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The best speaker that i heard this year was the Alexia from Wilson Audio at the SSI in Montreal but it comes with a nice price tag at $48 000 :D
 

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Its been many years since I've been into Hi Fi, but a long time ago, I had a friend who was a salesman at a HiFi shop in Phoenix. They sold Linn, Mark Levinson along with other elite, unaffordable gear. They had a demo room set up with Sonus Faber Stand mount speakers, I believe they were Concertos. They were hooked up to Linn components going into the biggest Levinson amps I've ever seen (they looked like radiator heaters) that ran 220v. Those relatively small stand mount speakers threw out a wide, deep and incredibly detailed soundstage.

The old description of each instrument having its own seperate space was a reality with that set up. I haven't been that into High end gear since then, but I have yet to hear any set up that compares, although Im sure there are plenty of others that do. Now IF I ever win the lottery,....:hsd:
 

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Just hit a new high on speakers: Vivid B1's. Lovely to look at and hear. Better than the ATC SCM-40s that were my top set before. Maybe something about the B1's being 2.5x the price of the ATC's had something to do with it... Surprising amount of bass for such a small-ish sized speaker.
 

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Living in Hawaii does not give us much options on what speakers can be auditioned. There is really only one real hifi store and it's a small shop. They carry JBL's top line speakers (they even have an old Paragon on display) that sells for $10,000+.

They also carry Magneplanars and I have to admit that I have not heard anything better that their 20.7s. If I had the money and the room for it, I would buy it in a heartbeat...
Yes there is better than Magnepan 20.7s BUT for much more money , dollar for dollar NOTHING beats a panel nothing - nothing - nothing -

 

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Great thread, so I'll give it a little bump.

The greatest speaker I have ever heard, or owned, was the original Ohm F. These hard-to-drive omni's cast an audio image from floor to ceiling, and maintained a stereo image everywhere in the room. They were not the most accurate, and had limited frequency range, but they cast a holographic sound unlike anything I have heard before or since.
 

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Great thread, so I'll give it a little bump.

The greatest speaker I have ever heard, or owned, was the original Ohm F. These hard-to-drive omni's cast an audio image from floor to ceiling, and maintained a stereo image everywhere in the room. They were not the most accurate, and had limited frequency range, but they cast a holographic sound unlike anything I have heard before or since.
Funny this should come up as I'm talking w/Ohm right now about some speakers!
 

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Yes there is better than Magnepan 20.7s BUT for much more money , dollar for dollar NOTHING beats a panel nothing - nothing - nothing -
My fondest memory of an exquisite listening experience returns me to the late '70s. We were in the home of a friend who had dialed in a pair of new Quad ESL-57 electrostats. He had them well out into the room at least 6 feet from any wall, slightly toed in, about 8 feet on center, and 10 or so feet from the LP.

What I don't remember is listening to anything other than Santana's first album in its entirety. I think we were so riveted by the you-are-there feeling that no one could make a move. A look around the room showed gaping jaws as well as serene expressions of peaceful sleep! It was so unlike anything we were used to from normal boxed drivers. Voices hung in midair, and percussion had an uncanny reach-out-and-touch-me quality. Can you tell I was impressed?

The only other experience that came close was in a dealer showroom. I was thrilled to be left in command of a top-notch Mark Levinson front-end feeding pre and power amplification by same driving a pair of finicky Thiel CS3.6 speakers. Price kept me away, but I've never heard saxophone reproduced with such lifelike authority & "growl" for lack of better terms (track "True Love" off the album Soul Searching by Glenn Frey).

I've also not been able to recreate the sheer joy I felt from Eddie Van Halen's guitar riffs on the song "Top Jimmy" off Van Halen's album titled 1984 playing through a pair of Infinity IRS II Betas powered by a Hafler-DH500.

(sigh)
 

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Vandersteen 5A signatures.

My unc old hi-fi speakers and he has since moved them to the living room for some run of the mill TV speakers haha
 

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Focal Grand Utopia - heard them 2 years ago at Axpona! The speakers and just the electronics to run them added to around a half a mil! But my jaw dropped even before I got into the room and when I heard the sound I immediately rushed in to see what it was!

Second was the Kharma db11 or 9 maybe couldn't remember - just remember they were the most gorgeous sounding speaker I've ever heard. Unfortunately they weren't playing music I listen to so I only got to hear 1/16th of what the speaker is capable but man it was pretty!
 

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About 20 years ago I visited a friend in Manhattan that was working for Mark Levinson back when Cello music and film was still around. I got the "Cello demo" in Mark's office. With the 300 lb magnetically sealed door and the massive window shutters closed it transformed a noisy office into dead silence. From there we listened to some master recordings that were done in house and watched a few tracks on a laser disk.
I was blown away, it was my introduction to true high end audio and nothing that I have listened to since then has even come close.
 

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Revel Salon is a great speaker, these belong to my friend Gerard and they are fed by Classé mono blocks.

Mine!

The best speaker that i heard this year was the Alexia from Wilson Audio at the SSI in Montreal but it comes with a nice price tag at $48 000 :D
My friend's!
 

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I have owned a pair of Martin Logan SL3's since 98 and think they are the best I have listened to. Before that I owned several sets of Dahlquist DQ 10's and loved them.
 

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The best I've heard so far are a pair of Wilsons Alexia speakers. This was in a showroom, not in a home.

They also had a Alexandra XLS system with the Thor Hammer powered by 3 kilowatts of McIntosh tube amps. Unfortunately it was not on and would have taken some time to properly bring up and they were not going to do that for someone to listen to speaker system that only multi millionaires could afford which I am far from.

I believe its always good to listen to high quality speaker so that you know what a speaker should sound like because any speaker is a comprise especially with price. We have to pick the best compromise for us within our budget.

This place is amazing if you are ever in the San Diego area you should drop by. Their web site does not due them justice. I'd sent the link but as a new member I am not yet allowed to that . The store is Stereo Design.
 

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Focal Grand Utopia - heard them 2 years ago at Axpona! The speakers and just the electronics to run them added to around a half a mil! But my jaw dropped even before I got into the room and when I heard the sound I immediately rushed in to see what it was!
Yes I heard these as well at a dealer :eek:
 

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The best speakers in the world will sound like terrible in a bare room.

Decent speakers sound amazing in a treated room.

The end.
 

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This probably isn't what the OP meant, but:

Second place: the two-truck L-Acoustics K1 rig that I loaded into the MGM Grand Garden Arena for James Taylor and Carol King in '10... that was truly staggering. 16 vertical arrays, with 8 arrays of subs, above a circular stage for a concert in the round.

A very close third was the Nexo/Yamaha rig that we demo'd for Blue Man at Monte Carlo before Jabbawockeez moved out in 2011. It showed up in the front 1/3 of a 26' box truck, and took us all of 2 hours to set. 2 vertical curved arrays of 10 boxes each (hanging), two floor-standing stacks of 4 3x18" cardioid subs, and about 8 bookshelf-sized front fills. The president of the casino called down and told us his desk was vibrating... on the third floor of the southeast wing of the tower... which is not attached to the theater except through the foundation. And the whole rig was on 1 30A 110v circuit. Unbelievable power, and shockingly clear considering how fast (and sloppy) we set it up.

But the best... the rig that would have been responsible for my hearing loss if I hadn't worn earplugs all the time: Blue Man Group, Live at the Venetian... DB Audiotechnic. Truly a beautiful monster. Sleek, black, smooth, and devastatingly loud. The subs would peak at around 132dB during Endless Column/KLF (Last Train to Trancentral), and you could feel it in all the right places. I heard the L-Acoustics and Nexo rigs one time each and they left a big impression... but the DB Audiotechnic beast was part of my life for literally thousands of shows. Expertly tuned, and blasting out the sound of a one-of-a-kind band. Magic in its purest form.

As for what the OP really meant... I can't say I've heard anything in the home arena that stacks up against the pedigree mentioned in the history of his thread.
 

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Well, I have a new 'best' courtesy of The Sound Environmentin Omaha, Nebraska. I had to kill some time before my wife arrived on a later flight so I headed to this wonderful audio store.

In their "big room" they had some Rockport Technologies Altairs being driven by a D'Agostino preamp and power amp, Transparent cables (humongous things), and a dCS Rossini DAC. I was also able to listen to them via a TechDAS Air Force Turntable.

One track they played was a live performance of 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' by Sara Bareilles. It was astonishing how these 500+ lb (each) speakers could simply vanish and the performer appear to be playing and singing right in front of me. I've heard good stuff before (full Luxman class A gear, Vivid speakers, etc.), but this was over the top in transparency, definition, clarity, and listen-ability. Simply stunning stuff.

If you're in the Omaha area, I highly recommend stopping by and saying 'hi' to their fine staff and auditioning some products. I officially have a new 'if I were to win the lottery' system.
 
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