Is $3000 pushing the limits for a geat monitor??

I want to go to a monitor speaker because I cannot physically handle the weight and size of a 80lbs floor standing speakers any longer.

I have looked at several monitors like the Sonus Faber Venere MKII series; Lenaham ML-1 made in Australia, Spendor, Harbeth. I have listened to the older Dynaudio Excite 12 and new version, Excite 14. I like the sound of both of the latter speakers, but the dealer insists I hear the Dynaudio Focus 160. Unfortunately, he has none in stock to buy or for audition.

Therefore, any member currently own a pair of the Focus 160, or have auditioned them recently. I need some good feedback about this model's sound quality before charging in and buying them. I also want to get opinions about whether a monitor can compete with a large floorstander. Thanks to all !!!!!
A monitor can sound as impressive as a large floor stander, but it is apples and oranges. a great monitor can sound better than a lesser floor stander, but they will always sound different and have different range capabities.

My favorite listening experience was with Focal Diablo monitors and when paired with a gothom JL Audio subwoofer I preferred it to the Grande speakers that were also in the store. Just my opinion to be sure.
The RAIDHO ACOUSTICS D.1 monitors can not only compete with, but best most floor-standers and all standmount comers.

Google the reviews for the superlatives, but to audition them personally is an eye-opener that may leave you gob-smacked . I heard them at the TAVES expo in Toronto.

Highly recommended
I have the Harbeth P3esr. I like them better than any floorstander that I have owned.
Don't let the size of the speaker influence your decision.
A simple two way sealed monitor on a pair of nice stands is my speaker of choice. BTW,the Spendor 3/5R2 is another great little speaker but the Harbeth is outstanding.
The RAIDHO ACOUSTICS D.1 monitors can not only compete with, but best most floor-standers and all standmount comers.
My D1's in walnut with the optional all black stand retail for 29.1K!!!
Might be a bit above a 3K budget limit.

As a former Dyn C1 then C1 Signature owner first I have to say ALL Dyn's are a fantastic value for the dollars spent. But to better them you need to spend mega $$$ like the D1's. I am personally doing an in home demo of D2's and I don't think the D1's are staying.

Check out Avsforum "Dynaudio owners thread". Lot's of great reviews of the Focus 160's. Here is a link and start from the last page and go backwards.
Sunnyjim, I replaced my Magnepan 3.7Rs with Coincident Triumph Extreme IIs, which retail for $3000, $4K with stands. I couldn't be happier. They are just amazingly coherent. The low frequency roll of starts at a higher frequency than the Maggies, but the roll off on the Magies was much steeper. In my listening room, the Triumph Extremes had more usable response at 35 Hz than the Maggies did.

I also have a pair of Ref 4A deCapo Be's that I like a lot. They don't have the coherence of the Coincidents, nor are they as detailed, but still they are very good monitors.
I'm not sure what you mean by pushing the limits? It is fairly obvious that a good floorstander will have deeper bass response than a monitor. It all depends upon how low you wish to go as to whether a monitor will satisfy you.

Tell us a bit about your room and equipment in order to get better recommendations.


PS: There are many good floorstanders that weigh considerably less than 80 lbs...
The right monitor in the right room can definitely compete with most anything.

THere are many ways to get the drivers to the right height as part of that. Stands on monitors, floorstanders designed to do it already, etc.

In general, monitors come in all shapes and sizes and are more flexible in regards to placement, particularly in regards to vertical placement, tilt, if needed, etc. So I am not a big fan of floorstanders in general.
be careful with monitors (or floorstanders that lack stability) if you have cats ... I speak from experience :(
Feel like a broken record, but what aspects of sound reproduction are most important to you?
I've owned several of both small and large speakers over the years...stands, no stands, filled with sand or lead shot...spikes or dampening pods...blah blah, and I think the term "compete" is key here...a "large floor stander" is large, and uses its largeness to give the bass some room to function, and a stand mounted small "monitor" can take up exactly the same (or more) space, use more speaker cable since you have to reach up to the speaker with the cable (most floorstanders have posts near the floor), and requires a stand. So much for smallness. I found, through a friend's diligent research (i.e. he bought 'em first after reading reviews), a pair of Silverline Prelude speakers a few years stand required, narrow baffle so it has that in common with small monitors (maybe a big reason for them sounding great). An older model (meaning bought used el-cheapo) REL sub completes this rig, and it kills. There are lots of these sorts of things around, and to my mind they're a better idea unless you want something to sit on top of a recording rig for nearfield listening/mixing, or you really are going to put them on a shelf in your restored Airstream. The bottom line is how these things sound to you, but if you're buying stands for them and like the sound of floorstanders, get lighter floorstanders and rebel against the insidious speaker stand cabal.
Magico Q1 sounds like a floor standing speaker great bass,deep stage,wonderful imaging etc.
be careful with monitors (or floorstanders that lack stability) if you have cats ... I speak from experience :(

This is why I went with Magico S1. I hoped to get the coherence of a 2-way monitor speaker, with the cat-proof stability of a stable floor stander.

So far, the sound is fantastic, and they have remained vertical!
I appreciate the comments and advice of those members who have responded. Let me quickly list my downsized system: Rogue "Sphnix integrated amp (100RMS); Ayre CX-7e(replacing a Rega Apollo) Rega P3-24TT with a Dynavector 10X5. The speakers are the Acoustic Zen Adagios. I like these speakers very much, and am only considering replacing them because of their size and weight. Therefore, any monitor I choose must be very close or better in sound quality.

The living room or listening space could be a problem. (For the record, nothing is set-up yet because I am still waiting delivery by the shipping company's movers) Dimensions of the actual listening area are 12.5ft X12.5ft; 9 foot ceiling. The living room continues to the front door and adds 10ft. to the total length( 22.5ft) The width of the entire room is approx. 12.5ft This space is both kitchen and dining area. This space is split by a vertical counter island, and also provides a boundary line between the living room and kitchen area which has many cabinets of vary sizes. (I assume this may damp out the room). The living room will have a large overstuffed recliner, and a 68 inch couch, and a 42 inch flat screen TV supported by medium size and weight entertainment center. Also a 8X10 ft rug cover hardwood floors. The opposite wall from the apartment entrance is occupied by large window, and a door which leads out to a balcony.

I have plenty of framed maps and artwork and photos to hang, and break up standing waves, but my initial instinct is the room is going to be somewhat echoy and bright because of the output of the Adagios, and require thicker wall damping material.

BTW,I listened mainly to classic 60's rock and jazz fusion, golden oldies crap, and tend to play it louder than moderate Lastly, I worry about problems with the neighbors, even tough I listen mainly in the early afternoon and never past 5PM.......... Hope this info helps!!!
The Harbeth or Spendor would be perfect for a room that size. They both have sealed woofers so you can place them close to a wall with none of the problems a ported design will cause. You will be very happy with either one of these . However you may just find the Harbeth a tad better like I did. Happy hunting!
It's surprising that no one has mentioned the Evolution Acoustics MMMicros One's (also referred to as "Micro One"). If you look through the threads, you'll see that the issue is not whether they sound great - pretty much everyone who has heard them thinks they do - but whether they sound better than much more expensive monitors (many believe that they do). I've heard one system with them and think they're incredible for the money. Disclaimer: I own the big Evolution Acoustics MM2, so I obviously like the house sound.

As for other monitors in that price range, I also like the Dynaudio Confidence 1, but they need a lot of power to come alive, which is problematic because most high-powered amps use a lot of negative feedback, which I am very sensitive to and can't tolerate.

Both of these speakers use very simple crossovers that cause little phase shift - if used with the right electronics, they deliver truly high performance.
I had a pair of the Confidence 160 a while back and my purchase was made after listening to a few other monitors in the store. I walked in leaning toward B&W, walked out with the Dynaudio. Sorry, but I don't remember the model of the B&W. The Dynaudios were just more accurate to my ear, with pitch perfect midrange and surprisingly deep, true bass. I had a small REL sub at the time, and the only reason I sold them off here was because I grew weary of all the wires, the plugs, etc. You may want to audition Totem Rainmakers, or even the Hawks which I just picked up. The Rainmakers are monitors, the Hawks towers but, they certainly don't weigh as much as my Thiels!
I have not heard a better pair of speakers than the unassuming Spiral Groove Canalis Anima for $3,250.

I don't own them so there is no bias here...but they are certainly on my "dream' list.
Lots of great monitors out there for under $3K. Dynaudio Confidence 3's, Totem Mani-2, Von Gaylord Legend monitors, Celestion Kingstons, Dynaudio Special 25's, and Totem the ones that I happen to currently have up for sale. I would take the Confidence 3's over any of the Dynaudio speakers you mentioned. I would even take them over the C1s, because the C1s are so dang ugly. C1s are great speakers, but I havent seen a pair go for under $3k, so I will leave them off the list.
Best monitors I have heard that are within your budget (2nd hand) are the Totem Mani 2, Dynaudio Special 25, Dynaudio C1.
I’m a monitor fan - IMO many listeners move from monitors to floor standers “prematurely". In other words, the allure of losing stands and getting more bass replaces a better, more balanced sound of a monitor, for the same price...

That’s my opinion! I’ve heard so many monitors over the years in studios, so that sound is familiar to me. But also, I’m factoring in the real world variables of room interaction in one’s home - I’d rather listen to a monitor with a little less bass than a floor stander that’s not integrating into the listening room...
Reference 3A has good models. Very easy to drive, great Soundstage and a very coherent reproduction.
To Raquel. The Evolution Acoustics "Micro One" is both an interesting and attractive looking speaker. From what I saw on their site. it looks like they are a half pint floor stander. However, the downsize is they have one store front in Oregon to audition their products. Also, I am not sure if you are buying the speakers as a modular system which comes with a separate sub that locks into the rest of chassis That is a turn off to me

From my experience in audio, companies like this for all their good intentions, eventually go under because they have limited market exposure, and so limited sales I have to check if they have a 30 day return policy including round trip shipping.

In the meantime, I will keep looking Thanks
To Zkzpb8, you make several thoughtful points on the issue of floor standers vs monitors issue. I have been through this several time, beginning with B&W Matrix 3 MKII ( another 70 lbs behemonth) Then, bought a pair of Green Mountain "Europas" an excellent book shelf type speaker, but somewhat short of the performance of the B&W's GM's were replaced by Vandersteen IC a small footprint floorstander, that was good but provided below average bass, and just average highs, but an accurate and enjoyable speaker, nevertheless

Therefore, as you can see I fell into the same pattern you described, and more or less was convinced, that floor standers provide more bass, and a larger soundstage. This was about 10 years ago and I was a bit uninformed about monitors ,plus a period "monitor mania" began. (TAS and SP seemed to provide a revolving door of new monitors every month). Better small speakers were being built using much higher quality drivers, and crossovers which produced an excellent wide soundstage, accurate midrange and deeper bass.

As noted above in the thread context, my new living space is approx. 2 ft shorter on both axes. I received my shipped furniture and stereo this week. and the speaker boxes look huge, and in my mind's eye will not work in the room. Also, I don't want to take these suckers out of the boxes for both a sound and placement survey because of their individual weight. Thanks
Dear Sunnyjim:

As I understand it, the Evolution Acoustics is basically a full-range speaker - unless it is used in a gigantic room, it does not require a sub. It did not play at all like a monitor in the system I heard it in - I was really impressed.

Yes, they are sold manufacturer-direct, but that is not necessarily bad. The vast majority of "hi-fi brands" that people have heard of are one to four-person operations, often times run out of people's basements. Evolution, on the other hand, manufactures in San Diego and China, and is owned by the U.S. distributor for darTZeel, who also owns Playback Designs - it's a real company with real resources.

In my experience in audio, which dates to 1977, ALL hi-fi companies go under (Phase Linear, Threshold, S.A.E. - there are far too many to name), and the small handful that survive are nothing more than someone buying a famous trademark and starting new production under that trademark in a new place with new designs and new management that is no way remotely related to what the old product was.

Most of the "high-end" as it's portrayed in the audiophile magazines is in truth one-man bands - "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" from the Wizard of Oz. There are very few Audio Researches, B&W's or McIntoshes (speaking of McIntosh, it has had three different owners in the last twenty years, but they do still manufacture in Binghamton). And buying a big name does not at all guarantee that your gear will be serviced - just ask the people who owned Mark Levinson gear after Harmon bought Madrigal and closed the Orange, Connecticut, production facility. In my experience, large size and a big name does not necessarily correlate with quality, reliability, or product service. The key is buying from someone who stands behind the product, and in this regard, there are wonderful larger manufacturers like Pass and Wilson, and wonderful smaller manufacturers like Evolution, Rockport, and VAC. As for me, I'd much rather deal with Kevin Hayes of VAC or Jonathan Tinn of Evolution than trying to call Harmon for help because the dealer who sold me my Revels no longer exists (that's one of the reasons I no longer own them). It's time for the "size doesn't matter" joke.
Just today I listened to some very expensive systems comprising Linn, McIntosh, Vienna Acoustics, Wilson Benesch.
I came home and really enjoyed my Harbeth Compact 7s (the first version, I think around 1995). I go to the shows and dealers but when I come home I still appreciate the truly natural reproduction of tonality that my 20 year old Harbeths give. I use tube amps & preamp in a 18X20 room. 100 watts/channel & they can put out all the volume I think anyone would want.
Jean Marie Reynaud Offrande are some of the finest, most musically satisfying, speakers I have everheard - whether monitor or floorstander. Paired with the right electronics, the performance is nothing short of spectacular.

Check out the reviews of the original versions, which have been improved on in the ensuing years

Bob Neil, in Enjoy The Music, directly compared them with the famous Spendor SP1/2's and Harbeths Monitor 30's.

Then, revisited the Offrandes a year later for Positive Feedback Magazine and elevated his already high opinion of the speakers to a new level

As i said, the later versions of this speaker are even better.

There are a pair for sale here at $3,750 with the matching factory Magic Stands (I have nothing to do with them)
Thanks to all who responded......Has anyone listened the Kings Sound Design speakers which use electrostatic drivers on top. They offer a bookshelf speaker called the Princess IIa which uses the electrostatic tweeter and
a standard 5.5 woofer. This model, I believe is being discontinued and is being offered on a Black /Friday sale. (See listing on Audiogon) Needs stands and placed close to the backwall. If anyone has listened to or owns them, please provide some feedback

The JMReynaud seem to favor high quality tube gear from my experience, but when everything is working these speakers are absolutely alive with naturalness, immediacy, and harmonic rightness and clarity, astonishingly good. I had a good friend who had Mani-2's driven by gorgeous Accuphase gear that sounded like excellent hi-fi but didn't ring my bell, didn't vanish, maybe a bad AC day. I haven't auditioned as many stand mount speaks as others here as I've been exclusively using floor standing for a while. But I can say that not since my Artemis eos monitors from a few years back, that were beyond belief transparent and HUGE imagers, have I heard a small reasonably priced monitor (under $3k) that impressed me. As I live in the Los Angeles area I decided to visit the Wavetouch Audio 'warehouse' and see what this guy was all about. Having heard his GT speaker last year I was impressed with many things it could do but was quickly aware of its shortcomings. Cutting to the chase...two weeks ago I went back and heard the Generation 2 version of this speaker and I can report that it is without doubt one of the most realistic and dynamic monitors speakers I have ever heard, NO BS. For $2k you can get an absolutely world class view into the potential of this hobby. The tonal balance has become so much more correct and the blending of drivers is world-class. One foot away from the front baffle and it sounds like one driver, remarkable for this price point. They are now in my home getting more fully broken in.
I also heard his SE version that has extreme quality parts etc that were similarly balanced but with greater transparency and smoothness. I haven't done any side by side yet with other monitors but it's clear that this guy has created a formula that's ridiculously... right. In my opinion these fall into the category of HUGE value. I'm using a Mosfet 165w x 2 of our own design, equivalent to a $10+k amp and an H-cat preamp.
Check out Volent speakers. I will also second the Evolution Acoustic speakers for an endorsement. One of the biggest mistakes out there is that people don't pair these less costly speakers with great gear. Looking forward to seeing where you land.
To Afterhours. Maybe,I missed something in your response above, but what brand and model are you referring of the monitor that was $2K outstanding" You auditioned it at Wavetouch Audio in Los Angeles. Could you please clarify

BTW JMReynaud website page "could not be found" via the Audiogon directory of manufacturers

The JM Reynaud speaks are tremendous as well as many others i.e. Tonian labs, Audiomachina and several other little discussed brands that, at the top of their line are as realistic and pure as the rest of the best on earth. Point is there are many superb, esoteric brands that are out of reach at the price point you're shooting for. I have had exposure to many world-class speakers including monitors through the years as have many others here, but very few under $10k speakers that are actually tremendous in my opinion. There are great VALUES to be had but very few truly great speakers in the four digit range, in my opinion. The cost to get there for a manufacturer is just too high. I don't mean to sound erudite but many here would agree with me. That being said I rarely get excited in the sub $10k range let alone sub $5k (although as I said there are many great values) so when I heard and subsequently now own a pair of newly designed Wavetouch Grand Teton Monitors (GEN 2's) my previously stated loudspeaker price to performance ratio experience was genuinely affected. Direct to consumer manufacturer's explain the greater values that are available these days but doesn't get me closer to why these $2k little speaks from a small company in L.A. (hardly on the radar) are as good as they are. There is something to his frontal (apparatus) but not until he began experimenting with tandem wire gauge choices (blending gauges), directionality of everything and getting more deeply involved the the synergy of the internal minutia did things begin to go beyond the the ordinary of potential. He is very transparent as a person and explained his journey and openness to learning etc. I should leave it there. I know nothing of how this guy does business through the mail but the power of these little speakers to communicate the essence of the recording goes well beyond great my experience.

After_hrs, thanks for the tip on Wavetouch. This pretty exciting news because I now live in a much smaller apartment and my 6' speakers plus dual subwoofers do not fit

I am in Los Angeles, too, and will be checking them out sometime in the next few weeks.

For a small apartment these would be awesome... but they don't sound small, they have an enormous sound stage presentation.

I've got a few hundred hours on this pair and they are incredibly truthful, accurate, and revealing without the least bit of ear fatigue. In fact the body and weight to each note literally hangs (front to back) within a huge sound stage that seems limitless. I'm using a 160 watt mosfet and strictly digital playback that with these speakers has all the naturalness and sound stage layering of great vinyl...No exaggeration.

BTW I noticed that Wavetouch is selling a new pair of G2's that has a small ding on the front for 1/2 price on the L.A. CL.

At kiko: for whatever its worth, you will find all the user at gearslutz who used to have spiral grooves anima (studio one) to prefer the amphion one18 once they made the switch! add them to your list to audition, you may be very happy as I think you are in the process to raise money for the sonics...

just a friendly tip!
fwiw, I have had reference 3a decapo be, audio note anj lx, salk continuum, focals cms 50, wilson audio cubs (ive heard a couple of time), kef ls 50.

the amphion one18 is, by a large margin, superior.
Sunnyjim, I recommend that you speak to Fritz of Fritz speakers. He' in LA
and has been building speakers for decades. Perhaps you 're aware of him. I've spoken to him and I know that he would graciously come to your home with some offerings. Nothing like hearing products in your system in your room. He'll make recommendations based on your listenening tastes. Nothing to lose.
Sunnyjim and Hifisoundguy:
I hope this covers both your queries and not highjack the thread but I'm presently breaking in some Clearwave Duet 6 monitors (in Indian Rosewood) and like what I'm hearing.

I've only had them for two days now and am told to expect a couple hundred hours to break in (gotta love those Accuton ceramic drivers). It's way too early to give an honest opinion but...

With my Tonian Labs Tl-D1s, it's like sitting in the front row. With the Duets, it's like sitting halfway back to the mid section and I'm liking it more and more. It's all a matter of perspective but with more oomph in the mids and I now no desire whatsoever for a sub. YMMV

I'll report back after they break in but it looks like I may be giving up my front row seats. :-)

All the best,