WAF Speaker suggestions

I am looking to replace my current speakers and need advice.  I currently have a pair of Vandersteen 2ce sig speakers that my wife says look like coffins in the living room. I love my wife more than the Vandys and so am looking for replacement speakers. I need a smaller footprint speaker to make her happy and I would like a speaker that has a sound that is less laid back than the Vandys.
New or used speakers are fine.  My budget is $2000-$2500. Listening room is the living room (15ftX20ft with 15ft cathedral ceiling.) I listen mostly to jazz, classical, and blues.  Equipment is a Classe CP-800 preamp, Classe CT-2300 amp, TEAC CD-P650 used as a transport, and a Macbook for streaming music.
My research has lead me to the smaller footprint Dynaudio and Focal speakers but I do not know how well these speakers pair with the Classe amp and preamp.

Any help/suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
0faf33e0 81db 4b8b 93c4 563be307f7762tuby
Buy a headphone system and enjoy whatever music you want without spouse or girlfriend advice!
I appreciate your WAF problem. I had a set of classic Spendor 1/2Es that I was very happy with, but the day came when those "70s-looking boxes" were ordered out of the room. I've now got a set of Ohm 1000s and my wife likes the way they look in the room -- small footprint, nice looking veneer and the small grill on top gives a bit of an obelisk appearance. And, I like the way they sound, so they been a winner for both of us.

The OP had towers, and he wants something different, so why .... 
more towers? 

Consider the Spatial M3 or M4 Triode Masters

I had a pair of M3 Triode Masters that was black frame around black cones. Maybe I should say spheres. I really like the design. 2 big cones on the frame. and people generally arere attracted to round things, from moons to the Wheel of Fortune. Frames come in black, red, and white. 

I bought mine directly rom the owner/designer Clayton Shaw at an audio show. He is very personable. Call him to see if he has other colors he could do for you. I liked "black on black" b/c it just makes the speakers (open baffle- don't knock them til you try them) disappear. they don't draw attention with weird angles or colors, and therefore the speaker 'disappears" more easily when playing music. Again, for WAF.

these speaks sound great with the genres you mentioned. they will fill a large room with sound quite easily, and a used price is well within your budget. And although these are the "triode masters", they do have a bit of triode sweet sound, but also has balls of steel and you can play them on "11" w/out hurting them. IOWs, your Class system is not only pretty ideal in terms of a matching SQ with the Spatials, but has the power needed to drive them. Don't get mislead by "triode" in the speaker name, you cannot run these with a lightweight or even medium weight tube amp. Best would be a hybrid: tube pre and SS amp. 
Not often on the used market: the origional Avant Garde RX-20 in the  early 2000s, thru several inerations of Avant Gardes to present day;: this amazing speaker by Gershman Acoustics is a full-range, pyramid-shaped 3-way floorstander that has ample bass, a wide and deep soundstage and visually disappears in your room. This could be The Speaker for you - I know it is for me...
I felt the Focals were much brighter than the Vandy 2ce sigs but did not have the bass slam.

Yep, you really do love your wife more than the Vandys!  Anyway, congrats and I'd say consider yourself fortunate that your wife is as interested in listening as you and that you can do it together.  Not always the case, to say the least.
My wife will determine my speaker selection when I get a controlling vote in her shoe purchases. 😜
So I took the wife and some CD's and auditioned a used pair of Focal profile 918's today. The demo was with a SS 300W/channel amp similar to what I have at home so I felt it was a fair audition. The wife liked the look, size and the sound of the Focals. She was a professional violinist in an earlier life and said she heard much more resolution. Said she could hear the individual instruments on string quartet recordings more clearly with the Focals.  I felt the Focals were much brighter than the Vandy 2ce sigs but did not have the bass slam.
The price of the Focals was good so we did purchase them. 
We have been listening for the past several hours and are pleased with the purchase. The Focals do a nice job with jazz and classical. Moved nearer the rear wall, the bass response is not too shabby.
I have been especially pleased with the sound of the speakers at low volume. Very clear sound at low volume. Only downside I have found is playing rock music loud. Speakers are too small to fill my room with sound, a trade-off I can live with.

Thanks to all of you for the advise

P.S. - I'm sure I will get the "itch" again in a couple of years and be looking for something new. Gotta love this hobby.
+1 for the Gallos
also the new LSAs from Underwood HiFi got excellent reviews . It's bookshelf type requires a stand
I have enjoyed the hell out of their Emerald Physics KCIIs, which have Clarity Cap and WireWorld OCC internal wire upgrades
you can try in you environment  
take a look my Lexington-001 , you can listen in Brooklyn any time 
excellent WAF factor ,  
Kren0006 - I  will get back after I listen to the focals
Oops, meant to say above that "I suspect that you may find," not "I'm suspect" - haha, that totally came out wrong.

Yeah the Focals will likely sound less laid back than your Vandys based on my experience hearing the two brands.

Post back after you hear them.
With caveat that I’ve never heard your model of Vandersteen (only model 3 or 3a), I’m suspect that you may find the Focals to be “less laid back” as you mention in original post than the Vandersteens.

If so then you’ll have to decide if they retain enough of the musicality and overall refinement of the Vandys. 

The best advice I got at beginning of my search was to listen to as many options as you can, and you’ll know when you hear the one that’s right for you, you’ll know. 

Good luck!
I second Totem speakers.  They have many modell that are very small with beatiful wooden boxes and some in white. Some newer versions are really, really thin but a bit more expensive.


Anthony Gallo Reference 3.5 speakers
Kren0006 - I am going to audition focals on tuesday
Take a look at stand-mounted speakers from Sonus Faber, made in the 90’s. Electa Amators would be my choice. You can probably pick them up for $2-3000. High WAF. Be sure they include the marble and walnut stands.
Ya, Aria 928 and 936 played on Rotel. But at different dealer than Dynaudio so no direct comparison.

I had opportunity to directly compare the Focals to some Paradigm Prestige and Goldenear Triton 2+ and preferred the Focals over both. Much more than the Goldenear and a decent bit more than the Paradigm.

i don’t remember if these all in same cost range but do remember thinking at time that if my budget would’ve been under $3k that Focal might’ve been nice option.

But to extent I could extrapolate sound across the different setups for my ears anyway I judged that I liked Dynaudio sound better but all personal preference, ymmv
kren0006- did you audition any focals?
Dynaudio excite x38 was one I listened to and really liked; preferred it in direct a/b compare to bowers & Wilkins 702s2 over long listening session of blues/jazz. Wish I could remember the amp they were playing on. Maybe Prima Luna tubes??

Nice smooth sound, really musical. Good soundstage and imaging. Had place on podium for me for long time ...

Thank you all for the replies

dwmaggie - the maggies are too big.

garage rat et. al. Salks I would love to hear but too much $$$ for my budget, as are many of the speakers suggested :(

gndrob - I would like to hear the treos but they ARE hard to find used

I see on agon and usaudio some focal 918's and dynaudio excite X-38's that are in my price and WAF range. Anyone heard there speakers an can comment on their pros and cons I would appreciate the feedback
Focal 1008 BE II’s are sweet and discounted all around now. Not Towers but that line does have towers also. Original MSRP $5400- now New $2999... You can get them for around $2600 if shopped.
I have a pair and they are for a secondary system for me but are no doubt a great main system speaker too if that is needed. Focal quality craftsmanship and sound. Looks are superb as expected. I’ve used them with a vintage Sansui G-22,000, McIntosh Ma252, Parasounds JC’s monoblocks, and a couple other amps... all good.
A lot of great speakers out there.
Good luck!
ProAc, Harbeth, Dynaudio. All wonderful sounding. Love my Dynaudio Special 40. Any of the new ProAc with the ribbon tweeters. 
Salk also a great option... awesome custom craftsmanship and speaker quality in your price range.
He has a custom automotive white that your wife will love 😁
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Brought home a pair of Magnepan MGCIII's in oatmeal off white.  Wife said hrumph, went outside in the garden.  Set them up played them at a moderate level.  She came back in and said she could hear the difference from outside.  They were 3 feet from the wall.  The wall was only 15feet wide and 17feet of depth.  We both enjoyed them except for the oatmeal socks.  Perhaps you can both listen to a new choice before buying.
If you can stretch your budget a fraction, get a pair of Tidal Akiras and tell the missus you’ve bought her a pair of 20 carat pure diamond midrange units to wear to any parties you may contemplate going to🤪
Gentlemen,  I was trying to be humorous about and white speakers and sound.  I am not a white speaker fan and am far more interested in how a speaker sounds.

wspohn - loved the reply. Showed it to my wife and she is still laughing.
Show her this picture and tell her you found a pair (they are white).

When she regains consciousness, tell her that to make her feel better, you'll change your mind and get something else. Anything you come up with should gain approval much more easily when she knows the alternative.

Look into Usher Audio 
beautiful made speakers also sounds terrific.
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Kalali, Yes white speakers can sound good. Just ask KEF, Focal or Revel 
"She seems to like white speakers. Can white speakers sound good???"

They sound just as good as any other color but may limit your choices. How about in/on-wall speakers? There are some real nice sounding models out there....and they are available in white and blend with the walls.
Here's one to give you an idea of the possibilities.

2tuby: Some speakers can be ordered in custom finishes - including white. The pair of Zu Druid VI that Sean Casey bring to shows are in a pearl white finish and are drop dead gorgeous:


This finish can, of course, be ordered for other Zu speakers and, I am sure, from other manufacturers as well.
Op never said he was looking for exotic looking speakers, only for good sounding ones that look better than his speakers that wife considers ugly.

Op also said in initial post that Focal or Dynaudio (both fairly normal speaker looking) were two that would meet his criteria, and later suggested in response to me that he liked Spendor on my short list. Again, not exotic looking but for whatever reason apparently must meet OP’s definition of waf acceptable
The European speakers with a very well-regarded sound and the non-disputed king of WAF is the Boenicke. I am not sure whether they appear on the second hand US market but if they did the W5 or W8 model might reach your budget. Don’t be put off by their diminutive size: they have a sound which implies a box twice the size. 

My wife loves ours.
Here’s a picture:

Most of the speakers mentioned in this thread are just square boxes. If you like your current speakers sound keep them because other than the Sonus and the higher end B&W’s that was mentioned, they all look the same. Sonus will have a darker sound than the other speakers especially with warm sounding Classe equipment and the B&W’s will sound better because of your warmer Classe.
IMO, if you want great sound and the looks of a quality piece of furniture, check out the Usher 8571’s, BE10’s, or the lower priced Mini Dancer II’s. 

... check into vintage, or new (probably out of your price range) Gershman Avant Garde speakers: small footprint (12" x 12"), under 3' tall pyramidal-shaped full range floorstanders. They have a disappearing act: Very high WAF, even with grills off; big sound with robust bass... Search a pair of these out and never need to go looking again...
A pair of Buchardt S400s on a nice pair of stands would be a great sounding speaker. As far as sound quality goes you won't find a better speaker that is as compact as the S400s, a little bigger that a shoe box with great bass and wide sound stage. Go on youtube and check out all the rave reviews.
I recently got a used pair of PSB synchrony one's.  My wife didn't think I needed new speakers, but she really liked the look, the smaller footprint and curved backs won.  The Revel Performas also have a similar shape that she liked. She didn't want to deal with the dust of piano black.
I’ve posted bits and pieces of my speaker search across various threads but basically I just went to 4-5 dealers within 100 miles few times each over 4-5 months and listened to everything I could in the $3-7k range. For speakers I could tell weren’t for me, I’d eliminate them after 20 mins of listening. For those more interesting I’d listen for an hour or more, ideally over a couple amps. Now obviously not true A/B testing always cause often different dealers/rooms/amps etc but was best I could do.

I can’t give you a final list 1-20 (or whatever #was) cause didn’t approach that way. Rather, I just kept track of current front runner and nearest runner ups and kept testing them trying to knock them off their perches. By end I’d probably listened to D7 four-five times and Dyn, Vandy at least two-three.

The D7 rose to top and stayed there for me. I loved the LPZ tweeter (in house design by Spendor like all drivers in D series) and for me was what gave them the more lively/energetic/less laid back sound vs Vandy.

When i had convinced myself I liked D7 better than anything I could get for under $7k (my budget) and important to me to have heard in person, I decided to do something dangerous and audition a few in the $7-10k range. Coming from B&W speakers purchased in 2000, it was only when I convinced myself that I liked the D7’s better than the $9k Bowers 804d3 that I was ready to pull trigger on D7.

I cant remember full list of what I auditioned but included various (typically several) models from Spendor, Focal, Dynaudio, Vandy, Paradigm, Bowers Wilkins, Martin Logan, Magnepan, Rega, Goldenear, Linn, Macintosh, Kef. Probably forgetting some ... Three house sounds best to my ears were Spendor and then either Vandy or Dynaudio (didn’t differentiate between them bc they were always a bit behind Spendor for me).
To echo the earlier Spendor recommendation, the entire A and D lines are available in Satin White (at a cost though..)


Bring your wife with you to Axpona or similar show. Since you’d like her to pick, just let her pick the speakers, but not without hearing and seeing some alternatives.

And bring her favorite music. Not yours. Hers.
Bring your wife with you to Axpona or similar show.  Since you’d like her to pick, just let her pick the speakers, but not without hearing and seeing some alternatives. 
As your you and your wife have good ears, I would suggest waiting for a pair of Treo's to come up. Hopefully, with time, your budget will increase.
I went from the 3a sigs to Treo's and am glad I did.
Kren0006 - thanks for the reply. I like your "short list of speakers.  How did you manage to demo them? Travel to the far and few between dealers? Pay return postage?

mrdecible - did read all the threads last time and ended up home demoing Ohm Walsh Tall 2000's and Totem Hawks.  Wife and I thought the Vandy's sounded better. So there has been 10 months of peace.

gsm18439 - been showing the wife pics. She seems to like white speakers. Can white speakers sound good???

emb5 - trophy speaker?

Thank you all for the suggestions. 
If you’d like to maintain the time/phase coherence of your Vandys in a smaller footprint with more detail, here’s a nice pair of Thiel CS1.6 (with outriggers) through an estate sale for US$2500. But here’s the kicker -- this INCLUDES the Thiel SS1 sub and crossover that will get you down to 20Hz. I had the CS1.6es on demo in my system and their level of refinement, detail, and soundstaging capabilities are indeed impressive. Best of luck in your search.
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