Good Luck, TISHP.S. If you tell us the size of the room that you are going to use, it will make it easier for someone to give a recommendation.
Hi, What ever you do make sure that the speakers you buy are an easy load for an amp. This makes looking for an amp much easier and you will have more choices.
Good Luck, TISHP.S. If you tell us the size of the room that you are going to use, it will make it easier for someone to give a recommendation.
Thought I would give you my 2cents. I am 58 and have been loving music since I was 15 with my first Sansui AU717 and Technics SB7000A's monster speakers,(google them). Have been into quite a few systems since Parasound/Vandersteens/Aerial Acoustics etc. In the early 90's I checked out the Vandersteens at a shop in Providence, RI and fell in love with these speakers the 2ce's(not sigs) I went through some tough times and recently unboxed them and picked up a Krell Digital Vanguard Amp, Just wow!! They are not meeh! At least not to me. For the money they sound just amazing and really worth listening to. I was going to buy Elacs or Buchardts small bookshelfs and after hearing my current set-up. I'm keeping the Vandys and upgrading cables and getting myself a new turntable.
Don't stress, have fun with this and try to get into some shops to listen or see who might have some cool gear around you. Good Luck
Definitely listen to different speakers and see what you like. Once you know what "sound" you like then decide on equipment to run them. Easier as mentioned to find easy to drive speakers. I went the opposite way vintage Infinity and Acoustic Research. Went through a pile of amps that never did them justice. Now I use Threshold amps so that part is done.
+1 @belvedere2 -- by far the best investment you can make right now is taking the time to go out and listen to as many speakers as you can. You'll eventually start to identify which speaker characteristics (and speakers) sound best to you. Only then will you be in a good position to make the right choice, and none of us can tell you what that is because we all hear differently and value different things. Speakers are funny that way -- once you hear the right ones it tends to hit you pretty hard and you just know. And by all means bring a good selection of your favorite music to each demo. Best of luck.
Thank you very much you all for your responses. I really appreciate it.
The room is an average Livingroom, around 18 x 8?...
Budget: 1500 to 2000. although I already stated that I am interested in the Tektons. I also like Focal a lot, at least on paper, and there are the Arias 926...
Active or Passive speakers. I don't have a preference per se. Just heard that these speakers sounded much better than the passive version from the same brand.
I understand that one has to like the sound and so on. But there is "the detail" and there is "the big difference", and I understand the likeness is about the detail. First I would like some input from experts or experienced people to discard, or differentiate the Good from the Bad, or the Better from the Not so good. For instance, do you think it is better to invest on an older used and perhaps outdated pair of big floorstanding with 8" woofers, or would you rather go with a new pair of technologically advanced 15 in small speakers with 5" drivers? When I asked between the Vandersteen and a good pair of B&W 802 S3, I was responded that the later were outdated, whatever that means.
There are so many good speakers that you can find used that you can lose ones mind. I have a buddy that I all vintage Joe. He goes to estate sales and gets fantastic bargains on so many of the speakers from the 70's on up. For example Kef 104/2s, 105s, B&Ws, Sony, IMF, Dalhquist, AR, ADS, etc. The large IMFs sounded fantastic so did the Kef models especially for the money. They all sounded really good especially since he paid a few hundred or less for the pairs. Some he refinished, some he learned to re-foam, etc. Lots of info on repairs, etc. for all of this for a little research. They all have a very good sound and most have a warmish sound and maybe a little box sound but very musical. There are times that I come home and say sell all my stuff and just get one of them and enjoy the music. They are so cheap that you can buy multiple pairs and try them out for almost nothing.
The advice about not locking yourself into a difficult speaker to drive is really important. Thiels are great if you can get them second hand, but you need a LOT of reserve power to make them sound good.
My other advice is to spend time with the speakers you audition. Try to imagine listening to them every night. Many times the sound attributes that catch your attention initially are things that will annoy you in a long evening of listening. A lot of speakers are voiced to stand out in a showroom comparison, which isn't how you'll listen over the long haul.
YMMV, but I've gravitated towards Thiel and Harbeth because of their natural, open, non-fatiguing qualities. A lot of people say the same of Vandersteen.
Like you said - everyone has an opinion and not all the same. I think the best thing to do is listen to them before you buy - and if you can listen on the actual components you will be using - all the better. I love my Vandy 2ce Sig II's (bought them new) - I run them on Quicksilver M120 Tube amps and Audioresearch pre amp -- but have heard B&W's on Macintosh 60's that sound amazing. there is alot of great stuff out there. You should listen first
I just want a pair of good speakers so I can enjoy King Crimson, Ramones or Beethoven.
Then give these a look ...
Zu Audio Dirty Weekend @$1000
Have been enjoying this hobby for almost 50 years. Few speakers have ever excited me like these.
In 2007, after getting back to buying stuff again, following an 18 year bout of keeping what I had, I tried to replace good Vortex Screens made in the 1990's by Albert Von Schweikert--maker of Von Schweikert speakers that are very highly praised today. I went to Emerald Physics CS-2 speakers by what I read--didn't like the highs as they seemed to by closed off. Then I read about VMPS 626R monitors. They were very highly praised in the press. I bought a pair used and loved them. They were very detailed without having ear bleed, open and transparent. I later added a VMPS 215 VSS subwoofer and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I became a demonstrator for the VMPS speakers and had an opportunity to hear and own VMPS RM40, RM30, and then RM40 BCSE with MLS cabinets. All were fantastic because, as has been mentioned, I loved the sound the VMPS brand produced.
I still own the last pair mentioned here. All the VMPS speakers are great values for the money in all of audio. To beat the sound of those took a lot of money. I really only had 2 makers of speakers in mind--Sanders ESL 10e electrostatic speakers and the better Vapor Audio speakers--Cirrus, or the Joule. The Vapors really hit my sound parameters, but had gone up in price considerably over the last 4 years. The Sanders required selling most of my other gear and buying all Sanders stuff. Very tempting except I loved all the gear I now had and it sounded great with the VMPS speakers.
NO ONE can tell you what sound you prefer in side your budget you're willing to spend. I have friends that think my system sounds great, but it's still not their cup of tea.
Listening to other speakers at friend's houses or at the few dealers that are still around is a very good way to see what sound you do like. IF YOU BUY USED FROM SELLERS ON GOOD WEBSITES THST HAVE 100% POSITIVE FEEDBACK, you usually can buy and sell without too much of a cost penalty. You may even make out a little sometimes. If you buy new and sell, it is much like buying a new car and selling. You already lost 1/3 of the initial cost when you bought.
Good luck and take your time on the decision. Check out the seller's feedback and be quick to buy once your decision is made. The highly praised speakers go quickly on Audiogon or Audio Circle. or US Audio Mart.
Ok I’m 67...been around mono and stereo equipment my whole life.With houses and apts of all different sizes.I now own a townhouse with catheral ceiling...30’x15’ with balcony...Its like a concert hall,and alot of speakers just don’t cut it.I need big speakers with plenty of amp rms ...JBLs ,ARs,Sono Faber,Cerwin Vegas,Polk,KLH,Yamamha,Pioneer,B&W,Klipshorn,Dyanco,Bose ,Sansui,Radio Shack,Lafayettes,Bozaks,Elacs,Fulance,Sonys,Tannoys,Marantzs,Cambridge,etc,etc,etc...when you listen to music over alot of different speakers .Large woofers , its like going to a live concert like MSG but live music as we know sounds different at different stadiums like Yankee stadium vs Randels Is.Size of the places does make a difference like a Sound Engineer....the amp power...ive been at the Meadowlands for Bruce Springsteen and could hear a pin drop....But been at The Paramount in Huntington and people wouldn’t shut up.or put there Cell Phones away. .. . OMG lol..old,new ,vintage they all sound different but can start sounding the same...again price ! Do $500,000 sound better ? I have heard speaker Systems costing in the millions sound like crap because of a lousy sound man. Lol and a Four Seasons song sound fantastic on my RCA pocket radio.. Remember them.?
I am in a similar position. I am 60 years old and setting up a quiet sitting room for my wife and I to get away from two adult children and two grandchildren. Love them but can't get rid of them. I have a bryston system with a 14b cubed amp so I have plenty of power. I need speakers. My budget is a little better and I have a good offer on proac and a level floorstanders. Open to suggestions.
1. Read. Read reliable solid info like Robert Harley's Complete Guide to High End Audio. Study that book like your life depends on it. Literally decades since my first read and still not a day goes by I don't see questions here that are answered in that book.
2. Disregard. A lot of stuff on the web is dudes with no experience to back up what they nevertheless are quite eager to tell you as if they have a clue when they don't. #1 above will help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
3. Listen. While you are reading up spend as much time as you can listening to as much gear as you can. Pay attention to everything- all the associated components, how they are set up - especially the speakers - the room, even things like do they leave the SS gear on overnight or was it just turned on, are the components on cones and the cables elevated up off the floor and is the system complete or are there stock factory power cords. Even doing this its almost impossible to get a handle on what you're hearing unless you have them swap out some components. So always ask to hear the system with a different power cord, interconnect, speaker cable, etc. This one simple step will massively accelerate your learning curve.
4. Budget. You mention being new and wanting to buy speakers. But why speakers? Its common to place way too much importance on speakers. They are important for sure, but really not much more so than anything else. You will never get good sound without also having very good speaker cables, amp, interconnects, power cords, and a turntable. Beyond that you will be surprised how much an already good system can be improved by "accessories" and "tweaks" like fuses, cones, and other neat stuff. Guess what? Covered in Harley's book! Pretty much everything I'm saying is covered in his book! Including to budget serious money for all the stuff above.
5. Reality. The $3k speakers you are now up to would be at home in a really sweet $15k system. The other $12k going into all the wire and cones and fuses, etc. Each individual component if bought as above will indeed be an improvement. But the truth is with the right purchases and a synergistic balance of all components you could have a sweet system complete and done for that same $3k. Most never figure this out, instead chase after grail after grail, never getting good results because they spend so much on each grail they never have the money to fill in what is needed to get the most out of the grails.
Its a balancing act with you on the wire and not much of a net below. That's why its best to start with the wire nice and low and practice, practice, practice is better than spend, spend, spend.
Based on my recent speaker shopping experience, some of the older speakers that you are likely to encounter probably are outdated.
I tend to replace my speakers every 10 years. My last speakers were DALI Helicon 400's. They initially retailed for $4500 and had creeped up around $6,000 by the time they were discontinued. So, I assumed I'd need to shop for speakers in the $10,000 range for a significant improvement. Boy was I wrong.
One of the speakers I auditioned was the new Focal Kanta # 2. I was very impressed with that speaker; but, I didn't think it was quite worth the $10K list price. So, I tried the Focal Electra 1038 BE, which the Kanta is replacing. I found the 1038 BE's to be stunningly disappointing when compared to the Kanta's. Unfortunately, I have not heard their Aria line.
As I continued to shop, I was very surprised at how good Revel Performa F 206 & 208's sounded @ $3500 & $5000 respectively. So, some speaker brands (perhaps most of them) appear to have taken a large leap in the last 10 years. So, as many others have said, listen to as many speakers as you can. I know it's time consuming and often frustrating; but, I bet your patience will be rewarded
I gotta say, times have changed, and I no longer consider myself an audiophile, at least by the standards here. When I was a young man, it was all about low distortion amps, at least 100W/ch. Everyone knew that the speakers introduced more distortion than any good amp would. Next problem, would be the room. Third problem would be the limitations and issues with vinyl records. Now days, it seems like everything is subjective. Throw some old technology in, like glowing tube amps, crazy speaker designs, all sorts of things that create innacuracies, cost tons, and are full of hype. Yeah, if you spend $10k on a pair of speakers and amps, you are going to tell yourself they are great, otherwise you are a dope, right?
When it comes to high fidelity speakers, the straightforward engineering and design was done in the three decades from ‘50 to ‘80. Good bass, square inches of driver. Efficiency, horns. Good highs, domes. Get some of those high end vintage studio monitors from the last decade of that period from Altec Lansing, et al, and you won’t lose money when the marketing hype runs out on those ridiculously expensive systems. (Full disclosure, I just sold a pair that I got in the mid-seventies, for several times what I paid for them then, and they can still be re-serviced to this day.) Unless of course, you just want to brag about how much you spent to get the exact ‘tone’ (distortion?) you were looking for.
Now, I wait for the experts to cry foul and my ignorance and naïveté. Have to admit to both, and am going deaf, so this is now all lost on me.
millercarbon gives you good advice, and I think the most important thing that he said is listen.
A lot of well meaning writers and salespeople and people that you speak to will have strong heartfelt opinions about different brands and types of speakers, but very much like falling in love, when it happens, you’ll know. You may think that you are interested in a large speaker with conventional direct radiating drivers and then one day hear a small electrostatic and discover that it has the sound you’re dreaming of. Nothing you buy will be perfect, but something will give you most of what you want, and the only way to find it is to listen.
Good luck, and enjoy he hunt!...it should be fun.
I formerly worked for a small but respected speaker manufacturer in Australia. (Used speakers made by them are higher than your suggested budget).
Things I'd consider if were I in the market for loudspeakers.
I suggest you start by going to a showroom and listening to some speakers WITH the brand/approx price range of the AMP you own or intend to buy. Many times amp families have a “house sound”—they have similar sonic characteristics. At the price point you are looking at, most gear will not be neutral, so getting gear that complements each other’s strengths and weaknesses is a good idea. When you find a sound that pleases you, check out what interconnects and speaker wires they are using also. Everything adds to the coloration of your system.
Those b&w 802 are very nice speakers. You would need plenty of power in your amp to drive them well. The thing about great speakers, they reveal very well the strengths and weaknesses of your system!!! So you may get great speakers, but if you are driving them with so-so gear, you WILL hear that the gear is crappy. Its important to match quality.
For vintage gear, for good matches, if you like, say the 802s, then read the professional reviews from back in the day. When you see a stellar review, note the amp, the interconnects, the speaker wires they used in their system and then go buy that set up.
20 years ago, we went to a showroom to listen to gear—with a very well produced CD that had vocals, solo horns, a solo violin, a choir and an orchestra. We tried the same 5 minutes with multiple brands in the $2-4K price range, until we found a pr that did justice to the music the way WE liked it. Then we asked the dealer to recommend a good matching amp. We went home with “last year’s” AMP for less than half price of new and have enjoyed the speakers since, even as we upgraded amps and wires.
We bought Vienna Acoustic Beethoven’s. They were Stereophile B-rated speakers in their day. You can still find them used every so often. They are very musical speakers that do a great job with jazz, small-ensemble classical, and rock. They are small enough to work in a living room. And they are forgiving of mid-fi gear, yet are resolving enough to keep up with much better gear than your budget allows. I’m running them with a vintage amp—Mufi KW 500, ($8k new) and they sound superb. When I bought them, the dealer suggested the flagship Yamaha amp (midfi, solid state and had a built in phono preamp that worked well with 70s era pioneer Turntables).
Our club, AZ AV Club is holding its 1st annual Speakerfest on Saturday
June 29th 10am-4pm in Scottsdale, AZ. $10 admission fee.
You will hear : Sanders Sound, Joseph Audio, ATC 50s passive,
ZU, Salk, Spatial, Tekton, LSA and Markaudio speakers. Maybe more.
I have no idea where you live, but a RT ticky on SW Air if properly shopped for should not be over $300. Plus our $10 admit fee. You will hear some pretty nice stuff in properly sized rooms powered by D"Agostino etc. Might be worth your while. Some principals will speak
as well. Like warm climates?
Seeing as how I'm owning and loving my Focal 936's and I listen to stuff that's all over the map, especially prog, I'm going to endorse 926's. They're good. But it really depends on what you're planning on for power, too.
I would put much stock in what Eric at Tekton has to say. People making much better speakers than him, with wildly more successful businesses, would beg to strongly differ with him. I'm talking the likes of Focal, B&W, Magico, KEF, Paradigm, Martin Logan, Golden Ear, and on and on and on.
As others have emphasized, you need to go out and hear a few candidates to get a better idea of your own preference. It is also a good idea to hear different fundamental types, such as large planar speakers (e.g. Magnepan), omni-directional speakers (e.g., MBL, German Physics), electrostatic and hybrids (e.g., Martin Logan). A lot of these might be out of your price range, but, used models might be in the balllpark.
As for any specific recommendations to audition, that is a bit tricky without any context of what you have heard and liked, and what are your plans for electronics. I do have some general recommendations for models and brands that are sort of universal--they may not be everyone's favorites, but, most people do not find these highly objectionable. It is like recommending chocolate, almost everyone at least likes chocolate even if it might not be a favorite, vs. recommending cilantro (I like the flavor, but, a lot of people really hate it). My "chocolate" recommendations are: 1) Tekton Double Impacts (good sound for the money and BIG advantage of being easy to drive which opens up the choice for electronics); 2) Audio Note AN-J, AN-K (warm, rich sound while still being lively; easy to drive); 3) Rethm Bhaava (built in powered woofer and easy to drive; a super bargain); and 4) any ProAc model near your price range).
Hi tykozen, remember one thing! Your ears are your ears. If a certain speaker appeals to you, don't be intimidated by others opinions. If your goal is to buy used do look at issues such as; Are there proprietary drivers or parts? Are they available? I own several sets of Snell speakers. Snell is out of business (like many). Snell receives very little respect in the audio community for mostly poor reasons. I picked up a set of Snell Type B's for a measly $700.00 They compete with anything out there. I've been to homes of audiophiles and well as shows and dealer showrooms. I've listened to the latest speakers (with fabulous reviews of course). The Snell A5s and Type B's sound better than the $40,000.00 speakers that so many drool over! But that's MY opinion. Good luck and enjoy. Joe
I agree with soix-- get out as much as you possibly can and demo as many speakers as possible. Every listener will have different tastes! And every speaker will sound different. My only frustration with this hobby is that even though I live only about an hour outside of Manhattan, in one of the wealthiest parts of the country-- yet have no places to demo speakers, no dealers carrying a lot of different brands that are reasonably close by. I have to go into Manhattan, and even there it isn't easy. Anyway-- if you want to go really cheap, yet find speakers that can rock it and also give great detail, try the Klipsch Reference Premier. Either the RP-8000F ($1000/pair) or the RP-6000F ($800/pair). I have not listened to them, but the reviews are remarkable for a speaker that is that inexpensive. You might want to try the manufacturers that allow 30 or 60 day demos, but you have to deal with returns, a hassle-- and sometimes speakers take that long to break in. I will say it isn't easy! BTW I have Raidho XT-2's and love them, on good recordings it sounds as if the musicians are right in my room. But they are out of your price range at 18K/pair. Maybe Golden Ear? Best of luck!
Thank you very much for all your responses. Most of them have been really helpful, although they confirm what I suspected, there is a lot (to say the least) of subjectivity in all this. Which kind of makes sense since we are talking about music.
I liked very much the suggestion about the synergy between components. That makes sense. Nevertheless, my intention is to make investments spread in time, so I decided to start strong with the speakers. I bought an old Kenwood 6100 (yes I know...). I will update as soon as I get the divorce from my wife due to my several hobbies and "investments"...
So then I will read (bought the book) and listen as much as I can, that is for sure. I appreciate the invitation to AZ, I am in NC. I will look for those clubs and speaker showrooms around.
Oh and I doubt Ramones and Beethoven will be playing in the Madison Square garden but either way thanks for the tip LOL. I saw King Crimson last year and it was probably the best gig I have been in in my life.
Oh I have another question: is there really any difference between a Sony CD/Blu ray reader and an incredibly-expensive used CD reader from Audiophile brands?
First I would like some input from experts or experienced people to discard, or differentiate the Good from the Bad, or the Better from the Not so good. For instance, do you think it is better to invest on an older used and perhaps outdated pair of big floorstanding with 8" woofers, or would you rather go with a new pair of technologically advanced 15 in small speakers with 5" drivers? When I asked between the Vandersteen and a good pair of B&W 802 S3, I was responded that the later were outdated, whatever that means.I understand what you're trying to do, but you're overthinking it. First, there are really no "bad" speakers out there that you should avoid. Each speaker has its own characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses, so now it's really up to you to just go out there and start listening so you can figure out what sounds best to you. That's the most productive thing you can do right now rather than spending time here reading other people's' opinions. In the end, your opinion is the only one that matters, so just go out there and start forming your own opinions rather than wasting your time here. That said, once you've heard some things and want to verify or get some other perspectives on what you thought you heard, that's cool and can be helpful to you going forward, but at least you've taken a step forward in identifying what you may like or not. Just get out there! That's the best education there is, by far.
If you like watching movies or concert DVD's thru your audio system, then finding a multi - format player is a good idea. But, in doing so you'll probably need to add a stand alone DAC in order to get a higher level of sound quality. Compared to the cost of a high end CD/SACD player, you're probably talking about a similar budget.
You can use the same scenario when it comes to your selection of speakers:
Do you go with a larger, full range speaker or something smaller and then add a subwoofer to it? Again, you're looking at a similar budget. The bottom line is figuring out what works best for your wants and needs. Good luck in your search!
Give the Magnepan LRS a listen. They are 86 db sensitivity at 4 ohm impedance, which means they require quite a bit of power or else they will overheat an amp. But at only $650 per pair, you can also purchase a decent amp to drive them, such as an Emotiva amp. I am a very big fan of getting the most bang for my bucks, not so much interested in spending a lot to impress anyone else. If you do the reviews on Magnepan and Emotiva, I think you'll find there's a lot of agreement that if you purchase them, you will be getting an excellent bang for your bucks.
How big is the room, how loud will you listen, and what amp will you use?
Also any constraints on where the speakers will be located in the room?
Oh and your budget or cost limit for the entire new system including new speakers?
There is always some subjectivity in speaker selection but if you can answer these questions it will help to identify those that have the best chance of fitting the bill.
As many have said, you have to listen for yourself. Each of us has favorites. The only thing that I would add is to try to listen at home with the speakers set up in your room. It is hard to overemphasize the importance of room-speaker interaction. Some direct to consumer manufacturers offer a generous home audition program. Some B&M stores have demos.
Tykozen ,have you thought of or heard of Zu? Made in Utah and they have what they call a "dirty weekend" where you can try a loaner pair of their speakers. I guess you get to keep them or return them according to your opinion of them.
I have a pair of Zu Soul Superflys and really enjoy listening to the type of music you have mentioned. I mainly use small valve amps but I know they also sound great with solid state amps too. Peachtree for example. They will also work really well with vintage receivers.
Lots of guys on here probably have a few pairs of speakers and you might even be able to borrow some from someone nearby.
I've owned and auditioned many speakers in the $2K to $5K range. Even the cheapest Vandersteen (1Ci) can, in many respects, outperform some $5K speakers (though, sadly, so can some thrift store Advents) The Music Room gave you good advice, though IMO, they ask too much for their pre-owned inventory. I've seen near-mint 3A Signatures sell for $2K.
I'll keep this in terms of less expensive or used/vintage gear.
First, decide whether you like your music rendered in terms of tonality/big sound.. or, being rendered with pin-point imaging, depth, resolution, and accuracy.. aural-spatial effects, basically. These are the poles of the audiophile spectrum. That will narrow things down quite a lot. Also, the room again. Accuracy and imaging at moderate/high volume requires a large-ish room with carpet, higher ceilings, and not many reflective environmental surfaces. However, if you're generally listening at lower volumes, then no problem.. esp if you listen closer to the speakers, but then you're talking small monitors so the individual drivers can 'mesh' together.
Efficient (and generally large) speakers, such as by Cube or Zu (using single 'wide-band' drivers, maybe augmented by a tweeter) or even horn loaded speakers (such as vintage Klipsh's..exciting in their own way but not particularly accurate), are tonally more alive, and will be in the first group. Let's just call them 'fun.' Here, you're listening to YOUR room.. and the music. You're not thinking about the equipment. Metaphorically, you're shining a very powerful flashlight into a dark room and seeing the light bouncing off the walls and lighting adjacent walls.
Less-efficient speakers (which require a high-powered amp and a good distance from your walls.. 3ft+), will be in the second group. These are (in no order) Scansonic, maybe Andrew Jones designed Elac's, Green Mountain (Rio), vintage Merlin's, select vintage B&W's, Thiels, Spica's, NEAR's (rare, finicky, probably need ferrofluid service by Lewis Athanas), vintage (also large) Von Schweikert VR series (w/ rear tweeters off, bass ports stuffed) lower-tier Vandersteen (such as old Treo, 2c) and vintage Spendors. They typically have multiple drivers and a sophisticated (but inefficient) crossover to portion out the freq bands to at least 3 drivers, but will provide a semblance of the illusion of what happens in the studio your music was recorded in.. your room disappears and you see into another. It's a fascinating experience. Here, in the right room, metaphorically, you're seeing a light show in the middle of a black space.
The Tekton's are sort of a hybrid.. relatively efficient but may use many drivers. Whether they reproduce music as being cut from the 'whole cloth' is up for debate. I haven't heard them. Magnepan is probably their evil sibling.. inefficient and only uses (depending on model) a single driver.. but very coherent and need lots of power, and a subwoofer which is another trial, in itself).
Also keep in mind that efficient speakers using simple crossovers benefit from high quality but simple low powered amplifiers.. ie Triode tube amps or very simple mosfet or v-fet or static inductor transistor amps. These amps aren't cheap, but high efficiency speakers will put any amp's design under the microscope (so to speak.. you might hear dust particles hitting the floor) so these amps need to have a very low noise floor and be phase-linear and preferably single ended, which gives you coherence and tonal purity. Still, in this scenario, you may not hear the progenal recording space if your room fights against your equipment.
Inefficient speakers can do better (for a given budget) with a less expensive but powerful modern Class-D amplifier from companies like Wyred4Sound, et al. There are many companies now producing these relatively low cost but well-designed powerful amps, actually. Inefficient but well-designed speakers seem to mask the deficiencies of lower quality components in well-designed amps.. yet future upgrades to the upstream equipment chain can still improve the sound.
Nice summary in general by jhw9.
Another factor to consider is where the speakers will be located and where you will be listening from. A very specific "sweet spot" or a broader range of listening locations?
If the later, then wider dispersion or omnidirectional speakers would work best for sound stage and imaging, if that is of value for you. Ohm Walsh speakers (www.ohmspeakers.com) fit the bill affordably for many in that case.
The tonality of the OHMs (modest efficiency) is more like Vandersteen, somewhat laid back and balanced top to bottom...very coherent and non-fatiguing... with very good dynamics, especially with a well suited amp.
OHM Walsh speaker models have similar sound from bottom to top of the line. The main factor in choosing a model and how much it will cost is room size and need for extended bass in larger rooms. Some models (the larger 5XXX line) are also adjustable and can work well in most any room.
Here's some well-intended advice for "tykozen", and anybody else who's considering the purchase of used loudspeakers: DON'T. You will regret such purchase, and if you don't, it will only be due to your disregard for diligence. (E.g.: You failed to open the enclosure and visually inspect everything, and you were not prepared to conduct exhaustive electrical testing to assure proper "in spec" operation of all components, including those archaic passive crossover parts.)
Loudspeakers are commonly subject to all sorts of excessive and unintended (and unrevealed) user abuse, and passive crossover networks are often inaccurate when new, hopeless after aging. Buy new, or don't buy.
Do disregard all of the satisfied A'goners that will advise you otherwise. Many are naive and unaware of the flaws inherent in the used speakers that they purchased, and most lack the competence (and the instruments) necessary to conduct the requisite electronic testing. Ears alone cannot assure adequate evaluation.
I do get vtv..’s concern. If you have (and are willing to part with) the money, buying new is preferrable. However, given the 5 and 6 digit prices good (new) full-range speakers command these days.. buying used can save you several of those digits.. but you definitely do have to go see them first, personally. You have to listen to them with good, educated ears. This means traveling. That is most likely only a 3 digit expense, hwvr.
Most often, given butyl surrounds (not foam), all you’ll need to do for service is ferrofluid (which is simpler on woofers and tweeters than it is on small mid-ranges). For those you’ll need an expert.. but again, this is only a 2 or 3 digit expense. Capacitors are fairly robust on good quality crossovers.. esp if they’re under 20yrs old. I’ve gone through my original film caps on my 25+ year old x-overs boards, and suprisingly, they all still measure within what’s printed on the outside.