Help me choose a speaker match for my Line Magnetic 805ia tube amp under $10K

Since all of you were such a huge help in getting me to arrive at my decision to get the Line Magnetic 805ia tube integrated, I thought I would start another thread to discuss speakers to consider. I do love my Ascend Acoustics but after hearing the improvement that the Line Magnetic gave my system, I am wondering now if there is a reasonably priced but a better speaker that is a better match for my system. The only criteria is that the price be equal to or less than $10k. I am looking for a speaker that is not harsh in the higher frequencies but still has enough sparkle and snap that doesn't give up anything in terms of detail. The ability to deliver some low end, dynamic punch is something that I would be looking for as well as this is the one area the Ascend's lack in currently. 

My current setup is...

Speakers: Ascend Acoustics Sierra Tower with RAAL Tweeters and Ascend Acoustics Center Speaker with RAAL Tweeter
Amp: Line Magnetic 805ia at 48W x 2
DAC: PS Audio Directstream Junior
Primary Music: Jazz and Female Vocals 

Speakers that I have considered so far include (power requirements notwithstanding):
  • Magico A3
  • Dynaudio Contour 60
  • Focal Sopra 2
  • Sonus Faber Olympica 3
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
LM805 is very similar to LM508 except it bypass pre input tubes to be used as power amplifier.

Although LM805 has very deep and powerful bass with 48W, it still need to be mated with high efficiency speakers at least 90db/W to play Jazz with realistic volume.

Thus I would exclude Magico and Dynaudio.

Dynaudio is very power hungry. It will be worst match.

I had listened to several models of Focal speakers, not Sopra2.

But they have lot of things in common, clean and sparking treble out of beryllium tweeter. tight and powerful bass.

But Focal speakers are also power hungry despite the spec of 90db/w.

Sonus Faber which is more refined and suitable for classical music is also power hungry.

If you do not play loud, Focal or Sonus Farber may work with LM805.

You can also consider used Piega 60.2.

It also have sparkle with higher efficiency.

I had listened to other model of Piega in Audio Show.

They gave very refined treble with tight and tuneful bass (not very powerful like Focal).

If you like Jazz, you may also consider Pure Audio Project speakers with high efficiency.

I was also tempted to get one of Pure Audio Project speakers as second system.

One more choice is DeVore O/96 which works well with tube amplifier.

Those are all very mainstream choices.  Going a little off the beaten track will net you much better results.

First of all, take a good look at Daedalus.  All their speakers are rated with high sensitivities, yet can handle power.  There are several good models in your price range.

Another great recommendation is Salk.  Likewise, a number of excellent models in your price range.  You can talk with the designer directly, and ensure that your amp is a great match.  You can't say that of the likes of B&W, Focal or Sonus Faber.

The Spendor D9 should be added to your list. I purchased a pair six months ago with a targeted presentation goal similar to the one you have stated.  They are not harsh but supply excellent musical detail and bass extension.
Tekton Encores.

I had the Line Magnetic 508ia, and it was sublime with my Tekton Double Impacts, even better with the Encores. I've had quite a few sets of highly regarded speakers over the years, including Vienna Acoustics, Piega, Daedalus, Intuitive Design, Pure Audio Project, and three pairs of Tekton speakers. The Encores are the best of the bunch and are within your budget, delivered to your door in the finish and color of your choice.
shkong78 *1

The OP needs a speaker with a flat impedance of 8 ohms or higher to let his amplifier work optimally. Falcon, Golden Ear Triton, or ProAc is another consideration in addition to DeVore all of which would be very good matched with the Line Magnetic amp. I have heard all of these speakers with the  Line Magnetic 805ia and all were great match ups, with different sound signatures. I currently own ProAc speakers.
Thanks everyone for your recommendations so far! Some of these, including Falcon, ProAc, Piega and Tekton, I had not even considered so far. 

@jperry which of the ProAc's did you hear with the Line Magnetic? No issues with power? That is one area of concern given the 805ia isn't the most powerful of amps and don't compare to Solid State amps in this regard. 
@waltersalas thanks for the recommendation on Tekton. How would you describe your experience with the Encores and how does it differ from the Double Impact? No issues with power from the LM?
@freesole--- The Double Impacts are tremendous speakers, but the Encores just do everything better--greater clarity, a more holographic sound stage with pin-point imagining, much more authoritative bass, and so on. The Encores have effectively ended my curiosity of what else might be out there that would be an improvement.

No, there were no issues with the LM, though I did end up replacing it with a Lyngdorf TDAI-3400, which does not diminish my love of the LM 508ia. I still consider it to be one of the very best amps I have ever owned.

I have a Line Magnetic 518IA which is 22wpc mated with Daedalus ArgosV2's , very nice sounding and the 518IA easily drives the Argos without my going past "10 o'clock" on the dial in a 28x20x10 room. Just mentioning for whatever it is worth
I listened to the Magico A3's today. They look much better in person than through photos (they basically look like a black box in photos). Build quality is superb - as you would expect of a $9,800 speaker. The speakers could be driven HARD and yet the sparkle and twang in the highs continued to shine without being harsh in the least. The lower end was good but not as good as impactful as I had heard from the Sonus Faber Olympica 3's. The speakers were driven by Hegel equipment. A great combo but I wonder if it is really 3x better than my current Ascend Acoustics setup... 

Something to think about. Perhaps it is the components, but the listening experience was impressive without being jaw dropping - if you know what I mean. 
There are two pair of ProAc D-48r currently on Audiogon for under 10k. The ribbon tweeter and its integration is great
Besides my previous recommendations, used Harbeth 40.2, Spendor SP100; also a brand new speaker just out the Odyssey Liquid, at $5900.  See show report to be posted this evening...
Agree with "SHKong" the VA / dc10Audio Berlin R’s are simply superb speakers for all types of acoustic music when driven by either Tube or SS amplification. I’ve had them for several years, and have found very few speakers can match them, especially with tube amplification.
If rushed to judgement on this matter you will certainly fail.

Joseph Audio- Make that your next stop!

@ soundsrealaudio

none of the above..........seriously

I agree with you that 4 listed speaker may not be suitable for low powered SET amplifier.

I think Tekton Design Speakers are also power hungry with many drivers.

Their specified efficiency are likely to be exaggerated too.

Thus they may not be suitable for low powered SET amplifier either.

Tekton Design Impact Monitor’s frequency response in the farfield, and an Earthworks QTC-40 for the nearfield responses. My estimate of the Impact’s sensitivity was 87.5dB(B)/2.83V/m, considerably lower than the specified 94dB. (Speakers with true sensitivities greater than 90dB tend to be rare and expensive.)


Something to think about. Perhaps it is the components, but the listening experience was impressive without being jaw dropping - if you know what I mean.

Precisely, just think about all the 'jaw dropping' loudspeakers you heard and how quickly you get tired of them.
For me, the best in that system, under 10 K : Monitor audio gold.and Proac D 20 R, D 30 S. Good Lück!!

I also loved the +proac’s I used to run them with tubes as well

Other options that come to mind are AudioNote ANE’s, Living Voice Avatar IBX own a pair and run them with 8wpc they are sublime if you have the room for them to breath think 36" min from the front  wall) Coincident speakers, Omega (surprisingly good for the money full ranger), Rethm Speakers these are very interesting full range drivers augmented with powered base i’m even eyeing them and there is a used set on for a hell of a deal right now). All the above are very good choices for low output tube power amps. horns as some may be an option too.

@jperry I like what I see from the ProAc D48. Unfortunately, not going to be easy to find any place near me for a listening session. How did you get yours? 

@shkong78 I gotta vito the Berlin's simply because of aesthetics. Not a fan given that they will be literally the loudest item in the living room. Appreciate the response though! I bet they sound great but without being able to pass on looks, it doesn't get past my Wife haha
@jperry ah, just saw your posting about the audiogon ad. I'll check that out. Have you compared the ProAc to some of the other speakers that I mentioned in the opening message? Curious to hear your thoughts in comparison. 
@sciencecop I'm not sure I understand your post. Care to elaborate a little more?
@firstnot Agreed. I'm in no rush. As I said, the Ascend Acoustics sound fantastic, especially for the investment so I can hold off for a while :) 
Consider a speaker that has the bass section already powered. Then your tube amp should be sufficient for the midrange and above as long as that section is efficient.

It is not a great idea to buy a speaker for the LM. There are tube amps close the price (used) that can put more SET watts out.

Double the power gets you just extra 3dB btw. 

Try one of the Zu audio and Tekton does have 99 dB/ 1W / 1 M @ 8 ohm speakers.

I agree with you  in that speaker with active bass will be better match for SET.

My Lansche 4.1 works well with LM508 for the reason.


I keep VAUGHN CABERNET SPEAKERS just in case plasma tweeter of my main speaker Lansche 4.1 have problem .

After updating plasma tweeters 3 years ago, it had no problem since then.

VAUGHN CABERNE has a 93db/w efficiency and work well even with SET.

If you want, I can let you audition the speaker at your home for 10 days.

I am located near Burlington WA.


Thanks @shkong78 I appreciate the offer! Always good to meet someone local that is so willing to help out. I'm ok for the demo for now as I continue to consider some of these other speakers out there right now. I don't think I will go for a Vaughn at this point. 

Although LM805 or 508 appears to have lot of power compared with other SET, they have limitation.

I could play my Lanshe 4.1 with 100w Rogue Cronus Magnum II loud in my spacious listening room for 5 years with no problem at all.

But after playing loud with LM508, power tube popped up leading to failure of diodes one week ago.

Thus it is undergoing repair.

After that incident, I bought used Lyngdorf 2170 which will be delivered on coming Thursday.

I am considering two track strategy, that is, to play loud rock or orchestral music through Lyngdorf 2170 and to play vocal or chamber music through LM508.

If you are going to use LM805 you have to find efficient (at least 93db/w ) speakers which are not power hungry.

The 4 speakers you listed and Tekton Design speakers are power hungry requiring at least 100W or more to play at concert level.

Watersalas switched from LM 508 to Lyngdorf 3400 for driving his Tekton Design speaker.

I fully understand it.

Even my Lansche 4.1 speaker appear to need more power than that provided by LM 508 in my spacious listening space with high vault.

If you want to use 48W SET amplifier, you have to find right speakers.

There are a number of members who are driving Tekton speakers with lower watt amps. I myself did so with the Pass XA30.8 and soon will try a 2A3 amp.

I know of two other SE owners who are using 10 and 8 watt amps to great satisfaction. There are others as well.
With my Ascend’s, they are being powered by the 805’s with no issues. I rarely go above the 9 o clock mark in volume. I don’t play at anywhere near concert levels. I haven’t heard the A3’s with my LM but I am curious about them. The shop seems to think there is no problem with the LM and its power specs being able to drive the A3’s.

If you do not play loud you can consider above.

It is smaller model than mine but you can experience pristine treble out of plasma tweeter.

Jazz vocal with LM 805 will be fantastic.

I can not find review of Lansche 3.

Thus I will put a link of review of 4.1 to give you more information about plasma tweeter and it's mid range driver.

Also it has a beautiful finish with good WAF.
For the past few years I've been listening to many products from Line Magnetic through many different sets of speakers. And although these amplifiers are versatile enough to drive almost everything, they always sound better paired with high efficiency speakers.
 I owned the big LM219ia and it was connected to Zu Audio Omen Def most of the time. Other good matches that I experienced (my own and at friends and dealers places) were with Omega speakers, Audio Note, Reference 3A, ATC, Tannoy and DeVore. But the brand I've seen more times associated with Line Magnetic amplifiers is Zu Audio. 
So still a lot of choices out there but these are the ones that interest me most at this time: 

  • Magico A3 - Demo'd
  • Salk Soundscape 8 - Have not demo'd but am familiar with the RAAL tweeters from my Ascend's
  • Joseph Audio Perspective - Have not demo'd
  • Proac D48R - Have not demo'd
  • Devore Super 9 - Have not demo'd

Problem is, most of these speakers are not available for demo anywhere in Seattle where I am. 

The ones that I have taken off the interest list are: 

  • Focal Sopra 2 - Focal's forwardness and the reproduction of highs does present to me as being a little harsh. Not what I would want in a $10k speaker. 
  • Tekton Encore - Not the most appealing speaker visually (for me) and it is enormous. A small sample of bad reviews of customer service also turned me away. 
  • Dynaudio Contour 60 - Would still love to listen to these but have heard that they are power hungry and my amp may not be a good match there. 
  • Sonus Faber Olympica 3 - During a demo, the high's of a particular song by Jocelyn Brown - Somebody Else's Guy was a bit harsh. I don't get that from my current Ascend's. 
I think you have a good list that includes a number of different sonic profiles. I know that ProAc and Devore will work well with your amplifier. I have not heard the first three with the line Magnetic so can’t give you any input.

Good luck with your search.
I have Klipsch Heresy IIIs with a couple of REL subs and it's a world class sounding combo. I use a relatively low powered single ended amp (10 or 12 wpc depending on the power tubes), but here's a review from a dude using a Line Magnetic amp with 'em:
whatever harshness you heard through the Olympicas was not speaker related

recording, gear, or room related causes, but not the speaker

the Oly 3 has a unique ability to allow almost any recording to sound listenable; great recordings sound excellent, poor recordings manage to avoid being immediately changed out, it really is a remarkable feature of the speaker 

they are power and current hungry though, chintzing on power can leave you underwhelmed 
Realizing that you don't have Daedalus on your "updated" short list , they are in Ferndale WA. I don't know how close that it is to Seattle but it may afford you the opportunity to audition
@markmendenhall I was initially quite impressed with the pace and dynamic quality of the low end but it was the high's which were somewhat piercing (I am fairly sensitive to high harshness). The Sonus was being powered by McIntosh and Hegel gear. 
@facten I should give them a try. They are about 2 hours from me but I do travel in that direction once a month or so. Is there a particular speaker that you would recommend? 


does not coincide with my daily experience - I own the Oly 3's, run a Hegel cdp with a Pass amp and tube pre and the highs are anything but 'piercing'; I auditioned the Sopra 2's with the beryllium tweeter, and if you want to hear a bright sounding speaker, check those bad boys out

the upper end on the Oly's in my bright room, with the silk dome tweeter are smooth as butter; not sure what was going on in your audition, wouldn't even know where to go with your preferences, maybe a ribbon tweeter or panel speaker; best of luck

At your price point new you're looking at Daedalus Athena or Muse.  The owner Lou won't steer you wrong.  There's also a used Argos mk2 for sale right now that is very tempting.