Help me pick a pair of speakers in the 3-4k range

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Bananas&blow, Dec 17, 2021.

  1. xfilian

    xfilian Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    Spendor D7.2 would be my choice, although not sure what kind of money they go for over the pond. If out of budget, the Spendor A series are well worth an audition. They are fairly diminutive to look at but punch well above their weight.
    Tawaun A Williams likes this.
  2. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Desperado Under the Eve Thread Starter

    Pacific Beach, CA
    I actually owned a pair of ATC SCM 19's. They did not produce much bass as you mentioned although they were better in my bedroom against a wall. But I personally did not see what the fuss was. I gave them a chance for a couple of months and then moved on. ATC certainly has their fans but I'd be reticent to try them again frankly as I didn't enjoy the sound much.
  3. mreeter

    mreeter Forum Resident

    Midwest, USA
  4. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Wait, is that a pink Christmas tree? Awesome.

    You experienced what a point source type speaker will do compared to your 4-driver 803s. My room is much larger than yours, and I tried tower speakers with drivers from top to bottom; none of them imaged well. None of them would give me 3 dimensional sound the way a lowly pair of NHT SuperZeros would. Personally, once I heard realistic 3-D imaging, I was hooked.

    If this becomes a priority for you, two-way speakers with a properly designed crossover are the easiest way to achieve it. My experience tells me you don't have to sacrifice any of the traits large speakers bring if you're willing to throw a good subwoofer or two in the mix. And they don't have to be stand mount speakers. Some of the best 3-D image, speakers totally disappear sound I've heard in my room was with a pair of Vienna Acoustic Bachs. The Bachs lacked refinement and resolution, but man did they disappear and let the music flow.

    Not sure how far away your seat is from the pic, but I also agree with an earlier poster who recommends moving your speakers a tad farther apart.
  5. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    Yes sir. the C7s do not produce 45Hz bass and are a touch too rich. Great speakers though. The SHL5+ do go to 45 Hz and have excellent imaging, slightly picky about toe in angle but not difficult to find the right positioning. A tube preamp with the a21 will be almost perfect synergy for them.
    Can you describe more about how the imaging sounds with the B&Ws? What are you hearing specifically?
    Many times multi driver towers are difficult to align because of the challenges managing the phase and timing relationship between the different drivers. I have heard well regarded towers cause the image to wander up / down / left right in mid note, have too low of an overall sound stage and sometimes have a very small window.
    One exception are the Spendor D7s, which have the woofers up high and a and an excellent crossover network. I would recommend them but they can sound lean, forward and unnatural.
    A two-way monitor with a superbly voiced and designed crossover like the Harbeths, Joseph Audio etc. are so "coherent" the two drivers are seamlessly integrated. This is the foundation for excellent imaging.
  6. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Des Moines
    Although I haven't heard them, I would second the suggestion for checking out Fritz speakers. Based on pro and user reviews they would seem to check every box on your list. And given your location, Fritz might even come to your house for audition/setup.
  7. DEG

    DEG Roine ^^^

    Lawrenceville Ga.
    I have a pair of these and they sound incredible. I mostly listen to rock, reggae, new wave stuff. Covers all areas with nary a glitch! Custom cabling is a must for these babies!
  8. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Well, they have more refinement than most Harbeth models IME. If you want utmost refinement, go with a Derek Hughes design—these days, that means either a Graham or Stirling Broadcast speaker.

    I suspect some Joseph Audio speakers would also likely work for you.

    Of those on your list, the SF Olympicas are nice. I auditioned the Olympica IIs and felt they disappeared quite well, though they were probably a good 5’ away from the showroom walls. They don’t reproduce cymbals as realistically as a Be or diamond tweeter but I thought their overall tone was great, with good enough transparency.

    I really disliked the KEF R3 even though they did image fairly well. In that range I would much rather live with Revel M106s which are a wholly superior speaker.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2021
  9. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Northwest, USA
    I got side track yesterday.. Anyways looks like you figured out the target size of your speaker and even the precision and focused you mentioned. Youre on the right track. Whatever you choose, try not to pass 6.0 inches in woofer diameter. Pretty sure you already know that. Good luck.
  10. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    The best imaging and “disappearing” speakers I currently own happen to have 8” mid-woofers and relatively wide baffles. Their actual cone diameter is 6.5” which would make them a 9” driver by some conventions. They image as good or better than any other speakers I’ve owned, even KEF LS50s and Revel F206s. The notion that only smaller drivers can image well is completely untrue in reality. What matters far more is the dispersion characteristics of the tweeter, and the speaker’s crossover design.

    It’s true that a 7 or 8” woofer will begin beaming at upper frequencies but the detriment of such is offset by the coherency achieved if the woofer is covering nearly the entire midrange. If the crossover slope is steep enough and the dispersion of the tweeter wide enough, there is no practical loss in imaging abilities, especially if a listener sits in the “sweetspot.” Of course, there are large woofer/ large baffle speakers that don’t image well, but they’re simply of poor design, and often times, cabinet noise is to blame.
  11. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forever moving forward

    I saw a pair of MA Platinum PL-200's at The Music Room a couple of months ago (I think under $4K but can't recall exactly) - they had a nick or two and didn't have original boxes - but I bet they'd sound good too.

    Do you have the 4G or 5G Golds? Almost bought the 5G a couple times, both the 100 and 300... but still have not tried them.

    I met a local audiophile when I was shopping KEF LS50 a couple of years ago - he had the LS50, R3 and R300 as he was auditioning / playing with. We both agreed the R3's were just the best in all aspects.... he was driving them with a high quality Luxman amp. But going from an BW 803 to an R3.... that's a big change.

    If superior imaging, mainly critical listening is the goal, it'd be fun to try a Harbeth SHL 5 Plus, or a couple of Spendor offerings. And Sonus Faber. LOL. I still want to try something similar - but for me these days my listening is more focused on room-filling, effortless sound of a bigger speaker as I tend to move around when listening, both in the shop and in the main room.

    I see so many quality used Harbeths, Spendors, Sonus Fabers and Tannoys roll through some of the auction sites..... especially at HiFiDo a lot of Japanese audiophiles loved these brands and lots of vintage ones sold there.
    jonwoody likes this.

    HIRES_FAN Forum Resident

    When a guy starts listening to all the sht out there for 40k, 60k, etc, he will start to realize how charitable Yamaha was with him for 3 to 4k.

    Yamaha? Speakers?? Yep, that's right

    Yamaha Soavo NS-F901
  13. bever70

    bever70 To boldly go where no ears have gone before

    My previous speakers were magnetostats but also with a ribbon tweeter, I've had them for 30 years. So when I went looking for a new pair of speakers last year, I tried a few with classic dome tweeters but I really couldn't get used to how they made vocals sound (closed in, like coming out of cupboard), the ribbon tweeter of the MA PL100II immediately gave me the same open and natural sounding vocals I was used to hearing for 30 years.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2021
    Bananas&blow likes this.
  14. Davey

    Davey NP: Carmen Villain ~ Sketch for Winter IX: Perlita

    SF Bay Area, USA
    Technically not a true ribbon tweeter like the original PL100 with its very lightweight aluminum alloy foil ribbon suspended in a strong magnetic field, it's the air motion transformer type on your newer version with pleated plastic diaphragm and aluminum voice coil working like an accordion, but I realize they are both often termed ribbon tweeters, along with the planar magnetic type used by Raidho and others too. But they do probably all share some sound characteristics. I really like the ribbon tweeters on my speakers too, but yours can handle a lot more power with lower distortion, and don't need a transformer, which is why they changed. The originals always had that distortion shortcoming pointed out in reviews, but there is some magic in pure ribbon tweeters.
    jonwoody and bever70 like this.
  15. bever70

    bever70 To boldly go where no ears have gone before

    I know they have a specific name for it, AMT I believe. But yeah, they share pretty similar sonics to classic ribbon tweeters (to my ears).
    jonwoody, avanti1960 and Davey like this.
  16. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forever moving forward

    The MA PLx00II series has caught my attention so many times... it's typically the price tag that changes my mind. I always end up looking at the larger 300 series and they immediately become a healthy investment.

    I've heard the Gold series, but funny thing is I've yet to hear the Platinums, so going a little on faith if I were to try them.
    bever70 likes this.
  17. bever70

    bever70 To boldly go where no ears have gone before

    Yes well, even the 'small' PL100's have a healthy price tag. I was able to buy a demo pair (including original stands) with a real interesting price tag. At the original price I probably would have had doubts as they were slightly over my budget and I would have probably tried a few other options first. But at the price I got them they were a no-brainer.
  18. Leao

    Leao Forum Resident

    Consider internet direct sources like Salk Sound, Role Audio, Omega etc. You will get much better value for your money than the usual suspects at the audio stores.
  19. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forever moving forward

    Well done Bever, a great speaker. Definite "no brainer" - I'm good at those! :)
    bever70 likes this.
  20. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Senior Member

    Washington NC
    ESS created the Air Motion Transformer (AMT) speakers back in the 70's. I had the bookshelf model LS8's .
    jonwoody, Tim 2, bever70 and 2 others like this.
  21. Glmoneydawg

    Glmoneydawg Forum Resident

    Ontario Canada
    Yep...the patent expired around 2004...lots of designers using it now...great tweeter that can go down into upper midrange if needed.
  22. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Desiccated by division.

  23. Zokinjo

    Zokinjo Well-Known Member

    In last 2 years i tried many speakers, at list 5 pairs and settled with Kef R3.
    Some speakers were twice more expensive than R3 but all of them just did not sound right.
    Then i traded one set of speakers in shop (they have trade in option) and got new Kef R3.

    Always when i get new speakers i am thrilled at beginning then after few days i notice they don't sound right, and then i start listen even more careful and notice even more bad things.
    I have Kef R3 more than month now and i cant find anything wrong with them.
    They go below 35Hz in my room, they have deep and punchy bass, mid's are detailed but not annoying, hig's are just right, plenty info nothing harsh.
    They do have one problem, if you want to push them properly you need minimum 100w at 8ohm amp, that's minimum, my Vincent 237MK is pushing them just right with 150W at 8ohm per channel.

    Never had Kef speakers at home, now i am Kef fan, they just do everything like they should, i don't have any complaints.
    Now i listen to music and don't avoid certain songs or albums due poor mastering, i listen everything and i am really enjoying.

    From time to time some peace of hifi gear appears in some price range but they really do sound much better then their price range, Kef R3 is one of them, they are just awsome.
    I am sticking with them, not even looking at other speakers.

    Currently i am selling 6 months old Martin Logan Motion 40i, if i don't sell them in couple of months i will trade them for Kef R5 or even higher model, since we are buying a house and moving from apartment.
    I will have 2 systems, both will have Ked R series speakers, that's how i am mesmerized with them.

    Of course, hifi is verry subjective hobby, we all hear music different and have different taste of music and different preferences, this is my subjective observation.
  24. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Desperado Under the Eve Thread Starter

    Pacific Beach, CA
    Funny you mention those Joseph audio as I was looking at them today. I've read nothing but good things about them. Gorgeous speakers. How do you even buy them? Their website had nothing about purchasing them.
    Tim 2 likes this.

    HIRES_FAN Forum Resident

    I am not a fan of B&W speakers in general for other reasons, but, I wouldn't call it 1 note bass. But, the guy says he is hearing a) one note bass and b) he couldn't quite integrate a sub ...these are warning signs...badabing badaboom....he has a dominant room mode somewhere that he hasn't fixed. If OP doesn't know how to fix modal issues, he will be hearing a lot more one note bass with whatever he gets (i.e if it is indeed capable of slamming down to 40 hz).
    Fitero likes this.

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