Question Floorstanders shining at low volumes

suburbansky

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Mar 15, 2022
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As noted elsewhere, I'm curently looking into upgrading my system: Most likely I'll be going with a Rega Brio amp... Originally, I wanted to keep my original bookshelf speakers from the 1980s but as I'll be moving house soon and my future living room is quite big (~35 square m, or ~375 sq f), the guy at the HiFi shop recommended floorstanders, rather. His suggestion would have been the Spendor A2 - I certainly like them but, for now, I classify them as too pricey. Alternatives available from said shop include products from SA (System Audio, of Denmark) - namely the SA Saxo 40 (or 60) - or from Lenbrook's PSB (Alpha T20 or from the Imagine range).

Specifically I'm looking for a speaker that works well with said room size and - very importantly - manages a full presentation at low volumes, as I'll be on low volumes 99% of the time. So my question is really:
  • Any thoughts about/experience with said models? (Spendor A2, SA Saxo 40 or 60, PSB Alpha T20 or Imagine)
  • Any alternatives suggested? (e.g. Wharfedale Diamond, ELAC Debut, Acoustic Energy AE 109, others?)

Thank you very kindly for your replies! ;)
 
Audition those makes mentioned if you can as they will be rare here in the UK.
For low volume listening you are best looking at really efficient speakers.
it's always difficult to recommend speakers when we don't know precisely what you can audition because you do need to audition and preferably in your own home.
 
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suburbansky

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As I am based in Switzerland, auditioning the Spendors, SAs and PSBs shouldn't be a problem as one of the main audiophile distributor carries these (delivery times being a problem though, presently). I think Wharfedale and ELAC, maybe the Acoustic Energy could be arranged for as well at select outlets (probably requiring a 45 minute drive)... would have to double check about the Focals

And, oh, the Dali Oberon 5 are also a contender.
 

suburbansky

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I think that the Focal Aria Floorstanders (926-936-948) are very good at low volumes. I have the 906 bookself model,and I am very happy at low level listening.
Thanks! They seem great but are somewhat above the budget for now...
 

twinkletoes

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Nov 16, 2021
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When looking for speakers that work well at low volumes you really need to go and listen and listen in your own space, specs are a good indication eg 99DB @ 1meter. But not all are created equal. Revels 106m seamiling are quite difficult to drive but are very full and responsive at low volumes as are their bigger brothers.

Also, bigger doesn't necessarily mean more room-filling either as i discovered it about how the speaker excites the room. Revel for example sound like floor standers.

brands that i have listened to these are the best at low volume I've come across

Klipsch (heritage line)
kef (some not all)
tannoy
revel
JBL
russel k
B&W
 

suburbansky

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After some additional research, partly based on twinkletoes reply, I have just added the Fyne F303 to my list. Thoughts/experience?
 

A-Line

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Feb 3, 2022
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I have Spendor S8e speakers paired with a McIntosh 2102 amplifier. Superb neutral organic sound in either high or low volumes and everywhere in between.

You'll need to do a listening audition to be 100% sure with any speakers before you purchase.
 

suburbansky

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Got to add Triangle on to this list. Mine are great at low volume. 👍
Thanks, I was/am thinking about those as well... What kind of amp have you paired them with (and which model)? (WhatHiFi review mentions "Requires care in partnering", at least for the Borea 8...)
 
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nopiano

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Thanks, I was/am thinking about those as well... What kind of amp have you paired them with (and which model)? (WhatHiFi review mentions "Requires care in partnering", at least for the Borea 8...)
That’s a euphemism for a bright sound that can grate unless your amp and source has a smooth sound. Triangle typically have that brilliance, which is either excitingly open and airy, or overbearingly bright and tiring. I exaggerate to make the point, but that’s why trying them is so vital.

On the low stock point, you can always collect a pair on a Saturday afternoon and return on Monday or Tuesday, whenever they open. I appreciate it might not be the most convenient dealer that offers this. (I drove 100 mile round trip to hear some active speakers today that the dealer practically insists I try at home, so I practice what I preach)
 

suburbansky

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I've just come across a great offer for the Q Acoustics 3050i... They're certainly a mighty contender as well! Anyone got anything to say about them?
 

bigfish786

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Jan 29, 2013
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Thanks, I was/am thinking about those as well... What kind of amp have you paired them with (and which model)? (WhatHiFi review mentions "Requires care in partnering", at least for the Borea 8...)
I have the Triangle Genese Lyrr Speakers and Marantz PM14S1SE amp. They seem to be making great music together.
 

RoA

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Feb 11, 2021
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I've just come across a great offer for the Q Acoustics 3050i... They're certainly a mighty contender as well! Anyone got anything to say about them?
Not really heard any QAcoustic speakers I like, not even their top floorstander but I only really encountered them in unfamiliar surroundings so my opinion is both not very valid and perhaps unfair.

I do however think some of Monitor Audio's new Silver (7g) range sound nice (200/300). I have no reason to think the Bronze series would be too far behind but that is merely an assumption.

Good build quality too.
 
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nopiano

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I've just come across a great offer for the Q Acoustics 3050i... They're certainly a mighty contender as well! Anyone got anything to say about them?
Pace RoA, I think they are well worth hearing if you like a fuller sound. They have a very sweetly balanced tweeter that sounds clear but isn’t too revealing for less capable sources and amps. Fantastic value for the quality of finish. Check the measurements though because they’re pretty tall and deep!

I recently bought some 3020i for under £200 and they’re really exceptional for that money imo.

View: https://imgur.com/of5aAGY
 
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suburbansky

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Thanks for your replies! I auditioned the Borea BR07 and BR09 today (they didn't have the 08 at hand). Liked both of them but prefer the bigger 09 because I felt it delivered a vastly richer sound. I'll have the chance to try them out at home as well - but this will have to wait for another month or so, since I'll be moving house and I would like to test it in my new living room, naturally.
 

rainsoothe

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I've just come across a great offer for the Q Acoustics 3050i... They're certainly a mighty contender as well! Anyone got anything to say about them?
I'd rather get a pair of 3030i instead and maybe ad a sub at a later date, if you find them lacking. Or Q Acoustics Concept 30.

Also, what is your source? Because if you don't need more than 1 analogue inputs, I would point you towards a used Naim Unitiqute 2 instead of a new Brio. Or even a Nait 5si or 5i 2 (or italic).
 

bigfish786

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Thanks for your replies! I auditioned the Borea BR07 and BR09 today (they didn't have the 08 at hand). Liked both of them but prefer the bigger 09 because I felt it delivered a vastly richer sound. I'll have the chance to try them out at home as well - but this will have to wait for another month or so, since I'll be moving house and I would like to test it in my new living room, naturally.
although not the same, my Triangle speakers took a long time to run in, the drivers were all really tight, so please give them a long run in before you pass judgment on them. 👍
 

suburbansky

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Also, what is your source? Because if you don't need more than 1 analogue inputs, I would point you towards a used Naim Unitiqute 2 instead of a new Brio. Or even a Nait 5si or 5i 2 (or italic).
I'm actually thinking about the Elex-R now, in light of the more powerful speakers. (Problem is rather the current price gap... Due to the very low Euro rate, I'd save the equivalent of £350 if I were to get it from Germany, instead of a dealer here in Switzerland.)

The Naims are certainly higher-end - but the more affordable models simply don't have enough connectivity for me (need at least three: CD, Bluesound Node, turntable; preferably more (e.g. Bluetooth receiver, TV via DAC, maybe even tape deck). Plus, there doesn't really seem to be a secondhand market for Naim here in Switzerland... All the offers I found were for old -outdated - Naim streamers and tuners.
 

rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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I'm actually thinking about the Elex-R now, in light of the more powerful speakers. (Problem is rather the current price gap... Due to the very low Euro rate, I'd save the equivalent of £350 if I were to get it from Germany, instead of a dealer here in Switzerland.)

The Naims are certainly higher-end - but the more affordable models simply don't have enough connectivity for me (need at least three: CD, Bluesound Node, turntable; preferably more (e.g. Bluetooth receiver, TV via DAC, maybe even tape deck). Plus, there doesn't really seem to be a secondhand market for Naim here in Switzerland... All the offers I found were for old -outdated - Naim streamers and tuners.
I see. For the record, you don't need as much wattage as you think from your amplifier, especially if you do a lot of low level listening.

Do you already have the Bluesound/CDP/turntable/tape deck? Or which of these do you already have? Also, does your CDP have a digital output?
 

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