Speaker Choice: Narrowed down, need final opinions

Hi All,

I had a few posts trying to narrown down my choices for high quality, small to midsize floorstanders. As a bit of background I have downscaled from B&W Matrix 801 Series 3 which were too big for me, so I needed to dowscale in size but I do not want to lose in terms of quality. Here are all the details I can think of, if there is anything else which may help please let me know.

I have 2 options now, one of which is the Elac speakers: either the 207.2 or preferably the 208.2. Has anyone got these or heard them somewhere? What were your thoughts? . I also enjoy a decent amount of bass and that is why I would prefer the 208.2, but has anyone heard the 207.2? How is their bass extensions? (by the way the 209.2 is out of my budget)

My other choice is the Monitor Audio Gold Reference 60's ( can get at a fantastic price). I know I won't have a problem with bass with those. In the mids and highs though, is their quality comparable to that of the Elac's, and/or the 801 S3's? My previous options (now ruled out) were the Revel F30's which I could only afford second hand and the pair is now sold, and the Sonus Faber Grand Piano Home which unlike the previous Grand Piano's are not biwireable and I do not want to replace/alter my cables.

Associated Equipment:
-Bryston 4B-ST Amplifier
-Electrocompaniet EC 4.5 Preamp
-Kimber KCAG interconnects
-Zu Cable Wax biwire speaker cable
-Shanling CD-T100 CD Player

-fairly large (about 35ft x 14ft, but divided into 2 by an arch so my room is effectively 17.5ft x 14ft)
-long wall setup
-speakers around 8-9ft apart and listener about 8ft to each speaker

Thanks for the help,
I would suggest you audition the Sonus Faber Grand Piano Homes -- those are also nice speakers and another great bang for the buck -- and not as large as the Revel F-30's. I've never heard the Elacs.
Hi There,

I am using the system only for stereo and not HT, and have read in many threads that the newer GP Home's are geared more toward HT, and the older ones better suited to 2-channel. Have you found this perhaps to be the case?

Also like I said the new GP Home's are not biwireable. I do not really want to change my speaker cables which I really like (Zu Cable Wax Biwire).

I would continue to seek another pair of Revel F30. I believe Thorman IS kidding, but interestingly my demo of the N803, Revel F30 and (rear-firing woofer) Fidelios three years ago DID lead to my buying the Parsifal Encores!
Speakers for life. Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do....
I did an A/B with B&W Nautilus 803 and the Monitor Audio's. I couldn't believe how constricted the sound was from the Monitor's. These were fed from a Pass Labs amp. Only your ears can tell you what's right for you.
Thanks for the input guys!

I actually may be able to get a pair of Audes Blues at a reasonable price within my budget. How would you compare the Audes Blues to the others such as the Monitor Audio and the Sonus Faber Grand Pianos??

Sorry to give another suggestion that you didn't ask for, but since your previous speakers were B&W:

A friend of mine in the high end audio business just traded in his B&W800N signatures (with a Rel sub) for the 805N signatures (with same sub) and prefers it in a big way!
There is an excellent pair of the 805N sigs on audiogon today.

Hi There,

Thanks for the suggestion but I am not really looking for a standmount/sub combo. I would only consider a floorstander right now.

Of all the speakers mentioned, the N803's would be my choice, if you can swing it. They are another step up the $$$ ladder. I've never heard the original Sonus Faber Grand Pianos, so I cannot compare them to the Homes, but did spend a day auditioning Sonus Faber against B & W. To my ears, I preferred the Grand Piano Homes over everything in the B & W line until I got to the N803's and then I preferred the N803's. Of course, the N803's are quite a bit more than the Piano Homes. Speakers are such a personal preference. You really should try to get out and audition everything within your price range. If you choose a speaker with only one set of terminals, you can always double your bi-wires or have them re-terminated. I don't see that as a problem.
Hi There,

Well the N803's are out of the question. They are way out of my budget. As I stated earlier, unfortunately prices vary tremendously from US/EU countries so some products cost roughly the same as overseas and some cost as much as double (different importers, different markups etc.). Also, a few of the choices I have are dealer demos at great price, such as the GR-60's, which would normally be out of budget.

About the speaker with single wire terminals: I really do not want to change my speaker cable. It is the Zu Cable Wax Biwire. This is not available here and was a special import, so sending it back for retermination is not an option really. They are banana plugs all round and that's the problem (can't connect two bananas to a terminal). However I am trying to find a banana to spade adaptor, since then I could connect the cable properly by connecting two spades per terminal. The only problem is finding such an adapter - do you know of any?

Now looking at single-wire speakers, it does not really open up more options unfortunately. Many of the speakers are simply too expensive here, such as the Audio Physic, Vienna Accoustics, Dynaudio. These are single-wire speakers but are hellishly expensive here for some reason, much more than overseas. Others I can look at are the new SF Grand Piano Home (the old versions are not available anywhere). Would those be better than something like the Elac 209 or Monitor Audio GR-60 (my current 2 options).

Thanks for the help,
If you buy used, you can probably get a pair of N803's for about the same price as new F-30's, Homes, or GR-60's.
The Audes Blues are the best speakers I have heard in the 4000$ and under price range, they image incredibly well and the soundstage is very accurate. If you look at the audes' websie is says 45htz for the low end...that is very conservative, I heard them drop into the low 30's and the side firing woofer lets you plkace them easily. Go listen to them, also they are very effeciant.
hi there,

Rsbeck: the 803's would still be too expensive. The GR-60s and F30s I can get are dealer demos at a greatly reduced price. The 803s even second hand are out of budget. Also as I said before, unfortunately you cannot compare prices here to those in the US/Europe - for example B&W are a lot more expensive here making them out of reach. There is also a limited market here so you may find a used pair of 803's once a year if you are lucky.

Sean34 - I was thinking about the Audes especially after all the great reviews and awards. The problem is that they are not actually available here. I have spoke to Audes and they can ship a pair no problem that means I am buying 'blind' so to speak and have no recourse if they fit terribly with my room or equipment.

2 more alternatives I have added though (single wire speakers previously left out of the equation) are the Vienna Acoustics Mozart and the Audio Physic Spark or Tempo. What are your thoughts on those? I also did not think about them before since they both only have 2 5.5" drivers and thus I fear they may be lacking in the bass region, although I know their sound and build quality are superb.

The Monitor Audios look like one good choice (if you OK their sound, that is). I'm not sure you'll be happy with the sound of the Bryston driving Audio Physic, Elac -- or any speaker that goes for an extended, upper end, and a flattish bass roll-off (mid-low q). It might sound thin to you. Don't know if others agree on this.

Lets make this simpler: what are the available choices. Just list them:), irrespective of their "fame", etc.
Hi There,

That's a good idea, I will list them below. However please note that the Bryston *MAY* be sold. If the speakers are efficient (which I think all the candidates are) I may get a pair of Shanling SP-80 Class-A monoblocks to partner with my Shanling CD-T100 CD Player. I am quite a firm believer that partnering components yields a synergy which mixing and matching sometimes cannot. But that will be much later though, nothing in the very near future.

The candidates which are available and I can currently afford (some new, some dealer demos) are:
1. Monitor Audio GR-60
2. Elac 209 Jet
3. Audio Physic Spark\Tempo
4. Vienna Accoustics Mozart
5. Sonus Faber Grand Piano Home
6. Paradigm Signature S4 ***
(*** not currently available here but will be in around 2 months)

I am not trying to be arrogant/stubborn but guys please try not to say that I can get speaker X for the same price, because pricing here is very different to overseas, and also many brands are simply not available. For example there is the Audes Blues which I have heard is amazing, and within my budget, but not available here and I do not want to import something without ever even hearing it.

Thanks for the help
SOrry, here is a quick update. I made quite a lot of calls today to confirm availability, new pricing etc. and the end result is this: I currently have two choice:

1. Monitor Audio GR-60
2. Elac 209 Jet

The others are not feasible at the moment for various reasons. The Paradigm Signature S4's are still an option but the have an ETA of 2-3 months.

I have heard the monitor audio stuff, little bright for my tastes and I think probably better suited to home theater, have not heard the Elac stuff, sorry. Man I wish you could hear the Audes!
Hi There,

I do not mind it too bright. I may very well be moving to tube amps which I am sure will tone it down if need be. The main question is quality: how does it compare to the other. How does it compare to something like the N804's (I cannot get those but at least I know there sound so have a good reference point). Talking about tube amps: anyone know how well the Shanling SP-80 amps will do for speakers like these? Almost all the candidates are rated to around 200W and 90dB or more sensitivity. The Shanling amps are tube rated 50W.

I can have the Audes Blues shipped to me directly from the company (I have contacted them in the past few weeks concerning the matter), but the question is: is it worth doing this special once off import? What if the sound is not good (to my ears at least)? It will be difficult to sell and will have a low resale value since no one really knows the product and there will be no product support.

Not to sound like a broken record, but from what I've heard from audiophiles who own them, the Green Mountain Audio C-3's will out perform anything on your short list.
Once again, the problem is that there is limited availability here. Thus the Green Mountain Audio speakers are not available. I have heard the same thing about the Audes Blues which are not available here and I am in the same position: I do not think it is at all worth importing them specially (without ever hearing them) and end up not liking them. On top of that they will have little resale value and no support. It is much safer to go for something available here.

Anyways, heard the GR-60's and some others. Bought the GR-60's, they are fantastic. Now its time tom hunt for an amp.

I also have Zu Cable Wax Biwire speaker cable going to the speakers and Kimber KCAG interconnects: is it a good move to look into the Zu Cable interconnects as a replacement for the KCAG's? Something like their Varial (top of the line) or the Gede just below it?

Dawgbyte- Green Mountain would be nice, but X has to specially import them. Expensive.

The smaller M Audio have a slight boom-tizz character. By comparison, the Elac could sound flatter but dryish.

Neither will outperform B&W 801 matrix.

One idea is to keep your amp, and use the amp money for speakers, widening your choice. Another is to opt for a kit. I strongly recommend the kit. There are suberb kits with good prices in the US, and quite good prices in Germany. A well designed & executed kit (i.e. one from a reputable dealer) can easily outperform commercial designs costing 3x as much (or more).

Amps. Before you import the Shanling, why not research local tube amps? Surely there are gifted designers of tube equipment in S Africa. The price/performance ratio should be better, service round the corner, you can get the designer to take into account your speakers -- and as to the resale value, tune it out for a moment. Instead, think of the nice sound and quantify that in too -- a (possibly) lower resale value + the higher satisfaction may give you a better deal!
Yes I was thinking about that more and more Greg - there is a guy here called Gunther Steinhart, makes a brand called Steinhart amps. They are actually quite fantastic (perhaps ther are people in the UK that know his amps as he has started exporting and has one a number of awards in Britain (and been reviewed in a number of magazines). He actually lives around 10 minutes from me so I will pop in and discuss it with him.

One thing to bear in mind though (not sure if I mentioned it) is that a change in amp is a future prospect only. I do not have funds for both speakers and amp, otherwise indeed my choices for speakers would have been a lot greater. The amp will only come if and when the funds become available and my current amp is sold.

Thanks for the help guys!

BTW. Anyone interested in HGA cables? I actually brought in a whole lot about 6 months ago to see if they could be marketed here but with no luck. I thus have like 5-6 pairs of their cable (all three types of interconnects) just lying around.
One more questions: has anyone here had experience with the Paradigm Signature S4? They are only coming out here in around 2 months but I wanted to check if anyone has heard them in the US/Europe. How do they sound in comparison to others?