Your thoughts on my quest for new speakers

I know this has been asked many times on this forum, but I would really like some input on my quest for new speakers.  I am currently running a Hegel 160 with Linn Majik 140 floor standing speakers and a Rythmik sub to fill out the bottom end.  I use the Hegel's built-in Airplay to stream Tidal (Hi-Fi only) to the Hegel.  I tried the Bluesound Node recently and found it actually decreased the sound quality, so I removed it from the system.  It seems the consensus is that Tidal Hi-Fi Plus is not worth the extra $10/month.  I listen to all types of music - with a focus on well produced recordings.

My listening room is a 30' x 13' rectangle with 9' ceilings and pretty good acoustics (I think).  The speakers are on a 13' wall.

Overall I am happy with my system and get a lot of pleasure out of listening to it.  But like many of us, I get the itch every now and then and wonder if I could improve the sound in some way. I think the Hegel is a solid contributor to good sound, so I plan to keep that and replace the speakers (although the Hegel 390 certainly is tempting).

Regarding price, I am willing to pay for good sound, but I subscribe to the theory of diminishing marginal improvement, i.e. $20k speakers are not twice as good as $10k speakers.  My sense is they are maybe 10% better (if that).  But let's not make this discussion about that.  My sense is $10k should get me speakers that are a solid upgrade from the Linns, but that is just a guess.

I am fortunate to leave near John Rutan's shop (Audio Connection) in NJ and spent a few hours with him last week.  He (as many of you know) is high on Vandersteens.  We listened to the Quattros for a while and they are great, but probably more than I want to spend and they would require I replace the Hegel as well.  We also listened to the Magnepan 3.7s and I was very intrigued with them - they really envelope you in the sound.  I am going back to listen to the Vandersteen Treos next week.

I listened to the 8 series B&Ws yesterday and really liked the 805s and 804s (I like the 801-803 as well, but too expensive).   They are also aesthetically pleasing, but that is not as important as the sound (of course).  I also listened to the Majico A3s, but I didn't find the $ worth it for the sound.

I also will listen to QLN, Boenicke, Focal and Harbeth at Park Avenue Audio next week.  The Boenickes really intrigue me.  The Buchardt S400 MKIIs also interest me, but wonder whether they are enough for my large room (even with the sub)?  I like that I can listen to them in my home for a period to be sure I like them.  They would be a nice low cost option.

So I would love to hear your thoughts on a good choice for me.  As I said, I think $10k is enough, but if there are some $15k speakers that would be a quantum leap forward, I would consider them.  I am open to used as well.

Thanks for taking the time to offer your thoughts.





I have owned a set of GoldenEar Triton Reference speakers and can state they are an excellant speaker and a great value. Highly recommend you give them a listen. Well under 10K new in the US.


Hi! I also listened to the Vandersteen Treos and Quattros with Johnny at Audio Connect. Great guy! I enjoyed the Treos but thought the Quattros were really great. Got a few chills listening to music. However, I need to understand a bit better how I need to wire them up to my home theater setup. I’ve also listened to Revel Be series (very flat, boring), Magico A3 and A5 (enjoyed them but not sure I feel the music the way I want to, in rare places felt a bit harsh), Perlisten S4b and S7t (very detailed but not overly bright. A lot going on and the soundstage was just different), B&W 805 and 804 D4 (enjoyed them but something was off, missing, not sure what or why). I currently have Joseph Audio Pulsar which I really enjoy but am thinking of trying something different that might better fit home theater and two channel audio. Thinking if I can do a Treo plus a sub.. how close can I get to a Quattro? 


I think the Hegal is a great amp and I have a buddy who loves the built in DAC.  My guess is that with the node, you were using the DAC in the node, which is inferior.  If you use the Node only as a digital streamer and take a digital signal to your Hegel DAC, you should see improvement over the airplay which is compressed and the overall sound signature shouldn't change, since it is the DAC that gives you most of the character of sound going into your amp.

Now for speakers I'm gong to make a recommendation that may cause you to disregard all of my advice entirely.  I see you have listed all the popular flavors of the day that you will find listed on Stereophile's recommended component list and they are the same speakers the come up in every speaker thread.  They are good speakers.  But they are strongly priced because they are trendy.  In the sub 10K price range you can't beat Encores by Tekton.  I bought a pair used.  Liked them, thought about selling them to go to planar speakers, and ended up keeping them when a guy brought his tube amp over to try them out and I saw what they can do.  Now I wouldn't think about trying to replace/improve on them in this price range.  The midrange is absolutely spectacular with vocals and sax.  Very efficient so your Hegel won't even break a sweat.  the unique midrange composed of an array of tweeters absolutely shines.

I have spent quite a bit of time finding the right amp to drive them, focusing mostly on tube amps, but Hegel was a strong candidate for ss amps and I think they would pair very well with your amp.  i have ended up with a Decware SET.

You have to have thick skin, because there is a lot of irrational hatred for them. But I've always been a bid of a rebel.  Honestly, if this will bother you, then I don't recommend them, becaue you will see it ofter here.  But I laugh and ignore it.  And there are a lot of Ex B&W owners on the Tekton forums.

Other readers:  please do not turn jcs's thread into a tekton bashing thread.  We've been over that.  I have acknowledeged that some people hate them, just make your recommendations and keep the thread productive.


Oh yes.. also heard Harbeth 30.2 XD.. enjoyed the sound but thought it was too warm/rich. 

Here’s my advice:

Take a look at your room in the AM Acoustics room simulator, and deal with the first four of these nodes:

Based on the location of the pressure zones I’d recommend floor to ceiling corner traps behind the listener and behind the speakers. I was going to recommend corner traps but the 37Hz, 43Hz and 56Hz nodes are hard to deal with by lesser traps.  So, 8 units total. These nodes may be preventing you from raising up your subwoofer level appropriately.

Look at the location of the pressure zones of the first few nodes and try to keep can keep your speaker and sub out of them.

Next, plug your main speaker’s ports and raise up your subwoofer’s cut off frequency as high as you can. EVERY single A’gon member who has done this has been amazed at the improvement this brings. I strongly recommend you do this with the aid of measurement devices.

Lastly, measure and see if the sub can still benefit from EQ.

Post removed 

P.S. - Regardless of whether or not you get new speakers, I do encourage you to deal with the room first. The room acoustic treatments will outlast every other piece of gear and will help you get to your final system a lot faster.


a few thoughts

1) using airplay thru the h160 hurts sound quality

2) bluesound node 3 built-in dac is no better than h160 internal dac connected by airplay, but the node has a good digital output (spdif and usb) which most use to drive better outboard dacs, that is the real purpose of the node for knowledgeable users

3) make sure your room is well treated irrespective of speaker choice/upgrade

4) h390 is a lot more $, suggest a more cost effective idea is go to h190 (now roon-ready), which has a slightly better amp section than h160 but a much much better dac, then feed the h190 with ethernet as a roon endpoint (sidepoint -- roon is worth trying, a good value for what it provides...)

5) as for speakers, vandys and maggies are both excellent but obviously load a room very differently with their completely different dispersion patterns... better, new vandys have gotten quite pricey, i would suggest a seriously considering the 1.7i which is terrific and gives you 90% of the performance of the 3.7i for 40% of the cost - but if you go maggies, make sure set up is done right in your room and then get that front end streaming/dac situation cleaned up, stop using airplay

best of luck on your upgrades

I’m with Erik_squirel. The rooms acoustics/electrical are the first things I always do. I install at least one dedicated 15 or 20A circuit. It takes me about a week to get the placement right after I take my initial measurements.

I would add at least one more servo unit maybe 2 and really start the fine tuning.

After the Helmholtz trap placement and LF tuning is done. I use the width and number of the wideband slots to help with any slight peaks in the 800hz-5Khz range.

You will think you have a brand new system for about 4K and the RIGHT room treatment. After that what do you need any new equipment for?

I’d paint the room before I’d waste money on speakers, unless you want to fill in the blanks in the room. THAT room will need sub reinforcement and servos are the best way to go.  If you only knew of the money I personally threw away chasing "the sound". It was always the ROOM. The color of the room really changes the sound.

I had a person tell me, my system sounded different. I had painted the room.:-) I didn't say a word.

Thanks for the feedback.  Regarding the Bluesound, I tried every option for the output - optical and coaxial to the Hegel to use the Hegel DAC and RCA to use the Bluesound DAC.  All of them sounded worse than Airplay.  I know it does not make technical sense, but that is what my ears told me.  It almost sounded like someone put a piece of cardboard over the mid-range.  It was very muted.  I thought it was some Bluesound setting, but I tried everything.  For $600 if my ears don't notice an improvement then I don't want it - regardless of the technical limitations of Airplay.

Regarding the room treatments, I don't think that would pass the wife test. She tolerates the loud music and the $ spent, but I don't think she would go for corner treatments.

I second the recommendation on the GE Triton Refs.  Sadly, the price jumped from $8500.00 a pair to $9999.99 a pair.  


If room treatments are out, then continue with my other recommendations. Plug your main speakers, put an EQ on your subwoofer so you can fine tune it and raise the crossover frequency.

You’ll need to measure, but be aggressive cutting off peaks and raising the subwoofer level, perhaps to +4 dB over the level of your main.


Take a look at the tri-traps though, the fabric coverings really make those vanish with the right choices.

Once you listen to those other three or four brands, you should get more of a sense of where your preferences lie, and with that we might be able to guide you more accurately.  For the moment, I suggest adding ProAc to the list if you can.

I have a new (1 y/o) pair of Vandersteen 2CE Mk III's and love them (a best buy, imho), but wanted the Treo CT yet decided they can't be 3X better than the 2CEs. REALLY want the Quattro CT's but can't afford a new pair. There are a few others on this list that interest me too:

AbSound best speakers in the $5-10k range:

AbSound Editors’ Choice: Speakers $5000-$10,000


You might want to call and give Ohm Speakers in Brooklyn a visit if possible.  Sounds like you are not too far.

omg, Vandersteen is finally “ trendy “…. somebody does not understand all the work that goes into them ( since 1977 ). Treo w Sub 3 ( 11 bands of analog EQ below 120 Hz ) or better yet the Quattro will go a long way to taming the room…. and the next room, etc….

IF you do want to understand the work that goes into them, see the treo build video on the Vandy website… 

I am an avowed fanboy with Treo CT, sub 3 and a 7 mk2 with 7 amplifiers… and other speakers, none of which are….trendy….well, maybe they 1963…

Finally, Johnny R is good people..

Good luck on your quest, enjoy the music…


If you live in NJ then you owe it to yourself to call Brian Charney from Charney Audio.  Go listen to his speakers.  

I have been an audiophile 40+ years and owned a Audio store System synergy is most important the #1 most important part of the Audio system and starting point is your sourse Quality first and foremost ,the Blusound, and dac in the Hegal are both 

good for a starting point only ,my friend has the much higherAhegal 390 and that too is severely lacking even vs a sub $1k dac like the very good Denafrips Aries-2 dac for a good example , I would without question recommend that dac ,or ifyou can absorb $2k the Denafrips pontus-2 they are exceptional products and being a R2R dac very good sounding not bright , Thst being said buy a decent Ethernet hub Like the Uptone audio Ether regen many great reviews ,and under $650

the Ethernet cable going into your server or streamer makes the largest improvement ,Thst being said at least spend $200+ from the modem to router ,if along run then buy Beldens Best from blue jeans cable ,quality on both end points is most important ,myself and many in our multi state audio club have proven this many times . Usb cables there are many ,If you like a very detailed analog cable the Final Touch Audio. Callisto usb cable has won many nin digital fans over for under $900 exceptional.   There are many examples and choices I am just stating my vast experience and view points from myself and others. Once you get your digital upgraded then you can move on with your speakers .for everything starts at your source if you have a lower grade audio signal it cannot be made up downstream that is my point.

Check out the Salon2’s.  They’ve been around a while, and for good reason.  Can also be had at a good price given how long they’ve been in the market.

Fyne 702.  Price has gone up like almost all audio but. Still sun 10k.   Don’t need much power and concentric tweeter midrange and down firing bass make them room friendly.  In love with mine for acoustic, singer songwriter, blues and jazz

If you want to keep the Hegel I’d go for a pair of Harbeth Monitor 40s in that room. One of the best speakers out there and I think John is (or was) a dealer. Or, ditch the Hegel and ask John to hook you up with a pair of Vandy 5s which are excellent (far superior to those down the line). Either are speakers for life and would come in under $15k.

@jcs01  I think you should look at Audiovector, there are some SR6 Arrete available on here, and you should look at the never R3 Arrete too.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised. 

I have enjoyed my Golden Ear Triton Reference paired with SVS Ultra sealed 16”.


I have the magnepan 3 take them or a secondhand and let built two new filters.

Than they are more amazing and please used them without sub.

Of the ones you heard, I'd go with the Magnepan 3.7 but as a couple of other people have posted, the GoldenEar speaker line is damn good. I have the Triton 2+ and these will be the last speakers I ever buy. 

This may help a bit but feel free to discount anything I say as I bought my first system a little over a year ago. Got most of insights off this sight and a couple others . I just retired and covid drove me into this hobby, I really enjoy it. I have a Hegel H360 , Lumin T2 (my dac and streamer) , QLN P5 s. Very simple. I looked at all but a couple of the brands mentioned . I would have bought new P3s but the P5s were available used. Make sure you look at the QLNs 1s, 3s, and 5s. I think they are the best. Harbeths were great but the QLN bass is much better in the 3's and 5's IMHO.

Audioman is exactly right - you need to clean up your digital front end and forget Airplay and the Hegel Dac. Been down that road and immediately got off it. Also, if you like the Hegel 390 you could save a few thousand and buy the 360 . They're very close but the 390 has a better Dac, which I wouldn't use either. Best of luck to you.



Linn makes pretty darn good speakers. Instead of pursuing new speakers, have you thought of trying another Integrated brand? And here is why, consider the cost of new speakers, WAF and not to mention the new set of speakers may eventually trigger the purchase of another integrated. Unless you absolutely hate Linn 140’s, I would try auditioning few modern integrated like Cambridge Audio EVO 150.

If I were you, I would ask existing Linn speakers owners, what electronics they found to have absolute synergy with Linn speakers. Good luck in your quest!

PS: If you’re dead set on replacing your speakers then please add Horning speakers to your audition list, speak to Jeffrey at High Water Sound.

With 10,000 bucks, which you make reference to, you could and should sell both the Hagel and the Linns and buy yourself a pair of either the Tannoy Cheviots or even the Ardens. They will certainly fill that space. Pair the Tannoys with either a Sugden A21se or even a Masterclass Class A integrated amplifier. Then buy yourself an external Dac, preferably one of the Border Patrol R2R Dacs. I think you will be a happy camper. This recommendation will most certainly exceed 10k, but if you sell what you got, you can make up the difference. I say this, because I own the Tannoy Eatons paired with the Sugden A21se, and that combo set me back almost 9k...

Tekton Moab speakers with the grills. I know the flaming is coming but if you have the room (they are huge) use the money left over to upgrade to a real DAC


Before commenting, I read the 2011 stereophile review of your Linns. The then $2995 MSRP is likely $10,000+ today. Knowing Linns long history of great sound, I would rebuild around them.

Technics has just come out with a MkII version of their SU- G700 integrated, based on SU-G 1000, which is GaN technology (although I see no mention of it in the review). I have a LSA Voyager 350 GaN amp that sets a new standard in my system, which has had many tube, class A/.Bs, class A as well as class Ds.

Within the review this paragraph reminded me of a personal experience with Genesis V speakers that I tried a number of amps on, but did not come alive until I got a Kinergetics KBA 75 class A amp:

Indeed, this is the key to the SU-G700 mk2, I think. As always in my reviews, I used a variety of loudspeakers but inevitably ended up with my classic Yamaha NS-1000Ms; they have a highish quoted sensitivity but ask a lot of any power amplifier, and have been known to reduce some to wobbling jellies. This new Technics amp simply had no fear; it drove these speakers with great authority, thumping out vast tracts of bass, and carrying bass transients with absolute ease. So, for example, loud hits of the bass drum kicked like a mule out of the dense mix during the latter parts of the song

OR, after reading the review, you might be inclined to spring for the Technics SU-G1000. Then later on pair either with the Technics SL-G700 CD/SACD/Streamer


Are you looking for end game speakers/amp? Rockport Avior ii paired with the Boulder 866 would fit the bill. Good luck!


I concur with bigtwin. The GoldenEar Triton Reference speakers sound great. I have a similar size room as you.  I think you will agree once you hear them. 





There is so much to go into achieving the best sound out of your system.  I have mentioned this before that we have a listening room in northern New Jersey.  We have different components and can offer you what each part of the system does to the sound.  Once you learn how sound quality can be achieved, I think you will understand more than replacing one part of your system.

We have custom designed preamps, Counterpoit modified, VTL, Tron, Hybrid, class A, VAC power amplifiers, 101D DHT DAcs with R2R, 6SN7 Sabre 32 bit DAC, Audio Note 5 kit DAC, Aurender, Blue Sound, etc. for you to hear and enjoy. 

We invite you to come for a listen as many times as you would like and even bring one of your components to hear the differences.  The room currently has Vivid, Sonus Farber, Horning and Vandersteen Sevens for you to hear the improvements if any that you hear.  Plus, we like to listen and learn also.

Please feel free to PM me.


Happy Listening.




Thank you everyone for your amazing array of ideas.  This thread has really opened me up to many new upgrade ideas and brands (that I had never heard of).  It fascinates me that there are so many different ideas and approaches - and what I love about this community. 

I am really intrigued by the Tekton speakers as I had never heard of them before.  As someone suggested, I called Eric (the owner) on Saturday and he picked up first ring - twice.  He was generous with his time as we walked through some of the speaker options he offers.  Although I don't like the aesthetics of the Tektons I get that is what you are not paying for and sound quality is no.1 for me (maybe not for my wife).  I think my next step is to try to listen to a pair. As I live in the NYC area, I am hoping someone will offer me that opportunity?  Perhaps I should start a separate post with that request.

Hello jcs01,

my experience in speakers has some overlap with yours.

I have a long history with B+W N802’s.  I owned two pairs run with Classe and Halo amps.  Then a new life new home provided me the opportunity to rebuild my system.  In fact, I ended up building two systems, so I kept switching speakers and electronics upstairs and downstairs and walking from one to another.

I immediately jumped on yet another pair of N802’s, and managed to re acquire my old Classe pre and amp.

then I stared looking at many of the speakers you have.  I formerly owned Vandy sig 3’s, so after reading all they hype about the Quattros, and the wife liking no subs needed?, we set off to audition them.  I / we were totally unimpressed.  So I continued to audition.  KEF reference 3’s, Focal, Sonus Fabre, 802 D3’s, and Proac ?D40 and K36.  I liked the Proacs  the best.  But my last stop that day was a a used pair of Revel Studio 2s.  Bought them immediately for under 7k. Took them home, moved the b+w,s downstairs and started loving the easy smoothness of the Revels.  Started upgrading my electronics now, to an Audionet pre amp and an Auralic Vega 2 DAC.  I loved the sound of the studio 2s and my friend came over, then sold his MBLs and bought a new pair of the Studio 2s.  Revel gets trashed now since being bought by corporate etc, but the studio and salon 2s are well loved classics for their smoothness and even response.  Since I have a big room, I found a guy who wanted to trade his salon 2 s for my studio 2s plus some cash.  So road trip we went and came back with the salon2’s.  I still use subs, but the salon 2s are amazing how they fill the room.  You can still find either used, but less now that revel has moved on to other speakers I think.

BTW, I went all out downstairs, and replaced the venerable N 802s with YG Hailey 2.2s.  But the Revels still rule their upstairs fiefdom!

Having just bought 2nd hand Klipsch Cornwall IV’s. It’s my “Forever Speakers”. There were many options based on the size of my room and my fortunate experience to get on loan several bookshelf Speakers plus my ugly yet amazing sounding Open Baffle Debacles with integrated stacked dual 12” Woofers H-Frame Subwoofers.

I’m done. I’m running them on an Orchard Audio Ultra Amplifier. My source is my modified Sony UBP-X1000’s Analog Output stage played though an Onkyo PR-SC5530 in Pure Direct mode.

My opinion is of course biased but I am totally in love with these Speakers as they keep showing me more and more of they can do after 2 weeks of ownerships (3 weekends 🙂).



I just ended my speaker quest a few days ago. I brought home a pair of DeVore Super Nines ($10k). For various reasons,  I found it difficult to find places to hear the speakers that interest me. I was able to listen to the Treo CTs and enjoyed them. I also heard SF Olympica Nova II. I think I would have preferred the Nova III, but the dealer sold their demo and more. Heard Wilson SabrinaX, good, but to me they were not worth the price.  The DeVore S9s are the most involving, dynamic and natural sounding of any of the few speakers I was able to hear. I was lucky to find them - they are in short supply. Hopefully you’ll find a place to demo. They are also made in Brooklyn.  

The Gershman Acoustic Avant Garde’s are outrageously good speakers in the price range you mentioned. I heard them at the Montreal Audio Show last month and was captivated. 

I have a pair of GoldenEar Triton Reference speakers. Feed them with Cary SLP-05 preamp and Primaluna Dialogue 7 monoblocks. The Primaluna’s put out 75 wpc. It’s more than enough with the Tritons. They have built-in 1800 watt rms amps for the three low drivers. The Primaluna’s drive two 6" mids and a folded ribbon tweeter. Speakers are Stereophile class A rated. Much less expensive than any of the other class A rated speakers. They were $10k for the pair, now $11k. Thanks Joe!