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In my man cave I have my all Manley system with rega rp8 with rebuilt quad57 that I love (not selling) just want to try a good monitor. The last monitors I had were green mountain Calistos about 9 years ago. My room size is 10 x 12 speakers in the short wall. Ear height sitting in man cave chair 40"
I'm looking at two sizes trying not to have the need for a subwoofer but I'm open.
These are some choices
For smaller Harbeth 3esr or proac tablets
For larger dynaudio 1.4le or proac 2d
What's your thoughts, all recommendations welcome I'm in no rush. I listen to mostly classic rock blues jazz female male soloists.
Holly crap I just hooked up a pair of 30+ year old tangent RS2 monitors and they compare to the quads for reselution and imaging but better bass .
Being someone whom has steadfast in the Mini-Monitor arena since 1981, and having owned 4 different versions of the ProAc Tablette's, as well as three versions of the LS 3|5A type designs starting with a pair of original Chartwell's which I purchased in Japan in 1980, as well as the original Harbeth Gold Edition and HL-P3 back in 1993.
As a few had mentioned here earlier on, I've never heard a sub which integrated as well with any of these types, yet the one which came closest was the Vandersteen W2 or something to that effect?, which was amongst the most nimblest of subs I've ever heard to date......., memories being what they're, it remains the only sub I've ever liked.
Yet depending upon the type of music you enjoy?, I'd say that based upon ones collection......., if you're into vocalist recordings?, then I believe very very very few can touch the sonic merits or purity as rendered through a pair of the current Harbeth P3ESR SEs, granted the bass isn't that deep, yet the timbre and tone of instruments more then make up for it.
If you like jazz or even drab into a little bit of Techno or Electronica?, the newer version of the ProAc Tablette 10, offers wonderful sonics, and much like said P3ESRs, is their first effort which uses a sealed box acoustical design.
And having heard a pair of DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 3XLs which go down to 45Hz, in a room all the size of 30' wide x 50'l and filled said room with ease, I'm not sold on how things spec or measure out on paper........, it's in actual use where one knows the truth, I've always had my Tablettes in rooms that were at least 13' x 22'l and never had a problem with them not only filling the room, but our entire home which were often on three different levels, as in loft homes or townhouses.
At least you've received some solid recommendations, yet your music and room size should be your key factors, as opposed to fads........., like LS50s, nice overall........, but within let's say a year or two, let's just say you'll find yourself craving something different.
Check out Silverline Audio. I have had 2 of their floorstanders over the years. Excellent sound, great build quality and affordable.
reference 3A de capos
the older I model with wood veneer is very nice
Interesting subject since I am on the other side of this. For the past 25 years or so I have had stand mounted monitors with a sub. I had Totem, Proac, JMR Reynaud Trente, and my most recent was a pair of SP Technology Mini Timepiece monitors. I enjoyed them all. Most of the time they were played along with a REL subwoofer so I always had full range sound. It's been almost 10 years since my last speaker change so I was starting to get a wandering eye/ear. My initial plan was to get yet another pair of stand mounts and maybe update my older REL sub. Then I heard the Vandersteen Quatro CT. Change of plans. So now, for the first time since the late 80s I have a pair of floor standers. Enough for my story. Regarding the OP request for input. Every monitor I owned benefited from a good sub. Some more than others. Likewise some blended better than others. Of the ones you have listed, I have only heard the the Proac. It is great. I had the 1SC back in the 90s and the 2 is similar but with a little more bass. The SP Tech monitors that I just replaced were the best of them all. They have very usable bass and much of the weight and impact of a floor stander. I have also heard a lot of good things about Fritz speakers. He is a small one man operation who builds monitors exclusively. Not sure what your budget is but I heard the KEF Reference 1 and it is amazing. That is the one I probably would have bought if I had not gone with the Vandersteen Quatro CT.
In all of the small-smallish monitors (mostly from the UK) I have heard, a sub-woofer gives you plenty of bass, but it's not coherent with the monitor drivers. One of the great assets of small monitors is the coherence between the mids and treble. That coherence (IMHO) is lost by adding a sub-woofer, at every level of loudness.
Ha! That reminds me...
I was at a friend's apartment. He has a very nice stereo system with very high end electronics. Due to space limitations, his speakers were the little Sequerra 2-way. I was amazed at the sound quality coming from those little speakers. When I suggested that he could get rid of the boxes in the corner and use that space to put in another shelving rack, he said: "But where would I put my sub?" Ha! Then he said, "You think that bass is coming from those little speakers?" Hahahaha! He had a sub in the corner, and it was so well aurally integrated that I didn't even notice it!
Moral of the story: Driver integration and crossovers are critical.
In my experiences with subwoofer integration, stand-mounted speakers that have real bass extension down into the 40s integrate much better than speakers that only go down to 60-80 Hz. One reason is the higher crossover point. The highest I would ever run a single mono subwoofer is 60 Hz, and that's pushing the limit IMO. If I need to cover more than the bottom octave, I strongly prefer two (or four) subs run in stereo.
Another reason why the smaller speakers are harder to integrate is that they are usually engineered with a mid-bass hump with high-Q tuning and have relatively high distortion in the bass. That creates a mismatch between the character of the bass produced by the sub (lower Q, lower distortion) and the character of the bass produced by the loudspeaker. People who hear this mismatch will often say the the smaller speaker is "too fast" and the subwoofer "can't keep up", but it's not a matter of speed.
Subwoofers ruin the sound of a LS3/5A type of speaker!
At the very best, it's difficult to get good low bass from a stand-mounted speaker, mostly because of the physical design constraints: Typically 6" or 8" woofer and small cabinet size.
So, why is this design so popular? Glad you asked: Because it lowers the cost of the speaker and because it appeals to people who have limited space.
Almost inevitably, however, people who buy 2-way stand-mounted speakers end up also buying one or two real woofers (aka subwoofers). This turns their 2-way speaker into a 3-way speaker, which typically is what was needed in the first place.
Depending upon specific user circumstances, it may be better to find a tower style speaker - utilizing that vertical space for a 10" woofer or two, rather than for a pretty pedestal.
"Almost inevitably, however, people who buy 2-way stand-mounted speakers end up also buying one or two real woofers (aka subwoofers)."
Nobody I know that owns decent monitors that at least go down to 40-45hz or so in room feels a need for subwoofers. Many of my friends live in small Manhattan apartments which are not conducive to 20hz bass - not to mention the paucity of notes that low.
If ya have something like a Proac Tablette I agree that you'd likely want a subwoofer. But there's a helluva lotta good monitors available nowadays that provide a satisfying degree of bass heft.
In small and medium sized rooms, I'd rather have a 3-way system made from high quality 2-way stand-mounters plus stereo subs. I can usually get smoother bass response that way because of the flexibility to place the subs in the best locations for bass. And it will play deeper. And it will usually sound more coherent because the whole midrange is covered by a single driver, and usually the soundstaging is better too. The main downside is that it's harder to set up. To do it right requires measuring IMO and takes time and experimentation. For people who just plop a sub down in the corner and twiddle knobs by ear, the results depend a lot on luck.
There is also the cost argument. The audible spectrum spans about 10 octaves. Given a fixed budget, you can buy a standmounter that covers 8.5-9 octaves and gives you better performance over 7-8 of them, or you can buy a floorstander that covers 9.5 octaves and gives you better performance over 1-2 of them.
On the other hand, in a big room I'd rather have a larger floorstander. I've tried using small stand-mounted loudspeakers in large rooms and they just don't have enough dynamics. And in a larger room, it's usually easier to keep speakers away from room boundaries, and usually you're listening further away which allows the sound from multiple drivers on a larger speaker to integrate properly.
If I understand you correctly, you're saying "it depends"? ;)
In any case, we seem to agree that, at a minimum, a 3-way is necessary for high quality sound.
Indeed it does. I lived in a small city apartment while I worked in Sydney for a few years, and used a pair of small standmounts, Focus Audio FS-688s. In the relatively close to wall placement I was forced to put them in, they hit their spec of 45Hz -3dB. And that was satisfying enough 90% of the time. So I understand Rick's point.
Back in my house in the US, I had Dynaudio C2s plus subs. The thing I missed the most in Sydney wasn't the bass, it was the soundstaging. When I had them in my downstairs room in my house, the Focus Audio 688s were awesome at soundstaging, but due to the size and unusual shape of that Sydney apartment I just couldn't place them where they could shine.
Now that I'm back living in my house again, I want full range sound. And that definitely requires a 3-way system. But I've come around to the view that there is a right sized speaker for the room. Too small of a speaker in too big of a room is not satisfying, even augmented with subs. And too large of a speaker in too small of a room is not satisfying either. So I guess it boils down to where you put the crossover. In a small room I'd rather go 2.2 and have the crossover in the bass. In a very large room, I'd rather have the crossover in the lower midrange so large woofers are covering the whole bass range. In a medium-large size room, it depends.
As is usually the case, it comes down to taste, sensitivity to quality, and music genre.
Just to be clear, are you referring to 40-45 Hz at -3 dB or -6 dB, or even -10 dB? And, the roll-off below some frequency can be either gentle or steep. So, not all apples are equal.
Some people are satisfied with "reasonably good" bass. Other people, who might describe themselves as audiophiles or critical listeners, often employ a so-called "subwoofer" because a stand-mounted 8" 2-way doesn't do a proper job of reproducing that bottom octave and a half.
Acoustic instruments bottom out in the low/mid 30-ish Hz range. Synthesized sounds can go much lower.
If a person listens to string or brass quintets, -3 dB at 45 Hz is plenty good. Even most jazz music bottoms out around there. The lowest note on a "string bass" (double bass) is a bit above 40Hz, and the lowest note on a standard piano is approx. 55 Hz. Harp goes lower, and the 10' Bosendorfer piano goes to C below the standard A.
In any case, from what I read here, there's a lot of 2-way stand-mounted owners who are using add-on woofers.
Just thought about kef ls50 and vandersteen 1ci for the room. I just wonder if I'm short changing my system with reasonable priced speakers....
The Kefs are said to really shine with higher end gear upstream, especially tubes. They certainly won't put you to sleep :)
I run a pair sitting on (but isolated from) sealed subs in a 12 x 15 room. But many folks who use them in smaller rooms don't use subs.
Audio Karma has a long running thread on the Kefs.
Haven't heard the KEFs, but the vandys will put you to sleep.
You have been warned.
Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill
There are tons of options. I think you need to narrow it down a bit. Some decisions that may help:
1. Are you willing to consider used?
2. How loud do you listen?
3. Are you will to buy a sub (on top of the cost of the speakers)?
I would not choose the Harbeth P3ESR for rock and blues.
I love Dynaudio speakers and the Contour S1.4 LE is a great standmount for rock, blues, or any music that needs some weight and force behind it. It is especially strong in the bass so I doubt you would want a sub. But it works best with a strong amp and the top end isn't that open. The Dynaudio C1 is an all around fantastic speaker, more tube friendly than the Contour S1.4 and better in every respect except the S1.4 has slightly stronger low bass. The C1 is $9k new, but used models go for $4-5k depending on age, if you're willing to stretch your budget.
Another good Dynaudio is the Focus 160, which you can get used for under $2k. Also consider the Focus 260, which is a floorstander but it's the same height, depth, and footprint as the Focus 160. It has all the good aspects of a small stand-mounted monitor but with deeper bass extension. The Focus models have a more open, airy top end than the Contour and don't need as much power.
ProAc Tablette Anniversary are great speakers for a small room. They are especially good at imaging and detail. They have a bit of a mid-bass bump which makes them sound bigger than they appear, but but I think they will need a sub for your kind of music. They are also borderline too bright with poor recordings.
Another speaker that is supposedly perfect for small rooms is the Trenner & Friedl Art. They are on my list to hear. They don't come up for sale on the used market very often, and disappear quickly. But I have seen two on Audiogon within the last few months.
I also think the Kef LS50 is a great speaker for a small room, but they will need a sub.
Penaudio is another brand to look out for. I auditioned the Cenya and was impressed. It would be in your price range used if you can find one. The top end is a little tipped up, but it didn't sound harsh and it produced a huge, open, airy soundstage. It does need an amp that is a bit on the warm & full side of neutral. It was great with a Unison hybrid, but didn't pair well with the Simaudio amp I brought along for the audition.
Finally, I used to own Focus Audio 688s and they were lovely. I regret selling them. If I ever see them used, or the Focus Audio 68 SE, I might have to buy them again. They are rare as hens teeth though because Asian audiophiles have been snapping them up.
I'm not certain you will need a subwoofer in a room of that size.
My only recommendation - because it is a small room - is to be cognizant of monitors with a built in bass bump. It may be very pronounced in a room of that size.
I owned a pair or ProAc Tablette 50 Signatures for 18 years - they had a bass bump. Not certain if the current version does. (I would guess yes).
B&W 805 D3 - I understand the new B&Ws to be pretty flat in the bass. This may work. Their rising top end may work well with your tube gear.
ATC - has roots as a studio monitor; built to have a relatively flat frequency response (no such thin really exists of course). Not certain if your amp will drive them as needed. My understanding is they like a lot of current.
Dynaudio, well, my experience has been a lot of bass from the house of Dyn.
I'm just sharing a few thoughts that popped into my head. This is all theory of course - basis in proof / experience is the final arbiter. Listen if at all possible. You may even like a bit of a bass bump : )
Best of luck with the hunt. . .
Sound great., but aren't meant to work with a sub.
I'd look at Ohm speakers for a different approach and no stand needed.
Legacy Studio HD
If not Danley's might be worth a look, and likely awesome with stereo subs.
Not sure you will find a better monitor than a GMA, How about the Eos HX?
Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill
That's to funny I was just in contact with the guy on audiogon who has a pr. He sold them. But told me he liked his quads better. I explained I'm keeping the quads but want to try a monitor.
Good to hear from you
The man cave
carries Harbeth, Spendor, STC and Stirling Broadcast monitors. You might look at Graham Audio USA, although I see they don't carry the Graham Audio, UK LS6, which is a bigger, more sensitive LS3/5A (sort of).
The best buy in monitors to my thinking is the Audio Note (UK) AX-TWo. They have a number of US dealers.
All of these monitors require stands.
How handy are you. The best speakers I've ever had are my Zaph Audio SR-71 kit from Madisound.
Sorry I did promise I wouldn't mention them again.
I knew you would. You like them so much. Are you anywhere near NYC?
If you like the Quad you won't go wrong with the Harbeth.The Spendor 3/5R2 is another nice one.
10 x 12 x ____ ?
If you have a dealer near by you may want to give those made by Joseph Audio a try...I used one of his larger speakers with a Manley Stingray for several years and really did like the combination...anyway, good luck with your search, there are a lot of really good small speakers out there, but I wouldn't open my wallet until I auditioned the finalist with my amp in my room...only way to tell if it will produce the results you want.
Do you mean mini-monitors? After all this too is a genuine monitor:
I should have clarified small to mini stand mounters. The scm 20 might be something I'd consider thanks.
If you want rue monitor quality speakers, you can't do better than ATC. Go back to their web site and go to home and then their home speakers. Check the ATC7, ATC11, and ATC19, all stand mounts. I've lived with ATC19 speakers and they are simply excellent. Think of them as a Quad 57 with perhaps a tad less detail but with superb dynamics.
If the OP reallty wants to retain a fair measure of what the Quad's offer ( but nothing equals them in the midrange)plus dynamics, extended treble and all round capability then he should look at ATC actives such as the SCM19A. Many years ago I changed from my ESL63s to SCM 50As as they had many similar charctersistics in the field of clarity. Even today friends owning Quad 57s remark on how my updated ATC SCM 50ASLs sound like giant electrostatics.
The OP has not listed his Manley system in his profile ( he has a Pass based one there) so amp power is unknown. Away from the actives ATC speakers do require a fair bit of driving which is why ATCs own amps are pretty powerful. Some Manleys will do the job and others are too small, but in this case we don't know.
It all also depends upon the OP's budget which is also unknown.
I have the Manley Snappers 100 watt monoblocks. This is a second system. My budget 1200 to 2600 maybe more for a good deal
I think that the Snappers will drive the ATC 19s though the latter are a little over your budget (unless there is that good deal). You could look at the ATC 11s, the size of which may also fit better with your idea of mini-monitors. My own opinion would be to throw caution a little to the winds and break the budget a bit and buy the 19s.
NB: If new out of the box my experience with ATCS is that a little patience over running in pays dividends.
Just a quick aside when comparing driver sizes for ATC. Most companies list the diameter of the driver including the frame. ATC only includes the cone and surround. So ATC drivers are a bit larger than other equivalents.
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