Speaker Recommendation: 20K range

I’m looking for new speakers in the <20K range. 

I am not looking for used, unless it’s a demo model straight from an AD.

I am hoping to find a line that clearly beats speakers in the ~10K range like Magico A3, Revel 228BE, Legacy Focus SE etc.

I will be pairing the speakers with a Lumin D2 streamer, Mcintosh C2600 pre and MC452 amp. Changing those components is not going to happen anytime soon and so system synergy with those pieces is important. 

I also would like the speakers to be rated at 500W given the amp I will be using and the fact that the listening space is quite large. 

While I mostly listen to jazz, rock, pop, classical and vocals, I am really looking for speakers that sound amazing with any genre. I also need them to sound great at moderate levels of volume. 

I currently have Focal Kanta No 2s, and while they are quite nice, I want something much better in all respects. 

I am not really up to speed on all the audiophile terms that describe the various traits of sound – I just want my jaw to drop when listening to the speakers with any genre at all volume levels, if that’s possible :) 

I am close to NYC and would like to narrow down the list to ~5 candidates before I start auditioning.

Hopefully you guys can help me compile a list!

Thanks in advance for your time and suggestions.

@ chandybe
Check with the Legacy people as to how it could be made to work.  Also, I spoke with them in April, and they said they can build a passive version of the Aeris that would be easier to use in a multi-channel system.  With a passive version, you could just hook it up.  I assume it could still have the powered bass section. 
Everyone has different favorites for speakers. I had Acoustic Zen Crescendos paired with McIntosh 601 mono's and C2300 preamp and liked that combo quite a bit. I also second the suggestion for Harbeth 40.2 speakers.

Chandybe, thanks for the additional information. I totally understand preferring to go with a mainstream brand.

High power handling in and of itself will not insure "zero chance" of speaker damage if you clip your 500 watt amp. Clipping sends a burst of maximum-power high frequency energy to the tweeter. At some point in time - and it may be milliseconds - the heat has built up so much faster than the tiny tweeter can dissipate that something overheats and fails.

Also, damage from overheating is cumulative, even if the drivers don’t fail the first time you clip. The old adage "that which does not kill you makes you stronger" does not apply to speakers.

In addition to power meters and restraint, higher efficiency can help a lot. For each 3 dB increase in efficiency, you cut in half the amount of power needed to reach a given SPL.

The tradeoff is, for each 3 dB increase in efficiency, you double the box size needed to maintain the same bass extension. This is a problem if you don’t want big speakers.

The solution is to hand off the low end to a low-efficiency (and therefore compact) but high-powered low-bass section. This can either be built into the main speakers (as with the Legacy Aeris), or done with external powered subwoofers. A separately-powered low bass section is the sort of approach I’d suggest for your situation.

Best of luck in your quest!


Chandybe the more you share about your preferences the more I think you should take a look at the Daedalus Apollo 11s. If looks matter and you like real wood sculpted and finished by the hands of a true artisan then these could be the ticket. Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder but many of the speakers that have been recommended here are decidedly unattractive. For example, as much as I love the sound of the Harbeth M40s, they are always going to look like big boxes sitting on metal stands. Lou's speakers have the appearance of fine furniture--you will find yourself stroking the finish and admiring the joinery work. And he has such a wide range of renewable hardwoods and inlay patterns that yours will be one of a kind expressions of your own design aesthetic. All that said, the quest for speakers is such a personal one that if you are going to spend that kind of money you should really hear as many pairs as you are able, ideally with similar partnering equipment and listening environment. I wish you well as you sort through the options. Having done this myself a number of years ago, I would really encourage you to listen with your heart rather than your head. You will know the one when you hear it because the music will move you emotionally, not because what you are hearing is checking off a list of boxes that are in your head. Have fun!