Tyler Acoustics Highland H3.5 or Focal Aria 936


I am trying to decide if I want to move away from my Aria 936s to the H3.5s. The H3.5s use top notch scanspeak mid range and woofer drivers and they have the scanspeak beryllium tweeter. Problem is, I can’t listen to them first. Will they be better than the 936s? I have read that the Tyler Acoustics products punch way above their price and compete with much more expensive speakers. They are definitely a risk though, if I don’t like them there will be a huge hit taken because of the relatively unknown brand. What do you do when faced with a conundrum like this?
128x128baclagg
I had a friend buy Tyler's a couple years ago..Didnt like them and sent them back...Ask if they have a return policy,If not id pass
@alexopth1512

I love my 936s, but I feel sometimes that I want a little sharper imaging and depth to the sound stage and just a smidge more bass. 
OK you can get a whole more bass with 948s if you like the focal's character. For imaging and sound stage, I changed amplifiers and I have huge image with 948s
Tyler is a great guy, a pleasure to deal with but I just couldn't pull the trigger.  If you don't like the speakers your only option is to send them back and take the hit on the restock fee, you can't really resell them as there isn't much of a market for them.

His pricing is all over the place too, people pay all kinds of different prices for the same speakers, so again, resale is a mess.  Really wanted to go that direction but maybe one day, might buy some of his speakers used, which offsets the risk a bit.
@alexopth1512 My 936s do a really great job of duplicating the sound of acoustic guitars but there seems to be something missing when it comes to vocals. There is some detail missing there that causes me to not believe the singer is in the room. Sometimes acoustic guitars are startling because of the sense of presence. I think the 948s would have similar issues.
@ blkwrxwgn

I have been working with Ty for a few weeks now. I feel like you do, I am having problems deciding to pull the trigger. I have asked for a customer or two to call and see what their impressions of the sound is and then maybe if possible go there to listen to a pair. I have read reviews that go both ways, like every other speaker out there, but most of the reviews and impressions are very positive. They are very nice looking speakers and it would be great if they sound as good as they look!

The problems I have with 948s is the huge bass (medium room and an amplifier that does not have problem to kick some real bass) and somehow I think upper highs are not really "hi-end". Vocals either female or male are perfect for me and whoever has heard them thinks the same.
But I don't I don't want to take you to wrong direction because every system and room are kind unique. 
So a) for sure 948s have more bass if you need it b) I have amplifiers that give perfect voices even on cheap speakers so I would only sign a)

baclagg, I used to own a pair of Decade D2’s that I bought from Ty used and sold them a couple of years ago so while the market is smaller for the Tylers they can be sold used, but you will defiantly take a hit if you buy them new and decide to sell (true of any speaker really but bigger loss with the Tylers). The bigger the physical size the tougher the sell, again pretty true of any speaker. I talked to Ty about the Highlands several years ago and he said they were very similar to the Decade’s but a little better of everything, better detail retrieval, bass extension, sound stage, imaging, etc.

For a comparison I found the Decade’s, though very large speakers, to have a very linear, monitor like approach to the sound. Top to bottom linear sound. Sort of a what goes in is what comes out sort of speakers. Imaging was very good but smaller speakers did do it better. They aren’t going to accentuate any part of the frequency band for an acoustic "bump" or pleasing side effect to the sound signature unless the room added it. The D2’s had good bass response but nothing that made me exclaim wow like I’ve done recently with some much smaller and much less expensive speakers that probably do rely on some sort of designed-in effect.

That all being said I would still love to find a pair of used Highlands partly because of the quality of drivers used in the speakers and Danny Richie’s involvement with much of the Tyler line. Good quality drivers with good behavior don’t require complex crossover with a huge parts count. That and I have never owned beryllium tweeters and would love to give them a shot even though I’ve been in the soft dome and ring radiator tweeter camp for a while.

Best of luck.

Used to own the H3.5. In fact, I was his first customer to own them.  I can say without a doubt I would pick the 3.5 over the Focal. I've heard the 946 and while I think they are a nice speaker they are too cool for my taste. The Tyler is warmer and more neutral. Better parts all around. If you can get them for a good price I would jump on it. They sound good with either solid state or tubes but I prefer tubes because they aren't difficult to drive.  

I own Highland MTMs and love them. Actually thinking of upgrading to H3s now.