Home Speaker Asylum

General speaker questions for audio and home theater.

RE: Vintage speaker for classical that does it all?

I have owned quite a few loudspeakers in my time including two Klipsch models (Cornwalls and Klipschorns). My experience with the Klipsch speakers is that they are quite colored. Horn colorations that make orchestral strings screechy and that obscure delicate timbral differences in orchestral instruments. If you want a high-efficiency speaker, used, at a reasonable price, I would recommend Altec Lansing Model 19s. I owned a pair of these on two different occasions and found them less colored and harsh than Klipsch's products. I bought one pair for $1,800 and another for $1,200. Current listings on e-Bay asking $4,000 + are way too high, which would explain why they haven't sold despite being on offer for months.

For dynamic speakers, I have enjoyed PSB products. I used to have Stratus Golds which I thought excellent, so much so that when I went looking for a pair of small speakers for a second system, I went for Stratus Minis--a really nice little stand-mounted two-way.

Currently, I have B&W Matrix 801 Series II which are, by a fairly significant margin the best dynamic speakers I have heard. Clean, detailed and articulate with excellent bass, I think for a used price of about $2,000-$2,500, you could do a lot worse.

In the planar area, I have owned Magnepan 1.6s, which were very nice speakers, but my final vote would go for Quad ESL-63s, which play plenty loudly enough for me, even on big classical works like those of Mahler or Bruckner, have quite acceptable bass, and are extremely free of colorations. The diaphragms in these are so large and light that they respond nearly instantly to the starts and stops of musical sounds. Transients are thus so naturally reproduced that they are uncannily real. Ravishing orchestral string tone, no squealing tenors and sopranos, no listener fatigue.

Hope this helps.


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