second jg41's recommendation for the Totem Arro's, and compared to the other speakers in your list, you could save significant dough. They're somewhat on the lean side of reality, but I would think that they'd be a perfect match for your Mistral. I'm using a Linn Classik and the Linn is a tad thin and dry in the midrange, so I'm looking for some speaker cables to fatten things up a bit (I'm using Linn cables right now).
What the Arro's do spectacularly well is in the area of detail, imaging and soundstaging. It's the first time I've experienced the soundstage extending dramatically to the left and right of the speakers, and the depth is great.
No, they don't come up to the absolute standard of my Pro Ac Response 3.5's, but they come closer in sound quality than any speaker one seventh the price has a right to.
For what it's worth, they're also highly recommended by Harry Pearson.
My current source is the top of the line Onkyo DVD (single disc, I don't remember the model #, and I'm at work now), but I will be up-grading soon to either a Niam CDX or a ECM I MK II for digital. For analog I have a Thorens TD-520 nicely set-up with arm & MC cartridge, with a seperate Rega FONO stage.
My music tastes change with my mood. Best guess is 35% Blues Guitar (Clapton, SR Vaughn, Bloomfield, Buchanan), 40% Classical (piano, string quartet), and 25% "Classic" Rock (Pink Floyd, Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, Janis Joplin, etc.)
Yes, this will be for music only. The Onkyo, Carver Cinema Grand, Carver subs, and Def Techs will be relagated to TV and HT use. By the way, the Def Techs (BP-30 front, BP-10 rear and a matched BP center) are IMHO excellent for HT, but I find them a little bright for music and tough to set-up in a small room.
My budget? Good question. I find that if I make sacrifices (even small ones) to save a little money, I end up spending more. Very soon I become dissatisfied and buy what I should have bought, the first time around. Fortunatly, I am gainfully employed and do not have any other significant bills, so I am able to indulge one hobby at a time. This time it is quality audio. Next time maybe it will be quality women, who knows?
Try the lothx amaze.A single driver unit that weighs no more than 20lbs.No crossover and would mate well with the mistral as they are 96db sensitive.Don't require a heavy stand.
Smooth,airy and quick.
visit www.lothx.com for more info.
APV: What is the price (US) of the Amaze?
Overall, if you know your likely to be in smallish rooms in general, that are pretty rectangular and/or sealed off acoustically from the likes of hallway's, oppenings, other room connnections, etc, you should probably consider a sealed box speaker (as opposed to base reflex ported) with less bass extension! The smaller room is going to give you a bit of bass boost overall anyway, as opposed to likely possitioning in a larger room. Plus, what I've noticed from installing systems in small rooms over the years, is that it's much harder to get the speakers that play lower(usually ported) to have reasonably flat frequency response from any practical seating/speaker placement possition! The bass modes are just too steep and packed up in those rooms to get natural (non boomy/peaky/dippy) sound in small rooms usually(occasional exceptions from room to room of course).
Overall, you'll still have to play around with placement of things, and use careful consideration, if you want anything resembling good sound(especially in small rooms..especially).
May I consider something like, yes, the Spenders, or even better, the Merlin TSM-M's!!! AT around $2500 retail, they're impossible to beat! They're a sealed enclosure, and play down to about 50Hz +/-3 annechoically. In a small room, they do about 40hz realistically!(plenty low trust me) And you can augment with sub if you ever needed to.
They truely are world class, approaching (if not there) Solid Class A performance, and are an easy 87db to drive.(I think 8 ohms).
If you noticed, a lot of the high end rooms at CES show were using Merlins(TSM'm's or VSM'M's for their demo's!!!...and it's been this way for several years now!)
Anyway, it's a thought.
I used to use some very very very good Sonus Faber Electa Amator's and Minima Amator's($5k and $3k respectively), and these Merlins are better!!...and much better for small room acoustics in general, that's for darn sure.
Also, the Merlins can do tube gear or Solid state...My Electa's and Minima's only did SS well.
A great speaker espescially at low level.I am using a vbt alpha d sub to fill in the bottom end.I keep switching between the amaze and my offrandes.
The bs1 is $599.
Dave...Cheap women'll getcha' every time! Save your pennies for the right one. Just make sure there's full disclosure about the nature of your disease (audiophilia-expensivitis) before making any significant commitments.
I've not heard the Khites or the Tylers, but they do each have a very good reputation. The Tylers may be difficult to place, however, in a small room. I believe that they're rear-ported which requires them to be pretty far away from the front wall and corners.
The Spendors are infinitely musical, as are the Sonus Fabers. The Spendors have the most glorious midrange you're likely to hear from a speaker in this price-range. But, if you're willing to spend the extra money, you can't go wrong with the SF Electa Amator. You can find them used here on the 'goN for around $2K. There's something about the whole line of Sonus Faber speakers that's just so engaging. Any of their montiors are relatively easy to place as well.
APV: Thanks for the info. I am using the Twins right now but will eventually want something more efficient for the living room.
Sonus Fabers small speakers are amazing. The Concertos sound very fine, but if you can afford them the Guaneri Homage is unreal for a small speaker.
Spendors, Spendors, or....Spendors. Really. There are three Spendors that would fill the bill perfectly. The obvious S35's, the SP3/1p's, and of course a used pair of LS35a's. All of these will simply sound GREAT with any of those speakers (I've owned em all). The best midrange is the LS35a's, the closest to a full range is the SP3/1p's, and the little S35's are just beautiful. You honestly can NOT go wrong with any of these gems. Good luck!
PS. I chose the 3/1p's.....for now....
Much thanks to everyone! You have all given me suggestions and helped me to create a shortlist. I am going to audition the Talon Khites and the Merlin TSM-M's in about a week. If you'd like a report from a true newbe, I will be more than happy to post something.
Thinking about the report, what should a newbe take notes on, to make the report valuable to you all?
Best regards and many thanks, Dave.