Best Monitor Up To 5K - Tube Friendly

I've put together a nice little home office system, but feel that my weakest link right is my monitors. This new system is: Cary SLI-80, Cary CD-303, Silverline SR15's, Soliloquy S-10 sub and Chang conditioner (DH Labs Q-10 biwire and Air Matrix).

Although I am extremely happy with the Silverlines, and they soundstage their ass off, I would like something with a much heavier bottom end. The office is rather smallish, about 11X16, and integrating the S-10 has been difficult.

My problem in bringing the S-10 up to around 70hz is that it makes it's location known. Two octaves in the other direction (50hz) and the thing vanishes. Since I do not have the liberty to mess around with placement, the only thing I can think to do is spend more $$$ on a better pair of monitors.

Let me know what some of you "fans" of this type setup think.


Marchman: I have the same electronics in my home office system. Using a Cardas golden cross IC to hook th SLI-80 to the CD303. I had Oval 9 biwire but I am using a homemade speaker cable at the moment. For speakers I have a pair of B&W 805N. The room is almost 20ft square with several bumps and shape changes, and a full cathedral ceiling. Unfortunately I have not tried any other speakers yet in this system, so I cannot compare. All I can say is the bass is good and the listening is very pleasureable, BUT: I am an audiophile, so as soon as I can justify it, I will start trying other speakers. The oldest thing in this system is the speaker set, almost three years!
I don't think I have helped you much, but I think it would be reasonable for you to try a pair of 805Ns in your might like it.
Marchman: You might want to audition PMCs TB-1, about 16" high. They go down to 40Hz because of their transmission line. They are rated at about 90 db sensitivity. These little guys always amaze me. Very neutral, originally designed as professional monitors.

BTW, how do you like your DH Labs Q-10s I've been thinking of upgrading my T-14s?
Try to find a pair of pre-owned REFERENCE 3a ROYAL MASTERS (just the monitor portion of LA SUPREMA) for under $2000. 92db efficient, musical, fast and correct. Acutally serves as a great monitor for studio work. Altough no longer in my reference system (I use AVANATGAREGE DUOS Version 2.1), I will never sell the ROYAL MASTERS. Great stuff!
Try to find a pair of pre-owned REFERENCE 3a ROYAL MASTERS (just the monitor portion of LA SUPREMA) for under $2000. 92db efficient, musical, fast and correct. Acutally serves as a great monitor for studio work. Altough no longer in my reference system (I use AVANTGARDE DUOS Version 2.1), I will never sell the ROYAL MASTERS. Great stuff!
Your problem appears to be one of synergy. I think that Soliloquy and Silverline both build great products. I'm not sure they work well together though.

Why not try a more flexible sub, like a REL, if you really like the Silverlines? You can get a new Storm III for less than $2,000. Used RELs seem to sell quickly.

On the other hand, keep your sub and try out Soliloquy's monitors. I believe that their SM-2A3 model was designed by Dennis Had of Cary. The 5.0 is their newest monitor. Either of these can be had for around $1,500 new including custom stands (which should be considered part of the speakers). I don't see too many of these used. You can save some money buying Factory B-Stock.

I own a pair of Soliloquy 6.3 floorstanding models (as well as C3 center channel) and am quite satisfied. They probably don't image quite as well as monitors, but with frequency response down to 25Hz, I only use a sub for home theater. These actually don't take up much more floor space than monitors on stands, but they are more visually prominent.

Feel free to send me an email if you would like to discuss further or would like referral to Soliloquy's Factory B-Stock distributor.

Best regards.

Why not audition the Silverline SR-17 and consider loosing the sub? The SR-17 is so far my favorite tube friendly monitor, hands down. In regard to the sub, I auditioned it with the 5.0's and did not feel that it was a good match with them either.
Thanks to all you guys. I got a little from everyone and spend a good deal of time reading on the web this weekend.

Snooker: I have a buddy who owns the 805N's. I asked him and he agreed to come over so that we could compare the two (SR15's vs. 805N's) on my gear and there was a clear difference. While we both felt that the two were nearly identical in the bottom end dept., the SR's were clearly a smoother sounding speaker on top. The N's use an aluminum dome while the SR's use a soft dome which was much more warm sounding. We both agreed that we prefered the SR's. If you want something warmer, I would suggest the SR17's as later suggested to me.

Wirehead: Thanks for the suggestion. Don't know much about these other than what I read. Can't figure out how I could listen to them beforehand. I don't go blind very often on speaker purchases. OTOH, the Q-10's are much more nuetral than the T-14's, which I owned before the Q's. When I fist got the Q's I was scared shitless, because I hate bright sounding anything. Jeff Delman insisted that I let them break in for 80-100 hours and I'm glad I did. Not only to they look better (I'm snobby like that), they perform better in my system. I even had double runs of the T-14.

Prostarsound: Trying to find a way to listen to the 3a's. Everything I read sounds great. Those are some EXPENSIVE monitors. Don't see any used, though.

Bbroussard: I'm with Dekay. I don't know how you could make a sub that didn't match well with your monitors, but Soliloquy seems to have done just that. I am a fan of the bigger REL products, but can't see even spending $2k on a sub for this little office system. The system is over $10k so far and it isn't scoring me many browine points. Dumping these and picking up different monitors is going to be a big hurdle as it is. Thanks, though, I know your heart was in the right place. :-)

Dekay: I am thinking strongly about the SR17's at this point, but as I was cruising A'gon I noticed a lot of Sonatas that could be picked up for a song. Even the new ones aren't that bad. Will I lose the intimacy of the soundstage if I go with floorstander at such nearfield listening? I could really scrap the sub with the Sonatas. What about Meadowlark Heron or i's or Blue Herons?
Take a look at the Shamrock Audio Eires... there are three pretty accurate reviews on I use them with 30 watts of tube power in a small/medium sized listening room from a position fairly close to the speakers... There are audition sites around the country (hopefully one near you)... they also come with a thirty-day full refund policy... good luck
Marchman: I auditioned the Sonatas at the same time as the SR-17's. I started using mini monitors in the late 70's to early 80's so am accustomed their wide dispersion angle and therefore find wider floorstanders to sound a bit odd at first. I did however really like the sound of the Sonatas and enjoyed listening to them. This was also in a fairly large room though (approx. 20 x 30) and I can't imagine how they would sound in a small room. I would look into this first since your's is on the small side. Another speaker that might be interesting is the Harbeth 7 that Charlie and Paul at the site are using (I know that Charlie is using his in a small office with very good results), though these are large stand mounters.

The Meadowlark Herons apparently have some way of adjusting them for a smaller room, could be a possibility. But I gotta tell ya, my Shearwaters mate beautifully with the sli80 and they go way down, definitely enough bass for me, but then again I'm not listening to very loud rock. The Shearwaters do a perfect job on acoustic bass, even Charlie Haden's super huge bottom end, no problem. If there's somewhere you can listen to them, I'd give 'em a try. Soundstaging is also top notch.