Speaker recommendations, budget $10-15K

I am looking to upgrade my speakers. In particular, I am looking for better low-end extension than my current speakers, Sehring 703s, which the specs say go to 38Hz but seem to roll off above that. I primarily listen to rock. I have to say, I prefer a bit of warmth over ultimate transparency.

Ancillary equipment is a Pass Labs X150.5 power amp, Mystere ca21 preamp, Perfect Wave Mk2 DAC & Transport. Room size is 13x25. Speakers are facing out from the long wall. The speakers will be in my living room, so they cannot be too enormous or push the envelope aesthetically. I would prefer to buy new. While open to buying used, I am wary of shipping damage.

The speakers I plan to audition are:
Marten Django
DALI Epicon 8
Acoustic Zen Crescendo
Aerial 7T
Tannoy Kensington

I have also read good things about Vapor Audio Joule Black, but would have a real hard time auditioning them before hand.

I would appreciate any other recommendations of speakers to audition, as well as any thoughts about the speakers on my current list. Thanks.
I would suggest that you consider the Daedalus Ulysses, which I own, although I believe that their current pricing puts them a little bit above the price range you specified.

They are rated to 28 Hz, which I have found to be a realistic figure. They provide a warm, natural sound, but with surprisingly little compromise in transparency, detailing, and "speed."

They are much more sensitive than all of the speakers you mentioned, and while the power capability of your amplifier is likely a good deal greater than what you'll need, they can certainly handle that much power.

If you search the forums you'll find quite a few comments from very happy owners of Daedalus speakers.

Aesthetically, I don't think you can do better, as they are beautifully constructed with solid natural hardwoods, with many choices of woods available. They are a bit less deep than some of the speakers you mentioned, and when viewed from the front they appear significantly less wide than their modest 11 inch width, due to their curved edges and the narrower width of the grille (assuming you leave it on).

Daedalus offers 30 day in-home audition privileges, less two-way shipping and a $300 restocking fee. Owner/designer Lou Hinkley might also be able to put you in touch with a customer in your area who may be willing to demonstrate them for you.

That said, I would have two concerns with most of the speakers on your list, as well as with the Ulysses, both of them relating to the short 13 foot wall-to-wall distance of the direction in which you are listening:

1)Your ability to sit far enough from the speakers for all of the drivers to blend properly, while at the same time providing adequate "breathing space" behind the speakers.

2)Cancellation of certain bass frequencies due to reflections from the wall behind you. Keep in mind that a null will result from those reflections centered at a frequency (in Hz) equal to approximately 281.5 divided by the number of feet between your ears and the wall behind you.

Good luck!

-- Al
I've had a few different customers in the past 3 or 4 months looking at similar speakers at your price point (Epicon/7T/ etc). I would add the Joseph Audio Perspective to your list.

If your purely looking for more bottom end, then the Dali's may be your best bet.

**Tannoy and Joseph Audio dealer disclaimer**
If you like the speakers you have now have you tried running a good sub with them for that lower end your missing?? I started adding subs to both of my listening systems and fell in love with my maggies all over again. Just a thought
Check out the new Nola KO's. I believe they're listing around 10K

One you've listened to guitar solos and lead vocals on open baffles it's tough to listen to conventional boxes again. You can see them in action on YouTube -just search for Nola ko.

Disclaimer: I've owned Alon's and Nola's in the past, and they're great - with great customer service. Currently enjoying Quad 989's. I'd recommend the quads because they're just so good, but its true you can't blast them. For me they're fine. For you possibly not. Good luck.
You have much to choose from in that price range. For some of your conditions and wants, look into the Von Schweikert Audio line. I have the VSA MK4jr's. Great sound far under your budget. They have others in their line which may fill your sonic and room look. Models priced in your range, some that may fit your home well at an even lower price. Mine work well with tube or solid state.

Not familiar with your listed line up. Having only heard some Tannoy speakers, which I found to be a little on the thin side sonically. Good hunting.
Dont really know the speakers on your list but in that price range I really like the Rockport Mira 2 - its list price is very slightly above $15k but I am pretty sure you can pick it up for $15k or less.

For me it easily bests other well known speakers in that price range such as Magico and certainly B&W.

Thanks for the recommendations so far. Almarg, let me see if I understand your last point: If my ears are 2 feet from the wall behind me, I won't hear frequencies around 141 Hz (281.5/2)?
If my ears are 2 feet from the wall behind me, I won't hear frequencies around 141 Hz (281.5/2)?
Yes, that's correct, except that rather than saying you won't hear those frequencies, I would put it that those frequencies will be significantly attenuated.

Reflections from the wall behind you of those frequencies will arrive at your ears approximately out of phase with the direct signal arrival from the speakers, resulting in partial cancellation. The degree of cancellation will depend on how strong the reflections are, which in turn will depend on the reflectivity of the wall material at those frequencies.

-- Al
dc10audio Berlin R but perhaps you don't need high efficiency and it seems like it would be a 4 month wait for a pair.
If you sit closer to the rear wall you can lessen the cancellation effect. I don't know if they still advocate it, but at one point Audio Physics used to recommend a speaker setup along the long wall with the speakers very far apart, sharp toe-in and the listener within inches of the wall.

Rather than focus on a specific price point I suggest you focus on finding a full range speaker that is fairly efficient and designed to work close to the rear wall.
You have gotten good suggestions and Al`s comments about room placement is very relevant. I`ve heard the Daedalus Ulysses on two occasions and it was very good(you could not go wrong with its selection). You list the Acoustic Zen Crescendo, good choice.I heard this speaker for two extended listening sessions at CES this year(90 minutes and then 1 hour the next day).It was driven by the Triode CORP.of Japan 50 watt PSET 845 tubed amplifier.The sound this system produced was extraordinary,truly one of the most impressive at the entire show.It was very natural,alive,dynamic yet also exceptionally transparent with excellent tone and overtones.This is a fairly large speaker that disappeared in the room.

The amp has a power meter on the front panel and it seldon passed the 1-4(some louder peaks pushed it to 25-35 watt range very briefly) watt level.I`d say average listening levels in that room(moderately large) were in the low 80s db range.So it does not appear to be power hungry at reasonable listening levels.The key point that impressed me was how natural and honest the music was reproduced, it was very engaging.This system out performed many far more expensive systems I heard there this year. I have no idea how it would sound with your very different type of amplifier(as good,better,worse?).A variety of music genre were played and all sounded excellent.

As others have said, in this price range there`re many good options.
Good Luck,
Another recommendation here for the Daedalus Ulysses. I stumbled upon a pair for sale locally, and picked them up last Saturday.

The Ulysses are running in place of my Sanders 10Cs which are also a good choice within your price range.

The Daedalus are wonderful. . .I would highly encourage a listen, if not to the Ulysses then to the Argos, which offers similar performance.
Two other things.....they do play loud, at least my definition of loud, and they sound great with rock....I would not let those earlier concerns voiced limit you at all.
Another vote for Daedalus, but I would say the smaller Athena or DA-RMa's, that I have, would be a better fit and match your budget better. My prior speakers were Acoustic Zen Adagios and good as they were, the Daedalus were in a different league. The Crescendos I do'nt know, but they are pretty big I think, maybe a problem in a small room too.

I use a very cluttered square 20 by 20ft room, the DA-RMas fit in just fine. Lou does have a number of owners happy to demo, I am sure he could find one if you were interested.
The Crescendo is a tall speaker and this could be a consideration. In terms of sound quality there`s no comparison with the less ambitious Adagio. They occupy entirely different planes of achievement.
Thanks for the recommendations folks. Professional reviews and show impressions seem uniformly positive for the Crescendos, which is why they are on my list. (The dealer also carries Marten Djangos, which he seemed to recommend equally.) I also have sent an e-mail to Daedalus. I am thinking, based on comments about my room's dimensions, that the Ulysses might be too big. I will see what they have to say about other models. One review of the Ulysses (in Dagogo) said they are not "full-range" and are somewhat lacking in terms of low end extension. Is that at all true?
One review of the Ulysses (in Dagogo) said they are not "full-range" and are somewhat lacking in terms of low end extension. Is that at all true?
They are not "full-range" in the sense that they don't go down to 20 Hz or less. As I indicated earlier, though, their 28 Hz specification seems about right in my experience, based both on listening and on measurements I've done using test tones and an SPL meter. My strong impression is that most (but not quite all) owners of the Ulysses use them without a subwoofer.

As you've probably already seen, though, the smaller Daedalus models don't go down quite as far, with the Athena specified to 34 Hz, and the DA-RMa specified to 36 Hz.

Keep in mind, also, that all of Lou's frequency response numbers are +/-2 db. If he had based them on a looser tolerance, as a lot of manufacturers do, the 28, 34, and 36 Hz numbers would all have been at least a little bit lower.

-- Al
Used Revel Salon Ultima 2, best speakers I have heard at any price (never heard Magico and some others). I can't say anything bad about them, find a demo. Great bass, I mean really great and everything else is good too. They are 22k new and around 12 used.

Wilson Sophia 3 should also be on a rockers list. Not as transparent as the revel but they are hifi with a little fun "beauty" as wilson calls it tuned in.
If you go with Revel there is a set of nice Salon Studio 2's for sale right now in my area, Oklahoma (not my ad). Some people like the studios more than the salons because the tweeter is closer to ear level while seated than with the salons.
Zu Def 4s can be customized in almost any painted or veneered finish, and the metal trim can be "silver" or anodized black. The bass is outstanding and (in my room) flat to 16hz. The footprint is 12x12, but they are 50" tall. Another option is Audio Note ANE. Both can be placed close to the wall.

I see a few problems with the Cresendos, one if they have too much bass they will most likely overload this room speakers which go to the low 20's need a much larger room to not overload the room with bass.

I heard the Cresendos at CES a few years ago and I was not blown away at all, in fact I thought for a Chinese made product was was too expensive for its build quality which was good but not stealer.

The Marten is a much better speaker in terms of both driver technology and build quality. Ceramic drivers can be very transparent and fast but can sometimes sound a little too bright so setup is crucial. This listener values warmth over transparency and the Marten may be too much of a good thing.

Tannoy's are very dynamic and punchy but I don't find them really coherent or that transparent, and sound staging is good but not amazing.

Aerial I haven't heard nice speakers but I don't really think they are that special.

The Dali Epicon's are new and are getting rave reviews in Europe how they stack up is up to the listener, they have some very interesting new driver technology, which is said to dramatically lower distortion and they go low enough to be punchy but do not go low enough to overload this size of room, in addition they are stunning to look at and come from a long standing well established company.

The Dali's tonally are warm yet have some good detail in the top and have punchy bass and a huge three dimensional sound stage.

Unfortunately the Dali's have yet to be reviewed in the US yet, however, in the Absolute Sound buying guide there was a snippet review which was very positive.

I am a Dali dealer and we just got in a pair of the Epicon 8 which are getting burned in, right now they are sounding very good, but it is still too early to tell if they are good, great, or truly amazing loudspeakers.
I own Acoustic Zen Crescendo’s and am absolutely enthralled with them. About three years ago, like you, I made out a list of speakers to replace the ones I owned for 13 years. Armed with a short list of six speakers and a rather substantial budget off I went to shows and dealers and after two years of auditioning, my list was down to two.

When I attended the RMAF I stopped by the AZ room only because I had read a great deal about them. By the time that two-hour session ended they went on my list. By the end of the show I purchased them without reservation or hesitation.

In my system, to my ears, these are the finest speakers I have ever heard. The fact that they were the least expensive speakers on my list was of no concern but gratifying nonetheless. They are so musical with such a level of detail, clarity and precision that just makes one smile as you listen. Bass is prodigious, taut, fast and deep. I miss not my two subs.....

My suggestion for your consideration is not, of course, to run out and buy a pair of Crescendo's but rather to keep an open mind, as you appear to be doing, work through your list and be open minded about new additions. What will challenge you the most is time. It took me almost three years to get what I am absolutely delighted with and the wait was extremely worthwhile. I certainly learned a lot in the process but when I heard what I heard, I just knew that the Crescendo was the speaker for me.
You and I may have similar hearing perspective as I find your description very much the same as my impression. Shortly after leaving the Crescendo at CES, I and two friends visited the CAT and Wilson room which had the Sasha speaker in use.There was quite a stark contrast, the sound was just different, it was less fluid, natural and believable.The presentation was toward the mechanical and stiff and was more artificial.Tone of the instruments were not as real (it was more awareness of listening to a 'stereo',the Crescendo in contrast was more of real musicians are in your presence). Different source,electronics and room are factors also, but the change was striking.Obviously some would disagree with my view and prefer this system compared to the Crescendo room as taste can vary significantly among listeners.At the end of the day it comes down to what moves you and gets you involved with the music.

I hope that Mcondon will be able to audition his list of speakers,there`s no substitute for hearing something yourself.
Another vote for Zu Definitions 4. A really warm, dynamic sound. The warmth is not a euphonic colouration, but a function of their, IMHO unmatched, "tone density". Not short on transparency. A really holistic sound with detail never at the expense of coldness.
G917, what were the other 2 speakers on your list?

Crescendo was not on my list but with all the positive comments and TAS review, I'm trying to find a pair to demo in the MA area.

You will excuse me when I say that I am reluctant to list the speakers that I did not purchase. Unlike some here who are happy to promote what they are selling and happy to bash what they are not, my intention is not to publically say one speaker is better than another given how we all hear things differently, have different requirements based on the types of music we listen too, and have different room acoustical challenges, equipment, WAF, etc....

Concerning the audition of Crescendos, I think there are two dealers in MA, and perhaps you might want to call Robert directly and he may be better able to direct you or have a customer in state that would agree to an audition. Of course, if you want to come over and listen to my system you would be most welcome,,,,, we are but 2,400 miles apart.....
For something completely different, within your budget and with some serious low-end punch: Ohm Walsh 5015 (5000s with integral powered 15" subs).
I had the Sehring 602s with passive bass modules in my system a while back, and I thought they were excellent especially in the transparency, imaging, and soundstaging areas. But they were a bit lacking in dynamic slam and their ability to move air. In my experience, the speakers that match the outstanding imaging and disappearing act of the Sehrings while being able to convey a bit more weight and oomph to the sound would be Joseph Audio. If I were you I'd take a serious look at the Perspectives or even the Pulsars with or without a couple subs. Best of luck in your search.
NP G917. By choosing Crescendos, it doesn't mean the other 2 are bad. There are no perfect components but just compromises. I like to gather as much info as possible before making a decision and you don't have to trash the other 2. I finished my homework and Crescendos is off the list.
The Crescendo’s are much different than any speaker I’ve ever heard and they are true chameleons! The speed of these speakers were unbelievable, attacks were very fast and clean, right down to the lowest note.

Sound-staging was deep and wide with images emanating outside the boundaries of the speakers. All the CD’s I played from Cello, Violin, Spanish/Acoustic Guitar and Piano were beautifully displayed and captured the cues, ambiance and hall effects associated with a live event.

The coherence was seamless from top to bottom and talk about musicality, I could have stayed up all night listening to recording after recording; a moving experience indeed
Soix, thanks for the feedback. The Sehrings are very good in many respects, but you are right, they don't move much air. Your comment makes Joseph Audio seem look a good speaker to audition. Knghifi, why have you eliminated the AZ Crescendo from further consideration?
I was in the same boat a few months ago. After a painful search I ordered the Crescendos. Easy on the ears, really great bass. I'll receive them by the end of this month. My room is 14x25, long wall configuration. Will post my impressions if needed. From your list I auditioned Aerial 7T.
The number of positive
comments on the Crescendo surprises me, I thought very few were aware of this superb speaker. It will definitely appeal to those who are in the natural sound camp.It isn't a hifi character speaker at all.
Can you get to northern NJ? I can't think of a speaker I'd rather have at that price point than the B&W 800D. I bought a pair. Intend to move to KEF Blades, so the B&W's are up for auction for 12k. Auction ends Sunday. I just figured if you're close, you might want to drop in for a listen.
Well, I'll recommend what I got: JBL S4700s


Great rock speaker in the time honored tradition of JBL.

List price is: $15,000.

You can probably get it for much less, I know I did.

Good luck!
Yeah, but only 8 inch woofers in those Acoustic Zen's. Why do many of these high end companies use such small woofers? You can't get good bass outta those, imo. I heard it's because of marketing. And no subwoofer, that's cheating, lol.
I would listen to the Nola Contenders and go up the food chain to see how much you have to spend to surpass them.
Mcondon, 4+ hour drive to audition Crescendos so ping audio buddies with ears I trust and several owners. It's an excellent speaker but doesn't meet requirements in my next speaker. Not making the special trip so off my list for now.

I sold my EW Andra II looking for specific changes, more different than improvements actually. You should trust your ears and don't worry AgonGODs classifications but purchase what sounds best to you.
I'd hear for myself, regardless of friends trusted ears...
4+ hours will literally save you $K's from buying/selling the speaker you thought was the one.

It say a lot about a manufacturer when their equipment rarely show up on the used market.
The best speakers that I have heard in that price range are

Marten Django
Totem Wind
Martin Logan Summit
Master Contemporary C
Blumenhofer (cannot remember the model)
and others

It all depends on your room, electronics and personal taste.