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What speakers have some of the best value in the $2-3k price point?

Dennis Murphy

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I've listened to the normal BMR and I actually still prefer the M16's. I'm no science guy so I don't understand what it means but I was told the vertical dispersion is better on the M16's and that's probably why I preferred them. I'd like to hear the towers though.
Interesting. I have the M16 here I keep on hand to compare with the BMR's when people come by for a listen. We must have our ears tuned to different parts of the frequency spectrum.
 

Walter

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I can't tell you. They were bookshelves and it might have been even more than $5k. It was in the big boy expensive room that I wasn't directed to when I said my price range. I should have asked. As for the M106 I haven't heard them but based on what I've read in this forum the people who have heard couldn't tell a difference and a good chunk of people preferred the M16's. I should give them a listen though.
I'm in the same situation, as far as not having heard them, but I have noticed that in direct comparisons most people seem to prefer the M105 over the M106 for everything except bass extension. I plan to try to listen to both, as well as the M16 and Kef R3, Elac DBR-652, and Focal 806 and 906, whenever Covid related travel issues allow me to get back to the USA again for a few weeks.
 

thewas

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Interesting. I have the M16 here I keep on hand to compare with the BMR's when people come by for a listen. We must have our ears tuned to different parts of the frequency spectrum.
Maybe the individual preference for wider or more narrow directivity? Here in ASR there are seem to be many people in either class, would be interesting to research further the reasons.
 
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BingaMoon

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As others have implied, almost everything else is going to be a sidegrade. Do you use room correction/subwoofers? Are the speakers you've mentioned listening speakers you've heard in your own home?

Bass tuning alone can have a dramatic impact on sound, and if you haven't done this it will almost surely have a bigger impact than almost any speaker update. If you listened to the $5000 speakers in a better room, there's a good chance that you simply liked them more because of the room. I personally don't much trust listening impressions that aren't in my own room or space I'm very familiar with and/or have listened to many speakers in.

Imo most of the speakers mentioned in this threads are not going to get all that much better from unless you're opting for something much bigger for better dynamics or with drastically different directivity (directivity in the lower mids in particular). In terms of frequency and response and directivity, you're hitting diminishing returns hard at this price point.

Some speakers that IMO offer something significantly different from what you've heard:

* The Buchardt A500 are above your budget, but may be worth considering given their return policy. They do have some neat directivity tricks and Imo are one of the few speakers that are going to be substantially different from what you've mentioned because of their significantly tunable sound and sorta-kinda-not-really cardiod bass.
* I'll echo @stevenswall with a recommendation for the Devialet Phantoms. Super bass, fairly unique directivity -- wide and approaching omnidirectional for much of the frequency range.
* The JBL L82 Classic are mostly neutral with a bit of a bite to them and dispersion that's fairly similar to the revels in overall width, but I think it approaches constant directivity a little better. They have an 8-inch woofer which should help give them more dynamics than most of the other bookshelf models.

Alternatively, it could be worth opting for a relatively cheap floorstanding model instead, even if it's not 'high-end'. Maybewhat you're missing is more dynamics and less compression (although this could also be mitigated to a significant degree with a sub).

I'd also echo the recommendation to look for a better Revel speaker if you already like what they do.

Mind you, there's still some degree of taste involved too of course. I personally think there are very few bookshelf speakers I think are a significan't upgrade over the less than <$1000 Focal Chora 806 and Polk R200 (both with a sub), short of the D&D 8C.


Note BingaMoon said vertical dispersion. I don't remember which is better but the BMRs do have relatively narrow vertical dispersion. I don't mind this but some might.
Thank you for the very detailed post. I will check all those speakers out. What do you think about electrostatic speakers like the Martin Logan ESL?
 

fjhuerta

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How about keeping an eye or two out on accessories4less for Focal 926? I got mine brand new from them for $2100 (both speakers).
I second this recommendation. I have the 926, and after some moving around. I got the flattest in room response I've achieved out of any speaker, including my old Revel M16s.
 

franspambot

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Maybe the individual preference for wider or more narrow directivity? Here in ASR there are seem to be many people in either class, would be interesting to research further the reasons.

I have been asking Amir to re-test the M16s as he has adjusted his measurements since the early days. I think the fact that these are "$1000" speakers now makes for a better case to do so. Are they still worth it given newly discovered competitors such as the JBL Stage 130s? My hunch is that they have the best bass of their class with low extension (with a F10 of 35Hz???) and, importantly, low distortion (again in terms of class).

Based on my experience, the bass may even be able to be boosted a little bit as long as the hump is brought down. However distortion data is incomplete so this is only a guess. When people ask me for recommendations I still say that I recommend the M16s if one is not going to add a sub to their setup, but it would be nice to know for sure. Maybe if more people ask and make a compelling argument, he'd deem re-testing them worth his time.

If this proves to be the case, this is also a good reason to have the Affordable Accuracy Plus reviewed here as well.

https://philharmonicaudio.com/aa.html

 

JRS

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I'll bet Tritons have terrible objective measurements.
Entirely possible, I will admit, but they sound damn good and as noted, trounced the competition. I suspect some EQ would be required with either the 2 or the three, but I'm of the belief that almost all speakers sold can benefit--unless they are active and already EQ'ed. For the price, I see them as relatively high value owing to the fact one has two very cabable subwoofers included in the package, something the stand speakers mentioned would require.
 

killdozzer

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I still think most of you went right over the BMR suggestion way too laconically. That's not the way to do it.
 

MaxBuck

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I don't know how they measure, but I really don't like the GoldenEar line. They really don't measure up IMO to the KEFs I've heard, including the Q950s. But tastes differ widely when it comes to transducers.
 

Dennis Murphy

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I have been asking Amir to re-test the M16s as he has adjusted his measurements since the early days. I think the fact that these are "$1000" speakers now makes for a better case to do so. Are they still worth it given newly discovered competitors such as the JBL Stage 130s? My hunch is that they have the best bass of their class with low extension (with a F10 of 35Hz???) and, importantly, low distortion (again in terms of class).

Based on my experience, the bass may even be able to be boosted a little bit as long as the hump is brought down. However distortion data is incomplete so this is only a guess. When people ask me for recommendations I still say that I recommend the M16s if one is not going to add a sub to their setup, but it would be nice to know for sure. Maybe if more people ask and make a compelling argument, he'd deem re-testing them worth his time.

If this proves to be the case, this is also a good reason to have the Affordable Accuracy Plus reviewed here as well.

https://philharmonicaudio.com/aa.html

The AA+ kit is no longer available, due to a killer increase in the price of the Morel tweeter (now over $100 a pop). That link is to an archived version of my web page. I have a replacement in the works, which uses the same cabinet and woofer as the AA+, but with the much less expensive Parts Express version of the Morel tweeter, along with a new crossover and a lower price tag of $300/pair. That's the speaker I would offer in comparison to the M16. Giving credit where credit is due, the bass response of the M16 is excellent. It goes considerably lower than Harman's spec would suggest, and does so with absolutely no port noise. What's missing is some presence and detail in the lower treble, which I think is an artifact of the wave guide. The M16 isn't a narrow dispersion design--if anything it has above average horizontal dispersion thanks to the oval design of the wave guide.
 

Dennis Murphy

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I don't know how they measure, but I really don't like the GoldenEar line. They really don't measure up IMO to the KEFs I've heard, including the Q950s. But tastes differ widely when it comes to transducers.
SoundStage has measurements of numerous GoldenEar models, and most of them show superbly flat response up to the point where the tweeter takes over. The AMT they're using has cyclic gyrations that may underlie your negative opinion. Here's the Troton One:
fr_on1530.gif
 
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franspambot

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The AA+ kit is no longer available, due to a killer increase in the price of the Morel tweeter (now over $100 a pop). That link is to an archived version of my web page. I have a replacement in the works, which uses the same cabinet and woofer as the AA+, but with the much less expensive Parts Express version of the Morel tweeter, along with a new crossover and a lower price tag of $300/pair. That's the speaker I would offer in comparison to the M16. Giving credit where credit is due, the bass response of the M16 is excellent. It goes considerably lower than Harman's spec would suggest, and does so with absolutely no port noise. What's missing is some presence and detail in the lower treble, which I think is an artifact of the wave guide. The M16 isn't a narrow dispersion design--if anything it has above average horizontal dispersion thanks to the oval design of the wave guide.
Thanks for this super informative response, Dennis. I hope your speaker makes its way onto here.
 

JRS

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SoundStage has measurements of numerous GoldenEar models, and most of them show superbly flat response up to the point where the tweeter takes over. The AMT they're using has cyclic gyrations that may underlie your negative opinion. Here's the Troton One:
fr_on1530.gif
Thank you. There seems to be some bias at work here against the Goldenears--and perhaps undeservedly (though I see @MaxBuck has heard them). Headed up by a capable Canadian engineer and one of the few brands who actually have an anechoic chamber to rival the NRC's. They make no bones re sourcing Chinese parts (and assembled there) to keep the price down. They have received glowing reviews from most of the major magazines covering both the audiophile and home theater markets. They are priced very competitively and were intended form the beginning to sound like large planars. I haven't been fortunate enough to own the Sanders 10e or it's ilk, but feel the Tritons were better overall than my Infinity IRS Gammas (long since sold). Anyhow, the backstory can be found https://www.soundandvision.com/content/goldenear-technology-triton-two-speaker-system-review
It's funny, but the salesperson had the same attitude like why are you wasting time--lets go hear some real sets (B&W, KEF etc). Anyhow. Threw it out there as high value option.
 

Chromatischism

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They have received glowing reviews from most of the major magazines covering both the audiophile and home theater markets.
I know you haven't been around here long, but this doesn't amount to a hill of beans.
 

JRS

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I know you haven't been around here long, but this doesn't amount to a hill of beans.
While I haven't been here long, my involvement in high end sound goes back 35 years. What I see here is about 7 loudspeaker brands that seem highly regarded, and what in this case seemed to border on contempt prior to investigation re an outlier--that is a comment "I bet they measure...." with no knowledge of how they measured or that it was one of the few firms that have their own anechoic chamber.

No I do not believe every loudspeaker review, yes I am aware of many of the games played re advertising revenue, yet I am still impressed when a speaker gets rave reviews from every reviewer who has had them. Do I believe in science? You bet I do and was fortunate to earn a paycheck that way for an interesting stretch of my life. I also used to live in Denver and had the opportunity to attend the RMAF several times and consider myself acquainted with high quality sound reproduction, in addition to having personally owned fine speakers such as the Thiel CS3.5, Dunlavy SC-IV, the Infinity IRS Gammas, and since a number of even higher performing designs of my own after adopting a msmt based DSP/ tri-amped active approach in 2003.

In summary, I greatly respect but do not worship at the alter of the spinorama seal of approval.
 

aarons915

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Maybe the individual preference for wider or more narrow directivity? Here in ASR there are seem to be many people in either class, would be interesting to research further the reasons.

That could be but sometimes I wonder if the room size plays a large part in this as well. I've said before that in my small room the LS50 don't sound narrow at all, they were pointed straight ahead and only 3 feet from the sidewalls, the sidewall reflection was produced from the 45 degree off-axis response which is still strong in the LS50. I never really cared for them at the dealer I heard them at and that was a much bigger room and they were toed in toward the listening position, the sounded a bit small in dispersion and bass response since they weren't receiving much reinforcement from the walls. This is also why I largely take subjective opinions with a large grain of salt since I've personally seen how my opinion has changed drastically from 1 room to another with the identical speaker.

I recently moved and will have them in a larger room so I will be able to test this theory a bit more in the coming months. One thing not mentioned much is the versatility of narrow dispersion speakers in regards to their placement options. You can point them more straight ahead if you want stronger sidewall reflections and toe them in if you want more direct sound while wide dispersion speakers will have strong sidewall reflections no matter their placement.
 

groovybassist

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My room is larger than typical for the LS50 Metas, but is also pretty live, with lots of hard surfaces and no acoustic treatments. The directivity of the Metas are very helpful in this space, as most wide dispersion speakers sound too bright.
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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I agree, but at what price? Are there floorstanders for $2k - $3k with dual 8” woofers, good frequency response and controlled directivity?
I won't even spend that much. JBL Studio 290. Three way, dual 8 inch woofers with waveguide. Can't find measurements. I call it my cheap Revel 208. Unfortunately, one encounters the idiosyncratic JBL home audio marketing mystery. Is it discontinued? Who knows. At least you can consistently find RC263. Just wait for sale price. Best center at that price. EQ with Anthem and enjoy.
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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While I haven't been here long, my involvement in high end sound goes back 35 years. What I see here is about 7 loudspeaker brands that seem highly regarded, and what in this case seemed to border on contempt prior to investigation re an outlier--that is a comment "I bet they measure...." with no knowledge of how they measured or that it was one of the few firms that have their own anechoic chamber.

No I do not believe every loudspeaker review, yes I am aware of many of the games played re advertising revenue, yet I am still impressed when a speaker gets rave reviews from every reviewer who has had them. Do I believe in science? You bet I do and was fortunate to earn a paycheck that way for an interesting stretch of my life. I also used to live in Denver and had the opportunity to attend the RMAF several times and consider myself acquainted with high quality sound reproduction, in addition to having personally owned fine speakers such as the Thiel CS3.5, Dunlavy SC-IV, the Infinity IRS Gammas, and since a number of even higher performing designs of my own after adopting a msmt based DSP/ tri-amped active approach in 2003.

In summary, I greatly respect but do not worship at the alter of the spinorama seal of approval.
If you go back 35 years Rookie, does that make my 50 years a sophomore slump? Seriously, this site has opened a can of worms for the high end over priced audiophile industry, and they know it. Could have saved a lot of money if this info was available back then.
 
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