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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:05 pm 
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Yes, floor standers generally put out more bass energy than monitors. So, just how much wiggle room do you have in your budget?
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/monit ... 1-speakers


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:19 pm 
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EL34 wrote:
Yes, floor standers generally put out more bass energy than monitors. So, just how much wiggle room do you have in your budget?
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/monit ... 1-speakers


Given that's USD + plus duty/customs/taxes + shipping costs of speakers and stands....I think it's too much of a stretch (unfortunately).


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:30 pm 
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All I can go on is how good my SCM 40's sound with quality amplification and you've got that covered. So if the SCM 19's sound anything like the 40's ( they should ) you might want to seriously consider giving them an audition. On quality stands.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:49 pm 
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Wahoo, same speaker for the same number value, but in Canadian dollars = big savings:
http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/ ... =649374258


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:22 pm 
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Neat SX2

Give them a listen if you can , great speaker .


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:15 pm 
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"What I like about the arro is that it's fairly small, has decent bass and images well. I'd like more resolution and midrange sweetness while maintaining those characteristics. I've placed it about a foot and a half from the back wall facing into an open concept living/dining room.

Restrictions are bass output as I live in an apartment building. So I'm leaning towards a better monitor or small floorstander with better components as really, the arro is fairly entry level."

The new Totem Tribe Tower is what your need.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:14 am 
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Shogun wrote:
"What I like about the arro is that it's fairly small, has decent bass and images well. I'd like more resolution and midrange sweetness while maintaining those characteristics. I've placed it about a foot and a half from the back wall facing into an open concept living/dining room.

Restrictions are bass output as I live in an apartment building. So I'm leaning towards a better monitor or small floorstander with better components as really, the arro is fairly entry level."

The new Totem Tribe Tower is what your need.

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Does she come with the pair of speakers or does she just visit every now and then? :P


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:43 am 
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No one ever mentions or speaks positively of Monitor Audio?
I love my Gold 200s.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:51 am 
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Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to demo any speakers at all yet but it's on my to-do list.

Those totem tribes I'd really like to hear once available. I do wonder though how much improvement there is going to be in a driver and cabinet size that is more-or-less the same as the Arro.

Doing lots of research and the Harbeth 30.1 has really intrigued me for some reason. Might be beyond my budget though.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:15 pm 
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Fester wrote:
No one ever mentions or speaks positively of Monitor Audio?
I love my Gold 200s.

Actually, one of the most fun speakers I've demo'd in the last couple of years was the current generation Platium 100's. At the time if I wasn't still stubbornly trying to make the Harbeth SHL5's work in my system I would've bought them. They are a touch over enthusiastic in the bass department though.

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Last edited by KJT1 on Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:30 pm 
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My previous were silver 8s and they were a bit boomy. These golds are much better in my fairly small setting.

-- 03 Sep 2017 21:31 --

My previous were silver 8s and they were a bit boomy. These golds are much better in my fairly small setting.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:29 am 
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Finally had a chance to go out and spend some time auditioning some of the speakers on my list. I made some notes throughout the day which I'll expand on.

I took the Pass Labs XA30.5 and PS Audio DirectStream Jr. out with my laptop, connected via a cheap 10' Amazon USB cable using JRiver 22 for playback. A whole range of music was tested, both high quality recordings and others that I knew would/should sound like sh*t. I tried to mimic the spatial restrictions and considerations of my home in the listening rooms: ~1-1.5 feet from the back wall, ~7 feet apart opening to a large open-concept living and dining room. This list is the order in how I listened to them throughout the day.

Totem Sky Floorstander
The first thing noted about the Sky is the immense air, beautiful decay and precise imaging - I can see some folks hearing this speaker as a bit too forward or bright (I didn't). Given other Totems I've listened to, I would say that this is one of their better designs in the high-frequency range and betters the Arros. There was a bit of low end bass-roll off and low-mid bass bump but nothing overwhelming - impact was surprisingly good. The upper mids sounded a bit recessed/sucked-out to me, which I commented on, apparently an artifact of the listening room being over-dampened.

Focal Sopra No.1
I didn't spend too much time with this speaker as I found the highs a little overwhelming or crispy. The sense of air and space here was phenomenal, imaging I would characterize on-par with the Sky but after a few songs it was becoming apparent that I could not handle these long-term. Overall a very detail-orientated, tight, forward, coherent speaker that grabs your attention and doesn't let go. Microdynamics throughout the range were fantastic (minus the lowest end) so if a speaker capable of resolving absolutely everything is what you want I would seriously put these on your short-list.

Opera Seconda
These are essentially the polar-opposite of the Focals. A little wooly, very warm, but not too stuffy allowing a fairly good sense of space and clear center image. Low-end extension was very good albeit not as good as I expected given the cabinet size, I was definitely hoping for more impact. High frequencies were very easy to listen to, very smooth, but decay ended a little too abruptly and microdetail was lacking for my tastes. One thing to note versus all the other speakers here is the incredible craftmanship - nothing even remotely came close! Admittedly, I'm a sucker for a great sounding, great looking speaker. This speaker got my foot tapping early on and overall just a fun speaker! Overall this speaker would cause me to tinker too much trying to extract more detail.

Dynaudio Excite X38
Having never heard a Dynaudio speaker before, the immediate familiarity coming from and listening to many Totems was staggering. And from there the Dynaudio was a very different flavour. The frequency range was significantly more coherent, it never felt like anything was missing. Bass was tight, highs were natural, moderately-well detailed and smooth with a beautiful midrange. Imaging was ok but not great - the image was there but it could have been more solid, but instead seemed like the sound was mainly coming from speakers than converging to a center point. Decay was too short and very neutral in its presentation where I prefer for a little bit forward presentation to keep me engaged. The lack of clear imaging and overall "neutralness" left me feeling a bit bored. Perhaps a different amp or preamp could spice things up.

ATC SCM40
The ATC was another very neutral speaker and was nearly ready to roll my eyes as I started to play my first song (Norah Jones - Feelin' the same way DSD64). But as I let things play out, I became more or more engaged, getting a sense of being "there" with the musician listening live. Most notably was as soon as I put on some acoustic guitar - I was floored. The body and dimensionality that the ATC brought forth was stunning. This was another very coherent speaker, nothing felt lacking except a some impact. I suspect the closed-box design is why this is. Highs were very well defined, decay was moderate to excellent, imaging was rock solid in the middle, mids were layered and detailed and lows very acute(?).
The bass was present, I could hear it extend very low (Massive Attack - Angel anyone?) but it was very bizarre as I couldn't feel it. The ATCs are very revealing of your music played (and I suspect components too). The ATCs sounded significantly more, or less, dynamic depending on which files I played. Years ago I had a pair of nearfield studio monitors from Yamaha which triggered some familiarity. For whatever reason, I played with the EQ in JRiver and these speakers could easily be tweaked using that alone and do it accurately. Overall, this speaker is the most natural and realistic portrayal of instruments and voices with incredible body placed smack-dab in the middle. However, I think the get the most out of these I would need more power as I suspect these were not as dynamic as they could have been given my amp was being pushed out of Class A.

Verity Audio Finn
I had never heard of these Canadian speakers before but were brought in for a try. The cabinets are stunningly beautiful and very efficient relative to everything else at 91db. However this was the shortest audition (close to the Focals) because the highs were just too overwhelming. Either the audio designs of the speaker didn't agree with me or the synergy with my gear was missing but things ended quickly here. Maybe a SET tube amp would fair better for my tastes. I listened to a few songs but couldn't get over how overwhelming the top-end was, which could be characterized as incredibly detailed, forward very airy, textured but seemed to be lacking body and weight. If you enjoy the Focal Sopras and looking for some competition, try these as they might be right up your alley.

Harbeth Super HL Plus
Quite a contrast from the Finn, this was about the polar opposite again. I knowHarbeths are renowned for their vocal reproduction so I queued these up immediately and with female voices, I was not left wanting anything, but male voices seemed a little stuffy. Overall, voices were silky smooth with just enough detail to feel that I wasn't missing anything but the smallest of microdetail. Decay of instruments was a little short, imaging was very solid in the middle, and acoustic guitar had a wonderful weight behind it. I can see why these are often referred to as "polite". The bass seemed to stop a little too short and not getting quite low enough, and lacking impact. If I had any negatives, it's that I wish these were a bit more engaging and had more air to notes. It got me thinking that my tube preamp with some RCA Cleartops or Teles could open these up a touch. I spent a surprisingly long time with these, not because I absolutely loved them but because I just enjoyed listening to music on them. Going through the songs I was looking to pick things apart but ended up listening, almost singing along. I'd like to go back and listen to more Harbeths and fortunately the dealer had the 30.1 and 40.1 as well.

Raidho XT-1 Stand Mount
This little guy was on the showroom floor and only heard it in passing on what looked like a Hegel H80 or Hegel H160. This thing was incredibly musical, VERY detailed but for me, just smooth enough not to be irritating like the Focals or Veritys. Imaging was pinpoint and music seemed just flow. I walked throughout the store, standing in the "sweet spot" to being way behind or off to the left, and these things filled the whole showroom with a beautiful and engaging sound that never had me feeling like I was missing anything. Someone was auditioning them and potentially bought them so I didn't get a chance to listen. The low-end was surprising given the size but not overall fulfilling. The price on these is staggering as the cabinet is smaller than a 12-pack of beer but retail at ~$7,500.

I was very eager to try some Audio Note speakers but the dealer said they're probably too efficient and recommends them generally for tube guys. Unfortunate but c'est la vie.

Going forward, I'd like to try some Totem Forest Signatures, Monitor Audio Platinum 100 II, more Harbeths and ATC, with and without my gear to check on capabilities and synergy of gear. Maybe even cart my Arros around to do direct A/B comparisons because I hate taking home a bunch of gear, because as a younger guy, I usually get grief if I don't buy things. The point of going from an Arro up to say a Hawk or equiv. price range has made me realize that I don't want to spend money if it's not a significant upgrade. This will likely be a journey to finding the right one as I'm not keen on buying and selling a bunch of stuff to see how I feel about it. One dealer made me chuckle as we got chatting about this somehow, which turned into him trying to tell me about all the things I will be buying from him in the future.

Thanks for reading.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:18 am 
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Great write up. There is nothing better than getting out and listening for yourself.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:59 am 
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msommers wrote:
Doing lots of research and the Harbeth 30.1 has really intrigued me for some reason. Might be beyond my budget though.


I would add the Graham LS5/9 to your list - from my listening they are a more open with more clarity than the Harbeth.

Another set of speaker to consider with your Pass are the Devore Super8s of Nines.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:01 pm 
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Thank you for the suggestions!

I'm reading up on the Graham Audio and it seems like that could honestly be a great balance of relaxing yet not bored, plus a little easier to drive than the Harbeths. Is Audio Nation the only Canadian dealer?


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