Wilson Benesch Trinity. Haven't heard them myself, but do they look gorgeous in birdseye maple or burr walnut! And they go to 100 kHz; dog49 will be over the moon!
So many options! I would try to hear the new Kudos models, the Super 10 and Super 20. You have already mentioned Sonus Faber and I would want to try out other models by them. Opera is another Italian company worth checking out. The other name I would look at is Triangle, their Magellan Duette and if you can stretch that far magellan Cello. Happy auditioning. I am again truly envious.
Thanks for the further suggestions.
Yet another possibility if you can find a pair might be the ATC SCM50SL this combo recently appeared n the letters page of the UK mag 'HiFi Choice' September edition.
Not a combo I would have considered but the owner of it praises it highly.
I'm afraid these are far too big. I do have some smaller ATCs on my list.
JM Renaud might be a possibility, but I'm not sore they can be found in the UK...which is a pity.....but you seem to travel a bit.
Yes, seems they haven't tried the UK market yet. Certainly not averse to travel. I did even email a few Accuphase dealers in France and the Low Countries a couple of months back in my efforts to hear the E560. Not sure about travelling to France for speakers though, when the speaker market in the UK is so sophisticated.
WB have been on my radar: thanks for this. BTW, anyone out there had experience of their Torus subwoofer (which they say isn't a subwoofer)?
Funny isn't it that we call LF cones subwoofers, when dogs are really much more interested in supertweeters.
Ah, yes, Triangle. The Magellan Duettos might suit my room rather well.
And on a related note ...
I should point out that I tend to match speakers to the room rather than an amp.
... this must be the right way. A longlist can't all be demoed at home. It'd take ages. But after an initial triage chez dealers I'll be doing home auditions.
Thanks for all your help.
What classical music are you listening to?
Just back from an extended holiday, and I hit the ground running today with my first speaker demo, and a real curate's egg of a demo it was.
While away I did a fair bit of trawling the webby-thing and managed to source most of your suggestions (or at least the ones that fitted my initial spec, which was for speakers not wider than 250mm or deeper than 350mm). Over the next couple of months I'll be demoing some of the usual suspects (PMC, Proac, Neat ...) and some stuff from the further reaches (Devore, Audiovector ...).
First up was an odd contrast: Spendor D7 and Vivid V1.
The Spendors are smart, elegant floorstanders. The Vivids, though not as outlandish as their Giya models, look as though they were grown in a petri dish on the planet Zog.
The source was a Mac playing ALAC files into the Dev 170 via USB.
My first impression of the Spendors was positive. It was a solo violin piece, and the D7s sounded very correct and delicate, with good transients, though I did note that there seemed to be a lack of air (reverberation) around the violin, and the top end was a tad furry. As I moved into more complex music, things fell apart completely. The mid-range was pinched and unnatural. Vocals were simply awful: thin, strained and nasal, with no warmth or richness. Overall the presentation, whilst nicely fast and dynamic, was lean and forced.
My first thought was to blame the room acoustics. No concessions had been made to room conditioning; the wall behind the listening position was covered in faux leather and was obviously reflective. In fact, I was about to flounce out. I mean, it seemed inconceivable that a pair of Spendors, which were allegedly run in and properly connected to the Dev, could sound this poor.
But, hey, why not give the Vivids a blast first ...
A blast indeed. The Vivids really are very impressive speakers, once you get past the weird-space-creature looks. I've heard the Dev before through Harbeths (Super HL5s and M30.1s) and SF Cremona Auditor Ms. The Vivids gave virtually nothing away in terms of overal SQ, and in some departments they were simply better.
First: excellent dynamics. The sound has a powerful, muscular feel. As I turned the volume up I felt I was being hit by a hammer of loveliness. Imaging was also outstanding, with loads of space around the instruments and a tremendous sense of scale, especially on opera.
Tonally the sound seemed true: string and piano tones were alive but also round and rich.
It's become clear to me that what I'm after above all is a presentation that digs deep into the music's structure but remains coherent and smooth. This is what the Harbeths and SFs did, and the Vivids did it too. But they also seemed to add a sense of drama.
If I were to be critical, I'd say that the top end was slightly rolled off and lacked a smidge of sparkle, not in a dull way -- these speakers are never going to be dull -- but there just seemed to be a tiny something missing which I remember especially from the SFs and the Super HL5s.
Having said that, these speakers do voices brilliantly. No unwanted breathiness or sibilance, just wonderful expressiveness and presence.
Now you might say that after the disappointment of the Spendors (and I still can't help thinking that something was wrong with them), the Vivids had it easy. They'll need to be auditioned against more serious competition. And they're certainly worth a second audition!
I'd strongly recommend an audition if you get a chance.
Good to get your feedback.
The Spendor STs are the best of their floorstanders by some margin (imo), but aren't initially impressive, as their talent grows on you. Saying that, I think they are a little on the expensive side, though i've seen them ex-dem at more reasonable money. I suspect their Classic Range may be more to your taste.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
If you like alot a detail and a great looking speaker try Monitor Audio Platinum 200.
HiFi. Arcam cd92,a85,p85 bi-amping Ma rx6, kimber silver streak & 8tc cables and r/a mains.
A/V. panasonic plasma, sony av amp. mordaunt short premier, rel q150 sub.
I like the look of the STs, and they'd conform to spec. The dealer I visited today didn't have the STs in stock, and in fact the main aim of today was to hear the Vivids. As you gathered, I rather liked them ...
From the Classic range, the top end models are too bulky. The SP2/3R²s might be worth a listen, though I doubt they'd improve on the Harbeths.
Good to be back in demo mode again!
Sadly too big for my room.
I'm kind of reminded of of a well known cricketing aphorism. It goes like this,
In a 4 or 5 day game when you win the toss, you think about putting the opposition in to bat, then decide to bat anyway.
In your situation, you think about some alternatives, then buy a pair of Sonus Faber.
We do so many shows in a row,
And these towns all look the same,
We just pass the time in our hotel room
And wander 'round backstage,
Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,
And we remember why we came.
No criticism meant, but I'm inclined to agree.
Lets face it, it would be a great choice and afterall, one you did pick for your dream system.
Nevertheless, still good fun demoing and you never know what might crop up!
Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 speaker cable. Grado SR60 headphones.
Matt, a hifi friend recently listened to a Devialet amp driving Raidho D-1 speakers and has been raving about the experience since.
These are very expensive at US$25,000 a pair though... (for bookshelves!!)
Based on your description of the Vivid speakers, check out Focal 1028be/1008be or Diablo Utopia.
Both absolutely right, of course. But the wicket is actually looking a bit sticky ...
Thanks for the suggestions: please keep 'em coming.
Matt, a hifi friend recently listened to a Devialet amp driving Raidho D-1 speakers and has been raving about the experience since. These are very expensive at US$25,000 a pair though... (for bookshelves!!)
Ahem, yes, I've heard rumour of this combo. Very nice, I'm sure ...
I plan to hear the 1008/1028s. The Diablo Utopias are too bulky and IMO a design nightmare, though I'm sure they sound great.
Devialet use Vivid loudspeakers to demonstrate their amps, so I am not totally surprised by your enthusiastic response. But then Spendor chose Devialet amps to showcase the D7 at launch, which would seem an odd decision given your findings. Makes me think there must have been something odd about your audition - the combination might not be the right one for you but I am surprised by just how badly the Spendors performed. That airy top-end you seek you might find via Usher's Diamond DMD tweeters - the Mini Dancer Two, perhaps. Or ribbons, of course.
Any plans to hear the Triangle Magellan Duettos?
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