Quality of Stereophile Class A speakers at 2K?

It seems over the last few years the lower bound of “A – Restricted Extreme LF” in Stereophile’s recommended components is getting much cheaper. I have not had the chance to compare many of the speakers in class A, but I wonder if speakers are getting much better for the money, or if the reviewers are getting older and more complacent in reviewing?

Any thoughts?

Current class “A-Restricted Extreme LF” speakers at about $2000 are:

Infinity Intermezzo 2.6 $2200 (street price $1100)

Revel Performa M20 $2000

Triangle Celius $1995 (street price $1750)

I just wonder how these really compare against the more expensive Class B and Class A speakers

PS I know we should not read reviews etc etc, but it is still a metric that many people use.
Even within Stereophile's recommended components there are some components rated class B that I easily prefer to the class A components in the same category. I think their ratings reflect the standing of some reviewers among their peers, a bias against certain sound characterisicts, and deference for some of the more elite brand names in audio.
For example, no one but Sam Tellig could get a Class A rating on a component without even a set of measurements (this happened with the Triangles and PS Audio amp). I would also point out the Dunleavy SC-IV rating because JA thought the midrange and treble was shelved.

To get back to your 2k speakers. I believe that at that price point a speaker has too many compromises to be great. I find that you have to get to the 3-5k range till speakers can start sounding exceptional, even then there are no guarantees.
In my opinion, those 3 Class A Restricted Extreme LF should be compared against Class B Restricted LF rather than Class B Full range. In other words, there are 2 threads in the speaker rating system.
I don't know much about the classification scheme used by the Stereophile magazine, but my experience tells me a pair of Tannoy D500 sounds very good (street price around $3000 new or $1600 used). The build quality is first rate, and it's georgeous to look at, very high wife acceptance.

Try the following popular CDs on it and you will see what I mean:

1. Enya Watermark
2. Pink Floyd The Wall
3. Titanic sound track
4. Barbra Streusand One Voice (live concert)
As an analogy, as part of my work, I interview and hire engineers. I have never received a bad recommendation about a candidate from their college professors. The trick is to ask the right questions and read between the lines. Those of us who take the Stereophile ratings too seriously, or view them as the "ultimate status symbol" regarding our equipment are most at risk of being misled. Fortunately, there are many other avenues available to us when researching equipment, such as these forums, tracking the used market and which pieces hold their value, and ultimately, our own ears.

Stereophile, IMO, is an entertaining read which introduces me to ideas and equipment I would never have the opportunity or time to explore. I believe the reviews offer quite a bit of information about a piece, when the whole review is read. Their reviewers generally offer honest opinions of the positives and negitives of specific equipment, and their presentation of measurements can also provide an insight into the sound offered by a given piece. However, I agree with those who would like to see more direct comparisons between similarly priced equipment, and also with those who suspect (in some cases) the ultimate Class A,B,C ratings may be skewed toward the reviewer's bias, or (please don't say it!) the amount of advertising purchased. In the end, the magazine is what it is, and it actually does rely on advertising to stay afloat. I subscribe to Stereophile (and also to TAS), and I still enjoy reading about the music and equipment. As long as I am interested in this as a hobby, I will be supportive of all avenues for information, and at the end of the day I will rely as much on my interpretation of the information presented, as on the information itself. - Tim
I feel there is a 'snob' fest going on at Stereophile. I have listened to some of there rated 'class A' speakers and found them wholely lacking. I also notice they mainly rate the really expensive speakers higher than most of the lower end speakers, for example. I also feel that some speakers get a class A rating just based on reputation and previous ratings.

I think there are MANY overlooked speaker companies out there. I have a set of speakers that have been only rated in one or two magazines - price $1200 (Royd Doublets). I think they would rate well against speakers many times their price. Does the low price make them bad - NO - it makes them an amazing buy.

I wish speaker manufacturers would market their goods like most wine makers do. There are some excellent wine values at very low prices. That is make some speakers for lower prices, that sound great - JMLabs is one of the few that I think is doing this. I do not like the B&W low end speakers - I find them wholely lacking any character - just 'thump boxes'. This way as people get more money, they can try the higher lines of the same company.

If anybody in or around Michigan would like to hear what Royd has to offer, just email me.