Which speaker to replace Dunlavy SC-V?

Hi fellow audiophiles, I have a question especially for those who are familiar with Dunlavy speakers. I have a pair of Dunlavy SC-V speakers now for a while and albeit I am quite satisfied with their sound I am also curious which speakers could be considered as good contestants if I might ever contemplate to replace the Duns. I know that would be comparing apples with pears, but this is my own list of contestants: Jamo Reference open baffle speakers, Dali Megaline (used), Acapella Campanille (used), Avant Garde Trio, Magneplanar 20.1, Magico Mini, Duevel Jupiter, Tannoy Westminster Royal, stacked Quad ESL 57's (don't laugh).

on a smaller scale but i went from Dunlavy,s Sc2 with Vandersteen 2wq subs to Gradient Revolution just recently and couldn,t be happier. If you get a chance try the Gradient revolution active version , and try to check the review about 1 year ago on TAS.
Chris, it would help to know some things about your current system, your room, the kinds of music you listen to, and what you like and dislike about the system. All of the speakers you listed have their strengths and weaknesses, some more than others. You likely may be looking at different amplification as well, determined by the speaker choice. It's quite possible one speaker could do it all, but that depends upon your priorities, which can change over time.

though i own the passive gradient revolutions(and their great) and have had them for nearly 12 years, i believe the dunlavys are keepers. if i were you i'd keep 'em. i think in another decade they'll be considered 'truly' classic.
I am quite familiar with your speakers. If you like them, you would love the original B&W800's, especially if you actively bi-amp them.

The stacked Quad 57 with Gradient subwoofers.
the quad 57 is the finest loudspeaker covering the frequencies within its range, i.e., upper bass to lower treble.

if you are willing to take a chance try the apogee duetta signature. you'll forget you have owned the sc V.
heres a shocker..keep the dunlavys
Upgrade the internal parts ( caps, wiring ) of the Dunlavy's and set the room up so that they properly load into it. Then play the Ayre acoustics disc for two weeks and forget about it. At this point, you'll enjoy listening to music and won't worry about what kind of gear your using. That is, if the rest of the gear & room are up to the same level as the modified Dunlavy's. Sean
I agree with Sean..In my experience with SC4's the resistor change I made and the coating of the enclosure walls with V-Bloc from Cascade Engineering made the most difference..The use of non ferrous mounting material and screws in and around the crossover, tweeter and midrange drivers also made for a nice improvement.I did take my pair to an extreme in cost and complexity..The changes I mentioned were the most reasonable in cost and time.. Tom
The only speakers that come to my mind to replace the big Dunlavy's might be the German Physiks and/or Huff's.
Dunlavy IVa or VI. There is no substitute. I have listened to many big speakers in last 8-9 years, and only ones I liked that can deliver the performance are the MBL 101 and Its little brother and Wilson maxx2's. Both sounds very very good but without the ultimate coherence of Dunlavy V's. I second (third) you keep the V's.
This reference type speaker is often used for monitoring/mastering; IMHO, stick with the Dunlavy V's (provided you like their straight forward accurate qualities).

IMHO, some reasons to change might be;
1) if you were to move and the V's were simply too big in their new location. (a pity but you really have no choice)
2) if you wanted to create a combined stereo/HT system with timbre matched speakers all around and/or needed speakers with a larger sweetspot (Dunlavy V has narrow dispersion and correspondingly small sweetspot).
3) if you wanted a speaker with similar qualities that can play louder

Absent any specific requirements for a change, another high quality large reference speaker will certainly give you a slightly different sound...but is this worth the trouble/expense and risk of making a change? (slightly different does not equate to better; some material will sound slightly worse and some material will sound slightly better, all depending on the mix/mastering of the source material).

On the other hand, large speakers that sound markedly different are most probably not as good (for you), which is again a reason to stick with your Dunlavys (recall, you have already stated that you like them).

This review (see below) suggests you already have a real gem of a speaker, which I expect you well know.

Hi folks, thanks for all your wonderful responses. Sonically I don't have any objections against the SC-Vs. As you stated Shadorne, they are very neutral, "monitor-like" but not cool or "sterile" sounding at all (B&W speakers tend to have this somewhat cool, uninvolving presentation, even their top-of-the-line ones). Though I have some room difficulties (too long reverberation time below 200Hz), I don't want to have smaller speakers. Maybe, if I might consider another speakers, I would go for the Dali Megalines or Acapella Campanilles. Once more, thank you.

Long reverb time can be mitigated with plenty of acoustic treatment...if you can accept to hang many panels around the room (especially the rear wall behind your listening position)....

Have you listened to the bid Pipedreams? They would be my pick for cost-no-object speakers, especially if I had to give up by BIG actively bi-amped B&W800's.

one of the things i,ve noticed when i had my Dunlavy,s is that as stated by John Dunlavy in the owners manual you should place them across your long wall in your room with more distance in between them than distance between the speaker and the sweet spot (somewhere between a 60 to 90 degree angle, a lot of toe in). This way they sound absolutly fantastic, but my experience placing them acroos the short wall, or the other way around is that you will do much better with other speaker choices.
I had a pair of Dunlavy SC-VI's, but my room was not the right size for them. I had to have them on the short wall and there was too much interaction. Because of their size I was limited on how much I could move them around. I sold them and bought a pair of Wilson X-1 Series 3's and they sound awesome in my room. About 70% the size of the VI's so I could pull them into the room and away from the side walls more without them seeming to be on top of me. It was a wise move for me. Remember regardless of what anyone in here tells you, it has to sound good to you! That is what is important.
You will probably have to pay some bigger bucks to get the big sound of the Dunlavy V. I replaced mine with the Von Schweikert vr7se. It is three times the price but it is far better in every aspect.
one of the things i,ve noticed when i had my Dunlavy,s is that as stated by John Dunlavy in the owners manual you should place them across your long wall in your room with more distance in between them than distance between the speaker and the sweet spot (somewhere between a 60 to 90 degree angle, a lot of toe in). This way they sound absolutly fantastic

This is necessary for speakers that have narrow dispersion like the DAL V's...ideal for a precise image with a minimum of reflected energy. Some call this the "equilateral triangle" setup. However, it will only give you a small sweetspot for critical listening and therefore it is not well suited to HT or situations with two or three listeners.
"you should place them across your long wall in your room with more distance in between them than distance between the speaker and the sweet spot".

Two comments on this one.

1) This is pretty much how ANY large multi-driver speaker works best. This is true for everything short of a multi-directional design and applies to both hi-fi and HT installations.

To clarify this, one needs to sit JUST BARELY inside the "listening triangle", not at the apex of the "listening triangle" as most would say. How far inside one has to come inside the triangle has to do with the individual speaker design and how much toe-in is being used. Personally, i prefer to get the speakers as far apart as possible without having the center image collapse and use as little toe-in as is necessary.

2) The Dunlavy's are NOT a "narrow dispersion" design. The MTM driver layout produces a very wide horizontal dispersion pattern with very limited vertical dispersion. By spreading the speaker further apart, which therefore seperates your left and right channel imaging, you get a wider soundstage. Due to the wide horizontal dispersion, the center image is still retained.

The more toe-in that you use, the stronger the center image and the narrower the the "spray" outside the edge of the speakers. The less toe-in that you use, especially when spreading the speakers way out, the more diffuse the center image with a wider overall presentation.

The biggest problem with the bigger Dunlavy's in most rooms is that the bass is inconsistent. This has to do with the room loading effect ( or lack of it ) on the top woofer. Tom aka Theaudiotweak and i discussed how to take care of this quite some time ago.

The other problem with Dunlavy's is the fact that they are "vertically challenged" in terms of high frequency dispersion, which i previously alluded to. As such, you have to find a seat that places your ears at the right height, otherwise the treble response is compromised. This is true of all other designs using an MTM array though, so it is not unique to Dunlavy speakers. Sean

Sean, as you probably know I am in complete agreement with you on just about everything stated above. The one area, I'm not so sure about is the issue re: Dunlavy's and inconsistent bass. I have noticed this on occasion, but not always. I think uneven ceilings had more to do with that, in those cases that it did. I wonder if the Dunlavy's might actually produce better bass due to their design. I can't help wondering if by having the top woofers reflecting from different distances against different textures and structures than the bottom woofers, spreads out the effect of boundry lobing, actually evening things out?
I also wonder if John Dunlavy was able to keep his company going and he actually produced the planned digitaly amped, digitaly crossed-over speakers with their "FLAT" baffles if the vertical issue would have been resolved?

The DAL V's might NOT be a narrow dispersion "design" but they do throw out a narrow dispersion pattern, this is well known being quite senstive to adjustments of toe in. As I stated, this is not ideal for HT where a broader dispersion pattern and a larger sweetspot is more desirable. They are still undeniably a fantastic speaker and I have never heard anyone call their bass response inconsistent.
Unsound: Obviously, non-symmetrical loading of the woofers "can" create a flatter overall in-room response. Acoustic Research put this to use in their 9 and 90 designs, showing various frequency response results in the manual. Unfortunately, such is typically not the case with the type of design that Dunlavy utilized. Whereas the AR ( and similar designs ) always have some type of loading on the woofers due to proximity to the floor, the Dunlavy's might have the top woofer further from the ceiling than it is from the floor!!!

With that in mind, I have yet to find someone that doesn't think that the Dunlavy's are improved when using some type of baffle extension / "sounding board" near the top woofer. One can even fine tune the amount of reinforcement / frequency of cancellation by experimenting with the size / angle / location of the baffle extension. Due to their low Q "over-damped" design, the lack of room reinforcement can REALLY make the Dunlavy's seem like they are lacking in low frequency output. Making use of the aforementioned baffle extension can not only improve bass extension, but also apparent bass weight. When you can increase both extension and output without negatively affecting transient characteristics, it's typically a good thing.

The baffle extension can either be mounted from the ceiling down or from the top of the speaker up. Obviously, mounting it to the top of the speaker makes the design more versatile, as you can now position the speaker without having to go through the hassle of re-positioning the ceiling mounted baffle extension. This might not seem important as one would think that they could position the speaker optimally and then mount the extension to the ceiling, but when you install the extension, it will also alter the room loading characteristics / tonal balance. In turn, this may change optimum placement characteristics slightly.

Baffle extensions are a "trick" that can also be put to great use with small stand mounted monitors to increase low frequency output. Some people refer to this type of baffle extension as a "baffle beard" when used on stand mounts, as it can resemble a long hanging beard that is pitched slightly forward. Sean
Due to the way that Dunlavy treated the baffle, the dispersion on this design IS more limited horizontally than a more conventional MTM design. Having said that, HT systems typically benefit from such a design as the viewer / listener is presented with a more defined left / center / right image. Spatial cues are more realistic and there is less blurring. This is especially true when the speakers are improperly spaced i.e. too close together as is found with most HT installs.

Other than that, most speakers are quite sensitive to toe-in. Being FAR more linear in output than the mass majority of designs on the market, the Dunlavy's simply reveal tonal imbalances in much quicker fashion. As such, errors in ANY part of the system / installation are displayed quite evidently.

If one HAS to run major amounts of toe-in with this speaker, my OPINION ( and that's all that it is ) is that the speakers are set up too wide and / or the listening position is less than optimal. Either that or there are other tonal / frequency response errors being commited elsewhere in the system. By toeing them in drastically, the Dunlavy's are being asked to compensate for these losses via "beaming" more high frequency information directly at the ears of the listener. Sean
I agree that a single listener will benefit from narrow dispersion speakers in HT when in the sweetspot, but my thinking is that most HT should be designed so that several people can enjoy a movie together.

IMHO, the use of narrow dispersion speakers for HT will yield a less balanced surround sound experience than wide dispersion speakers, particularly for those seated furthest from the sweetspot.
The "sweetspot" in an HT system is supposed to be taken care of ( primarily ) by the center channel speaker, not the right and left mains. The right and left mains are primarily there to provide spatial cues and extend the imaging that is presented by the center channel as called upon to do so.

Multi-channel musical reproduction is a bit different, but once again, having the left / center / right speakers too close together tends to blurr the imaging that would normally take place.

When properly situated, one should be able to follow / point to the sound of a test tone as it slowly travels across the fronts. Just as there is "stereo seperation" from the left to right in a two channel system, you should have separation from left to center and center to right. With proper recording techniques, you can have images that are presented hard left, directly in-between the left speaker and center speaker, centered, directly in-between the center speaker and the right speaker and hard right.

Most people don't hear all of the spatial cues on multi-channel recordings simply because their system / speaker selection / speaker placement lacks the proper amount of separation. On top of that, their speakers are not mounted at the same appr height, further skewing the imaging that takes place.

Quite honestly, this is a relatively hard thing to do, especially if one has larger speakers and / or a large TV set. My center speaker is a bit higher than the equivalent mid & tweeter height of my mains, but it is the best that i can do with my given installation specifics.

Since we're on the subject, my HT system utilizes speakers that share several design similarities to the larger Dunlavy's. That is, they all have "acoustic blankets" on the baffles, which helps to focus the imagery and minimize baffle related diffraction. They also utilize two large acoustic suspension woofers per cabinet. Like the Dunlavy's, the two woofers load into the room asymmetrically. Like the Dunlavy's, these speakers are tuned to a Qts of appr .5 for optimum bass transient characteristics. Like the Dunlavy's, they also work best with GOBS of power on hand. Sean

The Dunlavy'sare one of the most reasonably priced, balanced speakers. You can certainly find speakers that are more resoved and coherent from the mids to hiughs (e.g., Avantgarde, Magico Mini) but you will be hard-pressed to find a speaker with the same bass detail and quantity. If you are willing to give up on the bass then you do have options.

Personally, my refusal to give up the bass and fullnes has stopped me from replacing my 4A's many times. If you're looking for a different sound first try upgrading your electronics. The Dunlavy's are so neutral that you can transform the sound with better electronics.