Mdhoover, I'm not familiar with any of the speakers you have listed.
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After hearing them at the dealer, I finally ended up with Intuitive Design Summits. It was close between them and Odyssey Loreleis, which I did not audition, because I was tired of doing research and wanted just to make a decision and be done with it. I have absolutely NO DOUBT that the Loreleis would have been great as well, and I DID buy an Extreme version of the Tempest preamp, plus three Groneberg (spelling ??) reference power cords, and a Groneberg (spelling ??) digital reference cable (all from Klaus, of course) for the new Dodson 217 D Mark 2. I love the Summits, which I chose partly because of perceived design similarities with the Loreleis, namely, a two way speaker with a soft dome tweeter and a 7 inch bass driver in a good cabinet that doesn't vibrate. The crossovers are different between the two speakers are different, however.
So far they've been astoundingly wonderful, beyond even my most ridiculously unreasonable expectations. I'm just giddy with glowing contentment. It's hard to believe how great these sound, and I anticipate that people will be skeptical of my (unsolicited) review, but still would like to at least attempt to get the word out on these.
1) They have the best combination of HIGH END DETAIL AND SMOOTHNESS in any speaker I have ever heard, bar none, at any price, especially when fed their signal thru the Dodson 217 Mark II D.
2) The SOUNDSTAGE/IMAGING is stunningly holographic and 3-DIMENSIONAL (and I mean ALL 3 DIMENSIONS!): They produce the illusion of DEPTH of the soundfield, which I had read about but never really believed could possibly be achieved; there's also uncanny VERTICAL LAYERING of sound, and these are the first speaker I've heard in over 10 or 15 years that have consistently and convincingly floated an image OUTSIDE of the lateral edge of the speaker, i.e., seeming to come from a position off to one side of the speaker. With respect to that lateral imaging, it occurs with the song, "Black Magic Woman" by Carlos Santa, during the interlude near the end of that song, and appears best when I recline in the easy chair. It's apparently a function of outstanding off axis signal dispersion (and not first order reflections, according to Duane, who knows about such reflections and positioned these specifically to avoid them), yet the speakers' off axis finesse does NOT come at the expense of pinpoint central and off center imaging, the way it is said to with some of the quasi-omnidirectional and dipole designs (for example, I heard some dipole speakers once where the sound seemed to come from everywhere, and although it certainly didn't disappear into the speakers, it also didn't present itself as a plausible image in the soundfield.) The CENTRAL and OFF CENTRAL IMAGING are also quite good, meaning that solo vocals CONSISTENTLY emanate from the dead center of the soundfield, towards the front, and backup or tandem vocals are spaced appropriately just off to one side or the other, AND, these images are generally quite stable throughout the duration of the songs, without wandering all over the place. Sometimes they move a LITTLE, but not much. It's really impressive and fun to listen too. As if all that weren't enough, the SWEET SPOT is BOTH WIDE AND STABLE! WOW! I don't know how such a thing is possible, but that's what I hear, over and over and over.
3) The BASS is fabulous for such a small speaker, making these a nearly full range design, with a dynamic range and midbass punch quite comparable to that of the Paradigm Studio 100 V.3's which these replaced. If there's any weakness at all, it's the low bass, which rolls off around 40 hertz and can MAYBE get a LITTLE soft--MAYBE, but even that seems to be better than what the Paradigms had, and those are a REALLY good loudspeaker, in my opinion. Anyway, this becomes totally a non-issue with the Rel Storm 3 augmenting the extreme low end. To put this in perspective, consider the fact that the crossover on the Rel is set quite low: at ~28 hertz, because any higher and there's too much overlap with the low end rolloff of the Summits and the bass gets too powerful.
=====>>>>>So......These are almost certainly the last loudspeakers I'll ever buy. I simply can't believe that I have achieved this kind of sound at this price. Utterly unreal, but in a GOOD way! I am actually using the "S" word for the first time ever in terms of this sound system: "SATISFIED".<<<<<=====
How about some that you don't commonly hear about! Lets start out with the Tannoy Prestige Series with its' dual concentric drivers, interesting solution to an age old problem. Shahanian Acoustics' Diapason Ensemble, they are good enough for the Vienesse Museum they should be good enough for anyone. Harbeths' Monitor 40, what can I say!
Nothing saounds better than a weel built studio monitor!
There certainly is something very, very special about a well built studio monitor. Several greats come to mind, in addition to the ones you mention above, none of which I've had the pleasure of hearing. People certainly seem to think highly of the Harbeths, from what I've read. I would add two more cult favorites, the Totem Tabu, which I have personally heard and thought was highly excellent, and the Totem Mani, which I have not personally heard, but have been told is even better than the Tabu, but also more finicky about its electronics. Another little known speaker is the Induction Dynamics monitor, for around 3000 dollars. Splendid speaker with a very open and smooth sound, with a unique brick wall crossover design. I heard those in Florida once. So adding those names to the list with the Tannoy Prestige Series, Shahanian Acoustics Diapason Ensemble, and the Harbeth Monitor 40, I'd say we've just made a list of some fantastic speakers! This is a fun hobby, for sure.
The speaker I settled on is the Intuitive Design Summit, which is technically a monitor also, but provides excellent bass response down to its low end rolloff around 40 hertz, images like crazy, and is both ultra smooth and ultra detailed.
Thanks for checking out my thread.