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Johnseye

Reference 2 Channel Speaker Recommendations

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Johnseye   

I spend most of my time listening to vinyl and DAC 2 channel audio. Once or twice a week I will watch a movie in 7.1 surround. My current front three are B&W 804s. I'm happy with the sound but am in the market for better speakers. I have no problem with buying a front pair and finding a different center with matching timbre. The priority is the front two. My budget tops out at about $10k for the pair. Please suggest models or point me in the direction of discussion threads that could help in my decision.

 

My theater room ceiling is 7 1/2 ft, width is 12 ft and length is 26 ft. I have 22" from the edge of my screen to the wall.

Last week I auditioned Maggies 3.7i and 1.7i. I liked the sound stage and imaging, but I just don't have the space needed for those to perform. I also listened to the Aerial 7T's. I like their detail and mids.

 

Tonight I auditioned the Martin Logan Theos. They were below my budget but after hearing the Maggies I wanted to have a listen. They sounded larger than life. I'm not sure if that was good and I could get used to it. I listened to a couple Patricia Barber tracks from Cafe Blue and I imagined she was there in front of me with a head 10x bigger than a normal human.

 

Then I listened to the Paradigm Personal 9H. Wow. The detail, imaging, clarity and precision of those speakers was really impressive. I'd have to step down to the 5 or 7F however. Not sure how those compare to the 9H.

 

Next week I'm going to drive down to Indy and give the Vandersteen's a listen. Totem are on my list as well as Monitor and Dali. I've also been considering the DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/96 or O/93. I listened to a pair of these last year and was impressed.

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Foggie   

I think you may need to re-check the Persona price list as to your budget :) The 3F's max your budget. The Persona line looks awesome for sure, lucky you where able to hear the top model.

 

Going out and listening is the first step. The models you have already demo'd and the ones you have in mind are excellent by all accounts.

 

I don't see any issues with your room size for the 1.7's. If you like them I would try and get them in your space to demo. Now if your space is full of "stuff" which limits your placement to front + side walls then possibly. Ideally whatever you choose, your space will have a major influence on the overall sound so try them in your space if at all possible.

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Johnseye   
I think you may need to re-check the Persona price list as to your budget :) The 3F's max your budget. The Persona line looks awesome for sure, lucky you where able to hear the top model.

 

Going out and listening is the first step. The models you have already demo'd and the ones you have in mind are excellent by all accounts.

 

I don't see any issues with your room size for the 1.7's. If you like them I would try and get them in your space to demo. Now if your space is full of "stuff" which limits your placement to front + side walls then possibly. Ideally whatever you choose, your space will have a major influence on the overall sound so try them in your space if at all possible.

You're right. I hadn't realized when I posted this that the dealer quoted the per speaker price. It would have to be the 3F's. Question is whether I'll hear the same clarity and detail of the 9's.

 

I'll have to audition the 1.7i if the space isn't too tight.

 

My B&W's have been tough to beat.

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Foggie   

One would have to assume the 9's are at a whole other level based on its spec and price.

 

B&W have their own sound so if that is what you prefer I would stay within a circle of similar spkrs. The Theos for example, is a complete 180. Not bad, just a lot different.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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Johnseye   
One would have to assume the 9's are at a whole other level based on its spec and price.

 

B&W have their own sound so if that is what you prefer I would stay within a circle of similar spkrs. The Theos for example, is a complete 180. Not bad, just a lot different.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

 

I agree that the 9's should be at a whole other level, but there will be similarities as it's the same line and all use similar materials such as beryllium.

 

I like the B&W sound because that's what I'm used to. I'm looking for something different, but what I want to get from a speaker is clarity, precision and excellent imaging. Nothing bothers me more than muffle and mud when listening to music. Some may like it and consider it softness. I find a similar comparison with what I hear in PCM192 vs DSD64. The DSD64 to me sounds a bit muffled and muddy. DSD512 may change that when I get a DAC that can support it. I'm digressing from the speaker discussion however.

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Dr Tone   

I had the same budget but couldn't find something that was an improvement over my Focal 1028BE. I had to increment the budget once I had Wilson Audio Sabrina. I suggest you don't listen to them. :)

 

You like detail so you might want to look at the Focal Sopra 2.

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Foggie   
I had the same budget but couldn't find something that was an improvement over my Focal 1028BE. I had to increment the budget once I had Wilson Audio Sabrina. I suggest you don't listen to them. :)

 

You like detail so you might want to look at the Focal Sopra 2.

 

Lol, that was gonna be my exact recommendation. I haven't heard the paradigm prestige but if you liked the persona those might have similar lineage at a decent $.

 

 

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tboooe   

In my experience if you want clarity and precision I would look at Magico, YG, Raidho. Of course there are many many options. These are just what I have heard in my experience.

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Johnseye   
In my experience if you want clarity and precision I would look at Magico, YG, Raidho. Of course there are many many options. These are just what I have heard in my experience.

 

They look nice but about double what I was looking to pay for their bottom line. Is there a model you can recommend at my price point?

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tboooe   
They look nice but about double what I was looking to pay for their bottom line. Is there a model you can recommend at my price point?

 

Sorry about that. Focal speakers I have heard are also very clean. The 1028 BE are nice.

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I would consider that since the majority of movies and music are mixed on JBL's you will like the way they sound in your room. Consider the new 4312SE and add a sub or two if you need more bass:

 

JBL Introduces 4312SE High-Performance Studio Monitor Bookshelf Loudspeaker in Honor of 70th Anniversary of the JBL Brand | HARMAN

 

If you want towers the JBL Studio 580's or 590's or the Revel F208 BE

 

Revel F208Be | Stereophile.com

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sjay   
They look nice but about double what I was looking to pay for their bottom line. Is there a model you can recommend at my price point?

 

You should add PMC to your demo list

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Johnseye   
Sorry about that. Focal speakers I have heard are also very clean. The 1028 BE are nice.

No worries. About $10k for the front pair is my limit as I'll also need a center and sub to match the sound. Maybe one day I'll invest in something more, but life has other demands.

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Johnseye   
I would consider that since the majority of movies and music are mixed on JBL's you will like the way they sound in your room. Consider the new 4312SE and add a sub or two if you need more bass:

 

JBL Introduces 4312SE High-Performance Studio Monitor Bookshelf Loudspeaker in Honor of 70th Anniversary of the JBL Brand | HARMAN

 

If you want towers the JBL Studio 580's or 590's or the Revel F208 BE

 

Revel F208Be | Stereophile.com

I use a pair of Reference JBL for my working computer speakers. They sound nice. Revel's are also on my list for sure. Thanks.

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Johnseye   
Spending the 10K on a new power amp will give better sound IMO particularly if improving imaging and soundstage is your goal....

Granted the Emotiva XPA-5 is 5 separate mono blocks in one enclosure, but it's not a bad amp. What would you recommend and why?

 

And it's while imaging and soundstage is important to me, I think it's easier to find that in speakers than clarity and precision.

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Rexp   
Granted the Emotiva XPA-5 is 5 separate mono blocks in one enclosure, but it's not a bad amp. What would you recommend and why?

 

And it's while imaging and soundstage is important to me, I think it's easier to find that in speakers than clarity and precision.

Having been a HiFi dealer in the past I've played with lots of speaker/power amp combo's and found with most high end speakers you haven't really heard them until you stick a high end power amp in front of them. I haven't demoed any amps in a while so best you check with your dealer what is good for 10k and get a home audition with your 803's which I can assure you will sound like much better speakers. Some good ones I have heard recently are Bryston 4B3, Parasound Halo JC1 monos and Luxman M700u.

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bunno77   
Having been a HiFi dealer in the past I've played with lots of speaker/power amp combo's and found with most high end speakers you haven't really heard them until you stick a high end power amp in front of them. I haven't demoed any amps in a while so best you check with your dealer what is good for 10k and get a home audition with your 803's which I can assure you will sound like much better speakers. Some good ones I have heard recently are Bryston 4B3, Parasound Halo JC1 monos and Luxman M700u.

I agree with this 100%. Emotiva should not be used on any speaker over $1500 imo

 

Dynaudio, Pmc, Focal, Vienna acoustics, Paradigm, Sonus Faber, Martin Logan would be my speaker suggestions but try borrowing better amps/sources from local dealers and see if you can get more out of your B&Ws.

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Kelly   
No worries. About $10k for the front pair is my limit as I'll also need a center and sub to match the sound. Maybe one day I'll invest in something more, but life has other demands.

 

I think you had said you were going to checkout VAndersteen, I assume you meant the Vandersteen Quattro CT. Well over $10k but the built in subs are fantastic and they absolutely don't need anything else. The logistics of how to hook them up to receive a .1 or .2 home theater sub feed tho might not be very clean.

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Kelly   

I also just noticed the power amp. I would highly recommend you check out the Odyssey Audio line of amps if you are trying to stay at lowish pricepoint. The guy that runs the company, Klaus Bunge, builds amps to order. His Kismet line is no slouch and can hold its own in comparisons with no compromise equipment like the Pass Lab XA series. Just ignore the power specs, they have more than enough dynamic power for just about any speaker, including maggies.

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Spending the 10K on a new power amp will give better sound IMO particularly if improving imaging and soundstage is your goal....

 

 

Well... I think spending $1000 on an amp would achieve that goal...with the right amp. Specifically I mean a Sunfire 300 x 2 or any of the Carver A Series on the second hand market. Don't get me wrong, I could do it with a $10K amp too, I just would prefer to spend less. The AV 505 is on the floor on the left in the pic below.

 

OP, if your current or future speakers are bi-wireable score this amp and I promise they will stand up and salute, check this link:

Carver AV-705x Power Amp 5 Channel | eBay

I have the AV 505 driving my JBL's and was simply astounded by the difference over my previous amp, a Parasound Zamp which is excellent.

 

Desktop 2.jpg

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