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New speakers for old electronics budget £3,000

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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I'm planning on separating my stereo and HT systems. I rarely watch movies, probably over 90% music. Budget up to £3,000 for a pair of speakers to go with my Quad electronics. I will be keeping my current speakers for HT duties. All will be in the same room. Current room 11' x 9'. New room will be 15' x 12'. Demoing a pair of Spendor SP2/3R2 next week. I like the sound from my Castle Richmond II speakers but they could be up to 30 years old so want to replace them before they develop issues. What suggestions would you have for speakers? One of the reasons I don't want to keep the systems mixed is that I don't want to buy another matching centre as that would increase the cost considerably. I'm in no hurry, going to take my time to decide
 

FennerMachine

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Tried the D18's with other kit but did not like them. Maybe they would work with the Quads?

I like the idea of stand mounts due to imaging but not averse to floor standers.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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I generally agree with keeping AV and hi-fi separate, as very few brands can reproduce both equally well, in my opinion.

B&W CM10 or PM1, Tannoy Precision 6.4 or 6.2, KEF R700 or Reference 201/2, PMC Twenty.23, Monitor Audio GX200 or Platinum PL100, ATC SCM19 or SCM40 Neat Acoustics Elite SX or Momentum 3i, Quad 25L Classic, Dynaudio Excite X36, Rega RS7.

It's really a case of getting a listen (particularly with your power amplifier), as the ProAC D18 is a popular speaker, and usually a pretty safe recommendation. Can you describe more about the sound you're looking for?
 

FennerMachine

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I'm looking for pretty much what I have but with more/better bass. I would rather have quality over quantity.

That's until I hear something even better!

I think my existing system is almost spot on what I want.

Warmish with very good midrange, smooth treble and realistic sounding instruments & voices.

That's a nice list to try from both Rick and David.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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FennerMachine said:
I'm looking for pretty much what I have but with more/better bass. I would rather have quality over quantity.

That's until I hear something even better!

I think my existing system is almost spot on what I want.

Warmish with very good midrange, smooth treble and realistic sounding instruments & voices.

That's a nice list to try from both Rick and David.
I think that Sonus Faber, Harbeth, Opera and Spendor Classics (look forward to your thoughts), are also good bets, and probably Vienna Acoustics......and do try R500/700s
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Modern speakers are generally more revealing and have more clarity than your speakers. From what I have heard the Tannoy Precision 6 range will probably suit you. Also Harbeth may be worth a try if you have a dealer near you.
 

FennerMachine

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I'll see how it goes on Wednesday with the Spendors.

I'll try a few other speakers while I'm there to compare.

I'm not buying for a few months so that gives me time to demo a few.

Racking up a nice list to demo from here and another forum.

I'll have to narrow them down a bit as there are loads of suggestions!
 

CnoEvil

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If you have an amp upgrade in mind, even if it's not for a while......keep this in mind when choosing speakers.
 

FennerMachine

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Demoed the Spendors today. Total time in shop over 4 hours.

Took my Quad kit and cables and about 20 CD's.

Demoed the Spendor SP2/3R2 first with Hi-Fi racks Podium T5 speaker stands.

Then I demoed Spendor A6R, PMC Twenty 23 & Quad ESL 2805.

Finally demoed the Spendor SP2/3R2 with the Spendor stands.

The Spendor SP2/3R2's sounded OK to start with but had some bass boom.

They were moved further into the room twice until they where about 3 feet from the wall.

They sounded better overall at this position. All music I tried sounded good. Still had a bass problem though.

The Spendor A6R's were good. They had slightly deeper bass and a bit better control. But they lacked what I liked about the SP2's. Also on some tracks there was still a bass boom.

PMC Twenty 23. I could hear why some like them. Not for me though. Still a bit of bass boom.

The bass boom I put down to the room acoustics or track related as it happened with all three of these speaker and with the same tracks. Some bass boom occurred with the Quad speakers also.

The Quad ESL 2805's needed a bit of warming up.

Once warmed up they sang beautifully with some music! But other music they lost their groove and sounded a bit dull.

Back to the Spendor SP2/3R2 but with the Spendor stands.

I like the styling of the Spendor stands. They seemed to almost fix the bass problem.

They were a bit brighter, but not too bright. They were more attacking but still smooth and listenable. There was only limited furnishings in a largish room (guesstimate 22'x12').

Toward the end of the 4+ hours I was a bit fatigued, what with the bad night sleep, getting up early to pack all my kit and drive over 1 hour 30 minutes & listening to mostly the same tracks over and over again!

I think my electronics are more than capable of doing justice to the Spendor SP2/3R2s.

I don't think I'll find another speaker as good a match as the Spendor SP2/3R2 to what I want from a speaker.

I now have to decide if I want to spend £3000.00 on speakers and matching stands!

I've kept this post as succinct as possible. Please feel free to ask any specific questions and I'll do my best to answer them. I did not take notes so what I say will be from memory.

(Edited for grammar and spelling)
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Thats is a lot of money to spend. A speaker that you may like is the Harbeth P3ESR, they are about £1,500, only 12 inches tall which may suit your room.
 

FennerMachine

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I'm moving in the next few months. I will likely have a larger room – one of my requirements for my new place – so I can accommodate a larger speaker – might even need one.

I always have bass problems will speakers! Every demo I have ever had, every speaker, amp, CD player I have ever owned, I have considered that the speakers have had bass issues. Part of the problem is me. Finding a speaker that limits this issue is a bonus.
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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FennerMachine said:
I always have bass problems will speakers! ...... I have considered that the speakers have had bass issues. Part of the problem is me. Finding a speaker that limits this issue is a bonus.
I am not too sure whether you tried any Planar speakers or not.

It seems that, the traditional designed box speakers have something called box color. I do not know what it really means, but on the hindsight, I was not too happy with the boominess / bass hump / speaker color of many several speakers that I tried - exception being KEF Reference 201/2. Currently I have the Anthony Gallo Strada for more than a year, which I am very happy with. They also have Reference 3.5, which is a floorstnaders.Early warning - Unconventional looks. If you get some time to demo these, then may be give it a try.

The other option that I would consider is Vivid Audio V1.5. To some, It looks like I am suggesting looks wise, not acceptable to everyone speakers but I think their design (either the Reference 3.5 or Vivid or some planar speakers) have the inherent advantage of solving the physics challenges that come from a traditional box speakers. Again, this is not to provoke anyone here, but just my observation.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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BenLaw said:
Do you want to spending £3k on speakers with an 'almost fixed bass problem'?
A word of warning if you are having bass problems in a large demo room then your smaller room at home could be much worse. Larger speakers generally more bass, I think you should consider smaller ones.

Also try to get a home demo as rooms are very important.
 

BigH

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FennerMachine said:
I'm moving in the next few months. I will likely have a larger room – one of my requirements for my new place – so I can accommodate a larger speaker – might even need one.
If I were you I would wait until after you have moved.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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FennerMachine said:
I'm moving in the next few months. I will likely have a larger room – one of my requirements for my new place – so I can accommodate a larger speaker – might even need one.

I always have bass problems will speakers! Every demo I have ever had, every speaker, amp, CD player I have ever owned, I have considered that the speakers have had bass issues. Part of the problem is me. Finding a speaker that limits this issue is a bonus.
Unless you are always listening in rubbish rooms, then I feel that your system building skills need some work.

I saw this thread earlier and thought the basic premiss was hopeless, interesting to see that your own listening seems to confirm my thoughts.

I find a lot of 'modern' systems have bass issues which I personally put down the current 'fashion' for good speakers with amplifiers that are wholly inadequate to get the best from them.

I know changing speakers makes a big difference, but in many cases these differences are simply 'presentational', more/less bass. brighter/darker treble etc etc. To make a real difference, to really enhance the capabilities of the system is much more difficult and it is necessary to use good amplification to do so, something that people seem increasingly reluctant to do these days.

To use a vintage amplifier of modest capabilities and expect it to drive demanding speakers such as the Spendors (or Harbeths, or PMCs) is going to be a fruitless task, if you want to hear why, just try any of the Spendors on the end of a more capable amplifier.
 

Electro

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Mar 30, 2011
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davedotco said:
FennerMachine said:
I'm moving in the next few months. I will likely have a larger room – one of my requirements for my new place – so I can accommodate a larger speaker – might even need one.

I always have bass problems will speakers! Every demo I have ever had, every speaker, amp, CD player I have ever owned, I have considered that the speakers have had bass issues. Part of the problem is me. Finding a speaker that limits this issue is a bonus.
Unless you are always listening in rubbish rooms, then I feel that your system building skills need some work.

I saw this thread earlier and thought the basic premiss was hopeless, interesting to see that your own listening seems to confirm my thoughts.

I find a lot of 'modern' systems have bass issues which I personally put down the current 'fashion' for good speakers with amplifiers that are wholly inadequate to get the best from them.

I know changing speakers makes a big difference, but in many cases these differences are simply 'presentational', more/less bass. brighter/darker treble etc etc. To make a real difference, to really enhance the capabilities of the system is much more difficult and it is necessary to use good amplification to do so, something that people seem increasingly reluctant to do these days.

To use a vintage amplifier of modest capabilities and expect it to drive demanding speakers such as the Spendors (or Harbeths, or PMCs) is going to be a fruitless task, if you want to hear why, just try any of the Spendors on the end of a more capable amplifier.
I agree with this :)

Perhaps upgrading to a quad 909 power amp or something similar would be wise before choosing different speakers .
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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FennerMachine said:
Daventry, Northamptonshire. When the time comes I will ask the place where I demoed yesterday.
OK not many Harbeth dealers around there the nearest is Repton in Derbyshire about 60 miles.
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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Some nice feedback, thanks.
My current listening room is an upstairs bedroom. The demo was also upstairs. So perhaps you are correct davedotco, my listening rooms are rubbish!
I see what you are saying about amps – a more powerful amp should control the speakers better.
60 miles is not far. What is the name of the Harbeth dealer?
Is it correct that Harbeth are slightly brighter than Spendor?
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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FennerMachine said:
Some nice feedback, thanks. My current listening room is an upstairs bedroom. The demo was also upstairs. So perhaps you are correct davedotco, my listening rooms are rubbish! I see what you are saying about amps – a more powerful amp should control the speakers better. 60 miles is not far. What is the name of the Harbeth dealer? Is it correct that Harbeth are slightly brighter than Spendor?
It is: Ian Harrison Hi-Fi

Harbeth brighter than Spendor maybe I have read that Spendors have a more rolled off treble but the Harbeth sound more natural but thats rather generalising as they have several different speakers. This thread maybe of interest: http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/harbeth-p3esr-v-spendor-sa1v-proac-one

Yes an upstairs room may not be helping your bass problem.
 

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