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Speaker Suggestions for 2 channel?

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34 replies to this topic

#1 of 35 OFFLINE   HowardGjr


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Posted April 11 2003 - 10:19 AM

All, I'm just starting to think about adding a two channel system to my house. I'm pretty much starting from scratch with a speaker budget of somewhere south of 2K. Used speakers are just fine by me. Question 1: Can you guys help with provide some speaker suggestsions for me to audition? Question 2: What are advantages/disadvantages of two way vs. three way speakers? Here are some details: 1. I don't have the room (nor am I typically a big fan) of floor standing speakers. I'm looking for monitors. 2. I tend to like warm better than detailed. 3. I like silk dome tweeters. 4. They are going to be on stands in a living room. 5. I listen to mostly jazz and female vocals. 6. I don't hate subwoofers. I'd being willing to add one if I could find one that was "musical." The cost of the subwoofer would not have to come out of the speaker budget. 7. I would like them to look reasonbly nice. Take care. Howard

#2 of 35 OFFLINE   John Gates

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Posted April 11 2003 - 10:43 AM

Hi Howard, Well, I think you've come to a good place to be asking these questions. Though I am not overly qualified, I'll take a shot. Two way vs. three way monitors... well, the advantage of 3-way might be dynamics, the disadvantage of 3-way may well be imaging and other issues because the crossover must be correctly designed. Many speaker manufacturers have accomplished this, but you generally have to pay some good bucks to find a well-designed 3-way that will please. Secondly, recommendations will be from all over the place unless you can suggest a budget. My recommendations: 1. The VMPS RM-2. I have not heard these yet, but I sure would like to. 2. The nOrh 9.0 (there are a few of these on sale on Audiogon right now for an absolute steal). $1500 used per pair with solid black marble cabinets. Yummm. Those are medium-range in price. Performance will likely depend a lot on the quality of your upstream electronics. Good luck, and have fun in the hunt. Budget??? John G
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#3 of 35 OFFLINE   BobAlbano


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Posted April 11 2003 - 12:26 PM

I would check out the new Onix Reference 1's. I purchased them in February and have done numerous shootouts with some pretty nice speakers and the Ref 1's have more than held their own.





These should get you started in learning about the Ref 1's and the splash they are going to make once they are actually released in a couple weeks.
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#4 of 35 OFFLINE   John A. Casler

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Posted April 11 2003 - 01:39 PM

I would second John's VMPS RM2 suggestion, except they are floor standers, so the 626R from VMPS would work in its place.

I have also heard the Ref 1s, will audition them more in a couple weeks. They are definatley good speakers (nice finishes).

If you are a serious listener VMPS. Very few speakers can beat the resolution of the ribbons.

For more casual listening there are any number of candidates.

For my tastes, I prefer limited dispersion (to reduce room interaction) and solid flat response. You mentioned that you like "warm" and that might be another reason to look at the 626R. It has both treble and midrange adjustments so that you can "blend" your lows, mids, and highs according to taste, room and electronics.

for a picture look here: http://www.audiocirc....=2007&start=20

The reason I know this is, I have the VMPS RM40 and also as an audio consultant, I place them with my clients along with about 25-30 other brands.

So I would place both of the previously mentioned speakers (626R and Onix Ref 1) high on the list.

As far as electronics, they have to be clean and quality or else these speakers will let you know "how the electronics sound" and you don't want to hear that.

You want "silence and signal" and that's it.

Good luck,

John Casler
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#5 of 35 OFFLINE   Hugh Nguyen

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Posted April 11 2003 - 01:48 PM

Howard, I agree with John. Also, drop me an email or PM, I may be able to help. Hugh

#6 of 35 OFFLINE   Doug BW

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Posted April 11 2003 - 02:01 PM

The Harbeth Compact 7ES-2's are monitors that are very neutral and have a beautiful midrange. They do exceptionally well with acoustic music such as jazz and female vocals.

I'd suggest trying to listen to as many speakers in your price range as you can without worrying too much about the technology, i.e., the crossover or the tweeter composition. It's really the overall sound that matters, not how the speaker designer managed to create it.

#7 of 35 OFFLINE   John A. Casler

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Posted April 11 2003 - 02:05 PM

Hey Hugh,

When are you gonna come by and hear the RM40s. Better do it before you get something elsePosted Image

All the best,

John Casler
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#8 of 35 OFFLINE   Hugh Nguyen

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Posted April 11 2003 - 03:23 PM

Hi John, Is this an open invitation? If so, just tell when and where via pm then I'll come running. Thanks again. Hugh

#9 of 35 OFFLINE   Chris Tsutsui

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Posted April 11 2003 - 08:46 PM

[quote] What are advantages/disadvantages of two way vs. three way speakers? [quote]
Here's my 50 cent:

2 ways allow a much simpler crossover design which means you can have less components filtering the signal path to the drivers and possibly some better signal definition. They also usually have a higher crossover point than in 3-ways.

2 ways have 1 crossover point which simplifies the designing and it's usually between a tweeter and a mid range. Since there's no big woofer, 2 ways generally don't extend as deep as 3 ways. For 2 ways to play bass, you need a mid range that can play deep and move a lot of air. The larger the woofer it may not be able to play the mid range and vocals as well as a "faster" smaller woofer.

3 ways need the integration/overlapping of 3 drivers. The goal is for it to sound seemless which can be harder to design in a 3 way than a 2 way. A benefit of 3 ways is you don't need to pay high dollars for drivers that can cover wider ranges of frequencies.

HT usually has receivers that crossover at 80hz. Technology allows midranges to easily extend down that low so 2-ways can be used for full range with a subwoofer. 3-ways or 4-ways can be designed as full range speakers. The problem with this is you don't get to play with moving the subwoofer around in the room to optimize bass because it affects imaging/soundstage.

Am I rambling? I'll guess I'll stop.
In conclusion, I'll say go with 2.5 ways. Posted Image

#10 of 35 OFFLINE   Yousaf


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Posted April 11 2003 - 09:51 PM

The GR-Research Criterions have been reviewed rather favorably. They did mention you need some power to get them going though (sensitivity is only 85 dB). If you don't feel like building them yourself you can even order them prebuilt, and they should come in well under your $2000 limit.

#11 of 35 OFFLINE   Henry_W


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Posted April 12 2003 - 12:38 AM

Excellent write up Chris - a good layman definition. I agree with all Chris says except the signal definition first paragraph. While three ways introduce more parts with no change in error probability, the chance for failure of a part increases (however, statistically this is a minor event for the single unit). I cannot see better signal definition based on the type of design (2, 2.5, 3 way) but more on the quality of the components. As to the original question - I like the dynamics of a good three way, however, I am a horn/detail fan and three ways are more common. Unfortunately the warmth of good cones has only impressed me in several floor standers, so I don't have a monitor recommendation. Have fun in your search - Several very knowledgable folks on this board should be very helpful...

#12 of 35 OFFLINE   John A. Casler

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Posted April 12 2003 - 05:49 AM

[quote] Is this an open invitation?

If so, just tell when and where via pm then I'll come running. Thanks again. [quote]

Get your running shoes on, YGM. Posted Image

John Casler
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#13 of 35 OFFLINE   Bry_DD


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Posted April 12 2003 - 06:28 AM

For under 2k you'll be able to get the Revel M20.

#14 of 35 OFFLINE   HowardGjr


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Posted April 12 2003 - 12:23 PM

Guys, Thanks for all the replys. Alot of good information to digest. I was hoping to get out this weekend an listen but work interferes. I really appreciate the explanation on the 2 way vs. 3 way in language even I can understand. In case it wasn't clear from my original post, I'm looking at a budget of 2000 or less for the speakers (not counting a subwoofer). Two way sound more like it would be more likely to provide the sound I'm going after (even with the pain of integrating the subwoofer). Of course, I'll have to listen to the actual speakers before I can comment further. FWIW...I hear much more variation in speakers than electronics. I've got Rotel HT equipment that I'm happy with so I will probably go in that direction. Take care. Howard

#15 of 35 OFFLINE   Scott_N


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Posted April 14 2003 - 02:53 AM

Dali and Opera make great speakers in that price range. Also the Tetra Kid it retails at $2400 but you may talk a dealer down or find it used.

#16 of 35 OFFLINE   george king

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Posted April 14 2003 - 04:03 AM

well, Danny at GR Research has developed a MTM (mid - tweet -mid) of the ribbon based Criterion. He really likes it, and some others who have heard it really liked it, so maybe you could check it out.

#17 of 35 OFFLINE   JamesCB


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Posted April 14 2003 - 04:21 AM


I'm don't know if ther is a Phase Technology dealer in your area, but the requirements you need fill the bill well. I have a Full surround setup with PC9.1's, a PC3.1's. These have silk dome tweeters and midranges. I also listen to alot of jazz and this is th reason I chose these. Granted the 9.1's are mid size floor standers, But the 3.1's can be used as main channels as well as a center. In 2 channel the sound is warm, but highly detailed. Each instrument and sound is totally seperate from any other. Great speakers for jazz, especially vocal detail. Very natural sounding. Since I got these, I found myself really listening to the music and not hearing the speakers. Check out the web site.www.phasetech.com

#18 of 35 OFFLINE   Tom Grooms

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Posted April 14 2003 - 05:41 AM

For under $2000 you can find some really nice Dynaudio's. The new Contour's are now on the street and that has a flush of 1.3 MKII's ($1100-$1400) and 1.3 SE's (right at $2000) on the used market. If you can get some quality amplification, I don't imagine you could do much better that the 1.3 SE for under $2K. Do a search for Dynaudio here http://www.audiogon.com


#19 of 35 OFFLINE   Walt Park

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Posted April 14 2003 - 07:51 AM

I'll 3rd something from GR. I have the criterions, and even without blackhole installed yet, I think they sound better than the Dynaudio 1.3's (not sure if the ones were mkII or se), which are quite nice sounding monitors. The Criterions do require alot of juice. My amp is an 85 wpc blue circle SS, and it's not quite enuf. I got to try them on Jerry's 200wpc tube amp, and they sounded better with the tubes and more power. The 1.3 is 86dB sensitive, so not much more efficient than the criterions. The MTM Gr is called the diluceo.


They are apparently much more efficient, and "better". On the second page of that, someone compares them to his 1.3se's favorably. There's supposed to be a wisconsin area demo of the Diluceo's sometime that I really hope to attend.

I'm pretty happy with my Criterions, and Brian Bunge's work on the cabinets was very nice. The criterions are very neutral with the stock cross over, or you can tune it to your tastes by changing the resistor values across the tweeter to get a brighter/warmer/etc sound without really losing the imaging/soundstage which is imho very impressive.

If you consider DIY/kits in this mix, I wouldnt hesistate recommending the GR stuff, which would still leave you enough to get a decent DIY sub kit and be under the $2k mark.

I never tell people what my speakers are since alot of my friends would think I'm insane, and being still naked cabinets, they dont think they are expensive, but I've had 3 people that just heard them in the background tell me that they think it's time for them to get new stereo stuff. Granted they are not all audiophiles listening but two of them were professional musicians. It's impressive to me that 3 people in the last 4 months have been so impressed by background/dinner kind of music that they felt a need to get new equiptment themselves. Then they freak when I put on something detailed, and they sit in the hot seat. Posted Image

#20 of 35 OFFLINE   glenn.arsenault


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Posted April 14 2003 - 08:45 AM

Listen to some ProAc Response 1sc's if you can. Then buy them used, you can ususally find a good set used on Audiogon.com for < $2K.

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