Need Speaker Recommendations for Pianist

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by John:P, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. John:P

    John:P Auditioning

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    First post here. Thanks for your input in advance.

    I am looking for some advice on purchasing a pair of stereo speakers for a family member who is a pianist. She is a piano teacher who does a fair amount of critical listening to students and other teachers recordings as well as other classical recordings. She only wants to spend around $1000 however she said she could go a bit higher if she found something that she really liked. I'm guessing she probably wants to spend no more than $1300 or so. So, that is the first criteria. The second criteria is that she be able to listen to her own music on the pair of speakers before purchasing. I have checked the websites of the home theatre stores near to us and the following speaker manufacturers are available: Energy, JM Labs, James, Paradigm, Mirage, PMC, Revel, Speakercraft, Bagend, Klipsch, Magnepan, Reference3A, Sennheiser, B&W, Thiel, Wilson Audio, Definitive Technology, Bose, Boston, and M&K.

    It would be preferable that the speakers be bookshelf sized as that is where her current speakers are located. But, she could probably be swayed otherwise if we found something that was not a bookshelf sized speaker.

    Any input would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    You might also want to consider Ohm micro towers in that price range. For classical piano they're quite special.
    http://www.ohmacoustics.com/styles_microwalsh.cfm
    You can't go to a store to listen, but they have 120 day in home trial....not happy, send em back

    Mort
     
  3. Alan Pummill

    Alan Pummill Screenwriter

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    John,

    I live north of Cincinnati and have a pair of Magnepan 1.6 speakers that reproduces piano very, very well. I would be happy to audition these for her. They are listed in the link below for $1250. You can contact me with email or PM here at the HTF.

    http://hometheaterforum.com/htforum/...hreadid=247920
     
  4. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Realistic music reproduction? That's easy....Magnepans [​IMG]

    Magnepan MMGs factory direct (w/ in-home 60 day trial) $550.....then use the rest of the budget on a good, clean, 2-channel amp.

    PS. Maggies reproduce everything else realistically, too [​IMG]
     
  5. Alan Pummill

    Alan Pummill Screenwriter

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    Hey Z,

    I'm trying to sell my 1.6's here....and if they buy the stands also, I will throw in those casters so she can move them out of the way when not in use!!

    Tell'em how great the 1.6's are!!!!

    PS, they're from Ohio so I could make that local sale I'm wanting to make!!
     
  6. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    lol....well the 1.6s are clearly a step up from the MMGs....no doubt about it!
     
  7. Leigh_M

    Leigh_M Stunt Coordinator

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    You just described my wife! You really need to take her to listen to the speakers. Have her take some recordings that she is very familiar with. When we went listening we took a classical piece, jazz instrumental, and both male and female vocals. My wife's opinions were:

    Vienna Acoustics: Nice but nothing special
    B&W: She hated these!
    Paradigm: She liked these and had them in an old music room
    Energy: Very good value. Bought these for her last music room
    Boston: Loved these!! We own them at home.
     
  8. John:P

    John:P Auditioning

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    Thanks for the recommendations so far. I have heard Maggies before and thought they might be the best fit for my family member, but really haven't spent much time in the past number of years listening to any newer speakers. We're in Columbus BTW and have a local dealer who sells Mangnepans, so we can audition them there. But, I'm always up for a good deal on good used speakers (hint hint Alan).

    Mort - thanks for the recommendation on the Ohm micro speakers. I'll take a look at these. Where can I find other feedback about these speakers?

    Leigh - will definitely check out the Boston's to see what they have to offer. Thanks.
     
  9. Alan Pummill

    Alan Pummill Screenwriter

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    John,

    I bought some demo 3.6's last week from my dealer here in Cincy. I would be willing to let my 1.6's and Mye Sound custom stands go for a total of $1400. That is the very best that I can do.

    Here are some pictures: http://www.integracoustics.com/MUG/MUG/pix/HTFer/

    Whats nice about having those casters on the stands is that these speakers can be rolled out of the way when not in use. And they will portray a life size rendering of piano music. Of course you will also get the original maggie feet and the brass cones for the custom stand.

    I could have already sold these speakers if I would been willing to ship them, but I would have to buy a box from Magnepan, and I really don't want to ship them.

    Shoot me an email and let's talk!! [​IMG]
     
  10. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    John: Even though I'm an avid Maggie fan, if you look through my past posts there are only certain times when I recommend them. The key to having Maggies is the ability to have a good clean amplifier to mate with them. A receiver just won't cut it.....you'd be doing yourself an injustice going in that direction. Alan P's Maggies and Mye stands will absolutely knock your socks off, but ONLY if you can afford to budget in a good amp that puts out at LEAST 100 wpc into 8ohms, and is stable into 4 ohms. You can easily find some excellent choices on a place like Audiogon.com or even Ebay, but please don't discount the importance of this. If you are able to demo Maggies with the right gear, I can almost bet that they will be absolutely perfect for what you're trying to accomplish. Just remember it's a two part equation.

    There are reasons why the majority of Maggie owners keep their speakers for YEARS.....they are really that good, especially if you're looking for natural music reproduction. I just want you to be aware of the fact that they need the amp, too [​IMG]
     
  11. John:P

    John:P Auditioning

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    AlanZ - Thanks for the info about pairing the Maggies with a suitable amp. I was thinking about that earlier today, so you answered a question I was thinking of posting. Do you have any suggestions for quality clean amps that might fit into my family member's budget? I know she was thinking of getting a stereo amplifier at Best Buy (before you panic about this, she was given a very large gift card from the parents of her piano students as a Christmas gift and one of the parents thought Best Buy would be the perfect place to purchase a great pair of speakers from - which is quite laughable. To be fair, she feels like she needs to at least get something for her new audio setup from them even though I have offered her numerous other options as to what to do with the gift card). Although I know a lot of people believe in quality amps for their speakers over the mass-marketed products that you find in places like Best Buy, I have never been able to do a side-by-side comparison of "cheap-but-workable-receiver" vs "quality clean amps". I'm hoping we can do so in our endavours, but I'm hoping to get some recommendations from all of you as well. Let me know what you think.
     
  12. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    John: I just made a call over to Best Buy since I know they have their new "Magnolia Home Theater" department. They literally do not carry a single stereo amplifier. They do have some better choices with regard to speakers than they used to, though, so if she really needs to use the gift card for the purchase then she could probably find something to her liking. If she doesn't need to do the whole thing on the gift card, what I'd recommend is using it to get a decent stereo receiver that has pre-out connections on the back. Essentially what that would enable her to do would be to use the receiver as a preamp, and then connect a better stereo amp to the receiver, bypassing the amp portion of the receiver.

    There are a lot of people on the forum who do purchase their speakers from places like Best Buy and are very happy with them though, so please don't take it as though I'm crapping all over their stuff. I just have a feeling that if we're talking natural and life-like reproduction of instruments, the Maggies will do that better than just about anything else. That's clearly their strong suit.

    The closest thing Best Buy would have to the Maggies would be Martin Logans.....but they are very pricey. I've never been a huge fan of them, especially since discovering Magnepan a year and a half ago, but a lot of people love them. I'd say as far as the goal you're trying to achieve, those would be your best bet from Best Buy.

    Hope that helps [​IMG]

    Oh, almost forgot your other question.....as far as some good 2-channel amps, I'd say if you could find a good used amp from a company like Rotel, Parasound, or Outlaw - preferably where there is a transferrable warranty involved - you'd be good to go. There is also a company called Odyssey Audio....some of their 2-channel amps pop up on the used market from time to time, and that would be excellent choice, too. But you should be able to find something quite sufficient for $500 or less.
     
  13. John:P

    John:P Auditioning

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    Your Best Buy sells Martin Logan speakers? None of the stores in Columbus sell anything like that I can assure you. We went to one of their stores just the other day and heard some Klipsch speakers which were probably their best product line offered, but we were unimpressed by them. This store had no way of allowing customers to listen to their own music CD's and was placed adjacent to the car audio section. Of course, the teenagers in the store had cranked up the bass so loud, all you could hear was badly distorted low frequency sounds reverberating inside your bones. It was an awful setup. We came away thinking even less of Best Buy. My family member is probably getting a new refrigerator from them with part of the gift card, but might still have some leftover for a stereo amplifier. The only stereo amp they had in this store was a Sony 200WPC model for about $149. I believe it's on their website if you're interested in looking at it.
     
  14. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    I just saw the Martin Logans advertised on the website for the Magnolia Theater part.....I didn't ask my local guy if he carried them. I've herad them quite a bit here at one of the local home theater shops. They have quite a following, I've just always found them a bit harsh and somewhat fatiguing. They sure are nice to look at, though!

    A 200 wpc Sony amp for $149 might be something to pick up and play with if you went the Maggie route.....just make sure it's stable into 4 ohms or it'll start clipping and subsequently blowing Maggie fuses right and left, lol.

    By the way, another very good company to look for on the used market is Anthem.....their amps are typically rated down to 2ohms and very stable. Nice, clean current and very suitable for Maggies [​IMG] In fact, I tell you what else I'd consider is an older B&K model. If you want to go on the cheap but get a killer amp, try to find an old ST-140. I absolutely love that company, and you could find that model for under $200 probably.....
     
  15. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    http://6moons.com/audioreviews/walsh/micro.html

    This is a pretty good article/review of the entire Walsh concept. Its either eopinions or eacoustics (can't recall off hand) that has quite a few user feedbacks on these as well...all pretty favorable. They'll work well with an everyday receiver and (from the older models I'm familiar with) the drivers are pretty full range.

    Good hunting

    Mort
     
  16. Alan Pummill

    Alan Pummill Screenwriter

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    Z,

    I sent you a very timely PM!!
     
  17. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    You're starting to move into circles beyond my means, but for an actual amplifier, you/she might want to look into Crown MacroTech or QSC or some of the other heavy power amps - particularly if the "Maggies" as above really need that.

    At my lower end of the spectrum, I've seen what happens when you plug a weak amplifier into a "hog" of a speaker, and it ain't pretty (the poor li'l Sony amp just rolled right over and started pushing up daisys when I pluged two NHT SuperZeros into it..)

    Leo Kerr
     
  18. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Of the ones you listed, I'd go listen to the Maggies, the JM Labs offerings and Thiel. Possibly B&W and Paradigm as well. It might be worth looking around for an NHT dealer to see if they have the new Three.

    I'd also have to throw in the Ascend Acoustics CMT-340 or the new SE version.
     
  19. John:P

    John:P Auditioning

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    AlanZ - Thanks for the recommendations on amps for the Maggies. I will definitely keep these in mind as we begin our search. I'm hoping we can get out this weekend and do some listening.
     
  20. John:P

    John:P Auditioning

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    Mort - Thanks for the link to the review on the Ohm Acoustics speakers. It was a very good read. Although it might be a hard sell for my family member to purchase speakers she hasn't heard, she might really enjoy the omni-directional nature of these speakers and the size of them. The 120-day in-home trial is definitely appealing as well.
     

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