stand-mount speakers for classical music


Last year's search for stand-mount speakers got scuttled by other priorities. I used the time since to optimize existing config and critically evaluate all the thingz.

> 90% of my listening is classical up to moderate dB, remaining 10% is mix of electronic, alternative and classic rock up to loud dB ( >= 12 o'clock on -dB dial).

Classical breakdown: 70% chamber/solo instrumental and vocal, 30% orchestral and opera.

Gear: Micromega M-100 int amp, Nola Boxer v1, dual Syzygy SLF870 12" 1000w subs w/ room-correction, all source material is streaming (.flac or Qobuz)

Room: challenged 3700cf L-shape with speakers centered at 7' point of a 27' head wall. Vaulted ceiling to 13', hardwood floors, some rugs.

Budget: under $5K

Grateful to hear from other standmount owners with similar listening profiles.
usery
For classical you need dynamics, minimal phase anomalies, and naturalness -- to name a few. 
Try ATC 20s or whatever else in ATC fits your budget; also Devore (Gibbon): whatever fits your budget. The Devores are particularly important as they can play well close to their back wall. Spendor is also a contender.

There are many other choices but well above your budget: big Wilsons, Zellaton, Magico etc with the new drivers (i.e. not the ceramic ones). Regards
thanks gregm. ATC SCM19 v2 is on the short list.

If it helps the speaker fronts can be up to 3' off the headwall (Nola Boxer baffles currently at 28" from wall).
Try to find a pair of Devores to listen to -- it doesn’t have to be their latest model. The Devores play well close to the wall, i.e. you don't lose much in terms of soundstage which is importantwhen there's a full orchestra involved (think: Mahler :) )
ATC: if you can spring for the 20 instead -- the 19 is good but the other one is significantly better; buy demo or otherwise used, the ATC after- service is good! Regards
Totem Signature One is a real winner . Needs at least 100w a side .Spendor as well,
I haven't gone stereo auditioning lately, but I have to say I still love my Nola Boxers.  I have no idea what version they are, but I've had them for several years.  I run them through a Primaluna Integrated and no matter what the source may be, I can get convincing fidelity if the original recording is up to snuff.  I play a variety of acoustic instruments and I regularly go to classical concerts, and I have to say that the rendition of instrumental timbres is often convincingly accurate.  Imaging and soundstaging can be convincing, as well...if, of course, reduced in volume and size.  Bottom line, go shopping if the process pushes your button.  You might score something.  But, temporarily at least, I'm out of the game.
thanks schubert.  100w/side for the Signature One is a constraint given my amp (Micromega M-100 which I'm staying with for now).

I found this thread while looking for recommendations.  Not super relevant to this discussion but still interesting (B&W and ATC in use at more than a few classical recording studios).
@edcyn - if you've owned the Boxers several years I'm guessing v1 like mine (2013), maybe v2?  I continue to have similar listening experience to yours - even less-snuff recordings are still pretty amazing.

My Boxers are going nowhere: they'll move to 2nd listening room if I score an 'upgrade' for main room  : )
Given that you are using room correction and a sub, I'd talk to Fritz and ask him to make you a sealed version of any of his speakers. :)

Best,

E
http://www.stereomojo.com/Onix%20XCD-50%20and%20XIA160%20review/XCD-50ReferenceCDPlayerReview.htm

My Vaugn Cabernet speaker plays classical music  well with Lyngdorf 2170  which is similar to your Micromega.

If you live in Pacific Northwest, then you may take the speaker to your home for audition.

I have Lansche 4.1 as my  main speaker.

Thomas
Josephs audio has some great stand mounted speakers.
@E yup I should. Do you happen to know any owners of a sealed Fritz speaker?

@shkong while Vaugn Cab is impressive in spec & appearance, it’s a floorstander. I must have standmount (WAF, bad cats etc).

@ebm I haven’t seen Joseph Audio stand-mounts recommended specifically for classical music. Are you thinking the Pulsar?
OP:  Fritz typically makes ported, I believe, and they have remarkable low bass extension.  My suggestion was just that if you are committed to sub use, sealed integrates a little better, and results in a smaller speaker, so I'd discuss it with him, but no idea if he'd make one. :) I'm sure he's going to call me to complain I suggested this. :)

Alternatively, buy a ported, and consider stuffing the port when using a sub.
I haven’t seen Joseph Audio stand-mounts recommended specifically for classical music. Are you thinking the Pulsar?
Uh, I recommend the Pulsars specifically for classical music (and every other kind).  There you go. 
I know that they are 2k over what you want to spend but I suggest you check out the new magico A1. They are pretty damn remarkable and beat anything in the price range imo.
I didn't have any real issue getting the Carrera Be's to integrate with a pair of Rythmik F-12s. Speaker fronts were 32" off of the wall.
used pair Sonus Faber Olympica I. 
The Absolute Sound (Steven Stone) just posted a very nice review of the LSA 10 Statement MSRP $3495
I owned a pair of Totem Fire monitors for several years, if you can listen to them, that might be a good fit.

I replaced the Totem's after a year-long search and some of the speakers I enjoyed were from Harbeth, Dynaudio and Sonusfaber.  I ended up with a pair of floor-standing Focals, but have not auditioned their stand mounts.  I too listen to mostly classical music, mostly full orchestras.
@bobedwards based on your mention I looked into ProAc Studio SM100. Not unlike some of ATC’s studio monitors. Some of the head-to-heads favored ATC but may have been individual preferences. Cabinet finish is studio so not optimal for my main room.  ProAc Response D2R was also on my list from last year.

The more I read about/look at ATC SM20 (passive hifi version) the more I jones for it. Sadly it looks near-impossible to find in North America - even some UK retailers must special order from ATC, then they build-to-order.
I had Harbeth 30.2s and HSU subs for a while.  Great for classical music and small ensemble acoustic jazz, chamber music etc.  Swapped them for Focal Kamta 3s as I wanted something a little less "polite" like the Focal.  But the 30.2 were amazing. Entirely different/more resolving than 30.1s which they replaced.  Can prob find used under $5k.  If I didn't need my Led Zeppelin fix once in a while I'd still have the Harbeth.  
Explore the Geometry line offerings from Wilson Benesch.  
Focal Electra BE II clearance price around $2900.
@usery the SM20 is now available in the states, I have a pair in the shop and am auditioning them now. Check with Lone Mountain Audio the distributor for a dealer in your area.
Revel M126Be. Check the numerous positive reviews.
"...the SM20 is now available in the states..."
Thanks affordable - do you mean the hifi version of the SM20 is available in the US? (passive and hifi veneer instead of studio cabinet)? I checked some of the retail websites from Lone Mountain Audio’s dealer sheet - none of them mention the hifi SM20.

Do you have the hifi version?
I do, just got it in for audition. It's just being brought into the US. I'll have it up on my website soon.
The Tannoy Eaton's are a fairly large stand-mount speaker that may provide you with what you are looking for.  I have not heard them, but I do like the Tannoy sound.  They are in the $5000 range and might be worth a hear see if you can find a dealer near by.
I have a Micromega M-150 in on trade.  Unbelievable amp but I think some of the reccos above are not taking into account the sound profile of the amp with those speakers.  I can think of one or two that would make me want to take an ice pick to my ears if they were combined.  

You will never find Geometry's from Wilson Benesch in that price range unless used but they would be splendid.  They start at $10K new.  

Sonus Faber would be brilliant and would work really well with that amp.  

A pair of used Joseph Audio Pulsars would be brilliant.  I make something similar but honestly need to work on the crossover before I would sell it to you.  That Pulsar is very, very well made with very hard to use drivers.  

Acoustic Zen Adagio Jrs might be a really good choice.  The tweeter is amazing and your amp would bring the most out in them.  I love the Adagio's.

Finally, I make a speaker that might work really well for you.  The Verdant Nightshade 1.  I have a demo pair for $6000.  I know a little above your budget but the speaker has a very flat frequency response and tremendous detail.  I was just listening to it with the Micromega M-ONE 150 and was shocked at how true they sounded.  I normally run tube gear and the resulting sound is a hair warm.  30 Day return policy still applies.  


verdant said:
...make me want to take an ice pick to my ears...
thanks Verdant for the helpful post esp. with you demo’ing a M-150. Note I have a M-100 (less 50w power and no room correction).

What specifically are you hearing for the M-150 sound profile, and what speaker attributes are you thinking won’t work well with the M-One family?
The M-150 sounds neutral to a hair forward.  Amazingly detailed but with a speaker that has a forward sound profile, this could get bright and painful very quickly.  
My Blackthorn is 1-2dB forward above 2.2khz.  Sounds wonderful with a Marantz integrated but I found it unpleasant with the Micromega.  Perfect with my more neutral speakers.  A couple of those are forward of neutral and will sound hard and metallic.  



Most of the BBC design speakers are very good with classical.
The LSAs sound intriguing, but I haven't heard them, but I did own Reference 3A MM deCapos which are very efficient and the large woofer is very helpful for a fuller sound
Tannoy

Harbeth

Fritz

LSA

These all present classical music beautifully. 

However @schubert is a classical guru on the site, so he may have one of the more informed opinions
The passive ATC SCM20SL is on the Lone Mountain website. Retail is $6499.

The active version. SCM20ATSL, is a tower, mentioned but not pictured.

http://atcloudspeakers.co.uk/hi-fi/loudspeakers/classic-series/scm20/

Any Spendor model would also be a good choice.
The very inexpensive Klipsch RP-150M are great with classical music from soft listening to loud. Haven't heard the RP-600M but I would guess they are at least as satisfying.
Forgot to say, the small Klipsch compare very well with my favorite classical music speakers Klipsch Quartets.
Classical music sounds great on omnidirectional speakers like Duevel Bella Luna, Geman Physiks Unlimited or MBL 126. You can "see" and pinpoint each section of the orchestra when setup well. 
Also forgot about NHT Classic 3 speakers. 3 way and excellent sound, if you can find a pair.