Eddy1, I have something for you there is no way you're going to beat (price and quality aka value wise). You can contact me off board at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested. I have JBL S412P speakers. I have one used and one BRAND NEW (as in unopened manufacturers carton) pair. Used pair, $400. New pair $700. Both pairs $1000. FYI the used pair is functionally and cosmetically perfect, the new pair is exactly perfect. - Hal
Well, the most frequently match with A.R. gear is probably Vandersteen. Used the 3A or 4 both would fit your price range.
The Nola Contender used is worthy of consideration, and I believe they were voiced using Audio Research gear which is a favorite of the Nola team.
Two lesser known but good value options are Silverline Sonatas, which strangely have 3 pair on Agon now, and the Acoustic Zen Adagio.
Of course, listening if possible is always recommended, but geography often makes it tough to do. At least with long-standing and well regarded brands like Vandersteen and Nola you won't be risking a lot if you decide that it's not what makes you happy. Cheers,
Eddy, you should take a listen to Omega speakers. I just committed to Omega Super Alnico Monitors at $1995 (also available as floor standers at I think about $2900). These are fantastic for human voice and especially female vocals - Rebecca Pidgeon singing Spanish Harlem is just wonderful! Google Omega Speakers and take a look at the Super Alnico Monitor. Many owners of Omegas run tubes (especially small watt SETs as the speakers have 93 db efficiency). I can't believe the quality of the sound for what they cost, simply amazing.
You should be able to get a pair of Legacy Signature III's in mint condition for under $2000. per pair. They are a wonderful speaker that LOVES tubes. At 93db they are easy to drive too. The ribbon tweeter is amazing.
Here's some reviews:
Might I suggest a pair of Magneplanar .7s ($1.4K) or 1.7s ($2K) augmented by a Magneplanar DWM bass panel ($795) or a small fast powered sub to fill out the bottom and fully energize the room?
I listen to a lot of big band, classical orchestra, and vocal ensemble and my Mag 1.7s are really great on all of them. There is no resonant "hump" around 150-300 Hz, and the panels are phase coherent and really fast for sorting out larger ensembles.
The 1.7s won out in our auditions against several other speakers when my wife could pick out the 8-part vocal harmonies in a Mendelssohn oratorio. I throw everything at it--Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Count Basie, Roger Wagner Chorale, Louie Bellson, Sinatra with Basie, Nelson Riddle, or Billy May behind him, Roger Wagner Chorale, Norman Luboff Choir, Manhattan Transfer. You name it, these Maggies bring it.
JL Audio now has an entry-level line, the Dominion series. Their subs are fast enough to blend well with panel speakers. Their 8" d108 powered sub (http://www.jlaudio.com/d108-ash-home-audio-dominion-powered-subwoofers-96281) has an MSRP of $799.99. It also has a variable phase control (0-280deg) which I find essential for getting a seamless blend from a dynamic powered sub.
Maggies are an easy load for an 80-100wpc tube amp if it has 4-ohm taps.
For a dynamic speaker with speed, clarity, and good bass reach, the Monitor Audio Silver Series 10 Floorstander at $2K/pair (http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MRSS10) should also give you everything you're looking for in your price range.
Coming in at a buck under your upper limit is the Eminent Technology LFT-8b. Similar to the Maggie 1.7 and .7 in being a magnetic-planar dipole, but with a push-pull design and structure (magnets on both sides of the Mylar diaphragm, resulting in greater linearity and less distortion), and an 8" cone woofer for frequencies 180Hz and lower. It also presents a more tube-friendly 8ohm load to your power amp than does the current hungry 4ohm Maggies.
You asked about the Sonus Faber Venere 2.5s. I auditioned them a couple of times and was tempted to get them. They have a very seductive sound that works on a wide range of material. They brought me into a zen-like state playing solo lute and a Chet Baker jazz album. They have that SF "magic."
I ultimately went for the Maggie 1.7s, but the Veneres brought a strong emotional connection to the music, and really, that's what it's all about. I personally found the upper bass (around 70-100 Hz) to be a bit too voluptuous on some material.
The Stereophile review is pretty favorable (http://www.stereophile.com/content/sonus-faber-venere-25-loudspeaker#cyPiXZtsy3iyTvJp.97) but both the reviewer and the measurements noticed this hump (http://www.stereophile.com/content/sonus-faber-venere-25-loudspeaker-measurements#zf0Zb65PaheJ0O5Q.9...). Atkinson figures the two woofers' overlap causes this.
Last week I listened to the newer Sonus Fabers from the Venere's to the Olympias.I used to love that line, but when I compared them to the Vandersteens I felt that the Vandy's were much clearer and more accurate. The sound stage was wider and deeper to my ear. The SF were very romantic, but I was able to connect better with the Vandy 2's. If you can get a pair or 3 sigs, then go for it as I'm sure you'll be very happy. good luck.
It was my mistake I told my wife that I really want Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 before I posted the question here and did not talk to her regarding speaker after that. So I was looking to get a used Vandersteens 3 and told my wife about it and she told me that my brand new Verene 2.5 is at her work and it will be my Christmas present. I don't know what to tell her. I really want used Vandersteens 3 now. So I guess I will stuck with it for awhile and sure will try to get it of it soon and then will get Vandersteens for sure. Very sad for Christmas present this year that I DON'T want it...what can I do... Just have to pretend that I like it. :(
By the way, Thank you so much for all inputs here. Specially Big Thank you to Spence (sbank) for all the help and educated me. Merry Christmas everyone.
I do not think the speakers your wife bought you is anything to be sad about. I am sure you will like them and that they will sound great. Most audiophiles/music lovers should be so lucky. You can always grab a pair of Vandersteen 3A sig 1 or 2 here for the cheap. I saw a pair under a couple of grand a few weeks ago.
My advice is the live with the speakers for a while, at least 6 months to get a feel as to their true sound and then go from there. However, if you listen to the speakers with the attitude you are heartbroken about not getting the Vandersteens, then you will not like them. Keep an open mind.
Eddy, just because someone else loves a speaker doesn't mean you will. The Sonus Fabre may be the best for you in your system. Ctsooner would be the first to agree. Listen to the speakers you have and learn their strengths and weakness before thinking of buying the Vandy's.
Yes, your wife is awesome! Don't let your lust for another speaker steal your enjoyment of the one you have.
Now if I could just follow my own advice.
I sure wouldn’t get depressed about SF Venere 2.5s. They are *really* good. Although my previous post was a bit cautionary, the 2.5s are so musically communicative I felt like I had some transcendental experiences when I was auditioning them even when the source was CD and the power was an A/V receiver. One was a CD of solo Vihuela music. Vihuela sounds like a lute but is shaped like a guitar. Those speakers totally drew me into the moment and mesmerized me. In fact, the sales person and I sat in the sweet spot transfixed. Ditto when I put on some Chet Baker singing and playing his seductive, smokey trumpet. The sorted out solo, small ensemble, vocals, and orchestras equally well.
The primary factor in why I didn’t buy them is because I had a rigid budget and couldn’t quite swing the Veneres. After having omnidirectional speakers for 5 years, I was surprised at how well this front-baffle design could totally energize a room, scaling soundstages up and down depending on the material, while maintaining realistic and specific imaging.
I know it’s subjective and setup and electronics make a big difference, but I’ve never heard Vandersteens move me like those Veneres, and a mass market A/V receiver was hardly an ideal setup either.
Embrace the experience. They’re voluptuous, subtle, dynamic, involving, and--as a bonus--beautiful to look at as well.
And don’t judge them right out of the box. From Fremer’s review in Sound & Vision:
Big Sound (After Long Break-In)!
Read the whole review at http://www.soundandvision.com/content/sonus-faber-venere-25-speaker-system#WIZCbJhoxiiLjOay.99
TAS review: http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/sonus-faber-venere-model-25-loudspeaker/
S’phile review: http://www.stereophile.com/content/sonus-faber-venere-25-loudspeaker#2mZE3OW1TBMImumb.97
Goodsound (SoundStage Access): http://www.goodsound.com/index.php/equipment-reviews/453-sonus-faber-venere-2-5-loudspeakers
Canada Hi-Fi: http://canadahifi.com/sonus-faber-venere-2-5-speakers/
ctsooner, I am just okay with it since my mind was set as this is not a really good speaker as I should do Vandersteens. As Stereo5 wrote "However, if you listen to the speakers with the attitude you are heartbroken about not getting the Vandersteens, then you will not like them. Keep an open mind." It is so TRUE.
The brightness of my Venere 2.5 is less and seem to get better some how.
I just sold my amp so I can not listen to the music until I can get an amp or integrated amp. I am still waiting for some used one to show up here.
Eddy1 -- "I am just okay with it since my mind was set as this is not a really good speaker as I should"
As Stereo5 wrote "However, if you listen to the speakers with the attitude you are heartbroken about not getting the Vandersteens, then you will not like them. Keep an open mind."
I heard some broken-in Venere 2.5’s about a month ago and was shocked at the sound quality for the money. I had Dyn C1’s and C1 sig’s for a total of 5 years followed by a year of Raidho D1’s and Raidho D2’s for almost a year. Those 2.5’s are really nice. A little laid back but that is what I prefer and as you can see from my previous and present speakers. I'm not saying the 2.5's are better than what I had/have but for the bucks spent they have some excellent qualities that I can compare to what I had.
Last as far as an amp/integrated I would look for one that has a ’warmer’ sound. IMO don’t buy an amp/integrated just for power. Get it for the sound quality. You would be surprised how good something like a Naim Supernait2 SS integrated (at 80W) sounds.
So give the 2.5’s a good 6 months before making any decision.
eddy, you will get Vandy's when the time is right I'm sure. enjoy what you have. Honestly, you can't go wrong getting an NAD integrated. Any of their BEE designated integrated amps are inexpensive and sound very very good. They aren't hot on top and are a very good match for the Vandersteens if you ever get them as well as YOUR speakers which is THE most important thing. If you have the extra money the NAD separates are a great value also.
Build the Linkwith LX521 and make EVERYONE you know green with envy. Really. The base kit with drivers and miniDSP active crossover is $1933.
They also sell a flat-pack of pre-cut cabinet parts for about $500 more.
Nobody hears your LX521 and doesn't come away without envy.
Russ, I just made a post about your best ever speakers on another thread you posted on. I've heard a lot of build your own speakers and I personally have built a few in the past. I've also heard tons of speakers that are offered already built and honestly, most kits aren't in the same league. We all hear differently and like different speakers. For you, it's obvious that you think your madisound speakers are the best you can buy (as you said on that other thread), but I bet if you stack them up vs Vandy's, Magico's, Focals, Dynaudio's and the list goes on, that most of us will chose other speakers. Most of the kits I've seen, built or heard have smearing. I'm sure you love your speakers and that's an awesome thing. I'm not taking anything away from that.