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Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

If you're having trouble locating Vandersteens, you may want to try the DALI Ikon line...excellent, or the Revel "Performa" series...they will give you the absolute max bass for the money and sound excellent all around. I recommend all these speakers because I have heard all of these speakers and lots of others. What I'm recommending (along with good recommendations from others) is the best of the best IMHO in the price range you have designated. :T
Good luck,
Konky.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

Round two complete. 2nd listen to Paradigm studio 60's proved to still be my preference over the B&W 683's. However I found that I liked the B&W CM-7's the best of the three. The CM-7's had much more of an air to them very slight push to the upper-mids, and more laid back than the Studio 60's. The B&W CM-7's excelled with Jazz. They just had a more natural sound to them. They also had a very nice sound-stage, much wider than the 683's, and more open than the Studio 60's. The guys at Ahead Stereo were great, Aaron moved the speakers around so I could compare the ones I was interested in in an A/B/C format. Good people there, and a nice selection of electronics as well. Unfortunately they did not have the Monitor RS 6 or RS 8 in store, so I will have to go elsewhere to listen to them.

So as it stands now I still have a lot of speakers to listen to but the B&W CM-7's are the ones to beat.
 

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Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

It sounds like fun funkmonkey. There are some people that read up on Internet forums, read reviews, look at charts, ask for advice, read threads, and then order their speaker sight unseen. I can't understand that. Half the fun of audio is touching, seeing, hearing. Sometimes you find some jewels you never heard of walking into a store. I used to think all B&W's were overrated until the dealer said "listen to these little CM1". Then I changed my mind completely. I also listened to some "cost no object" gear as a reference and I found myself lost in the music with some systems (which is what it's all about)
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

I found myself lost in the music with some systems (which is what it's all about)
Amen, Brother warpdrive
I am having fun, and I am fortunate to not have to work for a couple of weeks, so I between all the Honey-Do's I can get out and listen... :bigsmile:
 

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Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

I'm interested in the outcome of what you find in your future auditions. Having lots of time really helps.....you aren't pressured to make a decision quickly. I know what the CM-7 sounds like and can attest they are amazing for the reasons you stated. They aren't perfect, but when I first heard them, I found myself thinking how smooth and natural they were...I could listen to these all day.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

ROUND #3:

Man, I hate LA traffic!!! I drove out to Santa Monica today, about 15 miles the way the crow flies, it took me about 40 min to get there, not too bad for LA, the ride home took me about 1 hour 45 minutes!!!!!!!! Then when I get there the place is remodeling and is open, but has absolutely nothing hooked up to demo. They were polite and all, and gave me a brochure, and asked me to comeback next week... yeah, right. ...well, okay maybe. I had planed to stop in there and then hit a different store that was only a few blocks away so, at least I got to hear some speakers on my trip. Sorry to vent a bit there, but I just wanted to convey a point, but I will get to that later...

Today I listened to Monitor Audio Silver series RS6, and RS8's, Vienna Acoustics Bach's, and Martin Logan Purity & Source
I started with the Monitor RS6, and was digging their sense of air, crisp highs and mids when I asked the guy to switch to the RS8's... Whump, what was that? There's the bottom end. Much, much deeper with the RS8's, much more full sound. All the crisp detail of the RS6, with a woofer added. (Makes sense, because that is pretty much the difference between the two. If anyone is thinking about getting the RS6, make sure you have or get a sub too, because they just do not have much of a bottom end.) I really liked the RS8's.

Since they were standing right next to the Monitors I had the salesman flip on the Vienna Bach's. Not too bad, but to my ears they sounded a bit congested in the upper range, not as musical, slightly dead in comparison to the lively RS8's. Okay, maybe should have heard them first, but as the Vienna's are a decent competitor to the Monitor's (at least by sticker price) I prefer the RS8.

Now, for my surprise today I gave the Martin Logan Purity's a listen [about $1G more than my budget(sticker) they were in the same room as the RS8's, and the salesman stated that the only difference between them and the "Source," which are in my price range (barely) was the inclusion of an internal amp)] You weren't kidding Sonnie, they sound awesome, the Purity's have everything going for them, they are a hybrid: electro static to handle mids and highs with a powered woofer to go low. I wound up A/B-ing these with the Monitor RS8's and this is what I found:

Red Snapper(electronic/jazz lots of upright bass and strong beats)... the ML-Purity's seemed a bit flat in the mids, both speakers handled this music well, good atmosphere, full sound from both.

Grant Green (Jazz)- The RS8's gave the guitar a nice tone, or I should say reproduced the beautiful tone of Grant Greens guitar very well, piano sounds were very natural, and very nice decay on cymbals, overall an even balanced sound. The Martin Logans sounded slightly more full in the bass, and crisp in the high end, along with delivering comparable body of sound.

Leon Parker (drum/rhythm based jazz)- RS8's had a nice punch in the low end with the drums, but were not as full sounding as the ML's which provided a crisp clear upper range and a very full, well balanced sound.

Fu Manchu (Hard rock/heavy metal)- ((Fu Manchu eliminated the B&W 683's from my consideration, they couldn't handle that kind of full-on assault )) Both the RS8 and the ML Purity did well with the FU, for all the guitar growl that the RS8's put out the Puritys growled even better. Both did really well with rock.

I liked the sound of both speakers, but i have to give the edge to the Martin Logan Purity. I have to take into consideration the volume each speaker played at, the RS8's were considerably lower volume without turning the knob, I can only assume that is because of the fact that the ML's had a powered woofer, and maybe something to do with electrostatic tech...

So, the point I wanted to make earlier was that it was worth the ±2.5 hours in the car dealing with traffic to listen to these speakers today. The Martin Logans sounded great, they are on to something with their hybrid technology, I now have to listen to the "Source" model (which runs about $2000/pair) and see how much of a difference the powered woofer makes, hopefully I can find them closer to home. I should add that the store I wound up in today had the Source speakers hooked up on their main floor hooked up to some "worse than MP3" player (according to the salesman), so no chance for a decent listen for me. As for the Monitor RS8's, it should speak miles that they could stand up to a speaker that costs literaly twice as much (Purity≈$3000, RS-8≈$1500)

Good listen today, no closer to a decision...
cheers:T
 

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Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

Today I listened to Monitor Audio Silver series RS6, and RS8's, Vienna Acoustics Bach's, and Martin Logan Purity & Source

Since they were standing right next to the Monitors I had the salesman flip on the Vienna Bach's. Not too bad, but to my ears they sounded a bit congested in the upper range, not as musical, slightly dead in comparison to the lively RS8's. Okay, maybe should have heard them first, but as the Vienna's are a decent competitor to the Monitor's (at least by sticker price) I prefer the RS8.
cheers:T
When I listened to the Vienna Acoustic Bachs, they were pretty good, but when compared to the Vienna Acoustic Mozarts, the Bachs sounded a little dull. I think the Bachs run $2000/pr and the Mozarts $2700/pr. For the price diference, there really isn't much comparison, as the Mozarts are a much better experience, IMHO.

I also found the B&W 683 to be not-so-good, especially when compared to others side by side. I liked the Paradigm Monitor 7 better in direct comparison. I also got a chance to listen the B&W 804, which is in another league to the 683. I prefered the 804 to the monitor 7, but honestly, I prefered the Paradigm Studio 40 set up to all of those. There was something about that forward, clean sound on that day that just worked well.

You know, audio is a crazy thing because I find myself liking different sounds on different days. I don't have the kind of money to support that quirk. Forward, laid-back. It is true that hearing and any sensory perception changes with the amount of sleep you get, stress, nutrition, medication, mood, and so on. I would add that whenever you make a decision, do it after multiple vistis to listen because you might be under different states of perception, and you'll want to validate you experience. Since I only listened to the 683's that one time, I want to go back and confirm my original perception, or deny it.
 

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Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

From what I have read in various places, the Purity and Source ML's are good, but not quite on par with the larger ML's. My Ascent i's are considerably larger (wider and taller). Many ML owners say the Ascent i's are their favorite outside of the Summits, which are way out of my price range. Instead of spending $1500 to $2000 on new ML's, I would not even think twice about going to Audiogon and picking up a used pair of Ascent i's. I see them there consistently for less than $2000. If there is any possible way to hear the difference between the Ascent i's and Purity/Source models, do it. I believe you will be impressed with the difference based on what I've read.

I've seen some really good deals on Vandersteens at Audiogon as well. All these guys talking about them the way they are, I may end up having to try out a pair in my great room.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

My Ascent i's are considerably larger (wider and taller). Many ML owners say the Ascent i's are their favorite ...
Yeah, I really can't go much bigger than the ML-Source/Purity. I really do not have the space in this apartment. Maybe someday when I actually find a house that I can afford, that is not in the ghetto. (who am I kidding, I can't even afford a house in the ghetto :blink:)

I am going to seek out the Vandesteens this week, along with some Dali's and hopefully a listen to some Totems...
 

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Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

Quote: "I am going to seek out the Vandesteens this week, along with some Dali's and hopefully a listen to some Totems..."

Good...do that and let us all know what you think...also take a look at my new thread on TAS short list!
Cheers,
Konky.
 

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Discussion Starter #32 (Edited)
Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

Round 4:

Vandersteen 1C, and 2Ce sigII.

Both speakers had exceptional clarity, with their crisp, clear high end. Very clean sound. Piano sounds were brilliant on both models. They really seemed to excel on Jazz. The 1C had a laid back presentation on horns, and I felt (esp. with hard rock music) that they were a bit lean in the midrange. The 2Ce sigII's however provided a full even sound, with maybe an hint of upper mid push. I really liked the sound of both sets of speakers. The 2Ce's were substantially bigger than their 1C brothers but both had a similar form factor, and I am afraid for me that is not a strong point. Compared to many other speakers they are not very pretty. Not a problem if you have a dedicated home theater space want the speakers to disappear in the darkness. I have to consider the wife acceptance factor, and the fact that we have a cat that would most likely see the Vandersteens as a new scratching post for her, let alone the cat hair getting stuck to the fabric covers. It is something that I had not even considered before yesterday, but it is a very real consideration I must make. So even though I think the Vandersteen 2Ce SigII's sounded great (definitely a step up from the 1C) they are out.

Totem Hawk

Very impressive sound, very sexy cabinet. They do exceed my price range slightly but may be worth it. They deliver a much bigger sound than their size would imply. The highs were very crisp, very clear, a bit more clear than the Vandesteens. At first I found the Totems to be ever so slightly bass shy, but was later forced to change that opinion and chalk it up to the source material and their faithful reproduction of the intended mix. I played some Erykah Badu (great music for speaker auditions by the way: very deep bass, great full range female vocals, and tight production) and the Totems came alive. The Hawks went startlingly deep, and Erykah's voice was warm, breathy and inviting, awesome. I also played some Fu Manchu, and the Hawks LOVE rock. So far the Hawk's performed the best out of all the the speakers I have listened to with Rock music. Despite being a 2 way speaker they had a full midrange. The highs, mids and lows were all present and accounted for. Not just that but they were all crisp and tight, nothing sloppy out of these Totems.

Overall impression of the Totem Hawk was that they are a very musical speaker, across the board they really want to be listened to. I am no expert, and I do not have golden ears, but I really liked the sound of the Totems, placing them firmly as the front runners in my quest. The shop owner and salesman were both Vandersteen owners and I know that the salesman I was working with was as surprised as I was by the performance of the Totems.

I really wanted to hear the Dali Ikons on this trip, which they had. But I ran out of time, I had to get on the road to beat traffic and had I stayed it would have been a rushed listen. I may have to take a second trip to compare Dali with Totem:bigsmile:.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

Salk Sound
SongTower QWT
http://www.salksound.com/SongTower.shtml

has anybody heard these? I have been browsing their web site, and really like their approach. They also seem to produce some really nice looking speakers. Being an ID company I have no opportunity to audition them myself. Have you heard them Mazer, or just helping with options?
 

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Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

I had the same experience as you listening first to the Monitor Audio Silver S6's and then S8's. That's why I chose the S8's over the S6's; there wasn't as much difference up to the S10's in my opinion. I would say, however, that the Strata Mini's are better than the Monitor Audio Silver series speakers.

I'd also suggest the Salk Sound and Von Schweikert speakers. But they will be harder to audition and you'll probably have to find a local customer.
 
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Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

I just purchased a pair of the DS-456R (the quad 5" on the website homepage) from C & C Home Audio (www.cccustomhomeaudio.com). I emailed them and ended up getting a call from the owner who informed me they were 3 weeks out from actually launching there products for sale. After asking him why, he stated it was based on the website and the photographers not getting things done to his specs which made me follow up with "do you have any products to sell?". He asked which product I was interested in and I told him but then he followed with what color would I like? What color is the trim in my home and the color of the walls? I answered and he said give me two days. Two days later he calls me and says they are ready if I am still interested and I told him yes but wanted to know how to pay. He sent them to me for free including the shipping! He put a letter in the box that read how he appreciated my interest and buisness and for me to enjoy my speakers for 30 days and once the time was up to send a check or the product back. Well I sent him a check 3 days after getting these beautiful works of art in my living room and I couldn't be happier. They sound amazing and they look like nothing I have ever seen before. Now the price.........lets just say I paid under $2000 for the pair and I dare another company with this kind of craftsmanship to compare there apples to these.
So if your shopping around I would give these guys a look.
 

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Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

If you are going on recommendations rather than an audition on some of these other loudspeakers, then I definitely can recommend the Human 88-41 for $2,200/pair. Tried and true technology, stunning sound for the price, and hand built quality and beauty.
 

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Discussion Starter #37 (Edited)
Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

I had the same experience as you listening first to the Monitor Audio Silver S6's and then S8's. That's why I chose the S8's over the S6's; there wasn't as much difference up to the S10's in my opinion. I would say, however, that the Strata Mini's are better than the Monitor Audio Silver series speakers.

I'd also suggest the Salk Sound and Von Schweikert speakers. But they will be harder to audition and you'll probably have to find a local customer.
Yeah, I kind of had a laugh when I switched to the RS-8's. I didn't even bother to go back to the RS6 for a second listen. Have you buy chance heard any of the Gold line? I want to eventually give them a listen too, but not sure where they price at.

I've been digging deeper into research on the Salks and they sound like they might be quite good. I really wonder how they would compare with the Totem Hawks. They both use a similar size mid-bass driver to similar effect from the looks of it. Von Schweikert I hadn't heard of until I looked into the Salks. Seems like they show up in the same threads, but I haven't searched for a website from them yet. And Strata mini's are a new one to me too.

So, how do you like your Monitor RS8's? Have you had them a while? much break-in time?
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

Von Schweikert speakers sound like they might be great, but they are a bit over my budget. I checked their price list and it looks like they discontinued everything under $5000. Maybe they are coming out with newer models or something. The idea of a rear firing tweeter is an interesting one for sure, I can imagine it increases the soundstage quite a bit.

here's a link to their site for those who are interested:
http://www.vonschweikert.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

IMO, the best speaker VSR did is the old VR-4.5 with the Audax carbon fiber mid and twin Eton woofers. If you can find those used in your price-range, I'd definitely look to audition them.
Used is the only way I might be able to afford those guys, for sure... I read a good review of the VR2 here: http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_1/von-schweikert-vr2-speakers-1-2004.html
wonder why they stopped making them...

I just purchased a pair of the DS-456R (the quad 5" on the website homepage) from C & C Home Audio... ...So if your shopping around I would give these guys a look.
Thanks for the tip, Eric. That company actually posted in a thread I had going somewhere else. While I think that they are interesting and may be a really good sounding speaker, I am not interested in wall mount right now. I am glad to hear that you are enjoying them, though. Cheers
 

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Re: $1500-$2000 Fronts

Have you buy chance heard any of the Gold line? I want to eventually give them a listen too, but not sure where they price at.
They're more expensive, and a worthwhile improvement in my opinion. However they were simply out of my budget at the time, and not sure they were worth the price increase back then. The price differential these days is smaller, I think.

So, how do you like your Monitor RS8's? Have you had them a while? much break-in time?
I've since gotten rid of them and am using Onix Reference 3 speakers for my primary mains. Much much better but also more expensive. They'd be at the top of your budget used; as it happens someone in SoCal has a pair for sale only until Sunday.

I'm not a believer of break-in time myself.
 
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