Focal Aria 936 / Elac Adante AF-61 / Von Schweikert VR-33 , impressions, thoughts?

Thinking of upgrading my speakers and in the past have just gone with what I thought was a great deal, sometimes that worked, more often it did not!

Have a shortlist right now of those 3 speakers.

Focal Aria 936
Elac Adante AF-61
Von Schweikert VR-33

Presently using Triangle Altea ESW speakers.

What am I lacking right now? Possibly some lower bass, the Triangles are superb in the mids and upper registers but you can definitely tell they are  a little limp below 40hz. And at the end of the day even though I consider them to be fantastic speakers, they were after all only 2k brand new so there are likely better options out there to consider.

So thoughts and impressions on those 3 speakers or any serious contenders in the same sort of price bracket, I am looking at used examples only so think 3k max.

Will be driving them with an Ayre AX-7E integrated which I will NOT be changing anytime soon (famous last words I know!)

Thank you
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Those all look like top flight choices to me.  I'm researching also the Canton Vento 890.2, which can be had brand new for less than $3k. 
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Now you are talking a language I can understand!
Actually after your first post I did a quick search of 936 post in forum and came across one from yourself that alluded to you owning them.
Really good to know and thank you!

My only reservation was a couple of mentions of needing a fair dose of amp to adequately drive the bass.
Kosst, I'm confused.  You laud the 936 for reaching down into the 30s with authority, yet most reviews I've read of other Focal speakers even up to the Sopra No 2 seem to indicate a bottom end without a lot of authority.  So, now I'm wondering what's what about this.  I have been very interested in Focal, but I keep reading this sort of thing about them. 
I have personal experience with the VR-33 speakers.   I saw all the ads how a $3750 pair of speakers are as good as  speakers costing $15,000 because they are sold direct.  I read a couple of professional reviews, one by Greg Weaver and another from an online publication.  So, I bought into the hype.  I found a used pair for just under 3K here and bought them.

I was so excited and really wanted to LOVE them.  I took the day off from work on the day of their arrival.  Spent a couple of hours setting them up per Alberts instructions, held my breath and......disappointment.  What little bass there was , was quite boomy.  I ran them in for an entire month  using the Isotek Burn In CD.  They sounded no different after a month.  I moved them a little this way and that way, replaced my power amp to a 250wpc amp, no change.  I took the room drapes down, then replaced them.  It was mostly a bass problem   and a little bit of squawkiness in the upper midrange.

A year went by and my wife mentioned "you never play your system in the living room any more."  I thought about it and she was right, I had been listening to my secondary system because I couldn't bring myself to listen to the living room system.  In January 2015, I bought a pair of GE Triton Ones and never looked back.  I sold the VR33 speakers for a huge loss.  I have now moved the GE Triton Ones to my secondary system and purchased GE Triton Refs for the main system.

Now, the kicker is the guy I sold the VR33 to said the bass was great in his room and he loves them, go figure.  So, the moral here is it may or may not work in your situation.  Caveat emptor.
Thx Stereo5.
I guess it really does prove how much things can change given a different system and a different room.
Almost makes you think reading any of the professional reviews are a complete waste of time.
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Thanks, I read a Stereophile review by Robert Deutsch.  I didn't find a review by HR.  But it sounds like plenty of bass and not boomy. 
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TBH, out of the 3 I had listed I favoured the Focal as have had 3 pairs of lesser Focals previously and there really was nothing to dislike about any of them at their given price points.
Also using Triangle speakers right now so I obviously like the sound of French speakers.... go figure!
I have owned the VSA VR-33 speakers for a number of years now.  I have not heard your other two considerations.
I recall when I first received these speakers, I had high hopes for them.  They were replacing a pair of Mirage M-5si's.  Now the Mirages had a decidedly darker voicing that produced an incredible low end response from two rather generic 6.5" woofers.  That and a Rotel 990 power amp produced a room lock low end that I'll never forget.
So when the VR-33's were first fired up you might imagine I wondered where the low end had gone.  Called Albert and was thinking these were not for me.  He encouraged me to give it some time and allow the speaker time to break in.  So I did.  After 300 hours, I stated to realize the old Mirages were indeed rather dark and colored in comparison.  The 33's produced a more neutral and detailed sound.  The bass in fact did show up after break in. 

So years later I listen to them in my second system with great regularity.  One big advantage of this speaker is that it is voiced to do well near the front wall.  I have the rear of the cabinet 14" off the front wall.  They are driven by a Primaluna Dialogue HP which I think is a great match.  The room is open and large.  I would describe the sound as neutrally balanced.  The bass is tight and deep, certainly no boom.  With orchestral pieces, bass drums whacks have very nice, clean impact.  Dynamics with this pairing are very good and lend excitement to the music. The midrange is very clean and seamlessly hand off the the silk tweeter which in nicely extended.  I do not find any edge or bite to this speaker.  As I write this I am listening to a great Naxos CD  Sarastate, Music for Violin and Orchestra.  Spectacular performance by the soloist! (Get this CD!)  The violin if full bodied with all it's nuances wonderfully reproduced by the 33's.  Sweet, soaring, spectacular sound with no desire to turn the music down.  Imaging is very good considering placement.  In my dedicated audio room, my speakers are well out into the room to maximize the sound stage--something I value highly.  I find without this type arrangement I am very unsatisfied.  But with the 33's, they do a remarkable job up against the front wall.  Center image has nice height, and I do achieve extension of the sound stage lateral to the speakers.  Depth may be limited, but this I suspect is more a function of placement than the speaker.
The cabinet is very solid indeed.  Drivers are of high quality, as is the simple first order crossover which integrates the drivers remarkably well.  It's simplicity and high quality, I think, contributes to the nice dynamics and jump factor I note with some music which lends to the illusion of live music.
So yes, I have toyed with what other speakers might do in this room (open baffles in particular) I doubt I will do better when placement factors are considered.  So consider me long term impressed with this speaker.
Thanks Corelli, a little at odds with Stereo5 impression but reinforces my belief that EVERY situation is different.

LoomisJohnson, I did try a sub but even 3 different subs gave me same annoying ground loop hum on phono that I could not eliminate.

I don't get it either as I have never had trouble getting bass in my room.  Even the Conrad-Johnson 200wpc power amp I purchased for them didn't make them sound better.  I am clueless why.  The guy I bought them from told me he didn't care for them either, he went back to his Maggies. The speakers I had before them were the Odyssey Kismet Reference.  They had a 7 inch Scanspeak woofer and Scanspeak silk dome tweeter and the bass was astounding.  When my brother heard them, he was looking everywhere for a subwoofer but there was none.  The VSA are the only speakers I had problems with in that room.  If you can listen before you buy, that would be great.  On the VSA forum on Audio Circle, people are always asking if someone in their area has a certain VSA speaker they could listen to and most of the guys are more than willing.  That may be your best bet.

Seeing as you like the Triangle sound, the Focal may be your cup of tea.  I myself can't get past the BE tweeters as they are quite bright to my ears but they may be just the ticket for you.  If I was ever to buy another pair of speakers, I would go with Legacy Audio.  I have loved every one of their speakers that I have heard.  I spent a lot of time at RMAF listening to them. 

Fortunately the aria range does not have the BE tweeters, I think that would end up being too clinical especially with all my Nordost cabling.

The vr33 having a 10" woofer should knock bass out of the ballpark on paper at least.

Not sure if anybody in my area has them but worth a shot.

Looks like no love or knowledge for the Elac so far though.
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Another speaker I should consider as I like the Triangle house sound is one of their bigger brothers like the Volante.
Another option for sure.
There was a dealer listing the Volante for the lsat year and a half . Have gone unsold to my knowledge .Thinking he is asking too much . Like around $2800 if I recall . I bet he still has them for sale . Somewhere in the midwest .I  have been watching the listings the whole time . Unfortunately he never lowered the price as of yet . 
@stereo5I agree, sometimes things do not add up.  It just reinforces the point that your room is the single biggest factor sometimes.
I had a pair of 7" Scanspeak revelators with an aircirc tweeter and high end crossover--the VR-33's gave overall a better performance, including the bass.  So go figure.  I also owned  Magnepan 1.7's and enjoyed them very much.  But they would never perform close to the front wall like the 33's do.

@uberwaltz  I did own a pair of Triangles years ago. I liked them. If memory serves me, I would say from the midrange up the two are not too dissimilar. I think the 33's may be a bit more organic with a sweeter high end however.
The triangle Volante 260 had a retail of about 6500 so 2500 for a very good condition pair would be fair imho.

But I am still leaning towards the 936 atm.

My previous Focal Chorus 826v were really nice in my room and for the price was hard to beat. Well I decided to upgrade and I actually had a pair of aria 936 lined up from a dealer at 2600 shipped and I stupidly decided to buy a pair of Wilson Witt instead.

Not a mistake I will ever repeat.
I own 948's luv them. Every day I listen I continue to be pleased with the sound.
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Not quite sure I have ever felt the urge to get out of bed in the middle of the night to listen to music....yet.

However I do get your sentiment.

So I have also a pair of 948 on the radar as well, these are fairly local( in same state at least) and would be able to drive and listen to them. Still a foreign environment and system but might get a better idea.

Not sure how much more bass the 948 would yield over the 936?
@ uberwaltz
Yeah, that's my question as well.  Focal doesn't really rate the 946 that much deeper than the 936, and others have said the 936 is fine.  But I'm just a sucker for big floor standers.
I know with 8" woofers you would have thought a deeper quoted response than 37Hz.
But to put into perspective the low E string on bass guitar is 40hz approx so for rock music more than adequate.

Maybe not so much for classical or chamber music with deep pipe organs and the like.
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That's useful as my listening position is approx 10ft from each speaker. So the 948 may not even work to its best in my room.
Agreed 37 and 39Hz is going to be near impossible to hear the difference, you may just get a "feel" for a little more depth to bass but that's about it.
Yes, I also sit ~10 feet from my speakers. From the Focal web site on the 936:
"Appropriate for rooms measuring from 270ft2 (25m2) and from a listening distance of 10-12ft (3m - 3.5m)."

For the 948:
"This is the ultimate loudspeaker of the range for rooms measuring from 320ft2 (30m2) and from a recommended listening distance of 12ft (3.5m)."
My family room measures about 270 square feet, but the ceiling steps and bevels up to 10 feet, and the room is open to the breakfast nook and kitchen. So, there is a lot of cubic feet that is open to the speakers.
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Thanks Kosst.

I have bit the bullet and bought a pair of 936 so fingers crossed!

May I be the first to congratulate you.  It is always exciting when getting a  new piece, especially so for speakers.  Best of luck with them, I hope you love them.
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Thank you all for assistance in my questions and yes here is hoping they are all I need them to be too.

The wife is getting very good at helping me unpack hifi
Well I could not resist and while waiting for the Focals I saw a pair of DeVore Gibbon 8 for sale at very fair price and bought them as I knew no matter what they could have a home in the second system.

But of course I had to hook them up in the main rig first....

Well first impression was nothing too special and could not really put my finger on it until I examined a little further.
The speaker s/n specify L and R and I had placed the L on my seated L position, this placed the tweeters to the outer edge of each speaker.
A quick Google check of a few images all showed them set up with tweeter in so L on speaker meant L from the amp forward.
Swapped them round, fiddled with toe in a little and tried again.

Whoa! It was like I had plonked down a totally different pair of speakers, now the muddled soundstage and presence was gone replaced with a great dynamic projection of the music without any one area calling attention to itself.

I sat and listened to a complete Joe B album then some Prince, then realized I should be doing work around the

The Focals are going to have their work cut out when they arrive!

I had a pair of Devore Gibbon 8 speakers back in 2011.  I drove from Rhode Island to Annapolis, Maryland and back home (800 miles) on Dec30, 2010 to pick them up from an Audiogon member.  I paid 1800.00 for mine back then.  I felt they sounded best on Jazz music.  The bass in my living room didn't go that low but I had great luck integrating a Paradigm sub into the system.  For whatever reasons, it worked really well.

I had the set up for about a year before selling off the speakers and sub as I felt the highs were a little too polite on Rock music.  They were a real fun speaker though.  They are extremely musical speakers and I am glad I got to experience the Devore sound.  I got to talk briefly with John Devore in the elevator at RMAF last year. He is a very nice guy and invited my wife and I up to  their suite to listen  to the  0/96 speakers.  If I ever set up a third system, it will be either the Devore 0/96 or 0/93 speakers with a nice Line Magnetic integrated amp.

The Devore speakers  really sound more like music than speakers if you know what I mean.  Enjoy!

Yes I know you did, lol, I read your thread here from back then when I researched the gibbon8!

I would agree they are very musical, best I can describe is they do not seem to add or subtract anything. Nothing shouts out like wow, hear this bass or treble etc.

They just get on with the job.
Polite is a decent description and maybe not ideal for rock but right now they are a refreshing change from the Triangles. They are excellent still imho but are definitely an acquired taste as they are very in your face and immediate if you understand.
Be interesting when the 936 show up.
3 way speaker battle!
I know it’s late, but I did hear the Elac  Adante floorstander and large monitor a few months ago.  Not to my liking I am sorry to report.  Especially the tower.  Boomy, sloppy bass. To me, an unrefined sound.  Room and speaker/seat placement were less than ideal so i’m sure SQ could be improved upon.  I also heard persona 3f in same room.  They were in a different league in terms of refinement.  They too were not at their best due to set up/room.  IMO the problem for the Elacs ***that day, in that room and to my ears***is that they did NOT sound surprisingly good for a speaker half the price of the $10k personas. They sounded like a speaker with a much much lower price tag.  I have no idea how they sound compared to other 5k speakers as i’ve not been auditioning any.  I did hear some proac D30R last week that were just under $8k ( I think).  The proac and the Treo CT are the 2 best $8k speakers i’ve heard so far.
Never too late my friend
ProAc have been on the edge of my radar for a while but you have to cull the potential suspects at some time or another … lol.
We will see how the Focals fare once here and hopefully can step off the speaker merry go round for a while
Great MJK avatar, btw.  Caught APC concert in 2000.  Was great.   Went to a John cougar Mellencamp concert about three years ago. found out puscifer played the theater the night before. I almost cried  for having missed that opportunity.
Thank you
I love the new album as it has a mix of older type material and some newer more catchy stuff, great to hear new stuff after so many years!

Saw APC about 2 years ago at Rockville.

Waiting for new Tool album now.
And rumoured to be working on a new Puscifer album too, guess his creative juices are now on full throttle!

another +vote for the Focal 936 speaker.  Hope you like them in your system.  Happy Listening!
I heard the 936's a while ago.  Left me scratching my head, not in a good way or a bad way, just a bit perplexed.  To my ears, they didn't fall on the usual scale that runs from bright/forward/analytical to warm/laid back/musical.  I found it hard to find the right adjectives to describe the presentation, the tonality, the timbre.  It was different.  Quite detailed, certainly, allowing you to listen into the music, and certainly far from unpleasant.  Having heard Audio Note AN-E's years later, and allowing for acoustic memory, I'm going to say they didn't sound, to me, as natural as the AN's did, but again I'd be hard pressed to come up with the right adjective to describe how they departed (just a little) from that ideal of naturalness.  We'll be curious to hear your impressions. 
Well the 936 arrived and in system and definitely not quite what I was expecting, yet at least.
Kosst and any other actual owners, if you bought new how long break in did they need?
These are new so obviously not sounding their best but I have not found the speaker house sound to change drastically with break in.
Right now they sound very closed in, bass is loose, vocals and acoustic guitar a little wooly. 
They look good though.... Lol.

Somebody give me words of hope here!
If your Triangles sound like mine (Titus) only bigger and better I’d think it over carefully before parting ways.

I added a sub to mine rather than part with them because they do what they do very well and would be hard to replace.

If you are heading in a different direction totally in terms of the sound you want then more power to ya.

Early days on the Focals yet and yes there is a good reason the Triangles had bested much more expensive speakers in my system. They would probably do better with a tube amp though as always been very forward in presentation but not fatiguing if that makes sense.

Right now the DeVore Gibbon 8 are #1 of the 3 pairs here. They just do not do anything wrong or call attention to themselves in any area. Polite was one remark,I may just say they pass along the music without adding any further inflections.
But as I said very early days on the 936, they need more hours for sure.