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.






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…