15k USD Speakers for Classical and Pop Extended Listening, Near setup, Low volume

Dear Audiophiles,

I am looking for some speakers for my home office. Speakers would be place 6ft from me on either side of my desk. Speakers will be 8 ft apart.

I love classical music and pop. I am looking for speakers for extended listening at not very high volume. They should be warm and non fatiguing.

I am currently considering following speakers:

1. Monitor Audio Gold 300

2. ATC SCM40

3. Kef R7 Meta

Do you have any other suggestions. Thanks and appreciate your help!


For a room that size and for the music you mention, I would highly recommend looking into the Vivid Kaya 25. It has the speedy performance of a high end bookshelf with better bass extension through a bottom firing port. They are slim and easy to move around, and you will have the right amount of space for the air they need around them. You may be surprised at the way they charge the room without bloat, and you may not need subs. They deliver higher resolution and fidelity with lifelike presence and holographic imaging, and they won’t be as beamy as KEF. 

I wouldn’t characterize them as warm, though, but to me Vivid speakers are as natural and transparent as they come. They will tailor around the amplification they are paired with, and they are not hard to drive. So if you want a warmer sound, pair with a good Class A solid state or tube amp and you’ll be set.

I am a Vivid Audio dealer, so take that how you’d like, but I’ve tried everything from the small Kaya S12 (which I use very near field in my home office) to the Giya G1 Spirit, which I use in my reference system.

@akg_ca Are you speaking from experience? of doing this in a small room. If not then you need to understand the issues of a desk, monitors, and others reflecting in front of you. That will be worse than elevator music.

@ilikeclassical I gave you a link to my buddy who is in the audio business with some background info on his audio skills. I got an enthusiastic stamp of approval from him on the LRS+ setup. My prior setup with the Thiel CS3.7 was not really that good and he told me so. I ended up doing a lot of changes in furniture positioning, dsp, reflections etc (no gear changes) to improve the CS3.7.

My rear facing setup is so good that my 2-channel setup rivals my RAAL earphone setup. People I know have dumped their Magicos to go with the RAALs.

If you plan to place your speakers in front of you then look at something that you can place on your desk or even the Vandersteen mini thing that goes on the ceiling. It will all be a pale imitation to what I am suggesting with the rear facing setup.

I have not tried the Vandersteen (not a fan of the sound) but I have tried Audience 1+1 | KEF LS50 | Audioengine A2 on my desk and they were universally mediocre. I did not try it on front of me since I intuitively knew it would be worse than on the desk with the issue of reflections.



If you are close by, go have a listen to this and compare with Magico, Vivid, KEF, Focal, Paradigm in the same price range or much higher. I have with the bigger NS5000.

NS-3000 – Custom Home Automation Solution, Entertainment Systems (kennedy-hifi.com)

Firstly, I don’t drink any KoolAid that erroneously suggests that the price point alone is any measure of the Holy Grail in speaker best options.

If $$$ spent are somehow your bespoke and primary key alone to your audio satisfaction as you journey down the Yellow Brick Road to Audio OZ l..then , fine ….think the $USD 12,000 REFERENCE 3a REFLECTORS standmounts as your true contender and no pretender.

HINT: think that EACH speaker is 75 lbs in weight and very efficient too at 92db.

 Their Reflector is a rather large stand-mounted speaker, measuring over 16 inches high, about a foot wide, and over 17 inches deep. Their most noticeable specification to some might be their weight, especially for those that have to lift these 75 pound speakers onto their stands.  Why are they so heavy? On their website Reference 3A says that the Reflector's cabinet's sides are made from layers of glass, laminated with a proprietary material that is "structurally integrated" onto the main cabinet material. They use perforated cross and vertical spine braces, which not only add to the weight of the cabinet, but prevent any movement of the cabinet walls. They use heavy brass tension rods that can be tuned, in both lateral directions, that aid in preventing the cabinet's outward movement. Reference 3A claims that the construction of the cabinet enables it to be more silent than even their flagship model, which uses resin board panels. Reference 3A manufactures their own hand-built drivers, including the woofer, which is made with carbon fiber, and the driver's proprietary "hyper-exponential" shape is said to seamlessly couple the motor to the cone and avoid break-up modes. Most noteworthy is that the Reflector used no crossover between the speakers two drivers.

Google the reviews . …here are two samples:

“ … The flagship monitor from Reference 3A

The Reflector monitor is considered by Reference 3A as their pinnacle of technological achievement. A main reason for this, next to a new custom driver for this model, is the extremely rigid cabinet, which aims to compete with designs such as those by Magico and TAD. Having heard what rigidity of cabinet can do to timbral fidelity and believability from the Magico M Project speakers in the system of Ian (WBF member Madfloyd), I was very interested in these Reference 3A monitors since quite some time.

I was already familiar with the sound philosophy of the company and its designer Tash Goka through my Reference 3A MM DeCapo BE monitors that I loved. These monitors have an incredible performance/price ratio at $ 3K. I expected similar value from the Reflector monitors, which at $ 12K have a significantly lower price than flagship monitor designs from other companies. Therefore, the decision to buy them once I had sufficient funds was a no-brainer for me. So eventually I bought a pair.

This review may also be interesting for those readers who already have MM DeCapo BE monitors and love them, and are wondering how much of a difference an upgrade would make. I will compare here my 2016 version of the MM DeCapo BE monitors with the Reflector monitors; the newer version, MM DeCapo BE-RD, has a rear damper panel similar to the Reflector monitors that adds stiffness to the cabinet and helps suppress vibrations. Obviously the expectation would be that the new version will sound better, coming closer to the Reflector in sound than my 2016 MM DeCapo BE monitors, while there will remain a substantial gap.

Reference 3A speakers generally are known for their tone, dynamics and overall vividness, also facilitated by the crossover-less design. The flagship model Reflector follows this tradition, and adds advantages that arise from the rigid, structurally inert cabinet. This design also allows it to extend further on the basic qualities of the Reference 3A family just mentioned.

Let me state upfront: While the Reflector, combined with great subwoofers, falls short in several areas compared to the best speakers I have heard – logical, given the physical limits of its size and two-way design –, in some also important ones it compares well. This is a remarkable achievement….”


” ….

Don’t bother skipping to the conclusion of this review, as I’ll tell you right now: The Reference 3A Reflector is a great speaker. If one has been searching for a stand-mounted speaker anywhere near its asking price of $12,000, these are the speakers to get. Not only do they do everything that one would expect of for a speaker of its size and price, but much, much more. They commit no errors of omission I can think of, other than missing the deepest bass, nor do they commit any errors of commission that I’ve become aware of during its audition period.

I listened to these speakers with both tube and solid-state amplifiers. I’ve listened to them in two different rooms and two different systems. I’ve listened to every genre of music that I like, including solo instruments, large orchestras, bombastic rock ‘n’ roll, and music with vocals and instrumental music. I won’t pretend that these speakers are inexpensive. They are not. Nor will I pretend that the Reflectors are perfect. No speakers are. But Reference 3A has taken what is an imperfect design, that is, a speaker that is too small to reproduce the lowest bass, and instead concentrated on what it can do, that is, reproduce the midrange and treble, and they ended up with a speaker that has a degree of both transparency and excitement that is very rare in a stand-mounted speaker, and certainly rare in any dynamic speaker I’ve heard.

Reference 3A has produced a speaker that just about any audiophile with ears will be able to live with for what I assume will be a lifetime. It may sound as if I’m painting myself into a corner, so from now on will not be able to review, let alone recommend any other stand-mounted speaker. That’s not so. Audiophiles have different requirements that must be met before they’re going to lay down twelve-grand for a pair of speakers. Besides not reproducing the low bass I’ll also admit that the Reflector might not meet some of other requirements that an audiophile might have, but since I can’t get inside the heads of these audiophiles I don’t know what these requirements might be. But – in my listening rooms, with my associated gear, playing the music that I like, the Reflector is a speaker I’d buy for myself if I was looking for a stand-mounted model anywhere near its price.…”