Speakers for vocalists

Just a short question on any suggestions on speakers that people think are particularly strong for vocal reproductions. Any suggestions are welcome.
Hi Bryanhod,

The best I've heard are Harbeth's, in particular the M30 and M40.

Good luck,
Apogee or Maggies IMHO...I own Apogee but could live with Maggies if I had to.

If your interest in voice is tonal as opposed to high resolution/pin point stereo imaging look at the Spendor line - the up side is they are know for their ability to portray voices well and they are easy to drive. If you also want pin point imaging look at Silverlines but they are revealing enuf to cause you to be careful about what you use to drive them. And FWIW I'm enjoying some Tyler Linbrooks I'm presently breaking in.
Much of the appeal of full-range electrostats such as Quads (old & new), Martin Logan CLS series, and Sound Labs (which I peddle) is their natural-sounding reproduction of the human voice.

Not that 'stats are the only type that can do vocals well, but it is an area in which they shine.
ProAc is incredible at vocal reproduction. Especially their monitors. Try to audition the Tablette Ref 8. It is excellent and affordable.
Add J.M. Reynaud also.
ATC SCM 12 or any of the other ATC speakers.
If you want to go cheap, Spica TC-50
Lowther horns--- You just won't believe---Not that much denero either.BLEW-AWAY my Montana's(Scan Speak)--No, the're not huge circumference Avantgarde nor huge rectanguler Klipsh that eat up your room--- Just 8' round drivers; average size cabinets------
I second the Lowther nomination, but get the newest series of drivers, which have pretty much solved the "shout" issue in the upper midrange. The older ones can have a bit of an excessive peak in the high midrange, which could affect female vocals. The transparency and detail and speed of these drivers is purely amazing.
Vandersteen 3a Signatures and up.
Any of the classic Spendor speakers will do exceptionally well at vocal reproduction.
ACI Jaguars or Sapphires
For the ultimate in vocals-electrostatics and tubes.Add a subwoofer to get all the fundamentals.
What planar speakers can do to voice no other can, the likes of Quad, Maggies, ML, Apogees etc.
Some speakers are definitely better than others for voice. My Maggie 1.6 are pretty good I think, and do a lot of other things well. However, many years ago I had KLH5 and KLH12 speakers that were the best I have ever heard for voice. They were three way, with a pair of very light paper cone midranges, about 3 inches in diameter. When I visited the Smithsonian museum of Science and Industry in Washington DC I noticed that they used KLH5 speakers for the displays which included spoken word audio.

When auditioning speakers, an old trick is to turn off the music and listen to an FM radio station where a man is speaking. The human voice is a "test signal" that we all are familiar with. If voice sounds natural, you probably have a good speaker.

I agree with you 100%! The human voice is the ultimate test signal. Not just a Mans voice but female vocal too. At one time I used a few tracks like "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega for my reference besides others.
Quadophile...Female vocalist is a good "test signal", for overall quality and imaging, but a man's voice will root out any tendancy to bass boominess.
SET and horns. Everything else sounds like music from a box to my ear. Just heard Avantgarde's the other day, and I swear it sounded like a live concert, especially on a CD of a gospel choir. I've heard planars, electrostatics, and ultra-high end paper cone speakers, and while many sound fantastic, I can always corral the music in my mind. I can pinpoint it as a definable, palpable body. With the horns, however, the analysis disappears, and I am simply overtaken by the natural presence of the music.
Are electrostatic speakers power hogs or are they very efficient? I have Rowland M201 amps and is that a good fit for these electrostatic speakers?
Most if not all electrostatic speakers are power hogs.
In general full-range, non-hybrid electrostats do indeed like lots of power, but quality is more important than a high wattage rating.

I'm a dealer for both Jeff Rowland and Sound Lab, and the combination works quite well although I do prefer the added power of the 501.
Single driver speakers that sound boxless. These can be fostexs or lowthers with tubes or (ideally) full-range, non-hybrid electrostats with tubes. Less ambitious boxes and crossovers can be bad. As a general rule, it may be best to avoid them. I suggest electrostats for human voice with the caveat for human voice and preferably no electronic instruments. Electrostats fare best with acoustic sounds. YMMV.
While I agree that my Magnepan 3.6's reproduce human voice fairly accurately, the thing that bugs me is that it produces too large of an image and soundstage. Its like a 6 foot mouth in front of me, does this bug anyone else? I guess soundstage and image height is both its strength and weakness depending on what is being played.
Kkm...Some recordings are like that, but others give pinpoint imaging. It's not the speakers. Maybe you need to fiddle with placement or room treatment, especially the wall behind the speakers.

The point source concept is overrated. Even if the sound source is nearly a point (and voice is the only example of this that I can think of) sound waves propogate away from the source, and by the time they reach 10 or 15 feet what you have is a (nearly) planar wavefront. That's what a planar speaker replicates. The point source lies well behind the speakers themselves.

I have a set of three MG1.6, so my center channel imaging is not an issue. However, I sometimes play 2 channel programs, or multichannel ones where the center channel is not used, and it is impossible to verify that the center speaker is silent without walking up to it and puting an ear to it.
The best I've heard are the ATCs (from 50s upwards).
Lowther horns + 300B SET . Just listen !
Another vote for products sporting a FR driver (or "wide range" to be more precise). One driver will cover the voice range; nothing worse than an iffy xover right in the middle of the tenor's ocal range...
An unusual product that might tickle yr fancy for ~1,5k is the Bastanis Prometheus (for more info check out a sponsored forum @ AA).
That would be far cheaper than a Lowther+300B (this is a suberb combo, BTW)
Gregm...Did you know that the human voice has several vocal cords? In other words, not a full range driver :-)
Avantgarde Horns and tube amps. I have AG Duos driven by my tube amps (Verdier Control B preamp and valve psu and Quad IIs) and a vinyl front end (Platine Verdier, Schroeder model 2, Allaerts MC1B). Vocalists really ARE in the room with you. Listen to a well set up pair of AG horns and you'll be stunned by the vocals.
Another vote for FR drivers/non-crossover speakers.
El -- good point! Problem, as always, is determining the right x-over frequency from one cord to the other. Indeed, recent studies have shown that these differ from one human to another -- hence making the choice of spkrs x-over frequencies a very personal matter... Cheers
Gregm...Maybe God knew what he was doing when he designed the human voice. Just joking, but it always surprises me how many technical "inventions" have parallels in biology.
In a dynamic loudspeaker the FJ's do a great job with vocals as do the Zingali's.
I have another horn set up.---I don't /won't try to say this is the best. But if you get a chance listen to the SAP Quartets.Don't have a clue where they stand with the A Gs---or any other horn but for the Lowthers;which I know well, and these make 'them' sound like toys.
Try the SAP J2001 speakers. I love the vocal from these wonderful horn.
I just learned of some further analogies between biological structure and multidriver speaker systems. The little hairs of the inner ear which sense sound vibrations came in three types: long, medium, and short, sensitive to low, mid, and high frequency, respectively. But even more interesting, after the vibrations have been converted to electrical signals and transmitted to the brain via the cochlear nerve, processing of the signal is accomplished in two physically separate areas of the brain, high frequency in one area and low frequency in the other.
They're not vocal cords so much as vocal folds. Like a Heil. ; )
Suits_me..."like a Heil". Just one more example of technology mimicking biology.
Majority of time/phase coherent speakers are outstanding with vocals...Vandersteen,Green Mountain,Meadowlark,etc...Maggies are also very good with vocals...actually,,,it a speaker doesnt excel at vocals...it isnt a hi-end speaker in my estimation...
I am a bit surprised that nobody mentioned Sonus Faber. I have a Magnaplanar 1.6QR someone mentioned here(very good, very natural with excellent texture). Heard the Avantgarde Uno horn (fantastic presence like you are amongst the musician, literally). And other speakers. IMHO, the best vocal comes from Sonus Faber because it just sounded so 'right'.