Picking Speakers 20k-30k

Recently built a HiFi System with much help from this site, now I’m looking at upgrades.  Strongly considering an all-Aavik system but looking at speaker options before I pull the trigger on anything, hence the following question: If you were buying new speakers in the 20-30k range (used or new), what’s on your shortlist?  Bonus points if you have suggestions based on synergy with Aaviks electronics.

If it helps the conversation: 21’X 19’ treated listening room with cathedral ceiling. Listen to a wide variety of music.

thanks for your expertise!


If it were me, I would not rush to buy speakers in that price range. Too many good choices and I would take my time to get the best one for me. I would travel to dealers and have them set up speakers/equipment based upon my conversations with them. My environment, my musical preferences etc. I would also go to a few shows. After this I would narrow down my possible choices.

Additional detail would be helpful, such as any placement restriction (can the speakers be placed well away from the back wall or side walls, or do they have to be in the corner), how far away is the seating area, is the priority ideal sound for a very small seating spot or must the speaker sound good over a wide area, any restriction on size and appearance (e.g., can it be a large panel speaker), what kind of sound are you looking for (examples of what you heard and liked would be helpful), is ability to play loud a priority or is the ability to sound very good at lower volume a priority)?  These are some of the considerations that would factor into suggestions on what to hear.  

@larryi current speakers (Persona 3f) are about 4 feet from side walls and 2 feet from back wall.  Seating is about 10 feet in front.  Generally listening from the seating position so that’s the priority but I wouldn’t turn down options that fill the room with great sound if it’s not at the expense of the seated experience. We’d prefer to maintain the current room orientation (it faces the windows with the best view) so size restriction is only that the speakers fit between the windows).  I’ve auditioned the Martin Logan ESL 15a and 11a and didn’t really connect with the sound despite being very resolving.  The 15a was immediately followed by the KEF Blade 2 Meta which was much more up my alley.  “Loud” is a tough one to answer.  I think I play them pretty loud but one man’s “loud” is another’s “quiet”. 200 watt amp played between -35 to -30 db on 92 db speakers if that gives you some sense. 

Im spending about 20k DIYing a few horns. In my opinion, if you have a bit of skill your funds go much farther and you get better end results than buying product that's not even designed for your use, system, room, decor, budget, and listening tastes. After all the best-fitting suit isn't one you buy off the shelf, the best home isn't a factory-built one, It's a custom -tailored that's the best.


here are a few, I went up to over 40 as you can find it for 30K used:

brand name model price K$ sensitivity imp dim1(mm) dim2 dim3 weight(kg)
Acora Acoustics SRB 48 92 4 360 450 1090 118
Joseph Audio Pearl 20/20 Graph 44 86 8 1090 280 450 70
B&W 801 D4 38 90 8 1221 451 600 100
KEF Blade One Meta 35 88 4 1590 363 540 57
Audio Physic Cardeas 33 89 4 1280 250 430 59
Spendor Classic 200 28.3 89 8 1117 368 513 55
Rockport Atria II 26.5 87 4 1090 330 510 72
Focal SOPRA N°3 26 92 8 1264 402 595 7.1
Reference 3a Sema Zen 25 93 8 1680 340 730 100
Soundkaos Liberation 25 96 6 600 320 1020 40
Børresen 01-sse 25 86 6 368 184 415 11.5
Dali DALI EPICON 8 24 89 5 1225 264 485 47.5
Amphion Krypton3/3 24 89 4 1370 330 480 70
Revel Salon2 24 86 6 1350 360 580 66.3
ProAc K10 23 92 4 1500 300 460 57
Harbeth M40.3 XD 23 86 6 750 432 388 38
Kharma ELEGANCE S7 22 86 8 970 360 550 50
Usher TD-10 22 91 8 370 730 1180 70
Salk BePure 3 20 88 8 280 440 1160 60



obvious heavyweights are Joseph, Magico, SF, Marten, Wilson, Vandersteen, Devore, it's along list in this price range

@brewerslaw Check your messages - I just sent some thoughts privately there. We’ve spoken a bit in the past few months.

I'd be thinking about Audio Note and Tannoy in addition to the fine choices here.

After being at Axpona this year I'm dreaming of the Franco Serblin Ktema speakers. Just a wow listening experience for me. 

@johnk thanks for the suggestion.  I’ll take a look at DIY but my gut tells me that i don’t actually know how to engineer something that fits my listening taste, room etc…. and I’d likely end up building something random rather than geared to my desires.  I’m sure with enough time, one could engineer something awesome that hits above its weight class but I’d be concerned with ending up with a 20K wood pile. 

@grislybutter @hilde45 @rsf507  thanks for the list (and additions).  I’m only familiar with about 1/2 of the speakers on there so i have a little homework!

One follow-up: there’s at least a couple bookshelf speakers on the list (Harbeth and the Borresen are the two I’m familiar with that have stellar reviews), but I’ve never spent any time considering or listening to bookshelf options.  Are people generally running those with separate subs and happy with the results or more often used by those who either don’t desire or listen to music with much bass?  

@brewerslaw adding a sub to a bookshelf/monitor depends on the space, your bass preferences and budget. I personally wouldn't, didn't - but tried. Some bookshelves have base that's pretty full and heavy and better than messing with a sub.


One note to my list, there are at least 20 other brands with speakers in the 20K range, I am still collecting data

My overall suggestion is to go to a good audio show to hear the vast array of quite good, yet different sounds available to you, many well within your price range.  

I have not heard your brand of electronics, so I don't have so I don't have much of an idea on what would be compatible.  With some high-powered electronics, a mating with VERY high efficiency speakers would not be a good idea because many of those types of amps don't come alive when called to barely do any work.  That is why I am a bit hesitant to suggest one of my favorite reasonably price speaker which is the Charney Audio Companion with the AER driver selection (they offer other brands of drivers in that speaker, I like the AER model).  These are remarkable single driver systems that are about 100 db/w efficient and probably best suited to low-powered tube gear.  But hearing them might make you want to change up electronics as well.

I am not good with specific model names and their prices, so some of my recommendations merely mention the brand, others I have the model name.  my recommendations are as follows:

1) Cube Audio Nenuphar Basis-single driver purest might suggest their models using only one driver, but I think this two-way model with a built in powered woofer is a much more complete speaker system than their single driver speakers.

2) Fyne F1-12.  This looks like a single driver with a 12" cone, but, it has a tweeter in the center (coaxial speaker).  Fyne is a company founded by people who left Tannoy, so the speakers have a lot of similarity in design.  I happen to like the Fyne version of these speaker a little bit more.

3) Rossofiorentino.  I believe I heard the Volterra model and I think it is at or near your price range--a very lively, engaging sound.

4) I heard both of the Songer speakers that are built around a full-range fieldcoil drivers  One system has just that one driver, the other is a two-way system with the fieldcoil driver in an open baffle.  I believe both models are the same price and both are terrific sounding--very alive and vivid, but not harsh or brittle sounding.

5) Acora Audio.  I heard several models, but I don't know their names or their prices but they struck me a quite lovely sounding without being harsh or brittle.  They are also reasonably compact and should fit into almost any room easily.


@grislybutter is the list provided all speakers that you know of (or at least have data on) in that price range or is it all speakers you would consider purchasing in that price range?  If it’s the former, which would go on your Mt. Rushmore of Roughly 30k Speakers?  Thanks again!

@larryi thanks for all those suggestions!  There’s a number on your list I’ve not heard (or even heard of) so my rabbit hole just got deeper!


I read a lot of reviews and heard a few of them. But overall, I know nothing about 20K+ speakers. I know about 1-4K speakers, and that's what I have a database for. I just collected some info on all audiophile brands.

I am interested in the following speaker brands, maybe Mt. Rushmore level :)

  • Dynaudio
  • Qln
  • Harbeth
  • Revel
  • Acora Acoustics
  • Marten
  • Sonus Faber
  • Totem

but they may not "peak" at 30K, more like 10K.

Hmm you have Paradigm Persona 3F with matching subs now? You are already there speaker wise. You are chasing a ghost. Do you use the anthem for bass management/crossover? If so you might get better sound with higher end separates. Keep in mind you would need some bass management somewhere still. 

I find the persona pretty bright but maybe you don’t. 

for me I would look at horns or panels for something different. 

Definitely take your time. Speakers in the range you are looking at are really good and very different. You want to hear them… holding off until a speaker connects with you. @grislybutter had a pretty good list of must hear. You also need to take into account what equipment the folks demonstrating the speakers are using. I would take your time, make it a fun exploration. 


Do all this before upgrading any of your electronics. If you want the very best sounding system it is best to choose your speakers… the component that will most influence the sound and then buy the electronics to best support the speakers and the sound quality you want. 

just going through this process is likely to change the direction of your search. This is why auditioning (then reading professional reviews), can slowly lead you to a great synergistic system. Unless each purchase is carefully chosen with the whole system in mind you can end up with a very expensive and unsatisfyingly sounding system.

@gordon I am looking at several pricelist, all for 26 or 28K. But they may be out of date. Just no one cared to remove them. It's hard to impossible to find up to date pricelists from Rockport's distributor list. Zero prices published. 

Are you seeing it online?

@james633 I love my Personas/Sub combo and most well-recorded music sounds great.  If i put on the Black Keys recording of Crawling Kingsnake I feel like I’m in the studio with them or jamming with friends in the basement of my college house twenty years ago.  That’s pretty perfect.  But it’s a super-resolving system and lesser recordings have their warts on full display.  Maybe I’m chasing a dragon but hopefully i can keep the great instrument separation and soundstage that I have but with a presentation that’s a touch more….forgiving?? Musical?? (Not sure what word I’m searching for here.) with run-of-the-mill recordings.  If i only ever wanted to listen to Steely Dan or Pink Floyd or [fill-in-the-blank-masterfully-engineered-recording] then my search would be over.  Alas, not every great band has equally great recording/engineering.

Sonus Faber is on my shortlist from a previous audition of the Olympica Nova 3.  Chose the Paradigm specifically for it’s more resolving presentation but the SF was more “musical” so I’m hoping further up the line (Amati?) may provide the best of both worlds.  Others on my shortlist were Raidho and Borresen because of their stellar reviews and association (either past or present) with Aavik Acoustics makes good synergy likely.  Kef Blade 2 Meta was a recent audition that was pretty great as well. 

I’m not in a rush for change but I’m not realistically going to audition twenty or thirty speakers so hoping the group’s collective wisdom can help pare things down for me.  Then if I have to drive or fly somewhere once or twice, it’s a doable task. 


@gregdude very attractive speakers.  I’ll read up on them since I know my wife wont shoot them down on looks alone. Thanks!  

Btw that’s why Magicos aren’t on my shortlist.  

Fyne Audio, Tannoy, Joseph Audio, TAD......on my list of upgrades after listening a lot at Axpona, and I'm lucky enough to have friends that own 3 of them.....so I've heard them in systems I am familiar with

That's a nice budget to play with.

"current speakers (Persona 3f) are about 4 feet from side walls and 2 feet from back wall."

If 2 feet are the max any speaker can be pushed out into the room(aesthetics/S.O) then you're possibly not hearing them in their "best" position.



@grislybutter fun topic, thanks for the link!  And, yes, I’ve learned that i may as well show her a picture early in the process because it can save me from reading every review/comment/smoke signal accessible only to find that it’s too ugly to go in the great room. 

@tablejockey since I’m sitting in the room I thought I’d actually measure because my prior comment was a guess from memory.  Speakers are actually about 6 ft from the side walls and about 20” from rear.  I had them further out previously but couldn’t perceive any improvement so ultimately placed them as far back as i could w/o issue (for aesthetics).

@vthokie83 Thanks, I’ll have a look!

I don't know what it is about this site a lack of knowledge of Legacy Speakers. They build systems for Sheik's, all the way to systems like you're looking for. Do yourself a favor and at least give Bill a shout. I have one of their lower systems although I do have over 30 grand in their speakers.



@nitrobob Legacy were on my shortlist when I was first speaker shopping a year or two ago.  I have a local dealer that carries them but the showroom was essentially 300 (literally) boxes of crappy Klipsch speakers- not a comment on Klipsch, they just had a crazy amount of their lowest end speakers- and they had one bookshelf Legacy that i could audition.  Didn’t do a lot for me (the listening conditions were comically bad) and i sort of disregarded them as an option but I’ve always been curious about Legacy speakers.  Plus they’re damn attractive so i know the wife wouldn’t shoot them down.  Maybe i need to stop back at that dealer.

I just purchased the b&w 801 d4, hooked up with McIntosh mc2700 and Mac 462 amp, everything you play on them sound fantastic 

If I was in that budget range I would look certainly audition the Dynaudio Confidence series.

Placing speakers at this level only 20” out from the back wall is almost a non starter to get the best imaging/soundstage out of them. If you can manage to pull the speakers out a foot more here are a couple nice-looking and excellent-sounding speakers that are musical with many genres of music…

I’d also add Sonus Faber and Rockport as other excellent choices to check out. My advice — don’t hang your hat on Aavik just yet as although it’s excellent it’s all about synergy so my suggestion is use the manufacturer as a resource for what amp to choose once you choose a speaker. Choosing the amp first is just absolutely backwards thinking to me. Best of luck.

After listening to the TIDAL Contriva G3 at High End audio Munich 2023, I would look at the Vimberg Mino/tonda speakers. 

This is a great price point for speakers but you have to be careful there are a lot of posers at this price range the choice is simple;

Canton reference 1K / $30,000 new

Canton reference 2K / $20,000 new

Canton speakers use the Center bass flow down firing port which makes speaker positioning very simple

There are some very nice speakers in that price range.  One that is missing on the list is the PS Audio FR30 which may look a little utilitarian compared to some of the others, but still an attractive speaker (to me at least).  It certainly sounds like you have a room that could use a speaker of that size.  I don't know what your location is, but wouldn't it be nice to travel to Boulder Colorado to audition those, and you get to see a beautiful part of this country in the process.


The Rockport  Atria ii speakers are $26,500. The Avior ii are around $40k. 

I highly recommend an audition of the Avior ii. Good luck in your search ! 


What a data list!!!  My anal-retentive personality side is highly stimulated right now. Do you also have a price list for $5,000 to $20,000?

@ronboco see my link to my local Rockport dealer above.  Atria II $38k, Avoir II $47k.  My understanding is that the prices went up in 2021.


I looked at the link. At the top it says 38k and at the bottom it says 26.5k. I think they made a mistake. I ordered my Avior ii speakers around Oct. 2021 and they were 39k then. I’ll bet you are correct about the Avior ii pricing now but I think the Atria might be high. I will ask my dealer as now I’m curious. Happy listening!


@ronboco Let me know what you find out.  At $26.5k they are a potential upgrade for me, but at $38k they are not.  Here's more evidence of the higher price.

From https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/the-2023-axpona-show-jonathan-valin-on-speakers-30k-and-up/

On to the 14th floor, where another old favorite, Rockport, was showing its $37k Atria II, driven by Vinnie Rossi electronics and sourced by MSB (another of my references). This was a very sweet, neutral-sounding transducer—neither overly dark in the bass and midrange nor megaphonic in the upper mids. Because of its refreshing transparency and freedom from coloration, it was immediately another of my Best of Show candidates.


Will do. I agree with you 37 k is a lot ! You just can’t go up that much in two years. 

Consider Quad 2912’s and Magnepan 30.7, augmented by Magnepan auxiliary DWM bass panels.

I use a pair of Quad 2805’s perpendicular to a pair of Quad 2905’s, and two auxiliary DWM panels for a fast, seamless sound. But if you like to play loud, be sure and audition an all-Magnepan system.

@firstonetallguy I built a database of the following (mostly to just share with audiophiles and help my understanding)

most (90%) audiophile speaker companies in Europe and North America, with all the company info - about 90 companies

their cheapest and most expensive speakers with all the technical data

their speakers in 2-4K range

overall about 200 models

my plan is for the next step is to add the 6 to 9K models. I think that’s the next best level, where their products "peak". I may add a 20K range (16-20). Over that, I really don’t care/understand the difference.

It’s been a fun project with a lot of little "secrets" exposed.

My last step is to put it up on the web in a few searchable tables


I just called my dealer and holy cow you are right ! 38k for the Atria ii and 48k for the Avior ii! I love my Avior ii but how can Rockport increase that much in 2 years? Geez. 


I’m not sure if there are improvements made to the speakers. I’m going to my dealer on Saturday and will ask.