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The best speakers/amp combo for $15k you've heard

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
What is your favorite speaker/amp combination that you've heard for $15k or less? I listen to trance, rock, heavy metal, classic rock, acoustic, alternative, and pop.
post #2 of 30
Parasound JC-1 monoblocks (7K) > Legacy Signature III speakers ($5K premium finsh)
Leaves you $3-4K left over for a preamp. The BAT VK-31SE sounds very good with these other two. They can be found for about $3K used on audiogon.
There is a synergy amoung these three componants that plays way higher than there price range. However you will need a dedicated 20 amp line for each amp. Well worth the trouble.
post #3 of 30
ATC speakers. These are active designs with six class A monoblocks connected to the six drivers. Starting at $15K, they're very good value.

There's a pair of the extra pricey "Anniversary" series for $15K at audiogon.
You're really serious about some thing in this price range?
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1159400701




How about the 150's?



I'm just dreaming/indulging myself here!
post #4 of 30
Meridian 559 around $4k US and B&W 802D for about $11k.

That's the best speaker/amp combo Iv'e heard for that money but thats without a source, cables etc...
post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
i cant afford to drop 15k on speakers alone but maybe 10k leaving some room for amp and preamp. that is why i said combo.

thanks for the suggestions

has anyone heard the following?
Von Schweikert VR5's
revel Studios
Sonus Faber Cremonas
wilson sophia
Audio note speakers

i dont know where ill be living but probably apartment where i doubt i can just install 20amp lines but i am considering the possibility of speakers as opposed to headphones
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianS

i dont know where ill be living but probably apartment where i doubt i can just install 20amp lines but i am considering the possibility of speakers as opposed to headphones
There is no way to recommend a speaker/amp combo till you know where you are going to put them.What size room,how far can you bring the speakers
away from the wall/or do they have to work close to a wall/Live room dead room.All unknown other variables you need to Know first before you can even think about what to buy.
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianS
i cant afford to drop 15k on speakers alone but maybe 10k leaving some room for amp and preamp. that is why i said combo.

thanks for the suggestions

has anyone heard the following?
Von Schweikert VR5's
revel Studios
Sonus Faber Cremonas
wilson sophia
Audio note speakers

i dont know where ill be living but probably apartment where i doubt i can just install 20amp lines but i am considering the possibility of speakers as opposed to headphones
I've only heard the Sonus Faber Cremonas out of the speakers you listed and directly compared the Cremonas to the Amati Homage (very briefly) and the B&W 803D. Cremonas are very polite-sounding speakers with a classy, natural sound. Bass is very well controlled and extends well. I really liked the Cremonas. Contrary to belief, I didn't think that the Cremonas particularly excelled in the string instrument department. The string sound is accurately reproduced, but IMO, there are other speakers which do just as well! All in all, a very balanced pair of "reference" speakers. Personally, I might've ended up choosing the Cremonas over the Focal JMFocal Diva Utopia Be had the dealer been friendlier and less full of himself. (I hate cocky salesman who think they've got far better ears than their customers)

The Amati Homage cost 2.5 times more and look even nicer with it's glossy piano-laquer-like coating. To be absolutely honest, I can't remember what the Amati sounded like, so I won't comment on them. However, I can't remember complaining about anything either. If anything, the Amati would sound similar to the Cremonas, but with greater transparency, ease and a more dynamic low-end.

The 803D I didn't like. They are bass orientated speakers with sparkling highs (thanks to diamond tweeter). The sound was overall slightly too thick for my tastes and the bass was on the overwhelming side. I believe I tested the 803D with amps and sources from the Classe Delta line, which I disliked: expensive, fancy designs with a lack of emphasis on performance. The Omega line is a different story altogether. The 803D look really nice though, but IMO sound is much more important.
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianS
i dont know where ill be living but probably apartment where i doubt i can just install 20amp lines but i am considering the possibility of speakers as opposed to headphones
I would wait until I get into where ever I am going to be living before I would think about getting into a speaker system.
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by bozebuttons
There is no way to recommend a speaker/amp combo till you know where you are going to put them.What size room,how far can you bring the speakers
away from the wall/or do they have to work close to a wall/Live room dead room.All unknown other variables you need to Know first before you can even think about what to buy.
This is very true, although, I would typically recommend putting any speaker, regardless of size, at least a few feet away from the backwall. The larger the speaker, the further away from the wall it should be placed. However, some speakers do not need to be placed away from a wall. Take Naim speakers for example. They work perfectly placed right against the wall and are suitable for use in small environments.

In general, large speakers require high ceilings, placement a few feet away from the wall (backwall and sidewall), large room volume, relatively long listening distances (10ft+), etc... ALL speakers require a fairly accoustically dampened enviroment. Echos, resonance control and standing waves must be taken into account when dealing with ANY aspect of room treatment.

As for my 15k amp/speaker rig, it might have to be the Mark Levinson No.383 integrated paired with the Magnepan MG3.6 ribbon planar speaker. This set-up will only cost around 11k. Throw in a Meridian G08 as a source and you got yourself a killer setup for less than 15k.

The synergy is really very good and although there might be a lack in power or indeed, the power handling capability of the ribbon planar, the realism and sheer size of the soundstage more than makes up for that. Also, the quality of the sound is extremely high: detailed highs, rich mids, deep lows. The only real problem with this set-up is the bass output. IMO, a pure planar setup can only be used to play classical, jazz or other "lighter", non-bass-orientated music. The bass is accurate, but the quantity may disappoint bass-heads amongst us. Perhaps the addition of a subwoofer with a properly set-up crossover would solve this problem.
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianS
i cant afford to drop 15k on speakers alone but maybe 10k leaving some room for amp and preamp. that is why i said combo.
Do you mean you'll spend 10k on speakers and 5k on amp and preamp? Personally, I would disagree with your speaker to amp/preamp price ratio. In an ideal situation, one should probably spend at least as much money on the amp/preamp as they would on the speakers. A 5k amp/preamp will not do a 10k pair of speakers justice at all. Player to amp/preamp to speaker should be 1 : 1 : 1. A system shouldn't be source heavy or speaker heavy as what would be the point of buying an expensive source when your speakers can't even faithfully reproduce the signal? Likewise, what is the point of buying an expensive pair of speakers when your amp/preamp can't even amplify the signal to an acceptable amplitude or quality? A good pair of speakers can reveal the weakness of a front end much more easily than a good source can reveal the weakness of a bad speaker. Hence if anything, spend more on the amp/preamp than the speakers!

This is my personal belief and definitely isn't necessarily the best philosophy for choosing a stereo system. Please someone contradict me!
post #11 of 30
I disagree about spending as much on the amp/preamp as on the speakers, atleast until you get into price-is-no-object land. In my experience, the sonic difference between speakers is far greater than that between amps, preamps, and sources. The difference between a $5,000 and a $10,000 speaker should be far greater than the difference between $5,000 and $10,000 in an amp and preamp.

That being said, if you buy used, you can extend your budget much further. Check out Audiogon. I also think that it might be better to start with a complete, well rounded system that you can upgrade over time.

If you like the Revel sound, I'd reccomend either waiting for the Ultima series revamp, or looking at the F52. I think the F52 is overall the best speaker in the Revel lineup (I have a ton of time in front of the Salons and the Studios, and I own F52s), atleast until the new ultima series stuff gets released. The F52s can also be had for around $4k used (or under $6k if you shop around new). That leaves plenty of money for a player, amp, preamp, cables, turntable if you're into vinyl, and most importantly, lots of media! There's also enough dough left that you could look at a surround rig if that's something you're interested in.
post #12 of 30
Sure thing stefancolson. I still maintain that it is important to maintain a balance between components. It's just that a 10k speaker powered by a 5k amp/preamp just seems too big a price difference. You just can't do the speaker justice. I don't understand how you can do your own wallet justice either! A 10k amp/preamp driving a 5k speaker will probably sound better in certain respects than a 10k speaker driven by a 5k amp/preamp. It's a bit like Qualia/iPod internal amp vs HD650/SDS XLR. The difference between a 10k amp/preamp and a 5k amp/preamp can be massive.

I found this out first hand:
When shopping for my system, I was originally given the choice between using the Chord CPM3300 Integrated amp (220W into 8ohms, around $8k) and a Chord Pre/Power combination, CPA3200E/SPM1200E (350W into 8ohms, around $16k). The source was the Chord Blu/DAC64 and the speakers were the Diva Utopia Be. The system sounded great with the integrated amp, but so much better with the other configuration. The music sounded more at ease and the performers felt more realistic and transparent. There was no competition. Twice the price, a hell of a lot more performance. Admittedly, I was comparing an integrated amp (albeit a very high end one) to a seperate, pre/poweramp system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stefancolson
I disagree about spending as much on the amp/preamp as on the speakers, atleast until you get into price-is-no-object land.
You will never be able to spend as much on amps as you would on speakers. Speakers are far more expensive than amps in the "price-is-no-object land".
The most expensive brand-name amps cost under 100k. The most expensive speakers cost well over 200k and top out at about infinity
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianS
i dont know where ill be living but probably apartment
Quote:
Originally Posted by bozebuttons
There is no way to recommend a speaker/amp combo till you know where you are going to put them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tom hankins
I would wait until I get into where ever I am going to be living before I would think about getting into a speaker system.
Yep.

Forget the mighty ATCs in an apartment (if you even considered them). Aside from the piano movers to get them in, they're about realism and probably wouldn't work in a smaller space. Stick with one of the regular hifi speakers, JMLab, Sonus, etc.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder

You will never be able to spend as much on amps as you would on speakers. Speakers are far more expensive than amps in the "price-is-no-object land".
The most expensive brand-name amps cost under 100k. The most expensive speakers cost well over 200k and top out at about infinity
The wavevac amps and audionote ongaku amps.

Your post about a 5k amp not being able to a 10k speaker justice is somewhat misguided. While it is important to have balance in your system it is a more a case of synergy between the two components rather than a price difference.

And the mostly likely reason why the chord combo seem to do better than the integrated besides a whole list of variables is the 130 w extra power on tap and the extra current delivery need to push that extra wattage into your speakers.
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRedwings19
The wavevac amps and audionote ongaku amps.
I guess one learns new things every day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRedwings19
Your post about a 5k amp not being able to a 10k speaker justice is somewhat misguided. While it is important to have balance in your system it is a more a case of synergy between the two components rather than a price difference.
Point taken. After all, it is the final sound that matters. Price may tell you approximately how good a component is, but whether the component synergises well with other components in the chain can only be determined through listening. I might add that my comments are based on a lot of assumptions. Of course, there will be amps that cost a fraction of what they are really worth soundwise. (eg Parasound JC1) There will also be those components that cost more than their sound is worth. It's just from my experience (albeit not a lot), that a 5k amp with a "5k amp sound" won't, in general, be able to drive a pair of 10k speakers with a "10k speaker sound" to their full potential. Hence, not doing the speakers justice.

Having good amp-speaker synergy doesn't necessarily mean that you're driving a pair of speakers to their desired performance (not necessarily the peak performance).

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRedwings19
And the mostly likely reason why the chord combo seem to do better than the integrated besides a whole list of variables is the 130 w extra power on tap and the extra current delivery need to push that extra wattage into your speakers.
Hence twice the price. 130W is really quite a lot of extra power . Going from a 5k preamp/amp to a 10k preamp/amp is bound to bring a whole lot of extra goodies.
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