Floorstanding speaker experiences/recommendations in the $12-25k range

I realize there are thousands of options, but I'm looking for strong personal experiences/recommendations for floor-standing speakers in the $12-25k range. I currently have Dynaudio Heritage Special stand-mounts. They really are a great speaker in many ways, but full-range they are not. There's an obvious missing element to the music in the <45Hz range. I listen to 95% vinyl, 5% CD (I stream off a Bluesound very occasionally to get ideas for albums to purchase). My system is comprised of a Rega P10 with Hana umami red cart, Modwright PH150 reference phono stage, Oppo 205 disk player all into an Octave V80SE integrated amp with super black box.

My current "leaders" for speakers are Qln Prestige 5 and Devore Gibbon X based on what I've heard, but have liked the Wilson Sabrina Xs and have heard great things about the newer Borresen X3s. Any experiences/recommendations welcome. 



Really need to know what improvements (besides bass) you’re looking for and what sound characteristics are most important to you.  Also, how big is your room and are you looking for new or used.  Love your amp BTW.  Thanks for any further info.


Thanks for starting the conversation. My room is approximately 14' wide by 23' deep, standard ceiling height (not open or vaulted), so I do have some room. I listen to mostly 50's through early-mid 60s jazz (Ben Webster and Gene Ammons are my favorites), blues, folk, acoustic guitar, some alternative rock. Tonality and honest timbre of instruments/vocals are the most important qualities of a transducer to me with sound staging/imagery the next most important factors. I played alto/tenor saxophone for many years and I know instantly when I hear a speaker that can recreate the timbre of my Selmer. With respect to bass, I think the 20-40Hz range is important not for heavy slamming bass (not what I'm needing it for), but rather, when its integrated well, bass frequencies support all the frequency information above it, makes the sound more "real" and present, which is what I miss to some degree with my Dynaudios. The Heritage Specials are dynamite with vocals and upper midrange saturation, but it just lacks something tonally. I could go new or used, doesn't matter. I bought my amp used and its never missed a beat. Thanks for everyone's time. 

Save yourself $12-25k, these JSE Model II’s sound fantastic.

Richard Modafferi’s 2 patents: Infinite Slope Crossover and Bass Shift (unique way of using the 10" and 12" woofers).


Used, nobody knows about them, they cost very little. They were a huge hit when introduced, BUT, they decided to make the enclosures themselves. Late, Late, Late, cancelled orders, Harveys stopped carrying them despite how awesome they sound.

Joseph Audio still uses some of Richard Modafferi’s patents. Jeff was a salesman at Harveys when the JSE’s came out.

Good luck finding something sounding better!

My friend has mine, I went back to my Vintage Horns I inherited from my Uncle. Replacing the Dynaudio D21 Tweeters was the best thing I ever did, the D21's were famous for burnt coils. The SEAS tweeter is John Solecito's recommended replacement.

Have seller confirm if the 12" woofer is the original dual coil one.



an easy recommendation legacy focus se 9k 

1 efficient 95db so a great match with your octave amplifier

outstanding  subwoofer level bass 

advanced heil amt tweeter and midrange so great detail

a huge soundstage

plays loud if you ever move into a large room

hand made in the usa

multiple finish options

dave and Troy

Audio Intellect NJ

legacy dealer




If i had around $20k for a pair the choice would be easy for me. Volti Rival. 

I don't have experience with them but I've been looking at Legacy lately who use  interesting and fairly unique designs.

I second Audiotroy's recommendation as to the Legacy Focus.  I have the Legacy Signature SE,  slightly smaller than the Focus  (WAF was a factor here!). My room is 14 x 25 with a 14 foot high vaulted ceiling.  Plenty of volume  (using a pair of PS Audio M700 monoblocks) great timbre,  huge soundstage,  and very accurate.  I listen to a lot of classical,  so accuracy of the instruments,  along with depth of soundstage,  are my hot buttons. I also listen to a lot of blues,  so bass is also important. Not only is the bass sufficient,  it's also very tight and accurate.  I ended up ditching my subwoofer after these broke in. I  don't know where you live,  but there are several dealers around the country where you can demo. I  bought mine directly from the factory.. 

My favorite speakers in this price range are the Vivid Audio K45 speakers ($21K). They do everything well. They are so accurate and true to life as well as being the most transparent speakers I've heard at that price point. Bass detail and articulation are class defining and they image like bandits!  So much fun!   



thanks for the link to speakerchoices.com

I sorted by sensitivity, then find something desireable/affordable that allows easily using tubes without needing too much power/cost/weight

Given that you really like your Wilson, then I would consider Magico A3 or used A5. Also MBL. DynAudio Confidence 20 0r 30. You might like Focal. Sonus Faber are very natural sounding, not hyper detailed so you would probably not like those. 

Given your preferences and amp I’d give a very high recommendation to the Verity Audio Otello.  Verity flies under the radar a bit, but they remain some of the best all-around speakers I’ve ever heard as they’re supremely natural and lifelike sounding and can image/soundstage with the best out there, and they’re very tube friendly.  Here’s a nice used pair you can get at a steep discount and save $$$…


Here are a couple reviews that I think capture their sound characteristics nicely…



These Ushers are also excellent but I’d check if they’re compatible with your amp just to make sure.  Oh yeah, and they’re drop dead gorgeous.


If still available, these Acoustic Zen Crescedos are also excellent and like the others could save you some big $$$.


Another top contender that will do what you’re looking for in spades, looks great, and is very room friendly due to its size is the Joseph Audio Perspective 2.  I also like your QLN and DeVore choices although I’d check that the QLNs are suitable for your amp.  

Anyway, just some other choices to consider, and best of luck.

Thank you all for some great recommendations! I don’t post much, just stalk the boards. Appreciate everyone’s time and thoughtful responses!

thanks for using it @elliottbnewcombjr !

if you have any suggestions on how to make the search better, what other data you would like to see, please let me know

I don't think the DeVores come near the other recommendations in value. They may be great but they are overpriced - based on a few attributes.

The fact that you love the Dyns is helpful and the Octave is a good match for that brand. Contours make sense and Dyn makes a very good speaker. The Contour is kind of a sweet spot in their line. If you want to go to a different tweeter type, Audiovector R3s are an interesting speaker for you. Read Andrew Quint's review in TAS. They are quite good. It will deliver a different listening experience and feels more like you are on-stage rather than in the crowd. For a similar listening experience to the Dyns, you might want to look at Harbeth. The 40.3s may not be true floorstanders but they sound like they are. With Townshend stands you would still be on budget. Wilson Benesch is a good option with the P3.0. Bass on that speaker is very refined though and will go deeper but won't thunder like the big 12" driver in the Harbeth's. Spendor Classic Series might also be an option. I just listened to the Classic 200s at the SME factory in the UK and they were pretty awesome. Full disclosure, I am a Wilson Benesch dealer, I am about to sign up for Audiovector. I have no relationship with Harbeth or Spendor.

I agree. Get a nice subwoofer or two to augment the speakers you love. For music I have a KEF KF92 and it is wonderful. 

All of the above is really just different versions of the same thing, unless I read over  one. Do yourself a favor and check out Ohm. Completely different experience  and changed, and I mean improved, my enjoyment of listening to music. 

Agree with those suggesting subs before dropping $15-$20k on new floor standers.  A well integrated sub that goes to 20Hz sounds like the ticket and much cheaper.  If it turns out not to work for you sell the subs and move on to a floor stander.  

Hello, I have a couple recommendations:

Tekton Encore or maybe even the new ones- 1812 overture? $21k

I like this because they are new. 

Sonner speakers win a lot of Best Room at audio shows

If you truly love your your speakers in your room then try a pair of Rel subs  

If the RELs take up to much room for the frequency and you want to really blend your subs in then go with the JL Audio F110 or F112 subs with the JL Audio CR1 crossover. You will need an identical interconnect that you are using on your amp. 
this will seamlessly blend your speakers to your subs using analog not digital. This is what I and friend use right now with out full range speakers. It’s really amazing. $11k to $13k plus matching interconnect. 

Last is the Revel Salon 2s speakers. I believe these go down to 25 hz. They don’t take up a huge foot print and even have built in crossover controls on the back. They are a four way design with two different mid drivers and beryllium tweeters that are smooth as butter. Knew they are $24k. Used is around $10k-13k. They like power so a good amp is recommended. 

I hope this gave you some good ideas. 

You are absolutely correct in considering the Borresen X-3's....They are a $25K speaker you can buy for $11K....I spent 3 hrs. last night in total amazement. They make old cd's that I haven't listened to in years, alive and exciting. Details I never knew existed in the music come thru and you'll hear the songs presented like never before.There are a lot of good recommendations here...I can tell you the X-3's will be your last speaker purchase. ps. don't let anyone tell you that the bass is weak....It's deep and punchy and rock solid. My next door neighbor even commented on my music.

I was shopping for speakers in this price range last year. I listened to the Sabrina X, Magico and Von Schweikert, which were all technically very impressive.  I also listen to a lot of jazz and I ended up getting the Devore O96's, because tone is very important to me, and I loved the sound of sax, drums, piano and bass through those speakers. I also listened to the Gibbon, but they are more of a hi-fi sounding speaker. The O96's are also good all around for rock, folk, classical.  They don't excel in deep bass, but with 10" drivers, for me they go deep enough to satisfy. If you appreciate the kind of tone they can produce, they are worth auditioning.  I was also very impressed by the depth and layering of the Magicos, which sounded more natural to me than the other choices.

I recently purchased a set of Dynaudio Confidence 30 speakers. I replaced my Confidence 20 speakers. The Confidence 20 is an amazing little speaker, at the same time the big floor stander is just so much more. I absolutely;y love the big floor stander, they reveal so much music.


I was hoping to demo the Confidence 30s, the 50s are amazing and just won TAS speaker of the year, but obviously way too big for my room. Like several posters here have said, looking into subs is a good option too.

Thanks again to all of your replies…I have a running list of recommendations and will start to look into the various options you all suggested. I plan on attending Axpona this year just to have a quick first listen.  

With the confidence 30 speaker there is no need for subs. Or were you talking subs with your current speakers?

Subs with my current speakers. I’m more of a minimalist, and I know subs are always good (at least according to John Hunter from REL), but it’s “cleaner” to move to full-range floorstanding speakers. I wish they had more colors to choose from for the Confidence line…I know that sounds dumb but…I do love the Dynaudio sound. Lots to contemplate. 

PS. The $11K Borresen X-3's have the same tweeter as their $500,000 speakers have....'nuff said.

@mbmi - with all due respect what I've heard in videos from Børresen is that it uses the same type of ribbon design as their top tweeter but is not identical in its construction details. Quoting directly from their website: "The tweeter chosen for the Børresen X-series has the same design used in all other Børresen loudspeaker series. However, there is a reduction in magnet and iron mass." So they are not the same tweeter (built to a different level as described) although they use a common design... 'nuff said.

@njkrebs Wilsons have a natural tone and the Sabrinas check all the boxes, however, your amp is slightly underpowered for these speakers in that size room. Depends on how loud you like to listen. 
Magico speakers do not sound anything like Wilsons. And even the A3 are power hungry and more so than the Sabrinas. 

I own and would not hesitate to recommend the Sabrinas. 

As to your other choices, not sure. Best is to go hear these speakers especially the Devore and the Borresen. As a side note, the claim that the $11,000 X3 compete with $25,000 speakers is ambitious. May be they do sound better than some mysterious $25,000 speakers but I’ll believe it when I see/hear it. It’s way too hyped up now. 

Please note up-front: I am not getting any financial reward from the following, or anything else, for that matter. All I want to do is sharing my everyday musical enjoyment.

To me - after decades of searching - there is only one answer to your question and your budgetary frame: Linkwitz LX521.4Mg (Magnesium Mid-Low). This is an entire package, not only the speaker, but includes an active ASP and 5 (!) amps per channel (10 total). All this fitting precisely into your price bracket. The Linkwitz 521.4 is the result of decades-long tinkering by the late Siegfried Linkwitz (of Linkwitz-Riley crossover fame) to create a sound transducer based on our scientific insights into the realm of psycho-acoustics, or simpler: how do we perceive music so that our brain can relax and not constantly has to recreate a musical event from imperfect acoustic clues. It is the latter demand on our brains that leads to listening fatigue. I will abstain to delve into a scientific description of why and how. Only so much: these are open-baffle dipole speakers; each speaker contains two subwoofers, one mid-woofer, one mid-high driver and two tweeters. The subs and the tweeters come in pairs, because one beams to the front  and the other to the rear. That makes for 5 separate drivers (the tweeters are wired in reverse series), each of which has its own amplifier (each sub has its own, i.e. 2/channel). Moreover, the ASP (analog signal processor), takes the signal coming from the preamp (or DAC) and splits it up in such a way that each driver gets only that part of the frequency spectrum where its response curves are more-or-less flat. This leads to an overall flat and well-balanced frequency response of the speaker. You can read about this in great detail on the Linkwitz Store website or on Siegfried's own Linkwitzlab site. The speakers can be bought completely assembled, turn-key, so to speak, or as a construction set, that ships like a piece of furniture from IKEA. The price difference is a whopping $10K. I built my speakers myself. There are numerous reviews on the web about this extraordinary system, and many best-in-show opinions from visitors at AXPONA or the Munich show. Most recently, Tom Martin (of Absolute Sound fame) reviewed the system on his blog site, and called it a true "breakthrough".

I myself could not think of a more enjoyable speaker, as it does bring the music venue into my room with a realism and 3D staging that is nothing short of uncanny, and does so effortlessly without any distortions of frequency shortcomings: the bass goes deep, and remains dry and superbly focused, while as loud as the recording demands. Well, two subs, each driven with 250 A, leave nothing on the table. I listen to every musical genre (except Grunge), and I have never felt that there should be more. I get great performances from intimate jazz lounge recordings and solo singers or instruments as well as from large-stage synthesizer-heavy stuff such as Dead Can Dance or the recent Blade Runner tracks, which are just mind-blowing.

I could get on and on, but I think you get my drift: for your budget there is simply nothing else out there coming even close to what the LX521 system offers. 

A final note: the Linkwitz store is direct-sale, no middle men, no mark-ups, no ad costs in magazines (besides a very small one in the recent Stereophile pages); however, if you are interested, many happy users such as myself have agreed to join the international network of Linkwitz Lounges, where we open our homes to perfect strangers and have them listening to our set-up, before they spend beaucoup-bucks on something which turns out to be a compromise. My lounge is located in our living room, meaning: a realistic setting, such as your own. There are no wall treatments or any other fancy stuff obfuscating the fact that a demo system could be far from perfect in your own setting. So, if you are serious and not too far from Silicon Valley, please shoot me a message and we go from there!

I’d suggest before making recommendations to take into account that the OP’s amp, while excellent, is a relatively low-powered tube amplifier. As per John Atkinson’s measurements of the amp it’s not comfortable driving speakers that dip to low impedance levels. From his measurements…

”Octave specifies the maximum power into 4 ohms with KT150 tubes as 120Wpc (17.8dBW), and fig.5 reveals that, with both channels operating, the amplifier just reached this power at 3% distortion. At our usual definition of clipping (1% THD), the amplifier gave 43.3Wpc into 4 ohms (13.35dBW) and 79Wpc into 8 ohms (19dBW).”

So recommending speakers like Revel, Wilson, Magico, Vivid, Dynaudio Confidence, KEF, etc. that aren’t really tube friendly — and especially not low-powered tube friendly — are likely not a good match for this amp as they’ll push it well out of its optimal operating range and into high distortion and poorly-controlled bass. Just something to consider for future recommendations.

I auditioned the Dynaudio floor standers and Magico A3's during the same session. I don't remember the model but as I recall the woofers were a little bigger and, the cabinet was bigger than the A3's.  I went with the Magicos. The Dynaudio's were nice but I thought the A3's beat them. 

That was over three years ago. I've been extremely happy with the A3's. I've updated all of my gear to bring out their potential but it's been worth the effort.

I’ll throw in my two cents worth for your consideration. I’ve cycled through three pairs of speakers — B&W bookshelves, Usher MD2, and currently, what I think will be the last speakers I ever purchase — the Scansonic MB6-B.

Scansonic is the value line of the well regarded (but very expensive) Raidho speakers of Denmark. They are tall, sleek, and sound exquisite — detailed, amazing soundstage and depth, fast, and with incredible range. I have two REL subs in my system and haven’t bothered to turn them on — the Scans do perfectly well hitting the lower frequencies on their own. They retail for $15k.

The MB6-Bs were designed by Michael Borresen who later went on to found his own audiophile company bearing his name and producing outstanding loudspeakers including the Borresen X-3. I considered them when I purchased the Scans — to my ear it was a toss up. Both were amazing loudspeakers at an even more amazing price — between $12-$15k. They were  the best values I could find and certainly kept pace with the Sabrinas that I had longed dreamed of owning.

For context, my equipment is based on Parasound electronics including JC1 monoblocks, JC2 BP pre-amp, JC3 phono amp, and a CD-1 CD player. My primary source is vinyl played on a VPI Scout turntable with a Dynavector 20X2-L cartridge. And the two REL subs mentioned above now get used only with my home theater system.

The Scansonic aren’t well known in the states and you’ll have to dig to find reviews. But with one exception where the reviewer didn’t like the technical “measurements” of the speakers, all of the others I found came to the same conclusion I did — these are amazing loudspeakers that will give you hours of musical enjoyment. 

I first discovered and listened to the MB6-Bs at AXPONA 2023. That was it, I was hooked and purchased them by the end of the month!

Best of luck with your search — enjoy the ride! 


Lots of good recommendations above. Add Rockport Atria ii to the list. Amazing speaker. Good luck!

@soix agreed on the Octave being underpowered for the recommendations above. And I mentioned that as well. The only speakers it will be comfortable with is probably the Devore. 

This is funny....the people that have heard or own the X-3's are the ones raving about how well they sound...The people that haven't heard them or don't own them are the ones putting them down. Interesting....

@soix ​​​​@audphile1 

Definitely hear you guys and better understand the limitations of my amp for sure and will find a suitable match. Despite the generalized pairing of Octave with Dynaudio those speakers love current and my amp likely struggles at times. I appreciate folks who obviously have more technical knowledge than I, which is why I try to educate myself. I can say my amp sounds a lot better than 95% of solid state amps I’ve ever heard, so I’m not excited to jump ship on it yet. I need to take my time finding the right fit, but there have been some excellent recommendations!! Again, I appreciate everyone’s time and input!

@audiotroy ​​​​@kmcong 

I’ve heard of Legacy and am intrigued after looking at their specs more in depth. Appreciate it! 

@mbmi I’d love to hear a pair of X3s and will do so when opportunity arises. I just don’t believe in giant slayers. 

The Absolute Sound reviewed the Dyn Confidence 50s in a 225 SF room. And Part Time Audiophile reviewed the same C50s with your Octave amp. Just in case you're still considering them. I have the C50s, paired with Burmester 911 MK3/088 combo and they sound superb in my 250 SF room. I also had them paired with a Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 and they still sounded great. I'm using a pair of Sub6's which have presets specifically tailored for the C50s. Let us know what you end up with!


Taking your time and deep research are good ideas as speaker sonic preferences are highly subjective. When I searched for speakers, I went to audio shows and audio stores to demo. Keep in mind that commonly poor hotel room sonics at audio shows may or not reflect the speaker’s performance - I love Magico, but at one audio show they sounded meh.

Often, speaker manufactures have a "brand" sonic signature. My strategy was to listen to the best speakers I could demo, then try to recreate the sonics within my budget.

Stereophile puts out recommended components here. TAS (The Absolute Sound) magazine put out a 2024 Annual Buyers Guide in their November 2023 issue#343.

After intense research, I demoed 2 speakers of interest at AXPONA 2022. One sounded with better treble, the other more balanced but somewhat muffled. The speaker I really liked was out of my price range, but after I told my trusted dealer he negotiated a lower price and I raised my budget so I now own the demoed speakers.

Good luck and wishing you the very best in your search

The Quad Electrostatics for 15k are the most transparent windows into the music hands down in that price point 

 Lots of incite and great response.  I own the QLN P5's that you mentioned with the Devores.  Devores were one of the speakers I really wanted to hear but didn't. My Final 2 choices were the P5's and the Joseph Perspectives. The P5's are everything you'll read about them, really good. Soix had mention of your amp and I think it would be ok but suggest you call James at Choice Audio in Mpls and get his opinion , he knows the Qln like the roof of his mouth.

I didn’t read all the posts. I also have Dynaudio HS on the stand 20. My suggestion is a pair of REL subs. They will do much more than just add the bottom end. A pair of S/510 or S/812 would do it all. I have a single S/510 but my space is much smaller than yours. Oh and I think the the Octave Research might not have enough grunt for the HS. I use an Aestheix Mimas on mine it’s about double the amount of power the Octave has. Dynaudio’s really love power!