I would say higher end Revel...they are very revealing like THiels...but with outstanding bass qualities...they are pricey...but then again...thiels aint cheap either...
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I couldn't agree more. For I have loved Thiels, and when I was ready to buy my dealer asked me to demo Revels. I was immediately hit by how much of the Thiel clarity they had but with a much better sound stage. Much more robust mid range. The term Thiel on steroids certainly is appropriate. I have the Studios. The Salons are excellent as well but not necessarily better. Large capacity.
You should add the InnerSound Eros Mk-II or Mk-III versions to your list. They play louder than the Martin Logans and are more coherent and efficient. They have pristine detailes highs, extended and articulate bass, and better attack and transient response than most speakers I have heard. Definitely in your price range.
Obviously people don't read so well...because speakers that "jazzdude" mentioned which HE WAS NOT INTERSTED IN INCLUDED REVELS(SALONS/STUDIOS)!!!!. So why are people recommending he consider those???!
"jazzdude", I think with those SPL's you're after, you might consider renaming your self "rocknrolldude!!!!"(HA!)
Seriosly though, I think what you're asking however is totally reasonable, and should be had at a much more reasonable price than a $20k price point! I too like my speaker systems to do what you're asking, and then some! I have found few high end designs that can achieve this level of dynamics, output, authority, slam, and yet still be, well, "perfect everywhere else"!..and who wouldn't...it's the audiophile dream speaker I guess. Best I've ever found, IMO is Avantgard horns, ATC actives, and Avlar actives. The horns starting at $11k new, but off axis listenability isn't there if you need it with those. Everything else is $30k and above. Those are all powered speakers mostly. Best I know of for passive designs is Wilson WATTPUPPIES over all. And, you're right, they're not "lightyears away from the Thiels" for all that money however. Still, if you cross the "WATT PUPPIES" over with some sort of bass management system, and do "active woofers", you'll be doing as good as you could with passive designs IMO.(but nothings perfect)
I assume you're listening to rock, techno, pop, R&B, or some other higher dynamic material when you're listening that loud mostly, yes? Or am I wrong? Are we talking movie chores here as well?(are you using a pre/pro for movies?..you should be!).
Before you dump your Thiels, you might consider crossing your Thiels over with a digital pre/pro at 80hz or thereabouts, and letting a dedicated powered sub(s) take the dynamic strain off your mains for the heavier dynamic stuff! The dynamic potential here is much greater! Yes, you might find running full range from your 2 channel high end preamp(if you're using one) more, well, high end and transparant sounding...BUT YOU CAN DO IT THIS WAY ONLY WHEN LISTENING TO LESS THAN TRANSPARENT AND REFINED SOURCES IF YOU LIKE!(MOVIES,TECHNO, MOST ROCK,ETC). Another considerationn for your 2 channel needs(I think 2 ch)
I think, with the exception of the likes of Avantgard horns(have you considered those?..although you must sit infront of them to enjoy the sound) and ATC actives or similar, you might have to consider some of the "powered" towers out there. INfinity Prelude MTS's and NHT VT3's have 500-800 watt built in powerd amp/driver combo's, which raise the dynamics stakes quite a bit! NOt only do these speakers have more hi-end clarity, transparancy, and detail, but they have more dynamic ablitity than what you'll find in the Thiel line.(although you may or may not find them as refined as you're taste in Thiels, I don't know...but they do have that "uncolored sound" like the thiels.) System matching and room considerations( I assume you have a larger room?...) are always to be considered. And you can't get a proper judge by going to another location to hear stuff...so you might check em out. Sounds like, however, you may be "choosy" about your preferences. And everyone's different.
I once took a pair of Thiel 2.3's(which I owned) and modified them to accept a "biamp" set up. The result was not good overall. While I did indeed achieve higher dynamic ability from the speaker(the original goal), the balance was not good from the internal crossover, and sounded thin and bright!(I guess you need to be a "speaker guru" to do better than the manufacture) I really don't see a need to spend that kind of money on speakers myself, and feel manufatures should could be making "Thiel-clarity" speakers with more "guts" and "slam" for less! I for one think all high end speaker makers should be making at least one "active" or "powered woofer" designed speaker in their line! The world might just be a better place in the end, if you ask me...
The wilsons have a bit of a sensitivity advantage, and I think thus sound more dynamic and authoritative on their own than most passive speakers, and certainly better than the Thiels(at least you need a MUCH BIGGER AMP TO MAKE THE THIELS JUMP!)(also, what amp are you using???) The wilson all run close to the mid 90's(93-96?) in db sensitivity at 1 watt. And they tend to all have dual ported bass woofers usually, which reinforces the dynamics at those frequencies.
If manufacturers like Thiel and Wilson ever start making "ACTIVE SPEAKERS", the stakes would rise TREMENDOUSLY in the dyanamics/slamm department! The would sound more like Avantgard horns, ATC active speakers, and the likes in authority, speed, and dynamic attack and wieght!..more closely approaching "dynamic transparancy"(not an easy trick for a hi-end speaker).
I do feel most all high end speakers(usually passive designs) tend to fall the shortest in terms of "total transparancy" in the dynamics department! Actives, horn speakers, and other higher efficiency designs tend to have more dynamic abitity by far, in my experience. INfact, most pro audio offerings(more efficient/sensitive???) sound more dynamic than most home audiophile rigs...but they also don't sound as refined.(this is why I think J.Gordon Holt from Stereophile called the ATC active speakers the best speaker system he's heard I think!). If we could get more high end speaker makers to do the "active thing", the sound would potentially jump way up in terms of realism!!!...IMO, of course. MOst I've talked with say it's too difficult, and costly to do "active" speakers. And they think most audiphiles want to "play around" with different amps and such anway. And there you are.
I personally don't see any reason that Hi-end speaker designers can't produce a speaker enclosure and driver compliment, and sell an acompanying external crossover and amp combo to match it!!!..or, to simplify things for them, AT LEAST MAKE THEIR SPEAKER'S WOOFER'S ACTIVE!!!...Like Def Tech, Infinity, and a huge percentage of other speaker makers have!
Yeah, I know, the Meridian and Linn speaker lines have active offerings. But I've NEVER BEEN IMPRESSED by the "refinement" and overall refinement from what those companies have produced! I would much rather just cross my Thiels over at 80hz from a pre/pro, and let an active powed sub do by dirty work than own those personally! For lighter dubty music material, I would just run em full range.
Anyway, you might consider some of the above suggestions.
Otherwise, if you found a pair of used W.Puppies out their someone was "unloading", you could do the "cross-over" thing with em, and do powered subs for bottom end. Overall, with good acoustics in your room, you should get excellent results that way. But try it with the Thiels first.
The larger Thiels just don't have the air and high-frequency extension of the smaller ones. The CS7.2 and CS6 still have the unmistakeable Thiel midrange but sometimes it gets buried by the bass. The Thiel CS3.6 might just do the trick for me. I have considered adding a sub to my system but I fear a loss of transparency from the additional cabling and sub crossover network. It is still an option. I have sent Thiel and email inquiring about the SW1 but have not recieved a reply yet. Supposedly the SW1 is in production but I have not seen a single post from anyone who uses it. Can anyone recommend a first-rate sub?
My current amplification is Sim Audio Moon W-5. It has made a tremendous difference in the dynamics, speed, transparency of my system. Obviously having the right amp is essential to helping your speakers achieve their potential.
Foreverhifi2000, at the risk of sounding ignorant, what is the difference between an active speaker and hooking up a Bryston powerpack to any other speaker? I'm just not familiar with actives at all. Linn was doing a demo nearby for a dealer last night. Their featured product was Linn's active loudspeaker. I wanted to go but was unable. I think they said the speaker was 40k.
The big advantage for active speakers is that the crossover is done at line level which allows for more accurate filter characteristics. From what you've said, the ATCs fit your criteria, but you'll need to listen carefully to its treble. It may not be as refined as the Thiels or Wilson. You also might want to consider the PMC product (distributed in North America by Bryston). With either brand, at least with their active products, you won't need a power amplifier and they should be driven with a balanced cable from a balanced preamp.
The SW1 has been on the streets for at least a year. I have heard it and it is great. Obviously it would match other thiel speakers perfectly. It has a crossover control unit which is separate purchase. Check out the specs. at their web site to determine whether it would be helpful. I think the sub is definitely an answer to some the issues you have raised. The thiel sub is expensive.
The Thiel subwoofer has been out as a home theatre piece, but the electronics to use it propoerly in a two-channel system are not yet out, that's my understanding. When it's ready, however, the combination with the 2.3's might meet all of your needs.
Agree with recommendation to look at Dunlavy and I also wonder if the Wilson Sophia might be a candidate. It may be preferable to the W/P 7 in some respects, plus a lot cheaper.
Drubin's list is pretty good. However, if you are a Thiel person and the Revels weren't the difference you were looking for I would really go to a thiel dealer and listen to the thiel sub with your or similar thiel speakers and see if that hits the spot. They will deal with you somewhat on the price.
Try Green Mountain Audio. Roy Johnson's speakers are phase and time aligned and will play at the decibels you're asking for. The speakers image extemely well. They do require a fair amount of power to play loud however. The only Thiels I've auditioned were the 2.2 which I didn't think had any bass at all and the 3.6 which had great bass but everything through the mid-treble sounded somehow altered or processed. They just didn't give me the illusion of reality that the Green Mountains do.
With enough good quality juice behind them they play quite loud w/o distortion or compression - haven't used a SLM to verify but they should give you close to what you want in output, They definetely have more "headroom" than the 2.3s, at least in my experience. They also extend down pretty flat to 30hz - if you need more extension and slam below that the SW1 (when it becomes available) might be the ticket. I also prefer the midrange of the 3.6s to the 2.3s (not that the 2.3s are bad).
If you can give them a listen....
"jazzdude" I'm not familiar with the Bryston Powerpack, so I can't comment. But an active speaker is any speaker design(like powered subs) where the crossover is before the amplifier, and the amp is DIRRECTLY ATTACHED TO THE DRIVER(S)!...the result is MUCH MUCH more damping factor and control over the driver! Passive designs(the most common) you're most familiar with all have internal passive crossover networks AFTER THE AMPLIFIER! The amp must go throgh this passive network before it attaches to the driver(s)...this is not as efficient from an electro-mechanical/control standpoint
Yeah, you know I to am an admirer of the Thiels. I have liked the Thiel 2.3's and 1.5's in the past in my room. The 1.5 makes a much better music speaker than HT speaker however, as it sound stage is too low generally, and the speaker pressents itself a little too laid back in the pressence reigion. for some reason, the 2.3's worked WAY better for HT dubties in all situations I've heard em in! Either way, you have to cross em both over higher for HT purposes. With big strong amps, and a proper set up, you can get very nice clean, detailed, pretty, high-end sound for HT with the 2.3's, and it's pretty dynamic crossed over to a sub(s). While I didn't get a chance to catch the 2.4's at the show. I have briefly listened to the 1.6's for music...I liked em! I think the higher efficiency helps them in the dynamics as well(1.6's)! IF they have more pressence to the sound, and aren't as laid back through the midrange, I think they'll make great chioces for HT speakers in the right room/set up..but I don't have the experience with that scenario. I do look foreward to hearing the 2.4's reall soon. Anyone comment more extensively on the 2.4's?