Revel M20's would be my choice, though many like the B&W N805.. Go hear both of them, well worth the effort.
13 responses Add your response
Those are two very different speakers - both excellent, but very different. If you like both, I'd suggest spending at least a couple hours auditioning each with all types of music that you like to listen to and see how the experience is across a wider range of genres.
You can get a nice pair of speakers for $3K. It looks like you're shopping retail (as opposed to used) - if so, find yourself an excellent dealer and have him or her help you through the selection process. The type of amp you choose will drastically affect what speaker choice would make a good decision. The ability to audition at home should be a benefit of going the retail route. You might tell us where you live and ask for dealer recommendations in the area - there are a lot of worthless dealers, but there are many excellent ones, and an excellent one would help your quest a great deal.
Both speakers you list are demanding "loads" on an amp - they will both benefit from superb and powerful amplification which, of course, will drive the cost up.
Other speakers under $3K that enjoy wide-spread positive feedback are the Paradigm 100's and the Vandersteen line - not sure which one you'd get in that price range, but they're very good.
I second the M20s. But, you're splitting hairs at this level. Depends on what you like, and how they blend with your system. You got one, high class problem. For every one of me there will be one of the Thiel, then one of the N805s and then and then.....Remember; with the M20s, like the 805s, stands are mandatory. Good ones at that. Revel's stands are poor and the 805s are not much better. Just something to consider when considering $$ with monitors/speakers. With a sub, killer stands, and the M20s: I have arrived. Of course some great electronics, help, as well. peace, warren
You are describing my exact experiences. I have recently been speaker shopping about 12 years after I purchased my current speakers and was pleasantly surprised about the quality of speakers in that price range. I also was impressed by the Aeon and 2.3, I also really liked the Snell XA 60 and the Aerial 7's. Those are the speakers that have made by first cut.
I was also surprised at the sheer professionalism and salesmanship of three dealers and bemused at a three others. I went to one shop which sold Legacy as its high end speaker, but didn't have an amp to demonstrate any speakers.
I received a lot of solid advide and good salesmanship at other dealers.
As Kthomas has already mentioned above, your budget will allow you to consider the Vandersteen 3A speakers, which retail new for $2800. If you are willing to buy used speakers, then you can often find the Vandersteen 3A Signatures (retail price $3500) for around $2400 (and sometimes less). At the $3000 point, you owe it to yourself to audition the Vandy 3A / 3A Sig's, even if you ultimately decide they are not for you. (As an aside, the Vandy 2CE, 3A Signature, and Model 5's are all included on TAS's "Recommended Components" list, and the 2CE's and 3A Sig's are chosen as "Best Buys".)
The Vandersteen web site has a list of their dealers around the country. For the dealer list, here's the link:
You mention Thiel. Why not give the newest Thiels, the CS 2.4s, a listen with your own familiar recordings. Every new model Thiel brings out is reputed to be their best up to that point. Having heard some of their earlier models, I would think they must be pretty good indeed. If you don't require a fine furniture finish, they have a black painted model that is less expensive than a wood veneered one. There are so many models and speakers available and being transducers, your own personal tastes should be your guide, bearing in mind that a good number of companies seem to think that flat frequency response into the listening room can be compromised and that the sound will be better. Sounds like a strange concept to me. Also keep in mind resale value: established brands with a good reputation for sound quality normally can be resold or traded-in without losing a lot.
As the others have said your taste will decide the best for you.But I will throw the Soliloquys in the pile.If you have room maybe the 6.3 fullrange.Retail for $3200.00.B stock 1800.00 to 1900.00.Easy to drive and giving you the flexibility of tubes or solid state amps.Take the extra $1000.00 you saved and put it towards a better front end of used gear, right here on audiogon.IMO B&K is quite a dry amp and lacks musicality.I tried listening to some Vienna Acoustic Beethovens powered by a B&K...it sounded terrible!Good luck!
If you let us know what your listening room dimensions? (including height) and listening preferences are? Im sure you will get some really good info so you can better "focus" and "narrow" your search/auditions and you should get a better idea what to look for...
I do like the Revel F30'S and M20's like some of the others have mentioned. But you will need some good power to make them sing.