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A lot of great speakers at $30K. I've heard the Sashas and they're definitely fabulous.
Although I haven't heard the KEF Blades, the review and sonic description in TAS certainly matches your criteria. If I were in the market they'd *definitely* be on my short list--a full-range point source? Hard to beat if well executed, and KEF has been refining the coincident driver for decades. In fact, the guy behind the TAD coincident driver is an ex-KEF guy.
I've heard other coincident driver KEFs and they definitely pull you into the music.
I find the Audiokinesis Swarm sub system a pretty intriguing product particularly at its price point:
I wonder with an approach like this at that price point, is there rally any need for $30000 full range speakers?
I really like the AK approach to things. Very practical it seems to me. I need to hear some someday.
The speakers which may suits your needs and expectations and are worth to be consider are SoulSonic Impulse speakers. They are quit new on the market but out there you can find great notes about them. More you can read here http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/frr.pl?rspkr&1316612796&&&/SoulSonic-Impulse-Supreme
When u ask question like that, u open a big a$$ can of worm. You will get all sorts of answers. I recently went to the 2012 CES and heard all the speakers that mentions here and none impress me as much as MBL speaker. It has all the sonics u r looking for plus add 3d & holographic sound, effortless and most natural sound. For that price range, u can get a pair of 111f MBL. Off courst, this is my taste and your might be different. I highly recommend to go listens for yourself first before lay down big chuck of change.
These list for $30k. I've had a pair for almost three years. They match up well with all the criteria you list. They have very extended highs and uncolored midrange. The bass is deep and very fast via magnesium woofers. Tweeter and midrange are the same drivers as the VR9 & 11. Same woofer technology (magnesium cones) as in the VR9's & 11's. The MkII upgrade has internal wiring using Masterbuilt cabling from Delphi Aerospace and upgraded crossover components. The speakers can generate an extremetly wide and deep soundstage. Very fast, but musical not "analytical". I spend time listening to the music, not the components. PM me if you want more info on my VR5 system.
Of the speakers mentioned, I have listened to the Sasha, Sophia, Eidolon Diamond, Salon 2, and Focal Scala, and I have heard models from Marten, Magico, and Verity, but all in different systems and environments.
Some nice speakers amongst them, and the Scala seems interesting and to my taste currently. It is not a true comparison with so many variables at play, but I have to narrow it down to maybe 1 or 2 that suit my taste in a system somewhere, and then I may be able to see if they suit my room and system. A slow process, but lots of fun.
Thanks for the suggestions.
If true there would be more choices. Much more important is the number produced in the first place. Most people keep their cars for a number of years yet there are millions of used ones for sale. I searched Carmax for 4-6 year old Ford Taurus'. They have 46 of them and that's just one seller. There are probably thousands for sale around the country. I found a site with over 200 Ferrari's for sale. There is a lot of stuff for sale here but if you start looking for a particular model your choices are extremely limited if not nonexistent.
I too was once guilty of flipping equipment hoping for that next big leap forward. Thankfully I'm done with that. I no longer sit and listen and wonder how much better it could be.
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.
"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.
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?
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.
"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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).