Speaker advice for listening to Blues music


Hi, new to the forum, and hoping I can get some help finding the right speakers... I'm a Blues guitar player and have a dedicated music room for my guitars/amps. I usually spend time playing my guitars and recently decided to setup a decent system for listening to my Blues music. I first started with a Marantz integrated (PM8005) and some Kef R300, source is a Marantz ND8006 and I mostly play FLAC files from a NAS, but also started streaming from Spotify and now trying Tidal. This setup was great at first, very revealing, but found the R300 were not the right speakers for the kind of music I listen to, but they were great for some Jazz and did well with good recordings, which most of my Blues recordings weren't, specially live albums. I also found them to be a little boomy in that small room (12' X 12'), so I moved them to the living room instead and added a matching center, they're perfect there.

Next came the LS50, read so much about them I had to get a pair to try. Wow! I still can't believe what these small speakers can do, the details I hear, soundstage, imaging, it's all there. But, just like the R300, since they're so revealing they're horrible with my favorite Blues recordings. It's great to listen to excellent recordings and enjoy the music these speakers are making but I want to enjoy MY music, the Blues greats I've been listening to for over 30 years. If it sounds great in the car then I should be able to find the right gear to duplicate at home, right? On some good Blues recordings it sounds excellent, but most of my favorites aren't good recordings.

Since I only play my guitars through old Fender amps I figured I should replace the Marantz integrated with a tube amp, so next came the PrimaLuna integrated. I wanted to get a "warmer" sound and hope it'll fix the issues I was having with most crappy recordings... I want to hear BB's beautiful guitar tone and crank it up, without hurting my ears. Both Kefs were too fatiguing to listen to. And on most live recordings guitars sound way too thin and bright, not what I'm used to hearing. A good example is Albert King's Wednesday Night in San Francisco, that Flying V can be painful to listen to after a couple of minutes! Not so in the car or even just using headphones and my laptop. I understand that it's because the system is more revealing, but is it possible to have both, revealing and musical so that one can enjoy the music they love? The PrimaLuna did help and it's staying, I like what I'm hearing so far, and I get to play with tubes, something I enjoy doing already :)

Right now I'm breaking in some Wharfedale Denton 80th, I wanted to try something with a soft dome tweeter, something less fatiguing than the LS50. I'm at 70+ hours so far and they're sounding much better, not as fatiguing, but something is missing... I prefer the LS50's soundstage and details, but they're both not that great for electric guitar. The Dentons are more forgiving but I don't find them musical and they don't disappear like the LS50s do.

So what are my choices? Do I stick with bookshelf, try some floor standing? What about single driver speakers (Omega, Zu...)? Are those the answer to what I'm looking for? I need something more forgiving, musical, efficient so I can crank it up when I feel like playing along some times... I want the guitar to sound full and not thin and bright. It's a small room and not a lot of space due to my guitar gear. My budget is also limited, would like to keep it under $2k, I already have a hobby and don't want this to get out of control :)

Forgot to mention, I also have a Rel sub, so not too worried about the low end. Sorry for the long post and thanks for any help!
cedarblues
EgglestonWorks Rosa made in Memphis, TN
I've been playing blues guitar and other styles professionally for over 50 years, and I'm an audio geek as well as an active live concert sound technician/mixer. As no system should be "music specific" and especially shouldn't sound like an old tube guitar amp, I'm aware of everyone having tonal preferences with hifi stuff just like the way every guitar player sets up their amps and stomp boxes differently. I own Klipsch Heresy IIIs and drive them with a small single ended tube amp and tube preamp. Heresy IIIs are extremely accurate relative to what you drive them with, and the snappy response relative to efficient speakers is part of the whole thing...you may have heard the Heresy IIIs driven by less than ideal gear, but ya never know (I use a couple of carefully applied REL subs with the Heresy IIIs). My system shines with music from Sonny Landreth to classical to Monk and everything in between, and so should yours.
cedarblues wrote:

I've seen Johnny live many times... he was one of the greats!

In addition to all the great blues Johnny W. performed and recorded, his other great gift to the Blues community was producing Muddy Waters on three albums after Muddy left Chess Records. All three albums won Grammys, so you could say it really got the word out.

Johnny sometimes recorded Muddy live in clubs, which gave the rest of us a taste of the energy Muddy brought to live performances.

The Harbeth PSRer is nice but a little anemic for blues. For me the best speaker that I have ever heard for blues under $5000 in a moderate sized room was the Fritz Carbon 7. So much so I bought a kit off him to build my own diy speaker for a custom room. Fritz usually doesn’t do this either. The carbon 7 gives a huge sound stage that is emersive, detailed, and warm. I think it’s down side is that it is not the fastest bass.... but man everything sounds good on them, especially blues. The sound is more dreamlike then lifelike. 

Give gim him a call he is a cool guy
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