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  1. #1
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    Best looking speakers in ~2k range

    I recently asked about a system with floorstanding speakers in 2k (+- 1k) range and got good recommendations. Thanks again.

    But there's one aspect that I'd like to discuss more: the looks.
    I know, I know, the hardcore audiophile guys will laugh at me - the look is probably last thing you are concerned about.

    Well, I need my new system to be wife-friendly. Cheap looking laminated black boxes are not likely to be approved by the authority

    But it's not just my wife. that makes sense to me, too.
    I'm now buying a lot of furniture for my new home. And for some pieces of furniture, the price changes dramatically depending on build quality and finish (even when functionally they are equivalent). For example, the book shelves I'm considering to buy, about the same size, are in $200 - $2500 range, depending on the look of the wood/build quality. And I wouldn't mind to pay 1k extra for a good looking bookshelf. So, why shouldn't I pay extra for good looking speakers, that will be in the same room, along with the bookshelves?

    So, while the sonic quality is still the primary goal, I don't mind paying extra money for good looks.

    And here goes my contest:
    In your opinion, what are the best looking AND reasonably good sounding floorstanding speakers in ~2k (you could stretch it to 1k-3k) range?

  2. #2
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    I like the looks of the KEF Q11's. Try this link for them and a few others.
    http://www.accessories4less.com/cgi-...egory/SpkFloor

    The B&W's have good looks as well.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  3. #3
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    The Martin Logans are predee. I haven't had a chance to hear em yet, but I always drool at em when I pop in Magnolia.


  4. #4
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    You might wait 6 months for them but I think there pretty.
    Check the 88-41's at humanspeakers.com, site's kinda funky so I cant get a direct link.

  5. #5
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Too subjective

    Quote Originally Posted by igrek
    I recently asked about a system with floorstanding speakers in 2k (+- 1k) range and got good recommendations. Thanks again.

    But there's one aspect that I'd like to discuss more: the looks.
    I know, I know, the hardcore audiophile guys will laugh at me - the look is probably last thing you are concerned about.

    Well, I need my new system to be wife-friendly. Cheap looking laminated black boxes are not likely to be approved by the authority
    ....

    And here goes my contest:
    In your opinion, what are the best looking AND reasonably good sounding floorstanding speakers in ~2k (you could stretch it to 1k-3k) range?
    I don't recall whether you decided on a particular speaker in the other thread: if so, wasn't it insufficiently handsome?

    There a lots of speakers out there with decent woodgrain finishes; check out the one's from you previous short list for choice of finishes. Obviously you won't won't maple if your shelving is mahogany. Personnally I like the appearance of my own Magneplanar MG 1.6's which are beige fabric. See here, (ignore the clutter ) ...
    http://gallery.audioreview.com/showp...sort=1&cat=500

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    I don't recall whether you decided on a particular speaker in the other thread: if so, wasn't it insufficiently handsome?
    No, I haven't decided. I've got a number of Klipsch suggestions, and they have good reviews, but look quite ugly to me.

    On the other hand, I've seen pictures of Totem Acoustic speakers, and found them beautiful... but I've never heard any recommendations for them.

    I've recently seen Magnepans 3.6 (light wood/light gray material) and liked the looks. But in any case they are probably too big for my room and I'm not sure how to arrange them.

  7. #7
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    I am partial to the looks and sound of the Tyler Acoustics 7Us that frequently sell for $2,800 a pair (even though they are listed at $3250/pr. on the Tyler site). A link to more info is http://www.tyleracoustics.com/taylo.html .

    If you are up for a more futuristic look, I also like the look of the Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.1s at about the same price. I have not heard these yet though...

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  8. #8
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, anytime the subject of aesthetics comes up, Sonus Faber leaps to mind. Their woodwork is simply gorgeous. This is about as high as WAF gets.



    B&W's are well known for their real wood veneers and furniture grade finishing. I have some and have opened them up. The reputation for quality cabinetry is well earned, trust me. The 704's in cherry are very nice indeed. This is a close up of the 703's cabinetry.



    I'm a big fan of Usher designs. You can pick the base color and wood accents, but piano black just looks sick.



    Tannoy's Dimension speakers are killers. I have no idea how they sound or if the D8 will even fit in your budget, but damn they look cool



    Von Schweikert's VR2 is within your price range and the fit and finish rival any you can think of, right down to the chamfered edges. Here's a VR2 in dark cherry next to a VR1 in African Hazelwood, a finish that has a three dimensional depth that has to be seen in person to appreciate.


    All of the above use real wood veneers, not vinyl. BTW, if WAF is a pretty big concern, good luck getting Maggies by her unless you have a dedicated room. Great speaks, but they need to be well out in the room and I'm guessing she won't cotton to having two giant monoliths sitting in the middle of the living room. At least mine sure didn't!

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by topspeed; 03-10-2006 at 08:44 PM.

  9. #9
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Hey Top, if you can find those 40K/pr. Sonus Faber Strads for 2-3K/pr then *I'll* buy. :-)

    Seriously though, SF does indeed build some of the best looking speakers around. I like the sound of many of their higher line models a lot, but they are all very pricey, IMO... That beautiful woodworking comes with a cost.

    Usher is one brand that I am going to have to hear someday... They do indeed look good (at least to my tastes), and their prices are kept well in check due to their Taiwanese build location. I hear the sound is supposed to be quite good too... Maybe I'll check them out at next year's CES to see if their sound matches their beautiful asthetics.

    ---Dave
    Last edited by drseid; 03-11-2006 at 06:01 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Some one will correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Dynaudio Contour line is out of your budget. Very simple and clean looking. http://www.dynaudio.com/ The Audience line is cheap vinyl though.

  11. #11
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    SlumpBuster, the Audience line is available in real wood veneer, has been for a couple of years now. The Contour S1.4 retails for $2800. He might want to look at the new Focus series. Anyone heard these yet?

    http://www.dynaudiousa.com/products/...ce/audfin1.htm

  12. #12
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by igrek
    No, I haven't decided. I've got a number of Klipsch suggestions, and they have good reviews, but look quite ugly to me.

    On the other hand, I've seen pictures of Totem Acoustic speakers, and found them beautiful... but I've never heard any recommendations for them.

    I've recently seen Magnepans 3.6 (light wood/light gray material) and liked the looks. But in any case they are probably too big for my room and I'm not sure how to arrange them.
    The Totems sound very good to me. I heard them the same day I heard the Maggy 3.6's. A very different kind of sound but just as good IMO. Clear, crisp, clean & incredably natural come to mind.
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  13. #13
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Totems are good looking

    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    The Totems sound very good to me. I heard them the same day I heard the Maggy 3.6's. A very different kind of sound but just as good IMO. Clear, crisp, clean & incredably natural come to mind.
    And sounding from what I recall. But note, (WAF alert), I don't think they have grills to cover the drivers. Check out their line up here ...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    And sounding from what I recall. But note, (WAF alert), I don't think they have grills to cover the drivers. Check out their line up here ...
    Grills are an (extra cost) option. They are (IMO cheesy) velcro stick-ons, but they will cover the drivers.

  15. #15
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    I love the look and build quality of my Thiel speakers.

    For $2k, I think the 1.6's are about the most wife-friendly speakers on the market. For even less money, you can find a pair of used 2.2's, 2.3's or 3.6's on www.audiogon.com

    www.thielaudio.com

  16. #16
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Having listened to a number of speakers and looking at even more, the Danish maker Dali had the most impressive cabinets I've ever seen. These are simple beautiful speakers and they aren't too shabby in the sound dept. although I went a different route. Not too sure what lines would be in your price range but if you have a dealer nearby they would be another one to check out.

    have fun,
    jc
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  17. #17
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    Having listened to a number of speakers and looking at even more, the Danish maker Dali had the most impressive cabinets I've ever seen. These are simple beautiful speakers and they aren't too shabby in the sound dept. although I went a different route. Not too sure what lines would be in your price range but if you have a dealer nearby they would be another one to check out.

    have fun,
    jc
    I can easily agree here... I auditioned their Helicon and Euphonia lines in AZ a year back and was absolutely amazed at the cabinet work. Apart from maybe Jim Salk's stuff over at Salk Sound (and he really is not a "company" per se) I would have to say the Dali woodworking is the best I too have seen. The sound I found was more of a mixed bag to my ears, with the Helicons impressing, and the more expensive Euphonias providing a letdown (go figure). Both those lines are way above the poster's price points, but if their lower priced lines have similar woodwork, then I too would have to recommend them to audition.

    ---Dave
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  18. #18
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    JC & Dave,

    I was going to recommend Dali as well, but the pretty ones like the Euphonia's and Helicons are waaay above his price point, as noted.

    What I'd like to know are what your impressions of the Dali's were? They are pretty tough to find and it sounds like we like a lot of the same sound. When I build my next rig, I was going to put Dali's on the short list, but with your comments now I'm not so sure.

    Sorry if this is threadjacking, although I'd think the OP would be interested in your impressions as well.

  19. #19
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    JC & Dave,

    I was going to recommend Dali as well, but the pretty ones like the Euphonia's and Helicons are waaay above his price point, as noted.

    What I'd like to know are what your impressions of the Dali's were? They are pretty tough to find and it sounds like we like a lot of the same sound. When I build my next rig, I was going to put Dali's on the short list, but with your comments now I'm not so sure.

    Sorry if this is threadjacking, although I'd think the OP would be interested in your impressions as well.
    The specific Dali speakers I auditioned a year back were the Helicon 800s, the Euphonia MS5s and the Megalines.

    The Helicon 800s (about 10K/pr.) were very impressive at their price point. The dealer played a nice jazz track that featured a saxiphone that sounded amazing. Low bass was handled quite nicely as well, never sounding boomy. Their top end was a tad bright for my personal tastes, but it had very good detail. The dealer by accident told me they cost 5.5 K/pr. at the time, and I remember thinking "Maybe I should have bought these rather than my new Tyler Linbrook Signature System?". It turned out that his quote was probably meant to be each speaker (as they really sell for double that)... ;-) At their current price point, I would definitely keep the Tylers, but I would not feel ripped off had I bought the Helicon 800s... I would say that out of store bought speakers, their closest competitor is the tremendous sounding Von Schweikert DB99SE (12K/pr.). I would buy the DB99s, but someone else could easily pick the Dalis.

    The MS5s were the exact opposite impressions to my ears... For 12K/pr., I expect a lot, and I didn't get any of it... I listened to the Allison Krauss Live CD right after heaing the McIntosh XRT-28s (my favorite sub 20K/pr. speakers, BTW) and it was like someone sucked the life out of Allison's voice. The MS5s just had no emotion or feeling to them -- very flat sounding in general, IMO. I remember letting the sales guy know that they did not impress at all, begging for him to put the XRT-28s (18.2K/pr.) back on. All of the speakers I heard that day were powered by top-of-the-line McIntosh solid state gear, BTW.

    Finally, the 40K/pr. Megalines were quite nice, and I certainly would love to own them, but I was not as impressed as what I heard from the McIntosh XRT-28s that cost less than half their cost. I am sure personal preferences come into play here, but I guess they just werent to my personal tastes *for the money* (otherwise I would love to have them).

    Looks-wise, it was an easy choice on all three Dalis... They made the McIntosh speakers (and any others I have seen including my own save the Salks) look like they were assembled on a cheap assembly line (whereas the Dalis looked to be crafted by master wood workers). Beautiful eye candy, but not the best values around, IMO.

    ---Dave
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  20. #20
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    I'm partial to my own purchases like everyone here I suppose, but I personally think that mine are the best looking speakers :P haha!

    Seriously though, have a look at the new Energy Reference Connoisseur line. They're well within your price range, outstanding sound, complete quality, and the cherry and rosenut veneers are simple yet stunning.

    http://www.energy-speakers.com/v2/pr...ine.php?id=264

  21. #21
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    I will also give my vote to the Totems, especially in cherry finish. The Totems sound fantastic and have extremely high WAF given their cabinet finish and small footprint. The nice thing about Totem is that all their speakers sound different, so there is bound to be a pair that sounds right to you.

    Just as a side note, my wife wanted the optional speaker grills ($50 CDN for the pair) and they work just fine. She's happy with the looks and I'm happy with the performance of the speakers in general.

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