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Old 01-31-2009, 01:03 AM   #1  
High Definition is the definition of life.
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As I have come to find out that I have never owned a set of good speakers, please I beg your indifference to your personal preferences and just try to put yourself into my head for a moment, as I have put in over 2 months time and effort into this. That I ask this of you should go a long ways toward showing you good folks how much I respect your abilities and opinions.
I am shopping for a set of front mains and center that will be married to my Denon 2808. I have 2-matched Mirage subs outboard of each floor stander at the moment for extended bass.
Music and movies 50/50 classic rock, blues C&W. I really like everything except opera, rap, and Techno.
I have auditioned a number of speakers:
Polk LSI9+very good
New Mirage OS3 FS towers=to tinny-is that a word?
Dana 680=to laid back
Paragram Studio 10= just sounded too small
Revel M12= bass covered detail/too colored would be the right word?
Vienna Hayden=Sweet like your mothers kiss on the check/no excitement?
B&W 685= I loved it? Just right.

Speakers that I have been reading glowing reports on for the last 4 weeks but have been unable to audition.
These are the ones I would like your opinion on mentally comparing them to the B&W685 please.

Swan Diva 6.1
Totem Hawk
Salk Sound Tower
Vandersteen 2CE Sig II
Usher Be-718
RHB TK-5CT
Or any others you may have a suggestion about. But remember please this is my head and my money so please leave your ears at the door.
I sincerely thank you all for your time, comments and mental effort.
Mike
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Old 01-31-2009, 07:14 AM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nascarrmike View Post
As I have come to find out that I have never owned a set of good speakers, please I beg your indifference to your personal preferences and just try to put yourself into my head for a moment, as I have put in over 2 months time and effort into this. That I ask this of you should go a long ways toward showing you good folks how much I respect your abilities and opinions.
I am shopping for a set of front mains and center that will be married to my Denon 2808. I have 2-matched Mirage subs outboard of each floor stander at the moment for extended bass.
Music and movies 50/50 classic rock, blues C&W. I really like everything except opera, rap, and Techno.
I have auditioned a number of speakers:
Polk LSI9+very good
New Mirage OS3 FS towers=to tinny-is that a word?
Dana 680=to laid back
Paragram Studio 10= just sounded too small
Revel M12= bass covered detail/too colored would be the right word?
Vienna Hayden=Sweet like your mothers kiss on the check/no excitement?
B&W 685= I loved it? Just right.

Speakers that I have been reading glowing reports on for the last 4 weeks but have been unable to audition.
These are the ones I would like your opinion on mentally comparing them to the B&W685 please.

Swan Diva 6.1
Totem Hawk
Salk Sound Tower
Vandersteen 2CE Sig II
Usher Be-718
RHB TK-5CT
Or any others you may have a suggestion about. But remember please this is my head and my money so please leave your ears at the door.
I sincerely thank you all for your time, comments and mental effort.
Mike
Auditioning is the only way you can really compare them, but you already know that. I too like the B&W's as well as the Totem, Paradigm Studio 60, Vandersteen, Martin Logan, and Theil. When deciding to spend this amount of money, it is of paramount importance to hear them for yourself.
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Old 01-31-2009, 09:03 AM   #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nascarrmike View Post
As I have come to find out that I have never owned a set of good speakers, please I beg your indifference to your personal preferences and just try to put yourself into my head for a moment, as I have put in over 2 months time and effort into this. That I ask this of you should go a long ways toward showing you good folks how much I respect your abilities and opinions.
I am shopping for a set of front mains and center that will be married to my Denon 2808. I have 2-matched Mirage subs outboard of each floor stander at the moment for extended bass.
Music and movies 50/50 classic rock, blues C&W. I really like everything except opera, rap, and Techno.
I have auditioned a number of speakers:
Polk LSI9+very good
New Mirage OS3 FS towers=to tinny-is that a word?
Dana 680=to laid back
Paragram Studio 10= just sounded too small
Revel M12= bass covered detail/too colored would be the right word?
Vienna Hayden=Sweet like your mothers kiss on the check/no excitement?
B&W 685= I loved it? Just right.

Speakers that I have been reading glowing reports on for the last 4 weeks but have been unable to audition.
These are the ones I would like your opinion on mentally comparing them to the B&W685 please.

Swan Diva 6.1
Totem Hawk
Salk Sound Tower
Vandersteen 2CE Sig II
Usher Be-718
RHB TK-5CT
Or any others you may have a suggestion about. But remember please this is my head and my money so please leave your ears at the door.
I sincerely thank you all for your time, comments and mental effort.
Mike
Lifes to short. Just but the B&W's,,,can't go wrong.
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Old 01-31-2009, 11:58 AM   #4  
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The Salk Sound Towers are probably the best speakers I've ever heard.


EDIT:

I should qualify that by saying I haven't heard many "audiophile" priced speakers.

I've only went out and auditioned a few times.

Had no intention of buying the Salks, but I asked the dealer what the best thing he had was for reference. Boy did they sound good. I've never heard any Martins or Maggies, but this is the only speaker I've auditioned that really seemed like a major difference from the $400-$500/pair range of speakers.

They look very unassuming as well. I guess looks and drivers don't mean anything. The next best speaker I heard was a tower that was damn near as tall as me with only one 4" driver in it I forget the maker, but wow. It did some amazing things for only having on small driver!

Last edited by kamspy; 01-31-2009 at 01:50 PM..
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:25 AM   #5  
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Thanks all for the good input. I went out yesterday and auditioned a lot of B&W at a store that had them all lined up so we could switch from one to the other. As far as they went I found a hard choice. The 685 with a center, or the 684 with center and last but not least the 683 with no center (1500.00 budget) the 85 and 84'2 sounded pretty much the same just a fuller on the 648. The 683 was a different dog altogether as it had a much flatter precise response and sound. A little like a CameroZ28 and a Corvette Both very good and fast but different. Then I went to audition a Vandersteen 2Ce SigII. Now that’s a horse of a different color for sure. Very open with a very large pleasing sound field (good for HT) the absolute sweet spot was rather small though. The clarity was good enough that (as a guitar player for 40+ years) I could tell you what guitar the artist was using. They are kinda ugly compared to some (Handsome my mother would say) and they are bulky with large footprint, and look rather dated, terminal post and all, along with being fussy with the equipment married to them. Jeeze I think I just described my-self. I wonder if I could give them a good home? I could only give them 14" out from wall and one side of each would be against a new slim line DLP, so not covered but there non the less. Other sides good breathing room as each has a hallway. Get the pic?
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:56 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nascarrmike View Post
Thanks all for the good input. I went out yesterday and auditioned a lot of B&W at a store that had them all lined up so we could switch from one to the other. As far as they went I found a hard choice. The 685 with a center, or the 684 with center and last but not least the 683 with no center (1500.00 budget) the 85 and 84'2 sounded pretty much the same just a fuller on the 648. The 683 was a different dog altogether as it had a much flatter precise response and sound. A little like a CameroZ28 and a Corvette Both very good and fast but different. Then I went to audition a Vandersteen 2Ce SigII. Now that’s a horse of a different color for sure. Very open with a very large pleasing sound field (good for HT) the absolute sweet spot was rather small though. The clarity was good enough that (as a guitar player for 40+ years) I could tell you what guitar the artist was using. They are kinda ugly compared to some (Handsome my mother would say) and they are bulky with large footprint, and look rather dated, terminal post and all, along with being fussy with the equipment married to them. Jeeze I think I just described my-self. I wonder if I could give them a good home? I could only give them 14" out from wall and one side of each would be against a new slim line DLP, so not covered but there non the less. Other sides good breathing room as each has a hallway. Get the pic?

You should audition a set of these amazing sound dispersion and soundfeild
http://www.miragespeakers.com/na-en/...d-15-overview/
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:57 PM   #7  
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I have listened to them a couple of months ago when I started out as I have a pair of their subs that I like very much. I almost bought them untile I played one of my favorite artist's albums and the high end on the lead guitar was just to harsh (the sales person had a lemmon face on at that moment also) so I made a pass. They were awsome till that [point. I looked at their Omnidat towers also with the same result.
Thanks
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:19 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nascarrmike View Post
I have listened to them a couple of months ago when I started out as I have a pair of their subs that I like very much. I almost bought them untile I played one of my favorite artist's albums and the high end on the lead guitar was just to harsh (the sales person had a lemmon face on at that moment also) so I made a pass. They were awsome till that [point. I looked at their Omnidat towers also with the same result.
Thanks
Any kind of physical dispersion device (horns, the 'caps' Mirage uses) also get's my ears.

I haven't heard the top of the line horn speakers, but what I have heard is not for me. Though some people really like the sound. It's subjective.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:28 PM   #9  
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Any kind of physical dispersion device (horns, the 'caps' Mirage uses) also get's my ears.

I haven't heard the top of the line horn speakers, but what I have heard is not for me. Though some people really like the sound. It's subjective.
I don't like horns either and the mirage speakers are not actually horns ( horns have always been too harsh for me )it's the way they are housed in that conical configuration thats suspended over another speaker that disperses the sound multi-directional
the tweeters are pure titanium hybrid



Specifications
System Type 2½ way Magnetically shielded Omnipolar® tower with hybrid bass loading
Frequency Response 52 Hz - 20 kHz +/- 3dB
Nominal Impedence 8 Ohms
Power Handling 175 Watts
Recommended Amplifier Power 10 to 175 Wwatts
Impedance 4 Ohms minimum
Tweeter 1-inch pure titanium hybrid
Midrange 1 x 4.5” poly titanium deposit hybrid woofers with phase plug and patented Ribbed Elliptical Surround technology in sealed sub-enclosure; 2 x 4.5” poly titanium deposit hybrid woofers with phase plug and with patented Ribbed Elliptical Surround technology; 5 x 4.5” poly titanium hybrid passive radiators
Room Efficiency 93 dB
Crossover Point 900 Hz, 2,5kHz
Inputs High quality 5-way binding post
Overall Dimensions HxWxD
Inches: 41.875 x 5.5 x 6.125
Cm: 106.4 x 14 x 15.6
Weight 22.5 lbs./ 10.2 kg
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:46 PM   #10  
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That’s the set up I auditioned. My current is Warfdale with rear-loaded tweeter and mid horns and they also give me that fatiguing sound on the guitar cuts I have been using for auditions. Those are great speakers though. The salesman was at a high-end store and they had just got them in, and he had not auditioned them yet. We were both very impressed (so much so he went and got his manager to come in on Hotel California) until we got to that fateful song, Blues at Sunrise with SRV and Albert King on the album of the same name. Just too harsh. However I have had a lot of my auditions fail on that one..Polk LSI9..Paragram Studio 10's..Revel M12's, Vienna Hayden’s just to name a few, for the same or different reasons (usually to bright or to soft) so as they say it's all up to the person and the way they want their music to sound. That’s what makes this hobby a little like art? I am going to try out a set of Salk Song Towers on Tue. Will let you know how it goes but so far the only 2 that I have found in my price range that have sounded good (not great due to the little things Mfg’s. trade off on) are the Vandersteen 2Ce SigII and the B&W 683's.Honerable mention to the 685 and 684.

Last edited by nascarrmike; 02-01-2009 at 04:53 PM..
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:14 PM   #11  
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As if it makes any difference, my vote is for the Vandersteens...
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Old 02-02-2009, 10:03 PM   #12  
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Getting down to the nut cuttin as we say on the farm
Vandersteen 2Ce GIGII
Salk Song Tower
Rocket RS 850
Not in that order
Going to audition the Song Towers tommorow
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:09 PM   #13  
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Auditioned the Song Towers and they are awsome! Clean mids that you just can't congest no matter how hard you try. Highs that set just right on the ears. Good sound stage. A little week in the bass so they do need a sub.
Vandersteen very full and huge right to left soundstage with lots of detail but also some of the detailed placement gets lost in that huge sound stage. Foward to rear soundstage a lot smaller.
Rocket 850 gotta wait and see.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:02 AM   #14  
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Well, Susan, (the best side of me and the WAF comptroller in my life), and I got up early and went out to audition the Totem Hawks today. She has never auditioned any speakers, nor given to understanding or belief of what I was talking about when I did. We took along some of her favorite music, (“The Elegance of Pachelbel”), along with my standard reference songs that I have already listed. We went to the B&W dealer first, where understanding what listening to good music on good equipment, was reveled to her and the light of understanding came to her eyes and ears as we reviewed the 685,684,683,704,805,and the 804. I had her rate them all on my sheet. I will come back to this later.
Then we went to listen to some Totems and ended up meeting one of the most hospitable, gracious, knowledgeable persons I have ever had the pleasure of making an acquaintance with. For an old Texas boy that’s saying A LOT!
His name is Don Krasen, owner of Krystal Clear, in Dallas. He has been in business here for 20+ years, so he is the real deal. Well, Don did not have the Totem Hawks in stock but he had the Totem Arro and the Totem Rainmaker. We would have likely auditioned more, but we just could not stop discussing with Don all the intricacies of system applications and the holistic ability of the synergy of the parts which can add up to over 100% of the realization of the end product, if done properly. He never once tried to move us beyond our budget or ruin us for life by letting us listen to something we could not afford. Goggle his name and you will see, he had the power to do so. What an education Susan and I had TOGETHER today!
Now to the Totem Arro. We were totally amazed at the sound that such a small footprint speaker could put out. It uses the Transmission Line enclosure to accomplish this.
Specs are
Break in time: 100 - 150 hours
Placement from rear wall: 6" - 3' / 152 - 914 mm
Placement distance apart: 2' - 12' / 610 - 3 658 mm
Mass Loading: 10 - 20 lb / 4.5 - 9 kg in each cabinet
Frequency Response: 40 Hz - 20 kHz ± 3 dB (with proper room positioning)
Impedance: 4 ohms
Sensitivity: 87 dB
Recommended Power: 20 - 80 W
Crossover frequency: 2.4 kHz, 2nd order Linkwitz-Riley (optimized)
Woofer: 4.5" / 114 mm sandwich cone double magnet”
Tweeter: 1 impregnated textile dome 0.75" / 19 mm (low resonance freq.)
Max SPL's: In average size listening room (12' x 20' / 4 m x 6 m)103 dB peak (12' x 15' / 3 658 x 4 572 mm) from pair at 7' / 2 m
Dimensions (w x h x d): 5.1 x 33.5 x 7.1" / 130 x 850 x 180 mm
We drove both the Arro and Rainmaker speakers in stereo only with an Acram 50w per channel solid-state amp. These little towers would do anyone justice with a small to mid size room without a sub at normal listening levels. When you try to drive them hard, however, we found the highs become too fatiguing. We both felt that they were very forward in sound with a large and definitive sound stage with excellent dynamics. What else can you ask of a speaker of this size? Well, it delivers what you ask in spades and then some for the price point.
I just found out after all these years that Susan, (I gave her the remote and gave her the sweet spot all day), likes to drive it to reference volume! When I asked her why, she told me “It sounds like the performers are right there in front of you!” Guess that says something about my current system, as it has been rare, that she has even listened to any music on it!!
Next the Totem Rainmaker
Specs

Break in time: 70 - 100 hours
Placement from rear wall: 1' - 3' / 305 - 914 mm
Placement distance apart: 4' - 8' / 1 219 - 2 438 mm
Frequency Response: 42 Hz - 20 kHz ± 3 dB
Impedance: 4 ohms minimal
Sensitivity: 87.5 dB/W/m. Maximum sound pressure before dynamic compression
Recommended Power: 30 - 100 W
Crossover frequency: 2.3 kHz, 2nd order
Woofer: 5.5" / 140 mm
Tweeter: 1" / 25 mm aluminum dome, chambered
Dimensions (w x h x d): 6.8 x 14 x 9.1“ / 173 x 355 x 230 mm
Volume: 9 l (internal)
Weight: 5.8 kg (approx. 12 lb)
Recommended stand: TOTEM T4S

We both found this speaker to be a bit colored, but very smooth and responsive, with a pleasing high even at Reference level. More laid back would be the term I believe, without loss of soundstage or spaciousness. We both felt it was a little like a B&W 685 with more extended highs with better decay. Once again, good bass to the point in a small venue no sub would be needed. Just not enough dynamics to suit our preferences. Don apologized for not having the Hawks for us, but explained that the sound would be a happy marriage of the Arro and the Rainmaker. Alas, we still need to find a pair to audition. However, this is a good thing, as we find this to be a fun and enlightening experience to share!
Susan’s take on the day was just like mine. The B&W’s won so far today for what we listened to, not so for what they did great, (because they did nothing great), but for the fact of they did everything good. The others were great in some points but failed in others. Does that make sense? It’s kind of like a win by default.
Now guys, listen up. My Sweetie had a great time today! Why? Because I made sure not to interrupt her and let her ask her own questions. Then, I made sure she always had the sweet spot along with the remote CONTROL. Never was I condescending answering any of her questions in private, and I asked her opinion of everything. Along with that, a fantastic lunch shared, and she got to play with some very expensive equipment, and, Viola!! You have an enthusiastic and understanding partner in your endeavors. Touché!! (The wine at lunch didn’t hurt either!!)
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Old 02-08-2009, 02:13 PM   #15  
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Sounds like a fun day.
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