Help with speaker selection

Hi all,

I’ve considering upgrading from my beloved Aerial 10T’s which will remain in a second system. What I’m looking to improve from the 10T’s is the detail, while maintaining the extreme listenability the Aerials bring (zero harshness). Also I want to improve in the lower mid bass/bass detail. The 10T’s will play low but the detail could be better.

So far I’ve been impressed with the Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V’s. They really impressed me with all of the attributes I’m looking to improve over my Aerials. They had a wonderfully cohesive presentation with detail and no harshness. The bass was outstanding and articulate.

I’ve only begun shopping so I’m looking for other recommendations to consider. I heard the Aerial 7T’s and was not nearly as impressed as I was with the SF’s.

Others on the list that I haven't heard yet include:

Revel Salon2/Studio2

Aerial 20T V2 (impossible to find!)


Amps will be JC1’s, with a solid state front end (Levinson).

Thanks in advance!!

Ag insider logo xs@2xhk_fan
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I’ve travelled a similar path from “precision and accuracy” with Focal Kanta 3’s and Rockport Atria ii’s with D’Agostino solid state back to Tannoy Kensingtons with Pathos Heritage MKIi hybrid and a more “musical” to me presentation which is where my preferences lie now. I’d suggest giving the Revel and Sonus Farber good line listens to see which sound character appeals to you and then explore different brands with the type of presentation you are seeking.

Serious plus 1 for Joseph Audio.  With Doshi tubes they were the best room at last Chicago IMHO.  TOL is $30k though.  My room is also 22”x15”. With one REL S/81 and the Pathos it is a fully enveloping experience. Not familiar with your electronics, but that synergy is key of course.

I really need to find some Salon 2's to listen to.  I have read so many good things about them that it's hard to scratch them off the list without actual time with a pair.

I will likely be buying used - but not necessarily depending on dealer, etc.

I appreciate everyone's input more than you can imagine.  Thank you all so much!!

For extreme listen-ability (no harshness), but with more detail, I would suggest Rosso and Audiovector.

Like Sonus Faber, Rosso has a silk done tweeter, but it also incorporates a supertweeter, which I believe adds to the resolution, especially instrument decay. SF can sometimes feel slow to me, and Rosso isn’t as sluggish. Certaldo and Volterra are Rosso models around the price of the SF Nova line. Like you, I also like the bass thump from SF, and I believe Rosso keeps much of the bass weight but improves upon the bass definition.

I believe Audiovectors are resolution monsters with their folded ribbon tweeter. I’m not sure if they would fit your requirement of extreme listen-ability, as I think of them like a dry wine. They might appear bright, or neural, to you, which you may find to be off-putting, or just fine. They won’t be warm like SF.

When I went looking for my Livingroom speaker, I realized that coherence in the sound (with driver-based speakers) was amongst the top attributes I should seek.  The speakers I was demoing usually had drivers made out of different materials and sometimes that did not sound like one voice. I felt some discontinuity in the bottom range.

My worst audition (because of the room) was the speaker I ended up getting because the 3 drivers sounded like 1 voice. I did near-field listening, almost like headphones to demo the speaker. That speaker was the Yamaha NS5000. The drivers are made out of a material lighter and supposedly faster than the BE material used in the Revel Salon, Paradigm 9H, etc... The coherence part is likely because the tiny tweeter and the 12-inch woofer (plus midrange) are made from this new material, Zylon. 

Yamaha spent a lot of time and likely money researching the tech used in this speaker. They built their own drivers, used some exotic wood from Japan, and I think made a tremendous speaker. So much so that I threw out my shipping boxes. I will see a box before my NS5000 sees another box.

The NS5000 is the successor to the NS1000 from the 1970's. That speaker was the first to have both a BE tweeter and midrange in the same model. Today Paradigm touts that as a big breakthrough in their top end Persona line. Yamaha seems to have some serious audio research chops going back a while.

The dealer that I went to audition the Yamaha had it stuck in the worst possible room. They had the Sonus Faber in the best room. I could tell that the Yamaha did not have the prestige of the Sonus. I had no interest in listening to the Sonus because I found them dark. However, my understanding is that the latest models are not like that. I should have listened.