dilemma with speakers

  • 14 December 2006
  • 10 replies
  • 2588 views

Userlevel 2
My wife has been very resistant to any audio equipment in the formal living room, decorated in a french style. She really warmed up to the idea of the Sonos in the living room once she heard sound quality with the easy to use informative remote without seeing too much equipment.
Hear is the dilemma; she wants pretty speakers for the living room they can be floor standing to mid size. I would prefer something that is elegant as opposed to be trying too hard to be inconspicuous. Budget probably ~$1500 USD. I know it is probably too low for really elegant speakers. Any suggestions?

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10 replies

One suggestion:

Get some "normal" speakers and find a good carpenter to create custom trims to the style you want.

Obviously you would need to be careful that the grilles and any bass ports aren't covered up.

Excuse me for asking... what is a "French" style? Louis XIV? Baroque? Roccoco? Art Deco? or dog **** on the pavement?

:)

Cheers,

Keith
Userlevel 3
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Pretty and Elegant you want? Here you go!

Check out the new Strata Mini. There is a special going on where you can get them for $1,200 (I think). I was at GTG in Chicago recently and was blown away by them. Check out this GTG thread on av123. There is a picture of the mini's mated with a ZP-100.

Scroll down to about half the page here and you will see the minis. We had them mated an Onix CD2 players, a modded Squeezebox running from a mac mini, and of course the Sonos. If you are into tube amps the Onix SP3 is one beautiful and great sounding amp.

http://av123forum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16380&perpage=15&pagenumber=21

Scroll down to about three quarters of the page and you can see some shots of the minis.

http://av123forum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16380&perpage=15&pagenumber=24

Check out this page as well. Top pictures.

http://av123forum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16380&perpage=15&pagenumber=25

Second post on this page shows Sonos with the Minis.

http://av123forum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16380&perpage=15&pagenumber=26

The amp in the ZP-100 is enough if a normal listening level is all you are after. If you prefer things somewhat loud (and the minis will play loud) I would reccomend an external amp

These speakers have powered woofer in them so unless you need exceedingly deep bass a sub woofer is not really needed with these. For the money these are going to be very tough to beat. The build quality and finish on these speaker is simplay amazing.
You might want to have a look at either Linn Komponent 104 or Piega TS5. I have some Peigas next to a pair of contemporary French armchairs (Catherine Memmi)....even my wife thinks they look nice, but I am not sure how they would go with a more traditional and/or ornate French style.
http://www.piega.ch/images/ts5_1.jpg
Userlevel 2
I think I was told it is more baroque not that this barbarian can tell the difference. 😃
There's nothing more elegant than the Tannoy Prestige line:

http://www.tannoy.com/PrestigeOverview

You can probably buy the Autograph mini for close to your target price.

I have dreams of the Westminsters...
Userlevel 2
Check this brand out. I have no idea how much they costs and I've heard that, while they are very good speakers, you pay for their looks. They do come in some pretty cabinets, though...

http://www.sonusfaber.com/index_altri.html

Look at their bookshelf speakers. I can't say I'm fond of the model on their home page.

Another brand to check out is KEF...
http://www.kef.com/qseries/products.htm
or
http://www.kef.com/products/reference/refmodel201.asp
Once again, look at the individual modules and not the ones on the main page. I think these web sites are designed to impress audiophiles and not wives.
Userlevel 2
The gallo nucleus micro's sound fantastic (tho you'll need to add a woofer if base is important).

http://www.roundsound.com/satellite-speakers.htm

You can either get them and the (somewhat overpriced, imho) flower stands to make them floor standing, or pick them in a matching color (they are availible in several) and put them on the sideboard.

Don't be put off by the small size, and marketing as "surround" speakers. These are my main speakers (together with the matching passive woofer, which I think may be off the market), and give incredible soundstange and a fantastic homogeneity of sound (one driver covers ~70-20000 hz, so no crossover to worry about).

However, if you need booming bass or incredible volume, these are not for you.

Looking at the website, I notice they now have a slightly bigger version availible, which goes a little lower in Hz. However, I've not tested those.

(and if you just get the speakers without the stands, these leave +$1000 in your budget to buy some nice wines to serve at your next dinner).

--------------------

However, if elegance is your aim (and I'll admit that the nucleus' are more towards the unobtrusive side), then look into the magneplanar speakers, or (as the best speakers in the world, bar none), the B&W nautilus series. Both likely slightly to very much outside your price range.

http://www.bwspeakers.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/products.ranges
Userlevel 2
Personally, I like the understated sophistication of the Quad line. The 21L is my personal favorite, and the champ in terms of sound quality for the price. They come in Piano Black, Rosewood, Maple, and Birdseye Maple. The 7-layer, hand-rubbed, piano gloss lacquer finish is incredible no matter which real wood is chosen, and the sound is simply to die for. The Quad L-Series has won numerous awards from Hi-Fi News and What Hi-FI magazine.

In addition, the price is right in line with your stated budget. The 21L is $1,300 list.

http://www.quad-hifi.co.uk/ranges.php?sector_id=2&range_id=11
Userlevel 2
I would recommend the Monitor Audio RS6 or the Revel F12. I'm using both brands and very happy with both.
Note that some pretty speakers can be difficult loads for amplifiers and the Connect Amp may not suffice. You will then need a Connect + third party amp with grunt. Which in turn may involve more kit and cabling that will also need to blend in.

If you want the Connect Amp to suffice, look behind the pretty faces as well.