Speaker upgrade


I would like to hear thoughts on upgrading my speakers. I am very happy with my current system, but am thinking of upgrading the speakers. Not made up my mind yet, but very close. I have changed my gears recently and deciding whether to keep my current speakers or try different.
I currently have Aerial acoustics 7T, with 2 REL S5/SHOs. Aerial acoustics 7T are one hell of a speaker, and I never thought I will change them: they are very neutral and transparent, which plays exactly what you feed them. I still think they are excellent and In fact, on many forums, I have constantly bragged about them and still do, for good reasons. But I guess, time has come to change. Looking for speakers with better resolution, big soundstage, organic and sweet mids. If I can get more of everything my 7T does, it will be a jackpot. Budget is < 35K (used OK).
I have thought of Magico S5 MK2, Vimberg Tonda, Marten Mingus, Rockport Avior II. Others include Von Shweikert VR55 and Vivid Audio Giya G1. Hard to audition all, but have heard S5 Mk2 and Rockport Avior II which are close top.
My other systems include, AF strumento no. 4 mk2 amps, VAC renaissance mk V pre-amp fed by Luxman D-10x (DAC/SACD player) and Antipodes CX/S30 (server/streamer). I use roon mostly and listen vocals, Jazz, classical, Indie Rock, contemporary instrumental and the likes. Room size is 17 x 14 and height is 10 feet. I have already done all room acoustics. Cables are Silversmith Fideliums (never going to change that) and Shunyata anaconda/python, TQ black diamond and AQ Hurricane.
romney80
Great list of speakers you have so far!  

The Joseph Audio Pearl 20/20 would be another fantastic unit to consider.
Tekton....if you're spending over $2K on speakers you're getting ripped off or simply profoundly wasting your money.  Aren't your reading the threads here????
@three_easy_payments

Careful. Some may not know how firmly your tongue is planted in your cheek........


Oz


@three_easy_payments
It’s strong opinion and yours only, thanks. I appreciate, if you don’t have any input on the speakers listed, not to mention others. 
@goldprintaudio 
Yes, I am thinking about Joseph audio pearls too. Hard to audition them. Have heard only good things about them. 
Very nice set up!!

I have already done all room acoustics.


Well, then I almost have nothing else to say!! :D

I don’t know that you can get better, but, as far as the hobby is concerned, I might suggest a couple of directions that would be big changes vs. just attempting to get better multi-way speakers. For the sake of the hobby, do something really different, like investigate line arrays or horns.

If you just kind of shuffle multi-way speakers, you may get better, but will it be enough of a change or will it just be a little different and possibly more expensive?

Let me know which way you end up going.

Sorry, my previous post had you adding subs, which you already have! :) Assuming they are well integrated, and EQ’d you are all set there. Along with room acoustics, the only other thing I might suggest is plug those ports and re-calibrate the subs.

Best,


Erik
Oh, wait, are you using a high pass filter on your main speakers or no?

If not, you absolutely should, then plug them and recalibrate the subs. :)
@erik_squires  You have been preaching about room acoustics and treatments for a long time. I finally took your advice and ordered a few treatments from GIK. If I don't like them I will be sending the invoice to you ... j/k

Before you spend a lot of money on speakers, populate your room with a dozen or more artificial ficus trees behind and between your existing speakers. Wall-to-wall at least 7 feet high. Place the artificials on stands, if necessary to attain the necessary height. Make sure there is sufficient density so that most of the rear wall is not visible.

Artificial ficus trees are great audio diffusers and make most rooms significantly better acoustically.

Speaker performance is critically dependent on room acoustics.  Ficus trees are very effective in removing room effect.
@romney80  Sorry, my sarcasm font was supposed to be lit up in neon on my response. lol  

The Von Shweikert VR55 is out of my price range but if they were I'd seriously be auditioning them.  They are getting it really right these days (and somehow are able to do it without user tweaking - apply sarcasm font). 

Good luck with your fun search.
@bpoletti While we're at it, why not add a life-sized replica of zebras and a couple of bobcats in prowling posture to complete the ambiance.
@arafiq 

Go away and play with your little stuffed animals.  Let the adults have a meaningful discussion.  
I auditioned those Rockport, very natural and good soundstage.  The VR 55 are more detailed,  not as natural sounding as the Rockport. 

Good luck,
Jose
Is there something specific that you don't like or want to change with your current speakers?  The Rockports and Magico are different flavors.  Is there one you preferred over the other.
@erik_squires I have not done the high pass filters as you mentioned. I am not well educated or qualified in those skills. If it is something easy and makes a big difference, I am going to start learning about them.
@bpoletti Just for sake of fun, I will try those trees.
If it is OK, can we keep the discussion to speakers only. 
As I mentioned, I am looking for speakers with better resolution, big soundstage, organic and sweet mids.
I liked the Musicality of Rockport's and the details of Magico. I am leaning more towards Magico kind of sound. 
I wish I could audition VSA VR-55 and JA pearls. People swear by them. Will be good to hear from people who have heard or auditioned or owned them. 
You have been preaching about room acoustics and treatments for a long time. I finally took your advice and ordered a few treatments from GIK. If I don’t like them I will be sending the invoice to you ... j/k


@arafiq Only if I get to pick the colors!
+1 JA Pearls.  From my experience I’d put them between Rockport and Magico house sound — more detailed than Rockport but more natural sounding than Magico.  Just my take FWIW.  Given what you’re looking for, I’d also put Nola on your list.  Their dipole dynamic drivers do special things for soundstage and a more “live” sound.  Boenicke is another one but very hard to find a dealer at this point.  Hope this helps, and best of luck.  
Hi Romney,

There are different versions of this:

https://www.parts-express.com/harrison-labs-fmod-inline-crossover-pair-70-hz-high-pass-rca--266-272

Some one else recently posted another type. I make my own, as they are just 1 capacitor. 

http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/High-Pass-Filter.htm

So, to use:

Plug your main speaker's ports.   This will simplify the speaker matching, and reduce cone excursion below port resonance.

Put in before you ramp.

Reset your sub.  You'll raise the crossover point to fill in the missing section you now have.

your levels should stay roughly the same.
@romney80

Speakers only sound as good as their environment allows and based on the way the upstream electronics perform.  The room is top on the list for problem correction.

All the speakers you listed are very good, but exactly WHY are you interested in replacing the 7T's?  What shortcoming / problem are you trying to fix with new speakers?  

If you must replace the 7T's and have a $35K cap on your expenditures, try looking at used Wilson speakers.  VERY GOOD RESOLUTION (!), in the right room and properly set up, they can have a huge soundstage.  With the right electronics, can sound quite organic and have sweet mids.  The downside is that low- and mid-line Wilsons are often brutally revealing of problems with upstream components.  Your components might be OK if they can handle the (sometimes very) lower impedance of the Wilsons    

The upside to Wilsons over their competitors is their excellent dynamics (use your seat belt).  That's important to classical and jazz.  The later ones seem to have sweeter high frequencies, IMO a shortcoming of their early designs (particularly the WATT).  

BUT LIKE ALL SPEAKERS, ESPECIALLY MORE EXPENSIVE ONES....   they should be auditioned where they will be used.  As in your listening room.  

Paradigm 9H is an excellent speaker. Wilson Audio Yvette as well
I would tend to agree with "soix".  Disclamer, I heard the Rockport Atria at a dealers house and at RMAF in 2019.  The Magico's I heard were at RMAF I believe they were the S5's.  I also heard the JA Pearls at RMAF.  Granted they may not be the same speakers you are interested in but the general tone signature if it holds for a specific line can tell you a lot.  To me the JA Pearls were the "just right" soup.  The Rockport seemed a little to subdued, the Magico a little too excited in the upper end and Pearl's just kept me entranced.  I can't comment on the others except the Nola at RMAF.  I liked them but not as well as the Pearls.  At this price point you need to audition even if it involves some traveling.  Your electronics seem very adaptable to any one of your choices.
Used pair of Raidho D-3.1's.  You will never want another speaker again.
@soix and @goose Agree with you guys. I have kept JA pearls in my list and like to hear them, when I get a chance. Regarding Boenicke, I listened to them while I was in NY (I think it was W8SE). For that size, it was unbelievable how large the soundstage was and even the bass, was wow. They are very musical and neutral. I heard side by side with Gamut RS7i, and I think it was pretty close. Good thing about Boenicke is that, you can carry it easily. This was one small wonder of a speaker. 
@bpoletti As I said, as with all good thing, change is imminent, especially for me. Also, I am just considering change with no final decision yet. I am also aware that, to beat the sound of 7Ts, the speakers should be real good. I still rave about them "they are best speakers nobody have heard". Regarding WA speakers, they are rear ported and the need little large room with at least 6 feet from back wall, to get best out of them. Speaker placement with WA is make or break. Besides, I am not sold on their looks, for some reason. 
Id vote for the VR55, have them now for a few years and love them. Great support from company as well.
Another very good speaker which is natural and neutral is the monitor audio Platinum 200 or 300 that AMT Tweeter is so sweet very wide deep sound stage three dimensional.
@gammajo Can you tell me more about your experience with them. What other speakers did you compare them too. Very few people own them and hard to get first hand information other than hear say. Your input will be very helpful. 
Quad 2812 or 2912 can sound fantastic, but do not know how loud you like to play your music. You have 2 subs so it should not be a problem with extra bass.
Quad... you either like them or you dont.
Your post really piqued my interest as I had a pair of Aerial 7B's until very recently. They were part of a  (dare I say) home theater system complete with the Aerial SW-12 sub, Aerial CCS center channel and Aerial surrounds. After 25 years of chasing the "Absolute Sound" I decided to chuck it and get into A/V and just use the L & R speakers for stereo listening using my Marantz A/V processor phono section and my 5 channel Sunfire amp. It was a big compromise but I'd had enough of chasing the dragon. Fast forward 20 years... Just this past January I got the bug again and decided to jump back in to the fray. I built a dedicated room for both audio and video and decided to upgrade.
I won't get into the video side of things but I did purchase a new cartridge, pre amp, amp, cables and connectors specifically for stereo listening only.  While awaiting delivery of my new speakers (Vandersteen Treo CT's) I hooked up the new system to my Aerial 7B's. Wow, what a difference. I'd never heard them sound so good. It was so satisfying that I wondered how the "comparably" priced Vandersteens could result in any real improvement. The Aerials were and still are a fine and very well built speaker.
I have now replaced the Aerials with the Vandy's and Wow again. I couldn't believe the amazing resolution I was hearing. I'm glad I made the change but I still can't part with my 7B's. They're just sitting in a corner now but they are such a beautiful example of engineering and build quality that I can't seem to part with them just yet. 
Anyway, it looks like you are prepared to spend far more on a speaker upgrade than I so I wish you luck. The Aerial's were fantastic in their day and still hold their own but I'm sure you'll find something newer that will open your ears to an even better listening experience. Good hunting!
Try something different, Genelec 8351b and W371A  with GLM to calibrate to your room. 
6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other. 

You mentioned a large sound stage. All dynamic speakers set up as point sources have small sound stages. Line sources generate a large sound stage. You can put yourself in the front row. Magneplanar 3.7i's or Sound Labs 545's fit the bill. You will love voices on these. Super natural. You already have the subs. As mentioned above a 2 way cross over is mandatory for the best performance.
I’ve noticed that the resale on most speakers on sites like a’gon are ~50 percent of MSRP give or take +/- 5 percent. Not sure what they actually sell for but that opens up a price point for you of at least $70k if you wanted to consider buying used. 
Now of course that price point doesn’t always necessarily translate into improved performance. Case in point, I went through the same exercise on here this past Spring at a lower price point (I think I said $25k) and listened to many of the speakers when things opened up in NY/NJ but wound up with the mighty Harbeth 40.2 Ann cause that was the speaker that wowed me into a blissful state. 
Good luck. Enjoy the ride.
The Charney Audio Concerto with AER BD-3 drivers will get you in under your budget and give you everything your looking for as well as deep engagement in the music. Or the Companion with AER BD-3 drivers will work well in your room and save you some $$. You can sell the Rel's and get rid of some of your room treatments.

Charney horns are designed on the tractrix theory and are not like conventional box or panel speakers. My room was well proportioned with treatments for the monitor/sub set up I had. With the Charney's I removed almost all of them except for the back/front walls, and some Michael Green corner treatments. The sound is wide, deep and engaging.

If your in the NJ,NY, area contact Charney for an audition. Its worth your time.
http://charneyaudio.com/

 
Romey, Much of the Von Schweikert discussion now happens on Whats Best Forum. In the past there was a very active group on Audio Circle. Personally I find VSA speakers to have a more life-like presentation (natural, fuller bodied, not tipped to the highs, and better articulation and slam in the bass) than when I have heard with Magico, Wilson etc in other systems. With VSA I have always had tubes in system in the preamp. They are exceptional in maintaining an excellent stereo image even when placed non-ideally such as fairly close to front wall, with wide sweet spot and no timbral shift regardless of where you are in room as listener, even listening against a side wall. Every time that I have upgraded anything else in the system, with VR55s easily convey the enhancement in performance. I tuned my system using a grand piano in same room as system and the VR55s more accurately convey the correct combination of string, wood box, hammer magic that is piano. The speakers rock out expectionally well, yet play sweet and properly sized on intimate acoustic music. Hope this helps
Thanks for shearing this post. This is very helpful info.
Rodge,

I agree that the Charney Audio speakers with the AER drivers are terrific sounding and they are a super bargain.  I liked the Charney with the Voxativ driver too, but, for my taste, the AER drivers sound better.  The other really BIG bonus is that the efficiency of these speakers allow the use of flea-powered tube amps, which I prefer over other kinds of amplification.

I don't know if removing room treatments is in order, but, it is certainly worthwhile experimenting in that direction.  I have often heard serious systems where the room sounded overdamped with audio treatments.  Some of the best rooms I've been in had minimal treatment, included the artificial ficus trees that bpoletti mentioned above.  
romney80

I also heard the Boenicke W8's at RMAF.  I couldn't believe the sound coming out of those speakers.  I went back for multiple listens and was simply smitten with there tone and musicality.  It had me wondering what the W11's would sound like.  In a smaller room the W8's would be a serious contender.  I have heard that they like a fair amount of current to drive them.
Have your dealer deliver and set-up the latest Magnepan speakers in your room.

Sit back and listen to the MUSIC instead of the system.

Cheers!
Romney80, I have a question about something you wrote:

" I have already done all room acoustics. "

I hope you don’t mind me asking for some clarification...

Are you primarily using absorption to treat your room, or are you using diffusion either primarily or in addition to absorption? Are you doing the same thing(s) throughout the room, or are you treating the first reflection zones differently from other areas? What is the wall behind the speakers like?

The reason I ask is, imo amp + speaker + room = a "system within a system", and in particular the interaction of speaker and room can play a significant role in soundstage and timbre. So according to this line of thinking, the room is a significant part of the equation when narrowing down speaker choices.

And depending on the specifics of how your room is treated, I may have a suggestion from among the speakers you mentioned.  

Duke
Romney80, bpolletti is spot on. The Aerial 's are an incredible speaker.
Your upgrade journey shall be very interesting. At the next level you will be doing yourself an injustice if you are not going to listen to them in your own environment . IMO next up would be Wilson Audio Sasha...
I heard them at a show in a less than stellar set up and they still sounded Incredible.
Just thought I’d mention there’s a nice used pair of Nola Baby Grands at SkyFi Audio for $25k.  Tough to beat at that price. 
@gammajo Thanks for your detailed info the sound quality of VR55. This helps.
@rodge827 @larryi I have not heard Charney audio and I will not deviate my path now. I am not close to NY/NJ and without listening to them, it is hard to get them, especially if I might have to sell it again as very few people know about these speakers (I myself came to know about them from you guys). 
I have heard Maggies and they sound incredible, But they are too big and intimidating to my taste. 
I wish I could hear more thoughts on speakers I mentioned, rather than trying to sway me away in different directions. I know everybody have passion for their "best speakers", and I appreciate that. 
Regarding room treatment, I have done fair degree of bass traps, diffusers and absorption panels from GIK without overwhelming. I am fairly happy with that set up. 
Has anybody heard or have experience with Marten Mingus or Vimberg Tonda or Vivid Giya or Rockports ?
Goose, spot on analysis of Magico versus Joseph Audio versus Rockport sound.  I remember being bowled over by the orginal Pearls at RMAF and Jeff's models have just gotten better. So tonally spot on for me.
Owning a used pair of Raidho D3.1s would probably stop me looking again forever.  Michael's new Borresen brand stuff is rather nice although pricy.

I do enjoy Rockports, Tidal, Acoustic Zen, and many others. Finally, there sure is absolutely nothing wrong with the great current system you own, Romney80, so you can take your time with this and smile for a long time afterwards when you've found the perfect pair. At that price point, I think you can, especially with great used speakers, the way I'd go.
Romney80, thank you for the additional information about your room treatments.   

One of the reasons I was asking is that one of the speakers on your list, the Von Schweikert VR55, uses a rear-firing driver.  (So do the Boenickes, and obviously dipoles like Maggies and SoundLabs radiate energy to the rear).  If that rear-firing energy is absorbed, it cannot make the beneficial contribution the designer intended.  If it is reflected or diffused, then it can.  

A rear-firing driver can improve the timbre and sense of envelopment and immersion in the soundscape on the recording (assuming good setup and a good recording, and provided the room isn't overly damped).  I can explain if you'd like.  

So my inclination is to recommend the Von Schweikerts, assuming your room acoustics are appropriate, or assuming you would be willing to re-arrange them a bit if needed.  

Duke  
loudspeaker designer
In the process of a speaker upgrade. Going from Tannoy Revolution XT8F to GoldenEar Triton Reference. They aren't coming in until February (blaming COVID). Can't wait for the result.
Who in their right mind would spend 35k on speakers?
I have heard various Magico and Von Schweikert speakers, although I don't recall the specific models.  The Magicos sounded okay, but, I did not find them that musically engaging (they seemed a bit  lacking in dynamics at my preferred (lower) volume level for listening). 

I have, not that long ago, heard the Avior II and I liked them.  They are decent sounding speakers, but again, not quite lively enough for my taste. A nice choice, nonetheless, among conventional speakers.  I think some of the higher end Vandersteens should be something to look into, and those should be easy to locate for an audition.

Given the price range you are shopping in, it might make sense to wait until you can attend a show that offers a wide enough array of candidates. 
I've decided speakers are like motorcycles there is no single do it all, too many compromises.

 My previous system had 2 pair of speakers  the R105/3 ROCKED, could sustain 114 db with very low distortion and detailed enough to hear the singers breathe, but sometimes I wanted a different perspective so I added the VA beethovens that I could swap out for jazz or other easy listening. I saved some money and decided I wanted a pair of those class A speakers I'd been reading about. I just want to suggest the chances for success for you, especially if you stay with passive speakers is slim. 

Before deciding, please give a try to Diesis Audio and Wolf Von Langa speakers, if you do not prefer open baffle, then go for WWL., wolf von langa model Son is really good one to chose...good luck...
I have a pair of Cube Audio Nenuphar Mini’s that are supposed to arrive next week. I’d do some due diligence on them. What’s attracted me to them is they’re easy to drive, easy to place, and well within your budget. I’ve heard they tick all the boxes regarding imaging, detail, tone, dynamics, etc. My pair is coming in a special walnut finish. I know Pete B from avshowreports has heard many many high end speakers and often uses hyperbole, but his reaction to these speakers really peaked my interest. I will post thoughts in the cube thread once I get some time with them but I would check out the reviews. 
Do not upgrade without extensive listening to whatever you want to get.  You could spend a lot and get worse sound.  Enjoy the music.