Your thoughts on best audiophile speakers in $10,000 neighborhood?

I know the best way to select a speaker is to auditioon them at a dealer or in my own home. However, living in a rather rural area in northern Michigan, there's only one reputable dealer (Sonus Faber) in town so I may end up relying on reviews and your feedback. 

I used to own Vandersteen Model 2Cs in the late 1980s, but finally want to step up my game. I currently have a legacy Nakamichi receiver / amp with 1000wpc, but will probably upgrade that once I select a new pair of speakers. Currently I'm playing mostly LPs on a Technics SL1210G. I now listen mostly with a Mark Levinson 5909 headphone connected to a small Class A pre-amp, so I treasure detail and transparency and don't lean toward "warm" speakers.

Room is good size since it encompasses living room and opens to dining room and kitchen behind it. Cathedral ceiling is about 12 feet high. 

I'm considering the following speakers: Vandersteen Treo CT, Wharfedale Elysian 4 (perhaps too big for my room), Monitor Audio Gold 300 and the Sonus Faber Sonetto VIII. These all fit within my budget. What are your thought about any of these...or do you have others to recommend?

Thanks for whatever guidance you can give me.



@grislybutter I agree on the Dynaudio. I got a pair of the contour 60i on a very light demo for 9k. They were pulled out for a customer for an hour and went back in the crates. I couldn’t pass it up. Very happy…

+1 for going to axpona. That would be a no-brainer. Yeah, what you hear there won't be truly representative of how anything would be in your home, but at least you could narrow down the plethora of ideas. 

I would be interested in knowing more about your “Nakamichi receiver / amp with 1000wpc”.  My two cents: you could buy a used pair of rockports for around $10k and get some great sound.

Have you considered the Paradigm Persona 3Fs? Only speakers at that price point with a beryllium tweeter and midrange. 


I've read the review in Absolute Sound. And from the specifications tab in the link you sent, i see that the front firing tweeter, midrange and mid bass drivers are made of the same material. Vandersteen insists that this is very important. The down firing subwoofer is aluminum and the rear firing tweeter is ceramic coated. So, the same idea as the ns5000s, which I've heard. The Yamahas are remarkable speakers, especially for the money. Okay, they're not cheap but they're a lot less than the Vandersteens.

I have Model 5s. The price of entry was a lot lower then! Thanks for the reply and happy listening.