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  1. #1
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    Mid-size speaker recommendation

    I haven't bought speakers in over 10 years as I currently love my bookshelf/sub combo for my home theater system. I now want to build a music-only stereo system and am looking for used everything.

    I'm looking for a pair of speakers that I don't believe are too popular anymore these days. They are mid-sized - bigger than bookshelf but not quite floorstanders. They would usually sit on short wood stands.

    In the past I've seen them in Boston Acoustics and Paradigm, but almost anything will do as long as they are of high-quality and feature soft-dome tweeters. I'd prefer sealed or passive radiator options over ported. A speaker of that size should get into the 50-60Hz range, which is fine for me. 'tis better than a boombox.

    What are some of the good speakers of the last 20 years I should be looking for on the auction sites? I'm willing to spend up to $800 for the pair, so that should open up most classic combos of reasonable quality.

  2. #2
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    With your budget and wanting best bang for the buck I would look for a set of Dynaudio, Audience 60 or 62 are a slim, low profile, 2-way floorstander, you would even be very pleased with the 52 which is a bookshelf. Dynaudio does great bass. Important would be what you plan to drive these speakers with. Revel just came out with the Performa 3 series and you could probably pick up a Performa 2 series at a deal, I actually prefer the 2 series.

    For $800.00 you should consider used speakers by brands like Wharfedale or Golden Ear. There are a lot of options out there.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    With your budget and wanting best bang for the buck I would look for a set of Dynaudio, Audience 60 or 62 are a slim, low profile, 2-way floorstander, you would even be very pleased with the 52 which is a bookshelf. Dynaudio does great bass. Important would be what you plan to drive these speakers with. Revel just came out with the Performa 3 series and you could probably pick up a Performa 2 series at a deal, I actually prefer the 2 series.

    For $800.00 you should consider used speakers by brands like Wharfedale or Golden Ear. There are a lot of options out there.
    I've heard a lot about Dynaudio over the years. I do indeed prefer a 2-way, which is why an extended bookshelf is deal. I suppose there are indeed 2-way floorstanders, but I just don't want anything that big for this particular room.

    The (old) receiver of choice is a Nakamichi, probably an AV-8 or AV-10 as they come available on eBay since I used to have one and I know their amp section is excellent. They probably only handle 8-ohm speakers though.

  4. #4
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    You should check out a Audience 62 it would take less room than a speaker like you are talking about on a stand.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  5. #5
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Take a look at NHT Classic 2's and 3's, Wharfedales, Quad 12L, Dynaudio, PSB's, older KEF's

    Speakers at Music Direct

    The PSB's are ported but come with foam plugs that allow you to tune the bass. Saturd

    I think the Quad 12L's would fit the bill if you can find a used pair.

    L Classic Series Quad
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
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    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
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  6. #6
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valnar View Post
    I haven't bought speakers in over 10 years as I currently love my bookshelf/sub combo for my home theater system. I now want to build a music-only stereo system and am looking for used everything.

    I'm looking for a pair of speakers that I don't believe are too popular anymore these days. They are mid-sized - bigger than bookshelf but not quite floorstanders. They would usually sit on short wood stands.

    In the past I've seen them in Boston Acoustics and Paradigm, but almost anything will do as long as they are of high-quality and feature soft-dome tweeters. I'd prefer sealed or passive radiator options over ported. A speaker of that size should get into the 50-60Hz range, which is fine for me. 'tis better than a boombox.

    What are some of the good speakers of the last 20 years I should be looking for on the auction sites? I'm willing to spend up to $800 for the pair, so that should open up most classic combos of reasonable quality.
    If you move fast, there is a pair of Paradigm studio 40's on audiogon that would be right up your ally.

    Paradigm Studio 40 v3 | Monitors | Willoughby, Ohio 44094 | AudiogoN - The High-end Audio Community
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  7. #7
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    Hmm. Those are the right size for sure. I remember when they came out.

    Aren't Paradigm's quite forward though? Do they have metal tweeters?

  8. #8
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    This is what they said about the tweeters:

    G-PAL™ Gold-Anodized Pure-Aluminum Domes. Exceptionally rigid low-mass domes with treated textile suspensions ensure remarkably uniform and instantaneous power response. The elevated position of the dome provides better ‘air’ and frequency response that is smooth, pure and clear.

    those tweeters are very good. I've never had a problem with Paradigm studio tweeters. The monitor series is a different story.

    As far as being forward, thats more of a cabling issue in my opinion.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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    Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MF XRAY v8 /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/ Creek OBH MK 2/Canton Vento 830.2

  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Give a listen to Wharfedales, they have that softer tweeter sound that you are looking for and the overall sound is more laid back than forward. Same goes for PSB speakers.
    Saturday Audio has B-stock on PSB's at great prices.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  10. #10
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    After googling enough, I found the speakers I had 20 years ago that I loved! They were the Boston Acoustics A120's. I'm not sure if I should find them again because time was probably not kind to the foam surrounds, but I remember liking that "sound".

  11. #11
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I also would say the Dynaudio are well worth the consideration. I own the Audience 60's and while I started using them when I did not have as good of equipment as I have now the higher end preamp and amp that I have put with them since have not brought up any shortcomings or made me feel like I immediately need to upgrade. Dynaudio's are like that. each series up is an upgrade but the steps are much smaller than say Paradigm which their monitor series is a huge step down from their studio series. With Dynaudio each series take much smaller steps in sound upgrade due to the fact that Dynaudio speakers start at a very high level of sound quality with their least expensive speaker and then just go up from there and that is why the retail price of even their "affordable" speakers are still much higher than Paradigm or PSB. I really love my audience 60's and I will most likely upgrade to a bigger pair of Dynaudios within the next year it is mostly because I want more low end and I would like to go to the next level with my system but in saying that I have heard a lot of systems out there that can't hold a candle to mine as it sets right now with the preamp and amp I have"see signature" and the audience 60's, they really are very good for the price especially used.

    Marantz SR5008(HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
    Dynaudio audience 60 mains
    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
    Dell I660 music server running fidelizer windows 8 audio optimizer
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  12. #12
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    I remember liking the A120's and that series back in the 80's, it would be interesting to see if I still like them or how they compare today. I will say the product Boston has today I did not like as much as the Paradigm, and neither come close to Dynaudio IMO.

    I would recommend going and listening to different brands and if your selection is limited many online retailers offer a 30 day return. If you aren't sure what you like or want buying used could put you on quite a merry-go-round of buying and selling.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  13. #13
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    The Dynaudio Xcite X12 are great speakers as well, but dont know if they are the correct height you want.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  14. #14
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    The Dynaudio Xcite X12 are great speakers as well, but dont know if they are the correct height you want.
    That might not be a bad idea to try the excite series, they are one of the more affordable series that Dyn offer and I have heard that they are a little easier to drive than the other series of Dyns out there in fact someone told me that they have talked to people that have run them with lower powered tube amps and they did well so a solid state receiver should have no problem powering them.

    Marantz SR5008(HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
    Dynaudio audience 60 mains
    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
    Dell I660 music server running fidelizer windows 8 audio optimizer
    PS Audio Quintet power center



  15. #15
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    Excite sort of took the place of the Audience line, they now do have a DM series which is the entry and the drivers have been redesigned to be driven by good quality receivers.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  16. #16
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Excite sort of took the place of the Audience line, they now do have a DM series which is the entry and the drivers have been redesigned to be driven by good quality receivers.
    Hey Mr. P, do you ever wonder what your Contour T2.5's would have sounded like with your Pass Labs gear?
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
    Cary SLP-03 (Preamp)
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 (TT)
    Goldring 1012GX (Cart.)
    Pro-ject SE II (Phono Box)
    Rotel RCD-1072 (CD Player)
    Bryston BDA-1 ( DAC )
    Sennheiser HD-600 (Headphones)
    Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 (Headphone Amp) _

    HT System
    Usher X-719 (Mains)
    Usher X-616 (Center)
    Usher S-520 (Surrounds)
    Rel T2 (Subwoofer)
    Anthem MCA20 (Amp)
    Onkyo TX SR-705 (Receiver)
    Panasonic TH-46PZ85U (Plasma TV)
    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

  17. #17
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    Honestly, I haven't thought about it but it would be interesting. What I do think about occasionally is what my Krell would have sounded like with the F52's. I'm still a Dynaudio fan but I really love the F52's, the bass response is like having a sub, not boomy, just very low and deep. I'd go back to Dynaudio before buying the newer Performa 3 series though. Some people really like the 3 series but I'm wondering if it's like one of those showroom things where the sound is striking at first, but Revel writes they did their research on the 3 series so maybe I'm unusual. I have no doubt I like Pass better than Krell for my music listening but I would sure like to hear the Krell take control of the F52's to hear the outcome. With an all Krell system I have yet to hear anything match it's transient response, a kettle drum will jar your teeth, and that was with using Dynaudio.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    Hey Mr. P, do you ever wonder what your Contour T2.5's would have sounded like with your Pass Labs gear?
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Honestly, I haven't thought about it but it would be interesting. What I do think about occasionally is what my Krell would have sounded like with the F52's. I'm still a Dynaudio fan but I really love the F52's, the bass response is like having a sub, not boomy, just very low and deep. I'd go back to Dynaudio before buying the newer Performa 3 series though. Some people really like the 3 series but I'm wondering if it's like one of those showroom things where the sound is striking at first, but Revel writes they did their research on the 3 series so maybe I'm unusual. I have no doubt I like Pass better than Krell for my music listening but I would sure like to hear the Krell take control of the F52's to hear the outcome. With an all Krell system I have yet to hear anything match it's transient response, a kettle drum will jar your teeth, and that was with using Dynaudio.
    That's an interesting statement, that you know the Pass is better than the Krell for your music listening, which I agree with, and you would still like to hear the Krell with the F52's. That says alot about the Krell. I've been hearing so much about class A and AB on this site and others that I've decided it's time to move on from class D. I'm looking at a Bryston 14BSST for a home demo and then maybe a Plinius SA103.
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
    Cary SLP-03 (Preamp)
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 (TT)
    Goldring 1012GX (Cart.)
    Pro-ject SE II (Phono Box)
    Rotel RCD-1072 (CD Player)
    Bryston BDA-1 ( DAC )
    Sennheiser HD-600 (Headphones)
    Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 (Headphone Amp) _

    HT System
    Usher X-719 (Mains)
    Usher X-616 (Center)
    Usher S-520 (Surrounds)
    Rel T2 (Subwoofer)
    Anthem MCA20 (Amp)
    Onkyo TX SR-705 (Receiver)
    Panasonic TH-46PZ85U (Plasma TV)
    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

  19. #19
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    I didn't realize the 225 was digital. I've been told newer Bryston are better but the 3bst I had was not very musical. It would have the drive for the Dyn's though. I've never heard Plinius. Pass makes a couple integrated, one 150x2 into 8 ohms and the other 30 watts Class A into 8 ohms. Reno Hi Fi offers a 14 day return and often has some demo gear at a discount.

    As far as Krell, or Dynaudio, goes, there's a lot of stuff I like but I'm not rich enough to have it all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    That's an interesting statement, that you know the Pass is better than the Krell for your music listening, which I agree with, and you would still like to hear the Krell with the F52's. That says alot about the Krell. I've been hearing so much about class A and AB on this site and others that I've decided it's time to move on from class D. I'm looking at a Bryston 14BSST for a home demo and then maybe a Plinius SA103.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  20. #20
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I didn't realize the 225 was digital. I've been told newer Bryston are better but the 3bst I had was not very musical. It would have the drive for the Dyn's though. I've never heard Plinius. Pass makes a couple integrated, one 150x2 into 8 ohms and the other 30 watts Class A into 8 ohms. Reno Hi Fi offers a 14 day return and often has some demo gear at a discount.

    As far as Krell, or Dynaudio, goes, there's a lot of stuff I like but I'm not rich enough to have it all.
    Now that I'm retired, I'm not rich enough either. I used to throw $100 a week into my stereo fund, now it's $10 here, $20 there. Some of the guys over at Audio Aficionado now they have money. It can get dangerous over there, trying to keep up with the Jones, so to speak.
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
    Cary SLP-03 (Preamp)
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 (TT)
    Goldring 1012GX (Cart.)
    Pro-ject SE II (Phono Box)
    Rotel RCD-1072 (CD Player)
    Bryston BDA-1 ( DAC )
    Sennheiser HD-600 (Headphones)
    Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 (Headphone Amp) _

    HT System
    Usher X-719 (Mains)
    Usher X-616 (Center)
    Usher S-520 (Surrounds)
    Rel T2 (Subwoofer)
    Anthem MCA20 (Amp)
    Onkyo TX SR-705 (Receiver)
    Panasonic TH-46PZ85U (Plasma TV)
    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

  21. #21
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Jack...is the Anthem Digital?

    I know some one who has a Plinius amp...they are warm....dont know if they use MOSFETS, but they are warm and nice....
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  22. #22
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    Jack...is the Anthem Digital?

    I know some one who has a Plinius amp...they are warm....dont know if they use MOSFETS, but they are warm and nice....
    Hey Frenchie, what do you mean "is the Anthem digital"? It has preouts, so I thought that meant that I could hook up an external amp. Or am I barking up the wrong tree.
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
    Cary SLP-03 (Preamp)
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 (TT)
    Goldring 1012GX (Cart.)
    Pro-ject SE II (Phono Box)
    Rotel RCD-1072 (CD Player)
    Bryston BDA-1 ( DAC )
    Sennheiser HD-600 (Headphones)
    Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 (Headphone Amp) _

    HT System
    Usher X-719 (Mains)
    Usher X-616 (Center)
    Usher S-520 (Surrounds)
    Rel T2 (Subwoofer)
    Anthem MCA20 (Amp)
    Onkyo TX SR-705 (Receiver)
    Panasonic TH-46PZ85U (Plasma TV)
    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

  23. #23
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    Hey Frenchie, what do you mean "is the Anthem digital"? It has preouts, so I thought that meant that I could hook up an external amp. Or am I barking up the wrong tree.
    A SS amp has a analog signal from start to finish...a digital amp converts the signal to digital and back again. I thought Anthems where all analog...am I wrong?

    Edit: From looking at your 225 at the Anthem site, its not digital.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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    Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MF XRAY v8 /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/ Creek OBH MK 2/Canton Vento 830.2

  24. #24
    Lurker Hyfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    It can get dangerous over there, trying to keep up with the Jones, so to speak.
    It's better than reading Stereophile any day! I get a little drool on me every day but I know I will NEVER be in that league. But that is by choice because I need a retirement fund.

    Harley - As for the Dyns, were the original 60s easier to drive than the 2nd gen 62s? I know that both my 42s and 82s have multiple personalities between midfi gear and my main setup. The Excite series is a slight step up in refinement over the Audience series and easier to drive while having a slightly smaller footprint.

    I heard the X32 driven by a $500 NAD Integrated and it's matching CDP ans was completely satisfied with the sound. Better electronics will just increase the performance. The 16s would replace the 52s and the 12s replace the 42s, 32 is closer to the Audiance 72 and the 36 replaces my 82s. They are all still 4ohms and only 86-87db so watch what you attempt to drive them with.

    I am driving my 42s right now in a small setup of my old Hafler 945 Pre, Odyssey Strattos and using an OPPO93 for CDs and solid core Tara Prism cables and it is hard to believe what a tiny speaker can do.
    Hyfi
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    Main - Rotel 1072 > VAC CLA1 MKII > Counterpoint NPS 400 > Clearfield Continentals > Synergystic Research
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  25. #25
    stuck on vintage dingus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valnar View Post
    After googling enough, I found the speakers I had 20 years ago that I loved! They were the Boston Acoustics A120's. I'm not sure if I should find them again because time was probably not kind to the foam surrounds, but I remember liking that "sound".
    depending on your location, craigslist could be the place to find BA A120's and other vintage speakers of that ilk. i see them come up fairly often in my area.

    as for deteriorated surrounds, they are an easy fix that can be done cheaply in an afternoon.
    AR MGC-1, AR C225 PS, M&K V-1B, Pioneer VSX 47TX, Oppo BDP-83, Squeezebox v3, Vortexbox Appliance.

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