Your best picks for 2006 Best Speakers under 4K.

As we are approaching mid year 2006, maybe we can have a list of the 3 best speakers you've heard for this year. I havent gotten around to listening much, hope to later this year.
So what are your 3 best under 4K?
for around 4k, the totem mani 2's, around 2k the totem model 1's. i listen to these every day. 3rd pick would be Von schweikert VR 4 Jr's.
Thats easy. hands down in a good sized room full standers.
No other speaker holds a candle next to these two for under $3000.

Spendor S8e
Usher CP-6371

Smaller room is a differant story i'm sure.
If you don't count the recommended Path Stands, the Intuitive Design Summits are ~$3500. Path Stands are ~$1400. Best speakers by far that I've heard anywhere near that price, and quite probably the best I've ever heard at any price (the only one I'm not absolutely sure about is the old Audio Physic Caldera, but I think the Summits would probably sound better than even those legends in a shoot-out).
I would like to refine the question to full range loudspeakers...those that go down to 30hz minimum. Could be floorstanders or monitors.

Maybe this could be a subset. In any case, it'd be helpful for those making recommendations to specify whether the suggested speakers are full range, or not.

Hope that's OK with you, Bartokfan.
The three best speakers in no particular order are...Mahmoud Abbas, Kim Jong-il, and Natalie Maines. I don't understand what they're saying, but I find them interesting.
Tvad I would expect if someone is paying 3 or 4K for a speaker, it should be go as low as 30 hz. I wanted to keep the price reasonable, at 4K. But then 30 hz's would be any driver at 10 inches. A 8 inch woofer I do not believe will go to 30. Any suggestions?
05-26-06: Bartokfan
Tvad I would expect if someone is paying 3 or 4K for a speaker, it should be go as low as 30 hz.
That's a reasonable expectation, but a cursory look at available speakers will show many costing $3-$4k and more that do not go down to 30Hz. In fact, there are plenty in this price range and above that barely reach 40Hz.
After hearing the Consonance Eric Grande 3 way floorstanding speaker I was impressed and shocked at the price to performance. My last two speakers were Coincident Super Eclipse and Von Schweikert VR-4 HSE III. I now own a pair of the Consonance Eric Grande speakers($2800)and continue to be impressed with their balanced sound. They are only rated down to 40hz but their bass is so quick, tight, and full that I don't miss my full range VR-4s too much. I am letting my ears make more decisions than measurements and price tags these days and it is adding to my listening pleasure. Great thread.
Well thats because most speakers under 4K do not have a 10 inch woofer. So I figure for any speaker to go as low as 35, there should be a 10 inch woofer in the box. Correct? Or can you show me a 8 inch woofer that can go as low as 35 hz, yet with quality tight accurate bass. I see the Trym 2 way design from seas' kits says the W22 (8 inch) goes as low as 28hz. If that is so, then Tyler's 3 way with the W22 may go as low as 28hz as well, depending on how he has the W22 valued in the xover. I believe Ty's 3 way /The Systems goes for like $3500. I;'ve not heard it.
But I agree with you, if someone is paying 3 to 4K for a speaker, you should demand the speaker deliver as low as say 30 hz.
Which brings up another question that has been covered here many times over the yrs. Which is, are we over paying for our speakers? Are we paying too much?
Here's how my Thors breakdown in price. W18's @ 170, T25 @ 170. At 3 drivers per cabinet thats ....5 X 170 =850...add in 2 top of the line xovers...maybe another 150 each, thats another 300, ...850 + 300 = 1150. Throw in 2 well built cabinets, another say 300 each, Thats 1150 + 600 = 1750. Which is what I paid for the kit. . IOW I know exatly what my speaker costs to build. Can everyone caculate their speakers true value?
DynAudio Special 25's can be had on Audiogon for $3000 to $3500 and you're getting a $5200 speaker. Stereophile "re-tested" this speaker and say's it goes down to 30hz. The manufacturer says 35hz either way tight bass, warm mid and a soft dome tweeter that never gets tireing... to my ear. Stands are necessary but hey, thats only a couple of hundred bucks, sand to fill them is cheap. They do however need some watts and some volts behind them as they are 86db and 4 ohm speakers, can't have everything, or maybe you can?
I second the Spendor S8e!*>)
Dean- I'm still laughing at that one!
The new White House Press Secretary Tony Snow promises to be a fun full range speaker as well.
Salk Sound HT3's...
Acoustic Zen Adagios, hands down. They're now $4300, but when I heard them they were $3700. They're an absolute steal at either price.
Dynaudio Contour Special 25s. Plus a REL Strata III Sub you have the best of both worlds -- HT and audio.
Does the Spendor S8e really go down to 30hz ?? Have heard many good things about it.
Lots of speakers I have not heard of course. But my top three. Drum roll please..Von Scweikert JR4's, The Maggies 1.6, and the Martin Logan speakers at the stated price point.
Yeah 2006, as most manufactures have alrreday come out with their "new latest" designs. The yr starts in Jan, ends about now.
Do speaker manufacturers release new models every year? When did they become like motorcycle makers, heheh?
Try the PMC IB1 or IB2 with its 10" Nomex woofer. It's a lovely full range studio monitor and goes down to a useable 25 Hz. Check out I use then with a McIntosh MC402 amp and C2200 preamp
harbeth compact 7es2
New models every yr... like toliet tissue, "NEW AND IMPROVED" upgrade kinda thingy. I ain't buying if I know its last yr model sounded like c**p.
I have not heard any which meet your criteria.
AV123/GR-Research LS-9s
There is no $4K speaker today that produces a 30Hz tone worth hearing. The "best" speaker under $4,000 will not likely impress you or anyone else as being best because of its low end band limit. A Zu Druid has a 10-and-change-inch full range driver with an honest, accurate, satisfying 38Hz response and is tonally honest up to 12kHz with no -- I said none at all -- crossover in the signal path. A supertweeter rolls in on a high-pass filter above 12kHz. The meat of music energy flows direct from amp to driver. It's 12ohms, 101db/w/m efficient, exceedingly amp-firendly and easily contends for the best under $4,000 at only $2,800.

The Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor is good perhaps to 50Hz, but is fast, articulate, open and its voicing is superbly musical IF you put an amp worth hearing into 4ohms. That's the hard part. *Many* contemporary solid state amps sound cheesy into it and if using tubes they need more power than their efficiency suggests. A Spendor S8e has similar attributes with more bass extension, and there is a good argument for saving some cash and spending a Grand on Spendor S3/5se and putting much more money into the amplification.

Point is, considering a "best" speaker under $4,000 absent any context for amplification and its cost is academic at most. For some of us, no speaker containing a crossover can be a contender, so Zu Druid easily wins. It's a field of 1. However, a Druid also can fully -- FULLY -- take reveal the advantages of some amplifiers 5X - 10X their cost, whereas most speakers in the price range cannot. Still you can make them sound great with careful choice of an amp under $800. So what are you gonna pair them with? The amp/speaker interface will largely determine the character of your system. All speakers will have their bass extension perceptibly affected by the amp match.

Silverline has contenders, including the SR17-II, but crossovers are a fact of life there, unfortunately. Reference 3a has to be considered if you're not Zu-inclined. Their excellent bass/midrange driver rolls off naturally and the tweeter is on a high-pass filter. You want bass from a reasonable footprint? Check out the Reference Veena. Harbeth, sure, throw them in the bucket too.

Bottom line, for me in this price range -- Zu Druid, once you understand them and choose your amplification accordingly. They outclass everything in the price category for putting convincing music reproduction in your home. If for some reason you're disinclined to Zu, Silverline or Reference 3a have your speaker -- specific model depending on your willingness to relent on the 30Hz note -- or the excellent Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor.

The Zu Druid does look like an interesting speaker. However, they roll off at 40hz, just like my Thor MTM's, so nothing to gain there. Interesting speaker, infact the only one that interests me other than Seas and ScanSpeak.
I'd like to haer them next to the seas. I use Seas as reference to judge all speakers. I think Ty offers a 2 way at about 4K, the same price as your Zu Druid.
You wouldn't want to do a shootout, would you?
I heard the Cremona Auditors a couple weeks ago - nice monitors! I believe Sonus Faber is using modified ScanSpeak drivers (or at the woofer) in those, but not sure.

I was quoted $4800 new, though.

I'm in Los Angeles. A Zu Druid/Seas shootout is welcome. Where are you?

213cobra: I think Bartkfan is in Louisiana, not close enough. But there must be some Zu owners in his area...It would be great if local audiophiles could get together for A/B comparisons and share their results with the community. Since the demise of the dealership models, this is the only path I see to meaningful comparisons.

I appreciated reading about your hospitality to Boa2, although I do realize that he was on a visit from out of town and could not bring his own speakers along. :)
I suppose you're talking "flat" down to 30hz. rolling off is another story... top string on the bass goes to 41hz. It would seem 30hz sufficient... save the rest of the show. the dealer said the JR's do 36Hz. it's a mighty impressive 36, if you ask me... and with six inch drivers no less.

I'm doubting many units under 4K that are fine above 50 or so, aren't going to produce the lower registers as too much of the music resides up there.

Maybe a sine wave generator can shove a signal into a speaker but who wants to hear that? the point made about the amp is IMO important too. I've long since lost my fascination with specs... and the ears have it as much as is possible. What happens in a 'chamber' during imperical measuring and 'real world' listening are just a bit different, I believe.... but I suppose one needs a spot to start. 30Hz ain't a bad place neither given real world costs and pricing. that's one reason why I've been such a proponent of adding a sub to about whatever speaker.

Great thread... I am anxious to see how it turns out, or who wins.
harbeths monitor 30s!! yummy
Hands down the Acoustic Zen Adagio. I had the Zu Druids
I have Solid state and tube .The druid is more efficient
and very good dynamic swings , Compared to the Adagios they are thick in the mids slow and lacking in inner detail, and the Az are light years faster in the Bass.
It is like a JBL compared to Energy Varitas. Zu was in when Srajan was around .They are good, there are new guys out there that are one better.they were good for a year I am now tired and need speed detail and slam.
DeVore Fidelity Gibbon Super 8, right at $4k. Just finished my review, so look for it at this week.

Polk Audio lsi15's
B&W 804S is my nomination. Excellent all around sound, easy to drive, well designed, well made and looks very good, too.
look at the totem mani 2's. a speaker doesn't have to be a certain size to produce the low octaves. my mani's go lower than 30hz with a 6.5" woofer, but there are 2 of them in an isobarik design. the revel salon and studio speakers are in the 20-25hz range with 8" woofers. i have heard many speakers with smaller woofers that produce the lower octaves better than speakers with bigger cones. the design of the speaker along with how many woofers are involved make more of a difference than the size of the woofer.
Get some Traingles then use the savings to treat the room. First order reflections (including the ceiling) and tame bass nodes. Good speakers sound much better in good rooms with the right set up than great speakers in a bad room/set up (ever been to a high end show? most of the systems/rooms sound horrible)
are you talking new or used? the best sub $3000 speaker used are, in my opinion, the gershman avant garde rx-20 speakers. there are 2 pair right now going for $2000 which is an absolute steal. i bought mine about 3 years ago for $2800 after shipping and duties from a canadian a'gon member. before purchasing the avant gardes, i listened to thiel cs2.3, martin logan aeons and ascents, revel f30, von schweikert vr-4 gen. III, and some nht evolutions (don't remember the exact model). the gershman's shamed them all. their bass is very deep for using a single 8" bass driver. specs claim down to 24 Hz and you can definitely feel it in your chest. out of my audition list, i'd say the top three i listened to are:

gershman avant gardes
thiel cs2.3
martin logan aeons

granted, none of these speakers are "current" as they've been out for a while (the thiels and ml's have already been replaced or improved upon). just my 2 cents.
I was talking either actually. Triangles are inexpensive. I prefer used
Another vote for Polk Audio lsi15's
Newform Research 645v3
The Acoustic Zen Adagio has no competition for overall
musicality and balance in the 4k price range . For SUre the MAggi 3.6 is probably better in some respects ,as far as inner detail , musicality with dynamics the Adagio is better ,as to with the bass. that is the best 1-2 punch in the industry!
Tyler Acoustics Linbrook System 2 - good imaging and sounstage, clear, rich and natural sound, brings out the detail in the music
Vandersteen 2Ce Signature and TWO 2Wq subwoofers. Total price retail is about $4,500 with stands. But I think most dealers would work with you on the price if you buy that much product from them. Now you must have a big room to make it all work. But if you can swing it and if you have a really good dealer to help you set them up, (As I'm sure you already know, you can't just plop a system like this into your room and expect it to work. It will take a great deal of work to set them up properly.) and make them work in your room; then you will have a system that will be just about as good as it gets. Good Luck with whatever you choose!
Facten , ck the topic I recently posted on my review of the Tyler LSS (Linbrook Sig Sys). I think the speaker retails for $5K, as Ty has a sale on them quite often. To my ears it was the best speaker I;ve heard in my 30+ yrs in audio. No other speaker has equaled the LSS. I plan to have a pair next yr. Cobra if anyone in the Baton Rouge area has the ZU and wants to come and hook it up to my system for a comparison, they are free to contact me.
The Von Schweikert VR-4 JR can now be had for under $3000 through the internet. That is half price considering the shipping cost. Great all around speaker.
Bartokfan , I had - good review - thanks
>>Cobra if anyone in the Baton Rouge area has the ZU and wants to come and hook it up to my system for a comparison<<

Wouldn't it be easier to haul your amp and cd player to the Zu owner's site? Just thinking out loud here.