Another speaker recommendation thread

Posted by: solwisesteve on 31 December 2018

Been out of the loop for a while now, c. 2-3 years. Just been happy with my setup as it is so it's been a case of sit back and enjoy listening :-) However recently, over the last 6 months or so, I've started to notice the odd instance of, dare I say it, bass boom. Just occasionally, with the odd track I'm finding the bass is a little boomy. So I've got some spare cash and I'm thinking perhaps up the anti on the speakers to something with a little more control. Also, the current speakers, Proac D20R, are really very good but there seems to be a little lacking in the mid-range; perhaps just a smallish main driver and ribbon tweeter aren't enough to cover the whole range seamlessly? I don't think any thing's changed in the setup to cause these issues, more a case of with familiarity over time I've started to notice the deficiencies more. I tend to find, with new equipment, my senses are so overwhelmed I tend to miss any issues... it's all so new I'm swamped. Plus speaker design is one of those areas with the fastest development so even after only 2-3 years I get the impression that things have come along somewhat.

Anyway so time, I think, to look around for some new speakers: I'm after suggestions please :-)

Current system:

Proac D20R

Music tastes mainly rock/pop.
Listening room is a little challenged which ends up with the speakers sat closer to the walls than I would really like... about 50cm. As such I'm tempted to stay away from anything with a rear port.
Floor is suspended with laminate.
There's also a certain lack of soft furnishings so nothing too bright, though putting a large rug on the floor is acceptable ;-)

Budget in the 3-4K range. Top favourite, though I haven't listened yet, are the new Falcon RAM 30 which are getting great write ups.

What I'd like to do is build up a short list for auditioning though the ultimate selection would be influenced by what's within sensible travelling range.

So suggestions please :-)

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by Jonners

ATC and PMC both make floorstanders which will be o.k near a back wall, probably worth putting on your listening list and well within budget. Given your musical tastes, my money'd be on PMC to give you the grin factor.

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by Innocent Bystander

Whilst people can recommend things to try, do bear in mind that soeakers have very distinct characters, and what suits one person may sound awful to another.

I like my speakers to be full range, not curtailed at all in the bass. If the same applies to you, I suggest hearing some PMCs: Transmission line speakers achieve the best bass Ive heard - and PMC are the current leading manufacturer of TL speakers. Their Twenty-26 can be had brand new or very young ex-dem in your price range, though at that still relatively modest price I would only buy secondhand to maximise buying power. Thespeakers I have, PMC EB1i, crop up occasionally (secondhand only) around the 4k mark: in my room they are at their optimum position with front baffle about 650mm from wall at the bottom, upper half about 950mm from glass of window.  It is, however, a largish room, and I dont know how well the SN2 would be at driving them. 

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by blythe

Neat Momentum SX5i would be on my listening list - I love them!

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by solwisesteve

Thanks for the suggestions... seems to be a healthy bias towards PMC ;-)

I sent Falcon an email, not expecting a reply at this time of year, and I got a reply back within the hour! There is a dealer only 20mins from my house and although they don't stock the RAM30, Falcon will ship them a demo pair for me to borrow! Very good customer service. Good customer service goes a long way in my opinion.

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by Chag...

The SN2 may not have enough grip to tighten and control the lower spectrum of (even) the D20R in a smaller room. Moving to closed speakers or to sstand mounted speakers like the ATC 19 may be the way to go.

Alternatively going higher on the amp ladder maybe another way to go. The 300 did it for me with the D28.  ????

Chag -

Posted on: 01 January 2019 by joerand

Naim Ovator S-400 are well worth a try with your system and desires. I suggest this having had both D20R and S-400 in my room powered by a SN2. I agree with your assessment of the D20R's occasional bass bloominess; the 400 will cure that in all cases as well as providing greater mids presence. The Ovator 400 are highly musical speakers. If they happen to be a balanced match for your room's acoustics you're in for some magic.

Posted on: 01 January 2019 by Simon-in-Suffolk

For the ATC 19 I would say probably best not use in rooms les than around 15m2 or they could be overpowering, they are a relatively large (and heavy) standmount, there are smaller ATC SCMs like the  12 or 7 for smaller rooms.

indeed ATC and PMC do seem quite popular on the forum... but both must be auditioned carefully and checked against the music you like. For example I find the tweeter in the PMC Twenty5 series relatively course that spoils renditions of choral work or other intricate recordings for me... the ATC SCM series are rather revealing and transparent, which can expose limitations in recordings and electronics.. great if that is what you want but some may prefer a softer slightly sugar coated speaker to relax to.

Posted on: 01 January 2019 by Popeye

Just go and listen to some options. I recently acquired new speakers and had in my head I would walk away with PMCs as the forum rates them highly. They were good (25 23) but there were others I much preferred and I ended up buying some speakers from a brand that I personally knew little about and blew the PMCs and many others away. 

We all like different things. 

Posted on: 01 January 2019 by The Strat (Fender)

Inevitably I have to say Kudos S20s. 



Posted on: 01 January 2019 by solwisesteve

Just spent the last 4 hours doing a rearrangement of the 'listening room' - okay it's a sitting room ;-) Completely changed the wall the system backs on to.

Nice improvement. Sounds more even and better spacial spread. Bass still a little OTT on certain tracks though. :-(

Posted on: 01 January 2019 by Bert Schurink

Listen to Kudos Speakers, f.i. The X2s...

Posted on: 01 January 2019 by SongStream

I had similar issues with Proac D18s, too much boom, not enough guts in the mid-range, and I suspect poor integration between the two drive units; on vocals I could always hear tweeter, as opposed to a convincing organic sounding voice.  D20Rs are a different speaker obviously, but I suspect from what you've written have a similar character overall.  The D18s were a punt based on recommendations and some really positive reviews, but despite all that I didn't like them at all.  Not to say they were void talent, or that they wouldn't work in a different system, but for me, also running an SN2, no way.  

I moved to Kudos X3s over a year and a half ago, and despite being in exactly the same price bracket they are in a different league.  I was seeking a richer mid-bad performance primarily, which I got, but the detail and separation in the mid-band being so much better, and I mean seriously 'wow' better, was a welcome and unexpected surprise.  They also have deeper, but less dominant bass response than the D18s.  

Even at the dealer demo, I was so staggered at how much better the X3s sounded, likewise Focal Aria 926 and Russell K Red 100, I did wonder if my D18s were genuinely broken.  Perhaps there was something faulty with them.   However, when I auditioned the PMC25.23 speakers, I realised that some speakers just sound that way, and they had exactly the same faults (IMO) that the D18s had, and were rejected very quickly.  

That's the story, but the advice is to go listen at a dealer (and preferably at home) and make no assumptions.  Reviews, tech specs, materials etc, are not necessarily irrelevant, but none of them guarantee great musical performance, or that you personally will like them.