Time to change. But to what?

I've had my B&W N803 for a while now. Love them. But have a craving for a different type of sound.

I want speakers that play all kinds of music equally well. Excell at soundstaging, imaging, resolution, are NOT analytical, sound natural(this is very improtant...I hate artificial sound), and do the bass so you not only hear it but feel it as well.

I started building a list of potential candidates.
Here goes it:
1. B&W 803D
2. DALI Helicon 800MkII
3. DALI Euphonia MS4 or 5
4. Dynuadio S5.4
5. Sonus Faber Cremona

from the list I am familiar with S5.4, 803D and Cremona. I have never heard DALI speakers.

Room width is about 14 feet. Length is 18 feet. Speakers are on the short wall. Behind the speakers corners are treated with 8th Nerve Rectangles and Triangles, there is an area rug in front of speakers.

I listen to rock music, jazz(vocal and instrumental but dynamic stuff...no smooth jazz at all), acoustic music, solo, chamber and large orchestral classical(Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Bartok, Shoenberg, Shostakovich, etc). I would like the orchestra to be rendered as large and real as possible within the natural limitations of my room, system, listener.

I like to listen on realistic levels when I can, but since I have a 5 year old who goes to bed early, low level resolution is VERY IMPORTANT. I do a lot of late night listening at low levels and want to hear as much information out of the speakers as possible. My B&Ws excell at playing loud without strain. I want this quality to remain with the new speaker as well.

The speaker upgrade will most likely force me to use my Bel Canto DAC3 as a preamp for a while.

I am selling my BAT VK-51SE preamp right now to raise some funds for the speakers. Once I sell the preamp I plan to sell the B&Ws.

DAC3 isn't that bad direct into my Pass Labs X250.5 and I have a feeling I can deal with it for the time being.
No plans to change the amplifier, or anything else. Just the speakers.

What are my options?

Your advise is greatly appreciated.
What about Vandersteen Quatro in standard or wood finish? With powered woofers and 11 band bass EQ room adjustment it excells in most any room within reason, your main amp only needs to work above 100 something cycles so its gonna sing. These image great with minimum baffle, feature first order crossovers and are allingned properly......most anyone will tell you right away this is not at all a analytical speaker and excell at all but the most abusive (and unhealthy) sound levels. Couple that to Pass Labs and I cant imagine a more well rounded real world priced performer period.
Chad, regular or Wood? never heard either, but just curious which one you're talking about. And what is the diff between the 2.
The Dali MS4 I have heard are excellent, but they are analytical, IMO.

Have you considered something really tube friendly, and with an adjustable tweeter like the Audiokinesis Jazz Modules? They intrigue me because they have 92dB sensitivity, and a benign impedance curve between 8-12 ohms.
Hi Tvad, no I have not considered anything tube friendly because Pass amp stays. Just speaker change this time.

I just arranged to hear MS4. But it won't be until the week after next.
I understand. I own Pass, too.

What I like about the AudioKinesis speakers (and other speakers with similar specs) is that if one likes the sound of the speakers, then they can stay in a system while amps come and go.

In other words, the Jazz Modules are not limiting, unlike other speakers that require solid state amplification to sound their best.

FWIW, Silverline speakers are voiced with Pass Labs, but IMO they are more analytical than forgiving.

Anyhow, happy shopping.
Tvad, Not all Silverlines! :-)

Mine are highly resolving but not in anyway analytical. They really do favor those folks looking for a real alternative to the typical high end speaker. And they work well with tubes!
I should really know better than to make blanket statements.

The Sonata III are more analytical than forgiving, IMO, and they do not work
as well with tubes as others claim, IMO.

Now, having said this, "Blindjim" will write of his completely opposite
experience with the same speakers.

And so it goes...
Tvad, I see your point. BTW, the "Dream Maker" looks totally insane! Weird to say the least. Sort of like a distant relative of Audio Note speakers. Have you heard these speakers?
HI, Love the CD3 MKll thanks again!!! What about Vandersteen Quatro they seem perfect for your needs, room size and your amp. For jazz and rock they have an enclosed powered sub, which mimics your amps characteristics, can you imagine the speed and snap of the bass,I owned a Pass X150 with 3A Sigs and I can still hear the speed and impact of the bass!! I think they play the music you list very well; fantastic with acoustic instruments, chamber, vocals and they through a big sound stage!! I just heard the Wood Quatro at my local Vandy dealer and they were impressive, a little quicker and more detailed than the 3A Sigs with 2Wq's subs. Mrjstark has a pair for sale in NY, you should give them a listen you'll be surprised.
I have not heard them, but I'd like to.
I think I'll stick with more or less major, more common loudspeaker manufacturers. This Audio Kinesis stuff is nice, but since the direct sale only, no place to audition, I'll pass.
Hey Y'all,

I would add Von Schweikert to your short list. I've owned a few pairs over the last four years and I've not been disappointed by any of them.........John
We just had a good discussion of some of these issues on a different thread. I'll say again here that many of us professional orchestral musicians agree that still the best way to get as close as possible to the sound of a full orchestra in a good concert hall is a very old one - very highly efficient horn speakers, driven with tube electronics. Horns are excellent at soundstaging, imaging, and they have incredible dynamic range. They also resolve extremely well all of the very different timbres in the orchestra. Yes, they are very direct - but so is live music. If you want to keep it real, there isn't a better way to go. You can also find really good vintage horn speakers of greatly varying sizes at prices that are comparatively very low - certainly for far less than the Cremonas you mentioned.
The Vandersteen Quatro is offered in a standard finish which is a wood capped speaker with cloth surrounding the entire body of speaker, the wood version is a typical wood speaker but comes at a $3000 premium, but for that you also get a bit better trickle down technology from the Vandersteen flagship model the %A. Call Richard Vandersteen himself for any and all questions as he is a refreshingly straight shooter among a world of slick sales efforts and hyperbowl. The Quatro models are across the board well reviewed and highly recomended by all who review them . There are far better folks to talk to about this speaker line but I will help if I can.
If you want to listen at low volumes and still get dynamics you should check out Nola Viper Reference. Should be a good match with your amp, although I've not heard that combo myself. When you were describing things that are important to you these speakers came to mind. Maybe there is a dealer near you so you could check them out. I don't own them, but I have a friend who does. I used to own Alon IV,s which is the same company but they changed their name. Just something to look at.
I suggest the Mordaunt-Short Performance 6. Highly regarded here in the UK.
You can add SP Technology to your list. I have the Timepiece 3.0 and I'm done looking for speakers.
I'll agree with Learsfool on this one. Horns and triodes provide the most realistic representation available.

If you can live with a retro look, there are still some treasures to be found from yesteryear at reasonable prices.
If you can, take a listen to SP Technology. They do all the things you are looking for extremely well. They would also work well with your existing Pass Labs amplifier. There's lots of information about SP Technology at Audiocircle. I've had quite a few speakers (some very expensive) and settled on SP Technology Continuum 2.5s.
Hi Sam, nice to hear my CD player found a good home! Enjoy!

I'll try to give Vandersteen Quatro a listen. I like the look of Quatro W better though.
I agree!! I think the wood is rated higher but I don't know why! The internal EQ is also a fantastic option to have, the ability to adjust the speakers to the room and your taste is a huge advantage over most other designs!!!!!!!
Sounds like a question for Obama!! :o)
Here is the correct link, sorry.
Samhar, the Wood Quatro (my dad owns them) is not only a cosmetic upgrade but there is improved parts taken from the 5A so they offer I would say close to 10% better performance over the sock Quatro. Sure the biggest expense is cosmetic but it also comes with a bit better musical performance aswell.
Based on your description of what you're aiming for, you might want to audition some Harbeths.
Jimcrane, what model Harbeth?
Perhaps Zu Audio Definition MK II or Presence might be considered. They play very open, without strain, and the bass is deep, detailed and punchy.

I get the sense you have some specific ideas regarding the cosmetic look of your new speakers. If so, mentioning your criteria could weed out unhelpful suggestions.
Tvad, you are right.

# 1 - speakers should not look like coffins(or else I will be packed in one of them and burried by my significant other).

#2 - no electrostatics, no panel speakers.

#3 - I am leaning towards major manufacturers in case the speakers won't work out for me and I need to sell...just don't want to get stuck with something I don't like.

#4 - not as important as 1,2 and 3, but the goal is to get a good sounding speaker of a normal size and appearance. Not the behemoth. The biggest/tallest is the size of Dynaudio S5.4...and if that can be avoided, great!
Treat yourself to: http://cardersound.tech.officelive.com/CarderSound.aspx
and move ten spaces forward. Read the Ty-Bone reviews. [Check WAF.] Put your speakers up for sale on Audiogon. Call me in the morning, you'll feel much better.
-Especially with low volume levels, efficient speakers probably are the way to go. ( No business association with Cardersound, but Jeff is a great guy who will give you the straight story.)
It's a long, strange trip its been - but fun.
A system with speakers that are very detailed at low volumes is generally highly regarded. According to a particular renegade audiophile whose opinions are dogma, the best way to evaluate a system is based on low volume detail retrieval.
I have had the experience of battling my attraction to very analytical components. The system was highly resolving.
In the end it had an almost undefeatable downside, fatigue. This becomes especially problematic when you turn it up. Fortunately Tube power amps with a miraculous little pre came to the rescue.
To address your question, the best speakers for times when when I can't play my music at enjoyable volumes are AKG 701 headphones. When used in combination with a superior dedicated headphone amp they are great.
I have a Singlepower audio "Extreme" an OTL headphone amp. I used to get up early to read the Gon every morning . My family did not like any genre of music at 5 am.
I really think you should consider it instead of going through a complete revision of a system you like otherwise. Headphones are not something everyone, including myself, love but it is a potential solution. This is a thought only because this new breed high end* custom made amps make true high end tubed sound possible. These amps are incredible, if you haven't heard them you should see if you can audition a couple.
I can tell you that they are anything but mass produced and virtually always a one of a kind, made to meet your likes and wallet. SinglePower amps start at about $800 and go up to about 3K but others are less. Mapletree audio out of Canada for instance is less $ and you can get it as a preamp to boot. He offers amps which use the plain old 6SN7 which I like, or 12SN7 or XX SL7 or with a switch to let you pick between two tube types... for about $500.
Believe me the OTL modern tube amp I got, with just a couple of upgrades to the base model, absolutely crushes than that old headphone plug on your old integrated or 1970's receiver.
*(Excluding Stax which have been around a while.)
let me tell you a little story.
I have heard CarderSound and loved it.
No , I will not pay someone 10K if I can build it for 3.5K and with upgrated Lowther drivers (not Fostex). That was my plan. To make long story short, my Vandies went up for sell to pay up for my upcoming projects. Unfortunatly my other half saw the plans and almost got a heart attack. I have promised that I won't build those "ugly" boxes. Now, she loves the way Vandys look........it wasn't always the case though. I might end up keeping the Quatros but my point is that CarderSound can break up the marriage .......just a warning.

Mechans, I agree with you. I totally realize that there is a potential for a system that resolves a lot of detail at lower level, to become unpleasant to listen to at higher levels for prolonged periods of time. I am trying to avoid this scenario. This is NOT what I want the system to do.
Thanks for your advise.
Adding Silverline Bolero and Sonata III to my list as well.
Take a look a Ohm Walsh 300 or 5 series 3 (www.ohmspeaker.com).

They're made in Brooklyn, NY.
Anyone know the pricing on the Cardersounds?
hey Pops why don't you call them and find out?
You might just like the Bolero's. They really fits snuggly into the description of the sound your are looking for. I have been extremely pleased with mine. I've had them a year now and have NO reservations whatsoever.

I use them in a 19x13x9 room and listen primarily to classical and jazz music. If you are seriously considering them and want a 'testimonial' e-mail me. BTW, although I'm sure you noticed, unlike other Silverlines, they have all Dynaudio drivers, including the Esotar tweeter, and they are voiced very differently than the other Silverlines.

Newbee--how would you characterize the principal differences in the voicing?
Twoleftears - Check your mail.
Newbee, I hope your not foregoing commentary because of an expected response by me. It seems to me your perspective would be valuable to the thread since you've compared the two speakers.

I've read the Bolero reviews, and I understand the different design goals between the Bolero and the Sonata III.
A speaker that comes to my mind given your criteria is the Legacy Audio Whisper. It's physically imposing, but unlike most speakers that size, its free-air woofers function as dipoles, making it easy to place them closer to side walls. The woofers can also be amped and attenuated separately, so it is relatively easy to dial the speakers in to the room size and avoid bass overload.

Finally, the Whispers are aptly named if the multiple reviews are to be believed. The reviews consistently report that they are particularly good at low level detail and holding the musical presentation together at low volumes.

Stereophile review here.

Also, given your criteria for detail plus engaging musicality, the Sonus Faber Cremona is a must-listen. The SF's all have a very natural-sounding tonal balance, the antithesis of hyped-up "hi-fi."
Tvad, Not for you specifically. You are too sophisticated to be influenced by my observations. I just don't want my opinions of equipment that I did not chose, to be the basis for others when making their purchase decisions. Those that are serious about speakers I chose vs did not chose will have to ask and have to settle for e-mail. I'm too wordy to burden down the forum with my specific opinions. :-)
Newbee - much appreciated.

"Newbee - Much appreciated"

For not posting a wordy response of the forum?

Sorry, I'm feeling just plain silly today. :-)
OK, Newbee. Primarily, I realize in some of my previous posts about Silverline that I have lumped the Bolero together with the Sonata III, having recklessly forgotten that they are voiced differently. I just wanted you to know I recognized this mistake, and I didn't want it to stand in your way.
Newbee - no the email and pointers. I read both reviews and some others linked to the Silverline site. Do they have dealers (I could find no link on the website) or do they largely deal direct?
I believe they have have dealers on each coast as well as the Chicago and Texas areas. I don't know how much of the line they stock. If you want to trace one down call or e-mail Alan Yun at Silverline. He is very responsive. He will also deal with you direct at an advantageous price if there is no dealer in your area, and of course you could always hear them (by appointment) at his shop. This was not the greatest environment IMHO - he is not very anal about demo's, set up wise. I listened at his shop but wasn't nearly as impressed as when I brought them home and set them up. FWIW, if this is a serious 'listen' for you, you are always welcome to come to my home, but I do live in the boonies in Northern California (so few have asked). :-)
As far as I'm concerned, I have put both the Sonata III and Bolero on my list.

I'm just waiting for an answer from silverline in regards to dealers in NYC or NJ area.
Newbee--offer (as email) much appreciated. Here in central Virginia is an audio wasteland. In that regard I miss Ann Arbor. McIntosh, B&W, Thiel and PS Audio are all that can be auditioned in town. Punto. And if they don't float your boat, 2 1/2 hour drive in three different directions to next towns with audio stores that carry anything interesting. And so it goes. Sounds like the makings of another thread...
Hey Audphile, I'm on it, just sounded like you might know. Have you considered Thiel. Sounds like you have a large room and Thiels sound so open and transparent with about 9 to 10 feet between them.