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What's the best passive (and preferably floorstanding) speaker one can find for $2,500 or less?

Blumlein 88

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I have the LS50Ws, so curious - any thoughts on which subs you'll end up going with?
Can speak for Dialectic, but Rhythmik subs are a good fit with the LS50's. But then again I might try 4 Dayton Wright subs instead of one Rhythmik. If money is no object then 4 Rhythmiks.
 

Ron Texas

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Based on the cone excursion I witnessed while pushing the LS50s with organ music, I think it was the speakers running out of low end and not a problem with amp grunt. In any event, I'm going to add multiple subs soon and cross the LS50s over using "le configurateur" circa 100 Hz. Any lack of low end, whether from the speakers giving out or the amp running out of juice, will no longer be a problem.
The LS50 rolls off rapidly from 52 hz on down. My listening with a sub indicates a lower crossover point. @mitchco used 70 hz, I believe. I have it a bit lower and only one sub. My 12" Martin Logan Dynamo 1000w has enough output to shake the place to pieces.
 

Dialectic

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I have the LS50Ws, so curious - any thoughts on which subs you'll end up going with?
Can speak for Dialectic, but Rhythmik subs are a good fit with the LS50's. But then again I might try 4 Dayton Wright subs instead of one Rhythmik. If money is no object then 4 Rhythmiks.
Yes, I've been looking at Rythmiks. I know that three or four would be better, but I plan to go with two because dropping four subwoofers around the family room will drive my wife nuts.

If the Daytons looked nicer, I'd just get four of them, optimize with REW and call it a day. @March Audio's experiments with use of multiple cheap subs were enlightening.
 

Dialectic

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I like the Magnepan speakers at almost every price point. The 1.7i would be my choice. If they want big movie bass, I would go with 0.7's and a powered subwoofer with DSP, like the SVS series. ...
I've owned a few Maggies. The largest being a 3.3R. They always seem to wear thin with me as I've never quite liked them enough to keep them long term. ...
I've owned a pair of 3.6/R for over 15 years. They're more sensitive to room setup than most other speakers, which means they can sound terrible, but if you can dedicate an entire room to them, and the room is big enough, they can be downright magical. For my $5k budget I never found anything with their midrange and treble transparency, great for the classical and other acoustic music that I listen to most of the time. They've got decently flat response and low distortion at least in the mids and treble.
In case it's helpful for comparison, here are my latest Room EQ Wizard measurements:
http://mclements.net/blogWP/index.php/2019/01/27/room-eq-wizard-awesome/
I'm also open to any tips for improving things.
 

Blumlein 88

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I've owned a pair of 3.6/R for over 15 years. They're more sensitive to room setup than most other speakers, which means they can sound terrible, but if you can dedicate an entire room to them, and the room is big enough, they can be downright magical. For my $5k budget I never found anything with their midrange and treble transparency, great for the classical and other acoustic music that I listen to most of the time. They've got decently flat response and low distortion at least in the mids and treble.
In case it's helpful for comparison, here are my latest Room EQ Wizard measurements:
http://mclements.net/blogWP/index.php/2019/01/27/room-eq-wizard-awesome/
I'm also open to any tips for improving things.
They are sensitive, but many speakers are. Even doing the work they never quite seemed to have as good a midrange to me. The ribbons tweeters had good treble, but the midrange was a little lacking versus electrostats I favored. The big hump around 100 hz you show might be helped by altering the distance to the wall behind them. The backwave reflects off the rear wall and then is in phase with the front wave at some frequency. Careful spacing can partly cancel the natural Maggie hump in the low end and maybe fill in some of a dip. There is a weaker interaction with where the speaker is in relation to the total room length as well. Somewhere around 65 to 70 inches from the rear wall is likely near the right spot.
 
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Their voltage sensitivity seems average, and their efficiency is lower than average. They need more power than most other speakers.
The 100 Hz spike seems to be a room mode. Big tube traps took a 6 dB bite out of it and I took another 4 dB with EQ, now it's close to linear.
Dipoles are quite sensitive to the rear wall distance. The 3.6/R bass hump you mention seems to be centered around 50 Hz. In this room, by experimentation I find the rear wall distance affects 35-75 Hertz, and not coincidentally 50 Hz is near the 1/2 octave point between them. Their current distance gives the smoothest response I can get in that range.
 
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Icboschert

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GoMrPickles

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Aww boo, they only have the CBM-170 and the Sierra-1 from Ascend.

I auditioned both the LS50 and the Sierra-2. If you’ve never heard a true ribbon tweeter in action, I would invite you to go have a listen.
I picked up a pair of Sierra 2s for $750. Let's see how they sound :)
 

GoMrPickles

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Waiting for impressions! What is your current set?
Marantz AV8802A (dangit), Anthem MCA-50, Paradigm Studio 100 v2's. I expect a, um, audible difference.

(The SO's rule is that I can buy whatever speakers I want, but they can't look like dementors from Harry Potter.)
 

GoMrPickles

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Waiting for impressions! What is your current set?
Quick update. I set these up on top of my existing speakers and played a couple of tracks over Spotify via the Marantz. EQ and room correction from the Marantz is off. I have tried Audyssey, which is questionable anyway, and it made the Studio 100s worse for TV/movies (5.1), if anything. I probably won't be able to try Room EQ Wizard until after I move in a month or two.

All that said, the Sierra 2's sound pretty bad. Maybe they're revealing issues with my source material (it's Spotify), maybe I'm used to the response of the Studio 100's... I don't know. I'd expect the RAAL ribbon to sound bright compared to the 20-year-old Paradigm tweeter, but it sounds muffled, like someone put a blanket over it. I'd expect less bass, and there IS less bass - but also less everything audiophiles talk about.

I know the AV8802A measured poorly here; I should be able to set up a test with some lossless FLAC sources -> USB -> SMSL SU-8 replacing the processor. I can also play the same tracks over Spotify on my laptop and the receiver, and see if I can detect any differences there.

One possibility is that the Sierra 2's reveal issues with the 8802A that the Studio 100's do not. I really don't know.

ETA this plot:
1552948746351.png

The Studio 100s do indeed have a bass peak aound 60 Hz (boom), while the Sierra 2's have a flatter response. And the Studio 100s do have a peak at 20 KHz that might be what I'm used to hearing. (Measurements from Stereophile for the Studio 100, and from Ascend for the Sierra 2.)
 
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Roen

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That's disappointing. =(

Could just be to each their own. Waiting to hear impressions from lossless sources.
 

andreasmaaan

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Quick update. I set these up on top of my existing speakers and played a couple of tracks over Spotify via the Marantz. EQ and room correction from the Marantz is off. I have tried Audyssey, which is questionable anyway, and it made the Studio 100s worse for TV/movies (5.1), if anything. I probably won't be able to try Room EQ Wizard until after I move in a month or two.

All that said, the Sierra 2's sound pretty bad. Maybe they're revealing issues with my source material (it's Spotify), maybe I'm used to the response of the Studio 100's... I don't know. I'd expect the RAAL ribbon to sound bright compared to the 20-year-old Paradigm tweeter, but it sounds muffled, like someone put a blanket over it. I'd expect less bass, and there IS less bass - but also less everything audiophiles talk about.

I know the AV8802A measured poorly here; I should be able to set up a test with some lossless FLAC sources -> USB -> SMSL SU-8 replacing the processor. I can also play the same tracks over Spotify on my laptop and the receiver, and see if I can detect any differences there.

One possibility is that the Sierra 2's reveal issues with the 8802A that the Studio 100's do not. I really don't know.

ETA this plot:
View attachment 23813
The Studio 100s do indeed have a bass peak aound 60 Hz (boom), while the Sierra 2's have a flatter response. And the Studio 100s do have a peak at 20 KHz that might be what I'm used to hearing. (Measurements from Stereophile for the Studio 100, and from Ascend for the Sierra 2.)
Can you explain how you took the measurements that gave these plots?
 
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