CJ MV-60, not 50.
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WAF and a slightly soft top being huge factors in our HT (secondary) system, I went with gorgeous Spendor S3/1p in rosewood, used for $800, atop the Target-clone 4 pillar Plateau v23 (inch) shot/sand-fillable stands from Canada ($200). Hard to beat for $1k, and far more sensitive and bigger bottom than the diminutive S3. Whatever you decide, be sure to demo IN-ROOM, and have fun.
A couple recommendations: The Von Schweikert VR1's would be a good choice and you could add the VR1 subwoofer down the road which would give you the same or better sound than the Vr2 floorstand ( there is a Vr2 for sale on Audiogon for $1600 - great price)
Also, Source Technology (www.sourcetechspeakers.com) has a great reputation - although under the radar - they sell a monitor 1.7CF that might be a great fit for you in the price point you seek.
Best of Luck
I agree with recommendation for the Spendor SP3/1P, providing the inimitable, beautiful, British sound. When I used a 35 watts per channel tube amp, there was no way to make these ever sound harsh, even with poor recordings. If you want a more modern, elegant look, consider Platinum Audio Solo's, one of the reasonable sized monitor speakers which the same 35 tube watts per channel drove beautifully, against the advice of the giant transistor amp boys. The clarity was even better, and the bass extension in another world compared to the more reserved Spendor. If your wife will be listening with you, the Spendor is more relaxed, and less dramatic, and that might tip the scales.
Keep the Vandies...the above mentioned speakers are not substantial enough of an upgrade in my humble opinion my dealercarries Vandersteen,Spendor, and Sonus Faber,,,however...if WAF is a must...then the entry level SOnus Faber...for the record...I own GMA Europas...and am a strong proponet of "phasecorrect" sound...
Thanks to all for your responses. The Spendor solution intrigues me, Subaruguru and Listener57. We had a similar discussion last year, Phasecorrect, about this time, when the Quad 12L's first came out. Planars are out of the question because of the way they look. If I were to save my coin, and could go up to 2k, then what? Sorry to try your patience. Thanks again. W
Well...sounds like you are more unhappy with the Vandies cosmetics than anything else...and the Europas look cool in a Stanley Kubrick retro way...Joseph AUdio makes a nice monitor under 2k that looks great as well...good luck...many choices in this range....by the way...contact me when you are serious about upgrading..I would be interested in your vandies...
If you really are inclined to stay within your current budget, is there a way to apply a cosmetic finish on the GMA Europa cabinet to blend with the decor your wife prefers? This would be only if you end up picking the Europa.
I recently visited an audiophile whose obtrusive, giant Klipschorn bass cabinets were delicately decorated with a floral design, I think applied by an artistic wife.
Please arrange to listen to your choice of speakers, in person. Even if it is not in your own home, you can get a sense of overall quality, especially bass output, the Achilles heel of some stand mounted monitor speakers.
Your request for advice at $2000 level raises the possibility of Platinum Audio Reference 1's which are able to sound musical, clear, and full range, even with modest tube amp output in moderate sized room, although to really storm the heavens they can benefit from BIG AMPS. This is one of those speakers where the sound simply cannot be coming from such modest sized cabinets. This avoids taking over your room visually, but is definitely a modern design, not for early American or antique decor.
Since this is a hobby for you, it would be fun to make a change now, in your budget, and if you have actually listened to your choice there will be no buyer's remorse. There will always be a "better" component at a higher price, but why delay what can be enjoyed in the present?
The Von Scweikert VR-1's in African Hazelwood finish look stunning. Check out the system of Megasam here in Audiogon. High-mass stands are must for the VR-1's (e.g. Target HR60 or Osiris), therefore, factor the cost of stands in your budget. Performancewise, the VR-1's are fast, detailed and have a HUGE soundstage. They really sound big! They should match well with your warmish CJ amp. Bass is also excellent for their size. GMA Europa's are also an excellent buy but WAF is low IMHO.
Wiley, take a look at the Kinima G3s on ebay. Read the info there and check Zetagcorp website. I have the G1s with Audio Aero and it works out great. Zetag did go belly up, but the remaining few speakers left are going about a quater of what the retail was. Electronicsforless also has a few pairs left. Also, consider the craftsmanship, looks, not to big of a foot print will get the WAF in your favor.