upgrade from Mini Dancer 2 DMD $5-10k


Hello all,
Looking to upgrade from a pair of Usher mini dancer 2 DMD.
Like many audio/musicophiles, I have owned multiple speakers in the past, through a series of upgrade/downgrade… all to various degrees of satisfaction…
In the speaker department, I had tremendous fun with various studio monitor speakers from french Brand Divatech (quite fantastic at the time), then on to notable speakers such as Kef 203/2, Wilson Audio Watt-Puppy 8s and most recently a pair of Usher Mini Dancer 2 (dmd).
The resolution on the Mini Dancers is incredible. Imaging is great. High-volume is possible (and manageable). But the low end has never been satisfactory to me. The absence of it I mean. I tried multiple amps and currently power them with a Usher 1.5.
Bass is just not there. I have experimented with the mini dancer in multiple rooms and set up. I also fiddled with a beringher DEQ24/96 to help out… and it did… but the laws of physics are here, and while at very high volumes you can get decent bass, at lower volumes I have heard multiple bookshelf speakers that provide more bass than the MD2.
I ended up adding a velodyne DD10+ to help in the bass department. But adding a sub introduces an additional level of complication and isn’t very satisfactory to me (musically).
So here I go: I am looking for a true full range $5-10K speaker (new or used). Fairly detailed and neutral to warm… Musical I guess… (With the absence of bass, the mini dancer tend to sound dry and forward)…. The KEF 203/2 was very good, but hard to come by. And I wouldn’t mind a bit more bass.
My living room is fairly large. About 30x15 and 8 feet high… that’s part of the problem. The speakers will need to fill that space. Here in Seattle, I went and audition Naim, PSB and Totem speakers (S600, Forest and I can’t remember the PSB). I didn’t enjoy the Naim at all… the Totem were pretty good (a bit of warmth)… the PSB were nice and clean but not very inspiring… Ideally I would buy a pair of Wilson Audio Sashas, but I cannot afford them (and the Sophias II I heard in the past also lacked bass, probably due to wrong amp pairing) …
I am not a big fan of the B&W sound… larger usher speakers are too big… therefore now reading about Aerial 7t (or model 9), verity audio or wild cards such as ATC SCM50 (also hard to find/afford)… most of them are hard to find in Seattle for a listen….
Music? Well, I will listen to Miles, Coltrane, Bach, Roy Hargrove, Common, Metallica, Ray Lamontagne, Daft punk, chamber music, Piano, occasional intimate French movies or Hollywood blockbusters… you get the picture… everything!
Please let me know your thoughts!
Thanks.
pierrel
I have been in the Audio Industry for over 38 year. I also have a pair of Usher Dancer 2 with the DMD Diamond Tweeter. I too agree with your assessment. It's a good speaker , even handed in its frequency response and acoustical presentation. It can play low for most Classical and Jazz. It does struggle on Rock sometimes.

What I like about these speakers are their ability to dissect the recording quality of music. Very easy to drive and not fussy on electronics.

To my ears , the closet thing in tonality and a good first step would be Vandersteens. In particular the newer 3A Signature, Now the Usher besides good sounds, also has good aesthetics. They easily integrate as more furniture like. For that , perhaps go and listen Treo or Quatro as well.

You should listen to a range of their products just to have some basis of comparison. If you are seeking low end , you won't be disappointed.

Vandy's when driven with high current amps can shake the house.
Please secure your wife's China Closet

Sonus Faber Amati...used $10k-$12k...warm and excellent bass
A friend of mine upgraded from the md2 to the dynaudio c4 mk 2 second hand. He no longer has the bass issue :)
Not on your radar at all, but sonically what you are looking for--AV123 Strata Mini. Powerful adjustable bass and would be great with your amp. Tons of reviews of these on the Internet.
Toe in and rake are very important with this speaker. Another great choice
Might be Vandersteen 2ce sigmkII and up from there. 5A would be great.
I know you're not into subs, but the integrated approach gives you total Adjustability of the low end.
Not on your radar at all, but sonically what you are looking for--AV123 Strata Mini. Powerful adjustable bass and would be great with your amp. Tons of reviews of these on the Internet.
Toe in and rake are very important with this speaker. Another great choice
Might be Vandersteen 2ce sigmkII and up from there. 5A would be great.
I know you're not into subs, but the integrated approach gives you total Adjustability of the low end.
Option two--get a sub or two designed for music reproduction and not just low end. My experience is subs open up the soundstage as well.
Thank you for your response. I've actually been wondering if dynaudio would be my type of sound... There is a nice pair of c2 mk1 for sale here on audiogon...
Seems a little strange since the MD2s are rated down to 28Hz, although I noticed a reviewer placed them six inches closer to the front wall than usual for speakers of this type so you appear to not be alone in thinking them a little bass shy. And since you've heard monitors with "more bass" than the MD2s it seems like it could possibly be a voicing thing maybe in the midbass and not just low bass you may be lacking?

If that's possibly the case you might give the Joseph Audio Perspectives an audition if you have a dealer within a reasonable distance. There appears to be a Vandersteen dealer in the Seattle area so the Quatros may be an interesting alternative as well as they have built-in subs. Best of luck.
C2 might not have the bass you are looking for though.
Thank you for your perspectives. Is there a way on audiogon to share images? I would love to show you the room and the set up to add elements for discussions. Although, like i said, i have tried them in multiple rooms and they while they become fuller at louder volumes, at moderate levels they are very bass shy...
I actually have both the Usher MD2 and Dynaudio c1 signature and I prefer the Dynaudio C1 more. The C1 offer more liquid vocal and sweeter treble. I'm using a Rel sub to fill the low freq below 36hz. The MD2 is now used in my home theater setup.

You can upload your pictures in flicker or google+ and share the link here.
Wow. Thank you audiogon community for such great feedback. Research is on! Thank you for the direction.
P.
how about moving up the usher dancer line?
Let's try this and see if it works.... The set up is still a bit messy, but getting there... You can see it is a large urban living room. Lots of windows and doors leading to other spaces.... Sound will reflect (probably contributing to some brightness with the MD), and you can see that it'll also go to other rooms...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/57199783@N06/sets/72157640988482735/
One more time:
http://flic.kr/s/aHsjSvViN8
With that room, I would look for either bigger Usher or Dynaudio c4 or s5.4
I thought I would post a quick update. First, thank you all for your support through this quest for better.
I have spent the last few days experimenting with the Beringher deq2496.
I have been able to dial in a nice 'house curve' and i must share the following... I think i might need to start a new thread, this said, the below has been shared and discussed here over an over again, so i am not sure I should add to the debate...but here I go:
I got some amazing results with the mini dancer. I actually just turned off the velodyne sub. The house curve is achived and the sound is full. Fuller than I had ever experienced. I am flying through my records with great pleasure. I have always known room response is probably one of the most important element in audio reproduction, if not the most important. And like said earlier, I do not mean to start another debate. But I must say that with the appropriate eq, the mini dancer sound very close to what i am looking for...And... Capable of bass i thought were not possible... Back to an earlier comment here, it sounds like their might be a voicing issue that eq is helping resolve. And that leads me to the next issue and question:
The eq only takes place in the digital domain. I can't find a way to have that applied to analog sources (my rega planar turntable), nor do I want to.
Do you think another power amp could help? I use the usher 1.5, and my preamp is a cary slp308.... If I was willing to try other amps to drive the lower end of the usher better, where should i look? Any suggestions? Is it more power? Bi amp?
Talk soon!