Good Speakers for Rock and Roll Under 15K

I have nice speakers for acoustics, jazz, vocals, etc. but are not great for rock and roll.  Would welcome any recommendations for speakers that do a great job with classic rock and roll.  I will add some components in my system that might influence thinking:

New Audio Frontiers Tube Preamp, New Audio Frontiers 845 Tube Power Amp, Lampizator Atlantic DAC, Innuos Zenith Streamer, Tchernov cables.


legacy focus: 96db efficiency,high power handling,plays loud, very deep bass response, loves tubes.


made in America state of the art drivers, stunning cabinetry.


Dave and Troy

Audio Intellect NJ

Legacy dealer

B&W (and McIntosh if you want the whole enchilada). I would also assume JBL.


So, separate system for rock?

I have spent a lot of time on the subject of different genre. I accidentally optimized for electronic music a long time ago by taking mostly electronic test disks. I realized that I made electronic sound incredible, but made all other genre sound poor.

Ultimately I changed my goal to fidelity to acoustic music (symphonic, acoustical jazz, etc) because it gave me an empirical ruler. All genre got better and better as I upgraded from then on. But you can optimize for a single music type… making it more flashy (as opposed to how it should sound)… but that generally comes at a cost.

For me optimal is to pursue real. This means details are emphasized in proportion to how they sound in the real world… as is bass. So it sounds like real music. Not overemphasis of details and slam such that background details come to the foreground, background instrument become solos, and an artificial slap of bass replaces the nuanced multiple arrival times that are experienced in real venues.




If you want to recreate the sound of an era try mimicking the equipment they used to recreate it.

For rock and roll horns can't be beat. 

Grateful Dead used Altec A7 and Macintosh.  You could recreate the wall of sound with several pairs of Crites Speaker Type CS Style B and still be way under budget.

Klipsch La Scala would be worth looking at

Volti Rival would be another consideration.but a little over 15K


After hearing Cornwall III and IV I felt they were really great with R&R. Not so much with other genres, but terrific with rock.

Just a hair over budget at $16,500 (used pair on here for $8k right now) the JBL 4367 is my favorite rock speaker I have heard to date. Super dynamic with smooth treble that is easy on the ears. Great texture and impact in the bass. They could go lower and I still add subs, but I need full range bass to be happy (a personal thing). I have owned speakers I thought were good for rock but ignorance is bliss and they have been totally eclipsed by the 4367. Not just a rock speaker but simply good. 

The treble is also adjustable which makes a much bigger difference than the numbers would indicate. I am down 0.5db on the UHF.  

Measurements to back up the good impressions too. 


Planars are generally not ideal for pop music otherwise take your choice with that budget. I’d be looking at KEF meta or Revel personally were it me.

I like Marten speakers from Sweden. When auditioning against Dynaudio Heritage Special and YG Tor, the Marten Oscar Duos hit me immediately as better rockin' speakers; I ended up going for the even higher model, the Parker Duo, just because the upper bass/lower mids are amazing with the larger speakers. But I listen to rock and reggae exclusively and for me, these are great. 

I know this is more than you want to spend, but my Clarisys Planars do Rock & Roll pretty well!


Klipschorns or JBL. KEF is a good suggestion also. Although my personal taste would also recomend a Class D amp rather then tubes.

But I know there will be strong disagreement with that comment.....

I'm hearing some things here.   A lot of Klipsch, Volti, JBL horn-type speakers.  Also some suggestions to employ SS amps instead of tubes.  Since I run separates, I'm not opposed to adding a SS power amp and running some rock-dedicated speakers in the same room... it would be cool to have a speaker switch that could direct the pre to the amp / speaker of choice on demand...

Take this from someone who plays 90% Rock, every day.  I use Golden Ear Triton Reference speaker system.  Powered woofers and smooth highs.  They are on sale for $9K a pair, regularly $12.5K a pair.  They play Classical and Jazz superbly as well.  You may also like the JBL L100 Classic 2 for around $5K a pair, I use the L100 Classic, the Classic2 just came out.   You would definitely need a sub or two with The JBL’s.   I use a single SVS SB2000pro sub which was around a grand in piano black.  

Tektons are the bomb for rock / metal. Dynamic like a horn but smoother than most horns. They are fast and have great mid bass as well which is key for rock. 

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Horn speakers avoid tubes amps but use tubes for the preamp…Pass Labs XA25 or First Watt amps…

No reason for tubes whatsoever if pop/rock electronically amplified music is your thing.

I vote for the Legacy Focas. I have them, love their rock and roll ! I'm powering them with Legacys V series amps. 1000 Watts. I tried a set of Tekton Double Impacts but did not like the tweeter array. They were a good speaker, just not for me. 

I will always be running a tube preamp.  It's a work of art.  But would opt to run a SS power with a set of rock dedicated speakers.  Recommendations for excellent ss power amps to compliment?  Pass Labs was recommended... 


I don’t think you need to chase amps, good is good enough IMO. Just get the speakers right. Dynamics/transients is the key to good rock. Just use enough power to keep your dynamics designed into the speaker.


A smooth downward sloping frequency response in room (Revel, JBL, Kef, etc) helps so bad recordings don’t bite your head off. Speakers that are flatter in room (thiel, B&W, a few I have owned) are far less enjoyable with rock.

Have you considered used equipment? Where are you at as location has a lot to do with availability and pricing?  For $15K, you could do very well in the used market for dynamite speakers AND the equipment to run them.

I agree with a tube pre and SS amp.

I also agree with horn speakers. I have a pair of Volti that I enjoy with all types of music. JBL are nice, although never had opportunity to spend any length of time with them. I guy I know in my area has a set of Rethm Saadhana he is selling for a fair price on another audio site in the US. They are also very nice and I have often spent time listening to then in his system. I dont really ever see Volti on sale used, but a new pair of Rivals are only slightly above your price. Good luck on your journey

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Pioneer HPM-100 speakers are suitable for many genres of music.  They sound great with The Who, Black Sabbath, Kraftwerk, Public Enemy, Ry Cooder, classical, etc.

JBL 3900 $11K/or or JBL 4367 $16K/pr. And I'm a British speaker and Magneplanar guy mostly. But if you want to rock with something that aren't rip your ears off harsh, these bigger JBLs have got it covered. Especially with 25 (tube) watts per channel. 

I know many have said them already, but I agree you can't go wrong with Klipsch or JBL.

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Peter at PBN can build you some w JBL components and fantastic quality crossovers….




How about Altec a7 driven by Line Magnetic 508 (48 watts tube SET amp)?




This one was driven by Rogue Cronus Magnum II.


But I found that Line Magnetic 508 has better control of bass than Rogue.



I have Magnepan 1.7is and 2 subs and mostly what we listen to. Tube amp Class AB/D amp hybrid. Had all kinds of speakers over the years and these are the best esp for the price. However, you need a LOT of power and current to play loud - which I do and do lol  

Vivid Audio Kaya 25 for 11k…spend 3k on a rel sub like an S512 for $2749!

it will crush any of these other “ideas” they are giving you.

yes they are not super sensitive at 86DB

yes they will work fine with your 25W tube amp that is class A and has 4x the current of an ab amp giving it as much drive as a 100W ab amp!

no I am not lying because you will get a Rel Sub with it!

yes the rel sub will be fast as hell and integrate better than the Cheapo T grade ones.

yes this is better than a 15k tower rock out speaker with cheaper parts that won’t have full range from said cheap parts and compromises and will not beat the sub in bass. the review on ulfberht in stero times.great for the money.eric the owner is bright and good to work with.just listened to prototype  with hemp midwoofer and horn with sub was fantastic.enjoy the music

Well designed speakers can play any genre of music...if you think Mahler is somehow less dynamic than Megadeath you need to get out more.

I personally never like horns. Had the klipsch klf 20s. Great bass, but the mids and highs always sounded like you had your hands cupped around your mouth when you spoke. Never could improve it, even upgrading the drivers, and replacing the crossover never gave them that crystal clear sound. They played loud for sure, but we’re on the harsh side. Switched to Maggie’s with subs. Much better.

IMO, I think some of the newer horn designs take the shouty, harsh and fatigue out and you are left with crystal clear sound. You should listen to some newer horns maybe at a show, just for your own experience. I think you will be surprised.

  What the heck, I'll play:  I have Focal Electra 1038's, and believe me, these babies can rock. Just need to be fed right...

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Always been impressed with the Sopra 3’s … punchy and full range coverage!!

I will echo a 3rd recommendation for Legacy Audio Focus, 95+ dB sensitive or at $15,200 a pair of the Focus XD's which have an internal Icepower 750 WPC amp, You can bi amp them with your tube amp and they will sound sweet and rock the house. You can also set the switches to run them full range with the internal amp, but I doubt you will after you hear them bi amped.  Either choice is outstanding with rock, the bass is magnificent! They feature 2 -12 inch bass drivers, yet are refined and detailed in the bass, not boomy at all. 

I have $3k Crites with 2 subs.  100dB.  Pass XA25. Don't knock it, this system is really enjoyable.  It will play as loud as you ever want, yet sound good at 70 dB.  You can feel the bass even at lower volumes. These speakers sound good by themselves, but really shine with subs  They come in unfinished birch.  I have seen veneered versions that are very attractive.   Might have too much old school or DIY look for some.

If If I were to spend $15k, Fleetwood speakers would be worth looking at, beautiful, horn loaded.  Others are Volti, JBL, PBN.

I personally prefer solid state, especially for rock.

Bryston Model Ts. Designed and hand built by James Tanner for his own listening room. They were so good at making precision bass (six 8" Woofers) the company decided to make and sell them.

Negatives: They are watt vacuums. They need at least 200 watts IMO. They sound unimpressive and frankly dull at low volume levels. Once you push them above a conversation level they wake up. The harder you push them the more they sing. Furthermore they lack snob appeal. Brand whores can't brag about their Brystons like they brag about their 20K BAs, B&Ws or Sonus Fabers. All great speakers for sure but IMO WAY overpriced. Get a hold of your dealer's wholesale price list and you will be shocked to learn that the markup is 400%!

Positives: A lot of speaker for the money. They look good- heavy duty and substantial. LOTS of bass- so much so a sub is not necessary. Mids are rich and the highs are not harsh but rather bright and sparkly. 

I like French Vanilla ice cream. You may like chocolate. In the end it's what YOU like and not some keyboard warrior's ranting. THEREFORE: Audition them in YOUR room. So many times I have heard speakers that dazzled me in the treated perfect environment listening room but were unimpressive in mine. Take them home and try them out..  Most dealers will allow this. Many direct sellers will allow it as well. 

Good luck and don't forget to crank up Ramstein's Du Hast Niche! 


My two picks if it were me are the Devore O/96's and the Volti Rival. The Rival is $1,000 over budget and if you are strictly limiting yourself to 15K, than the Razz would be just fine.

I really have no clue why I am diving into this thread-the simple truth is that if you match a good loudspeaker correctly with your amp and room, you will be fine regardless of genre. 

Oh, I know why I dived in to this thread. At Axpona one year I heard the O/96's and could not get over how fun they are with rock music.