Speaker thoughts for McIntosh Tube setup [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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02-03-2015, 09:23 PM
I'm looking for some thoughts/recommendations on a pair of speakers to match with my McIntosh tube amp/pre combo. I will be listening to a lot of vinyl with the tube setup, then most likely swapping speaker cables to my HT setup as well for movies/TV. I'm looking for quality that will last, not necessarily something that fits the budget exactly.

Ideas so far:

Dynaudio Excite x38
MartinLogan Ethos
Klipsch La Scala II
GoldenEar Triton Two (only half considering these, really)

I listen to a wide range of music, and I mean wide. Given the significant differences in the speakers listed above, I need some help narrowing this down. I have some old Klipsch RF-5s at the moment. I like them, but I'm ready to upgrade. Thanks for any suggestions/advice. Obviously I will try to listen to whichever options I narrow it down to before I buy.

02-03-2015, 10:42 PM
I am a Magnepan guy but I think that Mac tube gear would be a good match for the ML's. My local Best Buy Magnolia store has their Martin Logans hooked up to Mac tube gear. I even got to hear a pair of ML CLX's connected to a pair of Mac 601 monoblocks and their top of the line tube preamp at the Magnolia store. I have heard some Dyn's but not that model. I love the sound of the Dyns that I heard, great bass and a slightly warmer sound which I prefer. I can't help with the other's that you mentioned.

You have a lot of options in your price range. I am a big fan of PSB Synchony's, and Thiels which might pair well the Mac gear.

Another brand to take a look at are is Revel. Mr P., a forum member has a pair and loves them.

Of course I can't end without mentioning the Magnepan 3.7i's. I got to hear a pair with a Mac tube preamp and their 452 amp. That combo sounded great. Maggies really sing with tube gear. I much prefer their sound to ML's. ML's are light and airy, Maggies have a better midrange with more depth.

JoeE SP9
02-04-2015, 05:35 AM
You could try doing what most do. That is, make the effort and actually audition some of the speakers you're considering.

With that said, I agree with blackraven. Planar speakers of any type are my preference. What br said about the difference between Magnepans and ML's is IMO spot on.

02-04-2015, 08:19 PM
Thanks, guys. I'm going to give a listen to several of these before I buy. Specifically the MLs. My feeling is that I won't like them as much if they are you described, but I'll give them a shot. I'm anxious to hear the Dyn's, and I will also check out the other brands you mentioned.

I really appreciate the responses.

Mr Peabody
02-04-2015, 09:32 PM
I personally like electrostats better than Maggies. What kept me from buying electrostats back when was the lack of the physical sense you get from traditional speakers. Electrostats are something magic with tubes though.

You don't normally see me recommend B&W but our local Mac dealer drives B&W with the Mac and it's the best combo I've heard with Mac. Better than ARC or Classe, IMO.

I would highly recommend an audition or further research of the Golden Ear. Only rave reviews and the couple times I've heard them they did sound good. The powered woofers should make light work for your amp as well. In addition, the powered section can be controlled to your desire and room size. If you don't want powered bass GE also has passive models. Reputation for serious bang for the buck.

My Revels are Performa 2 series and needed more drive than my 100 watts tube monoblocks. Revel now has the newer Performa 3. The 3's are not my cup of tea but some seem to like them.

My tube amps did drive my Dynaudio Contours fine. The sound was warm but had it's appeal, to me any way. I feel the Excite would be less warm than my Contour and shouldn't present a problem for your amp to drive.

I do like Klipsch, would love to have space for LaScalla or even Cornwall to play with. However, for the money your other options would provide better refinement and detail.

In the end though it's about what draws you in and keeps you happy in the listening position. All are good options but as you stated, all would sound quite different.

02-06-2015, 05:08 PM
Gimes, keep us posted on what you like or buy. When you go speaker shopping, bring your music, amp and preamp along to try with the speakers. Most shops will let you do it if you are serious about buying.

02-08-2015, 02:13 PM
Thanks for all the advice, guys. I haven't been able to listen to anything yet, as I've been busier than normal at work. But I've done a little online research and I think I've ruled out the LaScala, as much as it pains me to say. I do like the Thiels, but I've never heard them, so I'll wait and see there. Right now, my intention is to audition the Dyn Excite, Thiel TT1 and the ML Ethos. I will definitely update this thread when I make a decision.

02-08-2015, 06:04 PM
Also give a listen to the Thiel CS2.7. The CS series have a nice neutral sound with good air and transparency. They would pair well with tubes.

02-09-2015, 03:47 PM
Well, probably not my final purchase, but I stubbled upon a GREAT deal for a pair of Klipsch Heresy III's today. Gonna pick them up this weekend. Can't wait to hear the heritage speakers with the tube gear! I will still be auditioning the above sets, and I'll look into the CS2.7s, br. Really excited about the Heresy's though.

Mr Peabody
02-09-2015, 05:21 PM
I had a set of Heresy III, they were fun but for music I think you'll find yourself wanting to add a sub. I used them the longest in a second system where I biamped them using a Bryston 3Bst on the 12's and a Parasound HCA-750 on the horns. The 750 had gain controls so I balanced the Heresy to my liking, and I did have a sub. That system slammed pretty hard.

If you like Klipsch the newer Reference line has smoother sounding horn drivers.

02-11-2015, 07:59 PM
I have a nice SVS sub that I'll pair with the Heresy IIIs. Looking forward to getting that set up, but I think I will still end up getting something else. This was a great deal so I jumped on it.

02-12-2015, 10:03 AM
Here is a nice review on the Thiel 2.7's that perfectly described the sound that I heard on the 3.7's and 2.4's.

THIEL CS2.7 Floor-Standing Speakers - HomeTheaterHiFi.com (http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/floor-standing-speakers/floor-standing-speakers-reviews/thiel-cs2-7-floorstanding-speaker.html)

02-12-2015, 02:52 PM

Thanks for the link. I like what I read about the CS2.7, but my concern is that my gear doesn't have enough power to drive them, considering that was a point of emphasis of the author. Unless I bought another one and used them as monos, but I don't want to do that, at least not yet.

I'm going to look for a review on the CS1.7 and see what I find. Edit:With a little more research, I don't think the 75W/ch of the MC275 would be that much of a problem with the CS2.7s. The room is not large enough to require 200W, and the quality of the amp would play a big part. 2nd Edit: Even more research revealed that the 75W rating is a little low, more like 90W/ch. And also, that is apparently a lot of power from tube gear, so it sounds like powering the CS2.7s wouldn't be a problem at all. Definitely want to audition the MLs and the Thiels. Until then...