Recommendations Wanted

Hello All,

Would like everyone’s opinion on speaker replacement as I feel it is the weak link in my system. Currently I am running a McIntosh 240 amplifier, Fisher CX-2 preamplifier, and a Linn Sondek turntable. Speakers are B&W 703 S1 and 90 db efficient from about 2009.

Sometimes the system will create that magic and disappear in the room, but mostly not. I listen at  7 feet away in a 16x22x10 room. My choice of music is jazz lp’s and some lighter rock lp’s. I occasionally like to listen at higher volumes so somewhat efficient speakers may be best. This especially since I only have 40wpc of tube power. The budget is 5k new or used.




Some recorded music, when properly reproduced, will make the loudspeakers disappear and generate a convincing facsimile of the original recording space, but other records cannot.  It has to do with how the music was recorded and your system will not compensate.

BTW, I like your system.  Others are in a better position to recommend a replacement for your B&Ws.

FWIW, I see what I believe to be other weaknesses in your system besides the speakers. IE, you have no sub listed. That may be what you need to make those speakers sing. Two is better. But It will make your mains sound much larger with a bigger sound stage. There is another item I might change also. But not the speakers until you try a sub, preferably REL IMO

That said why do you think your speakers are the weak link?

Triangle Esprit Australe EZ if you can find a pair. They love tubes and are masters of 3D sound. 

You don’t mention room treatment, that can play a roll. To the above, some music is just not recorded or reproduced in great quality. Look into room treatments, find a song or two that gives you what you desire, move your speakers around a bit. See how that changes the stage. Sometimes micro movements can make all the difference. 

IME, and I’ve compared them head to head, Joseph Audio speakers do everything better than B&Ws, and they’re among the best in the business at pulling off the disappearing act.  Anything JA will get you there.  Best of luck. 

before you buy new, do yourself a big favor and buy a sound pressure level meter. I did, it’s my latest ’you ought to do this’ kick.

Pro friends used theirs in my space twice years ago, then took them away. I used my ears since then. Changed back to former speakers since then.

I FINALLY bought my own! Wish I had done it years ago. gives you real answers about your speaker’s output, in THAT space at _____? Location, when they are positioned ___", when they are toed-in ____?, when they are tilted back a bit to change the angle of reflections off now non-parallel surfaces, ...

IOW, you will find the best combo you can get with those speakers in your space.


After gaining answers/best existing, consider what speaker could be better, do your search informed.


I realized, I don’t need a pro quality meter, just one that shows bands of output relative to adjacent bands, they have instructions to calibrate ’actual’ level, all I wanted to know was frequency balance ’received’ at my listening position. Get one with a hole for a tripod, set it up seated ear level, start with setup 'as is', then take your time messing about bit by bit



I use this test cd with specific 1/3 octave bands, so easy


That size space, I suspect you are listening too close,

Sell those B&W's and get a pair of Quad 57's. They will match well with the Mac amp and Fisher preamp. Just the right amount of power too! Your music choices will suit the 57's well!

Your budget, amp, taste in music, and volume all combine together to strongly recommend Tekton Moab. Mine are simply superb with all types of music, I am mostly classic rock but love jazz and classical now more than ever and this is all due to these exceptional speakers. 40 tube watts is plenty, I'm using the 20W Raven Blackhawk now and even that is more than adequate to reach quite high levels. Measured 102dB at my sweet spot 9 feet away in my 17x24x9 room.

Moab absolutely disappear in the room. Set up well with good ancillary components they make the room disappear in the music. Ignore the haters, just read them to understand how irrational they really are. 

The one downside, Moab are large. If you want smaller then go for one of their smaller models. I have heard several of them now, the full array models are where the magic lies but the DI is end game for a lot and for good reason. 

You will have to wait to get them. Unlike all the lesser speakers others will recommend Tekton are in such high demand the wait times are several months. Unlike the speakers others will recommend that are supposed to be good there are virtually none for sale used. How come if someone says a speaker is so good there are so many for sale used? Riddle me that one, Batman. 

Check out the FB Tekton Owner's Group. There you will find very knowledgeable, helpful and friendly audiophiles rich with Tekton experience. What I have told you is only the tip of the iceberg.

I might sell you my Tannoy FSMs for $5k. 94+ Sensitivity.

Love tubes. Love Jazz. Crossovers rebuilt by Danny Richie.

Big but still disappear. 

I love your system! As far as speakers go check out the Volti Razz, a bit above your budget but excellent and sensitive speakers.

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Put the speakers against the short wall firing into the longest room dimension.


Play with setback against the front wall.


Make sure the front third if the room is acoustically treated.


Heavy rug between you and the speakers


If you can, place speakers on a rug also.


Remove as much hard,  reflecting surfaces from the room



Tektons do sound good driven but tube gear but due to the low impedance, they are never as efficient in room as you would think, particularly with tube amps.  It is reflective of the standard used to calculate SPL ratings, nothing they are doing.  Just something to be aware of.  

I might look at something like the Scansonic MB3.5 B.   The ribbon tweeter behaves differently and creates a more immersive experience in a more traditional speaker design.  This is a ribbon tweeter thing rather than just scansonic.  AMTs can deliver a similar experience but tend to drift a hair brighter though this is not universally true.  

One thing that would help the respondents is to know what it is in your current speakers/system you define as deficient.  Without that, we're shooting in the dark with respect to recommendations.  (In general, though, 40wpc is pretty weak for most B&W's.)

+1 on the Tekton Moab recommendation

My amp is a hybrid, tube/solid state, PS Audio M1200

MC hit all the constraints and compromises, build time delay and they are big speakers

Worth the wait and unrivaled price performance IMHO 

There is nothing wrong about those beautiful 40 watts (more like 65) from your mc240. Just complimenting your system. 

Hello thermionicemission.  Happpy Holidays!  Please understand that we are all at the mercy of the recording engineer who provided us with whatever recordings we play. The fact that your system sounds great with some music, but not with others is proof that it's telling you the truth. Please remember that 400 watts is only 10 db louder than your 40 watts. It's how easily an amp can produce the power you normally use that matters. With inefficient speakers, 40 watts may not be enough. But, most speakers are in the 86 - 92 db range of sensitivity and 40- 60 watts is plenty unless you are trying to annoy the neighbors. Most of us listen at between 0.5 and 5 watts. A 20 db higher peak requires 50 to 500 watts! Is that news? Try some recordings of music you like that get excellent reviews. Do they sound great? If they do, your system is working well. Better recordings are cheaper than new electronics. I've got a lot of old recordings. Lots of stuff recorded off the air. Some of it sounds poor, but I like the music or the performance. I can overlook the "sound" because I like the material. When your sweetie has a cold, you still want to hear her voice, yes? Keep smiling! Enjoy the music.

Carlsbad makes a couple good points. One, Tekton are so transparent a huge amount of whether you wind up happy or not hangs on the rest of your system. They will let you hear it, quite possibly for the first time ever. On this one looking at the rest of your system I think you are on solid ground. 

The other point is, if you can afford it you will get even more moving up to Encore. Or for that matter Ulfberht. But your budget is $5k which makes Moab #1 with a bullet, nothing else even close.

verdantaudio, I guess you didn't read the post above yours?

40 tube watts is plenty, I'm using the 20W Raven Blackhawk now and even that is more than adequate to reach quite high levels. Measured 102dB at my sweet spot 9 feet away in my 17x24x9 room.

Question for the OP ? Has the 240 been refurbished and or modified ? i run 87 db speakers with a heavily modified 240. Most 240 make 52-60 wpc before leaving the factory THD spec behind. Mike Samra does a great McShane style mod of the 240 if you are interested, A slug of Russian caps, much better power supply bits…IF you are running the tube cage, lose that.and try some HRS Nimbus couplers under the amp and your preamp. Re higher efficiency speakers, you have many many choices beyond Tekton, Go listen to a few before making the leap.


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Look up NewRecordDay on YouTube. He has a nice in-depth setup guide for speakers. He and Danny Richie are friends so I’m sure he has learned a lot from him.