Difficult front speaker choice. Perhaps must raise the budget?


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Aug 10, 2019
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Hi everybody,

I got myself into a bit of a pickle in trying to choose a couple of new front (stand-mount) speakers for movies and music.

I've been visiting the few shops in town that sell hi-fi components and I feel fortunate that the very first one gave me the chance to hear 5 pairs of increasing price from Dali (Lektor and Ikon series): it was so educational! Each had it subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) differences, but in particular the Ikon 1 pair made me understand the difference between precise speakers and speakers that somehow mash sounds together. The Ikon were so crystal clear, especially in the high frequencies, I felt I was appreciating for the first time a new dimension (for my unexperienced ear) in speaker quality!

That been said, the same Ikon 1 were fairly underwhelming in the bass compartment and their bigger sisters (brothers?) Ikon 2 were definitely punchier, but still unimpressive in the low frequency range. And unfortunately a crucial requirement for me is that these speakers must be good enough to hold their own without a subwoofer.

I have had the chance then to listen to a pair of Monitor Audio Silver RX1 and the Gold GX50 from the same brand. The RS1 absolutely impressed me with their powerful and yet perfectly controlled delivery of low and mid-frequencies. The soundstage felt very well centered and yet broad, enveloping. Unfortunately I felt I had been spoiled by the Dali Ikon 1 rendition of the high frequencies and found the RS1 lacking in that compartment. Of course they highs were good, just not -as- good.

The GS50 immediately betrayed their being a notch up in quality (and price) from the RX1. Perhaps a tad less powerful in the low range (maybe due to their smaller size?) but audibly better. They even almost matched the crispiness of the Dali Ikon 1 in the high range while offering a -very- solid performance in the low range. To my surprise however, it was now the middle frequencies that felt left behind. The sound just wasn't quite as full as with the RX1, it had a dip in the middle.

In this context there are a few questions I'd like to pose to the members of this esteemed forum.

1) My current budget is around 1000 swiss francs, or about 1050 USD, 830 EUR and 670 GBP. However, I'm starting to wonder: is perhaps unrealistic to find something that ticks all the boxes (powerful and precise sound at all ranges) at this price level? I.e. the GX50 are definitely in the right direction but they are 70% more expensive than the RS1 and therefore overbudget. Is it time I perhaps consider raising the budget? Or are all the boxes ticked only well above, say, twice my budget (by which point I'd probably stick to it)?

2) I've taken at heart the issue of precision, clarity of sound after hearing the Ikon 1. Given that the audio sources will be mostly digital however (i.e. music from iTunes, HD movies downloaded again through iTunes or via the cable-tv feed, BluRay played from the PC) is that perhaps a non issue as these are not necessarily precise sources anyway?

3) The speakers will be matched to an Onkyo TX-NR609 receiver and will be placed on a set of low (40cm?) cabinets rather than on their own stands. Any consideration on these two aspects I should keep in mind?

Thank you in advance for any advice you'll be able to provide!



P.S. I made a few mix up of characters in the post above. I'm actually always referring to RX1 and GX50 rather than RS1 and GS50. My apologies!



Try the KEF R100, these should give the balance of precise high frequencies and a good bottom end that you after IMO.

the record spot

Definitely try Tannoy which works well with my Onkyo, a great partnership. The KEF R100s I found a poor match.


Hi everybody, and thanks for the replies and the welcome!

Frank, I was not familiar with the amplifiers used at the shops and as such I don't remember them. One of them, tried with the Dali, was probably a NAD, no idea which model. The others I really don't remember them. Perhaps one of them was a Marantz. They all seemed to be pretty high end. Which makes sense given that in the shops I visited the speakers I auditioned were on the lower end of the price range of the available stock.

The KEF R100 are intriguing but I'm concerned by 'the record spot' commenting they are a poor match. Can you elaborate?

Tannoy? Anything specific?

The ATC SCM11 have good reviews and I'd be willing to go up to that price if I had the chance to hear them and ticked all the boxes.

In general that's the problem with my location (Basel, Switzerland) big shops have unrefined, cheap stuff while small shops have good stuff but very little choice, especially at the price point I have been investigating. As such I might have to travel a bit to even just audition both KEF and ATC. And this is not particularly easy while caring full time for a 14 months old!!!

I think I'll contact the shops via email and ask them what's available to hear around the 1500 francs mark. Considering I'm hoping for these loudspeakers to last one or two decades, 500 or even 1000 francs more than originally planned might be worth it for an uncompromisingly good product.



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