If you’re in the northeast these would be great…
Warm, Lush Laid-Back Smaller Floor Standers?
Hello to all Audiogon Forum members -
Long time lurker and first time poster here. I'd really appreciate advice from members here on my current quest to up-level my audio system. About a year ago, after not having any real nice audio gear for roughly 20 years, decided it was time to invest in a proper set-up. We were coming out of Covid and I think, like many of us, I was feeling a little stir crazy and probably made some impetuous decisions...
A large rectangular room (30 feet wide x 90 feet long) with high ceilings (12 feet). The room is made up of a dining area, kitchen and living room. The audio set-up is against the wall in the living room. We listen to music in the living room on the coach and/or sitting chairs. That said, because of the room layout, we listen while we are cooking or dining, as well.
While on some days, while listening to classical, jazz or acoustic music - anything airy - I'm absolutely overjoyed with my system. On other days, especially when i want to listen to some indie rock or electronica, my speakers and preamp/amp just don't cut it. The speakers feel too small for the space (they are - I get it). And I wonder if the tubes I'm using are really a great match for the speakers. Things sound "smeared" when playing more complex rock/electronica.
As for the Dynaudio Heritage Specials, the higher frequencies can be wonderful, but can sometimes feel bright. And while the bass is good for a bookshelf speaker, I feel like I'm missing the deeper frequencies. It's like having a half a meal. The part you get is fantastic, but you leave the restaurant still feeling hungry.
I'd consider purchasing a subwoofer, but I'm rather more interested in looking for alternate speakers or possibly tweaking my amp/preamp.
Dynaudio Heritage Special Speakers
Innuous Zenith Music Server
Qualiton/Audio Hungary Tube Preamp
Qualiton/Audio Hungary 100 Watt Power Amp
Cardas Clear Interconnect and Cardas Cygnus Speaker Cables
**I've got a Linear Tube Audio Microzotl Preamp on the way. I'm looking forward to hear if it can be an improvement on my existing preamp.
My Question for Forum Members
Speaker suggestions: I'm looking for a smaller floorstanding speakers with a warm, laid-back and relaxing sound signature. I'm considering the QLN Prestige Three and/or the new Mission 770 Speakers (not a floor stander, but bigger than Dynaudio Heritage Specials) Again, I'd prefer a smaller floorstanding speaker. I've listened to Proacs in the past and they also seemed to have the qualities I'm looking for.
What advice do you have for me on speakers?
Are tube amps just not ideal for rock and/or electronic music? Should I just call it a day and get PassLab Class A amp to cover my needs?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
If you’re in the northeast these would be great…
My room is similarly shaped, but about 15 x 45. The stereo is at the living room end. There is no “listening position “ chair unless I move one. I have Ohm Walsh 5000s, and the sound is great pretty much the same wall to wall in front of the speakers. They also sound great at the dining table at the far end of the room.
I did have two subs with an old pair of Ohm Walsh 4s, but had to take them out with the 5000’s and dial the bass back to the medium sized room setting.
I think the preamp is the last thing i would change……
agree subs…but high pass your main ( and BTW superb ) amp for better midrange clarity and slam…. few people and subwoofer manufacturers really understand tge value of high pass… = better bass + midrange clarity…
Best to you in your quest ! have fun
Thanks for everyone's contributions!
High pass is using the speaker connection as opposed to the preamp connection. Klipsch Heritage speakers can be both warm and dynamic with tube components.I've taken my amp to my brother's place and used it with his Chorus pair.He's a ss guy and was very tempted to come over to the 'dark side':-) Warm and lush doesn't describe LTA products IME. They are fine products but lean towards the clean/clear sound.Subs with built in equalizers and an app (such as SVS) are super easy to set up.Just a few things to research further.
@bluethinker66 probably dynamic and exciting however it's important to hear a fully broken-in Klipsch vs one that has not been fully broken in, a day and night difference.
What is your budget? Also have you thought about trying a computer as a source and just using some EQ? Might be worth a try if you have a laptop around.
I had similar issues with all the speakers I owned. Running two subs highpassed helped a lot. My room is 27x24x7’. I think if you like electronic music (I do) subs are requirement. Only the largest of super speakers have texture down low like a good sub.
the other speaker that solved my problem was Revel 228be. They have 5db drop (straight line) from bass to treble. But they need subs as they don’t reach low. The 226be sounds almost identical and are super small but the measurements show they playing at a whopping 105db without issue. Anyway on the 228be I am listening and ENJOYING music from my youth again. These things sound great on audiophile music but even on crap they how how add dynamics and don’t hurt my ears.
measurements at the bottom of the link below.
While i happen to love Vandersteen ( i have 2 pair and have had a set of 5a in a room your size w 10’ ceilings ) i get they are not for everyone.
High pass is NOT a speaker level connection to the sub !
High pass is a bass roll off filter either passive via the Vandersteen way or active in other schemes. The high pass ( as in passes high frequencies typically somewhere between 80-120 hz ) is placed between preamp and amp.
So you can imagine the loafing easy job your main amplifier now enjoys = better slam + midrange clarity…
The vandersteen system also use a speaker level connection…. there are others…..
You might take a look at these Verity Audio Parsifal Encores that offer the sound characteristics you’re looking for and are selling at an attractive price. My recollection is Verity speakers are relatively tube friendly but you should check me on that. These are in the San Francisco area so maybe worth a trip since you’re on the west coast? Just another option FWIW.
You have a miss match between a large room and small inefficient speakers that need more power than your tube amp can provide at 6 ohms.
Subwoofers are a nice consideration but will not get you all the way there.
The Qln Speakers are extremely polite ( be careful what you ask for, people want lush and laid back until they actually hear it) but they lack in the sensitivity department.
Even with the LTA amp you will want something more efficient than 87db.
My recommendation is the Spatial Audio M4 Ultra. I heard them at the AXPONA audio show with the LTA amplifier and the sound was big, full and spectacular. They are very efficient, provide rich full bodied effortless bass that do not need subwoofers, and will easily fill your space. Warm and rich with enough detail that you would miss in a more laid back design.
Not small but small will not do whatvyou want. These would be ideal for you from a sound standpoint.
Sorry, forgot to post the link to the Verity speakers above. Duh.
Regarding subwoofers. I solved my low frequency issues by adding a "distributed bass array" (Swarm) to my bookshelfs (ATC SCM19). Basically you are adding 4 subs to flood the listening space.
It would be worth your time to do a search of bass arrays on this forum. There is plenty of discussions on the topic.
Good luck with your quest.
For over 40 years I tried every pair of Klipsch speakers produced in every possible environment, new ones in stores, old ones in friends homes, shows even my own home, with solid state, tubes and hybrid amplifiers. They all sounded so bright I thought my ears would bleed. Smooth and laid back yet still accurate try Monitor Audio.
The current series of Klipsh Heritage speakers are much improved . If they (especially the CORNWALL 4' s) sound bright and aggressive..... well you definitely didn't hear them with decent partnering amps/preamps.
They can be surprisingly relaxed, (when the music calls for it) yet paradoxically very dynamic and alive sounding.
I considered Klipsch, but agree with Henry above. A pair of larger RELs connected via high level would be a big plus in your large room, but that would take $5K of your budget. I do like Sonus Farber speakers and the midrange frequency rise of the Sabrina X might be appreciated, but the Sabrina X and Sonus Farbers can be expensive, even on the used market and the Wilson’s can be difficult to drive..
For $8000 and a large room, look at the revel f228be speakers over the f226be’s because you get 8” woofers. Or if you want and end all speaker for a little more money than the f228’s and less than $8k, you can get the revel studio 2’s or for a little more than $8000, get the revel salon 2’s. The only speaker I like more than the revel salon2 was speaker that was over $100k, so I got the salon’s.
Reality Check: your room is over 32,000 ft3. That's enormous. The speaker recommendations you've been getting are all intended for rooms in the 2000 ft3 range. 16X smaller. Your room is venue size, and most hifi grade speakers will simply be out of their league in such a space. You need to be looking, at a minimum, Klipsch Cornwalls ($6598 / pr) or JBL 4367 or S4700 ($16,500 pr for either). I am drawn to the JBLs.
+1 on Joseph Audio and Verity. The T+A Talis S 300 are another pair that flies under the radar, but might be above your budget at a retail of $17,850. That said, it is a compact floor stander whose cabinet is machined from aluminum, so cabinet resonances are kept to a minimum and the airflow enables it to perform much larger than its size. Think of what Borresen or Raidho do with their cabinets, but in this case the T+A is warmer and more lush.
You could also look into Legacy Audio. They can let out a big warm sound, even with their “smaller” Floorstanders like the Classic HD (air quotes on smaller as Legacy never prioritizes footprint really).
I agree with others that you will need some subs to charge the space. You’ve got a big area to fill!
Your room is definitely too large. If possible, try near field listening at 2-3 meters. Yes, you will need 2 subs given the room size. Tubes will make the system more lush, which can be compensated in the bass by some SVS or REL subs in the bass region. If you want additional lushness in the mids, point the speakers straight ahead with minimal toe end.
The best combination from my experiences is a tube preamp with a solid state amp. Speaker wise, go for the Magnepan 1.7i speaker. The room power response is greater, given the dipole configuration ( sound from front and back)
There’s seems to be a Dynaudio/Harbeth/Devore cross appreciation school. The Dynaudio monitors are awesome -I had the confidence 3 for years. Lots of juice make them sing and there’s a good synergy known with Plinius - provides lots of current and ‘lush’ enough to tame the Danes. SS amp and tube pre is a duyaudio sweet spot.
I’m using a ss amp/tube pre (my sweet spot, too!) with a pair of Daedalus Athenas and am in love every day. A serious and sublime musical experience. 8k will be plenty for a used pair. I paid half that. If you get a chance to hear them, you should do it. If you’re near the Hudson Valley, come on over.
Verity Parsifal Ovations might be a nice choice too
I own a pair of BMR Philharmonitors, as well as some big boys (JBL 4350 & DD 67000), and Dynaudio Heritage Specials, so I have some common experience. I was looking for something similar to the OP for a smaller room. I settled on the BMR Tower about three months ago. My only complaint is that it is just slightly too robust on the bottom end, but given the much larger size of OPs room, I think they should be great in his situation.
32,400 cubic feet. Plus 1 for two subs. A small floor standing speaker, I don’t care how great it is, will not fill this space with satisfying music on their own, especially in terms of bass. I suggest you get whatever floats your boat for speakers in your space, but reserve at least half of your budget for the biggest REL subs with high level inputs that you can afford.
Good bass is expensive, and you are basically living in and trying to fill a small concert hall with sound.
I would look for a speaker that is very efficient. My listening space is about half the volume of the that of the OP. I have Zu Def 4s at one end. They are paired with a 300b SET amplifier and nicely fill the entire volume with sound. But they are not small. The "warm, lush, laid-back" criterion can be achieved with careful matching of speakers and electronics.
Look for old stock:
Energy rc 50’s
any of the Energy RC series. A wonderful warm sound.
they are my grail! Own 2 pairs of RC-70s. Backup pair in storage for future possibilities
give a try, you won’t be disappointed
and won’t break your bank or back
Wow, you are really lucky. You could put a pair of Sonus Lilium In there and they would not overwhelm the room at all… would be real pieces of art and sound fantastic.
I listened to a pair of those speakers in a 10’ by 12’ room… they sounded great. Fit the size speaker to the room.
Are there reflective surfaces everywhere? That is going to cause ethereal music to sound good and anything with punch to get confused.