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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:35 pm 
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So I've dabbled in a few speakers and still feel I haven't completely reached the apex of listening. I was hoping those who have extensive listening experience can comment on where I could go next.
My budget is $5000-7000

The speakers that came closest to perfection for me were:
Sonus Faber Cremona m
Harbeth shl5+
Harbeth M30.1
Quad Esl63
Quad esl57

The quads are the closest for me. With the Shl5+ close but no cigar. The quad 63s are close to perfection but the bass is lacking. I would think quad 2905 or 2912 would make sense. Any suggestions? Tannoy? Magnepan?

The speakers should be suited first and foremost for Bach choral music.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:53 pm 
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Have you auditioned Graham Audio monitors? Depending on your electronics and the size of your room you might fall in love with them.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:22 pm 
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Have you tried anything with a ribbon tweeter like a RAAL? One really nice speaker I heard for choral was the Tannoy Turnberry GR, not too sure about used prices. A fellow hobbyist I know almost exclusively listens to similar music and went with Philharmonic speakers.

If you just want no BS sound for many genres ATC SCM 40's fit in your budget range. I may have some Salk Song 3's coming soon to provide feedback on.

If you ever pass through the interior I can arrange some speaker demos.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:11 am 
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malthuse wrote:
So I've dabbled in a few speakers and still feel I haven't completely reached the apex of listening. I was hoping those who have extensive listening experience can comment on where I could go next.
My budget is $5000-7000

The speakers that came closest to perfection for me were:
Sonus Faber Cremona m
Harbeth shl5+
Harbeth M30.1
Quad Esl63
Quad esl57

The quads are the closest for me. With the Shl5+ close but no cigar. The quad 63s are close to perfection but the bass is lacking. I would think quad 2905 or 2912 would make sense. Any suggestions? Tannoy? Magnepan?

The speakers should be suited first and foremost for Bach choral music.


All good choices depending on the size and acoustics of your listening room. I listen to classical mostly in a large "acoustically dead" room and I am happy with M30.1's. Do lots of listening before you buy.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:25 am 
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Location: North Vancouver, BC, CA
Thanks for the responses.

I haven't heard Graham, Raal, or Philharmonic. Which is great, as I'm looking for suggestions that might not be on my radar.

I was looking at the Turnberry as a relatively cheapest way to get into the Tannoy prestige line.

Thanks for the offer for the listen, I'll keep it in mind. You never know, maybe those impacts will be the bees knees.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:32 am 
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Well there is nothing like Quads.

If you've been enamored by the Quad philosophy. No conventional speaker at $4-5K will come close. It depends on your sonic priorities. Many audiophiles have been conditioned to appreciate bloated bass or other anomalies and have difficulty with what Quads do well.

The leading edge and quickness of the Quad will make other speakers seem harsh and hifi the shape and separation of instruments on this speaker cannot be matched with lesser designs.

They will not produce much defined bass below 40hz but then most box speakers can't really do this appropriately either without a significant investment. Be prepared to live with them for a while to appreciate what is wrong with conventional hifi.

For conventional speakers to approach what Quads do well you will have to more than double or triple your budget.

For Quads as long as you have enough space behind the speakers 3' is minimum - side to sidewall does not affect them much. I have had the USA monitors and still keep the ESLs all have been rebuilt professionally. This is important- to have a properly working pair.

I have heard the 2905/12- the 2912 will give more bass energy not necessarily go lower. You need the room for them. The ESLs are theoretically much more compromised but wow - when they are done right with the correct amplification and nearfield you will be astounded with what they can do. As good as the purity of the mid-range of 63/2905 types is ( its better than most boxes).. the ESL an order of magnitude superior to that.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:48 am 
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What about other planers? Would magnepan, soundlab, king, apogee, Martin Logan compare? I heard a pair of 3.7i and was less than impressed.

Nkj1, I have both 57s and 63s so I get where you're coming from. I was considering getting a couple of magnepan bass panels to augment the quads instead of going the 2905 route.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:12 am 
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I owned the Sonus Faber Cremona M floorstanders for a few years. Great all round speaker. Easy to listen to for extended time. They do need quality source and amplification and a lot of space around them otherwise the bass can sound a bit bloated.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:15 am 
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If it's choral music you're primarily interested in, how deep do you really need the bass?
I heard maggie bass panels with quads once, a long time ago. While I can't remember the details, I do recall not caring for the combo. The owner loved the set up, but I thought there was an integration problem.

I think you're going to run into budget issues to be honest. Your speakers are already at a level where any genuine and noticeable improvement is going to cost more than another speaker in the $5000-$7000 range. Can you sell all the speakers you own, put the proceeds together with your $5000-$7000 and buy big; maybe Martin Logan Renaissance ESLs?

By the way, what amp(s) are you using?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:22 am 
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Gotta keep the quads. Frankly $7000 is pushing it so I'm more like $5k. I find the quads can sound a little thin in the lower mids. Cellos, bass singers. Somewhere in the 40-150 hz range. It's not a major deal though. Maybe I'm being nit picky.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:40 am 
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malthuse wrote:
What about other planers? Would magnepan, soundlab, king, apogee, Martin Logan compare? I heard a pair of 3.7i and was less than impressed.

Nkj1, I have both 57s and 63s so I get where you're coming from. I was considering getting a couple of magnepan bass panels to augment the quads instead of going the 2905 route.


Hi there ,

You have a good perspective then. I know that the web is full of why integration of sub with a electrostatic is difficult at best- however, modern designed subs in my experiments are so much better than what was available years ago. Integration is not easy but possible with some of the higher end designs. I like the REL and JL audio is another brand that is great. Be prepared to spend thousands per piece to get it right though.

With regard to other planars. Sound Labs are my favourite from your list. Very expensive, well out of your budget- if you can afford them run don't walk. They are probably the finest electrostatics produced today.

I am not Magnaplanar fan. They are relatively inexpensive, do a lot of things well. The quality of the amplification for them is grossly expensive and has to be solid state. I don't like the artifacts I hear with them either- when you hear a good electrostatic you know what I mean.

Every speaker has compromises, Quads included. You need to listen to see what you will accept. I went through that exercise over many years. I landed on accepting the Quad compromises against the cost of spending $30K or more on a box speaker that will approach the Quad's purity and extend at either end of the spectrum.

Now I run Beveridge electrostatics, and keep the ESLs as well. The Beveridge's take what the Quads do well add practically a floor to ceiling line source with some incredible psycho-acoustic design in the form of its dispersion lens and takes the electrostatic experience to another level. That system becomes crazy complex with direct drive tubes to the panels and no step up or step down transformers with bi-amping.

Again, if your sonic priorities are met the big Quads 2912 variants are unbeatable at the price. Listen the best you can to solidify if they are right for you.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:46 am 
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Have never owned any panels so I have no opinion on them but I did own a pair of Harbeth SHL5's and spent a pile of money on electronics before realizing that at least for me the speakers are flawed. They do midrange like crazy but the bass always seemed uncontrolled and sloppy. And I found the highs a little too aggressive ( maybe the super tweeter? ). Bought a pair of the ATC SCM 40's that James mentioned and problem solved. At first I thought they were a little shy on midrange until I realized that the truth was that they do bass and treble every bit as well so nothing jumps out at you like the Harbeths, just wonderfully balanced sound across the board. And I do listen to a fair bit of choral music and they handle it with ease. My two cents...
Good luck in your hunt.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:45 am 
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Hi,

malthuse wrote: 'The speakers should be suited first and foremost for Bach choral music.'

The speakers you already listed in the original post are all excellent recognizing that each has certain inherent limitations. Frankly it will be impossible to find any speaker that does not have some inherent limitations, no matter what the price. You are already at the outer limits of audiphildom where you just have to know that imperfection limits always exist and not let them get on your nerves.

The ATC 40s mentioned above should be added to your list as well as possibly, depending on your room and whether you can corner load the speakers, the Audio Note J model with silver wiring and Hemp cones. You might be surprised by this one, but they are a $10K alternative.

BUT, I would strongly urge you to stay away from any fantastic absolute sound, flavour of the month, large expensive super-sonic show demo type furniture speakers designed primarily to wow the wanna-be's and knock the eyes out of the bourgeoisie. Your original list is all the more impressive because it excludes all such types. Stick with that instinct like glue.

Cheers,
David Neice

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:24 am 
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I have Coherent GR 12 speakers and a good variety of music including choral, classical , chanting etc. If you get over to V.I. and wanted to listen it would be no problem. I am not using the preferred tube amp but am using a solid state int. Not saying these would work for you but it can't hurt to listen.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:46 am 
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A few important things to consider.

1. Room acoustics. Many under estimate how their listening space affects sound. Implement some sound materials in the room. This can greatly enhance sound by correcting dips in frequencies etc.

2. Use of subwoofers / subwoofer crossover. Fill in the lower end by correct implementation of subwoofers. I recommend two small subs vs one large one. This works for every type of music. I was first surprised how often my subs would kick in with classical, but when one thinks about the dynamic range and orchestral movements in classical it no longer comes as a surprise.

3. Speaker placement. For example, sometimes toeing in a couple of inches can make a significant difference in sound quality in the "sweet" listening area.

4. EQ of left and rights mains. Aside from EQ of subs, EQ applied to main speakers can also make a difference. Another consideration is electronic room correction, such as ARC offered by Anthem.

5. Pre-amp / Amp. Can make a significant difference in sound.

Some of the above may be considered basic by experienced audio folk, but I've found it's easy to forget these items and focus on one area, such as the acquisition of new speakers, without investigating or taking the above into account. Good luck, and I hope this is helpful.

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