Warm Sounding Speakers


I set aside my Krell 300Si integrated amp (150WPC - 8ohms, 300wpc - 4 ohms) in favor of more power for my Maggie 3.6's.

I liked the Krell but did think that it was a bit sterile sounding.

My thought is that it might sound better with warmer sounding speakers.

I iam interested in suggestions of speakers that might mate well with the Krell.

Please and thanks!

Dsper
dsper
A few to consider: Dynaudio, Proac, Sonus Faber, Vienna Acoustics, Verity Audio.
Price? Monitor vs floorstander?
Those questions aside, I'll make my recommendations.
Soliloquy 5.0 monitors. The most natural sounding speakers I have ever heard/owned. I have tried numerous times to upgrade from them but nothing works as well. Never fatiguing, always easy to listen to and I don't feel as if I'm missing any detail. I was reading a review of a dac the other day and the author mentioned the dac seemed a bit bright so he tried it out with his 5.0s which he claimed were intentionally voiced to have a warm sound.
For a floorstand speaker I recommend Meadowlark Audio Kestrel, the original Kestrel and not the model II. Very similar sound to the Soliloquy with just a tad deeper bass.
Both of these speakers image very well also. Also, both speaker companies are out of business so maybe my taste is not what the market likes. I have to say I can't tolerate speakers that I consider "audiophile" speakers with an over abundance of treble energy.
I'd suggest buying amplification for speakers, not speakers for amplification.
I can't believe you'd recommend the original Kestrel over the Kestrel II. The reason there's a Kestrel II is because the original had a power response issue at the crossover point and went into "cupped hands" mode if you weren't directly in the sweet spot. Everything else you say about the speaker (esp, imaging) is true, but I consider that power response flaw a deal-killer. Besides, a lot of good speaker design has come down the pike in the 16 years since the Kestrel came out--better enclosures, better drivers, better crossover designs, better backwave management (e.g., dual ports at different tunings, transmission lines, hybrids, etc.).

Warm, engaging, and in the price range of a Mag 3.6? Maybe a Sonus Faber Liuto floorstander. Or PSB Synchrony Tower, 1 or 2 depending on budget.
Warm sound will almost always require tubes, but I love all the Sonus Faber speakers I have owned (which is about 4 different models over the years). Still currently using the Sonus Faber Cremona. Not sure how it would sound with your Krell.
I agree with Unsound..but if trying to match a Krell I would look for speakers that are colored and warmer.Forget Dynaudio as suggested above.B&W comes to mind as a speaker that fits that bill,not sure how Krell mates with it.Also it seems since the word is out that most of B&Ws line is now made in China the prices are dropping daily so a good deal should be found,IMO.
Dsper, if you haven't already done so, I suggest doing a Google search on past online reviews that have been posted on the Krell 300si to see if any of them talk about specific speakers that mate well from the perspective of warmth.
Agree with Unsound and Missioncoonery. Maggie 3.6 is already pretty warm sounding in my opinion. I think you will be much happier to find a different amp for the Maggie.
I wouldn't recommend B&W with Krell. B&W is a good match with Levinson.
I am surprised nobody mentioned Vandersteen.
Johnnyb53
I can't believe you'd recommend the original Kestrel over the Kestrel II.

I have owned both and if you are looking for warmth, the original Kestrel has it all over the II. I lived with the Kestrel IIs for a few months and when I put the Kestrels back in the my reaction was "ahh, there it is." Actually, they were Kestrel Hot Rods but the difference is minimal as far as I can tell. Yes, I have owned both. Johnnyb53, do you have experience with the Meadowlarks?
I kind of figured the op was looking for a speaker for a spare/second system as I wouldn't recommend the Kestrels as replacements for his Maggies.
1. Living Voice
2. Tannoy Prestige
3. Proac
4. Harbeth and Devore Fidelity (if you want really warm/colored sound)
05-27-12: Missioncoonery
Forget Dynaudio as suggested above.B&W comes to mind as a speaker that fits that bill.

B&W.......REALLY???? OMG!!!LOL!!! Why not just throw in a Bose reco?
I had that amp once years ago on loan for a couple of weeks. Describing it as sterile is very kind. If you like your present speakers, change the amp. If not, try Spendor. Still, they deserve a nore musical amp than that. It was not one of their best efforts.

05-27-12: Timrhu
Actually, they were Kestrel Hot Rods but the difference is minimal as far as I can tell. Yes, I have owned both. Johnnyb53, do you have experience with the Meadowlarks?

Yes. I'm not just aping the reviews of the time. I helped an older married couple couple put together their first new stereo in 20 years and saved them from taking their son's advice to get a Bose Acoustimass system. We got a good CD player for the time (I forget which), a Creek 4240 integrated with MM phono plug-in, and a pair of Meadowlark Kestrels, version 1, not hotrodded. They were about as good as you could get at the time for $1K, the tonal balance (in the sweet spot) was very good, but in the 16 years since, where I've gravitated to speakers that address in-room power response, I sort of wish we'd looked a little longer or found a way to address that cupped hands midrange when listening off-axis.

I also had some extended phone conversations with Pat McGinty back then--about his design philosophy, values, business model, etc. I probably gave the wrong impression with my post. I was sorry to see Meadowlark hang it up. I thought they overall had a good line,They were ahead of the curve with their 1" MDF cabinet construction and resonance control. It's just that the first Kestrel probably crossed over too high, leaving the midrange to beam for a half octave or so.
I also had some extended phone conversations with Pat McGinty back then--about his design philosophy, values, business model, etc. I probably gave the wrong impression with my post. I was sorry to see Meadowlark hang it up. I thought they overall had a good line,They were ahead of the curve with their 1" MDF cabinet construction and resonance control. It's just that the first Kestrel probably crossed over too high, leaving the midrange to beam for a half octave or so.
Johnnyb53

I don't want to hijack the op's thread but this is interesting to me as I have owned three different pairs of the original Kestrels, one pair of hot rods and two of the standard Kestrels. There was quite an age difference between the standard Kestrels I owned and there was also a difference between the crossovers. I know this because the last pair of Kestrels (oldest by serial #) I bought, thanks to UPS, came with both of the crossovers rattling around in the bottom of the cabinets.
Before repairs, I looked at the crossover in the newer pair of Kestrels to see how they should go back together. I was surprised to note there were major differences in the parts and wiring used as well as the layout of the crossover. The newer crossovers were built to a much higher standard. Of the three pairs of Kestrels, I always felt the newer pair had a bit cleaner sound, a bit more resolution maybe.
Also, the Kestrels are very good when getting up and walking around. They keep that three-dimensional thing even when standing right between them. I demoed a pair of Magnepan 12QRs a few years ago and could not stand how much they change when leaving the sweet spot. This comparison was done with the Kestrel hot rods.
I do realize replacing the op's Maggies with Kestrels is a crazy idea. But if "warmth" is what you're looking for, the Kestrels are great.
BTW, although they were good looking speakers, I did not like the Kestrel II at all. Would never recommend them for sound quality. Of course with any internet advice, YMMV.
Bose 901 might work for you. They sound a lot like Maggies and you can dial in the sound with the dedicated EQ.
Timrhu: I'm pretty sure the Kestrels I heard were some of the first run and that over time Pat improved the crossover and with it, power response and in-room uniformity. They sure imaged like a mofo regardless.
Tannoy get the prestige series add a super tweeter.
Kef are warmish but it depends very much on the model these days.
Big Vandersteens.
Quads (very polite not terribly dynamic)
and the Harbeths which I find very warm and not my style of speaker but you might.
Ditch the Krells and get the New Carver Monoblocks with new or old style tube sound. The old style may be what you want.
OK I am ready -flame away. I personally like detailed speakers and modern tube sound.
Warm speakers include Silverline Sonata and Bolero, Dali Grand, Vienna Accoustics and while they are expensive - Soundlab speakers.
05-28-12: Rrog
Bose 901 might work for you. They sound a lot like Maggies and you can dial in the sound with the dedicated EQ.

That's a hoot !!!!
Tpreaves, Read Jeff Dorgay's review in Tone Audio on the Bose 901. Google Tone Audio to read the entire review. It is interesting.
I owned the 901s back in the 80s. After reading Jeff's review I feel vindicated for liking them.
Actually, I do think Jeff nailed it in his review.
Dorgay's review is here.

The current Bose Series VI has been around for 25 years. I wonder how good the design could be today with the better full range 4" drivers available today, say with neodymium magnets, composite cones, cast frames, phase plugs, and high excursion surrounds, plus an active crossover with higher quality parts.

Then put them at the proper height on solid, rigid stands such as Dorgay used.

It *does* have some things going for it, such as crossoverless design and uniform power response.
Johnnyb53, Bose 901s are continuously being revised. The most recent revision was in 2010. They use an acoustic matrix enclosure and helically-wound aluminum voice coils. You can run them on 10-450 watts. I would love to try 901s, but they will not work in my room. However, I did experiment with Bose 301s and I was very impressed especially for the price. Like Dorgay's description of the 901, the 301 also suffers from "sin of omission", but it does so many things right it boggles the mind that the speaker retails for only $328. If you go too cheap on electronics and cables the 301 will sound dull and lifeless. It really needs to be treated like any other speaker in terms of associated equipment and room placement. I used the 301 on very heavy four pillar stands, sand filled and spiked to the floor and Blu-Tack.
Associated equipment consisted of a vintage Yamaha receiver, Quicksilver 90 watt monos, Quicksilver Full Function preamp, Tandberg 150 watt stereo amp with matching preamp and Audio Research CD3 MKII and Kinergetics KCD-40 CD players. I also experimented with several inexpensive CD/DVD players, but I was not satisfied with the results. My friend Mike is also experimenting with 301s only he will not admit it to anyone lol.
The Krell Resolution II is a really great sounding speaker voiced on the "warm" side and would mate well with your Krell integrated. I traded my pair in to Audio Video Logic - where I believe they are still available for sale. I took very good care of them.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who really likes the 901's! When I had them in here, I loved them but my room is not quite right for them. One side wall is to far away, and pulled the stage to the right to much. Other than that, I loved em!!
Oh...so yes to a nice warmer speaker!
Sonus Faber and Krell has traditionally been a good match and many shows have them playing together.
Krell electronics will not work well with SF speakers...

05-27-12: Audiofreak32
Warm sound will almost always require tubes...

"Almost always"? I don't think so. Warmth is a tonal balance thing and any number of speakers are voiced this way and speaker placement has a lot to do with it too. If you're talking about smoother highs, there are plenty of SS amps that do that too. Also, some speakers have etched or edgy highs, others have smooth and well dispersed highs.

I have a pair of Mirage M5si's and with their mid-20's bass extension, bipolar radiation pattern, and well-damped titanium dome tweeters they are definitely warm no matter what powers them. I have powered them with Forte, VSP Labs, Carver, and Adcom. The speakers sound warm with all of them.
I appreciate the comments that everyone has made. Gives me something to think about although I believe that roxy54 hit it right on the head and I will never like the Krell because of the way it sounds regardless of the speaker.

I have heard Krell with various B&W's and to my ear the B&W's are not a very warm speaker at all. I think that they are sterile in their own right.

I have heard vandersteen 3A's with Cary tubes and voices were very good but it did not seem as live to me as does the Maggie sound.

Also have heard the Sonus Faber Guameri Momento with an Electrolat (spelling?) 150wpc amp - that spounded delicious to me but those are way out of my price range.

I run the Maggie 3.6's with a W4S st1000 amp and W4S preamp. I like this sound alot and it absolutely blew the Krell away - much more musical and the additonal power did not hurt at all.

To be honest, the only drawback to the Maggies is that they just do not do the snap of the snare drum and my hearing tests indiacate that sub woofers will not help with that.

So...I was thinking about another setup with the Krell so that I could hear something different occasionally.
Mirage speakers on SS is not "warm" at all.
So before you go spending thousands on new speakers...why not try a tube processor/buffer to warm it up a bit. I use a Grant Fidelity B-283 MKII, with super-cryoed Electro Harmonix 6SN7GP from cryoset. My Mirage OMD-28s sound warm and beautiful through my SS Marantz. Spend a couple hundred bucks and see if it solves your issue.

http://www.cryoset.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=81&products_id=339&osCsid=3af8c3a448acd4be0486df4d4c92b5dd

Hope that helps,
Mot
another ditto to unsound
Other tweaks that warm up sound. If the tube buffer is an option then choose the 6SN7 based ones like the Grant Fidelity recommended above. Warm 6SN7s are still likely to be truly the best if NOS. The RCA Red Base 5692 tube wj=hile expensive is warm as are other 5692 s which are drop in subs for 6SN7s. Add Ken Rad 6SN7s GTs to the list as well. Although wildly expensive the Brimar Black Glass Brown Bass CV1988 is an incredibly good 6SN7. The cheapest of the lot of warm 6SN7s IMO of course is the Green Label Sylvania GTBs, the various other Sylvanias are good to great but not as warm.
The next trick is to use good Copper IC and Speaker Cables. The warmest in my mind is the Cardas Golden Refs, expensive you'll prolly have to buy used. Look for Cardas anythings with Golden in the name, I am not joking. Also Jena Labs but even the entry level stuff is expensive.
You could just buy an older CJ pre amp for less and get warm sound that way.
Rembember tube power amps are your best bet in the end, I just don't advocate ARC for warmth they are clean crisp precise and defined (it's in their slogan.)
Why no one suggest Harbeth Shl5! Warm and magical in the mids with tubes and SS.
I should think the "snap" of a snaredrum is above sub frequencies, around 1.5-2khz, so I don't see how that would be addressed by having warm speakers on the end of a "sterile" amp that you "probably will never like"!

But if you insist on finding those, Opera and Spendor come to mind.

06-06-12: Loftarasa
I should think the "snap" of a snaredrum is above sub frequencies, around 1.5-2khz, so I don't see how that would be addressed by having warm speakers on the end of a "sterile" amp that you "probably will never like"!

I've been playing drums for 49 years and have realized for some time that the fundamental on a snare drum is deceptively low in frequency. This chart seems to confirm that. Of course the strength of the fundamental varies with shell size and frequency wlth tuning. Nevertheless the chart show the snare drum reaching down to 100 Hz, just above the low E on a guitar and well into woofer terrritory. A warmer speaker will give more whump or fundamental to a snare drum.

This is even true in rock; many metal and other hard rock drummers use fairly large snare drums with 7" and 8" deep shells. Blues, much jazz, and New Orleans music often have a loosely tuned snare drum and won't sound right without a little warmth.
No question the "whump" part of a snare drum is lower down.

I guess I assumed the OP was referring to the "snap" transients when looking for the "kick".
Speakers should be neutral,cables etc can be warm Hello!!
Bah, humbug. Everything should be neutral, including room acoustics.
I'll say it one more time...ditch the amp, and use any speakers you like. It may be Krell, but it has the worst qualities of solid state sound in my opinion.
Castle howard from around 1999 or castle Winchester both made in England,if you can find someone who will sell the Winchesters as once you have them they will stay many many years.
Dump the Krell
Yes. Dump the Krell.
Phil Bamberg is probably one of the best loudspeaker builders out there
That knows everything obout. Speaker inside and out ,his$2500
Mm-2 is fantastic he uses the Danish Jantzen on these But
Can use Mundorf Silver oil for he extra moneys and request Mills resistors
The 2 give a more rich fleshed out nature. Remember that name
Bamberg audio