I was very interested in those speakers but I wrote asking for home trial and he doesn’t do that. Customer assumes the full risk. So, because home audition is a deal-breaker for me, if I were to go boutique, I’d go Zu, Tekton, Omega, Ascend, Salk, Fritz, at least in lower price ranges. All of them, except Omega, allow home trial. Only Fritz has provision for shipping both ways.
Ha....I was just writing this in your other post:
In all fairness to Omega, I'm pretty sure Louis would take care of you if you weren't happy. Fritz's policy does sound very generous, I'd assume that not too many people have to take him up on the returns.
And how about Nola, I was very interested in their Boxer 3's but they seemed to have vanished.
@treyreynolds155 It sounds like you had a good experience. I was trying to get that assurance from Omega and I was told up front "no returns." If the speaker was defective, I'm sure I'd get good service. But the others on my list say quite explicitly as a matter of policy that you get to see if you like the speakers on a trial basis. Not everyone does this -- and not every customer needs this -- but I did. To each his own. Omega seems to be doing fine with their policy, so let 1000 flowers bloom, I say.
Nola didn't vanish. They still have an active website.
hilde45: Wow I'm really surprised to hear that. I can't say that I blame you at all. I'm local to him and he had a pair of floor standers using his smaller non alnico drivers that he let me play around with. These weren't my cup of tea at all but I ordered the previously linked speakers on faith and after a lot of research.
roxy54: Yeah I've actually been to their site looking for dealers, but nobody in the US seems to sell them anymore. Upscale stopped carrying them quite a while ago and the last internet search only brought up like one Canadian shop. Very strange for such a well reviewed product.
Hide45 if you buy Omega Speakers 99.9 % you won’t return them. I have the 3i and the super rs8, and thinking to buy the super 3i high output with matching 2 sub .
@jayctoy I had heard good things, agree. I live in Colorado. So, when I got to the point where I thought of the many different ways I could spend my money -- and then thought of not being able to return one pair but being able to try and return Salk, I went with Salk. I realize now that many others speakers would also have let me try and return them. And I did try, in my home, Focal, Martin Logan, Klipsch, Dynaudio -- and none of them quite worked, but all were returned.
jayctoy: The 3i HO is the same cabinet as my "Modern Cams". You may want to consider the Alnico driver....just a thought. That RS5 driver is absolutely stunning with excellent source material but I found it could be harsh with lesser recordings. I find the Alnico to be the best of both worlds.
Viking acoustics in Santa Fe
Audiokinesis. Duke is a great guy (probably best-known for his Swarm subwoofers). His regular speakers have always been a good combination of performance batting far out of his price points. Easy to drive and good on making bass for the size of the speaker without colorations.
I'll add Volti Audio to the list
Tony Minasian of Tonian Labs.
His latest, the G6, would wipe the floor clean of a lot of speakers out there,
leaving room for all the dropped jaws.
All the best,
Kenjit Concrete Classics
LOL just messing with you dude, though you usually deserve it!
JWM Acoustics Alyson AML II stand mount speaker will blow you away. Amazing dynamics and impact.
Prana Fidelity speakers are also outstanding.
I'm going to everyone of their sites, what amazing speakers!
Daedalus for sure. The epitome of "boutique" loudspeaker design and production. Each pair hand crafted from real wood, custom inlays and finished to the clients specifications. You not only get that, you get class-leading sound quality.
I was very curious about Daedalus but a bit steep for me and too big, I think, for home audition, shipping, etc.
I was also very curious about Legacy Audio; they have a dealer in Denver but he would not let me drive them 3 miles back to my house for a home trial and I didn't want to sit in a closed room with Covid (I have parents in their 90s that I'm helping out.) So, the door closed on Legacy, but I have heard they're amazing.
Rockport Atria but I haven't heard as much as the rest of y'all.
Omega - I've had my Hemptones for about 15 years, and they still sing so wonderfully.
@treynolds155: If you think Kenjit’s Concrete Classics are good, wait until you hear his infinite baffle (drivers installed in the wall) model, or his open baffle. Of course, you really need him to come to your house and "custom tune" the CC’s to your ears for them to sound their best.
+2 for Daedalus, and add to it Selah Audio.
@hilde45 Check out the bundle that Daedalus and LTA are offering. This pairing is exquisite and the Muse are very modestly sized. I heard them at CAF and was blown away by the sound.
Plus one on Volti and Tekton..I don’t think Ryan Speakers or Silverline, were mentioned..
Yes, I've heard Silverline are great. @dodgealum That's quite a bundle (in more than one sense)!
I don’t know what constitutes "boutique" when it comes to loudspeakers, but I would think Bruce Thigpen and his Eminent Technology LFT-8b meets the criteria.
For those willing and able to DIY, Danny Richie's GR Research kits are fantastic speakers at bargain prices.
I like mine....I had a set of 123 LS6s (GR) crossover and design, Still have their Servo bass columns... I like mine... I like the look of the original LS9s, too. Open baffle is just HARD to get right...I gave up on them... I still use planars, just not OB.. Way to weird to tame down..
Boutique: small business producing fashionable high level articles.
Aerial Acoustics is a great speaker maker!
Fritz for his price point and superb reviews
Another + for Omega.
Does Magnepan qualify as boutique? If yes, +. If no, ignore me (except for the Omega part).
Salk. Also very helpful and cost-effective when repairs (e.g. ribbon tweeter repair/replacement) is needed (in my case, after more than 10 years of use).
I like and own Salk.
But I think my favorite and the best looking speaker in the world is the Klipsch LaScala.
At this point I think Legacy Audio has moved beyond boutique status but it’s what I own.
Devore, Bache, Ohm.
I'm going to put a proxy vote in for Al, (Almarg). If he was still with us, he would vote for Daedalus. Huge fan.
Beauhorn (Virtuoso model) w/Lowther DX4? Love what you have!
Volti was mentioned by emil and tinhorn. I did get to hear the Volti Vittora at the NYC audio show. Very impressive!
Hard to tell what a boutique brand. Is it determined by company size? Audition accessibility? RBH Sound is forever an unsung brand in my book. Long established but not that large a company. Catering to the custom market, it's always been difficult to find a pair to addition. Shane Rich is their terrific speaker designer. Find a pair of RBH signature reference series or RBH's Status Acoustic line to take a listen.
I’m a little confused over what actually categorizes boutique branding and price will play a big factor in the level of engineering that goes into the design of a good speaker system. The type of music genre you are trying to accommodate as well as room size and acoustics can totally make or break any sound system. As for my system, I am a tried and true Harbeth fan. Sold exclusively in impedance matched pairs the midrange drivers are unparalleled. I would suggest you research a set of SHL5+ or if you have the room, Harbeth 40.2 reference monitors. They will set you back a pretty penny but man I learned long ago that the biggest investment in any sound system should be the speakers.https://harbeth.co.uk/index.php