Bookshelf speakers that pair well with Decware ZMA

Pulled the trigger and ordered a Decware Zen Mystery Amp that’s been on my wish list for some time for my office system. Thanks to their long wait list, I now have ~18mo or so to figure out the speaker upgrade (from LS50s) to pair with it. I realize this is doing things backwards to most people, but I love the aesthetics and have been wanting to try out tubes so just went for it. I figure the amp has great resale value if it turns out not to be for me and I’ve got some time. On that system I listen mostly to jazz, signer-songwriter, and Americana/folk as well as some lighter rock music at low to mid volume levels. Sources would be streaming Tidal and a vinyl rig that’ll probably be next in line to upgrade. Listening distance of about 7-8ft. With room dimensions of 14 x 12 with 9ft ceilings. Prefer a somewhat warm and musically pleasing sound signature over extreme tonal accuracy and love speakers that have great imaging, soundstage, and can perform that disappearing act to make you feel like you’re there over those that focus on pulling out every microscopic detail. Don’t mind missing lower bass so bookshelf/stand mount only.


Before pulling the trigger on the ZMA, I was considering Dynaudio Heritage Specials I’ve found used but worry they might not play as nicely with tubes and the somewhat limited positioning options I have in this room. Budget is flexible but would want to stay under $5500. DeVore 3XL have always been on my short list and saw they now also offer the Micr/O, both of which should be more tube friendly but are tough to demo in my area. Aerial Acoustics 5T are supposed to be great and more flexible with placement, and I figure the new Source-Point 10s are worth a listen and about as big as I can fit without changing things a lot with the rest of the room. Any of these options jump out as great or bad pairings? What else would you put on your short list if there were no brick-&-mortar shops near you and home demos require purchasing +/- returning. I’d love to try Harbeth at some point but have heard they are better with high powered solid-state amps so I guess that’ll be another system and another time. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and input.


"I’d love to try Harbeth at some point but have heard they are better with high powered solid-state amps so I guess that’ll be another system and another time."

I beg to differ. I’ve owned every Harbeth minus the M40 and they are all outstanding with tube amplification! Where did you hear that?

I'll second the recommendation of the Reference 3A de-Capo. I drive mine with a 20 watt Raven Audio Blackhawk LE and find the combination to suit me better than any combination of the many I've owned.

I be third to suggest Ref 3A de Capos, use them with my Decware Mini Torii as well as a Primaluna PL2 and no trouble driving them, good bass clean detailed

Looks like I’ll definitely have to read up on the Fritz and Ref 3a de Capo options. I’d heard of Fritz but never seen or heard a pair and didn’t know anything about the Ref 3A’s. Good to hear from a couple of you that the DeVore 3XLs and Dynaudio Heritage Special would both work well too and I’m not totally crazy for having them on my short list. Having never owned a tube amp before, I’m trying to separate the facts from the false rumors. Obviously it would be different with a flea watt amp than with the ZMA, but it seems like tube watts might go a bit farther than the same number of SS watts the way many people say the same for class AB vs class D. Thanks for all the input so far.