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Better for HT: Sonus Faber vs. B&W Nautilus vs. MartinLogan? (1 Viewer)

Arnel Enero

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Just a survey...

I am wondering which of these (my top 3 favorites under $10K, with the most preferred on top of list) do you prefer for HT:

1. Sonus Faber Home system (Grand Piano Home, Solo, Concerto Home, Gravis) - here costs $6000

2. B&W Nautilus system (N804, HTM2, N805, ASW4000) - here costs $9900

3. MartinLogan system (Ascent, Cinema, Scenario, Descent) - here costs $9500

My preference also considers the value for money, and performance on high-resolution music (such as multi-channel SACD).

And if your best choice is not one of these, kindly tell us your "preferred system under $10K".
 

rodneyH

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May 22, 2001
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WOW, all 3 of those have such a different "characteristic" sound, waaaaaay different, almost to the point that I don't think you could have picked 3 more polar opposites.

I like B&W myself (that don't mean you should), if you like the B&W sound, also look into Revel and Theil which all have somewhat similar characteristics. Open, forward and accurate.

I don't particularly like MLs (but some people absolutely love them, you maybe one). They sound a bit more "clinical" in nature to me.

Sonus sound a little bit more "dark" to me, but a great speaker for those that like that sound

Good luck, I would listen before you buy and let yourself be the judge.
 

Tyson

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For pure HT, B&W is probably best if you are going to have more than 1 or 2 people in the room, as it will have a wider sweet spot than the ML's. However, the ML's are bipolar radiators, and some people just LOVE how 'stats sound. But the trade off is a narrow sweet spot (although ML is not as bad as some other 'stat speakers).

The SF, IMO, are overpriced and underperforming. Dynaudio is a better alternative, or Dunlavy, which would best all the other choices here.
 

rodneyH

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if you like the "smooth" sound of the Dunleavys and Dynaudio, also look at Totem.
 

Kevin T

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i demoed a pair of ml aeons and ascents for about an hour and half a few weeks ago. they struck me as being very transparent in the vocal range and upper frequencies but they were just too flat in the bottom end. they seemed to be devoid of any dynamics and the soundstage wasn't very wide. they really do have a narrow sweet spot. a good sub would help round out the lack of dynamics but i don't think anything can fix the soundstage. oddly, i felt the aeons outperformed the ascents but that might have just been room conditions / different electronics.

kevin t
 

Mike Main

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I have personally heard the Martin and B&Ws and both sound great. I have CDM 7nts and love them. Between the 2 its personal prefernce regarding looks and their sound. I mean you are buying a speaker over $1000, so it will sound good. I was in a showroom watching Family Man with Watt Puppies. Hell yes it was great but not much difference than a $10k alternative, but then again its HT not music.

You cant go wrong with either.

Mike
 

Arnel Enero

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Oh, here's the point of my survey, btw...
In fact, I've already STARTED building a system built around Sonus Faber speakers. However, I only got Concertino Home for now, and planning to carry on with the Grand Piano Home, then the rest. So it's not too late to change my mind until I completed the system (my friend can't take his eyes away from my gorgeous Concertino Homes anyway, so I can sell it to him if I choose the other paths).
I posted this survey because I wanted to know if you guys think I'm on the right track here... I want to know all the pros and cons of these in the context of HT.
Why don't I just trust what I hear in the demo? Well, reason is quite simple really. The local stockists of these are only able to demo them by stereo PAIRS, using MUSIC ONLY. So I would need to count on your opinions about their performance in HOME THEATER, as a whole 5.1 speaker SYSTEM. :)
So, my preference of Sonus Faber is in fact solely based on their musical performance during my auditioning.
Thanks to all responses.
 

Mike Main

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I hera ya.

If a the speakers sound good with music, I dont think there would be any reason they wouldn't sound great with HT. The only problem one might have is basss response. So buy a sub to take care of that and all will be good.

Mike
 

MarkO

Second Unit
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Feb 19, 1999
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309
I use the original Sonus Faber Concertinos at all four corners with the matching Piccolo Center. The original Concertino is the liveliest of any SF speaker to date, and the best suited to a H/T environment. Of course since its a Sonus Faber it aint bad at music as well.
 

Jeremy Hegna

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Nov 28, 2000
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Those speakers that you are talking about, as well as other suggestions in this thread...Thiel, Dunlavy, etc. are all phenomenal performers. This price range of speaker and above are geared for high-end music performance. IMO, ANY speaker in this range will also be an incredible HT performer. You will find yourself listening to a lot more music than you ever have when you put together a system like this.

I am partial to B&W myself...however, I wouldn't buy a B&W sub. You have many other options available at that price point including, but not limited to...SVS, Aerial, Velodyne, REL, and M&K. While I feel that B&W makes some of the best speakers in the world...their subs are not quite there. The manufacturers that specialize in subs first, speakers second are the places you should look, especially for HT performace. BTW, I think the ASW4000 is a GREAT sub...just a sub-par performer for the money you will spend on it. I'm not familiar with the Sonus or Martin Logan subs.

Jeremy
 

Mike Burke

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Mar 12, 2001
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My vote is for the Revel Performa Series F30 mains, C30 center, S30 surrounds and B-15 sub . SGHT reviewed them about 5 mths ago...read that review and I think you will want to hear them...In that price range they are VERY hard to beat IMO...They are #1 on my list right now.

Happy Hunting

Mike
 

Tyson

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Jul 30, 2000
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I have heard VMPS 626R's mated with the Original VMPS subs (with mega woofer and soundcoat options). Extremely impressive. So much so, that I am selling my much loved nOrh speakers (9.0's and subs) to get a pair of RM-40's. Imagine a speaker with the transparency of electrostatics, among the better macro and micro dynamics I have heard, and THE best bass I have ever heard (well, ThomasW's 12 shiva's dancing IB subs are pretty impressive, but they are not exactly portable :) ) Seriously, the 626R's are about the best bookshelf speakers I have heard (certainly better than my 9.0's, which I thought were pretty darn good). I haven't heard the RM-40's yet, but I have very high expectations for how they will sound.
 

EricHaas

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What is the cost range of VMPS speakers if you don't mind me asking? I keep hearing good things about them, but they do not seem to be for sale in too many places.

Edit: I just notice that the prices are on their website, but in Euros.
 

Gil D

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Mar 15, 1999
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The original Concertino is the liveliest of any SF speaker to date
You haven't heard the other Sonus fabers. The Concertino is one of my favorite small bookshelfs, but is not nearly as detailed and lively as my Signums. I am also B&W fan having owned 600 & CDM-se series. Since I got the Sigs, I no longer yearn for N804 or GP Home.

I used to think the B&W had an edge in HT over the Sonus, but I believe the advantage is not as apparent with the new Homes. I heard the GP Home properly set up on all Proceed gear and it threw an outstanding soundstage, and could not believe the center speaker was absent. I am sure you know you can finish off that Sonus system for less than half your listed price on Audiogon.

Martin Logans are all wrong for HT IMO unless your the only one viewing as they have some weird off axis reponse.
 

Arnel Enero

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May 2, 2002
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Martin Logans are all wrong for HT IMO unless your the only one viewing as they have some weird off axis reponse.
I agree, based on my own auditioning of MartinLogan. I really liked their superb on-axis performance, though. I wonder how Gayle Sanders addressed this issue in his "ultimate" basement setup (the one with Statement E2)...
 

Arnel Enero

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May 2, 2002
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[Herb] Huh..... Just curious, why did you ask then...?
Sorry for the confusion, but I mentioned as well that "I really liked their superb on-axis performance, though."
And that explains why I still like the MartinLogan, regardless of its off-axis performance. ;)
 

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