Speakers to hang on to for LIFE

After 9 years with my Proac Response 3s, I recently decided to change speakers. As you can tell, I'm not an upgrade fever patient. I want something I can live with for years & I think the best advice I'm gonna get will be from those who have & are still living with their speakers for an extended period of time. Please tell me why too. Thanks.Bob.
I really like you topic!

About 30 years ago I purchased four Acoustic Research AR-LST's and used two stacked for each channel. (Later, Mark Levinson bought the rights to the speaker for his Cello company. He renamed them "Amati Speakers" and were in production until Cello went under.) I used them for about 20 years. My major complaint was their lack of really detailed imaging, but loved the huge soundstage and dynamics.
Then, about 10 years ago, I heard the B&W800's. They had all the positives of the Amati's and corrected all the defects. I bought them and have been listening happily ever since. Not only do I not plan to replace them, but I recently converted them (under the direction of Dan D'Agostino of Krell) to be actively bi-amped. They sound better than ever!
Perhaps I did not explain correctly. I like to hear from people who actually own same speakers for a long time & their stories. I'm not asking for the best speakers you ever heard.
I don't know how much good this will do you since Apogee is no longer in business but... I've had my Stages for nine years and can't think of a reason, besides lightning, to replace them.

Perhaps Sean can help too. It seems like rather than change components, he builds new systems. :-)


I've owned a pair of Proac 3.5's for 4 years. I still have them and still like them. They are always musically involving and have zero istening fatigue. During that time I've listened to the 2.5's, 3.8's, 4.0's and 5's. The 3.8's are probably closest in sound to the 3.5's, but are a little drier. I've never had a problem of any sort with them.

However, if I was looking for new speakers today, I would probably go with Sonus Faber Guaneris or Amatis--which I have heard but do not own. Like the Proacs they are musically beautiful--but they look better.

Good luck!
I bought my first pair of Harbeth P3 mini-monitors in 1994, sold them in 1998 and bought a pair of Harbeth HL Compact 7s, which I promise you I will never sell. Lots of reviews available so I won't bore you. To me they are completely characterless in tonality and produce real life-like macro and micro dynamics.
I have had QUAD ESLs since the late 70s. I have actually given some of my pairs away as gifts during this time but have always had a pair. These of course are the so-called 57s. I find as electronics improve eg. Pass amplifiers, they get better sounding. I use surge protection on them and have had the latest electronic protection mods done to isolate them as much as possible from electrical faults, thus hopefully increasing their longevity.
For 10 yrs I lived with a pair of active stats -- AudioExclusiv, a German product. The amps were an OTL design, with adjustable input gain. The electronic cross-over was also adjustable to +/-3db @ 30Hz/12kHz.
The sound was beautiful: soundstage, imaging, and speed were obvious characteristics, as were the natural timbres. Unusually (for stats), I also had dynamics and reasonable transient attack! The lower register was also well developed by stat standards of the time... by comparison to the Quads (THEN, 1990), the A-Es went higher and lower and louder.

They were also beautiful to look at (tall & narrow, art-deco style) with outstanding WAF.

So why sell? I could no longer deal with the constant need for servicing. The amps operated at their very limit (by comparison, class A is polite) and would go beserk (i.e. components were surpassing their limits, & blowing) at any fluctuation in the power supply -- of which, I had many.

Apparently the problems I had have been addressed in newer models.
I do beleive that if this had been the case then, I would have kept these speakers -- "for life", as it were.
The Dunlavy SC-5s is as close to the perfect speaker that I've heard. Had them now for several years and keep getting
surprised with what there are capable of. Many of my friends are just amazed by the multi-channel effects coming from a two channel system.
For 25 years, I have been listening to a good old JBL speaker until last year.
I'm not an upgrade fever patient as you are. I would like to buy the BEST audio equipment, to my ears, within a budget, and keep it for a while. So, I researched for a year and came up with few lists of speakers.

1) B&W Nautilus series (801 - 805) speakers.
2) Revel speakers.
3) Wilson Audio Puppy.
4) Dunlavy speakers.

Any of these speakers are truly the "speakers to hang on for life" but, to select just one among these speakers, I used following criteria:

1) Electrical specification. BTW, I am an electronic engineer.
2) Mechanical design.
2) Sound. I used classic and jazz music.
3) Company's reputation.

The final winner is B&W N802. I would like to say a lot about this speaker but you should auditioned the speaker and judge it yourself.
The B&W N802 is the "speaker to hang on for life" for me.
Great thread guys. Agree with the above poster about the
N802's. What make you choose this speaker over the Revel Studio's ?
There continues to be technical advancement in speaker design that improves sound quality. You will exclude newer designs offering better performance from consideration if you only hear from people who have had their speakers a long time. You might want to solicit opinions on speaker brands that have consistently been top performers and see what people think of their newer products. I owned a pair of ADS speakers for 13 years, replaced them with a pair of Dynaudio Confidence 3s 1 1/2 years ago and I'm totally satisfied with their performance.
There are many speakers out there that I probably would have held onto but none as happily as Quad ESL 63s. The only thing I've changed in 15 years with them was to obtain a crosby modified pair about 8 years ago. I have not heard the new versions and the Quads as do all speakers have certain limitations. That said, I'd buy another pair if I were looking today.
Both B&W N802 and Revel Studio are great speakers but
I choose the N802 because:

1) The N802 sound slightly more natural and better soung stage than Revel studio.
2) I like the design and craftsmanship of N802.
Well, I have had a pair of M&K Satellite 1a's and Volkswoofer since 1980, and still use them in the bedroom. They aren't particularly great at anything (other than being small :-)), but they've served me through two stints at college, several career changes, and three different cities. In that time, they've sounded from wonderful to awful, depending on my ability to set them up, but through it all they've remained in use. I bought a pair of ProAc 2.5's for the living room a while back, but couldn't find it inside of me to part with these dear friends. At some point, I decided that I've invested so much energy over the years in schlepping them around, setting them up, tweaking them, cursing them, and enjoying their music that I'd feel too great a loss to ever get rid of them. So when the midranges finally went on them last year, I sent them down to M&K for repairs rather than ditch them. Not exactly audiophile, but they do qualify as speakers for life :-).

Thank you folks. You have made me so happy. I now know I'm not a weirdo for not switching speakers every 6 months.
(That's the feeling you get if you read Audiogon a lot.)
It's no coincidence that most of the speakers you hang onto
are made by mfrs who are still churning out good products today (B&W, ProAc, Dunlavy...). Let's hear more please.
Vandersteen 2cs. Bought in 1987 and used in the main system until last year. They now anchor the home theater set-up. The main speakers were replaced with Vandersteen 3As. I would upgrade the 3As before I got rid of the 2Cs.
I bought the A1 Soundlabs in 1989. If I had to replace my (same size) U-1 Soundlabs today, it would be with an identical pair. It is the only component in my system that I never consider changing.
I've had several different Vandersteen speakers for 15 years. I've owned their 3A Signatures for about a year, upgraded from the 3A's, and could easily hang onto them for life. However, I will eventually own the model 5's before I quite due to their fabulous performance, small size, and my undying love (or disease) of being an Audiophile . If you've heard them set up correctly, you know what I mean.
I have the original B&W CDM-1 in my den/home office system. This is the model that won all the audio awards in the mid 1990s, not the later versions. I think they are much mcuh better than the CDM-1SE and still better than the CDM-1NT (I have demo's these). The first order crossover is the main reason. The crossover they switched to on the later versions is fine for HT, but overemphasizes the midrange for audio. The new crossover is much easier to mass-produce, so it was probably a business decision. While I plan to upgrade my main system speakers someday, probably not these. They are powered by the Mike Creek designed Cambridge Audio A3i integrated amp; another keeper. Much better than anything Cambridge has made since. My Stan Warren modified DVD player is going in there when I move. Makes it the complete small "keeper" system.
Ever sold a pair of great speakers and then regretted it ever after? I wish I had kept my origal Newform RS8-2'x 30's and my M-L Sequel II's for starters. Now when I am able to obtain Meadowlark Shearwaters, Hales T8's, or Kharma Ceramique 1.0's THEN my hales T5's can go into storage.
I lived blissfully with Apogee Stages for 8 years. I only sold them because of a move to a much smaller room, Prior to selling I was considering adding sub/stands to create Mini-Grands. The previous post regarding service concerns is valid, but if you can live with this factor (and pick up a couple of extra ribbons from other Stages or Centaurs) you could be a very happy camper. Especially if you go with the Mini-Grand approach.

I've since moved and have a large room and bought CLS's and Kinergetics SW800 subs. I do not think I will ever part with this set up. In fact, I just bought 2 new SW102's for spare out-of-production SEAS paper drivers -- bring me to 5 extra brand new drivers. The ML's are readily serviceable should the need arise. So, I've gone from planning Mini-Grands to a Mini-Statement speaker system. Maybe when I grow up I'll have full scale "something or other" speakers.

It's nice to know that so many of us are in for the long haul and have found the sound that tickles our aural nerves.
At exactly a year old, my marriage to these Verity Audio Parsifal Encores hardly qualifies as longterm. Nonetheless I continue to enjoy a blissful honeymoon! Realizing that I would perhaps only ever change loudspeakers if I was forced to change domiciles, and thus risk a compromised room-synergy, I've decided to renovate and upgrade our kitchen instead! Cart driving the horse? Ultimate WAF! Now we're BOTH happy. (Oh, what we do for music and love...ahem.) Ern
Khawk2- I presently use 2cis (bought new about 10 years ago). I am now considering buying pair of 2w subs or selling 2ci and going to the 3A or 3a Sig. Would love to hear your thoughts on the differences between the 2c and the 3A.
1. Rogers LS3/5A 11 or 15 ohm
2. Quad US63
3. SoundLab U1
4. ESP Concert Grands
5. Acoustat 1+1 Medallions
Have had these since they were new in 1987 and have loved listening to them ever since. They never cease to amaze me.
I started with Apogee Stages 9 years ago and then converted them to Mini Grands apx 4 years ago. I love them so much I am in the process of having expensive external cross overs built for the Stage panel portion. The cross overs are speaker specific so that is commitment. I can hear the box on normal speakers so no matter how good they are I know where the speakers are. Not so with the Mini Grands. Got hooked on the open sound by having Dahlquist DQ-10s for many years until they were stolen. I feel good about my Apogees in the longer term because there is a great users group and currently two places to purchase replacement ribbons. For parts and support with your Apogees check out the users group www.apogeespeakers.totalserve.co.uk/
Pair of Magnapan MGIIA. I have owned them since 1986. They have been rebuilt by Magnapan in 1990, rewired and upgraded crossover by myself. I have also done slight cosmetics and spiked them to improve their sound. I'll keep them for a while longer.
I've been using magnepan MG1's for about 18 years. I just added Maggie MG3a's for H/T fronts and my trusty MG1's as surrounds. They aren't going anywhere anytime soon!
I have a big room and listen to many types of music loud or soft. I have the Dunlavy 5's for quite a long time. For my taste I have not heard better.
I have had Vandersteen 2 c's since '86 and feel no need to upgrade. Very reliable and revealing of associated components.
I have owned 3 speaker systems over the past 15 years including my present system. The reason? I couldn't get any to work right in my previous room. I have since moved things around and have been living with the Merlin VSM-M for about 1 year now. Along with major component upgrades to bring out their best, I now feel that the system is optimal minus the tweeking that never ends. I expect that 10 years from now I will still own these speakers, they just make me enjoy recorded music beyond anything I could imagine prior to purchasing them. I also like long marriages. Changing gear is a chore and expensive, would much rather listen to music and tell the world how much I love the music these speakers make :*)
Martin Logan Sequels.

Bought them new in the mid 80's - Love them and ML really has teriffic customer service. Panels got replaced under warrantee a year or so after I got them and have been wonderful ever since. Sure, I'd like to upgrade to one of ML's bigger speakers, but the Sequels fit into my system nicely, are working great and are big enough for any room in my house. There are LOTS of other great speakers out there.... just can't end the love affair I'm having with the Sequels.
Will add my vote here for Vandersteen. I bought the 2c's in 1983 and replaced them with 2ce's in 1992. I have been trying to find a replacement for them-something that sounds as good but looks better, but am having trouble bringing myself to waste around $3K.
I really like my tiny ProAc Tablette 50 Signatures a lot, and have no plans to upgrade for a long time.
1. Sound Lab U1,A1,orM1,M2,M3
2. Magnepan MG20.x,MG3.x,MG2.x
3. Acoustat 2+2,4,6,8
4. Quad 989,988,esl-63,esl-57

No particular order, but anyone of the above I could
live with for 20+ years.

If God said you could only have a dynamic speaker
for the next 20 years I guess I would choose the
Avalon Eidolons or JBL Paragons/Hartfields
I do not qualify for owning my speakers for a long time, not quite 1 year, but they were first manufactured in 1993, I believe. I bought them used and I am VERY happy with them and have no plans of switching anytime soon.

They are TDL Studio Monitor "m"'s. Anyone hear of them?
I would add in here a pair of speakers I owned for over 10 years, the Duntech Princesses. When I bought them in 1987 they were the best overall speaker I had ever heard, and when I sold them 3 years ago there were still few speakers around that sounded as good to me. I think what made them, and a lot of the other speakers mentioned in this thread, so good was that they did everything very well--perhaps a little warm and lacking the last word in transparency, but a well-designed, well-balanced speaker that got the midrange right. I have found speakers and equipment that do one thing much better than anything else they do eventually tend to wear thin. Perhaps that, along with getting the midrange right, is what gives a speaker longevity in one's system.
Since 1984 I have owned a pair of the fabulous Audio Pulse 835. This now defunct Canadian company produced these excellent 3-way bass reflex speakers. 90db sensitivity. Not much for power handling, but perfect for tubes.

These little gems are exemplars of the fine Canadian loudspeaker industry. Why is it that speakers made in Canada are usually so darned good????

These stunning little speakers continue to amaze me. As I write this I'm listening to them in my listening cottage, playing some great old vinyl.

They are absolutely beautiful too. They make my B&W Nautlius 804s look like crap. Audiophiles should try to ferret out a pair!
I've owned Proac Response 2.4s for 4 1/2 years and have no plans of replacing them. They've worked with every amp I've tried and have that inexpressable "musicality" that make an audio component classic. I'm using an SET amp now and I'm sure it's not giving it's best with the Proacs, but if I ever start auditioning other speakers, I'll do everything I can to keep the Proacs just cause they make just good music.
Years ago I started with the Vandersteen 4s. These were the only questionable product Richard has ever produced, primarily because the subwoofers were so difficult to drive. But, having owned the 4s, I became adicted to the Vandersteen sound. The longer you listen, the better it sounds. From the 4s, I went to the Vandersteen 3As - an absolutely amazing product for the money.

For the past 2.5 years I have owned the Vandersteen 5s, and have never once thought of looking for something else. The better the equipment mated with them, the better they sound. Check out my entire system in Audio Asylum under pctower.

I have been an audiophile for over 30 years, and have made hundreds of changes in my system. The one constant is Vandersteen speakers. If you want speakers that you appreciate more the longer you own them, definitely check out the Vandersteen 5s.
Our Avalon Acoustics Arcuses. Listened to many. Owned others. The 2-way to beat, IMO.
I think Ryllau answers his own question about as well it can be done in his 3rd post - audition those from manufacturers who have had the time and the track record to develop and refine proven designs, and who place an emphasis on timbral accuracy, instead of a "house sound" or being "new & improved" every model year. If I were him, that would mean starting with the current Pro-Acs, and branching out from there to auditioning some of the other brands he mentions. As for me, I've only had my Thiels for 4 years, but when I eventually upgrade, I certainly won't leave such a proven (to me) marque out of the mix.
They sound good year after year after year, and are reliable enough to keep working. Quad electrostatics (any of them) and the Klipsch Heritage series (Klipschorns, Belle Klipsch, and LaScala's) are two VERY different routes toward having something you can enjoy for years. So are the classic British monitors (like the LS-3/5a). Modern designs that I think will wear well over the years include the Sonus Fabers.

None of these speakers shouts at you, or unduly draws attention away from the music and toward itself. (The Klipsch Heritage series is more neutral than most horn designs - really quite good.) That is the test of something you can live with for a long time. That and basic reliability.
I've bought all my equipment used- kept my first decent speakers Klipsch K-horns for 3 years- just too big for me- went to QUAD ESL 63 about 15 yrs ago and still own them- had full crosby mods done and have replaced panels several times-Bought Entec LF 20 subs a dozen yrs ago and i've been very happy in several different houses/rooms. All this run with Spectral amps/preamp which i've also owned for 14 yrs.
I owned a pair of Spica TC-50's for six years. They were wonderful speakers. I sold them to a friend when I moved from Minnesota in 94. He still has them.