Top big-name monitors current versions .


1. Focal Diablo
2. Totem Mani 2 Signature
3. B&W 805D
4. Dynaudio C1 Signature
5. Wilson Duettes

Any comments on these? I thought these were the usual suspects (but I'm open to other suggestions.) Thanks in advance, of course, for your time. I left out the Harbeths because as a former SHL5 owner I never liked them because they didn't have enough resolution and detail. I like lots of character and good texture on vocals. I don't need deep or propulsive bass, just detailed controlled tight bass, not thick bass, bass that is "just there" as a foundation when the music has it. I also left out Joseph Pulsars because after a listening session at the NY Axpona show I thought the vocals did not have enough definition. I liked Kharma 3.2's level of definition, but they were too piercing and tipped up in the highs on popular music for me (and I don't want a floorstander, just a standmount, probably under 60 pounds so I can carry them up & down stairs easily by myself if I need to). Thanks.
rgs92
Though a smallish monitor be sure to listen to a pair of Merlin TSM-MXr speakers. I've heard the Diablo's and felt the Merlins were better.
I'm a fan of Totem stuff and the B&W's are detailed to the hilt, but in the end it come down to personal tastes as all are very fine speakers when set up with the right gear.

Rob
Check out lipinskisound.com I'll put my 707's up against any of the above.
Just curious if your looking to replace your LaHave Mela speakers?
Have a listen to JM Reynaud's Offrande Supreme.Amazing vocals along with everything else.
acording to internet "owners" almost anything these days (even Polk audio) is "better" than Focal Diablo and Magico Q :) but Diablo ahve most of the virtues you described. you wont belive diference in details,speed and midrange texture theses speakers are capable of. Duettes more bassy speaker, and c1 with totem is as well.
Given what you're describing the first thing that came to mind was ATC. Extremely clear, detailed, and powerful midrange, and I think their monitors are sealed-box designs so bass should be nice and tight as well although probably not the last word in depth. Also like the Merlin recommendation.
Given what you're describing the first thing that came to mind was ATC. Extremely clear, detailed, and powerful midrange, and I think their monitors are sealed-box designs so bass should be nice and tight as well although probably not the last word in depth. Also like the Merlin recommendation. Best of luck.
I'd add Wilson Benech, and ProAc, and Sonus Farber
Not sure of the wieght, but I just heard the 805Ds with a Classe preamp and power amp. Very impressive, and I think in line with what you want. Very clean, detailed, but not overly bright. The bass is as you like it, and the soundstage dimensionality was better than any B&Ws I've yet heard.
Of the ones you've listed I've heard the Totem and B&W, and far prefer my Amphion Argon. More punch, livelier, great imaging and dimensionality, fuller and more "present" sound to me.
I own a pair of Intutive Design Gammas. Solid granite box design, high resolution and certainly one of the finest two-way monitors on the planet. Not cheap, $12,500 and hard to find used. Unique stand sytem. Check the reviews of Intutive Designs Summit Deltas on Audiogon review section. My Gammas are the next step up. Quite incredible. Their website is a joke but the reviews will give you a idea of how good they are.
I recently had a pair of Green Mountain Audio's top Eos-HX monitors for extended audition and demonstration to a local audio society. Eos-HX has a heroic cast marble cabinet, a simple first-order crossover, and precise time allignment with minimal phase shift across a wide frequency range. This one offers rare value at $4K MSRP. I was most interested to register the effects of time allignment and low phase shift-- both hallmarks of the GMA brand. Stable images, fast and precise transients, excellent depth and width, and very natural when seated at the sweet spot.
Vapor Cirrus Loudspeakers.
Revel Gem2 might be worth a try.
Nah, love the Lahave Melas and keeping them, just might need a 2nd pair of speakers for a 2nd room.
Thanks everyone here for all the suggestions. There are even some I never heard of before.
I would second the Diablo. Part of the new Focal range and really excellent.
Out of the five speakers in the list I would listen to the 805 Diamonds and C1 Signatures. The Diablos are very classy and the costliest in the group I believe.

A cheaper alternative among the plethora of monitors is the Proac Response D2 which I consider as one of the better sounding bookshelf in the mid-end market.
Hi Rgs92, I would be interested to see what your end up with. I am also looking at 1, 4 and 5 of your list as upgrade to my existing Dynaudio C1. I have heard the Diablo, and it would seem to fit what you consider as important.
Of these speakers I have heard the 805D, Mani-2 and Diablo. I loved to Mani-2 IMHO one of the best monitor speakers there is. Also, I forgot the exact model but I heard some Von Schweikert monitor that also wasn't bad. Pesonally I would also check out ADAM Tensor Delta/Gamma. I have a feeling these might be good.
Selah Tempesta.
Second the Tempesta.
very strange,probably wrong amplification was used with harbeth .In 2007 you even wrote positive review abaut SHL5.What happened?Small drivers will always give false impression of bass and scale of music will be lower.What i hear on shl5 is variation of bass-i call it tonal balance of different instrumnents and there is ambience,reverberation of instruments and voices somehow which makes music sound very beautifull,similar impresion when several people singing together,but all these thing can depend on amps.
Marten Duke. I have forgotten about these. Have received several recommendations on these and they seem to be pretty well built.

Extravaganza, I think the OP is looking for more resolution and detail. In this aspect, I suppose the SHL5 can be bettered. Although initial impressions are positive, perception can change through time when one has lived with the speaker for a considerable period.

Nevertheless, I do agree with your thoughts on small bookshelves with small drivers. Some of these monitors do make the bass sound larger than intended, ie. false blown up bass, and the result can at times be undesirable. Having said that, larger bookshelves with drivers bigger than 6.5" will (generally) ameliorate the false impression of bass as these speakers usually go down to 40-45Hz which is quite adequate for a balanced sound delivery. Loudspeaker designers will usually bump up the bass on monitors with drivers smaller than 5.5" to make it sound fuller at the bottom end for a more balanced presentation, though most of these smaller bookshelves usually roll off the bass at around 55-60Hz. Too much low frequency lift and the speaker will sound unbalanced. One typical example is the PMC LB1 Signature. The bass on this speaker seems to sound forced as if it was pumped out from the box in uneven chunks IMO. Perhaps a trait of transmission line designs.
Rgs92,
OK. Here goes.
I'm familiar with all the brands you mention.
I haven't heard all their current offerings.
I am partial to my Avalon Avatars. I know these aren't current, but they do everything I want in a 2 way, very well. I just can't part with them.
This week, I'll be changing to my Usher BE-718s. This speaker is a giant killer, IMO. This Usher tweeter beats every brand you mention (again IMO) except the Dynaudio.
If you haven't heard a pair, I think you should try them...
Joseph Audio Pulsar is my current favorite monitor. The 3xl from Devore is also quite good. For Totem, the Element Series is their new top-of-the-line, and I think the Torrent driver is "better" than the HiVi (still used in their older line, including the Mani). The Focal Diablo is a beast, but just make sure you feed it lots of red meat. The Marten Duke also got recommended to me as a tour-de-force in this segment.
Rgs92, IF you can find a pair of Sonus Faber Guarneri's, I would suggest giving them a listen. The original Hommage is my personal favorite, but the Evolutions (which I have not heard) are the latest in the line and look very promising. The Memento's are worth a listen if you cannot find the Hommage's, which is a tough task these days.
On vocals and strings, IMHO these are the speakers to own.
With Bobheinatz, I have Intuitive Design Summits, incredible speakers.

Dale does need to revamp that antiquated PDF website, otherwise I could care less when listening, they're that good.
As its been said before... All fine speakers and as it would be it simply comes down to personal tastes, system synergy, and source material. I've owned the B&W 805D twice and is my current transducer. Previously, other floorstanders; monitor designs to include Merlin MMe's; Sonus Faber Cremona M Auditors; Liuto's; Nola Boxers; and considering leaping for others to supplement my current front end. Simple changes in cabling and SS vs tube based pre amplification made considerable changes in sound downstream. Despite a desire to try a pair of Joseph Audio Pulsars in the future... You have to give yourself the opportunity to sit and listen; home trial being optimal but not ruling anything out based on a show or expo demo. Conditions which I am sure were still less than optimal.

Two cents.

Volent, Kudos, and Franco Serblin.... Too many to mention but let us know how you make out.
As its been said before... All fine speakers and as it would be it simply comes down to personal tastes, system synergy, and source material. I've owned the B&W 805D twice and is my current transducer. Previously, other floorstanders; monitor designs to include Merlin MMe's; Sonus Faber Cremona M Auditors; Liuto's; Nola Boxers; and considering leaping for others to supplement my current front end. Simple changes in cabling and SS vs tube based pre amplification made considerable changes in sound downstream. Despite a desire to try a pair of Joseph Audio Pulsars in the future... You have to give yourself the opportunity to sit and listen; home trial being optimal but not ruling anything out based on a show or expo demo. Conditions which I am sure were still less than optimal.

Two cents.

Volent, Kudos, and Franco Serblin.... Too many to mention but let us know how you make out.