With 35w of class A I think you could quite comfortably use many speakers with 90db+. Depending on the room the particular amp/speakers you also happily use some as low as 87db. There are heaps of 2/3 'normal' floorstanders out there Paradigm, Richter even Adelaide Speakers with 90+. A few of the suggestions here are full range/single driver (Omega/Zu) speakers and apart from being high sensitivity they also have a characteristic sound that is pretty different to the norm (as seen in your local HiFi store).
Perhaps rather than focussing too much on the sensitivity of the speakers a clear idea of the general characteristics of the speaker might elicit the result you are after. For example are you after a linear sounding speaker that evenly distributes frequencies that presents a very controlled sound? Are you after detail and transparency? Are you after imaging and massive soundstage? Do you want bass extension? Etc.
Some high sensitivity speakers require very careful placement and the room will make a huge difference too their sound - factor this in as well...
All very good questions. I guess i would have got around to them eventually, but i'll try my best to answer them a bit now. For now though i guess i'm just beginning my research and finding out what's out there, where it is, and what it's costs.
Bass extension isn't very important to me, partially because my room doesn't do bass very well. Though i wouldn't get a speaker that's physically limited itself due to it's design. As long as it's capable of going generally low enough that i can get by without using subwoofers, which most floor standers seem to be, aside from a few full range designs.
I would like a very big sound stage. My current VAF's offer a bigger sound stage than the Wharfedale towers they replaced, and it was immediately noticeable. I want a big speaker that is capable of moving a lot of air, something that never struggles and always has plenty in reserve beyond what i need to day to day duties. (something like the Zu Def with it's twin 10'' drivers catches my eye more so than a tower with say a single 6'' driver, but i know you can't just judge a speaker by how big it is and how many drivers it has)
Something that's forte is music, but will still give a reasonable experience with HT (again the Zu looks promising with their range of centre and stand mount speakers)
Something that isn't slow, or limited to certain styles of music because of it's design. Whenever i watch a speaker on audition it seems the music is carefully selected to make the speaker sound it's best, but that's not what i'm doing at home. I never see rock music being played during an audition, it's always something soft, or vocal orientated. The way i see it even a really well recorded soft song with clean vocals, will sound good on entry level book shelf speakers, i guess what i'm trying to say is i want the bigger more expensive speaker to do what the smaller and cheaper one cannot do. Basically they must be able to rock out !!
When you say some of these speakers have a different sound characteristic to most Hi Fi speakers, i'm not sure how to interpret it as i really haven't listened to that many speakers to be honest. Living in Cairns, my only option really was my local hi fi store, and directing a budget at them they could probably turn around and point you to maybe 2 pairs in the store. listening to 2 pairs of speakers doesn't give a clear indication of what "x amount" of money will get me, and i'm definately not going to stand there and choose between only 2 offerings.
So for that reason i have been buying gear the whole time without auditioning. Aside from the VAF's which were at a local SNA'er's home, but i would have bought them anyway without listening to them. i admit i've grown custom to liking to surprise of something i haven't seen or heard. I do put a lot of weight on reviews, but only when they all concur with what the others are saying.
Edited by Bus_Boy, 26 October 2011 - 09:33 AM.