I thought the VA were a bit on the dark side. I liked the SF better because they sounded a bit brighter, less laid-back, and a little more detailed.
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The real question here is: "What are the best speakers at my local Tweeter." My response would be none of the above. Try to find an experienced dealer who can provide a meaningful audition, good advice and an in home trial. In my experience, the employees at Tweeter have no knowledge of hifi or electronics at all. They're just former shoe salesmen going through the motions for a commissioned sale. The last one I talked to had never heard of Linn, Audio Research or even Mark Levinson. He just spewed the info he was programmed to do. Sorry for the crass answer.
I think the results you would largely get from these sepeakers would depend on what you want out of them ultimately. If you never play speakers above a low threshold, and dynamic authority and weight are not too necessary for your tastes, then you would probably do fine tare both nice musical refined souding music speakers with a lot of music material that you're likely to listen to.(Jazz,Classical,vocals, light instrumentals, modest pop/rock, new age, etc.) On the other side of the TRUTH COIN here however, neither of these speakers are really well suited for heavy rock, heavy dynamic percussion, and the MUCH more demanding HT purposes!!! Although you will be helped out somewhat by crossing over these speakers to a sub for HT, both these speakers are going to sound a bit laid back and on the polite side. Neither they won't have the PRESSENCE, focused soundstage, nor reinforced dialog, midrange, and upperbass or treble that you get from a good HT/or Rock monitor!
I've sold both of these lines in the past, and am rather familiar with both. These are what I like to refer to as Limited application speakers overall! Mostly, these speakers will sound less than accurate with what movie mixers designed you to hear through them!...some would dissagree. But then, I'm a "no-compromise" kind of audiophile/HT nut, and just know what these speakers can and can't do!
Trust me here, no one recording either Rock and roll, heavy percussion, R&B, Techno, whatever,or other demanding music, much less MUCH MORE DEMANDING DD/DTS film soundtracks, would mix, record, or monitor on these speakers you're talking about there! Yes, they're nice sounding, refined, musical, clear, transparant, detailed sounding speakers. However, these are not the qualities that are leaned on with monitors designed to play back anything strong and weighty!..really we're talking limited maximized applications, truth be told.
There are TONS of speakers out there like you're considering here!. The only way you might get great results with the likes of the SF Piano's or Vienna's for ALL PORPOSE music/HT dubties, is to use them in a set up where you're physically close to the speakers! This usually entails smaller room set up's(where speaker placement, especially ported designs, is even MORE critical), rather than larger installations where dirrect reflections is a bigger issue from the listening seat, or where you're acoustically farther away from the speakers than they(speakers)are to the walls. If you can get these Vienna's or Piano's set up well in a smaller space, and can get a balance sound, and you sit closer to the speakers, you are going to get better results for HT purposes for sure from them. Otherwise, they'll have soft immaging, blured immage and soundstage, weak dialog reinforcement and detail enforcement, softer dynamics throughout, and much less pressence(critical for HT and harder dynamic stuff!). In the end however, they'll still have compromises for HT.
Let's put it this way, the speakers you're discussing are the antithesis of what a good high dynamic Pro Audio speaker or large CINEMAPLEX dynamic loud speaker is all about!...so there's tradeoffs. yeah you won't be using em in a large stadium, but the effect is still needed from what those speakers offer.
If you notice, DEDICATED HT SPEAKERS are not configured or designed like what you're considering, and for good reason. The Audio reviewers ALL use HT speakers for HT, because they work! But, like anything else, you take your compromises. Still, if you want to do it ALL BETTER, with better balance between movies and casual music, you might consider some of the higher end music speakers that will do either HT or music well across the board. If you like the clear refined sound(who doesn't) of something like the Grand Piano's, and still want an EFFECTIVE verstile HT speaker, there are speakers/monitors out there that seem to excell at movies/music better than others...
...I assume you're talking about getting FULL RANGE MONITORS for your music purposes(although you will set em as "small" on your movie processor!..yes!). Actually, if you MUST get similar speakers like what you're after, I've found a few passive full range high end music speakers that seem to do a better job with HT pressentation than most like them. NHT 2.9's/3.3's(better), Dunlavy SC III's/IV's, Thiel 2.3's(need big amp!), do much better jobs with HT/music applications than similar competition...if you're interested.
Anyway, there's a lot to consider i know. And, a lot of what I said can be constured as subjective and personal. I do find myself however liking speakers to maximize what I'm playing through them. And each person has different needs.
If I had to chose between Bethovens and Piano's for double dubty, I'd probably go with Bethovens for all purpose. Although I like the transparancy of the Piano's.
Also, something else ot consider for you might be to see what the Stereophile reviewers are using for their HT/music speakers! That way you can juggle some more ideas. Good luck
Vienna Acoustics speakers are not setup correctly in any Tweeter's I have had the pleasure of visiting. They use B+K amps. with monster cable. I am running my Beethoven's with Audioquest cable and a EAD powermaster amp. Whenever I stop by Tweeter and listen to the current hot setup, I always go away thinking the folks from Sumiko(Sumiko is the USA dist. for Vienna Acoustics) must be kicking themselves. Yes,the V/A line sounds like shit the way it's setup at Tweeter.
In response to Thsalmon's post concerning Tweeter. If indeed this is where you must buy your speakers, I read that Tweeter is starting to carry the Martin Logan lines. Completely different type of speaker, but you may want to check them out if your local store is carrying them now. I'm going to mine this weekend.
I have listened to both and would buy the Beethovens based upon the following:
1-more cabinet colors available
2-most musical with tighter bass(for music listening)
both speakers are imported by Sumiko and they instruct their dealers to emphasize the "set-up" for the Va's way to much. As far as the rear port you can play with sound dampening behind the speaker. A lot of your responses refer to TWeeters? You didn't mention it you letter is that where your buying them, do they have a return policy?
The best is an in-home demo
PSB Golds are not as refined as above, but better for HT than the SF's and Viennas. The Golds are rolled off on highs a bit, don't have that razors edge immaging, and are somewhat warm tonally overall. They Still make good rock and roll speakrs with a good amp full range, but not as refined and clear as even the NHT 2.9's at same money.
Actually, the PSB Stratus Silver I is a more neutral and high end sounding speaker than the Gold, with less bass impact and extension(although tight and fast from the Silvers!).
Actually, for the money, the PSBs are nice enough in the right application, but I think this guy is after more refined sound musically. Also, you can't always believe what you read in Audio mag's, as they have HIDDEND AGENDAS!
I own the Beethovens. I've found set up more critical for high frequency smoothness with these. I love the resolution of these baby's. But in my system(krell300il, rega jupiter, blue heaven inter, kimber4tc.)more than 1/2 my rock cds overload the tweeters around 90-95db. The speakers or the recordings? I would guess a result of the speakers high rez.
I found dyne audience 80's to be the best rock speakers out there, but you give up resolution for tons of bass and a forgiving top.