Speaker suggestions at around $30k


What speakers would you recommend I listen to? To be driven by a high power solid state amp in a small to medium, well damped room. Around $30k price range. Preferences in order are:
1. Tremendous detail
2. Large open 3D soundstage
3. Clean, lively, and exciting
4. Vocals with great realism and emotional content
4. Extended highs (slight brightness to suit my room)
5. Moderate, controlled mid and deep bass
etc.. etc.. :)
Your recommendations and reasons please!
mike60
Revel Unltima Salon 2. Possibly the best all rounder I have ever heard.

Wilson Sashas. Also amazing but perhaps more finicky to place than the Revels.

Upper echelon Sonus Fabers like the Futuras.
Verity Amadis. Reason - meets all of your criteria.
New or used?
Of the ones I've heard, Focal Utopia line speakers match your criteria best.

For a similar sound for perhaps less cost, I would take a look at some of the larger Triangle speakers as well.

Both companies are French and sound similar in these regards to me.
For medium size listening room Genesis 7.2f at MSRP $9,000 and possible deals for $7500 new is extreamly hard or impossible to beat even with $30k.
In that price range, I guess I would also have to throw out the mbl option as well, at least if you were interested in perhaps trying something completely different that might meet your criteria.

Normally I';d suggesdt OHm Walsh as a less expensive alternative to mbl, but those are not inherently bright by any stretch, though with the right amp and configuration feeding them, it might turn out to be a non issue. Also the largest OHMs, the 5000s, have onboard tone adjustments that are quite useful for matching speakers to room. Those even new would likely come in at ~ 1/5th your target cost and might be worth an in-home demo first if saving $24000 or so is something you might be interested in.
You are after German sound, I think.
Take a listen to TAD Compact Reference speakers.
I just heard the new Rockport Avior speakers and they are quite amazing! They certainly check all your boxes.
Ditto on the TAD. I've heard them at many shows, and most all the time I am left fantasizing about having them!
I'll throw in the Adam Tensor Betas or Deltas--in fact, if you don't need the last octave of bass, the Deltas should work just fine for you and you'll have about $20K left over. Their highs and midrange are very realistic sounding to me, their powered bass drivers mesh very well with the ribbon-style mids and tweeter, and overall these speakers do a great job (IMO) of reproducing the dynamics of live music. If you have a chance to audition them I would highly recommend it, they may not be your cup of tea but the more I hear the Deltas the more impressed I am by them.
If I had 30K to spend on speakers, I believe I'd start hitting some stores and hear them for myself, but hey, that's just me.
Wilson Sasha's. I just listened to them today. Why? Because of your stated preferences.
Adam speakers. Had I the coin I'd be auditioning speakers from these folks (NY). Cannot recall which model I heard at show here in Atlanta, but it was fabulous. Internal powered sub. IIRC, had all the attributes for which you are seeking. They were driven by Accuphase, which I assume helps.
I would get the legacy whisper with hurricane amps, and the updates by vh audio using v_caps. Stock the whisper when amped right is world class and will do rock to classical with a huge panel like stage but with dynamics and good slam. Upgraded, a lot of very expensive speakers have trouble keeping up. And, no I am not a dealer or selling a pair. Jallen
For just a little more than your range, I like the Classic Audio T-3 speakers. They are extremely fast, detailed and lively to the extent I have not heard in any low efficiency speaker. You could eventually migrate away from high power amps in favor of much nicer sounding low powered amps with these speakers.

I sort of liked the Tidal speakers in this price range-detailed, harmonically complete and well balanced.

The Wilson Sashas are quite nice sounding--great soundstage, harmonically rich and complete, reasonably detailed. I have not heard them deliver the kind of ultra lively sound of high efficiency speakers.

I have not heard the MBL speaker in your price range (the 116), but, the more expensive models sounded pretty promising, so it is probably worth looking into these as well.

The YG speakers I heard in your price range were a bit lean and dry sounding (it could have been the electronics or the setup), but, they were otherwise so good sounding (very detailed, clean, clear, harmonically complete, great soundstage) that they are worth looking into.
b&W 800 or 802 diamonds, Wilson sasha and sophia, revels.
Gallo ref3.5 and save $24,000
Audition the Von Schweikert VR5 Anniversary new in your price range. To get brighter use SS amp. I have the VR 4SRs and they are wonderful. Or save a bit and go for VR 4 SR MKIII
...or the Gallo Reference 5LS with matching SA Amp. Meets your criteria, are beautiful, and 1/2 your budget.
The new Magnepan 20.7 soon to be available.
Spend the rest on better maps.
If I had $30,000.
it is what I would buy. The 20.7 Maggies and a pair of Bryston 28B-SST2 amps.
Whoot!!
I always said - never give too much money to women. They will just burn it.
Tidal should do it. Don't know Classic Audio.
Did you try out Vandersteen Quatro or 5A ?. I auditioned the lower end Vandersteen speakers and they are really great speakers for the price. Great soundstage, separation of instruments and control over the range. 3a Signature is a wonderful speaker not looks wise but it has no match for its price. Atleast to me that is.

Good luck.
If I had $30k to spend on speakers I would try to listen to the following (in no particular order):

1. Aerial 20T V2
2. Focal Scala Utopia
3. Wilson Sasha
4. Tidal Piano Diacera
5. Rockport Avior
6. Marten Designs (they have a model that goes for $30k)
7. Sony AR-1
8. The TAD that's been mentioned a few times

Good luck. Keep us posted on your search.
Before you invest $30k in speaker make sure you have a good
DAC
MSB TECH DAC IV
then
. Tremendous detail
2. Large open 3D soundstage
3. Clean, lively, and exciting
4. Vocals with great realism and emotional content
4. Extended highs (slight brightness to suit my room)
5. Moderate, controlled mid and deep bass
etc.. etc.. :)
Your recommendations and reasons please: Totem Shamans
you can hear the echo from the recording studio
Good suggestions but what you really need is a fantastic preamp like a direct heated triode that is transformer coupled first, then you can build a nice system around it. Other preamps using caps cannot provide you with the detail, soundstage, speed, dynamics and realism that transformer cooupled preamps provide, the cap gets in the way of the sound.

Happy Listening.
Wilson Sasha.
"what you really need is a fantastic preamp like a direct heated triode that is transformer coupled first"

Examples?

Thanks.
.

On the preamp, this guy can build the best http://www.jeffreywjackson.com/

On the speaker, I don't understand why anyone would pick a speaker to match an amplifier. The speaker is the most colored component. First you find a speaker you like and only then do you consider what amplifier is best to drive it.

In this case the best Avantgardes you can afford along with an SET amp. That is of course if they will fit in whatever a "small to medium room" is.

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Revel Salon
Bigkidz,

I just got a fully transformer-coupled linestage with crazy amount of gain--built around Western Electric input and output transformers, and Western Electric 310 tubes.

However, I am having some problems getting it to work with my amp (Audionote Kageki). The bass is ill-defined and the dynamics are soft compared to a similar linestage that was capacitor coupled (the model I auditioned before committing to buying the new linestage). I need to determine if the lack of input transformers on my amp, or some other compatibility problem, is the cause of my problems (gain or sensitivity of my amps is certainly not an issue, it is something else).
"On the preamp, this guy can build the best http://www.jeffreywjackson.com/"

Very nice looking stuff.

He should be able to build "the best" since no prices are listed.
Both the Vandersteen 5A (c. $20K/pr) and the 5A Carbons (c. $25K/pr.) meet your requirements and more.
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http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k220/jeffreybehr/Room/24Oct2011_roompano_1280w.jpg
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If I were going to spend $30K on new speaker's, other than Wilson Sasha, I would also seriously consider Evolution Acoustics MM2's with the self powered woofer.

http://evolutionacoustics.com/mmtwo.html
Its your money you choose!!
Harbeth P3ESR and keep the $28,8K !!!!!!
+1 Evolution Acoustics MMtwos. Mine arrived a few months ago. Fantastic speakers.
The Sound Labs...have all the attributes you asked for in terms of performance--and they happen to be one of the best speakers ever.
Recent technological breakthroughs have made for excellent reliability as well as efficiency thought impossible just five years ago.

Good listening,
Larry
There have been two pairs of slightly used Magico Q3s on the 'Gon recently. I think they not only check all of your boxes, but to me I think they are better than all of their competitors at that price. Read the Ulta Audio review...it describes what I heard very accurately.
I'd give a listen to Coincident Pure Reference Extremes if I had that kind of bread. Very efficient & favors tube amps.
Setting aside all of the responses, which seem fair, I always wonder why anyone that has managed to find audiogon would purchase "new" anything? I know the OP did not specify new or used, so the question is not directed at him; I just can't imagine paying 28K for a pair of Sashas when you can get a pair for 18K without much effort? It's funny - sometimes I wonder whether the listener that pays retail and is facing a 30% loss should they decide to cut bait, doesn't find some contentment with their purchase that they otherwise would not have? i.e. - things sound better when you can't easily (cheaply) move in a different direction.
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Matti, why buy anything new? You can buy just about anything but food on the used market. Cars, boats, clothes, toys, furniture, appliances, and on and on are all readily available used at a fraction of new.

Just curious, do you usually buy most things used or just audio equipment? You can get your clothes on eBay for a pittance compared to what you pay retail.

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I think we can all agree that the turnover in audio gear, among "audiophiles" far exceeds that of anything else you mentioned. Furthermore, I can probbably try to make the argument that if you buy into the concept of breaking and burning equipment in, it's actually advantageous to buy used. Anyway, I have bought plenty of used cars.
I agree with Matti...If you buy used, you get a screaming deal. The original owner takes the depreciation bath. Allows to look at and consider models that cost much more than $30K new.

I bought my Wilson W/P 8's factory recertified by Wilson for $13K over a year ago. Virtually indistinguishable from new. They were 28K 3 years earlier, new before Sasha came out.
"If you buy used, you get a screaming deal. The original owner takes the depreciation bath"

OF course if no warranty, you run the risk of paying a service bill later if it turns out there is a problem. Or taking a bath if no good service is available.

Just pointing out the potential cons, especially with expensive, esoteric gear. They're always lurking out there somewhere ready to bite...
Good point Mapman. In my case since they were factory re-certed by Wilson, I got a 12 month warranty. Personally, in my experience, high end speakers don't break often.
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Matti, the amount of turnover is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is if the thing you want to buy is readily available on the used market. BTW, I agree with you. I buy lots of used stuff.

Mapman, I usually don't worry about a warranty. If you buy most things used at half or less of retail then you can afford a few repairs. Buy a one or two year old car and you probably have a few years of warranty left anyway.

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I often wonder, in general, when one buys an expensive esoteric audio product, does one typically get comprehensive and extended service included with the purchase? Or do the service bills reflect the cost of the product bought bringing up the TCO?

One might stretch to buy an expensive piece perhaps but find TCO down the road to be a bank buster?
"I often wonder, in general, when one buys an expensive esoteric audio product, does one typically get comprehensive and extended service included with the purchase? Or do the service bills reflect the cost of the product bought bringing up the TCO?"

I have found dealers to be helpful on out of warranty problems in the past on very expensive equipment (Levinson), but you can't count on it. Many high-end dealers also offer very favorable trade-up policies (sometimes full original value, if you trade up by a lot), and trade-up policies are often more valuable than service policies.

For speakers the service problem is espcially acute, because very expensive speakers are usually huge and heavy, and a PITA to ship.

I've found high-end OEMs are not afraid to charge a small fortune for service. Electronics are the worst. Most problems can only be solved by board-swapping, and often a new board will cost thousands.

High-end audio is like high-end cars. You can get them used cheaply, but if they break they are still high-end products and they cost a lot to fix.
Herman - the reason I consider the turnover rate relevant is two-fold. First, high turnover suggests a considerable used marketplace to choose from. And second, the length of time you plan to own (and use) something directly affects the chances you will require a repair (or warranty). Right or wrong, this hobby tends to be as much about trying new things as it is about the music - I'm certainly guilty of it.