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New speakers for old electronics budget £3,000

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CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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I think you are a prime candidate for an Electro ECI-3 amp....if that is a consideration.

All my speaker recommendations are on the first page (post.6)
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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FennerMachine said:
With a budget of £3000 what's the best thing to do?

I could get a more powerful/newer amp for £1500 but that only leaved £1500 for speakers.

Unless a £1500 amp works wonders with my Quad 21L2 speakers then that saves me £1500.

I'm not after silly volume levels (although I occasionally crank it up a bit) so I don't need lots of power, although I know a more powerful or newer amp will likely control the speakers better.

Total cost of ownership will likely be lower for my current amps as servicing is relatively cheap and will likely not need doing again for many years (had both serviced recently).

I have found from my demo's that speakers in the higher ranges sound overall better than the lower ranges (Spendor Classic vs A series, Tannoy Definition vs Precision). So a standmount in a higher range sounds better than a floor stander in the range below but may be priced the same.

It's difficult to know what way to go.
I think this was discussed much earlier in the thread, the simple fact is that, nice as it is in it's way, the old Quad gear is not very powerful at about 30wpc and simply does not have control to handle many modern speakers. I know many manufacturers insist that their speakers are easy to drive, but in many cases this is simply not born out in reality.

If I had the Quads and was determined to keep them, I do not think I would would spend anything like that kind of budget, a small Spendor or Harbeth maybe, though personally I would prefer something a little livelier.

A completely 'off the wall' thought, the Quested S7r studio monitor has an extremely neutral response, not that dfferent from the Harbeths in some respects, but rather more dynamic. The amplifier issue is addressed too, as they are fully active designs and will run straight from your Quad pre-amp. You would need to find a pro-audio dealer to hear them though, personally I think they are very capable and good value at around £1500 pair.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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altruistic.lemon said:
Are you a mate of Ashley's, DDC? You seem to preach from the same gospel - and sometimes use the same words.
I think they are like a Venn diagram ie. There is some common ground, where the sets interlink.
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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The Quad 303 is 28wpc into 16ohms, 45wpc into 8ohms. Not sure into 4ohms but it handled the Dali speakers well and they are rated at 4ohms.

I am trying to actively avoid a 'lively' sound. I want an easy listen with a smooth maybe even rolled off treble.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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FennerMachine said:
The Quad 303 is 28wpc into 16ohms, 45wpc into 8ohms. Not sure into 4ohms but it handled the Dali speakers well and they are rated at 4ohms.

I am trying to actively avoid a 'lively' sound. I want an easy listen with a smooth maybe even rolled off treble.
Fair comment, I'm the opposite.

Generally I like music with a bit of rhythmic 'bite' and presence hence my preference for a bit of power, particularly with speakers that are known to be rather 'refined'.

In that case you really do seem to be on the right track, my suggestions are most likely not for you.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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CnoEvil said:
altruistic.lemon said:
Are you a mate of Ashley's, DDC? You seem to preach from the same gospel - and sometimes use the same words.
I think they are like a Venn diagram ie. There is some common ground, where the sets interlink.
Actually I have never met the 'Prince of Darkness', neither have I visited the 'Hellmouth', or Nailsea as the locals call it.

I take marketing pronouncements from any manufacturer/agent for what they are worth, usually complete rowlocks. I was helping to design active loudspeaker systems for all kinds of applications back in the mid 70's and developed a very high regard for the technique, a long, long time before AVI acquired their first 'shed'.

Attempts to develop active speakers in the hi-fi market have always struck me as over complex and far too expensive, culminating in the efforts of Linn and Naim, which I always considered a rather unpleasant joke.

Given the demands being made to make hi-fi smaller and more domestically acceptable I look forward to the introduction of the DM5 with some interest. A tiny LS3/5a sized active speaker, that is essentially plug and play, produced with proper grills, quality veneers etc could be just what the market is looking for........ :?

On the other hand it might only be a 'transition' product with the real breakthrough coming with an open standard, wireless speaker system that gets away from the traditional 'boxes on stands' solution.
 

matt49

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Apr 7, 2013
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davedotco said:
Actually I have never met the 'Prince of Darkness', neither have I visited the 'Hellmouth', or Nailsea as the locals call it.
Nailsworth, Glos. (Nailsea is in N. Somerset.)

I've been to Nailsworth many times. There's a big B&Q there, i.e. a large shed with blokes in it. The town is of little interest: a fairly ordinary place in an otherwise very pretty and interesting area.

In the environs you'll often see somewhat statuesque gentlemen with white, swept-back hair, wearing red cords and offensively bright v-necked jumpers. I just avert my eyes and hope they don't try to make conversation with me.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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FennerMachine said:
DDC, does that mean in your opinion I might be good to go with about £3000 on speakers with my current amps?
Bearing in mind that our tastes and expectations are so far apart I doubt my 'opinion' would really be of any help to you.

Strictly from my point of view, I can see no value in spending that kind of money or anything like it on speakers for that system, for your tastes a pair of small Spendors or Harbeths will probably fot the bill, standmounts preferred.

I find the Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand to be rather a nice speaker for the money but whether It will suit you or your amp I really can't say. A pretty nice speaker of it's type and a £1200, the absolute maximum I would spend.

And yes, some more expensive speakers will sound better with your amp, but in my world these will be largely presentational, a bit more bass, smoother treble etc, etc, though I was spending more money, I would want greater transparency and more insight into the music.
 

koolkeith

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Aug 27, 2009
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Wow, I'm exhausted reading this thread so I can't imagine how you must feel. Try and hear some active ATC's just as an alternative approach. If the new active 40's are half as good as the hype would have us believe they are possibly worth waiting for or perhaps some s/h active 50's would fit the bill.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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matt49 said:
davedotco said:
Actually I have never met the 'Prince of Darkness', neither have I visited the 'Hellmouth', or Nailsea as the locals call it.
Nailsworth, Glos. (Nailsea is in N. Somerset.)

I've been to Nailsworth many times. There's a big B&Q there, i.e. a large shed with blokes in it. The town is of little interest: a fairly ordinary place in an otherwise very pretty and interesting area.

In the environs you'll often see somewhat statuesque gentlemen with white, swept-back hair, wearing red cords and offensively bright v-necked jumpers. I just avert my eyes and hope they don't try to make conversation with me.
Thanks for the heads up matt, as you can see I rarely venture into the 'wild west'.

You seem rather familiar with the appearance of the 'Prince', is there something we should be told?
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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I owned a pair of Spendor SA1's. Very nice speakers. Just not enough bass.

That's one of the reasons why I want a large stand mount with a 7” or 8” bass/mid driver.

I like stand mount speakers for the better imaging and value over floor standers from the same range. I don't think that the Spender S3/5R2 and Harbeth P3ESR will do what I want.
 

matt49

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Apr 7, 2013
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davedotco said:
You seem rather familiar with the appearance of the 'Prince', is there something we should be told?
Just using my imagination.

But time I stopped going off topic. Apologies to the OP.
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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Matt49, no worries! On a post this long there's always room for banter! Going to Devon for a few says in December.
 

matt49

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Apr 7, 2013
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Cheers!

From what I'm reading on this thread and your recently started Tannoy Prestige thread, I think your challenge is to find speakers that really float your boat. For what it's worth, if I were in your position I'd be thinking about demoing speakers with really expensive and over-specced amps. That way, you can be (relatively) sure you're taking the amp effect out of the equation; you'll know that any speaker you demo will be driven properly, so the speaker will be giving of its best.

But take that with a pinch of salt. Mine is a rather old-school view. My amp cost twice as much as my speakers.

:cheers:

Matt
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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I demoed Tannoy 6.2's with a £4000 Yamaha amp.

I was more impressed with the performance of my amps with the Tannoy 6.4 and DC8.

I can easily compare both as they are 10 minutes away.
 

matt49

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Apr 7, 2013
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Interesting. I'm not a fan of Yamaha amps, and I'm not surprised you prefer your Quads. But maybe try some big Brystons ... :twisted:
 

Macspur

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May 3, 2010
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davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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Macspur said:
FennerMachine said:
Matt49, no worries! On a post this long there's always room for banter! Going to Devon for a few says in December.
Well if you're going to Devon try and pay these a visit http://www.audiodestination.co.uk/index.php?route=information/contact

Mike and Caroline are lovely to deal with and have a good range of gear.

Btw, a lot of people use the Spendor SA1 and Harbeth P3ESR with a sub

Mac

www.macsmusic.blogbubble.net
My thoughts too, though probably for the wrong reasons.
 

FennerMachine

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Feb 5, 2011
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Demoed some more kit yesterday.

Dali Helicon 400 using Marantz SA-11S3 SACD player & Marantz PM-11S3 amp.

They sounded really good. Detailed yet no harshness at all. Worked well with all music I tried.

This system had very good sound stage width but lacked depth.

Next up were the Tannoy Definition CD8.

After listening to the Dali's they sounded average. OK but very easy to hear their flaws.

At about £5000 the Helicon 400's are way over budget but the 300's are within budget.

The Marantz electronics cost about £3000 a piece so that's not a fair comparison to my electronics.

So we tried my Quad kit with both the Dali and Tannoy speakers.

The Quad amps have enough power to drive the Helicon’s with no sign of stress at the levels I listen at. They Quad and Marantz kit sound completely different though!

The Quad sound more edgy, verging on harsh at times. This was partly dependant on what music was played as some sounded fine. There was a loss of some detail. The sound stage was better overall with similar width but much better depth. The sound projected more and was more exciting.

The Dali's sounded a bit better but the Tannoy's were not far behind.

Also tried some Monitor Audio Silver RX8's. Nice speakers but not for me!

We then swapped my amps for a Roksan K2 BT amp. This had better control. It did sound a bit better than my Quad amps. This is a nice amp. I may have to demo it some more!

The edginess was still their so my CD player must be mainly to blame for that. We then tried Marantz 15S1 CD player with my Quad amps. Some of the edginess was now gone but not enough to warrant the cost.

We did one final test using my kit and comparing a track on the Dali's, Tannoy's and a pair of Quad 23L2's. The Quad's sounded pretty good.

This demo has made me rethink what to do.

I know my amps can handle the power requirements of some high end speakers but they have such a strong sound signature that various high end speakers sound too similar to decide what to get!

Perhaps spending up to £3000 on speakers for my electronics is not a good idea.

In all of these demo's I have not tried using my Cambridge Audio 751BD. Maybe I should see what that can do. I will now look at the possibility of changing my amps, maybe just the power amp. But if necessary I will get an integrated amp and sell the Quad kit.
 

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