I would check out Sonus Faber's Amati Homage as well as the new Cremona.
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the guarneris will not give you deep bass, although the midrange is superb. what about the sonus faber cremona? it's a floorstander( some say it's a bigger version of the guarneris ) . the other option is the vienna acoustics strauss or mahler. i quite like the sound of the mahlers with ARC amps...plenty of deep bass for rock music but still sweet and warm.
I don't know of any monitor speaker, that has the prodigious bass your 3.5s deliver. After the 3.5s you'll never be satisfied, with monitors, unless you go with a sub. My Revel M20s with Sistrum Monitor Speaker Platforms and a Sunfire Architectural sub with Sistrum stand, go where no 3.5 (3.6, 2.2,) can go. Trust me, I use to own the 1.5s. While bass shy, compared to the 3.5s, similar in other ways. Watch where you're going to go from here. This post may go to Pluto. Fasten your seatbelt: "warp factor I" The 'gon will take care of you.
I moved from 3.5's to SF Electa Amators. I did miss the bottom end and added a REL Storm sub-woofer. Later upgraded once more to SF Extrema - the REL has been relegated to the home theater. I've never looked (or listened) back. IMHO there is no comparison between these manufacturers at the upper end of their respective lines.
I am trying to evaluate speakers myself at present, and I have two important messages:
1. Audiogon has helped me to create an excellent short list of speakers to listen to. However, in EVERY case, a listening session changed my interpretation of what I had read.
2. Be sure, ABSOLUTELY sure, that it is your speakers that are the problem. I have upgraded electronics over the past year and I am very inclined to contradict the "golden paradigm", namely that speakers are the most important thing in the audio chain. Speakers are almost always blamed for problems that really reside upstream.
I would evaluate my electronics very carefully before I required new speakers to do something which they may not be able to do.
Best of luck.
Yeah, finding a good used pair of Extrema's will be a good thing for you! "There's magic in them there speakers!"
Still, no matter what 2 channel advocates say, you can't get pottentially better bass than what a good ACTIVE WOOFER(S) can give you! The trick is in the skill and knowledge of set up!..to get blend with the mains. If you do it right, it's just like having a full range speaker with ACTIVE WOOFERS!
I critically auditioned, side-by-side, a pair of 3.5's against the smaller (and newer) 2.2's at the time I bought my own Thiels five years ago, and in my opinion (which some have taken exception to regarding this subject in previous threads, to be fair), the 3.5's have long since been surpassed in sound quality up and down the Thiel line (guess which pair of the Thiels I bought that day!). Briefly and specifically, the bass is much better integrated, and the rest of the spectrum much smoother and more lifelike, with fewer artifacts and better dynamics everywhere, than was achieved by the 3.5's in their time (although many of the later Thiels were and are admittedly tougher to drive). There are of course many good speakers mentioned above, and lots more others out there, but if you enjoyed your Thiels this long, I would suggest that you not overlook the considerable advancements offered by Thiel models introduced since yours were made.
P.S. - FWIW, I received an email the other day from a fellow Audiogon member (who I shall let remain anonymous unless he decides to join this thread). We had never corresponded before, but having read some of my past posts concerning Thiels, he felt he just had to write to me and tell me about his recent experience. He listed his top-notch system, and mentioned he has owned speakers from ProAc, Avalon, Quad, and Spendor among others. He had just borrowed a pair of the new Thiel CS1.6's from a friend who bought them, and was so blown away by what he heard he could barely contain his enthusiasm. Despite desiring more bass than these little guys can provide in ultimate terms, he seems to be strongly leaning toward buying a pair of these for himself soon. I've heard them at my dealer's, and I don't disagree, though I'll be sticking with my 2.2's for now. Best of luck in your search!
I am that fellow Audiogoner to whom Zaikesman refers. The Thiel 1.6 is extraordinary. It may not be what you are looking for, but I think his suggestion to look at the current Thiel line is an excellent one.
To offer a little perspective on my enthusiasm for the little Thiels, my history with speakers has been not unlike my dating history: I want what I don't have. After two years with the ProAc 2.5's, the resolution, transparency, and greater focus and clarity of the Thiels are a real turn-on (just to keep the analogy going). In the same way, after my failed "relationship" with the Avalon Eclipse, I sought a more forgiving safe harbor and wound up with a pair of Spendors. So I certainly understand why anyone would feel the urge for something completely different from what they currently have.
Back to the 1.6, it is lacking in bass and the treble is tilted up a bit too much for me, but in important ways it is the most musical and satisfying speaker I have had in the house (I haven't had that many, and maybe that's the problem). What I find fascinating is that, even with its bass deficiencies, it is better with rock music than anything else I've had in the house. In fact, it is remarkably adept at handling all kinds of music (which is my taste) and delivering the goods even at low listening volumes (which is my common practice). I haven't yet decided to buy a pair, but I suspect the ProAcs are history.
I have Thiels and a CAT hooked up. But I listen mostly to classical and jazz. I have auditioned the Electa's, Electa Amtors and Extremas. The Extremas are far and away the best of this bunch - but oh that price tag. The SF are definetly in a class by themselves with respect to the richness of the midrange, the smooth but accurate highs and superb imaging. Not much in the bass department though, except for the Extemas. But the Thiels' overall top and bottom end, dead accurate frequency range response and transparency outdid the other SF speakers IMO.
If you go with the Sonus Fabers, you will miss out on what is a Thiel strong point - the initial transient (step) response. This gives a lotta push and pace for jazz and, especially, classic rock. The SF's will "slow down" the pace for rock and jazz, make them sound polite and refined. They will, however, give you that natural warmth, tone and balance that is, IMO, essential in classical instrumental.
EIther way, if you are looking for a "sweeter sound", the 3.6's and the 7.2's will, by far, be a bigger improvement over the 3.5's. You have a not-too-shabby front end there; the newer Thiels will give you much better perfomance with respect to rock and jazz. The SF's will give you a much warmer sound - but I don't know how that will square with rock. I would probably take the 7.2's over any SF speaker.