Thiel 3.7 or Revel Salon 2.
185 responses Add your response
I had problems with the ceramic midrange distorting with dynamic vocals
That is common enough with consumer designs. Do you like to listen loud in a large space? Do you want something approaching panel sound in the midrange but more compact and with more low end (a better all rounder)? If so, then try to audition an ATC 150 or 100 - and since you are ok with good SS amplification then the active version coupled with a tube pre or source might be what you are looking for. Since you have owned everything American perhaps you will enjoy the British sound. In any case, the pro drivers will not compress as easily as you have experienced previously - so transieents/percussion will be very realistic. The only draw back (if you are used to American sound) is that the bass response, although extended, is light (detailed and tangible) rather than heavy or impressive.
Speaker choice in this or any price range would depend upon your room size, room acoustics and personal preferences. That said, as a maggie owner and owner of electrostatics and Nelson Pass equipment myself, you also seem to prefer planar designs. You might consider (if you have the space) apogee speakers rebuilt with better ribbons and crossovers. Innersound eros 2-3/kaya speakers are wonderful if you don't mind a small sweet spot. If you can find a good pair of Hill plasmatronics and upgrade the subwoofer and use and external crossover and don't mind your room temperature rising and speakers that look like 1920 ice boxes you will have something special. All of these choices cost way less than $20,000 so you can use the remaining cash on other equipment or save it for the difficult economic times ahead.
First off, congrats on your up coming retirement.-- I hope it wasn't health related.
In general,life is short; "eat your desert first".period...
After just reading the follow up on the Salon 2's--I say there is a speaker that might tempt me and I see the on line price of $16.2 is under your budget allocation.
Hey,it's time you tried some cones????
I am also a maggie owner, 3.6, my friend has the 20.1. I like the Aerial 20T as I cannot be without the ribbon on the top end. Even at CES, I failed to hear any speaker at any price with that type of top end. That is just what I find musical and realistic. Many great speakers, the ribbons just do it for me.
Should combine the virtues of dipole and being more dynamic than the typical panel speaker. It would be my second choice (auditioned at an owner in MY) to my 2805s, the compromises of the Quads are better suited to apartment living (can't play loud anyway). I do by the way drive my Quads with a Pass amp (Aleph 30) which I surprisingly preferred to a tube amp.
Problems are (1) that they cost a lot less than $20k and (2) you no longer need you beloved amps.
I can tell you the Avalon Eidolon Diamonds are the best speaker I have ever heard and you know I have heard just about all of them. I heard your Maggies and they sound very good in your room but if you ever heard the Diamonds your jaw would hit the floor. No box speaker sound like Avalon's and most maggie owners don't like box speakers.
The Andra's sound good but they need a sub or two. They don't compare to the Diamonds but the diamonds cost $14,000 more.
I have a couple of years on you though I still have a few years before I punch out.
Bought my first pair of Magnapan speakers in 1982, back then I vowed that I would never go back to speakers built in a box...Well never say never...
The following year I came home with a pair of Quad63s which I still own today and listen to on occasion.
My budget last year for a new speaker system was 20 grand tops and as you know there are some beauty's new and used at that price point.
Over the entire summer going from one audio store to the next, the speakers I settled on I wasn't even aware of them at the time.
Do give the Reference Grand Veena's a listen.
I am very happy with Wilson Audio Sophia II's. The Wilson line has gone through some major changes over the years. I use to think they were very bright and loud. The Sophia II is different. It is voiced beautifully. You really get the open feeling from electrostatics and maggies but also get the dynamic impact from conventional speaker design. Not to mention one of the finest quality speaker cabinets in the business. I know there is a lot of controversy about Wilson Audio but I encourage you to give them an audition. I believe these run $16 to $18K depending on finish. I see them on audiogon for around $10K.
If you like ribbons and dynamic bass, maybe the Gilmore Audio Model 2 speakers. Open baffle design made from a slab of Corian.
Ooops - I put the speaker in the title, and it didn't show - I meant the Silverline Audio Bolero @ 9K/pr leaves enough for matching center and surrounds. I have yet to hear anything I liked better for under $20K. It's a colored - euphonically - speaker, so it's not for everyone. But it sounded so beautiful when I heard it, it almost brought me to tears.
Congrads on being able to settle down at an age you can enjoy life. There is nothing wrong to my knowledge to pursuing your passion though I do like the thought of Italy.
The grand veena is a wonderful speaker I do not own. I have heard it on several occasions. I heard it in vegas with several friends and we were all amazed by the sound quality per cost. It is wonderful at conveying emotion and yet detailed. Its sound is comprable or better than many speakers costing substantially more. I would definitely consider an audition before spending more, particularly if you are wanting to use it with tubes. Unfortunately people like change and so it is hard to know if this will last you a lifetime but it is certainly within budget.
Best of luck.
A quick scan didn't show any Sound Labs mentioned. For that kind of money, if you have the room (partly a wifely funcion), I would at least make the time to hear the equivalent of the A-3 Sound Labs.
They are remarkably clean, fast and have completely acceptable bass (for my taste), even in a very, very large room.
Paired with Halcro Stereo amp, which offered 150 WPC. Sweet...very sweet.
This is an easy question - add two grand to the budget and get a pair of B&W 800Ds. For the money, the best all-around speaker in its price class. Many speakers will do SOME things better than the 800D, but no speaker I've listened to in this price range, and I've heard a lot of speakers, offers better overall performance to my ears.
If you want to save six grand and put it back in the retirement fund, get a pair of B&W 802Ds, which provide about 95% of the performance of the 800Ds, and is the best overall speaker in the $15K and under category. Better than the Wilson Sophia II, better than the Magico V3 (which costs almost double), better than the Revel Ultima Studio, better than all those "trendy" speakers that paid-advertising supported reviewers love these days.
But the most important thing is to listen for yourself. Ask 30 different people and you'll get 30 different answers. It's good to use these as reference, but the only person using your ears is YOU, and in the end, those are the only ears that matter. Good luck and have fun in finding your dream speaker.
I'd like to suggest a little different approach. Since you are going into retirement, why not make an enjoyable journey out of it? I'm not sure a punch list of everybody's favorite will be of much help.
FWIW, here is free advice and we know what free advice is worth. Well, these days paid advice may not be much better.
Think about which "types" of speakers you have enjoyed and go hear a couple of models in each "type" and commit to not pulling the trigger until you are done with your survey. And add a couple of new "types" in case you surprise yourself. For example, listen to a) a couple of single driver speakers or high efficiency speakers, b) a couple of two way monitor box speakers, c) a couple of multi-driver box speakers, d) a couple of planar speakers and e) a couple of dipole speakers. Maybe add a horn speaker. IMHO, most models within a "type" will share similar characteristics. But, of course, there will be standouts within each "type" and you may like a model from more than one "type". But, it will be very unusual for, say a multi-driver box speaker, to sound like a single driver or planar speaker.
And since you have been doing this for some time, you probably already have a good idea about what "type" of speaker you like. Once you narrow that down, listen to more speakers within that "type" and suggestions within that "type" will yield more useful information (I think).
Last, given diminishing returns, there is no warranty that a $20,000 speaker will appeal to you more than a speaker half that price. Use your maggies during this enjoyable, yet imperfect, journey.
IMHO. YMMV. etc. Jeff
I really agree with Jj2468 Jeff's plan. This approach makes a lot of sense to me, and would make the whole experience one of learning and "ear-opening" revelations.
You may fall in love with a $ 5000.00 pair of speakers, and have 15 grand left over for a beautiful vacation. Good Luck, Happy Listenig, and Happy Hunting !!
The Watt Puppies are a classic but you might go for a 7 used. The 8's may give you some of the compression problems you mentioned that you had with the Avalon Eidolons.
If you look at measurements the 7th plot down from the top you can see significant compression at 95 db SPL.
As I mentioned, this is common to consumer designs (designed for homes) and not at all a unique problem to the 8's or your Avalon Eidolons... this is why I suggested earlier on this thread that you look at speakers with pro drivers if you plan listen loudly to music with large dynamic range.
Whatever Shindos I might buy for $20000 is another I might consider.
Can $20000 buy a pair of Shindos with the field coil drivers?
I don't know if they'd fit in my house but I would sure love to audition a pair of Jadis Eurythmies as well. Their design and appearance truly make a unique statement.
The Audiokinesis speaks just caught my attention also thanks to Tvad. I'd kind of like to hear them also. They would seemingly leave some change as well starting with $20000.
I would audition a pair of Wilson Audio Watt Puppy 8's. I just ordered my pair today and I found out that they have dropped the price to about $22,400. I am paying $23,400 ( I am ordering a special color). I have been told that they are coming out with a new speaker this summer.
Interesting. Where'd you hear this bjbcab?
The Avalons can't compare with Sound Labs or MBL. What speakers have those on this site heard, actually heard, to make the statements they have made?
Those of us who have encountered the "Best of the Best", realize that there are but a handful of those Best and few, without agendas are mentioned with regularity.
I've heard the Avalons at their best, and they're very good--I've heard the Wilsons at their BEST, and they're very good, I've heard virtually all the favored speakers which are mentioned here--but very few enter the sanctified realm of MBL or (not as dynamic) Sound Labs. Why, other than agenda do people push others?
Now, to be fair the M5's that Valin is currently riding may be that good, I haven't heard, but understand from 'little inside voices that they are', that hey are very good. More later.