Any good recommendations for high efficiency and good value passives Lindsay?
Knowing your penchant for huge vintage speakers ... any suggestions for something that might fit in a normal room and that don't look too baroque
. I quite like the idea of Klipsh Heresy III but they are a bit pricey new????
Klipsch Heresy's have a wonderfully dynamic and wide open midrange and treble - especially when mated with a good SET amp. Trouble is they're far too lean in the bass for my tastes. This is the Achilles heel of high efficiency speakers. The bass. The problem being that the midrange and treble drivers tend to be much more efficient than the bass drivers. So you often get a lean tonal balance with very high efficiency speakers. It's really hard, if not impossible to get very high efficiency bass drivers without going large, very large. It's another one of those hi-fi compromises. High efficiency bass chucks the WAF right out of the window.
I'd rather go for Klipsch Cornwalls than Klipsch Heresys. I'd rather go for Altec Model 19's or EV Sentry III's than Klipsch Cornwalls. But by the time you've got to the 19's or Sentry's you're looking at big low WAF speakers. Also the bass quality from them isn't up to the very high standards of their midrange and treble. Klipschorns are good, but a bit lean.
For medium to small sized speakers with high WAF and a neutral tonal balance you're looking at low efficiency. It's Hoffman's Iron Law. In speakers you can have bass extension, high efficiency, small size. Pick any 2.
This means that I can't think of any speakers that will tick all your boxes. Maybe something from the Yamaha NS1000 school of speakers will be the best compromise solution for you? Medium sized, low to mid efficiency, sealed box, good quality drivers.