Recently there were 2 pair of speakers I always wanted listed on AudiogoN for under $4k:
Unity Audio PARM's
Both listed for $15k or more new I believe ... NO idea how a systems like this would mesh with your current gear though but I do know you could sell the subs if you purchased either of these speakers
There are literally so many variables to speaker choice, that it would perhaps be wise to list some of the elements in a speaker that are important to you.
What do you want from a new(er) speaker that your current ones aren't giving you?
That's a tough one -there are so many good speakers in this range.
-Bryston middle T
-Golden Ear Triton 1
-Thiel TT 1
I found the Thiel 2.4 SE at a great price (new) and find these amazing. They throw the biggest sound stage I've ever heard (assuming it's on the recording) and are very coherent.
The Thiel 2.7 looks interesting as well.
last I heard you added the subs and did room treatments and had teh original Vienna's and the newer Wavetouch.
What aspects of teh sound are still lacking? MAybe its not the room or speakers at this point? Just wondering. There is more to getting teh right sound than speakers and room, though getting those under control at least is a needed first step before further tweaking.
Without knowing what specifically you're looking to improve upon it's not possible to make a good recommendation IMO. I will say in that price range I'd look at Joseph Audio Pulsar, Vandersteen Treo/Quatro, and Reference 3a Grand Veena. I'd guess any of those could yield improvements in overall resolution, imaging, and soundstaging if any of those areas are of importance to you. Best of luck.
The VA's are just a little too laid back and congested, I have added the Mosaic speaker cable and interconnects which made a big difference with the sound. The WT is a great sounding speaker but just a bit bright and a little thin for my taste, but I think I'll use those for a different setup. I have been really looking into Intuitive Design gamma summits, I have heard the bigger brothers to the summits and the sound is breathtaking!
You may already know, but there has been a pair of those Intuitive Design speakers for a long time on Audio Asylum, and I almost bought them last year before I went SET. I know that the dealer is motivated and will lower the price. They are really excellent speakers.
Hey Roxy54 what do the summits sound like compared to their bigger brothers?
Vandesteen Model 2 or 3. They'll work great with what you have now, and will sound amazing as you upgrade your components to one's that will really bring out what the speaker are capable of.
Soix hit the nail on the head, I'm looking for improvements in resolution, image and soundstage. something that's not too bright or laid back. its like the speakers I have are missing something not sure if its in the components or cabling?
You might consider making a change in amplification before changing speakers. There are higher resolution amps than what the A 21 gives you.
My suggestion is to try to get a few contenders at home for a trial, and see if there are improvements that do it for you.
I know a different amp and pre amp can breath life into those speakers. I would say the amp and pre are more laid back/dead sounding than the speaker on that speaker. I use a Belles Ref 150a V2 with a passive pre with excellent results. Something that might get you good results that I have not tried are a class 'd' amps. The mozarts need controlled to sound articulate and I think a class 'd' could provide that. Also I think they sound pretty clean without being bright. However I have not tried them. In my listening to your amp it seemed to me it was a slight bit dry and dull. However it was not bright, edgy, forward, or sloppy.
I think what the mozarts need are an amp to control them well so to be articulate and not lazy sounding and also not be bright but have a good leading edge to the sound. That is what I get with the Belles. Most of the mozarts I have heard sound edgy and/or bloated. Not pleasant to me. However when you get them tuned in they are quite impressive. The kind of impressive you say to yourself 'man that was an amazing performance' almost every time you listen to something.
What I like about the mozarts in my set up is they provide and abundance of detail to mimic a realistic impression of the real thing in a good way- they portray the whole body of a person, the whole instrument of many instruments and so on, makes for an engaging experience, they have a natural life like sound.
I think something that it seems is overlooked is the timing of music being naturally preserved. When it is skewed it robs the sound of its musicality. I think that is one if not the biggest draw back of reproduced sound in our fancy systems. You can listen to a small radio or in your cars simple system or somebody else's simple system and really connect to it, not the sound but the music. I think it is because among other obvious things it also preserves the timing well. We hear of fast amps and slow amps. And it seems to me they preserve some aspect of the music fast or slow or the harmonic structure but not all of it. To me it is kind of like the music was dissected a put back together and it just doesn't fit very well. I am talking in the analog domain. Something can individually have a natural like sound but the whole tapestry looses musicality. It seems The mozarts along with my other equip preserve that timing is an excellent way. You might think of some music you like. A primary component of that music is the timing, that's why that music is what it is, and likely why you connect to it to a larger or lesser degree. To me the mozarts preserve timing of the harmonic structure along with a realistic natural image to a very high degree. That being said everybody seems to like a variety of things. You have some nice speakers jughead.
I'm not sure if it would be wiser to replace my amp and pre to match the Mozarts? or replace the Mozarts to a speaker that matches my amp and pre amp better? I don't think id have any problem selling any of the equipment. I do think the a21 is a warmer sounding amp and that may be the reason the Mozarts don't sound right. not sure if id go with a class d amp, I do have a friend who has a pure class a amp I could borrow and see what that does for the Mozarts.
Out of curiosity, and a need to save a bit of cash, I sold a nice First Watt M2 amp, and ordered a Class D Audio CDA 254 amp, in a kit. You can have them build it, or they have complete amps ready to sell.
Anyway, I built the first one, and I was shocked at the quality of sound coming out of my custom-built Tannoy HPD 315 loudspeakers.
I was getting the best bass response I'd heard from my 12" Dual Concentric speakers, with beautiful mids and highs as well. It compared very favorably with my SET 300B amp, but with more power.
I built another one, and ran two amps bridged into mono, making 500 Watts into 8 Ohms. It sounded superb, but an old multi channel amp I was using for center and surrounds went bad, so I converted one of the amps to three channel, just had to add another amp module and input and speaker terminals, with the one unit, there's 125 Wpc for the surrounds, and 500 Watts to the center channel.
Multi-channel music, and tv watching has never sounded this good before.
Along with Marqmike, I recommend you give them a try. I am living very happily with Class D, and the complete kit is only $430, very high quality parts, and made in the USA. It costs an additional $100, I believe, to have them build it for you.
It's something to think about. I think you'd be surprised, I know I sure was.
Best of luck,
I had a Parasound A21 and replaced it with a Jeff Rowland 525 Class D amp. The 525 has much better front to back place within the soundstage and a wider/deeper soundstage. Instruments have the proper size and much better tonality compared to the A21. It may not be for you, but all Class D amps don't sound the same.
What companies do in home trial for class d amps? I'm fine with trying it as long as I can return it if it doesn't meet my standards.
What kind of floor is under your speakers? Are they on an upper level? Are the floors suspended plywood? if you jump up and down does anything in the room pick up vibrations?
if so the problem may be inherent in your room/floor. Some speakers may isolate from floor interactions better than others. One cheap solution worth trying is to put teh speakers on isolation pads. I use Auralex subdudes under my OHMs on my second floor where this is a problem as it is with much modern constructed houses. A problem for Hifis and speakers but the give is good for avoiding structural damage in earthquakes, etc. Subdudes, if practical for use under speakers like yours, run about $50-$60 each on Amazon.
BTW when I use teh same OHM speakers in my basement on solid concrete foundation with thin carpet and padding, nothing else is needed. I can jump up and down all day down there and not much will vibrate. If I really turn things up, the walls and doors might just a bit, enough for the key I store above teh door frame to eventually fall to teh floor. Nothing particularly audible though. The same speakers off teh same gear are able to shine right through becasue there is little or no vibration transmitted to teh floor.
You might want to try some kind of isolating platform under teh speakers if you think you have this problem first before investing megabucks in other speakers that may solve teh problem in a similar manner out of teh box.
Just somefood for thought.
Mapman, I'm in a finished basement concrete floors with carpet. star sound audio points for spikes.
Have you optimized teh placement of your speakers, perhaps somewhat out away from walls to eliminate early reflections? That will smear teh imaging and reduce detail if not the case.
I'd suggest creating an agon virtual system and posting some system pics. that will help people see what you have and make appropriate suggestions. You can delete the virtual system later at any time once all is hunky dory if you like or leave it so all can see your triumph. :^)
Interconnects can also have a major effect in teh areas of concern. Not familiar with yours so cannot comment. I use DNM reson RCA ICs for overall clarity, detail and balance top to bottom. Not expensive and can be a real difference maker depending on what you are starting with otherwise.
...as can power conditioning to pre-amp and source gear if your house line power is not clean to start with. Most peoples could use some improvement and an insurance policy at worst.
Also look into if all components have sufficient physical isolation from each other and other nearby possible sources of noise.
Some power cords help isolate preamps and source devices espeically noisy digital ones from each other. I find Pangea ac 14 se to be an effective and inexpensive solutio for that.
The common theme here is to do what you can with the setup you have to lower noise and distortion before going on teh speaker merry go round, unless you are already certain the ones you have are not capable of delivering the goods once noise and distortion feeding them from upstream is under control.
Once those bases are covered with confidence, then one can confidently say its likely the speakers.
You ahve good ones though so I just tend to doubt they are not capable of sounding great.
Those investments upstream if needed will benefit you in any case later no matter what speakers. Keeping noise and distortion to a minimum is always the key to good sound.
Maybe listen to noise levels on a portable radio at various locations close and further away from your gear and see if anything detectable there. Older digital sources in particular and any multipurpose computer gear not designed for good sound specifically can be common nearby sources of noise and distortion. Also any power consuming household applicances with power transformers, microwaves, flourescent lights, etc.
There can be a lot of noise pollution in ones home both in teh air and on electrical lines that one never detects until it si gone and their hifi sounds so much better.
speakers are setup 4ft from front wall and 50 1/2 inches from side wall, this is the correct setup for the room dimensions except from the front wall, but I cannot have them any farther out in the room because this serves as a family room as well. HT, gaming. the Mosaic cables are very neutral sounding and expensive, this is not where the problem is. the cables improved the sound tremendously, but the VA's still sound congested. I have also tried ZENTARA reference cables and power cords with the same effect.
Stereo equipment is wired to its own circuit and I have a monster power surge and line enhancer, not sure what model off hand but it ran about 500 bucks.
What companies do in home trial for class d amps? I'm fine with trying it as long as I can return it if it doesn't meet my standards."
The Cable Company has class d amps that they lend out for demo.
My local stereo store recommends that I try Musical Design amp and pre which I can take home and try.
How far back from speakers do you listen?
I ask because the drivers in the Mozarts have a lot of physical separation which usually requires some distance to speakers to blend and image well. I have never heard these though so hard to say.
THe configuration reminds me of B&W P6 speakers I had for a number of years recently. They were not the best at imaging soundstage or detail especially in a smaller room or when not listening from at least a good 8 feet or so away.
I like driver layout to either more closely resemble a point source placed more closely together or a line source with driver arrays. All my current monitor and OHM floorstanders tend to closely emulate a point source even when listening fairly close to the speakers.
Can never hurt to try different amps, gear whatever in your home if the cost for audition is reasonable.
usher mini dancer II with the diamond tweeter. Awesome!
Mapman, I can try different amp and pre amps from local stereo store for free. The dealer is trying to figure out a way(s) to work around the a21 with a better speaker match or change out the a21 and p5 to match the VA's. I'm thinking a floor model amp and pre might be cheaper then speakers because of the resale value of the PARASOUND gear.
If you can get a home trial, I recommend you try a set of Nordost Sort Kones under your speakers.
I'm trying to figure out what you mean by "congested". Is it that the sound is not analytical enough, or does it seem as if the speakers are overloading, i.e. that they can't handle passages of loud and/or complex music? Or??
The VA Beethoven Baby Grands are my second-favorite speaker, and I've heard them handle Mahler with aplomb. Haven't heard the Mozarts, but I wouldn't expect them not to be up to the job.
To track down the problem you need to do a good deal of experimentation, with placement, amplification, and possibly speakers, swopping in and out components. This is a lot of work! If it finally comes down to speakers, and you still don't like the Mozarts, wondering if you'd be happier with something like Vandersteen, PSB or Focal.
like I said congested sounding almost like when your nose is plugged. I don't know if I switched to the grand Beethoven's if it would be the same or better? because the PARASOUND gear might not be a good match for the VA's in general. I hate the thought of getting rid of the PARASOUND gear but it does go for a good resale value and the Mozarts not so much. luckily I do have a high end stereo store 30 miles away who will sell and trade equipment and will let me try out various things for free and make suggestions. Vandersteen, aerial and Paradigms new prestige line has been mentioned by local dealer.
If congestion is the problem you might like the coherent sound of Vandersteen, but be aware that they are said to be very sensitive to what you feed them, so a change like taht alone would not necessarily signify the of teh changes needed.
It does take time patience and money to try different things until you find just the right one that clicks for you.
I actually think you're on the right path looking for new speakers given the improvements you're looking for. Read the review below, and in the comparison section the Thiels were better in imaging, soundstaging, and midrange detail (albeit at the cost of sounding relatively thin). Point is, when directly compared in the same system it becomes apparent there are speakers that are better than the VAs in precisely those areas you're looking to improve upon -- not that the VA's are bad at all in these areas, just not as strong as some others. I'd expect the speakers I recommended earlier (along with several others listed above) would show similar improvements while avoiding the thinness and relative lack of bass of the Thiels. And I also think your amp and pre are good enough to let those benefits come through (assuming the amp has enough power of course) although I'd eventually look to upgrade them too. Anyway, hope this helps and best of luck whichever way you go.
Soix, The a21 has more than enough power and them some, I don't think the VA's which to me are a warmer sounding speaker is a good match with the PARASOUND gear. The a21 is a warmer sounding amp to me and I'm not sure I want to let the PARASOUND equipment go. I just need to find a speaker that will match up with it. I'm going to see if my local dealer has some of the new Paradigm's prestige line floorstanders I can borrow threw the weekend.
If I'm not mistaken, didn't you buy new speakers not too long ago? If so, what happened to them?
Yes I'm going to use those for a different setup.
((If congestion is the problem you might like the coherent sound of Vandersteen, but be aware that they are said to be very sensitive to what you feed them, so a change like that alone would not necessarily signify the of the changes needed.))
Vandersteen's and Parasound work great together
Jughead let me know if you would like to try a pair if no local dealer.
Local dealer does not carry Vandersteen's, but is expecting to get a pair on trade not sure what model but I'll ask.
Can you decipher vocals clearly?
if not, some might call that a common form of "Congestion".
2-way designs with crossover points in the midrange where most vocals and music occurs are a commonly cited cause.
I tend to levitate to 2 way designs where the crossover is simple and occurs at higher frequencies.
The OHMs and Triangles that I use are good examples. Another I know of that follows a similar design approach on paper that I know of and many like is Reference 3a. I'm sure there are others.
Mapman, yes you can decipher vocals they are not clear as bell and the rest of the music just sounds muddy. bloated bass and not great separation of instruments.
I used to own vienna acoustics mozart grand. And then moved to Verity Audio Parsifal Encore (runs into slightly more 5K) which lost the decongestion and better bass and topend.
Then I moved to Devore Orangutan (wanting to move to SET amps).
Dunno if that helps, but just that I was in the same place as you few months ago.
Try listening without the subs. Also, check your speaker cables and make sure they are not wired out of phase.
I have heard the Intuitive Design Mosaic and its bigger brother don't remember the name of the speaker? but its a 95k speaker and the Mosaic is 14k, at the local stereo store. and the same company makes the gamma summits for 11k and I can pick up the summits for 5 to 6k used. all I can say is from what I heard from Intuitive Design speakers was BREATHTAKING! and I would think the summits would be the same. these speakers were ran with mono block tube amps not sure what brand? but this might be a great match for my Parasound gear
Essrand, So you know what I'm talking about when I say the Mozart's sound congested with bloated bass?
(((but is expecting to get a pair on trade not sure what model but I'll ask.)))
You will want the Vandersteen 2CE Sig II with the latest
Five As Midrange,Tweeter,ETC
The way you can tell you shine a Flashlight into the Midrange and if it looks like a pigskin Football you are in luck.
These will smoke any other generation Vandersteen 2 or 3 series like they are broken.
I think I'm going to hold out for a set of Intuitive design Mosaic.
Instead of buying new speakers I have decided to experiment with a few things first, power cords and line conditioner.
So I finally bought some speakers that match my system perfectly and I couldn't be happier with them, Intuitive Design Gamma Summits.