You might look at the Axiom speakers that have been getting some nice reviews and seem to offer exceptional value. See reviews on Soundstage! for more info. If you're willing to stretch a bit for more refinement you might consider the Silverline Panatella IIs which will add considerable bass output capabilities vs. the Triangles. I like the Zephyrs too but would probably try to spring for the Antals if possible. Best of luck.
Well this may not be what you're looking for, but in the long run might get you closer than me just telling you what I like.
First off, you will have to make compromises. What we need to know is which virtues cannot be compromised, and which ones can be.
Below is a list of speaker qualities in no particular order. Tell us which ones really matter to you (and perhaps put those in order), and of course add anything you'd like to your list.
1. Timbre (the natural sound of voices and instruments).
2. Clarity & nuance (you can hear all the details).
3. Dynamic contrast (liveliness).
4. Superb soundstaging for a single listener.
5. Good soundstaging over a wide listening area.
6. Natural-sounding bass.
7. Extreme deep bass extension.
8. Unobtrusive size and visual appeal.
9. Works well in less-than-optimum room or location.
10. Sounds great at low volumes.
11. Sounds great at medium volumes.
12. Sounds great at high volumes.
13. Forgiving of less-than-ideal recordings and sources.
14. Ruthlessly accurate and revealing.
15. Freedom from little colorations that remind you you're listening to boxes, not live music.
16. Non-fatiguing over long listening sessions.
Do you like a more forward or a more laid-back presentation? Do you tend to like your sound a bit warm, a bit bright, or dead neutral? (It is no sin to prefer something other than dead neutral). Which is more important to you - that lush feeling of rich ambience and spaciousness you get in a concert hall, or being able to pick out the precise location of each individual instrument?
What megabuck speakers that you can't afford do you really love, and what was it they did that captured your heart?
Just answer whichever questions matter to you. And of course add any comments you'd like to about things you especially want (or don't want) your speakers to do - like if they have to be toddler safe, for example.
Selecting speakers is probably the most fun part of assembling or upgrading a system, and what I'm hoping is that we can make it even more fun for you by offering suggestions that address your personal priorities.
Enjoy the Quest!
Audiokinesis, that was one of the most enlightening comments about speakers that I have evere read! Also to keep in mind: the efficiency of the speakers. Some speakers require oodles of power to make them sound right (the Maggie 1.6's come to mind). If your running tube gear, a general rule of thumb is the higher the impedence of the speaker, the better. Also, try to get an in home audition of the speakers. The sound in a dealer's show room can vary greatly from the sound of the speakers in your home. Happy tunes!
Check out the Monsoon 1600 for sale in Audiogon for 1100 - they retail for 1899 - Go the extra and you will not be sorry. Check out their website.
You can pick up used meadowlark kestrel hot rods in your price range. Hard to beat. Also have seen used Alon II's in that bracket great speaker with great bass.
Hello, i am looking for the recommendation also! My priorities are: 3, 1, 2..6, 8, 10, 4. Loved Watt/Puppies 6 (listened them short time) however prefer laid back speakers. Listen mostly classical,(from guitar to large orchestra) and acoustic instruments in general, aaand sometimes reaggae! Own 50 wpc tube amp in rectangular room 10'x 18'. Thanks!
You might want to check out a used pair of Vandersteen 2ce signatures if you have a medium sized room (12'x15') or larger. I have them paired with an Odyssey stratos and Audible Illusions M3A, it's a pretty incredible combination. Very musical. You should be able to pick up a used pair in excellent condition for $900-$1100. You won't be sorry.
Thank you all for the comments. I just came back from Pro Musica in Chicago. Let me tell you, I just listened to the Medowlark Hot Rods. Man those are nice. Dealer wanted $1600.00. Could'nt swing a deal. But i did get some good ideas from this forum, about some different speakers instead of the usual B&W's & dynaudio's. No offense too those who have these, they are good speakers. But something different was refreshing. My priorities are 1-3-5-6-8-11-13-16- and not in that order. Listenting to emmylou harris. beatles, mark knopler and julie & buddy miller.
You might be able to find some used Thiels in your price range. An old CS2 (or maybe even a 2.2 with some small cosmetic damage - this model normally sells closer to $1300 used) or a CS1.5. These are GREAT sounding very flexible speakers that don't require devatating amounts of power.
I would agree with Rjones about the Vandersteen 2CE Signature loudspeakers. I have seen them on Audiogon for around $1000 with stands. I have found the Vandersteens to be a simple loudspeaker to drive. They sound better with bettter equipment, but they sound fine with lower priced equipment as well. They are full range speakers with great bass. You cannot go wrong with the Vandersteen 2CE Signatures at that price point.
While I have been a long term Vandersteen 2c and 2ce owner, I have found that they sound their best with tube amplifiers. The Vandersteen 1c is a more forgiving and easier speaker to drive and sounds good with solid state. It also available new for under $1k. For about $700, including stands, I just picked up a pair of B&W dm 602s2 for a second system. These were surprisingly good for the money and are very easy to drive. They're not floor standers but sound as good or better than some. This would leave you $300 to put towards some good cables or maybe a better preamp.
Okay Trip - thanks for taking the time to give us your priories, which are: Timbre, dynamic contrast, good soundstaging over a wide area, natural-sounding deep bass, unobtrusive size and visual appeal, sounds great at medium volumes, forgiving of less-than-ideal recordings and sources, and non-fatiguing over long listening sessions.
Now I have much better idea of what you're looking for!
You have already found an excellent speaker line in the Meadowlarks. I would also suggest you look for a used Audio Physic speaker, perhaps a Step or Spark. The Vandersteens mentioned will also work well, but only you can decide if they look good enough.
The Audio Physics will give you the widest sweet spot and are the best looking. The Vandy's are the most forgiving, and the Meadowlarks the most dynamic.
email@example.com, you also took the time to list your priorities (in order), namely: Dynamic contrast, timbre, clarity & nuance, natural-sounding bass, unobtrusive size & visual appeal, works well in less-than-optimum room or location, and superb soundstaging for a single listener. You added that you prefer a laid-back speaker. Thanks for taking the time.
Hmmmm. Generally, it's pretty expensive to combine real good dynamic contrast with a laid-back sound. I'd suggest you take a look at the smaller Soliloquy's, and also the Meadowlarks. My recollection would give the edge in dynamics to the Soliloquy's, and imaging to the Meadowlarks.
To Trip and firstname.lastname@example.org, thanks for participating. And please don't take my suggestions here as being comprehensive! They are based on my limited experience. My personal first choice in this price range would be the Maggie MG-12. I don't sell any of these speakers, but I do like them all.
any jm lab speaker is a great buy. you can pick up used cobalts and electras. for that price range.
For a $1000.00 budget you might want to see if you can find
a used pair of Thiel 3.5s. This is an older model of Thiel
speaker - produced from the mid-80s through 1992.
I had the good fortune to get a beautiful pair that was
on consignment from the original owner back in 1996. The
cabinets are very solid and well made, have a true furniture
quality finish, and will reward you with improved sound
every time you upgrade your electronics and cables.
I have seem several pair posted for sale for about
$1000.00 on this board a number of times. Also, Thiel has
been very helpful answering questions for me and sent me a
set of carpet spikes at no cost.