what is the best sounding speakers for under 5000.

looking to replace psb stratus golds. which floor standing speakers would you recommend that would be an impovement for a listener of classic rock. using vincent 236 integrated with jolida 100 cd player. best for under 5000.
Not sure of your whereabouts but if anywhere near Chicago, a trip to Van L Speakerworks-773.769.0773 (http://www.vanlspeakerworks.com/) is strongly recommended.

The company's base model is the quartet which markets foraround $3200. My estimation is this speaker can easily hold its own against $10,000+ speakers. The Quartet uses a proprietary crossover that uses very high-end caps, coils and resistors and is designed to re-create the 3-dimensional image found in live performances. This circuit called the Ambient Recovery has 3 levels and can be defeated by simply not using the 3rd wire needed for activation.

The result is an imense depth of stage as well as width. Image width extends (depending upon source quality) easily 3' beyond both L & R speaker all while not requiring the speakers to be toed inwards (not recommended by Van L). Presenation is very 3-D. I have not heard anything like this and will recommend these as a serious contender for your choice. The base drivers are also of a proprietary dual motor design, they're very fast and capapble of base easily found in enclosures more than twice the size. Base models use ScanSpeak fluid-cooled tweeters. Van L can also accomodate upgrades and mods to the base model.
I own a rather "hybridized" verion that went a litte, well, beyond the base unit's specs. These have Deuland VSF copper foil caps, cast inductors, ScanSpeak Revelator tweeters, silver/gold wiring (Siltech) & WBT connectors. My first 30 second exposure with the base unit resulted in a 50% down payment because I knew what I was hearing was very special. I've always subscribed to the known brands for a long time but the Quartet has shown that smaller, local companies have the freedom to, in this case, produce a a product without the constraint of target marketing. It should also be noted that the Quartet is the result of a 5+ year R&D project.

Van L Speakerworks is developing a new transmission line floor standing unit for the $2K market. The prototype is showing hints of another amazing product.

Hope this helps.


I was going through the same thought process as you recently. I just got a set of PSB Synchrony Ones. I still have my Stratus Golds. The Ones are similar but better overall, from bass to treble. They are just more open, smoother in the treble and go lower in the bass with great articulation. I was quite satisfied with the Golds, but the Ones truly are better.
Not a huge difference in overall balance, just cleaner from top to bottom. I listen to mostly classic rock and jazz. If you liked the Golds, you will really like the Ones.
I would take a good look at Vapor Audio's Cirrus speakers. They start at about $3600 and go up with upgrades and matching stands.
I have a pair of Vapor's sibling speaker called the Breeze on order. I will be picking them up in a few weeks. The Breeze was a more affordable option for me.
Also used Joseph Audio Pulsars, the new B&W monitors with subwoofer .
Salk floorstanders are nice too. Devore Nines used.
I would recommend a home audition of whichever Ohm Walsh model is appropriate to your room's cubic footage. First, I would speak with Ohm by phone to see if your amp would be a good match. I haven't heard your PSBs, but I have heard others, and I personally found them a bit too bright for my tastes. My Ohms are very smooth, warm, yet detailed. They offer a very un-box-like sound, with a huge soundstage, and deep, powerful bass. I listen to a wide range of music, including rock, and they do a wonderful job with everything, IMHO. Your budget will cover all but the top of the line model, IIRC.
Yep Audiokinesis. Amazing value for the money.
A third vote for AudioKinesis. Duke's speakers do Zeppelin just right--most don't IMO--and I'm a major Zeppelin head. Just the right amount of finesse for classic rock without masking anything. Bonham is trying to bash his way out of my room right now on Zep II, and I'm loving every minute of it.
Magnepan 3.7s and haggle a little bit?
I’ll second the Ohms. In the past 40 years, I’ve owned/reviewed the following speakers ranging from about $300-10,000/pr. Wharfedale W60, EPI 150, Braun L710, DCM Time Window, Spendor SP1/2, Mirage M3-si, Monitor Audio Studio 6, APL Serenade, JM Labs Daline 3.1, Micron Karat, Wisdom Audio 50, Clements 206di, Shamrock Eire, Equation 7, 9, Silverline S12, SR15, SR17, Panatella, Sonatina, Sonata, Galante Rhapsody, SAP Quartette, Klipschorn, Klipsch Belle, Heresy, KG4, Shahinian Obelisk, Omega Super 3, Harbeth C7II, Lamhorn, Altec Valencia, JM Reynaud Twin, Trente, Offrande, Magneplanar 1.2, GPA 604-8H, Ohm Micro Walsh, 100, Ohm 3000.

I’d rate the Ohms on top for overall sonics, ease of use and their ability to play music.
I have owned a bunch of speakers ranging from $500 to $3500...b&w. martin logans, magnepan, dynuadio, vandersteen, psb, built my own, etc...
I picked up a pair of REGA RS5 last year and could not be happier. Really nice neutral clean sound.
the vanlspeakersworks ambient recovery system looks just like the Carver and Polk SRS systems which feed the opposite channel back into the speaker in opposite phase to cancel crosstalk between the speakers. Makes for a very spacious sound, about 3db louder than without. This system has been used in various configurations over the years. Get a cheap Carver preamp or receiver with the Sonic Holography feature and you can test to see if this is what you want before spending a bunch on a speaker.
Just today listened to the Pioneer S-2EX loudspeakers at Audio Video Logic in Iowa. For $4995 including stands these speakers IMHO are one of the BEST Value in loudspeakers today.
You owe it to yourself to give them a listen, they are wonderful.
Hey Seadogs, I am in Des Moines. I should stop in too. What electronics were they using?
Kclone, they had a Mac amp and I believe a Rotel CD player. In my opinion they would have sounded even better with different electronics but even as such you could hear the potential. Good Luck!
Consider the Focal 826W or 836W. Your current gear appears to be a good match. Since these are both resolving and forgiving speakers you can enjoy with your current gear. If you decide to upgrade your electronics you will be well rewarded. The decision between the 826W/836W would depend on room size and the ability of the Vincent to control 3 bass drivers on the 836W.
Vapor Audio Cirrus may be one to look into but the build times can be up to 9 months. There are members here that have waited at least 8 months to get a pair and there are others currently waiting up to 9 months right now. They do look like a very nice speaker however with very good reviews. I have been waiting to hear from these members to see if they are worth the long wait times since they have been dissapointed in all the delays. A really good speaker can make you forget about any delays in build times though.
I bet you could buy some 2000-2001 model Klipsch KLF 30's, put in a titanium tweeter from crites, a titanium mid from klipsch, a new cross over from crites, and compete with most anything under 10k.

All this would cost you less then $1500, if not less then $1k.
I've got the Vapor Cirrus and Selah Tempesta on order now so hopefully I will be able to test out both of these before too long. I haven't heard either, but from everything I have read these are two of the best bang for the buck there is. The Tempesta will also be in a stacked baltic birch ply cabinet.
Can't wait to read your recap of the Cirrus vs. Tempesta smackdown!
Vortrex, I am interested in your findings because I know another member here that lives near me that has a pair of Cirrus on order. I am hoping I get the chance to demo these some day.

good luck!

"Best" is in the eye/ear of the beholder. There is no definitive "best" anything, it's all subjective. When you ask a question like this, the answers will always be what folks think is "best" to them in their system as attested in the responses you've already gotten.
Based upon the reviews published in the past 4-5 years, it would seem that the Gallo Reference 3.1 or 3.5 would be at or near the top of the heap...

I agree completely with Tpreaves. it's not going to be a competition at all. I just wanted to see for myself which ones worked best in my room, with my equipment, with the music I listen to. if you're in SF you're more than welcome to come by and hear for yourself, once they both show up.
I'm very interested in the Tempestra/Cirrus comparison as well. 3-way vs 2-way, inexpensive pre-built cabinet vs custom designed and built.
Both use some of the best components available and have well built crossovers.
Now for something completely different:

Per Atmasphere (and others): Audiokinesis, but....

I'd think about the sealed Swarm subwoofer system at $1700.
Add a Velodyne SMS-1 subwoofer management system at $400.

The remaining +/- $3K would buy some great speakers from Ohm, Magnepan, or Pioneer/TAD (just sticking to brands already mentioned), depending on your preference for omnis, dipoles, or good, old-fashioned "drivers in a box".

This would require pre-amp "in/out" connectivity on your integrated, so I'm not sure it would be workable with the Vincent. If it is, this approach will get you a full bandwidth system (Swarm), seamless integration of subs (SMS) with very smooth bass response (Swarm +SMS). Choose the flavor you prefer above 80hz.


PS If you don't want subs scattered all about the room, a pair of SVS or Rythmik subs gets you to a substantially similar place for pretty much the same money.

Saeyedoc - my Tempestas will not be in the pre-built partsexpress cabinets. I had some stacked baltic birch ply cabinets made to the same dimensions. it will be interesting to compare 2-way vs 3-way back to back in the same environment though.
Hi Vortrex,
Curious if you've listened to the Ikonoklast 3's from William Gregoire -- he's in the Bay Area, or any of the Tonian speakers. I haven't, but the Ikonoklast has been touted as having excellent integration between the mid/bass driver (in a TL) and the Ohm Walsh-like tweeter --without any x-over.
I'm using Genesis 8300 stand-mounted, thinking of looking for newer speakers.
1bruingas - no, never heard of those.
There some good suggestions made above, such as the Audiokinesis, so I am just suggesting some other considerations. If you are looking for a warm sound, consider the "classic" Spendor box speakers (I prefer them to the floorstanding models). If you want a leaner sound, the thin and tall floorstanding model from Synthesis (Italian brand) is great with tube electronics (hard to find and audition).
Many good choices mentioned but I am a fan of wide range Walsh drivers in the end and always end up coming back to the OHMs. Depending on room size and new versus used, these might even come in at well under budget but I like the larger 5 or 5000 models with on board level adjustments to help match the speaker to the room if those can fit nicely into the room.
How long is a ball of string?

Used Sonus Faber Cremona
Those Tempesta's looked interesting, but I don't see the point of a small midrange with a 7" woofer ... shouldn't the 7" woofer be able to reach up to the bottom end of the tweete without problem? In talking with Rick it seemed like he only decided to use that small Accuton because it has it's own sealed cup, and doesn't need it's own chamber in the cabinet ... which makes it compatable with those pre-fab cabinets he's using. So basically the limiations of his cabinets decided what drivers he could use, which seems backward to me.

I'm also not a fan of very small midrange drivers, I've heard hundreds over the years with 4" woofers all the way down to 2" dome midranges, and they all lack scale and weight to vocals. Yes they can sound very clean and accurate, but they don't convey a sense of power.
A nice pair of used Magnepan 3.6's; but, you need a really good quality SS muscle amp to drive them properly and get stellar sound...
Vortrex, I have been following the Vapor Audio Cirrus threads on Audio Circle and recently here. I am also interested in your findings due to the fact that a finished Cirrus speaker looks absolutely stunning and the cabinet looks to be built better than any DIY I have seen. I have been interested in the Evolution Acoustics monitor as well but there is a pretty good buzz going on with the Cirrus both good and bad. Anyone who waits 8 months for a pair and finds a cosmetic blem or two but then backs this up with being happy in the end sounds ok to me.
Rose75,you may want to glance at my impressions of the Breeze,if you have not already. I gave a pretty detailed account of the sound coming from my Breeze.
I have no problem recommending the Breeze as a best sounding speaker under 5,000 category. IMHO
Here is the kicker Rose. You may want to run a $30,000 amp with the Evolutions as Evolution Acoustics has done in the past. I am running my Breeze with a $300 Onkyo 9555a and getting FANTASTIC sound!!
Toddnkaya, a true test for sure would be the MMMone on your system compared to the Breeze. More realistic. I have been waiting to see more people respond to the Evolution speaker but I haven't seen much.
I also don't know that the Breeze could hang with the Cirrus based off what I have read comparing the two side by side in the same listening room. Nobody has ever said the Breeze was better in a direct comparison. Only people at AK Fest mentioned they thought the Breeze room was better than the Cirrus room. Put them in the same room and you will more than likely will have a different oppinion of the Cirrus. I think the Cirrus would need a good sized room to really open up. Too bad people can't get them in a timely manner though. It is a hit and miss with delivery.
MMMone is a good choice. The DeVores are in this price range. But, really, spend 2k more and buy the Pulsars. No doubt about it. I have owned and listened to them all in this price range: these are the very best.