If you like the Devore sound, I would put the 3XLs on your list.
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Thanks guys. I should definitely give the 3 XLs a listen, I don't know why it never occurred to me.
I should say that there are a lot of great small speakers out there; my main concern is their capability as compared to the room and the low-power amp. I should say that the room is actually more like 18x25', as it opens into a kitchen, and it has three more large openings into other areas (5 foot wide each). So I'm looking for a speaker that punches above its weight and is still a very small item.
Bjesien: It's more that the baby completely scrambled my habits. Somehow I had envisioned me rocking the little one to sleep while listening to music, but that was naive. Suddenly my schedule is totally upside down. Also, the 'family room' got a lot more chaotic; with two people I could still get away with just sitting in the room listening to something with total attention, but now... It's just not what our home is about any more. Luckily I have somewhere else to take that hobby.
Hi, I'm a big fan of the Proac Tablettes, you might cringe but you can fill the sound out with a small powered subwoofer tucked away. After a long trip round Proac EBS, Apogees, Martin Logans and finally Tannoy 15's I now realise how musical the little Proacs ( 1st speaker ) are if you match them well. The Harbeths 30's I;ve heard on the leben sounded fantastic but didn't open up and fill out until you wound the volume up. This is possibly a point to consider, if you are in an apartment and are listening at lower levels. The Spendors - the older models such as the SP1 sound much more musical and are fuller sounding than the latest ones - you might want to consider these. The others to consider are compact floor standers ( no ugly stands ) - Proac 140's or Dynaudio 1.8's maybe. Finally 2 classics - original Linn Kans and Rogers LS3/5A.
I think there's something to be said for Bjesien's concern about youngins and stand-mounted speakers.
One way to get a less looming physical presence would be a near-wall floorstander, like North Creek's Big Kat, which is a slender box that can go very close to walls (around 4k with lovely custom boxes, and an afternoon of easy DIY). I have the Kat's little brother, the Eska, and it is very unobtrusive and decor friendly, as well as sounding lovely. I'd expect the Big Kat, which I've not heard, to easily compete with the Nines, and to have some of what you like in the them. They are claimed to dare well with tubes.
You know what? Audiogon is a bit like therapy... a talking cure. After formulating my post and getting a few comments, I've realized what was in front of my face all along---I need small floor standers, not monitors on stands.
Bjesien and JDoris, you are totally right about kids and stands. And why not avoid ugly stands and simply scale down what's already working for me? So I'm switching the hunt: looking for small floor standers now, guys. Now... any recommendations? I think I'm still probably in the same general area with the same companies. But let's say 36" as a top height.
I would seriously consider the Coincident Technology Triumph Extreme speakers. As with all Coincident speakers, they are very easy to drive. They also have a very neutral sound. As long as you have very good source components along with your Leben, you will get great sound and music from these Coincidents. Also, instead of buying the Coincident stands (which are excellent), you should consider the Coincident passive subwoofers, which act as a stand while also providing great help in the "nether" regions of sound.
I use 5 Coincident Triumph Extreme's in my home theatre set-up and for the front two speakers I use the Coincident passive subs. They work great. Guests are amazed at the wonderful sound the set-up produces. I've had people with $20,000 and up speakers say they are amazed by my speakers.
IF you want good full range sound, do not want to have to deal with monitor stands, and do not want to be locked into listening from a small sweet spot necessarily, take a look at small footprint floorstander designs from another vendor in Brooklyn, NY, OHM Microwalshes or Walsh 1000s (www.ohmspeakers.com).
Mapman, thanks---I have seriously thought about Ohm, and I can swing by the shop because it's not far from where I work. However, from my reading on the subject, I had figured that the Ohms would want more power than the little Leben can offer (not out of the question to also change amps, was just hoping not to have to.) Of course I could always audition them for the trial period, and find out!
I'm a Coincident lover (own 3 sets). However, not around little ones. Your awesome little one will be learning to walk soon. Pulling themselves up on any object, including wobbly speakers on stands. Also, with no grill covers on Coincidents little fingers will do damage, trust me.
Suffer for now, get floor standing speakers that have grills and preferably spike feet to help avoid toppling over.
Personally, I'd recommend something really nice but ugly for the next 2 years until you get the little one trained. Find a nice pair of speakers that work perfectly but have some cosmetic flaws so you won't freak out when junior puts his/her peanut butter and jelly into the rear port!
"I had figured that the Ohms would want more power than the little Leben can offer (not out of the question to also change amps, was just hoping not to have to.)"
Good point. I missed the specific amp indicated in your post.
15 tube watts should do OK, especially for background listening, but more would certainly help.
That or integrate a sub to lessen the low end/bass load for the Walshes. I think OHM still sells subs as well but not certain.
If you live close by, I'm sure you could easily work out an in home audition and hear for yourself without even having to deal with shipping costs.
If you go by teh OHM shop, let us know your impressions. I have never been there but my understanding is it is quite unassuming.
Someone has already suggested the Esoteric MG-20; their MG-10 monitors are also excellent if you don't want floorstanders.
I'll also second the previous recommendation of the Reference 3A MM de Capo i.
Here's why...I recently completed my own search for new speakers. I set out looking for smallish floorstanders around $2k, but the only 2 speakers I fell in love with (in my price range...) were the Esoteric MG-10 and the Reference 3A de Capos, both monitors. I ended up buying the Reference 3As here on Audiogon.
For my tastes, both of these little speakers are giant killers!
Thanks everyone for your responses so far. Lots to think about, and research, and hopefully listen to. Dover, the Tannoys would be amazing but a bit tall for what I am looking into. The Rega R5 looks interesting, and I believe I can check it out here in NYC at In Living Stereo. Same for Dynaudio. JDoris, thanks for the Gallos---considered those but my wife hates the look; I've settled on looking for fairly plain box enclosures. Still curious about Omega and about the Audio Note E line (good for corners, quite compact).
I recently went on a hunt for speakers for my room. I started with the Leben that you have. I ended up with two very different sets (kind of a long story how that happened). I got the Audio Note AN-K's and the Quad 22L2s. I listened to the AN-Es as well (they were a little out of my price range). The AN speakers have a beautiful, very musical sound. I did miss the bass with the smaller K's--and, I never felt like they rocked. I wish I had ponied up for the J's. I think that there is a generous AN trade in program. The Quad's (I have only had them a week) might be one of the underrated gems in the audio world. They can be had for around $1000 and are amazing for the money. They do just about everything well. They are not quite as musical as the Audio Notes, but I'm not sure much out there is. I had the Zu Soul Superfly's before (like I said, long story). They match well to the Leben but are a little more finicky in their set up.
Thanks Tjnindc. I've been curious about Audio Notes in general; they have a super dedicated group of fans/owners and seem to be special, though I have never heard them. I'm glad to hear they worked with the Leben---I had considered the AN-E as a speaker to somehow hunt down and listen to. Good listening!