Nice upgrade to Hales T5’s

I have a pair of Hales T5’s with upgraded crossovers and upgraded Seas Millennium tweeters. I actually love these speakers but for the sake of conversation and a possible one day move what speakers would be a nice upgrade to these modded Hales? I just recently had the speakers repaired and measured and they are in excellent condition. I ask for fun as my Hales sound really good but for the hobbies sake what speakers would be a nice upgrade. My amp is a Pass X250.8 and my preamp is a Pass XP-32. I am using a PS Audio Directstream dac with a Perfectwave transport and an Auralic Aries G2.1 streamer. From what I have read Joseph Audio speakers look interesting as do Magico and Vandersteen. I truly do ask out of curiosity as I believe my Hales T5’s to be much more valuable than what I could get for them on the used market. I’ve invested approximately $1500 to each speaker in tweeters and crossovers.


Hales talk about old school speakers sounds like you really like them and have put effort into getting them sounding their best. Maybe be happy with what you have? Great system btw. And @m-db great find who knew Paul Hales was still in the business!


Well, as it happens, I used to own Hales T5s myself.  I LOVED them.

What attracted me to the Hales was that they seemed to get the benefits of metal drivers without the negatives (especially back among speakers when the Transcendence line came out).   They sound incredibly clean and pure and grainless - still top league even against many of today's speakers.  They have a timbral purity and realism, they are "timbrally colourful."  Yet at the same time sound relaxed and full and they soundstage like monsters.

I did eventually sell them to a friend, but I love their sound so much I ended up using Hales T1 monitors and the Hales Transcendence Center channel speaker for my home theater.  Gorgeous sound!

Anyway, why did I move on from the Hales?  The few nits I could pick where a bit of a lack of density and punch  especially through the midrange up.  And they could veer just a tad to polished and smooth sounding, missing a bit of the texture and presence I could get from other speakers - that sense of violin bow "cutting through in to the room."  So a very slight glaze to the sound.  That really is picking nits.

(BTW, I drove the Hales with my Conrad Johnson Premier 12 140/w side monoblocks, and occasionally with a Bryston 4B ST)

I went through various speakers, including audio physic (even MBL and others) and came back to one of my favorite brands, Thiel.  I'd had incredible sound from some Thiel CS6 speakers w my CJ amps - they also used metal drivers, and though not quite as grainless as the Hales, had more of that "thereness" and texture and especially a sense of palpable density and solidity to the sound, just a physicality that Hales didn't quite do.  Though the CS6 could sound a little reductive, a little thin in the midrange.

But when Thiel released their final flagship versions, the CS3.7 I grabbed one and that essentially "fixed" any issues I had with the CS6 while being better all around - incredible detail, transparency, openness, soundstaging, that super precise density to the sound, timbre of voices, wood, brass bang on etc.   Best speakers I'd owned.

I had to trade down to the 2.7 model just for size/aesthetics in my room.

Next I got besotted by the Joseph Audio Speakers after hearing them at a show then at my local dealer.   They have what seem to be a newer version of the SEAS drivers that Hales used, and I don't know if it's the drivers, but they share that same distinct purity of sound and lack of grain.   Truly stunning.  But they seem to me even that much better than the Hales...a bit more texture, more refined, and also punchy and fun as heck.  Soundstaging, imaging, disappearing is world class.

So my trajectory from the Hales T5s landed me at Thiels and Joseph Audio as the most satisfying.

Another alternative in the wings is a completely different sound: the Devore Fidelity O series speakers.  I almost bought some O/96 (or O/93), which have a unique richness, density, size and texture to the sound that I loved.   If you are looking for something different but tonally ravishing, you might give them a try.



I’m loving my Hales and the upgraded crossovers and Seas Millennium tweeters make for a better sounding speaker.

I was offered $1500 for my Hales against a pair of Magico speakers. To be honest I feel my Hales are worth a lot more than what I can get for them. I love their sound and I would probably have to spend several thousand dollars to even match the sound of my Hales. I had them looked at and a technician was able to match the speakers the same as each other. One of the speakers had faulty input wiring into the woofer which was throwing off the sound of the speaker. The technician fixed the problem and evenly matched the speakers to each other. The speakers were about $14000 for the pair with the mods I had done to them. I replaced the tweeters with Seas Millennium tweeters and I had the crossovers completely redone with all high end parts. The mods were successful and I ended up with a much better bigger sounding speakers. I think that my Hales T5’s are special and I will keep them. They are certainly worth a lot more than the going rate for stock Hales T5’s.

For fun I’ve been looking online at the Joseph Audio Perspective 2 speakers but at 25 thousand dollars I will stay with my modded Hales. The Hales are classic vintage speakers at this point and with the mods I have done to them are worth keeping.