Martin Logan Prodigy. Almost the best at any price. But if I were spending $10,000 to upgrade my sound system, I would spend at least $4,000.00 on room accoustics rpg diffusors, roomtunes, arulex.
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Dynaudio Contour 3.3. I took my time in selecting my next pair of speakers. I listened to Dunlavy SCIVa, Dunlavy Aletha, B&W 802, Maggies 3.6r, Martin Logen Prodigy, Dynaudio Confidence 5, Proac 3.8...+ others. I had the same three cd's with me to compare the sound. When I heard the Dynaudio Contour 3.3 I knew my search was over. I did listen to a few more, but knew the 3.3's brought a big smile to my face. The sound was very detail and clear in all ranges. Voices sounded alive, highs were very detailed and not bright, the mid-range really shines and the bass was just the way I like it; not boomy and not wimpy, just tight and detailed (IMHO the best sounding bass of the models I heard). Soundstage was deep and wide with each instrument separate and detailed. A magnificent full range speaker that anyone considering spending in this price range ($7,000.) should listen to.
Rosstaman - given that the Dynaudio Confidence 5's are more expensive (actually right at the original post's 10K figure) and you chose the 3.3's, what beyond the cost savings led you to choose the 3.3's over the 5's? You rarely see 3.3's for sale used, and I see a lot of 5's for sale, slightly used and very discounted. I have the 3.0's and occassionally daydream about auditioning the 3.3's or 5's for upgrading, so I'm curious about your experience. Also curious about how these compared with the Dunlavy's on your list.
Voce Divina Tenore!!!! Basically, I threw away my Wilson watts, Kharma2, Sonus Fabers, B&W N-801 for these. These suckers are the most natural sounding speakers in the PLANET! All these in my list pales in comparison with the Tenore, especially the Q.Millenio Tenore which is the latest one! Heard it at the distributors house driven by custom tubes amps and AHHHHH!!!! it's the BEst Ive heard period!
I auditioned the Martinlogan protidigies and I must say without any reservation that I do enjoy the sound and the look. I was a bit apprehensive about the price and I believed that they can be purchased a some discount--By the way Harvey' electronics is given a sale until january 31st-- Happy shopping..
Kthomas - The Dynaudio Confidence 5's had slightly better mid-range. Vocals especially sounded amazingly real. However, The Contour 3.3's were more full range and had better bass. It was not an easy decision, but when I went back and forth between the Confidence 5's and the Contour 3.3's, the Contour 3.3 just sounded better to me. I used the same cd's when I audition every speaker. They were the opening track of Eric Clapton's Unplugged, Sir Neville Mariner and the Academy...Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Louie Armstrong meets Duke Ellington-The Summit opening track: Duke's Place, and Pink Martini's opening track: Ameda Mio.
Vandersteen 5. The best speaker that I have personally heard. Spacious airy highs that are not etched or unnatural. Transparent midrange. Beautiful vocals. Great soundstaging. Solid powerful bass, including deep bass, with which few, if any, of the speakers mentioned previously can compare. When matched with the right electronics, I think it really doesn't get much better than this. At any price. Don't buy until you have heard these speakers.
Sschreiner: I heard the Vandersteen 5 with an Ayre V-1 (200 watts, solid state) and Ayre K-1 solid state preamp. It was magical. This is pretty expensive stuff. I would also recommend what I have now, which is a Pass Aleph 4 power amp and CAT SL-1 Ultimate preamp. If you want to spend less, you can look at amps by Marsh, Aloia, Monarchy, and possibly Electrocompaniet, as well as preamps by Audible Illusions, a used Audioprism Mantissa. As you can see, I am a solid state bigot (as far as power amps go), so you'll have to ask elsewhere for info about tube amps. These speakers may do well with tube amps. Since they have a built in amplifier to handle the bass, you will not be relying on your tube amp to deliver the bass which is where nearly all tube amps that I have heard fall down. Also, try to find a dealer who can properly set up and demonstrate the Vandersteen's. It is a difficult speaker to get "right". I highly recommend John at Audio Connection in Verona, N.J.
Now I'll offer up a speaker that I haven't heard. The Soundlab Millenium M-1 or Soundlab A-1. These speakers are electrostatics, not dynamic. People whose ears that I now and trust say these are even better than the Vandersteens. These are huge speakers, which unlike all other electrostatics deliver terrific deep bass, can play quite loudly (although not quite like dynamic speakers), and can disperse high frequency sound throughout a wide horizontal angle. The Millenniums won the Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award in 1999. If I had a dedicated room, with sufficient space, and the desire to spend this type of money on speakers, I would definitely check these out. Their dealer network is small and they are difficult to find in order to get an audition. Again, they require a high power, high current amplifier, but people who are in the know say that these are absolutely magical. Check them out at www.soundlab-speakers.com. Oh yeah. These two speakers are over 10K. I did see several great deals on used A-1's on this site and others around 5k. With no disrespect to others, if you get a good audition of Vandersteen and Soundlab's, and natural, full range sound reproduction is your goal. I think you will forget about names like B&W, Dunlavy and Martin Logan and Wilson Audio. IMO, these do not come close.
KThomas- I am currently running a pair of Confidence 5s and couldn't be happier. In my room (25'x19'), I don't find the bass to be lacking at all. The 5s are much more "analytical" than the 3.3s. This means that the 5s will more readily show deficiencies in the rest of the system. I also find that the 5s do voices better than any speaker to which I've listened. Matched up with great electronics, they are, IMHO, the best at $10k. As for discounted pricing, it's to the buyer's advantage.
Metaphysics - thanks for sharing your experience. I find it hard to believe that the 5's are some sort of lemon, especially coming from Dynaudio, but I guess it wouldn't be un-precedented. In any case, they'd be my first inclination for upgrading my 3.0's based solely on price and manufacturer. And, I agree wholeheartedly that the discounted pricing is to the buyer's advantage - I always like a great deal!
Rayhall, Be careful if you demo a set of Vandersteen 5's. You cannot use a Pass Aleph amp with their balanced crossover. You could damage the speaker if you do. Apparently the Van 5 balanced crossover needs matching values for pos and neg legs. Most amps are this way, but the alephs are not. I talked to a pass labs tech, and he said he could modify the vand hipass filters for around $50. They just have to change capacitors to compensate. I'm using my vt100 to drive them now.
I am looking for speaker cables to use with mine. My red dawns bananas won't fit and I need to biwire. What speaker cables have you or others seen the Vandersteen 5 demoed with ?
Snook2: As I stated earlier, I cannot personally vouch for the Soundlabs, but I offer them as one a prospective buyer should listen to, before buying in the 10K price range. I make this statement based on the opinions of people I respect, and with whom I have had a high degree of agreement in the past on what sounds right. You may not agree with my assessment of B&W, Dunlavy, Martin Logan etc., and that is your right to do so, but I think those speakers are lacking in one way or another-more so than the Vandersteens. John_l: Thanks for the heads-up. Although, I wasn't considering Vandersteen 5's for the Aleph, that is a possibility in the distant future. I have heard them with Nordost SPM speaker cables. I don't remember the interconnects. The CD player was a Wadia 860.
Snooks - as one who has heard the speakers Rayhall writes about (the Sound Labs) let me say they are indeed magical. The Millennium-2's are in the ten grand ballpark, and will spoil you for the likes of the Prodigy's and Quad 989's (heard 'em both), as well as anything with a box (sorry Rayhall, that includes the Vandy 5's - though the Sound Labs are voiced kind of like the Vandys). In my experience Sound Lab owners no longer have any interest in shopping for speakers, and with good reason. Alas, still saving up my nickels...
I've been posting on couple of threads here recommending Coincident technology speakers. I believe that Coincident Super Eclipse is THE best sounding speaker up to 10K. Period! Martin Logan Prodigy distant second, not for sound but for demanding nature, placement, kilowatts..etc! Vandersteen is highly overrated speakers, and they would be probably the best 20-30 years ago.
alon circe are one of the best I have listened to and plan on buying a pair . I own alon mk. 5's and there mini monitors the petite if you want hifi look elsewhere if you like music look at the alon but you must use tubes with them. i also owned the alon mk2 a few years ago but sold then to a neighbor so I still get a chance to here them quite often . I think alon cable works well with them but if you can find apex speaker cable [no longer made] this is also very fine
Shameless dealer plug here - the Sound Lab Millennium-2's offer a unique combination of qualities at this price ballpark. The Sound Labs excel at timbre and nuance, trading off efficiency. These are true full-range electrostats (in contrast to those that really need a sub for the bottom octave). I have yet to hear their equal at what they do well. Another ten-grand ballpark speaker I like very much is the Gradient active Revolution system. Not a Gradient dealer (yet!).
I've heard the adrenalines at a friend's house hooked up to a spectral and rowland setup. Quad Rowland amps ! I thought they sounded like a very large, detailed, and refined multi-coned dynamic speaker. Probably the most remarkable characteristic is their ability to produce large detailed yet weighty soundfields without being overpowering or sounding like a huge speaker. Sonically, they reminded me of a giant audio physic tempo but with greater bass and a larger soundstage. The sheer size of the drivers allows the speakers to portray spacially complex soundfields similar to a magnepan. They don't quite have the coherence of a magnepan 1.6, nor the timbral purity and weight of a vandersteen 5, nor the low level detail and speed of an audio physic virgo. They do manage to do all these things quite well though. Very fast, powerful bass. A real-live reference speaker. Overall, maybe the best speaker I've heard. Very very strong in all areas. Huge things. You must have a dedicated room.....
Tell us what you think !
A mon avis, les Parsifals de Verity Audio manquent la base profonde et, alors qu'ils affichent une presentation generale qui n'est pas tout a fait epouvantable, ces enceintes ne justifient pas la coute qu'il faut payer. Il y a beaucoup d'enceintes qui donnent du son aussi ou plus "lisse" , mais qui coutent moins cher. Et a ce prix, il faut que l'enceinte atteigne les frequences bases assez fortes que la reste de la gamme sonique et qu'elle demontre quelque chose d'exceptionel aux hautes frequences et aux frequences moyennes. D'apres moi, bien que les Parsifals ne sont pas de mauvaise enceintes, ils n'achevent pas un niveau d'etre considere comme une des meilleures de cette categorie. Peut-etre que j'ai recu une mauvaise demonstration, mais c'etait mon opinion.
10K a great price point spending more not always helps the sound.....
My favorites JM LAb Mezzo,B&W 801N,802N,Audio Physics Avanti III,Martin Logan Prodigy.
Sure you can spend more and improve what?....at most 5% and additonal 5k,10K or 15K of expense. The speakers above are truly on the edge of technology today. I for one don't see a point of spending more $. Yeah they are that good, don't take my word for it. GO OUT AND LISTEN :-)
Hi John (above)...Adrenaline 75's
Well you have heard these wonderful speakers because you have pretty much nailed it!
I am still going through all the tweaking but have found these pretty easy to place, unlike a lot of speakers.
Not real sure I need Tom to come down and mess with my
placement :o) :o). Sounds great off axis as well.
These things totally disappear, and have a vibrant, powerful
sound with the best bass you will ever hear. Almost feels
like you turn solid during brief deep bass impacts. KILLER!
And bass alway's remains tight & deep even at lower
Smooth highs and very accurate midrange. (AIRY CITY)
Soundstage has you looking left & right & in between as
if you can alllllmost see the performers. I know this
speaker system can only get better with upgraded components.
Will give more reports later when I have lived with them for awhile, but anyone looking for speakers in the 10k
range should at least hear these 27k new speakers, because
they are a steal for 10-17k used. IMO
I am known for never being happy (Very picky) but feel that
I have won the speaker lottery for sure :o)...BTW, did I
mention how beautiful these are??
Sorry if I went overboard.
Rayhall...Les Encores manquent la base?? Dans ma maison ils
sont tres fort jusqu'a 30 Hz. (-6dB @25Hz). Et une "midrange" sans pareil sauf les hauts parleurs "electrostatic". J'ai peur que vous avez eu une demo avec des autres fautes! Ecoutez encore dans un autre venue, si possible. ATTENTION: le nouveau "woofer" d'Encore est beaucoup plus fort que l'ancienne modele. Bien sur, il est cher, mais il chant avec toute honnetete, et un coherence extraordinaire!
Essayez-vous encore. Je suis sur que vous voudriez changer votre opinion. A bientot.
Rayhall...j'ai oublie: il faut utiliser les "woofers" "front-firing" si le dimension de mur est plus d'une metre.
Si non, les woofers annulent la base de la midrange. Donc un
grand trou entre 60-100Hz. J'utilize les Encores 2 metres devant le mur. Ils faitent BEAUCOUP de base (un petit TROP fort 70Hz) dams mon systeme.