What’s hot in monitors from $2K to $3K in 2012?


Hi folks… yeah, it’s been a while and this looks like my next quest. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I’ve been out of the loop for a bit.

I suppose I’m looking now, for some monitors to use as mains for audio mostly but for some movie time too. About 60/40 split, music – films.

They should reach down to 35hz flat. Disappear. Be neutral and as transparent as is possible for speakers at this level. 8 ohm preffered. 90db sensitivity should work, give or take a db. Imaging too is a biggie for me… but always, always, it’s about naturalness. Lifelike. Organic sounding.

Room is about 14 x 20 with speakers on the short wall. Power is by 150 – 170 wpc amps, depending on the mood. Currently it’s either a 150 x 5 Butler multi, or a 170 wpc Odyssey Stratos plus SS. Hopefully I’ll add a good digital pair of mono blocks later on like BC 500s.

Floor standers or stand mounted will work, but prefer something on stands I suppose. I think I’d like that look better.

Thanks for any thoughts on speaker choices within this criteria… or near it.
blindjim
Evolution Acoustic MMMicro One would be one of the "best in class" for you to consider.
Hi Blindjim - Elescher beat me to it. The Evolution Acoustics micros. I've heard them twice. Both times, they were remarkably good... extremely resolving without being fatiguing, excellent harmonic accuracy, surprisingly good dynamics, and razor sharp imaging.

They're $2500.

They are supposed to start shipping in about a month, but they've had lots of production delays, so who knows.

Bryon
I think your asking for alot of things at that price point for new speakers or even used.
I really enjoy a subwoofer for movies. If you can add one it would open up alot of opportunities.
You have a very powerful amp, why do you need speakers that are 90db sensitive? If you had a 20 or 30 watt amp then I could understand the need for 90 db speakers.(150 watts should power nearly any speakers to concert levels)
I run Vapor Audio Breeze speakers which are 86.5db with an 85 watt amp. The Breeze are fantastic monitors and will provide you with all of your listening preferences, but they only go down to 50hz.
Add a subwoofer and you are golden. My room is bigger than yours and I feel no need for a subwoofer for music. The bass I am getting has great tune, and is lightening fast.
If you won't add a subwoofer and you are looking for much deeper base, I would take good look at the Volent VL2. There is a pair listed on here for 3 grand asking price.
These are 88db and have received fantastic reviews. Check out the 6moons review.
Todd
The PSB Synchrony Two Tower is practically tailor-made to your parameters other than that it is floorstanding. However, it is a small tower which would disappear into your music room--7.6"x11" footprint and only 39" tall. That's a smaller footprint and overall space intrusion than just about any stand-mounted speaker up to the task. The Synchrony Two sensitivity is rated at 88dB anechoic, 90 dB with room gain, and a claimed -1.5 dB at 36 Hz and a lower cutoff of 29 Hz.

List price is $3500/pair, but Crutchfield has them on sale at $2798/pair with free shipping.

Although this is not an exotic solution like the boutique models previously mentioned, PSB has the advantage of vertical integration (they make their own drivers) and economy of scale to deliver high value at a lower cost. PSBs are characteristically clean, linear, and dynamic with a particularly natural and transparent-sounding midrange.

PSB has a lot of respect in the high end press and among high end vendors. My local PSB dealer also features Wilson, D'Agostino, Magnepan, Vienna, Audio Research, Ayre, and Transparent.

Rave reviews abound for this speaker, including TAS, which designated it the best PSB speaker they'd reviewed to date.
Show me anyone who has a 2-way or 3-way monitor in your price range that can go down flat to 35hz and I'll show you a liar!

I think you should be realistic about the bass capabilities here of floorstanders, too. Unless it's got a transmission line cabinet and at least dual 12" woofers, 35hz is just not going to happen!

06-12-12: Loftarasa
Show me anyone who has a 2-way or 3-way monitor in your price range that can go down flat to 35hz and I'll show you a liar!

I think you should be realistic about the bass capabilities here of floorstanders, too. Unless it's got a transmission line cabinet and at least dual 12" woofers, 35hz is just not going to happen!

I agree with just about everything you say. The OP's original requirements are unnecessarily restrictive and nearly unrealistic. A small floorstander with the proper backwave management and room boundary reinforcement could get him where he needs to be.

And although 12" woofers can slam out a lot of bass (in an appropriately large (say 9 cu. ft.) cabinet, there are plenty of speakers that make it flat to 26 Hz or lower with a pair of 8" woofers. Two examples are the Wilson Sasha W/P and the Mirage OM-28. My 1996 Mirage M5si's are dead flat to 29 Hz with a pair of 6.5" woofers.

+1 for the transmission line, but the Atlantic Technology AT-1 makes it past 35 Hz with a pair of uniquely loaded 5.25" woofers in a D'Appolito array.
Totally agree, all fair points.

I was just trying to illustrate that between: sub-bass extension, not sounding like crud in the midband and highs, cabinet not absolutely humungous, under $2k ...pick any 2!
I have to 2nd the Vapor Breeze. A fantastic speaker at the price of $1,295. Won't do bass as low as you want, but you can spend $800-$1000 on a REL subwoofer and still be not too much over $2K.
Shelby + Kroll 2.1 package for $2.6k
Selah Tempesta.
The Vapor Audio Aurora will go flat to 35hz and is a stand mounted 2-way, and is $2695/pair. I've spoken with Vapor about it recently, and they said it has a new ceramic dome tweeter that is supposed to be fantastic, and with no price increase.
KEF 50 anniversary model
For almost any monitor, regardless of price, 35Hz flat is utopia. In your price range, I would recommend LSA1 Statement speakers.
A pair of 2nd hand totem mani-2
guru qm10 legitimately get close to 30hz--very cool looking little speaker
I'm surprised nobody mentioned the new Tyler Acoustics MM5 10" 3-way ported monitor. Claimed bass extension to 28 Hz; 87 dB sensitivity, but that should figure to 90 dB with a stereo pair plus room gain. You would probably have to wait awhile to get a pair (unless he has some on hand), but that's also true of Vapor and some of the other bo-teeky monitors mentioned here.

I apologise for the delay folks. The main reason I’ve been away from here was/is health and of course those nasty security issues. Been back and forth to the hosp lately a fair bit and will be going back soon again.

So again, I am sorry for not following up sooner.

I recall saying:
“Floorstanders or monitors”
“$2K to $3K”
“Thanks for any thoughts on speakers in this creiteria or near it”

Guess I should have added, NEW or USED to my initial post.

SORRY! I kind of figured that as understood…. Or someone would have said as much. My BAD. People often have in the past.

I have a Velodyne DD 15. Maybe I’ll add some other sub later on… who knows?

PSB was a thought of mine going into this parade as a short list item. AZ too.

I’m not terribly keen on waiting some indeterminate time frame for anything… or big on those hot to go new releases which don’t release… on time or at all. It bugs me too much and makes me worry about any later issues which could crop up with them, so I often dismiss them from any of my searches.

I own Silverline SR 15’s, and a couple other pr of monitors. One pr of floorstanders… and have owned a few pr of other decent speakers. What is printed on the spec sheets and what happens in house often seem to be different things. Sometimes by a wide margin.

I see a lot of press on the Vapors. Super. But again, awaiting a pr of units for some time with my $$$ previously tied up in them bugs me. Sorry but it does.

I heard some of the AZ florstanders which run at $6K retail and felt they did well. Huge room too. But on all EAR and Einstein gear with isoclean supply. Reckon they should have sounded good.

40in tall isn’t too big. My Silverline Sonata IIIs were that tall. They weren’t imposing.

I’ve seen tuned port 2 or 2.5 way floorstanders (ala AZ floorstanders) that can kick out the bass. Although I’m not seeking speakers which run sans sub ((s) either.

Higher eff speakers ordinarily lay a stage about themselves. Not always rearward of their driver planes. They yield a better front row seat for the rendition too. It’s partly why I felt higher eff units a good idea. Plus I like tubes. My Butler uses them and bi polars. I might get another 50 – 75w tube amp yet again. Then too, there’s the fact now and then though not as a rule, one has to twist that fun screw up to 2 or 3pm !!

I’ve not regularly seen units that can truly jump which boast 85, 86, or even 87db sensitivities. Often too, 4 ohm units dig power and the power I have, though adequate. Isn’t IMO ‘substantial’ enough for me to risk damaging any speakers I own.

So the thoughts on speakers included here are most welcome… if the above helps clear things up and others come to mind as alternates or as USED market items which weren’t previously posted, do chime back in and add those. It would be appreciated greatly!!

Again, sorry for my tardiness in responding…. jim
You can probably find some variant of the Merlin VSM at the price point you state. They are a small-footprint floorstander that uses EQ to meet your low-end requirements.

Good Luck,

Marty
I mentioned the Vapor Aurora because it sounded most like what you're looking for, they're building something else for me. But I remember talking with Ryan about that design, he said they have 2 pair ready to ship ... no waiting.
Those Dynaudio Focus 160 monitors are getting an awful lot of good press lately.

J_fav

That's cool And is appreciated. I'll give 'em a look see in the AM. Thanks.
Nice sales pitch Ryan!
Tannoy Definition DC8
I don't know about "hot", but I would certainly consider used Merlin TSMs in that price range.
I second the Selah Audio Tempesta Speakers!
All thoughts here are immensely welcomed. Thanks very much.

I have a lead on what some folks regard highly in monitors. They have a powered 8" bass driver w/300+ wpc. Mid & co ax tweeter. $$$ Affordable. New. I'm bad with faces and now with names too it appears. I'll post it soon as I get/recall it/them.
You mean the Sounfield Monitor Audio1?. They have received great reviews on AudioCircle. And their only $1350 or less. Great bargain!
Is Soundfield using a KEF UniQ driver for the mid/tweet? Interesting approach. Take a very fast and linear almost full-range coaxial and add a powered woofer to flesh out the bottom.
(((They should reach down to 35hz flat. Disappear. Be neutral and as transparent as is possible for speakers at this level. 8 ohm preffered. 90db sensitivity should work, give or take a db. Imaging too is a biggie for me… but always, always, it’s about naturalness. Lifelike. Organic sounding.)))
Okay......
The latest Vandersteen 2CE Sig 2 feature lofty Five series drivers mid and tweeters,dissapear superbly,
bass down to 29 HZ and Made in USA.
JohnnyR Vandersteen dealer
Selah Audio Tempestas in stock cabinets. $3.3k gets sound that is SOTA in many ways.