Speaker Recommendation Needed


I just bought a Peachtree Nova 125se and am now looking for a good speaker match for me. I live in a small town so won't have an opportunity to audition anything. The speakers will go in my living room which is about mid-sized and opens up into the kitchen. I listen mostly to folk, soul and rock. I own a REL T5 sub which I can pair with a bookshelf to augment the bass but I also like the idea of small floorstanders. I usually turn up the treble a few notches but the Peachtree does not have tone controls so I would like to find a bright sounding speaker with a forward midrange as well. Here are some speakers i am considering:

1. Wharfedale Jade 3
2. KEF LS50
3. Dynaudio Excite X14
4. Monitor Audio Silver 6
5. Zu Audio Soul

What do you audio people think?



A314efbe a69d 43dd bfb1 eba4ed342183brimel1974
The Zu would sound best with a full tube rig.

Paradigm Sig or a used paradigm Studio book shelf would be a good choice or Focal Chorus
I'm a big fan of the Monitor Audio silvers, never heard a Zu. Also, the Wharferdale diamond series use remarkably good tweeters, and over at the DIY forums a couple of members have upgraded the tweeter caps and been very happy with the results. No idea if the Jade has the same tweeters.

Measured sensitivity from Stereophile:

Wharfedale Jade 3     - 83.5db
KEF LS50                   - 84.5db
Dynaudio Excite X14 - 83db

All of these inefficient small speakers will have the problem discussed in your previous post. You should either make sure to use them with a high pass connection or remove them from your list.

Actually, the Zu Audio Soul will likely sound a little bright and forward with your amp.

efficiency isn't problem.
any speaker with relatively stable impedance will be fine with tube amp.
moreover, lower efficiency speakers have lower noise floor.
dynaudio speaker may not be a good tube match.

Yes, efficiency is a problem due to how the OP wants to play them occasionally. See his previous post. Trying to play a higher volume in his room size with an inefficient small speaker is not advisable unless it has a high pass signal. Without the high pass, a result will be much higher distortion and possibly damage.

Take a look at Newform Research 

Thanks for all the great responses!

While the Peachtree does have a tube most of the reviews say it makes little discernable difference. Zu does feature there speakers with Peachtree Amps so at least in their opinion it is a good match.

I am surprised that efficiency is an issue since the amp puts out plenty of power. I am not going to be in the market for any new components other than the speakers for a long while. 

Taking everything into consideration what would be the best speaker choice for me with my setup?

"I am surprised that efficiency is an issue since the amp puts out plenty of power."

Having plenty of power is not the problem. Trying to play an inefficient small speaker full range at high volume will result in high distortion in the bass. It's just that the speaker is driven to its maximum output on peak excursions or possibly beyond which could result in damage. Take another look at your previous post.

From what I've read the Peachtree Nova 125se implements a Class D output section and a tubed buffer/gain stage to "soften" harsh source material.  As a result, speaker impedance should not be a concern for this amp.  Given that it is highly portable, I would suggest the best thing to do is to take it on the road, plug some speakers into it and have a listen, whenever, wherever possible.
small speaker can't fill large room no matter how efficient it is.
Every time I've heard the KEF LS50 speakers I thought they were bright sounding.
I really like my ProAc Studio 148 towers (see my system info) at just over $3000 with 91db efficiency.  They can really fill the room and I think the Soundocity SEV9 outriggers are a great match with ProAcs to add more stability on a narrow tower.
What electronics and speakers were you using when you had to turn the treble up?  Without knowing that it's tough to make meaningful recommendations. 

I had some thiel 1.5's paired with a rel t3or5. Purportedly they could sound bright. I did not think so. I ran em with Solid state Odyssey Cyclops with a tubed pre. And that rig was sweet. I loved those speakers. 
with that sub it was perfect. My room not huge though. Coherent room enveloping Cheap speakers getting long in the tooth but they were image champs detailed enough. 
Brimel1974, you shouldn't overlook the Salk Song Tower. A small floor stander with glowing reviews. FWIW, an Absolute Sound Editor's Choice for 6 years running. In your price range and you can customize the finish. 



I also found the LS50's to be a bit overly bright sounding, so maybe that's your ticket.  The only other speakers on the list I have heard are the Monitor Audios and other Zu Audio models.  I was pleasantly surprised by the Monitor Audios, and they were being run off a modest system.  The Zu's that I have heard do what they do very well, but what they do is not for everyone, and it's not for me.  I find the highs on the Zu's to be a bit bright, and peaky, and the midrage to be a congested sounding, if very fast and clean.  What you should be careful about is mistaking an uneven, peaky midrange and treble for an overall forward sound in these ranges.  A smooth tilt up in the power response as you go higher in frequency may be pleasing to you, but I would expect you would find a peaky frequency response to be fatiguing.

The best advice I can give you is to try to audition any speakers you're seriously considering in your own home, with your own gear and your own music.  A good Brick & Mortar dealer will make that possible for you.

I would add the Nola Boxer on the list of audition.  
To answer a previous question the speaker's I am using are a pair of Wharfedale 10.1s paired with a Rel T5 sub. I am using a cheap Denon AV/Receiver to power them. Before and after the sub I turned the treble up to +4.

I just got the Peachtree Nova 125se in the mail this week and have not hooked it up.

I am not even sure I need to fill up a large room. I just want to be able to turn it up occasionally so it plays into the kitchen.

I have space in the living room for either bookshelf speakers and a sub or smallish tower speakers. 
Can anyone describe the sound of the Salk Songtowers in simple terms?
The Salk Songtowers are just to large for my room. Haven't been able to find a review for the Songbirds but I would be interested if anyone can find a review or has heard them first hand.

"I am not even sure I need to fill up a large room. I just want to be able to turn it up occasionally so it plays into the kitchen."

The further you are away from the speakers, the more you must turn it up for a perceived volume. Also, speaker sensitivity determines power necessary for a certain volume. The highest sensitivity speaker in this post is 99db and the lowest is 84db. For the same volume, the 84db speaker will need 30x more power than the 99db speaker. As I previously stated, bass distortion increases when a speaker is driven to its maximum, and this will likely happen when trying to increase volume over a distance with a low sensitivity speaker.

As far as needing to turn up the treble, speaker placement in the room could cause this. Are your current speakers on a stand, table, floor, or in a bookcase? If in a bookcase, pushed back or pulled forward? If not in a bookcase, how close to back and side walls? In a corner?

Hi tls,

My speakers are on a stand on a console on top of some Aperta speaker stands. 


Putting them on the stands did make a big difference.

They are placed as forward as they can be on the console and have plenty of room from the back and side walls.

Do you think I would be happier with some small floorstanders?

As long as it gets me the sound I want I am for it. I actually like the look better. Just going by stereophile recommendations they give some strong recommendations for bookshelves in my price range but not any floorstanders.
You should look at the PMC Twenty.21 if you want some dynamic bookshelves. With the Twenty5 series just coming out you can get some great deals on the Twenty series. I just bought some demo Twenty.23 floorstanders at a great price and they rock with a 100 wpc Audia Flight integrated in my second system.

Another great bookshelf is the NEAT Motive SX-3. They have a big, smooth sound that really belies their size, as do the SX-2 in a very compact floorstander.

Others to consider that I like very much are KEF R series (R300 bookshelves or R500 small floorstanders).

Brimel1974, thanks for the info, and I can't see any problem with your speaker placement. It appears that your preference is a sound that is a little bright and forward sounding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's like the old saying, "not everyone likes chocolate ice cream." Wish I could recommend the magic bullet for you, but all I can do is give you my opinion. Maybe the majority of typical "Stereophile Recommended" speakers are not what you are looking for, I don't know, just thinking out loud. Klipsch is a brand that can be a little bright and forward. Some people love them and others hate them. On that thought, read this review. Ignore that the speaker is not in your price range, just get what it is saying.


Zu Audio is another brand that seems to be love/hate. And again, IMHO of all the speakers listed in this post, the Zu Audio Soul on your list would be my pick for you to try. They do have a very liberal return policy with only a loss of shipping one way if you return. Should you buy others and not like, then you're selling used at a much greater loss.

Something that I definitely recommend is that whatever speaker you choose, make sure the sensitivity specification is at least 88db-90db or above. This will help to avoid the issue talked about in your discussion "Can the KEF LS50 rock?"

Hi Tls,
Thanks for your advice. I really love the look of the Zu's and their philosophy. Maybe that is the right call for me. 

You’re welcome. The guys at Zu are great. I'm sure they would be happy to just talk with you.

Why no mention of the cost? 

A great speaker the Spatial audio M3 ,or 4 depending on space..
You might also try the Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1 with the NRT tweeters. They are much more forward and can reach reasonably deep, so integrating with your sub should be easy. They have a 30 day trial period as well so all you'd be out is the shipping if you didn't like them. 
You might look for a pair of Klispch Herresy speakers! Very efficient and sound great! Just my opinion!
I didn't see your budget but if you spend 8k to 12k Eggleston Works, I have a pair of Andra III since 2008 and they are my last speakers! The 12" dual woofers give you very tight deep detailed bass, you could sell the sub for you'll think there is a sub with these babies. the 5" dual mids will give you that forward sound and the sound staging is out of this world. 
They make a smaller pair that have been extremely well reviewed here and in magazines too I believe they are the Dianne's
these work great with tube amps also
good luck

Consider adding Thiel to your short-list.
We B&W 800 series owners know what clean and bright is, and we wonder why they are so rarely mentioned by audiophiles on this site. I love my 803's, but I do realize that subs are necessary for bad recordings and/or people with no tone controls. I use matched main and sub preamps and amps. It works very well. (Ah, British understatement.)
ML LX-16 or Motion 15 great build and sound for money. Always try in your room first. 
Are Ascend Sierra 2 or the Towers on your list?  Returns would be easy.

I've been eyeing them but have not heard them.  I have a similar setup and sound requirement to what you described.