Need Guidance for Next/Last Pair of Speakers

I’ll try to be brief, although it’s not my strong suit..😁 I sold my pair of Altec 19 speakers a long time ago. I was the original owner, and their sheer size just didn’t work out at the time. I’ve been infatuated with audio equipment since I was a young lad, so after selling the Altec’s, I went on a long journey to replace them. Magnepan’s, Martin Logan’s, Thiel’s, Legacy Audio, Von Schweikert, Focal, and the list goes on and on. None of them have been able to recreate the magic of those 19’s.

I actually custom made a pair of speakers with a Great Plains 604 coax driver, but never could get the crossovers right, so I sold them. I now have a pair of Focal’s that are great, but they just don’t have that Altec 19 personality.

I’d love to have a pair of Avantgarde’s, but they’re well out of my current budget. I still don’t have the space for another pair of 19’s unfortunately. So the question is, what speakers should I be looking at that might have a similar character in a smaller package? I’ve not been actively engaged in the hobby for around 6 years, and I see what seem like hundred’s of new speakers/companies that have entered the market. I have to be overlooking quite a bit, so is there anything out there that I should consider? Would more of a professional type speaker be something to consider? 

Any input/guidance would be most appreciated. I was actually wondering if something like Zu Audio would fit the bill, but have read mixed reviews. As you can tell by my love of the Altec 19’s, extreme "accuracy" isn’t important. They just sounded like live music more than just about any speaker I’ve ever heard. That’s what I’m looking for. 



What’s your budget, and are you looking for new or used?  Also, what specifically was it about the Altecs that so attracted you?  Sounds like maybe they were full of tone and not hyper detailed up top?

Max budget would be under $10K, but preferably in or around the $5K range.  I would equally consider new or used.  The Altec's were dynamic, punchy and nearly unrestricted in their ability to create a live concert environment.  They imaged spectacularly for what they were, and the tone of instruments just sounded "real."  Everything I've owned since has had a veil over the music.   The Altec's were just incredible in the way they brought wide dynamics, well articulated bass and excitement to the presentation from all genre's of music.  From small jazz trio's to Rush, they were simply amazing.

Brothers and sisters here on AG are probably going to start hating me for this, but I vote Volti Audio. the Razz fits right in the budget. Also from what you desire, the Volti sound meets and will likely exceed your expectations. I am similar in some ways. I want that dynamic impactful, concert like sound. I got all of that and more when I brought my Razz home. 

If you could find somewhere to listen to Klipsch Heritage or JBL either of those might have the sound you're looking for. The Voltis (I've never heard them) are worth a look.I'm a Zu owner and in my opinion they definitely have "the sound",very much like live music.

When I bought my Altec 19’s, they actually had a pair of the JBL 4430’s as well. They were an order of magnitude higher in price than my 19’s, but they were indeed spectacular!


****My mistake, it was the 4350's they had on hand.

Post removed 

Volti is getting some good traction around here and for good reason. I've heard them a couple of times at shows and they've always sounded good.

If your model 19s sound anything like my Valencias with GPA Model 19 crossovers, which I stupidly sold a few months back, then what you need to replace them is a pair of model 19s.



+1 Volti. The Razz sounded great at two different audio shows. So I purchased the larger Rival.

Volti also has a new model Lucera sells for $11,750/pair which is above the Razz but below the Rival.  The Lucera also has a 15” woofer like the Rival. 

Volti is a good call but seadweller why don't you just give in and find a pair of Altec 19s? 😉

Sonus Faber.  You pick the model that fits your budget, equipment, room and listening preferences.   

There is a pair of Avantgarde Duos for sale here right now. $10800 and the dealer claims they are like new.

I’d go for the Tannoy Legacy Eaton large stand mount speakers. Dynamic, super wide sound stage, relatively efficient. And sound good no matter what music. Excellent speakers for low volume listening. 6k for the pair...they love tubes and class A...

Fellow Altec 19 owner here.  I'd be looking at Volti Razz, used Tannoy Turnberry, Cheviot, Eatons' or vintage golds or HPD's in custom cabinets, and refurbished Quad ESL-57's from Electrostatic Solutions in Kansas City.

Why not just buy a nice pair of Altec 19's? I rotate between Totem, Magnepan and Altec speakers. I really like my 9844's....they have the 902 horns for smaller rooms and sound great. Bill at Great Plains reconed 1 woofer, sent 2 diagrams for horns and was even able to sell me a pair of xovers he had on a shelf as I told him mine were toast with all the potting falling out.......each of my speakers excels in one area or another but if I could only have one pair forever would pick the Altec's. If you don't have a wife acceptance factor get what you loved.........I bough these a few years ago on a whim because I remembered the times I spent at a friends house in college jamming to some then (early 80's) relatively new 19"s. Just my 2 cents.

Any of the JBL speakers in the sub $10K range will very much be in the Altec/JBL tradition, with the benefit of advancements in driver and HF horn design as well asLF alignment. Personally, I would go for a pair of S3900s, dual 10" woofers, horn mids and tweeter. The real sleeper in JBLs line. Pro Level components, JBL quality cabinets, modern tower configuration, what's not to like

Tanny, Klipsh and Sonus Faber.  Yup yup yup. Used pair of big Revels too. It would be helpful to know yr. amp, source, etc. 

Id go with so forte IV. Fantastic sounding. A hair more forward than the cornwalls but i dig that. I had voltis as well and I liked them at loud volumes - didnt love them at moderate volumes.

I would limit my search to efficient speakers with horns and level controls, therefore more than likely they will need to be used.

soooo: what size can you fit, i.e. maximum size (restrictions)?

the level controls will help you adjust for the room, and personal preference, achieving a sense of presence that horns produce and what you are likely missing.




some JBL's with level controls



I auditioned Focal Kanta 1s and found a pair of Kanta 2’s for $5,500 and never looked back.  Playing them with Parasound A21+ and Parasound JC2 

Cds and vinyl excel with this setup 

I would audition as many speakers as possible with music of your choice. 
that’s really the only way to narrow the choices

Good luck Willy-T

A lot of this depends on your room and where you can or cannot position the speakers. 
listened to Volti Razz and they were nice but landed on Forte IV’s and they are amazing. 
I have a few other systems and the Fortes just do it all so well. 

Fyne Audio vintage series used or new, the Vintage Classic X is about $9,000 new, and the Vintage Classic XII is about $11,500 new.....obviously cheaper if you could find used

Vintage JBLs in original condition. Almost any 43xx series has the sound you're looking for. 4315s are a great compromise between size and quality. 4367s are above your price but may be affordable used. 

I wish I had a need for those JBL’s, they look in very good shape. I would buy them. I’m close enough to Annapolis to go, stay 1 night, bring them back.

JBL info


some jbl tech notes here (didn't read it yet)


check out my vintage rig posted on my systems page.  I had a pair of Altec Santiagos resto/modded by aural hifi in denver (jeremy).  cost was within your budget.  he could source a pair of vintage speakers for you.

If space is an issue, I’d consider using a set of Swarm subs made by Audiokinesis. The advantage here is that the subs are meant to be as close to the wall as possible and will give you 20Hz response without big peaks or nulls in the room.

Then it gets a lot easier to choose your main speakers since they don’t have to play deep bass. Something that can go to 60Hz suits nicely. That ’magic’ you’re looking for comes from the speaker being higher efficiency. If space is an issue, perhaps DeVore Fidelity?

Stay away from ’full range’ drivers if that driver is the only driver in the box. At low levels they can sound quite good, but the highs tend to be beamy and if you turn up the volume, Doppler Effect distortion really messes up the presentation. They will work quite well though if the bass is rolled off by a crossover and a tweeter is used to handle the highs.

I would take a look at some Audio Note speakers, they are wonderful sounding with the sound characteristics your looking for, but it all depends what the front end of your system looks like.  


I scanned the posts and don't see what amplification you are using to know your flexibility on efficiency level.  I have been loving my Wilson Sophia 1 for about 5 years.  They do everything right with a very natural, musical and easy to listen to sound.  I have heard some say this series is bright but that has not been my experience at all.  

If you don’t mind a very small amount of assembly, you should check in the Pure Audio Project Trio 15.

Pure Audio Project

The enclosure bolts together, then drivers are mounted and wired up. All with tools included.

Besides saving a bit of money on shipping and labor, the advantage is, upgradeability. There are different mid tweeter drivers, different crossovers, that can be changed and upgraded. 

They are open baffle, so they create a huge, open, live sounding soundstage. But they are also capable of pinpoint imaging. And 96db.

These are $80000.00


Trio 15


Or at $10,000.00 the Quintet 10.


@mdalton Zingali is old Italian brand speakers , always with horn twitter.

There is a dealer in USA.

My experieece : i am a little bit crazy on design ( yes , that is the matter of taste ).

I have bought recently Zingali QA 3.8 speakers and they are end game speakers for me.

Sound is full , with exeptional midrange , optimal high tones with horn .

It has 94 db , so you can run it with tube amp. And Zingali speakers love tubes.

You can listen them loud 2 hours wihitout getting a headache.

It is not cheap , but i think it is wort it.





Thanks!  Very cool.  I also like the Twenty Evo 1.2.  One day I expect I might replace my Audio Note AN/Es, and this would be an interesting possibility.  

Altec Valencia sounds exactly like Altec 19s but with slightly less robust bottom end (bass boost overcomes this but I’d rather not have to).  JBL Synthesis Project Array 1400 will outperform the 19 AND, incredibly, have better sound stage.

I just sold a pair of older Zingali HM 112’s. For cheap. It was a tough sell as they are unknown in the US, and they are really heavy, so even though I had the boxes, shipping was a problem. Anyway, they were 97dB and fantastic speakers.

I liked them so much that I ordered a new pair of Twenty EVO 1.2’s directly from Europe. There is no dealer in the US today. I got the last pair of gloss finish that Zingali is going to make due to cost/labor restrictions.

Plan on powering them with either Air Tight 211 mono blocks or the Air Tight 300B anniversary amp, as I have both.

If anyone is interested in a pair, I can give you my UK contact.



I am interested if you could share your contact.  When do you expect to receive your new speakers?  And if I could be so bold, where in the U.S. do you live?

I live just north of Portland OR on Sauvie Island. I'm not sure what Audiogon allows on the forums. I'll try and send my email, and you can contact me for the contact info. I have zero financial interest in sharing this. We'll see if it works.

You need to clarify just exactly how many speakers you want to purchase for your $5-10k.

Are you looking for just 2, or a full surround panorama that could be 9+2??

If I were you, I would Look at KEF's line of Q series setups if you want to get into the full panorama of surround for that budget. If you are just a stereo guy, then try their Muon series. Very advanced design with awesome benefits.

I know what you mean by, 'Wish I still had...' I started with a pair of KEF Concertos, back in the 70's. I still have them, and others. Later purchases were to fill specifics of my sound stage as I moved upwards with receivers. Now I use my Concertos when I am listening to Analog outputs with Pure amplification to the speakers. Bringing that old-time listening enjoyment to life. The days of 'Rockin' out on Vinyl' re-celebrated.