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What Are the Best Sounding Speakers UNDER $2,500 that You've Ever Heard.?


Ralf11
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I think it (as always) depends on your taste. Is that too wishy-washy? Fine. Here's three that I think might appeal to various folks:

 

You can get some spectacular mini-monitors from Fritz Frequencies, which are great for the space-challenged. Audiophile all the way, with great sound and great (if traditional) fit and finish.

 

You can get some shockingly great panels from Magnepan (the 1.7i are $2k, IIRC) -- these need space, but the cool thing is that, aside from bass, the 1.7 sounds remarkably like the flagship 20.7. You can heap extra spoonfuls of "holy moly" on the "remarkably like" as needed for emphasis. It's a thing with the Maggies -- you get a bit more of this and that as you go up the line, but the "house sound" is on full display at the entry level -- and the separation of sound quality between model lines has always been vanishingly small.

 

But I think the best bang-for-the-buck is still probably the GoldenEar Triton 3+. Dynamic speaker with a powered bass that can slide easily into the sub-30Hz region means "no external sub required". Skadoosh.

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I think it (as always) depends on your taste. Is that too wishy-washy? Fine. Here's three that I think might appeal to various folks:

 

You can get some spectacular mini-monitors from Fritz Frequencies, which are great for the space-challenged. Audiophile all the way, with great sound and great (if traditional) fit and finish.

 

You can get some shockingly great panels from Magnepan (the 1.7i are $2k, IIRC) -- these need space, but the cool thing is that, aside from bass, the 1.7 sounds remarkably like the flagship 20.7. You can heap extra spoonfuls of "holy moly" on the "remarkably like" as needed for emphasis. It's a thing with the Maggies -- you get a bit more of this and that as you go up the line, but the "house sound" is on full display at the entry level -- and the separation of sound quality between model lines has always been vanishingly small.

 

But I think the best bang-for-the-buck is still probably the GoldenEar Triton 3+. Dynamic speaker with a powered bass that can slide easily into the sub-30Hz region means "no external sub required". Skadoosh.

 

I'm curious about where you would go for a high efficiency loudspeaker? While Maggie's are great they do want gobs of power ($$$) and space.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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I'm curious about where you would go for a high efficiency loudspeaker? While Maggie's are great they do want gobs of power ($$$) and space.

 

Well, that is the question, isn't it? There are quite of few of us fans-of-vintage-tech around (I have a wonderful reel-to-reel player I use almost as much as my turntable), and for those that know, SET amps pretty much are impossible to beat. Given that most new speaker-makers don't bother with high sensitivity, that means that perhaps some dumpster diving is in order. Failing that, some gently used or reconditioned speakers might do you right.

 

I had a pair of Model 17 Altecs, for example, that I had every intention of using with my favorite amp, a 7wpc tube amp from BorderPatrol. But alas and alack, after unpacking them and setting them up, I started sneezing. The sneezing continued every time I entered the room, and I quickly added some uncontrollable eye-watering and a hacking cough. So much for the Altecs. Caveat emptor -- and watch out for mildew.

 

Anyway, I would say that there's probably no need to fuss. Unless you're after a particular sound, most amps pushing more than a handful of watts will probably be just fine for most listening and with most speakers. I've happily said that "you can't have too much power", and I stand by that. The opposite is not true; some speakers need power, and under-powering speakers can be quite bad (and possibly dangerous to the lifespan of the speaker). But since I can still hear, I tend to listen at levels less than 90dB (average), which means that I just don't need 1kW to drive a 86dB speaker along just fine. Not all 86dB speakers are the same, however, and that's why home auditions are important. But, again -- all that said -- the Fritz use a very simple crossover. Reference3A does too. Single-driver speakers use none, obviously. Simplicity here means a higher degree of low-power-friendliness, but as always, YMMV.

 

I say all this not to mansplain or whatever -- I know that posts like these tend to be read by lots of folks, and for quite some time, so I wasn't trying to just skip-to-the-end in case someone was curious. Okay? Okay.

 

So, for me, I'd probably go look at another set of Altecs. Or maybe some Klipsch. But those GoldenEar, with the powered woofer section and overall 90dB sensitivity, will probably do just dandy with a low-powered amp. But if you're looking for jump factor, slam, and dynamic wow, Tekton and Zu top my current list for budget-priced speakers.

 

I do like horns, though. They're really fun, and while they might not be "perfect", they're entertaining. And isn't what this is supposed to be about? Anyway, I like what Volti is doing. Klipsch is really fun. I hear that those old Altecs can get you there, too.

 

But I'm always on the lookout for a great high-sensitivity speaker at a reasonable price. The Auditorium 23 Hommage Cinema is a bit beyond my reach, as is a Volti Vittora. Maybe that new Rival will be the thing.

 

In the meantime, I've been hugely impressed with Joseph Audio and Harbeth and DeVore. They all just sing with 20 watts -- counter-intuitive, perhaps, but true.

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I'm curious about where you would go for a high efficiency loudspeaker? While Maggie's are great they do want gobs of power ($$$) and space.

 

I can attest that if you like a traditional bass reflex speaker, original ProAc Response 2 series works magnificently with SE 300B, as does the Tablette series. Of the newer Response models, I know the Response 1S works fine, the 2S just okay. I have a friend who runs his little Polks with 8 watts. The smaller Spendors are happy with 8 watts. For 6 watts or less you probably need to investigate the high-efficiency speaker like Omega etc. The hard thing is that efficiency ratings don't always tell the story. The Response 2's are rated at 89dB but with the simple 1st order crossover they are a very stable, efficient load. Hope that helps.

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I think it (as always) depends on your taste.

You can get some spectacular mini-monitors from Fritz Frequencies, which are great for the space-challenged. Audiophile all the way, with great sound and great (if traditional) fit and finish.

I'll second the recommendation of the Fritz speakers, great sound, great value especially for the quality of drivers used and Fritz is a great guy and fun to talk to.

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Very interesting links to some things I'm not familiar with, thanks.

 

Well, that is the question, isn't it? There are quite of few of us fans-of-vintage-tech around (I have a wonderful reel-to-reel player I use almost as much as my turntable), and for those that know, SET amps pretty much are impossible to beat. Given that most new speaker-makers don't bother with high sensitivity, that means that perhaps some dumpster diving is in order. Failing that, some gently used or reconditioned speakers might do you right.

 

I had a pair of Model 17 Altecs, for example, that I had every intention of using with my favorite amp, a 7wpc tube amp from BorderPatrol. But alas and alack, after unpacking them and setting them up, I started sneezing. The sneezing continued every time I entered the room, and I quickly added some uncontrollable eye-watering and a hacking cough. So much for the Altecs. Caveat emptor -- and watch out for mildew.

 

Anyway, I would say that there's probably no need to fuss. Unless you're after a particular sound, most amps pushing more than a handful of watts will probably be just fine for most listening and with most speakers. I've happily said that "you can't have too much power", and I stand by that. The opposite is not true; some speakers need power, and under-powering speakers can be quite bad (and possibly dangerous to the lifespan of the speaker). But since I can still hear, I tend to listen at levels less than 90dB (average), which means that I just don't need 1kW to drive a 86dB speaker along just fine. Not all 86dB speakers are the same, however, and that's why home auditions are important. But, again -- all that said -- the Fritz use a very simple crossover. Reference3A does too. Single-driver speakers use none, obviously. Simplicity here means a higher degree of low-power-friendliness, but as always, YMMV.

 

I say all this not to mansplain or whatever -- I know that posts like these tend to be read by lots of folks, and for quite some time, so I wasn't trying to just skip-to-the-end in case someone was curious. Okay? Okay.

 

So, for me, I'd probably go look at another set of Altecs. Or maybe some Klipsch. But those GoldenEar, with the powered woofer section and overall 90dB sensitivity, will probably do just dandy with a low-powered amp. But if you're looking for jump factor, slam, and dynamic wow, Tekton and Zu top my current list for budget-priced speakers.

 

I do like horns, though. They're really fun, and while they might not be "perfect", they're entertaining. And isn't what this is supposed to be about? Anyway, I like what Volti is doing. Klipsch is really fun. I hear that those old Altecs can get you there, too.

 

But I'm always on the lookout for a great high-sensitivity speaker at a reasonable price. The Auditorium 23 Hommage Cinema is a bit beyond my reach, as is a Volti Vittora. Maybe that new Rival will be the thing.

 

In the meantime, I've been hugely impressed with Joseph Audio and Harbeth and DeVore. They all just sing with 20 watts -- counter-intuitive, perhaps, but true.

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Well, that is the question, isn't it? There are quite of few of us fans-of-vintage-tech around (I have a wonderful reel-to-reel player I use almost as much as my turntable), and for those that know, SET amps pretty much are impossible to beat. Given that most new speaker-makers don't bother with high sensitivity, that means that perhaps some dumpster diving is in order. Failing that, some gently used or reconditioned speakers might do you right.

 

I had a pair of Model 17 Altecs, for example, that I had every intention of using with my favorite amp, a 7wpc tube amp from BorderPatrol. But alas and alack, after unpacking them and setting them up, I started sneezing. The sneezing continued every time I entered the room, and I quickly added some uncontrollable eye-watering and a hacking cough. So much for the Altecs. Caveat emptor -- and watch out for mildew.

 

Anyway, I would say that there's probably no need to fuss. Unless you're after a particular sound, most amps pushing more than a handful of watts will probably be just fine for most listening and with most speakers. I've happily said that "you can't have too much power", and I stand by that. The opposite is not true; some speakers need power, and under-powering speakers can be quite bad (and possibly dangerous to the lifespan of the speaker). But since I can still hear, I tend to listen at levels less than 90dB (average), which means that I just don't need 1kW to drive a 86dB speaker along just fine. Not all 86dB speakers are the same, however, and that's why home auditions are important. But, again -- all that said -- the Fritz use a very simple crossover. Reference3A does too. Single-driver speakers use none, obviously. Simplicity here means a higher degree of low-power-friendliness, but as always, YMMV.

 

I say all this not to mansplain or whatever -- I know that posts like these tend to be read by lots of folks, and for quite some time, so I wasn't trying to just skip-to-the-end in case someone was curious. Okay? Okay.

 

So, for me, I'd probably go look at another set of Altecs. Or maybe some Klipsch. But those GoldenEar, with the powered woofer section and overall 90dB sensitivity, will probably do just dandy with a low-powered amp. But if you're looking for jump factor, slam, and dynamic wow, Tekton and Zu top my current list for budget-priced speakers.

 

I do like horns, though. They're really fun, and while they might not be "perfect", they're entertaining. And isn't what this is supposed to be about? Anyway, I like what Volti is doing. Klipsch is really fun. I hear that those old Altecs can get you there, too.

 

But I'm always on the lookout for a great high-sensitivity speaker at a reasonable price. The Auditorium 23 Hommage Cinema is a bit beyond my reach, as is a Volti Vittora. Maybe that new Rival will be the thing.

 

In the meantime, I've been hugely impressed with Joseph Audio and Harbeth and DeVore. They all just sing with 20 watts -- counter-intuitive, perhaps, but true.

I think that flea powered SETs should be used with sensitive speakers >100dB.

They should also be run band-passed in an active configuration as they have quite high output impedance.

 

As for Zu speakers, they're one of the few that JA at Stereophile classified as rubbish, something almost unknown of in a day and age when magazines never publish negative criticism is something!

 

Steer clear, even if your ears... The fact that many speakers "sing" with little power is not enough in my view.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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I'm curious about where you would go for a high efficiency loudspeaker

 

Anything in Klipsch Heritage line. I love my Cornwalls - very happy partnering my 23w SS poweramp or 8w Audionote monoblocs. But if it was my $2k and I lived in the US then I'd most likely go for some of these

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David

 

Why did I say you are wrong? First primitive or modern, simple or complex designs are not steps to evaluate audio equipment. The only way is to evaluate audio equipment is to listen to it. So if we flew to the Pacific Northwest tomorrow and I took you to a casual friend’s home with a good sounding room and played the best source I have access to on stacked Advents and you didn’t like them I’m fine with that.

 

Second human hearing is not accurate or reliable in the time frames you discussed.

 

Third a pristine pair of KLH 9s does not meet the criteria of this tread, speakers costing $2,500 or less. I know of two people who can restore KLH 9s. Between the restoration costs and the cost of the speakers today you are looking at around $4,000. And they will be very expensive to ship to the crossroads (Mississippi Delta) from the west coast.

 

Moving back to our opinions, if you don’t have contemporaneous notes from reasonably current listening sessions of vintage AR speakers let’s look at a recent review. Hi-Fi News & Record Review reviewed the vintage AR-7 speaker in their February 2015 issue. This review was of a badly matched pair with and an obvious flaw in one of the speakers at 100kHz. The review is consistent with other reviews and my notes from listening sessions and A/B tests. Hi-Fi News gives all their reviews a numerical score and the AR-7 received an 84. How does this compare with other speakers? I have a dozen issues from November 2014 to October 2016 and 25 speakers were reviewed. The scores ranged from 70 to 92. Eleven speakers scored 85 to 92. Twelve scored between 83 and 70. The Technics SB-R1 costing 18,599 Pounds received the same score of 84. Ten of the twenty five meet the price criteria of this this tread. The highest score of the ten was 85. Not much of a stretch to say a properly functioning carefully matched pair should sound a bit better like the AR-4x speakers that have been in my offices for 30 years do. And my notes from 2015 listening tests confirm the AR-LST/2 and stacked Advents are better are than the AR-4xs in my office hence my recommendation.

 

I was taught audio and sound by electrical engineers, nuclear engineers, people who made recordings for a living and of course musicians starting in 1970. And from 1977 to 1988 I moonlighted as a consultant in the broadcasting industry because of my hearing.

 

Since you apparently didn’t read what I suggested you read let me review. This is how I evaluate audio equipment. I start with a recording I made of a harmonica; it must have the right among of bite for me. Then I listen to a recording I made of banjo music. This needs to sound correct to me and this is very hard to accomplish. Then I listen to three albums to evaluate sound quality, two for fatigue, one for dynamic range, one for soundstage, one to evaluate early digital recordings and one for suitability to play bluegrass. There is nothing courageous about a having a test suite of music and consistently using it. It is just good common sense.

 

You are so concerned that I don’t follow the herd of reviewers, knowledgeable and experienced audiophiles let me tell you why I chart my own course. I evaluated the Vandersteen Model 2 speakers mentioned in this thread in 1988, 1995 and 2006. I don’t like the way they reproduce the sound of a harmonica pretty simple and straightforward. Less straightforward is my evaluation of maggies. I’ve tried to like them but the Eagles’ On the Border, one of my reference albums for fatigue sounds better on a box type speaker.

 

Finally David I love music. Audio equipment is a tool to enjoy it.

 

Steve

 

ctsooner

 

I can’t speak to others but I’ve probably heard one new to me system every month for the last ten years so about 100 systems with current speakers in generally good residential rooms. In the last year I’ve attended the monthly listening sessions held by a downtown high end dealer until they play audiophile music then I leave. I had business in Irvine California this year and attended Newport 2016. I went from room to room and was allowed to play classic rock that sounded good in that room. This got people out of the hallways and into the rooms making the vendors happy. I also provided some technical support when asked. As I was leaving Sunday a vendor came up and thanked me for helping him. And I went to RMAF 2016 this year. Based on the documented issues with the power and the rooms at RMAF it was hard to get a good feel for equipment but I tried. This is why I said your statement about me not auditioning the latest equipment is wrong.

 

My comment about hearing memory applies to you as well.

 

If modern speakers are so much better than the old AR and Advent speakers then why can’t people get speaker manufacturers to play Blonde on Blonde, Pet Sounds and Abbey Road on their superior speakers at shows? Is it because the only song played without my requesting it from my reference albums at Newport was “Willin” off the Mobile Fidelity version of Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus and it didn’t sound right to me?

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ctsooner

 

I can’t speak to others but I’ve probably heard one new to me system every month for the last ten years so about 100 systems with current speakers in generally good residential rooms. In the last year I’ve attended the monthly listening sessions held by a downtown high end dealer until they play audiophile music then I leave. I had business in Irvine California this year and attended Newport 2016. I went from room to room and was allowed to play classic rock that sounded good in that room. This got people out of the hallways and into the rooms making the vendors happy. I also provided some technical support when asked. As I was leaving Sunday a vendor came up and thanked me for helping him. And I went to RMAF 2016 this year. Based on the documented issues with the power and the rooms at RMAF it was hard to get a good feel for equipment but I tried. This is why I said your statement about me not auditioning the latest equipment is wrong.

 

My comment about hearing memory applies to you as well.

 

If modern speakers are so much better than the old AR and Advent speakers then why can’t people get speaker manufacturers to play Blonde on Blonde, Pet Sounds and Abbey Road on their superior speakers at shows? Is it because the only song played without my requesting it from my reference albums at Newport was “Willin” off the Mobile Fidelity version of Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus and it didn’t sound right to me?

 

Steve, fair enough. We all have our opinions and to us they are correct and that's all good. I don't do shows as to me you can't get a decent listening at most of them for many reasons. Sometimes I'm sure you can, but most manufacturers will tell you that they don't love the shows but need to do them. I too love classic rock. Always have and always will. I didn't like Vandersteen's at all until about 5 years ago when I was forced to sit and listen to them. That's how I ended up getting the Treo's.

 

My point is that any time I've heard vintage speakers in a new system I felt strongly that they weren't up to what the newer speakers with better components and materials can do. Again, that's my thought. They don't do what I listen for and that's wanting a 3D illusion and sound stage. I spoke with someone who has been reviewing for the major magazines for years and years about this thread and your post as I wanted his take. He agreed, but also said that many of the older speakers get the mids better than a ton of the newer speakers as he and I both feel that so many manufacturer's screw with the mids to make you think their speakers are bigger sounding etc... than they really are and it messes up the sound, but most folks buy on name and always have. Interesting convo to say the least and all the matters is that you love your KLH's and Advents double stack. I honestly mean that. Pete

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If I recall, Evoulution MMMicro One's were about 2500..

 

They made a impact on me. Very correct timbres, very very "fast" sound, not far away from my electrostatics (excellent rise times and long and clear decays).

 

Very engaging sound. Disappearing act. Very well defined bass, if not too abundant.

 

I could live happily with a pair. In a bigger space I would mate them with one or two good and fast subs.

I would love to own one pair someday...if I must live in a smaller room.

 

Sorry but cannot remember what was the accompanying amplification...But I remember I got lost in the music and heard a CD from beginning to end, instead of the usual jumping between CD's...

 

Edit: http://www.stereomojo.com/Evoultion%20Acoustics%20MMMicroOne%20review/EvoultionAcousticsMMMicroOnereview.htm

this review get a lot of things right, comparing to my own experience.

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a speaker thread for the rest of us...

 

Snell C/V, they were $2500 new, when I bought about 25 years ago or so. Love them & won't part with them. An original Kevin Voecks design if memory serves. Great for medium to large rooms with good amplification.

 

If you can find these on the used market in good shape, jump. I haven't heard anything under $7K or $8K in today's dollars that compares.

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Snell C/V, they were $2500 new, when I bought about 25 years ago or so. Love them & won't part with them. An original Kevin Voecks design if memory serves. Great for medium to large rooms with good amplification.

 

If you can find these on the used market in good shape, jump. I haven't heard anything under $7K or $8K in today's dollars that compares.

 

Kevin did a great job years ago. I used to get to visit his shop in downtown Haverhill, MA. My ex actually grew up in Groveland and I went to visit him right before they closed it down. Had some prototypes sometimes too. Fun days.

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If modern speakers are so much better than the old AR and Advent speakers then why can’t people get speaker manufacturers to play Blonde on Blonde, Pet Sounds and Abbey Road on their superior speakers at shows? Is it because the only song played without my requesting it from my reference albums at Newport was “Willin” off the Mobile Fidelity version of Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus and it didn’t sound right to me?

These are good questions indeed...

 

I too have returned from shows with bleeding ears.

My guess is that despite the modern divers and cabinet construction, and the computer-aided design many speakers just have a "wrong" tonal balance (tilting up from bass to treble) and the response is not flat either on- or off-axis and the mid-woofer/midrange diver breakup resonances are audible.

 

But I agree with @ctsooner that, unlike most vintage speakers I listened to, some of the better (more accurate) modern speakers, in systems with "transparent" electronics, are able to really let the sound/music through.

Some of those vintage speakers may sound pleasant but there's a bit too much own sound which makes the reproduction more obvious...

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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a blast from the past - where is he now? still at Revel, or Harmon?

 

He's out in LA with Harmon as a project manager I believe. Haven't seen him since the 90's. Doubt he'd even remember me, lol. I really wished I had met Peter Snell before his heart attack/death. He used to eat grinders at my ex's uncle's grinder shop up the street from the factory.

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I too have returned from shows with bleeding ears.

My guess is that despite the modern divers and cabinet construction, and the computer-aided design many speakers just have a "wrong" tonal balance (tilting up from bass to treble) and the response is not flat either on- or off-axis and the mid-woofer/midrange diver breakup resonances are audible.

 

So is modern speaker design following the trend of modern music mastering and some o/sampling DAC designs to cater for the iPod generation?

 

I use digital room correction and one of my 4 presets is a rarely used treble tilted filter only used for really muddy recordings and sounds overly bright to me on decent material. Interestingly this preset tends to be the favoured one of the younger people that have auditioned my setup.

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If I recall, Evoulution MMMicro One's were about 2500..

 

They made a impact on me. Very correct timbres, very very "fast" sound, not far away from my electrostatics (excellent rise times and long and clear decays).

 

Very engaging sound. Disappearing act. Very well defined bass, if not too abundant.

 

I could live happily with a pair. In a bigger space I would mate them with one or two good and fast subs.

I would love to own one pair someday...if I must live in a smaller room.

 

Sorry but cannot remember what was the accompanying amplification...But I remember I got lost in the music and heard a CD from beginning to end, instead of the usual jumping between CD's...

 

Edit: Evoultion Acoustics MMMicroOne review

this review get a lot of things right, comparing to my own experience.

 

Yes, I had an ear out for these as well, put the price has escalated to nearly double the price originally broadcast. There were a few QA issues like the bases had holes in the castings when they were originally shipped, but one would hope that problem is gone by now.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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Kevin did a great job years ago. I used to get to visit his shop in downtown Haverhill, MA. My ex actually grew up in Groveland and I went to visit him right before they closed it down. Had some prototypes sometimes too. Fun days.

 

Now that would have been interesting. Mr. Voecks is a very good speaker designer, I also own the Snell Type E-V another great box speaker for under $1K when new.

 

Think that Voecks is Harman Luxury Audio Group’s Acoustic Technologies Manager now.

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Steve, fair enough. We all have our opinions and to us they are correct and that's all good. I don't do shows as to me you can't get a decent listening at most of them for many reasons. Sometimes I'm sure you can, but most manufacturers will tell you that they don't love the shows but need to do them. I too love classic rock. Always have and always will. I didn't like Vandersteen's at all until about 5 years ago when I was forced to sit and listen to them. That's how I ended up getting the Treo's.

 

My point is that any time I've heard vintage speakers in a new system I felt strongly that they weren't up to what the newer speakers with better components and materials can do. Again, that's my thought. They don't do what I listen for and that's wanting a 3D illusion and sound stage. I spoke with someone who has been reviewing for the major magazines for years and years about this thread and your post as I wanted his take. He agreed, but also said that many of the older speakers get the mids better than a ton of the newer speakers as he and I both feel that so many manufacturer's screw with the mids to make you think their speakers are bigger sounding etc... than they really are and it messes up the sound, but most folks buy on name and always have. Interesting convo to say the least and all the matters is that you love your KLH's and Advents double stack. I honestly mean that. Pete

 

Pete Thank you hit the main difference between our preferences the 3D illusion and sound stage. My training and years of consulting mean I hear where a sound is coming from. As an example the last Cowboy Junkies concert I attended had a wider soundstage because the amplifiers were spaced wider apart than the previous concerts and to me flat because the amps were in a row. I’m perfectly content with this but you wouldn’t be. You prefer the illusion of the voices and instruments coming from the people and instruments. This is what you want when you listen. In my case I don’t want the drum kit width stretched and will gladly sacrifice sound stage depth to get it. Many modern speakers do mess with the mids to get bigger sound stage both in width and depth. I think this distorts things and is unnatural. It is the main reason I prefer vintage speakers. I got a half hour with Andrew Jones one on one at RMAF this year. We talked about silk dome tweeters and sound stage size. Steve

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The best I've heard at this price range is the Revel Performa3 M106 ($2,500 with stands).

 

Before I heard the M106, I always liked the Totem Model 1 Signature at this price level, but I suppose that speaker would be an "old school" un-sexy choice these days.

 

Revel Performa3s are indeed quite good. I had a buddy's M106 brought over to compare to my Dynaudio C1 MK2s. They sounded damn close honestly outside of bass extention (which the C1s had far more of) and just a tad less treble smoothness. The Revels started losing control at higher volumes and started to breakup a bit in the mids, but all in all a fantastic speaker.

 

Another one worth looking at is the Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2.

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