What speaker – under $10k – has the best timbre and tonal qualities?


Several years ago, a prominent reviewer had this to say as he was praising the natural and life-like tonal qualities of a particular speaker:

It’s [speakers] like these that make me question the priorities of audiophiles who relegate accuracy of timbre to secondary status. How are the richness and color of instruments, voices, ensembles, and textures to be reproduced in all their infinite variety and beauty if a loudspeaker has less than accurate reproduction of timbre? What do dynamics, imaging, detail, transparency, and the like matter if voices and instruments don’t sound like themselves?

I’ve come the same realization, late in the game. I recently made a lateral move from one of the most popular of recent speaker models to a different speaker, because it sounded so much more natural and realistic in timbre. I sacrificed a touch of image precision in doing so, but it has been well worth it. The sound is so much more engaging. It’s like going from a high-resolution black and white photograph – which is very detailed and impressive – to a color version of the same photo, but with slightly less resolution. The color version offers so much more in terms of realism.

So I’m now contemplating the purchase of what I hope will be my last speakers, with the objective of realistic, natural, and rich (but not artificially warm) tone being the primary attribute.  

What speakers, under $10k, would you recommend? (I’m driving them with a PrimaLuna Prologue Premium)


wester17
Under $10k? Tekton Ulfberht, obviously. Unless you want 90% of the Ulf for half the money, in that case Moab is the way to go. 

In any case you will find like Duke is saying there are factors other than the speaker itself. Tekton have superb timbre and tone, absolutely. And maybe it is precisely because they are so good at this that I have noticed with my Moabs just how much the other components contribute to this.

Speakers are so far apart in this, the range is so much greater, we tend to think of components as more or less all the same. I have been surprised how much more lifelike and natural timbre and tone improved with a set of Townshend Pods under my turntable and amp. Was totally not expecting this! But all sorts of instruments now stand out so much more clearly each with their own individual timbre, and the improvement in detail while remaining natural (not hyped) is impressive.  

Not trying to push Townshend so much as trying to make the impression this is the same thing that happened listening to Tekton. These speakers are a genuine bona fide standout bargain. 

Also you mention image precision. Everyone hearing my Moabs finds the sound stage and imaging remarkable. Everyone. You give up nothing. 
Ohm Walsh are in the running.

Well under 10k for most every model and the most under for small to modest size rooms. 
I've moved from Tekton to Harbeth for the same reason as the OP.I have nothing negative to say about the Tektons. I've never been as satisfied or looked forward to listening as much as I do now.
Magico,Rockport or Vimberg buy one asap.
Peter Walker's Wonder - the Quad 57! "We don't think our speaker is the best - only that all the others are worse!" - PW