I'm new here, really and a relative noob on the high-end audio.
Looking to upgrade my front speakers for now. My use is probably 60% audio, 40% video. For my wife, you can invert those numbers.
My musical tastes run from Thelonius Monk to the Butthole Surfers. Krautrock, obscure '60's and '70's rock, fusion, jazz, electronica (The Orb, etc.). Very eclectic but mores rock than jazz or electronica. No classical/opera.
My system: EAD Power Master 5200 5-schannel (300 watts 8ohm)
Musical Fidelity X-ray - the original ovoid design model
Pre-amp Krell - KRC 3
Speakers: B&W Nautilus 805's in the front CDM's in the rear and Nautilus HTM 1 center, Velodyne 12" 1200 watt sub (I forget the model offhand - top of the line 10 years ago as I recall)
For now I'd just like to upgrade the front two speakers. Eventually will upgrade the others as funds allow.
The room is rectangular 30' x 15' x 8' with wood floors
My ceiling to spend is approximately $6k
I'm considering used or new:
Evolution Acoustics MMMicro One Raidho Eben X-3 Lawrence Audio Violin Joseph Audio Pulsar Gallo 3.5 Referance VMPS RM30
Anything else I should be looking at?
Auditioning is hard as I live in a very rural area but I could do a day trip to Tampa or Orlando if I could find a dealer for anything I'm looking at, which so far I can't (still working on that though)
Your potential candidates are all over the map as far as sound goes. I've only heard the last three on your list and they couldn't be more different. Without having developed your knowledge of what's available and how different brands sounds, asking others for advice is risky. You're just blindly whacking at a pinata and hoping good ear candy falls out. If www.sweethomeaudio.com in Clearwater (Gallo) doesn't work out for you, I'd strongly suggest thinking about waiting until you could attend an audio show that lets you hear a variety of options. I waited way too long to go to one myself and when I did, so many things became clear to me that were just "words on paper" when reading reviews. It may seem like a waste of money to spend a grand to go to a good show like Axpona (coming up next year in Chicago) or RMAF, but it could be the best $1k you ever would spend if it helps you narrow down what kind of sound you like and avoid getting on an expensive merry go round.
dc10audio's instrument 7 it's designed as a front channel high fidelity system that really can play at exceptionally loud levels with very tight bass not super deep bass but fast clean solid sound and they're drop dead beauties designed to last a lifetime. I own dc10 8PS and I've found Nothing else to compare. They are a very small company producing some of the most innovative products made today.
What aspects of sound quality are you looking to improve upon with the upgrade? Until that is known, as Photon said this is just throwing darts at a board blindfolded.
I know you're in a rural area, but if you really want to get this right I'd make the effort to visit at least a few dealers. The perspective and experience you'll gain will be more than worth the effort not only for speakers but with other future upgrades as well. Shows are helpful too, especially to hear a wide range of gear, but they can also be misleading as many rooms do not show what the equipment can really do. They can certainly be helpful in indentifying gear that sounds good to you and may be worth exploring further, but be careful not to dismiss something just because it doesn't sound good at a show. Especially if it's gotten good reviews here and in the press. Best of luck and enjoy the journey.
You will find many people recommending he speakers that they eventually settled on or that they aspire to own. But make sure you find out what their own listening peers are and what qualities led them to choose those speakers. If you want to listen to Butthole Surfers and an A'goner is recommending a speaker based on its ability to play chamber music then you may not be so happy with it.
To take an example, Mountain High enthusiastically recommends those speakers in a number of threads here. Nothing wrong with that but it would be good to know what music he listens to on them and what he has compared them to.
But ultimately I endorse the advice to listen to as many flavors of speakers as possible on music that you are very familiar with.
The problem with going and listening to speakers is that you won't know what they sound like in your room and your equipment. I believe we take a chance no matter what we buy unless you are lucky and can have friends bring over their speakers. There are many great speakers in the 6K price range new or used. That being I really like the Von Schweikert line. They are very musical and made with the great parts and are well designed.
There is actually a pair of the dc10 audio's for sale here that I was looking at. They sure look the part anyway. The Gallos sure are well reviewed. I've actually been using their little A'Divas with their smallest sub in a secondary listening room in my house and I think they sound great for that application.
As for what aspects I want to sound better, I frankly don't have the vernacular to answer the question. I hear terms like musicality bandied about and frankly I don't have any idea what the hell that means. Sounds like something from one of my guitar forums - one of those ill defined terms that describes something that we all know it when we hear it but defies explicit definition when pressed to offer one. Like the "chime" of a Vox AC30.
With my new speakers, I mostly want them to sound more realistic relative to the source material than my current ones do. My B&W's sound like I'm listening to a speaker. I want that perception to melt away. I guess transparency is the word. I like a sense of depth or dimension. Like some guitar amps will have a 3-D like quality vs. some are just flat. I also am clearly looking at smaller speakers but I really don't want something that sounds small and certainly not beamy (like I've read the VMPS speakers can).
The Gallo's are probably the only ones on my list I can audition but I'll. The Eficion F300 are bit pricey.
I actually have a lead on the Evolution Acoustics MMMIcroOne's. Seems to be the last pair available at this point and with a significant price hike looming, I might just go for it. The demand is high enough so in the event that I just can't live with them, I should be able to move them along. I'll likely be upgrading the rest of my system in the near future also, so I'm not too bogged down with how the speakers sound with my current gear. The speakers are my jumping off point.
Thanks to all so far for helping me out with this. I know I have a lot to learn. Be patient with me.
This is interesting, since I've been considering some of the same speakers myself. There was a pair of Joseph Pulsars on eBay today that wound up selling for about $3500, which seemed like a good deal. However, I didn't bid on them since I'm auditioning the EA MMMicroOnes tomorrow. If those don't work out, I'm considering Merln TSMs or Gallo Stradas with a sub. I also noticed that Gallo 3.5 with the sub amp for sale.
I'll try to post my impressions of the MMMicroOne after I hear them tomorrow.
O/P.Depth & dimension are referred to as "imaging & sound staging". The only speakers that I have ever heard personally that truly disappeared were Sonus Faber & Dynaudio HOWEVER both were driven by TUBE Integrated Amplifiers!IMHO you will never achieve truly holographic sound with solid state amplification.While good SS gear can render width & height almost as good as tubes were EVERY SS system I have ever heard fails miserably is in rendering DEPTH. My reference for judging the ability of a system to render depth is Billy Holiday's Greatest Hits cd.There are 2 tracks that were recorded live in a Big Band Club.The recordings were mic'd in stereo from a distance of apx.20'-30'.When playing these tracks on my previous system(Cayin A-55T Tube Integrated Amplifier & Dynaudio Focus 140 speakers)the back wall of my listening room completely disappeared & you could literally see Miss Holiday 20' back,center stage! Ask yourself how many of those guitar amps with a 3D like quality you are lookig for are Solid State & how many are Tube driven?I'ld be willing to bet most of them are tube amps.JMHO,good luck.
Something nowone has mentioned, integrating any new speakers with your existing BandW speakers. That will be a problem in the meantime.
One suggestion, take advantage of a lot of experience at Rocky Mountain this month. There are pages of reviews on dozens of rooms, mainly concentrating on the speakers, on the Audiocircle show review circle. There is no obvious commercial pressure there, which might lead a paper magazine to favour an advertiser. A lot of very good ideas I have picked up on, that I will try to follow up on, DC10, as already mentioned, Vapor, Odyssey audio. I personally use Daedalus and would very much recommend them, but as Roscoeiii says, people tend to recommend their current speakers, it's second nature.
I auditioned the Evolution Acoustics MMMicroOnes today in fellow member Eddiesudz's impressive listening room. His system and listening environment are in a completely different league than mine, so I'm sure the speakers won't sound as good in my room with my components. That being said, I was immediately impressed with the MMMicros and quickly decided to place an order. I've heard monitors with a more delicate and light and airy high end, but I've never heard speakers of this size have such a full yet clear sound. Ed had them set up right next to the 1300-pound MMTwos, and I had to put my ear next to the speakers to make sure he wasn't trying to trick me. They sound fantastic at all volume levels and can really belt out with his Dartzeel 100wpc amp.
In addition to playing around with some digital tracks on his Mac and Playback Designs DAC, Ed treated me to some great cuts from a test pressing record on his Wave Kinetics turntable, and some great tracks on his Studer 1/4" reel to reel.
Anyway, I never got to audtion a few speakers I was interested in (and I still might buy another pair just to play around and compare in my room), but for $2500 including the nice looking and very solid stands, these seemed like a no-brainer. Ed thinks the speakers will ship in about a month.
IMO, I would possibly go in another direction.As a present owner of Raidho,having heard most of your short list speakers,and at one point in life listening to similar music I would maybe upgrade the amp and see what ya think.Given the other gear you have and your music taste your going to have to throw alot of cash at the system to bring it to audiophile level and then whats the point.Gibby wont sound any better..Just an opinion.