I had the 8's which are pretty close to what you have. I don't see any of your new choices as a step up. Would it be possible to raise your standards a bit and try for something not only different, but better sounding as well?
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I Gotta keep it in the $1,500 range right now.
I did listen to the PSB Imagine T the other day. I can buy those at about $1,900.00, but they lack the bottem end that I am looking for and if I'm going to be pushing the budget I want to check off all of the boxes (Full range, similar size to the 6's, quality wood grain finish preferably in a red/brown)
Right now I am leaning toward the wharfedales because they are going for $650.00 a pair right now. At that price I'll be happy if they are even in the same ballpark as the 6's.
I was also considering;
Vandersteen 1Ci (Previously owned)
B&W CM8 (Over budget)
Golden Ear Triton Seven
Sorry mofojo I left that out...
Currently have a Marantz 5009 > Pre-outs > Adcom 535ii (Sometimes Adcom 5300)
Also have a Teac 301 DAC that I use as a preamp with the Adcoms for those true stereo days. Occasionally use an old Sony E2000ESD as a Preamp as well.
Side note: Picked up a 90's Pioneer Elite surround sound processor for $40 the other day that I plan on messing around with.
The MA Silver 6 by all accounts is an excellent speaker. I auditioned at length the MA Silver 8 and nearly went with them but ended up going with the Bowers and Wilkins 683 S2. For me the bass quantity and quality was better (bigger with better tonality), the treble seems a bit more refined as well. The mids of the MA Sliver series and the 683 S2 are similar with the MA being a touch more refined in the Sliver 8.
I could have easily lived with the Silver 8, it is excellent. But if your looking for a change the 683 S2 might be a good choice.
I noticed you were considering the B&W CM8. If you can live with the Black Ash vinyl veneer you might want to check the 683 S2 out.
I've always liked the B&W 683. But once you hear those drivers in a proper enclosure (The CM series) you can never go back.
I agree with you on the Vandersteens. I have a pair of 2Ci that are incredibly warm and have stunning low end (always lacked top end though). I have used them to mix on for years. And my very first pair of decent speakers were the 1Cs. I bought them when I was 17 and unfortunately never had proper power for them, which always makes me want to go back to them.
Again, I don't know much about these Revels. The guy who sells them by me was a real dick about them.
I walked in and said I was looking to replace my Monitor Audio Silver 6's and was looking in the $2,000 and under range. He brought me right over to the Revel F36s and said bluntly "Well.. These are the best speakers for under $2,000 that you can get. Everyone that works here has a pair and they're great.". He had the F36s and some other speakers hooked up to a Denon receiver. He sat me down in front of them in some nice leather chairs and brought me an RCA to 1/8inch wire so I could play some of the tunes from my phone. (Unfortunately I just happened to be in the area and was unprepared). I listened to David Gilmours "The Blue" and then Iron & Wine "Caught in the briars". They sounded full bodied top to bottom, but how could I tell with Mp3s playing on an iphone through a receiver...?
I mentioned that they sounded good but I couldn't get a good grasp on what they can really do because of the receiver and the iphone etc... He responded by telling me that the Denon receiver was really nice and that it shouldn't be a problem. So strange. These guys sell some quality stuff too like Mcintosh, Music Hall, Totem, Martin Logan etc
Anyway.. They are the only dealer around and I had a bad experience, but upon further reading Revel does seem legit.
I just picked up a pair of Kef 107.2's for $1400 and they're pretty damn good! These have had the driver's surrounds replaced and crossovers serviced so they're in pretty good shape, you could probably find a similar pair. I've also got a couple pair of Martin Logans (CLS llz and Aerius i), just sold a pair of Maggy 1.7's and had a pair of Vandersteen 2Ce's - the Kefs are more than capable of holding their own in this group. The Vandersteens are really good too, you'll never go wrong with a pair. There are quite a few older top end speakers available that are in your price range now.
I have experience with most of these brands.
I own a pair of Silver 8s and have recently auditioned quite a few speakers around $5k, including Revel F36, Focal Aria 936, Magnepan 1.7i, Golden Ear Triton 1, Harbeth C7es3, Spendor SP2, and various B&W speakers.
Focal and Golden Ear are analytical and cold compared to MA.
Revel F36 is decent but they do have a brighter treble than MA, and listening fatigue can set in quickly with them, maybe unless driven with a warm tube amp. The Silver 8 is a bit more forgiving.
B&Ws just never grabbed me in anyway. I'd say they also lean toward a brighter treble, but it's as though they're almost too neutral, if there is such a thing. They're fine speakers but I quickly lose interest with them. Then there's Golden Ear. I simply can't understand the appeal of this brand. To my ears, their flagship model sounded no better than some cheap BB-level Klipsch towers.
When I approached the $4k range with the Harbeths and Spendors, that's when I really felt like I stepped into a higher league (sans the bass). These speakers have uncanny midrange, presence and detail.They simply sound more musical than any of the others mentioned, even the Maggies.
I made a big mistake playing around in the $2k range, despite already owning the Silver 8s. I owned the Maggies for a short while because they were so different that I mistook them for being better. I took a considerable hit on those.
I haven't heard Vandersteens, but one of the local dealers, who I trust, holds them in high regard. I probably should have auditioned some.
I would wager a bet that some of the Internet direct brands like Salk, Zu Audio and Tekton likely offer more performance value than the common MAs, B&Ws, Focals and Revels.
My advice: keep your Silver 6s for a while longer and save until you can enter the $4 to $5k range, or try a used pair of Tektons, or Salk Song towers that you could sell without much loss.
Just my opinions of course, listen for yourself if you can.☺
Can't say enough good things about the GoldenEar Triton towers: the Sevens at full price, or Threes or Twos used, would all be in your range. I think there's a pair of Twos listed at $1600 right now here on A-gon. We compared the B&W CM8s to the Triton 3+ and 2+ recently - felt the Tritons drivers were better integrated than the CM8s, especially in the bass to midrange area. Every Triton speaker was remarkably coherent from top to bottom. The CM 10s are much better balanced, but they're also much more money.
We didn't spend much time with the Triton Ones because they were above our price range (we spent our audition time mainly with the 7, 3+ and 2+), but "cold and analytical" isn't remotely what any of the Tritons sounded like - quite the reverse. There was plenty of detail, but I'd say one of the hallmarks of the GET line is that they are non-fatiguing - very smooth and natural sounding to my ears, with a sweet and extended treble.
One of my favorite dynamic speakers, for the money, or even twice the money (sold new for around $2,400.00 and, if you can find, used for around $1,000.00) is the mid 2000s model, Canadian made, PSB Stratus Stratus Gold i. A fairly large floor standing speaker, that when set up properly, simply does everything right. It needs to be at least 3' from the rear wall and a good foot from the side walls and needs to be in a room at least 12' x 20' to really open up and sound great. Imaging is incredible with a deep and wide sound stage. Base is deep and tight (no need for a sub, as long as you have enough clean power); mids, especially female vocals, strings and horns, just sound right; percussions are quick and dynamic and highs are crisp and clean. It is 4 ohm, so needs an amp that is up to the task.
I have long been a fan of electrostats and ribbons, but for a cone driver, dynamic speaker, this remains high on my list of favorites.
Just a thought,
I don't think the Focal 900 series is a good indicator of what the 700 series are like. The F cone sounds radically different than Polyglass and I don't think they're anywhere near as precise.
I listened to Golden Ears, the entire Chorus and Aria line from Focal, some Paradigms, ML's, B&W's and some others. The thing with Golden Ears is the AMT tweeter. They all basically sound the same in ways and they most definitely sound hyper-accurate. I bought Focal 936's. I like them a lot and I don't think the 700 even touches them.
So what type of music do you like? This may help us with recommendations. I can tell you that the JBL Studio 570/580/590 are much better than entry level Revel in sound quality just not in looks and finish. I have owned the Focal 726 also and they just cannot compete with the JBL in any genre of music. That JBL compression driver is quite special.
So I bought a pair of Warefedale Diamond 10.7s shortly after creating this thread simply because they were so cheap ($650.00 for the pair) and for the money I couldn't resist trying them out for a bit. I even bought the matching center channel shortly after. They are now all on their way out.
They definitely do have the significant bump at 80-120hz that is often described in reviews. It actually did not bother me and gave them a nice warmth in the bottom end that reminded me of those old 15" Fishers from back in the day that my father had.
However... The silk dome tweeters and dome midrange never delivered for me. They are just dull. Sometimes I hear a bit of brightness lingering in the distance, but it never comes forward enough. They seem to carry a vale with them, like they constantly have a thick blanket draped over their tops and never get to show their true colors. I drove them with an Adcom 5300 and then an Adcom 535ii, both through my Teac Ud-301. I know the Teac DAC is a poor choice for a preamp, but I am very familiar with what this setup is capable of having used it on my Vandersteen 2cis & Monitor Audio Silver 6s many times over. With the MAs it was fast and crisp, and though it takes a lot to get the Vandersteens going the Teac/Adcom setup really sprung them to life, at least enough life for me given my budget equipment at hand.
The Diamond 10.7s are certainly not for me. Actually, I have found myself now struggling to find anything that I like about them. Even their appearance has gotten to me. I ended up throwing the grills on for good simply because I couldn't look at their faces any longer. I am ready to lose these and get back into something nicer. Something brighter. Something faster. Something crisp.
Reluctantly I have to share that I ordered a pair of Klipsch RP-150Ms to try out as well. I have been itching to hear the Klipsch sound, but knew I would just be auditioning them and that they would be returned after a few weeks, so instead of ordering the larger RP-260Fs that I really had my eyes on I went with the smaller 150M bookshelves that I could put neatly back into their boxes when finished without having to do any heavy lifting OR moving the Warefedales into our spare bedroom during the audition time. I don't know if auditioning the baby versions out of conveinvence was or is a good idea if you plan on getting larger floorstanders, but it did give me a good idea of what the Klipschs are capable of, and believe it or not I was quite impressed. They were extremely detailed and bright (Obviously?) and reached much lower than I anticipated. I imagined the larger floorstanders being a great speaker for me. Only downside I could see is that they CAN be fatiguing over time, and they were especially difficult to place right out of the box (Does this typically get better with break-in?). Finding a sweat spot was near impossible at first, but eventually I found something that worked for me. They are on their way back now.
Now that I got to hear the Klipschs I really want to try the following;
ELAC Uni-Fi Slim
Monitor Audio Silver 200s (New! Anyone Heard!?)
Whatever I end up with I will want to buy a matching center channel. This is very important to me because I do watch a lot of tv and movies on my setup, but have a TC-7240 RCA switch I bought recently that feeds into my power amp so I can switch between my receiver and several different preamps.
I still have the Warefedales, just plan on launching them soon. I would try the caps. I am fairly good at soldering. What do they do?
I'm assuming they are the crossover componant for the tweeters. If so, they play a role in dropping the low frequencies out of the signal path. So if I understand you correctly Warefedale installs capacitors that do the job, but affect the quality of the signal? So putting better capacitors in would brighten them up? Or just increase the volume of the tweeters?
Capacitors can be part of every filter, hi, low and band-pass filters.
In the tweeter section, yes, they block bass, preventing damage and ensuring the tweeters operate only within the range they were designed for. Operating below this range would not only be dangerous, but also create tremendous distortion.
Having "more" or "brighter" tweeters is not always better. If you wanted to make a mod like that you should reduce series resistance. But that’s not what I am suggesting.
I certainly don’t think the MKP’s will "britghten" them but smooth and warm them up tremendously, as well as give you tons and tons of low level detail.
Focal’s are IMHO also guilty of this sin, and mods to them I have made with Mundorf MKP’s were always worthwhile.
I don't think the Mundorf MKP's are the best by any means, but they are very good, inexpensive, and less objectionable to my ears than some higher end models.
I will definitely look into it, but ultimately I would like an overall change. All of the above mentioned speakers have their own intrigue. I wish, like most of you, that I could try them all. The Revels, Tannoy, B&W, PSB, Monitor Audio, KEF... Line them all up one by one in my own living room and hear them all shine. Instead I have to filter out which will certainly not work for me, then audition whatever is left, if I even can.
What is it about the MA silvers that you’d really wish to improve upon?
I think the $2k range will just lead you in circles, especially with the ubiquitous 2.5 way floor standers from the usual suspects. Long term, you’ll be much better off saving $4k and then buying a used pair of speakers that originally retailed for $8K, or buying a $4k pair of new speakers, or maybe trying the factory direct brands that cut out the dealer.
I haven’t heard the Tekton DIs, but based on all the claims, I wouldn’t be surprised if they far surpass your current considerations at only $800 over your $2k limit.
If you’re dead set on something from Revel and similar brands, I think the Performa F206 is very difficult to beat. With enough negotiating, they can be had for about $2600.
Erik, out of curiosity, does the rule of better (brand) capacities to improve the SQ apply to all speaker brands that you have owned/tested or it's something unique about the two specific brands you listed? It just seems like a no brainer given the investment. Also, do you recommend the same values for replacements or that also is brand/model dependent? Thanks and sorry if a bit off topic.
It's very specific. :) To be honest, not everyone agrees with me regarding Mundorf MKP's, so it's also a bit personal.
Brands I know which benefit are Focal, Wharferdale and old Thiel.
Focal and Thiel seem to have used Solen's. Wharferdale generics. Focal uses re-branded caps, but are still apparently Solen.
It also depends on what the original maker uses. B&W had a line of 2 identical speakers, the only difference was the quality of the crossover cap. $8 cap added $300 to price.
In the top-end, B&W uses mid-range Mundorfs. Magico uses only top-end Mundorfs, and lots of them.
Personally, I prefer Clarity Capacitor house sound to Mundorf. Certainly if you buy a Magico, and immediately want to trade caps, there's something seriously wrong with you. :)
But with working-joe speakers (like I can afford) and the brands mentioned above, these are worthwhile experiments.
Erik, thanks for the detailed response. I'm tempted to experiment a little bit with my ML Aerius i speakers since access to the crossover is quite easy. The only element of complication is they also have the power supply components on the same board making toying around a bit more risky without the knowledge of the circuit. It still boggles my mind that some companies charge so much for their speakers but skimp out on using a little higher grade components.
I have mentioned this kit here twice on this forum before and probably will again. I know of no other speaker that you can buy new for less that 2 to 3 times the cost of this kit. It is fairly simple to build and the designer is good enough to be hired at ANY speaker manufacturer. The parts cost alone if buying these parts separately are considerably more than this kit cost. The crossover is well thought out..... but they are 4 ohm and would require an amp with reasonable current.
It is weird. Magico and B&W are two brands which I think well balance internal and external components, and I say this being a fan-boy of neither, but appreciate their internals. :)
What I think happens is this: Builders decide they need a speaker worth $x. To achieve a perceived value of $x they must get drivers worth at least x/10, and the internal, invisible components never make it to the equation.
Of course, this formula is heatedly argued by the less informed (zing!) but it seems to hold true outside of purely in-house drivers. With the right brand it’s x/20. With the wrong brand x/5. Still the median is x/10.
But also of course, not a lot of people think there is a difference between a $1 capacitor and a $200 capacitor. Sometimes the $1 sounds better. :)
So price alone is no reason to pick a cap, going up or down, either.
Building my own speakers, I spent about 1/3rd of my parts cost on the crossovers. With $500 tweets, you can do the math. :)