Speakers to audition at AXPONA 2015

Hello All,

My new medium sized room (15 X 18 X 8) is now complete and I have moved my system into this room. The sound in this room seem so very "open". I have never had this size room before, all dedicated to audio. I feel I need bigger speakers to fill the room - especially in the bass area.

I would be going to the AXPONA 2015 in Chicago next week and would like to visit as many roomas as I can - especially the ones that are demoing loudspeakers. But here is what I am looking for:

1. Price range of $5-$7K
2. Sensitivity of at least 89db at 8 ohms
3. Floor stander
4. Full range (though may not cover the last octave), but should not need a subwoofer to complement bass
5. Musicality over hyper-detailed

Can you folks please suggest some speakers that meet these criterias?

I will most likely go with a Oppo BDP-105D as a CDP upgrade. Also will retain the TVC, as it is so transparent and a great match to my amplifier.


You might want to check out the Sonus Faber / Audio Research rooms on the top floor. I thought both the Venere 3 and Olympica 2 were very musical sounding. After a long search for new speakers I just purchased a pair of their Elipsa SE or Red.
Devore if John's there. They might've been the best sounding speakers my wife and I heard last year at Axpona. It was the other set (I wish I remembered the model) not the the O96.
Hi Milpal,

Take a look at my review, which was just posted yesterday, at hometheaterreview.com on the Lawrence Audio Violin SE speaker for the details about why you might want to hear it next week at the Axpona show in Audio Archon room. The pair that will be at the show are the speakers that I had in for review. My reference speaker is the big brother called the Cello that I purchased after I reviewed them. However, this new SE version of the Violin equals the sonic performance of the Cello in a smaller enclosure.
Get yourself a pair of Golden Ear Triton Ones and use the extra money saved on new music.
Hi Milpai,
I'd like to invite you to visit us in room 554, where we'll be showing the AudioKinesis Zephrin 46 loudspeakers. I suggest they meet your criteria well:
1. Price range of $5-$7K
$4900 plus shipping.
2. Sensitivity of at least 89db at 8 ohms
92 dB in 8 ohm configuration and an easy load.
3. Floor stander
4. Full range (though may not cover the last octave), but should not need a subwoofer to complement bass
Check. You might be surprised.
5. Musicality over hyper-detailed

Both of the guys behind these speakers, Duke LeJeune and Jim Romeyn, will be present and happy to answer your questions. Throughout the show we'll have presentations on several topics, one of them naturally being the speakers. Check the schedule posted at the door and sign up.

I look forward to meeting you!

Brian Walsh
Thanks for the response folks.

I will try to audition the speakers that folks have recommended. Honestly, I was not impressed by the Tritons, when I herd them before. But I guess it might have been the setup. Also the dealer had just demoed me a $150k+ system, just for fun of it, before listening to Tritons.
Sonus Faber and Endeavor are high on my list besides PMC and ATC. But I found that ATCs are not as sensitive and will not make a good match in my system.
I was hoping to listen to some Spendors, but I know that BlueBird would not be coming to the show. So don't know if any other dealer is demoing these.
Someone recently traded Merlin VSM for his Zephrin 46 and could not be happier (amp is 30W Spanish Ars-Sonum Filarmonia integrated). His room is slightly smaller than the one described in the OP.
Cool, I'm putting Essential audio on my priority list. Best room last year, using a Sound Lab rig.
I will look forward to meeting with you and the team in Room 554.
I would check all the speakers you can since you're there. Swing by room 514 and listen to the Scansonic 2.5's ($3500 retail). I personally they will be a big surprise for the money. Another to check out is Dynaudio (not sure which rooms in your price range).
Best of luck
That speaker looks interesting from the point that the designer is ex-Raidho. Will visit that room as well. But a bit worried that it might sound too sterile. Lets see.
Ohlala, you mentioned Essential Audio's Sound Lab room last year. I'm not about to claim that my little Zephrins are going to fill the shoes of the magnificent Sound Labs, but in a way the Sound Labs were their inspiration.

You see, one of the things the dipolar Sound Labs do so well, with that curved panel and with correct positioning (far enough out into the room), is to generate a spectrally-correct and fairly late-arriving reverberant field. This more closely mimics the sort of sound field we encounter in a live venue, and it does some things that the ear/brain system likes a lot (and I believe in designing for ears vs designing for test equipment where the two paradigms diverge).

Some years ago I started building "conventional-driver" speakers that sought to emulate this correct-reverberant-field characteristic of the Sound Labs. As I told Roger West (of Sound Lab), my goal was to build the second-best speakers. Anyway I built bipolar speakers with fairly well-controlled radiation patterns, and while there are some characteristics of a high-quality full-range electrostat that are simply out of reach of conventional drivers, my bipolars did seem to have some of the same "feel" when positioned far enough out into the room.

My friend James Romeyn began a series of very much outside-the-box experiments that explored different directions for the basic bipolar concept, and one of those directions was, firing from the floor up at the ceiling! Briefly, he found a way to get the fairly long time delay for that rear-firing energy that otherwise would have required positioning the speakers well out into the room. And I think his "Late Ceiling Splash" concept does some other things very well too, but the details on that will have to wait for the show.

So in a sense the Zephrins are an attempt at approximating the (imo ideal) in-room behavior of the Sound Labs in a more small-to-medium room, medium budget friendly package. Of course I try to get other things right too, but the basic concept that led to the Zephrins was an attempt to imitate the behavior of the Sound Labs in some ways. Consider it to be a sincere form of flattery.

Looking forward to meeting you and Milpai and anyone else there.

04-17-15: Milpai
That speaker looks interesting from the point that the designer is ex-Raidho. Will visit that room as well. But a bit worried that it might sound too sterile. Lets see
Mike B the designer is still with Raidho. Raidho is part of Dantek radio just like Scansonic. Unlike Raidho Scansonic MB's were designed with cost in mind.

I thought the same thing until I heard them. They are far from sterile sounding. That said I do own Raidho's Diamond series. Started with Dyn C1's then to Raidho D1's and now D2's. The MB's tweeter is very close to the D's. IMO I always thought the Dyn Esotar2 was the 'tweeter' but the Raidho ribbon is clearer and smoother. I heard things with the ribbon I never heard with the Esotar2.
Hey Duke,
I listened the rhythm prisms in a subcompact room here in Dallas a few years ago and am a fan of your posts and work. Looking forward to hearing your new speakers. I'm sure the Essential Audio room at Axpona will be a good place to hear them.
2nd for the Ryan speakers. Disclosure: I am purchasing both pairs of show speakers to take back to Atlanta and use them as demos in my new showroom.
I have heard the Lawrence Audios and they are amazing. Definitely put that on your short list. No affiliation but appreciate the great sound of the cellos and these updated violins. They are excellent! Heard that the room is going to have the Concert Fidelity reasonable priced integrated with Lawrence Audio speakers. Looking forward to this room. Brian at Essential audio also knows great sound. I look forward to that room as well.
Have fun!
Legacy Audio "V" Reference....check out AERIS too (happy user bias disclaimer!)
The Ryan looks like normal sensitivity speakers. My current speakers are 88db at 6 ohms. The Ryans are 88 at 4 ohms. So might not suite in my system. Nevertheless, will try to audition them.
Absolutely Ebm.
That was my actual plan. I wanted to surprise folks here. Get that speaker and a flea powered (less than 3 watts) tube amp that runs on battery, and get totally off the grid. But dang, you had to mention it :-)
Take a look at Nola if you get a chance; I just moved from Soundlab M2's to Nola KO's and really love how they perform.
I believe I recall Dale Harder will be showing his Walsh driver based speaker line there. That would be my primary destination.
Will Audiokinesis be there? I would check those out as well.

Tekton also if there.
Mapman, AudioKinesis will be in our room, 554. Duke LeJeune is on the road up here as I type this, and Jim Romeyn will arrive on Thursday. We'll be showing the Zephrin 46 speakers with the new optional beryllium dome compression drivers. See you there!

Brian Walsh
Milpai maybe the Nola contender falls in your price range; I see they get great reviews but I have never been able to listen to them.
The Zephrin looks very interesting and available at a very competitive price point it would seem.

I know AK is big on factoring in the reverberant field which makes sense to me. I guess these are designed to go closer to walls than might be possible otherwise?

The general approach reminds me somewhat of the old OHM I, which was OHMs first attempt at a successor to the original Walsh design. The floor level drivers firing upward is a different twist that would seem to have some geometrical advantages.

Which I was going to this show. Definitely some unique items to sample there this year.
Maybe we all should write out "monikers" on a small label and stick it on our shirts. We interact with a lot of folks on these forums and would like to meet up with some, so that we can put a face to the moniker :-)
Look for the Roscoe on the nametag and say hi!

Would love to meet other A'gon folks in person at AXPONA.

Look forward to hearing what everyone's favorites are at the show.
I wouldn't get too excited about the Oppo 105D as an upgrade. I'm not impressed so far. My 19 year old VAC 22.1 dac outperforms the analog out of the Oppo. So now it's the transport for the old VAC dac.
Happy hunting on your speaker search.
Well, the Oppo 105D is sold by a number of folks with good return policies, so you can try it in your own system to decide if you like what you hear at AXPONA (if you are able to determine what the Oppo contribution is and what is due to other items in the chain).
The speakers are upgraded and singing! Oh baby, just wait till you hear them! Duke was hearing all kinds of stuff for the first time in music he knows well.
I will look out for you.

I am also going to check Marantz room for new players. I want to get the Oppo and a nice DAC in future.

One great learning from the new room setup is, never judge the speakers without proper placement. I experimented several hours and put the spikes and plinth below it, and it sounds amazing. I have never experienced what a soundstage seems like when the speakers are pulled into the room. The speakers are now 51" from back wall and 39" from the side walls. The imaging is phenomenal and the sound stage appears at the wall. This would be the sound I would be looking for in a new speaker. I do not like "in the face" speakers.
Looks like I will be visiting your room for the Exogal and AudioKinesis.
Looks like you have an affinity for Bose. I did see that you mentioned Bose in another recent thread. Good for you and thanks for the recommendation. Why do you think Bose is best for me?
As a fyi, my first system actually comprised of a Bose AM-5 Series II, driven by a Sony Receiver and a Technics tape deck. Eventually changed the amp to a Yamaha integrated and Kenwood CDP.
But the more I got interested in acoustic music and vocals, that system fell short and I wanted something more. That was a nice journey and I am at the current stage.
Would like to know what your current system looks like and what interests you, in terms of music genre.
EBM jumps on BOSE or Magico depending on how the economy is doing that day. :^}
You might not need to spend $5k-$7k. The Sonus Faber Venere 3.0 with a wood finish retails for $4k. The extra $3k would be well spent on improving(if needed) electronics/cables/room acoustics/vibration control or power conditioning.