Speakers to consider around 5k used?


I'm a newbie to the high quality world of audio. I'm interested in getting a decent system together. I'm looking for the highest quality speaker in the 4-6k range used. My listening habits are eclectic. Primarily Electronic, Rock/Pop, Classical/Soundtrack, and Traditional/Folk. My room size is an average sized USA house living room. I don't want a speaker that is overly detailed or bright that leads to harshness or fatigue, neither one that is too warm or veiled. I want a neutral speaker that is realistic and true to source without being difficult to listen to, especially in the highs. I am starting with the speakers, and have no other hi-fi equipment. However, I'm considering a network DAC player for my source.

What speakers should I be looking at and which are the best in this range available?

Thanks
Aqua
aquablu8
Where are you located?
You could get Maggie 3.7's new at your budget. Great speakers with wonderful ribbon tweeter
Alan
DC area
Are you thinking floor standing or stand mount?
Is a subwoofer an option?
Will you be doing home theater with the speakers?
Have you gone out to audition any speakers at high end stores?
I would think DC would have a few good ones.
I don't know what to audition yet. Also since I"m buying used, I don't know if auditioning was OK, is it?

I'd prefer floorstanders, but If i can get better quality with standmount + sub, I'll look at them. Home theater is secondary to music.

Speakers that I have heard might suit me;

Dynaudios
Ariels
Gallos
Revel
SF
Focal

I'm sure I'm missing plenty of options though in my price range.
You can get Audiokinesis speakers new for under $5k. They are relatively efficient and flexible as to room placement due to the port tuning capability. The top end can be tweaked as well. I have a pair and have used multiple types of amps with them and listen to a variety of music. Unless you have ├╝ber powered solid state amps these speakers should meet your needs.
I think Sonus Faber is a good recommendation and possibly Dynaudio too, and to those I'd add Joseph Audio, Nola, and Vandersteen. You're fortunate to have many good high-end dealers within an hour or so (traffic permitting of course), so definitely go start listening and I bet something will jump out at you. But by all means at least give them a chance to earn your business (new or used) if you're utilizing their time/resources. And don't forget to bring your own music. Best of luck.
PSB Synchronicity One might bar one to consider.
http://www.stereophile.com/content/psb-synchrony-one-loudspeaker-page-2
Maybe check out Von Schweikert speakers as well. They would meet your criteria.

Since you are thinking used and could get a more recent edition in the range you are looking at.

Or you might consider the VR-33, which is sold direct from Von Schweikert, with a trial period. Factory direct eliminates the middle man's markup. An advantage of these is that they are designed to be close to a wall, and won't need to be as out in the room as many other options in this price range will (Maggies especially, I am told).
Check out Zu. Great speakers, several in your price range. The just released DruidV is amazing. 60 day guarantee. Incomparable customer service.
I have compared all of the speakers mentioned minus audiokinesis and revels. Although not side by side. I ended with Kef r900. Based on your likes I would demo these if you can. List 5k and for me it was easy to decide. I will say the speakers mentioned are rather fine, my second choice were the Joseph audio perspective then new Dynaudio's. I also believe you will not like the Sonus Faber's
Saw some Genesis V's listed for $3200. 3 days left. Adjustable but should not be close to walls. IRL?
You should be able to pickup a demo pair of the Legacy Signatures around five and they are awesome.
From your original post, my impression is that you are sensitive to edgy highs. I am too, and for the past year or so I've been happily using PBN Montana EPS2s, which often show up here in your price range. Presently, there is a pair of lovely Montana EPXs here for 4800, which probably go deeper than the EPS2s, which might be useful for some of your listening tastes. Both are big speakers, but play well close to walls so the functional space requirements are less than many smaller speakers.

Of those on your list, you could find the SF Cremona (or Cremona M), for around your PP used, and the Gallo Ref 3.5 for considerably less new. I think you'd find the highs on both tolerable. I prefer the Montanas to the Cremona, which is pretty pricey for a small tower. The 3.5s do a lot of things incredibly well; I had a pair in my house this summer, but ended up staying with my Montanas.

Good luck!

John
The lease expensive and most trouble free way for you to do this is to go out and listen to some speakers and then make a decision based on what you thought was best. If you choose a different path, the chance of making a mistake is very high. I would say at least 75% to 80%.

Another thing, and just as important, is to not use 5K as a target price. Find something you like first, and then look at the price. You may very well find something you like for a lot less. And if that's not the case and you end up wanting something for more money, better to just save up and get that instead of wasting 5k on something you won't like.
I recommend the Philharmonic 3 speaker. Dennis Murphy builds them in the DC area. They are only $3500 new but they sound like a $20k speaker. For your budget, you could have them build a beautiful piano finish cabinet to your specifications. If their form factor appeals to you, I wouldn't buy anything else until you went over to hear them yourself.

http://philharmonicaudio.com/

Bob
The lease expensive and most trouble free way for you to do this is to go out and listen to some speakers and then make a decision based on what you thought was best. If you choose a different path, the chance of making a mistake is very high. I would say at least 75% to 80%.

Obviously, listening around is important -- and fun. But I think the confidence this should give one in a purchase is overrated -- unless one can audition in home with the kit you plan to use.

For my last three serious speakers purchases, I bought two pairs unheard, and one after a couple of careful listenings. The two unheard speakers lasted 5 yrs and approaching 2 years (and counting) in my system, the auditioned ones two weeks.

My preference is to listen, of course, but I'd personally not be too anxious about buying a well researched unheard of pair of used speakers at a good price. Also, many internet dealers and manufacturers offer generous home trails, so next to no risk if you go that way.

John
Zu Definition mkiii fits your budget and your music tastes perfectly. The powered subs are perfect for rock and electronica. They are also tone dense and rich on folk and acoustic material. Plus excellent customer service.
jdoris,

"Obviously, listening around is important -- and fun. But I think the confidence this should give one in a purchase is overrated -- unless one can audition in home with the kit you plan to use.

For my last three serious speakers purchases, I bought two pairs unheard, and one after a couple of careful listenings. The two unheard speakers lasted 5 yrs and approaching 2 years (and counting) in my system, the auditioned ones two weeks."

I know your comment is nothing other than well meaning, but I feel that it proves my point. You got lucky. That almost never happens. I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't do any research. By all means; do anything that gives you an advantage. I feel, though, listening to a pair of speakers before you buy them, is the biggest advantage you can have. I understand that the sound won't be identical because of the room, and possibly different equipment, but its way better than nothing. Also, high frequencies are not that difficult to judge in another system. Most dealers will let you bring your own components in to use for the demo.

As far as internet dealers go, I agree. If they allow for a return if you are not happy, why not. I can't think of a better way to demo something.

Heres an example of what I'm trying to say.

Morganc posts: "Zu Definition mkiii fits your budget and your music tastes perfectly. The powered subs are perfect for rock and electronica. They are also tone dense and rich on folk and acoustic material. Plus excellent customer service."

I agree. That would probably be a very good speaker to look at. The problem I have is that I can name other speakers that have those characteristics but sound very different than the Zu. The only way to be sure is to listen to them first. You can still make a mistake (I'm no exception. I've made more mistakes than I can remember.), it just lowers your chances.
Good suggestions, Thank You!!

What online dealers do home trials? Thx.
Check out the Signatures SEs from Legacy. Legacy pound for pound dollar for dollar is the best value on the planet.If you can get a demo pair from an authorized dealer you get the seven year warranty too!
Aquabiu8

"What online dealers do home trials? Thx."

Try The Cable Company/Ultra Systems. They specialize in loaning out equipment. I've been doing business with them for over 15 years and have only good things to say.
Zd542 has good advice, however it is not easy to find ID speakers to demo, unless you can find a generous owner near you. I never demo'd any speaker that I bought except for the first pair that I bought new ( and overpaid for) and I did waste a lot of time and money on shipping lots of speakers to and fro.......however, now I know online whose opinions I trust and who's ears I trust and who has similar taste in music and systems as do I! There is however no substitute to experiencing the speakers in your home with your music so that you can enjoy it on your time.
You got lucky. That almost never happens.

This seems an interesting, and debatable, claim -- perhaps we shd start a thread on it. Morgan seems to have had an experience like mine, and he's right that auditioning can be a PITA.

Four things the OP might try:

1. Local stores

2. Local owners, identified through the boards, who have things you might like, and will let you listen.

3. Travel to dealers, manufacturers, owners.

4. Travel to shows (assuming no local shows).

I've done some of all 4, since my work is flexible and involves some travel. In most places, 1 and 2 won't yield much, and it will be a happy coincidence if what's around is what interests you. 3 can result in informative auditions, but it is a lot of work, and may not, depending on your circumstances, yield many chances to listen. 4 is a lot of fun, and you get to hear tons of stuff back to back, but show conditions are often atrocious, and the people exhibiting are often harried and exhausted.

Which brings us to:

5. Arrange in-home demos with non-local dealers/manufacturers.

6. Take informed chances on careful used purchases.

I've never done 5, but I've heard of people having very good experiences; I'd not hesitate to try it with Zu, fr example, which is a great company. I've done a fair bit of 6, and while my good experience may mean I've "gotten lucky," it's not blind luck, since one can develop a set of parameters for their used search. For example, I, like the OP, and sensitive to edgy highs, and would therefore be reluctant to try a speaker with a metal tweeter unheard, and much more likely to try a silk dome. I might miss some things I'd like this way, I'm not shooting in the dark.

Anyway, I hope Aquablu has some fun, and doesn't stress to much about the possibility of mistakes.

John
Aquablu8,

I thought I put this in a thread yesterday, but I don't see it.

"What online dealers do home trials? Thx."

The best dealer that I have come across that does in home lending is The Cable Company/Ultra Systems. They specialize in lending out all types of audio gear for you to try in your home. I have been using them myself for many years and find them to be very honest and reputable. I would give them a call and see what they have to say. Their website is fatwyre.com. Over the years, they saved me from making many mistakes.

Also, I understand you can't always go out and listen to anything you like. It's very difficult. What you can do is listen to some stuff, even if you don't see yourself buying it. The reason for this is that you have a much better chance of using onto a website like this and getting and better results. For example, if you are interested in Speaker A but have not heard it, you can start a thread hear and list some of the speakers that you have heard, and weather you like them or not. That can help a lot in that it will give the people responding to your post a much better picture of what you like from a sonic standpoint. I hope this helps. I'm late and typing really fast so please excuse any errors and if I missed anything, let me know.
If Legacy does not have coverage in your area they may tell tell you they will send them and if you're not happy with them return them you pay the freight.
Not many get returned from my understanding.
You could try Salksound. There is a list of Salk owners that willing demoing their Salk HT2-TL in DC area that you could ask for an audition. Here is the link
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=82
Check out Bill Thalmann at Music Technology in Springfield, VA. He may have some Apogees for you to listen to. Great speakers!
Jdoris gave you a pretty good road map to begin your journey. Since you are in the DC area, you really should contact Dennis Murphy who designs the Philharmonic speakers as suggested by Rsimms. Dennis is also the man behind the cross over design in the Salk speakers as recommended by Audionuts.

As far as home auditions go, both Zu and Tekton offer pretty good home audition polices. Neither can match Aperion Audio, whose speakers are way below your budget but nonetheless have received good reviews, who will allow you to return their speakers on THEIR dime so what's to lose? The best in-home audition policy I am aware of is offered by John Strohbeen of Ohm (NY) who allows a 120 day in-home trial.
I don't get it ok so the guy designed speakers for Philharmonic. legacy designed the sound system for the new Riverfiont Theatre in Peoria http://www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org
14 Kilowatts 42 chaneels and they also designed the speaker system for the largest recording company in the world, Universal Music Group. More importantly, it would be utilized by the legendary producer/CEO/Chairman, Antonio "L.A." Reid.
The playback system covers a 40 seat Manhattan conference room, providing uniquely good imaging for all listeners, yet serving up club-like SPLs. Its a system that can image like Whisper and Helix but provide unprecedented impact in a mastering quality monitor.
To that end I'm through go check them out ! lol
Where do you live? Perhaps some audiophiles near you will invite you over for a listen. I've been known to bring speakers over to an audiophiles home on occasion. Duke at Audiokinesis drove a pair of speakers to me, a nine hour trek, and let me audition them for a couple weeks. He didn't have to come pick them up, although if I wanted to return them he would have.

Decware also allows for home auditions. I believe they charge a restocking fee if you return them.
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My room size is an average sized USA house living room.

What are the dimensions of an average sized USA living room?? I'll bet every poster above has a different idea what an average room's dimensions are. I think you should post the room dimensions, including ceiling height. That way, the speakers recommended would be a better fit for your room size.
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