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adanny

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Hi Folks:

I know this topic has been discussed before. I am posting to share a few recent experiences and learn from those of others.

I have Summits in my main 7.1 setup which were purchased after craving MLs for a decade and a half, and extensive ongoing, auditioning. Love them, never get tired of them. Frankly, most satisfying materialistic possesion ever :music:. Period.

I recently decided to upgrade the bedroom speakers and have listened to a whole bunch of old favorites and some new ones. In my B/R, off sweet spot clarity and ability to fill a large room are important factors since there are two listening positions in a large (22x45x11 wlh) carpetted room: one about 12 feet away from where we also watch TV. And a second one about 40 feet away where we sleep but routinely also listen to music in bed. Budget is under $10k for speakers and another $5k for new 2 ch amp/pre-amp/DAC. ALL music listening is via Sonos.

Caveat: Auditions were NOT amp/pre-amp matched in every case. The dealer/friend played whatever front-end they felt would best showcase the speaker but I did ask that they only play sub $5-6k front-ends. I dont have the time or dedication to front-end match every audition. But the same songs (generally) were heard.

My observations in decreasing order:
1. Sonus Faber Cremona M: Came closest to Logans in clarity, soundstage, musicality and "feel" but a notch below on all four dimensions. Best off-sweet spot sound of all speakers heard and leagues better than Logans (no suprise there!). Very musical and could easily live with them. Most beautiful looking. Best of all heard so far.
2. Vandersteen Quattro: Next best of all - surprisingly good. Wife liked them even more than Sonus Faber Cremonas - but just a notch. Surprisingly, more resolving than Cremona's which is not what I was expecting or had read but, to me, overall less musical. Equally as good as SF's off sweet spot. Very difficult to pick between SFaber and these.
3. Focal 927 Be limited edition. of course, different price point but Focals are getting difficult to listen to in my area. Most resolving, sharpest sounding of all speakers heard. As good as Sonus Fabers or Vandy's off sweet spot. But will not fill a room and Bass was both low and a little muffled. Have not heard 1038 Be but am trying....
4. Quad 2805: Again, terrific! Probably better than Logans off sweet spot. Wife didnt like them as much - sound or look. I liked the sound but not even close to Logans in high end detail. Warmer. Decided against them because of known reliability issues
5. Several Totems: Very resolving. Not a great soundstage or imaging. Not in the league of the above speakers for my requirements. But sounded very inviting whereever in the room you heard them.

Still trying to hear...
Focal 1038 Be or used Alto Utopia's. I have high hopes on these and really want to like them
Used Usher Be-20's or Be-10's.
CLX Art. I dont think Im going to get these but I briefly considered replacing the Summits with these and moving the Summits to the B/R. But they're too big, plus you need 2 sub woofers which Ive never been a fan of.

Would love impressions and experiences of others and about other Summit-comprable speakers. If someone remembers the links to previous discussions on the same topic, I'm sure I and others would fnd it very useful.

cheers and happy listening!
adanny
 

tsv_1

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Would love impressions and experiences of others and about other Summit-comprable speakers. If someone remembers the links to previous discussions on the same topic, I'm sure I and others would fnd it very useful.

cheers and happy listening!
adanny
Hi Adanny,

Many of us will have trouble getting past the statement "Summit-comprable speakers"... but for the sake of the thread, I'll forge ahead ;)

The Gallo Ref3.1s are nice. While perhaps lacking a tad in the thunderous bass department, they are no slouches wrt articulation and musical presentation. I owned them for well over a year and found them very satisfying... but then inevitably crawled back to mama (i.e. MLs).
 

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timm

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Yes - I too liked the Gallos... I do believe the price has gone up quite a bit on those for the new model though....Not sure if it is justified...but oh well.....

Secondly, I must say I really like the maggies as well. I heard the 3.6 and the 20.1 and loved them....and you have the room for them. If you like logans - and you want something else that is going to knock your sox off -- the maggies are real nice... The gallos disappear very nicely as well giving what I consider a very large soundstage...Just didn't like the 'shortness' - since I am used to a 6 ft tall speaker in the Odyssey...
 

adanny

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On the maggies...forgot to mention. I did listen to the 3.6 and was very keen to get them just to enjoy their type of sound. I found them to be as good or better than any of the other speakers mentioned earlier on imaging and soundstage and musicality. A tad less detailed was the only criticism. And by far the best value. Amazing speakers they are.

But that is the one speaker that my otherwise amazing wife vetoed, or worse, didn't veto but indicated that it would kill the room and left the decision to me. So I decided against them although I agree that they would have been great for a big room.
 

tsv_1

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On the maggies...forgot to mention. I did listen to the 3.6 and was very keen to get them just to enjoy their type of sound. I found them to be as good or better than any of the other speakers mentioned earlier on imaging and soundstage and musicality. A tad less detailed was the only criticism. And by far the best value. Amazing speakers they are.

But that is the one speaker that my otherwise amazing wife vetoed, or worse, didn't veto but indicated that it would kill the room and left the decision to me. So I decided against them although I agree that they would have been great for a big room.
they do appear BIG and somewhat imposing in a room even though they don't really take up much floor space... I owned the 3.6R's for a while too... liked them but I agree they didn't seem to muster the same level of detail and you-are-thereness as e-stats. Also, as many people have noted, they tend to exaggerate certain aspects of music. As a friend once said "Man, Bonny Rate's mouth is as big as a microwave" (I assume he meant the kitchen appliance, not the invisible electromagnetic wave itself)
 

adanny

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... and don't forget the VR-33... rave reviews and not crazy-dough.

I've not heard them myself, but a friend has and thought very highly of them.

http://www.vonschweikert.com/
I've been very curious about the VR-33's. At only $4k, they "must" be good - sort of like a cone equivalent of the Maggies. And the reviews are very positive although appear to be written by a small group of VR fans.

If someone (credible ;)) here has actually heard them, that would count for something. In particular, how are they on the highs and mids? More edgy-Focal like? More transparent-Summit like? or more muted-Maggie like?

The return guarantee is not that helpful (to me) since its such a pain to buy, install, re-pack if you dont like etc. Plus, I'll bet resale will be pretty bad for these if you tire of them after a year or two.

If I had someplace in the house that I could put them if they didnt work out perfectly, I would definitely experiment with them.
 

BobF

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I would add Wilson Sashas or Sophia-3 as I heard them at an audio dealer I bought all my ML's from and they were quite impressive with the all AR electronics on the Sashas.
Best,
Bob
 

timm

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I have heard the Von schweikert vr4s. They were in an apartment unfortunately. I would characterize them as detailed and clean with a good low end. Good soundstage but not as transparent as my odysseys. Can probably do large scale orchestra better with more impact but the logans would do small scale better because of the transparency.
 

Peter_Klim

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Hi Adanny,

Many of us will have trouble getting past the statement "Summit-comprable speakers"... but for the sake of the thread, I'll forge ahead ;)

The Gallo Ref3.1s are nice. While perhaps lacking a tad in the thunderous bass department, they are no slouches wrt articulation and musical presentation. I owned them for well over a year and found them very satisfying... but then inevitably crawled back to mama (i.e. MLs).
I've been thinking these same speakers myself!

I've inquired about the Anthony Gallo's on this board months ago. And i've been wanting to create a new thread about them again...I will...;)
 

Mantana

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I'd add Merlin and the upper PSB models to the audition list.

GG
Haven't heard the Merlins but i traded down from pricier speakers
to the PSB Synchrony Ones and am extremely pleased with them.
Very musical with great resolution...haven't regretted the move
once. I auditioned the Sonus Cremona M's and considered a mint
condition used pair for about $7500 but in all honesty feel
they should only be priced at $7500 brand new. The Liuto is
a much better value in my opinion.
 

JonFo

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Funny, most of you are suggesting alternatives that are not line-sources. For me, that's a requirement.

So my alternative choice might be another ESL (e.g. Soundlab) or if branching out, the awesome new Wisdom Audio LS4. It's a big (80") line source that puts out gobs of clean mid-bass from a new tech transducer.
Only $40K, each speaker. I need five ...

http://www.ultimateavmag.com/content/wisdom-audio-ls3-ls4-speakers
 

MiTT

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In your price range it would be a no brainer for me - Joseph Audio Pulsars. Near electrostatic like clarity, not quite the midrange of our Logans, but close, frequency extension at both ends of the spectrum (you'll find yourself searching for the phantom subwoofer), and dynamics that will simply blow you away. Easiest $7K you'll ever spend.
 

adanny

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In your price range it would be a no brainer for me - Joseph Audio Pulsars. Near electrostatic like clarity, not quite the midrange of our Logans, but close, frequency extension at both ends of the spectrum (you'll find yourself searching for the phantom subwoofer), and dynamics that will simply blow you away. Easiest $7K you'll ever spend.
not familiar with these - sound intriguing but probably at a later date. we have two kids and stand mounted monitors always worry me in terms of risk of tipping. plus - psychologically, i have never favoured monitors.

But thanks for the tip! I have written to them to ask for a local dealer
 

adanny

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Folks - thanks for all the wonderful advice. My wife and I have done a second round of incredibly fun :music: listening to many of the speakers ya'll mentioned and several others.

Readers following this pseudo-review (and i use that word VERY loosely) of non-logans under $10k used/new will remember that in the previous round, the SF Cremona M's were the clubhouse leaders with the Vandy Quattros a close second. Aesthetically, the Cremonas were a cut above all others - simply beautiful, releasing significant pride-of-ownership hormones.

And after round 2, the overall leader is ...(drumroll)....
Usher Be-20: This speaker is insane! And insanely big. Its almost 5 feet tall and bloody bulky. Alas, a bit like most Hollywood actresses, not as beautiful in person as in pictures. Just big and in your face like a war general's statue with its double 11' drivers, Be/Ti mid range and tweeter et al. Despite exquisite cabinetry, it's amazonian bulk and boxiness can't be hidden. But once I got beyond the looks (my wife never did), the musicality, transparency, upper and mid-range clarity, bass authority, imaging and fullness were matchless. Even my wife admitted that they were the best we have heard in this little journey. Aside from the looks, the only criticism might be less-than-loganian imaging and fullness of sound. Bottom-line: my wife thought thought they were the best speakers I have forced her to listen to - ever. Better than Wilsons, "even better than logans" was her heart rending (to me) verdict. I was a bit more measured. I think they are the best sub $30k speakers I have ever heard - other than Logans. The bass is much better than Logans but bass matters to me a bit less. Treble is a tad MORE, yes - more, musical than logans but mid-range and imaging are a tad behind logans.
Runner-Up: Focal Scala Utopia's: At almost $30k, these were well out of my range but I figured they would approximate the sound of used Alto Utopia's which can be now had under $10k. In aesthetics, they are one of the prettiest large speaker I have seen. My wife liked their funky, contemporary look (which she also loves about our Summits). Although they are slightly smaller, they appear much less imposing than the Usher Be-20s. The sound was exquisite but to my ear just a shade less inviting and musical than the Usher's. And after extensive listening, my wife also concurred - despite the fact that she hated the Usher looks and had no desire to plant them in our B/R. The Focals and Ushers were actually quite similar to each other and in different rooms, with different equipment might even be almost indistinguishable. Equally transparent, equally revealing, beautiful imaging. Where the Ushers trumped the Focals was in a fuller sound and richer, deeper bass without loosing tightness. And perhaps a shade less bright on the trebles. But a gruelling, close, finish with the Usher's just nudging a nose ahead in the home stretch and several lengths behind in aesthetics.
Bronzie - tied: Vandy 5A's: By far the imaging leader among the non logan pack. Almost identical to Quattros except fuller, deeper, richer. Could happily live with them. Sock-like cover ain't winning beauty prizes but has a funky, contemporary look nevertheless. Much less revealing than Usher/Focal/Logan breeds. Some would say warmer - I prefer to say less revealing. Those that find the above speakers bright will most likely like the Vandy's.
Bronzie - tied: Cremona M's: Extremely musical, terrific all rounder. Light on the bass. Won't fill a large room. Aesthetics and pride of ownership will add to the overall experience. In small and mid size rooms, for people that don't want full bass and a full sound, will be hard to beat.

Others listened to: Wilson Audio Maxx 3 - well over $50k. Biggest, boldest sound I heard - obviously because of the ridiculous size. Size does matter. Incredibly clear and revealing. Similar to Usher's but I found the Ushers more musical to my ears.
Have heard B&W diamonds in the past but not this cycle because I am not partial to that house sound.
Have heard Maggie 3 and 20's but not this cycle because they would not be good fits for the room.
Focal 927Be and 1038Be: A bit like mini utopia's but slightly thin, closed sound in comparison. Significantly and not subtly lighter and flatter on the bass. Would be good under $5k (used) options but once you hear the Usher/Cremona/Alto/Quattro league, hard to go back to these.
Quad 2805: Very nice, will ring a lot of bells but have the same logan room placement issues, and many reliability issues yet a perceptibly weaker sound in the mid/upper ranges. I think that Loganites will struggle to make the shift
Totems: Least impressive in this league of speakers (to me).

Recommended by many of you but not listened to...
Gallo Ref3.1: Dealer himself said that while they are very good, they are not in the above league so I didn't bother
PSB Synchrony One, JBL LS80's - struggling to understand how they would distinguish themselves in either sound or looks with the above thorough breds
SF Ellipsa: Dealer wasnt a big fan. In the $15-20k new range, they appear to be batting our of their league.
Soundlab: want to experiment away from stats/planars
Joseph Audio Pulsars: Dont want monitors. No close by dealer has the floorstanders to audition
Merlin MXR (with upgraded bass alignment module), Von Schweickert VR 33/35: VERY intrigued by these but havent found a dealer close enough that carries them and the VRs are now mail order only

So whats the bottom line..
I am probably going to get the Usher Be-20's ;). Am working on the lady ... I would categorize these as the perfect ~$10k-ish (used) speaker for folks that have a big room and can't place Logans or Maggies. Many stats-veterans may even prefer them
Honorable mentions (noting that the general class of speakers I auditioned will appeal to folks that prefer transparency, pin point imaging and a slightly treble/mid range weighted sound with a full bass and room filling capacity)...
The Welterweight prize: If you want a slightly less bulky speaker with 98% of the performance and lovability of Logans or Ushers, the Alto utopia (used) will be terrific. Heavy weight performance with welterweight looks.
The Beauty Queen: If aesthetics are key, the room is not enormous yet you want largely uncompromised sound, the Cremona's will fit like a glove

will try hard to listen to Merlins. would love more insights

cheers
adanny
 

Andrew Pratt

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I helped run the demo's for Usher audio at CES a few years ago. It was so much fun and from then on I've lusted after the BE20's (or smaller versions). I can see why they wouldn't work in a bedroom though :D. Did you get the chance to listen to their 6000 series though? They're a lot less intimidating size wise and while not as good as their larger brethren are remarkable in their own right.
 

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