What amp are you using?
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I scoff at those who scoff whoever they are. We really do need a little more information.
If you can buy Von Schweickerts VR2s then buy them. I don't see them on the used market but they were very good nuetral sounding speakers in my set up. I drove them with a small (40 WPC) tube amp and that was plenty, you may find them in your price range! Some of the old mid fi companies like Sony and Pioneeer are getting good press lately, but I haven't heard them myself. I did find the Pareadigms to be more than OK and was seriously considering their larger model but that was some time back.
For jazz and classical and on a budget, I'd look at used Maggies, but only recent models unless you're willing to rebuild them (easily done with the kit if you have the time). They offer a level of realism that other speakers in that price range don't.
The 1.6 QR might be a good choice, if you get one made within the last 10 years or so, after they switched to improved adhesives that don't degrade with time. They seem to go for about $1000.
Acoustats would be another strong possibility. They've held up amazingly well over the years.
Nothing to scoff about. Your budget allows for a wide variety of good speakers, both new and used. But first, there is no such thing as the "best" speaker at any given price point, new or used. There is only the "best" speaker for you and this will take a bit of time and exploration on your part.
Yes, the amp you are using will be important because speakers vary in sensitivity (efficiency). Also, some info about the size of room and furnishings will be helpful. How loud do you want to listen? Are yoyu looking to replicate concert levels? Do you like to sit at the front tabel of a smaller venue like a jazz club?Right now, all we know is your taste in music and that you want full range speakers. So I assume you won;t be using a sub-woofer.
Most important though, I suggets not aking for a recommendation by brand or model but rather by type of speaker. So I would first encourage you to listen to a variety of models if you have access to HI Fi stores near you. Bring your own music, pieces that you are very, very familar with and start listening for differences in the high frequency drivers in each model you audition. For example, horn tweeters sound very different than domes. And metal domes sound very different than soft textile domes. Which is best? They all are - that is up to you to decide which you have a preference for. We cannot tell you this. In my case, I prefer soft dome tweeters which is why all the speakers I currently own have this type. You need to find out what you prefer so that when someone recommends a Klipsch Reference or Paladium speaker (both have compressiion horns) and you already know you find this type of driver fatiguing, you can dismiss the recommendation. Or vise versa - you may love the sound of this type of driver. See what I am getting at?
Good luck and have fun in your journey to find the "best" speaker for you.
Philjolet, I also really like my Sound Dynamics 300ti. I paid a little less than you at about the same time you bought yours. Another High End store going out of business. I haven't listened to them in a while but I'm going to roll them back in my second system with my Primaluna Dialogue One.
For the OP, depending on your system, a Tekton Lore or M-Lore might serve you well. See Audiogon threads regarding this speaker. I'm extremely happy with my Lores.
Don't know what amp you have, but Totem Arros are for sale right now on Agon for $800. A great speaker for it's price; full range with wide, deep imaging. Also look at the Totem Dreamcatcher bookshelf. Same great Totem sound, but you would need a sub.
*(I am not associated with these speakers for sale)
Mirage M5si's. These are GREAT on jazz and classical. They have a fast,
transparent midrange and bass extension down into the mid-20's. They fire both
forward and rearward, energizing the room similar to the dispersion pattern of
live singers and musicians. You can consistently find these in like new condition
for around $700. They were $2K new in the mid-'90s. I bought my pair in 1996
and still listen to them daily.
They scale up and down according to ensemble size very well. Tonal balance is
realistic. Easy to lose yourself in the music. And with good amplification and
cabling, they will maintain soundstage and clarity with big band and large scale
orchestral music. Small group jazz is effortless and natural sounding. Plucked
string bass is particularly realistic sounding.
I listen to Classical and jazz almost exclusivly, PSB is the best bet be by far, they never made a speaker that made classical sound bad,with any amp, in any room .
As an audiople of over 40 yrs I've owned about every other speaker mentioned, only one that comes close is Vienna.
Some , like ZU and Thiel will make you run from room with a string quartet.
Maggies CAN sound good but ALL factors must be met which is a major hassle and expense.
PSB *is* an excellent speaker with an honest tonal balance that works well with acoustic music such as classical and jazz. So is the new Monitor Audio Silver RX series, which has a smoother treble than the older RS.
A third option, with a Canadian tonal balance similar to the PSB, is the Mirage OMD15. It's $800/pair in gloss black or $1K/pair in rosewood. The speaker was originally $2500/pair but are being sold direct now from Vanns.com for much less, but with return privileges and the full factory warranty. I've had a pair of these anchor my 2-channel system for over 4 years now, and I listen to *a lot* of classical and jazz. The OMD-15s always sound smooth, natural, capable of excellent detail, and have a dispersion pattern that energizes the room very much like acoustic instruments.
At $800, highly recommended, and unlike most used purchases, your decision is protected by a return period and 5-year factory warranty.
I don't think the OP is looking for something with a long learning curve. Thiels are great, but are pretty demanding on system matching. PSB, Monitor Audio (esp. the new RX series over the RS), and Mirage have a natural tonal balance while digging out a lot of ambience and detail. You can match any of them with a Marantz PM8004 integrated amp and get *really* excellent sound without a lot of tweaking, fiddling, and component swapping.
sorry for the delayed response
I have owned Maggie 1.6, JM Reynaud Trentes, and Audio Note Kit 3 speakers and the 300ti's hold their own. Of course they were all different systems and the system I run the 300ti with is quite cheap compared to some good stuff I ran the other speakers with, the full range overall satisfying sound is hard to deny. They have 'it', an undefinable quality that satisfies and pleases while at the same time doing typical hi fi things right (detail, dynamic range etc)
of course good luck finding another mint pair like I did
btw I bought mine about 3 years ago...
also sorry OP and good luck
Speaking to the Sound Dynamics 300 ti's, the ti signifies the titanium dome tweeter. SD was a division of API, Audio Products International, which also produced Mirage, Energy, and Athena. Mirage also uses a cloth-damped titanium dome tweeter and has that same relaxed yet detailed treble.
I recommended the 300 ti to several audio newbies back when SD was still in production, and everybody who got them was ecstatic at their performance vs. the price. But that was back in 1996-98. Still a great speaker if you can find it, but if you can't the currently available Mirages will definitely do the job while having broader dispersion and lower box resonance owing to the curvilnear enclosures.
Try opening your mind to a bit of a different approach . Scour thrift stores and pawn shops . My second system is using a pair of cheap Kenwood speakers from the 80's to a very nice effect ! I occasionly see cheap particle board boxes that contain some rather decent drivers inside for very little money . Often these speakers can be had for $10 - $30 . Just make sure that they are intact . Also ask to hook them up to one of there receivers or what ever they have on hand just to make sure that they function correctly . There really is no substitute for big woofers . And two 6" drivers won't fill a space or punch you in the chest like one 10" driver .
These things usually are sold the same day that they hit the sales floor , so be dilligent .
Just a thought .
Happy Tunes .