Speakers suggestions for my setup and room please


I have to ask the experts here on your thoughts....

Room: @18 X 18 X 8 ft ceiling, on the cozy side

Output System: AI Mod 3A preamp, Atma-Sphere M60 Mk2, B&W CDM-1 monitor speakers

Musical tastes: symphonic, solo, chamber classical music; folk/acoustic; pop/electronic; Tom Waits (yep he's his own category)

My main reason for considering new speakers is that I've realized through listening to the various speakers out there and my own that my current B&W CDM-1 is just by nature not the last word on large-scale symphonic music. It should come as no surprise, but perhaps now I am going to finally get a system I can really enjoy for all my musical tastes, not just the non-symphonic stuff.

I am looking for full-range speakers, not towering ones since my room is not that huge. I know my room itself will present a limit to how much it will sound "large scale," but I am hoping to find ones that will maximize that potential.

I have classical music training, have played in and listened to hundred and hundreds of symphony concerts in the finest halls by the finest orchestras (NY Phil, LA Phil in Disney Hall, Saint Louis Symphony, Cleveland in Severance Hall, Seattle in Benaroya...) so I would really value the symphonic experience, perhaps more than any other genre of music. (yes, I know....a bigger listening room?)

I am game for electrostatics if you think my system will match those well.

Any suggestions would be helpful!

Thank you.
You should focus on something efficient. Absolutely not electrostats unless you plan to change amps. I'm sure Ralph at Atma Sphere would suggest some very good pairings.

Based on the diversity of your music I'd suggest Coincident. You didn't give a price range but there are many models that can fall inside any budget.
Another efficient design that is compact and should do what you want are Reference 3a speakers. They make both slim towers and stand-mounted monitors. They mate well with tube electronics. The ones I've heard have been very impressive. If there is no dealer near you, you can deal directly with the manufacturer, and they will let you do an in-home audition.

What's your budget?
You have the uneviable square room dimensions which is a tough hurdle to overcome. Look to highly adjustable speakers like VMPS which allow you to tailor the sound via tweeter, midrange, and bass adjusting to get the best sound in YOUR room, not just the store. Whatever you decide, if you're having a hard time getting the sound from your system you'd like, try having your system oriented so it's shooting diagonally from one corner towards the opposite corner. Jim Smith, the sound guru who sets up systems for shows and people's own home systems, has that tip especially for near square rooms. Specifically, the VMPS RM30, 626R, or the RM-2 would give you tremendous dynamics, clarity and transparency throughout all frequencies, bass that will massage your colon, and ADJUSTABILITY to get the best sound in your room. Good luck, Bob
This one is a no brainer-Shahinian! All of his speakers sound great with symphonic music, just buy the model that you can offord. Good luck!
Jimhsu, I like Dorkwad's suggestion of an adjustable-tuning speaker and diagonal setup. In some cases a semi-diagonal setup works better; imagine rotating the speaker-listener-speaker triangle only about 15 or 20 degrees instead of the full 45 degrees that would take you all to way to the diagonal.

Given that you own M-60s, attention should be paid to the impedance curve of the speakers. Above 8 kHz or so, the largest Shahinian has an impedance of about 1.5 ohms, and this will result in a dull tonal balance given the M-60's relatively high output impedance. Presumably smaller model Shahinians have a more friendly impedance curve, but that should be established before you vote with your wallet. Coincident and Reference 3a have much more friendly impedance curves. Your present speakers, the B&W CDM-1s, do not have a particularly friendly impedance curve; I would expect them to have some excess energy between 1 and 2 kHz when driven by the M-60.

I do like the way the larger Shahinians interact with the room, but there are alternatives that are more compatible with Atma-Sphere amps.

Thanks all! Duke's speakers seem very exciting and spec-appropriate. I will look at all of your suggestions. Looking at @ $3k but if the perfect one comes along can consider stretching that.

Used to have a CJ mv-75 that was nice on the Cdm-1. Just not bigger scale stuff.

Good to find so many efficient speaker candidates. Zu is another?
look at the Emerald Physics CS3 ... comes with a "room eq" to tailor its response in your home and your room at 18' sre is NOT ideal ... the CS3 is the latest and can be driven by a single amp. very efficient so it should be a good match with the Atmasphere amp ... they also have a home trial policy for the speakers
I used Dukes' speakers in my room in a diagonal set-up at one point. Worked out very well. Here is some more information on room acoustics and speaker placement. If you scroll through the article you will see a discussion on the diagonal set up and some benefits:


Audiokinesis speakers are compatible with Atma-Sphere amps, I use my Jazz Module with the S-30. The Rhythm Prism's seem to fit your budget at $2500.