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Best Speakers Under $3000 Floor standing or Bookshelf


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Hello Hifi Bretheren,

 

Looking to the sum of your knowledge for what you would consider the best bang for buck speaker under 3K. 

Floor-standing and Bookshelf recommendations considered.  Second hand is fine as well.

 

 

Ill be driving them with a Cambridge Audio CXA60  , sources both turntables and cd player and network streamer.

Living room is small, however this will change in a few months to a medium space.

 

Seeking a warm, fun sound with ample bass and a good sound stage.

 

Ive been considering :

Fyne audio 501

Buchardt Audio S400

Monitor Audio Silver S200

Dali Oberon5

 

 

Currently I have a pair of Q Acoustics 3030 and seeking to upgrade.

 

Cheers All.

 

 

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Word of advice. Disregard any Rating from What Hi-Fi. 

Have a look at the Wharfdale Linton Heritage.  You will be totally surprised 

It was an eye opener for me.   I've spent many many thousands over the past forty years chasing the perfect speaker only to realise in recent years (when I started building my own and paying

New, the KEF R3 is very hard to beat. They also have remarkable bass for a bookshelf. As good as most floorstanders in that price range.

 

For a different presentation, Spatial M3.

 

A used alternative would be KEF LS50s with a pair of SVS SB1000 subs, crossing over at 150hz.

 

For a different presentation, a pair of Magnepan LRS with the same subs and same crossover.

 

Or you could go active with Neumann KH90s and the same subs.

 

 

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Just be careful with that amp that you don't feel a bit underwhelmed when upgrading. Great amp as it is but does run out of steam with better speakers.

Does justify another upgrade though :)

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Whatever you buy don't get speakers that are even remotely lit up, shiny or bright. The amplifier has plenty of that on its own. In this particular instance, I agree with Bill's suggestion of the Wharfedale Linton which are smooth and laid back, without being comatose. It is a good Yang to the amplifier's Yin.

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If you're not opposed to second hand, keep an eye out for a pair of Dynaudio Special Forty. Fun with heaps of bass is pretty much exactly what they are. Class A Audio have some older stock new for $4500, but second hand should squeak within your budget if you find someone willing to sell.

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I liked my QA 3050's a lot and your $3k will go a lot further if you wait patiently for the used market to turn up something considerably better than the 3050. No point spending that much on a new pair of speakers and only achieving a side grade.

 

 

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3 hours ago, sfdoddsy said:

New, the KEF R3 is very hard to beat. They also have remarkable bass for a bookshelf. As good as most floorstanders in that price range.

 

For a different presentation, Spatial M3.

 

A used alternative would be KEF LS50s with a pair of SVS SB1000 subs, crossing over at 150hz.

 

For a different presentation, a pair of Magnepan LRS with the same subs and same crossover.

 

Or you could go active with Neumann KH90s and the same subs.

 

 

Some great options to explore here, thanks mate.

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3 hours ago, Bill125812 said:

Have a look at the Wharfdale Linton Heritage.  You will be totally surprised 

I've not looked at this model yet, cheers Bill.  Looking into this puppy

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1 hour ago, deanB said:

I liked my QA 3050's a lot and your $3k will go a lot further if you wait patiently for the used market to turn up something considerably better than the 3050. No point spending that much on a new pair of speakers and only achieving a side grade.

 

 

I agree , definitely keeping an eye on the second hand market as well mate.  Patience can be rewarded!

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2 hours ago, twofires said:

If you're not opposed to second hand, keep an eye out for a pair of Dynaudio Special Forty. Fun with heaps of bass is pretty much exactly what they are. Class A Audio have some older stock new for $4500, but second hand should squeak within your budget if you find someone willing to sell.th

The description does sound right up my alley.  I'll audition a pair of these to get a feel for the sound

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2 hours ago, Bunno77 said:

Just be careful with that amp that you don't feel a bit underwhelmed when upgrading. Great amp as it is but does run out of steam with better speakers.

Does justify another upgrade though :)

Yup you've got a point mate.  If the amp is not keeping up, it's going to have to get the boot

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1 minute ago, Bill125812 said:

Go have a listen if you can. I think you will certainly enjoy.   

I'm drawn to these for some reason.  I'll tee up an audition once Daniel Andrews gives the green light ?

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4 hours ago, sfdoddsy said:

New, the KEF R3 is very hard to beat. They also have remarkable bass for a bookshelf. As good as most floorstanders in that price range.

 

For a different presentation, Spatial M3.

 

A used alternative would be KEF LS50s with a pair of SVS SB1000 subs, crossing over at 150hz.

 

For a different presentation, a pair of Magnepan LRS with the same subs and same crossover.

 

Or you could go active with Neumann KH90s and the same subs.

 

 

 

2 hours ago, deanB said:

I liked my QA 3050's a lot and your $3k will go a lot further if you wait patiently for the used market to turn up something considerably better than the 3050. No point spending that much on a new pair of speakers and only achieving a side grade.

 

 

 

1 minute ago, Irek said:

q-acoustics-floor-standing-speakers-concept500-white-18803686178979_1024x1024@2x.jpg?v=1599034757

Focal Aria 926 Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) – Instyle Home Theatre & Hi Fi

I had a budget ... 

I'm quite interested in how those q acoustics sound.  On paper they certainly are impressive!  What make and model is the black speaker mate ?

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35 minutes ago, Hendoferson said:

Some great options to explore here, thanks mate.

What I was trying to say (and probably failing) is that all the speakers on your shortlist are reasonably well-designed boxes that (because they are reasonably well-designed boxes) are going to sound more similar than different.

 

The KEF R3 (or the Revel M106 I should have mentioned) take this approach to well past the point of diminishing returns.

 

The differences between them and even vastly more expensive (yet similarly designed box speakers) is likely to be very small. Especially if you use subs. 

 

Again taking the KEF R3 as an example (although it is true of all speakers), you will pay thousands more for a speaker that sounds the same (or sometimes worse above 80Hz) yet gives few extra Hz of extension or volume. But still not enough to really plumb the depths.

 

The Q Acoustics Concept 40s will not sound that different from the other choices.

 

The Wharfedales may be a touch more mellifluous, but you are really paying for cool factor. Which is fine too. I just did.

 

So I'd try to listen to some outliers. Some speakers that aren't reasonably well-designed boxes.

 

I personally love the different presentation of open baffle speakers, hence the suggestion. And hate that of horns, and of single driver speakers. But others think the opposite. 

 

Listen outside the box.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, sfdoddsy said:

What I was trying to say (and probably failing) is that all the speakers on your shortlist are reasonably well-designed boxes that (because they are reasonably well-designed boxes) are going to sound more similar than different.

 

The KEF R3 (or the Revel M106 I should have mentioned) take this approach to well past the point of diminishing returns.

 

The differences between them and even vastly more expensive (yet similarly designed box speakers) is likely to very small and very variable. Especially if you use subs. 

 

Again taking the KEF R3 as an example (although it is true of all speakers), you will pay thousands more for a speaker that sounds the same (or sometimes worse above 80Hz) yet gives few extra Hz of extension or volume. But still not enough to really plumb the depths.

 

So I'd try to listen to some outliers, some speakers that aren't reasonably well-designed boxes.

 

I personally love the different presentation of open baffle speakers, hence the suggestion. And hate that of horns, and of single driver speakers. But others think the opposite. 

 

Listen outside the box.

 

 

That's really interesting sfdoodsy and I never considered this tbh.  Based on your viewpoint I like the fact that the KEF is pushing the boundaries here and will audition this as well mate.  I appreciate the insight here.

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If you are even slightly objectivist (ie think measurements are valid), check out the reviews here:

 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?pages/SpeakerTestData/

 

It all gets a bit anal, but if you delve through you'll find that speakers like the R3, or the M106, or even the Neumann, measure close to the currently accepted state of the art.

 

You'll pay big bucks for tiny differences from there on.

 

There is an old science theory postulating that the closer things get to perfection the more similar they get.

 

I'm by no means sayings such speakers are perfect or even approaching it, but if your operating principle is placing X drivers in a box of Y size  and using a crossover to seperate them at Z frequency then the physics of it all are pretty well-known.

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Here's a few suggestions:

 

Wharfdale Diamond 250 - $3099


B & W - 603 S2 - $2999. I have the 602 S3 bookshelf speakers in the study which I find excellent for a small room but have the DM603 S3 in the lounge room and is a big step up.

 

B & W 683 S2 - $2499 - big upgrade on your Q's. For another grand, you will be impressed.


Dali Opticon 6 - $3,236 - major improvement on the Oberon 5's which is really just a sideways movement from your Q3050's. The Q's should sound better in a larger room than the Oberon 5 but the Opticon 6 should impress.

 

Kef Q550 - $1995 or Kef Q750m - $2795 or if budget allows KEF Q950

 

Whenever I am auditioning speakers, I always take along a CDR full of prerecorded favourite tracks that feature a lot of dynamic sound, plenty of spatial variety with a variety of music types and genres - Drums, guitar, synths, pianos, violins, flutes, mellotron, uilleann pipes, vocals, organs, etc

 

I remember taking an album along to a hifi shop in Sydney years ago and played a track called "Toccata" by Mannheim Steamroller. The guy had never heard it before neither had the other few people in the store who came over to listen to what was playing. I had 3 offers to buy the CD off me while the sales guy didn't make a sale. This song alone will tell you how good a pair of speakers are if you can crank it up a notch as the music is amazing and the dynamic sound is really impressive. Might be worth downloading just this song alone and become used to it before you audition.

 

Anywho, keep us up to date with what you decide.

 

Prog

 

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38 minutes ago, progladyte said:

Here's a few suggestions:

 

Wharfdale Diamond 250 - $3099


B & W - 603 S2 - $2999. I have the 602 S3 bookshelf speakers in the study which I find excellent for a small room but have the DM603 S3 in the lounge room and is a big step up.

 

B & W 683 S2 - $2499 - big upgrade on your Q's. For another grand, you will be impressed.


Dali Opticon 6 - $3,236 - major improvement on the Oberon 5's which is really just a sideways movement from your Q3050's. The Q's should sound better in a larger room than the Oberon 5 but the Opticon 6 should impress.

 

Kef Q550 - $1995 or Kef Q750m - $2795 or if budget allows KEF Q950

 

Whenever I am auditioning speakers, I always take along a CDR full of prerecorded favourite tracks that feature a lot of dynamic sound, plenty of spatial variety with a variety of music types and genres - Drums, guitar, synths, pianos, violins, flutes, mellotron, uilleann pipes, vocals, organs, etc

 

I remember taking an album along to a hifi shop in Sydney years ago and played a track called "Toccata" by Mannheim Steamroller. The guy had never heard it before neither had the other few people in the store who came over to listen to what was playing. I had 3 offers to buy the CD off me while the sales guy didn't make a sale. This song alone will tell you how good a pair of speakers are if you can crank it up a notch as the music is amazing and the dynamic sound is really impressive. Might be worth downloading just this song alone and become used to it before you audition.

 

Anywho, keep us up to date with what you decide.

 

Prog

 

Some great content here Prog, thank you.  Lol love the story of the music track.  Going to have a geez online as it sounds like a doozy!

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1 hour ago, sfdoddsy said:

If you are even slightly objectivist (ie think measurements are valid), check out the reviews here:

 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?pages/SpeakerTestData/

 

It all gets a bit anal, but if you delve through you'll find that speakers like the R3, or the M106, or even the Neumann, measure close to the currently accepted state of the art.

 

You'll pay big bucks for tiny differences from there on.

 

There is an old science theory postulating that the closer things get to perfection the more similar they get.

 

I'm by no means sayings such speakers are perfect or even approaching it, but if your operating principle is placing X drivers in a box of Y size  and using a crossover to seperate them at Z frequency then the physics of it all are pretty well-known.

Your right sfdoodsy the link you provided is definitely going down the preverbial rabbit hole however the quest for perfection involves research!

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2 hours ago, Hendoferson said:

 

 

I'm quite interested in how those q acoustics sound.  On paper they certainly are impressive!  What make and model is the black speaker mate ?

Focal Aria 926. 

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Used floorstanders like VAF I-66, ATC 40, Dynaudio x33 or 44, Proacs, Focals, Jamo Concert 11, Ambience Ribbon hybrid, Martin Logan Ethos Electrostatic, Monitor Audio, or bookshelf  LS50w active and sell your amp, Jamo Concert 8, Proac Studio 100, Sonus Faber, B&W 805

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2 hours ago, Hendoferson said:

Your right sfdoodsy the link you provided is definitely going down the preverbial rabbit hole however the quest for perfection involves research!

It was an eye opener for me.

 

I've spent many many thousands over the past forty years chasing the perfect speaker only to realise in recent years (when I started building my own and paying attention to the science of audio) that the good speakers, ie those that aim for accuracy and reflect recent findings on the best way to achieve that, tend to sound more alike than not. 

 

Which is exactly what you'd expect if they share a common goal.

 

The speakers which sound different are the inaccurate idiosyncratic ones.

 

And some people love that sound.

 

My fave example is the Zu Audio Essence, which has possibly the worst measurements I've ever seen, and which when I heard them sounded as bad as you'd expect.

 

https://www.stereophile.com/content/zu-essence-loudspeaker-measurements

 

But many on this very site adore them.  Many on this site swear by the emotion of objectively awful vintage speakers and objectively worse single driver speakers.

 

I think they are nuts,  but just because a speaker is bad at the main task of speaker (accurately recreating the sound of a recording) doesn't mean it is bad at the secondary task (making you love listening to music). And for some the latter is obviously more important.

 

You've been given heaps of suggestions already. Including 15 in one post! You can't possibly listen to them all, and you, alas, can't really tell by listening at a dealer either.

 

It needs to be in your home.

 

So I'd suggest you ignore my earlier rant about what you should do, and do what I actually do do.

 

Buy used, try them at home and then flip if they don't work. You should usually come close to breaking even.

 

And don't assume that the latest speakers are necessarily better than older models.

 

I recently bought a set of Revel M20s for about $600. They were about $4K when new in 2002. And they were every bit as good as the latest (very good) Revels. Likewise the current very expansive Harbeths and Spendors don't sound appreciably different from the 40 year old designs they are based on.

 

Your $3K budget could have recently bought a pair of VAF i66 signatures here with $1800 left over.

 

They are currently a $10K speaker.

 

If you have the space and either don't care about looks or find their looks cool (I do), there is a pair of B&W 801 Matrix that has been sitting on eBay for a while.  A much better speaker than the current $45K B&W 800. Many recording studios still use them.

 

Heck, since I am now spending your money, I'll save you money.

 

Buy these:

 

 

No current box speaker for $1.4K will come close to matching what they deliver.

 

With the $1.6K you have left over, buy these:

 

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/wyoming/speakers/magneplanar-1-7-speakers/1255034237

 

Or the LRS I mentioned earlier.

 

Try them out at home and flip them if they don't work out.

 

Since I'm on a roll (bit of a pub night as you can probably guess :)), buy these:

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Lyngdorf-DP-1-Floorstanding-Spks-BW-1-Subs-in-great-condition-Reduced-Price/263457590708?hash=item3d574bcdb4:g:A7wAAOSwdHNeaGiA&frcectupt=true

 

Fabulous system.

 

Or bargain hard on these:

 

 

Go crazy!

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5 hours ago, sfdoddsy said:

 

You've been given heaps of suggestions already. Including 15 in one post! You can't possibly listen to them all, and you, alas, can't really tell by listening at a dealer either.

 

It needs to be in your home.

 

+1 for the above statement...

By chance I put myself in the same conundrum having a "scratch to itch" so to speak with regards to a speaker "upgrade' but something new and up to date rather than vintage or used. 

With the same budget as the op..( knowing there might be a good chance that will double!!) I short listed some models from the usual suspects latest and greatest within the budget area.

I'm prepared knowing that I might be going through a few models and manufacturers products but Hey!! its all fun to me which is what ANY hobby should be IMO...

 

So when Fathers Day came around so did the first speaker.....Wharfedale's EVO 4.3.

Picked them up...got them home...one speaker's dome faulty....:cry:...( only happens to me)...no problem though straight swap and sorted.

Out of the box SQ was awful...thin, no bass, muddled like WTF....

keep 'em running for a few days and the change was dramatic like is this the same speaker dramatic?? Nothing is mentioned about running in via the manual which I found strange by the palpable difference...indeed as the days and now few weeks have passed thigs have only gotten better.... 

So far I'm one pretty happy camper....

Enjoy..

 

Tase.

Edited by Tasebass
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9 hours ago, sfdoddsy said:

It was an eye opener for me.

 

I've spent many many thousands over the past forty years chasing the perfect speaker only to realise in recent years (when I started building my own and paying attention to the science of audio) that the good speakers, ie those that aim for accuracy and reflect recent findings on the best way to achieve that, tend to sound more alike than not. 

 

Which is exactly what you'd expect if they share a common goal.

 

The speakers which sound different are the inaccurate idiosyncratic ones.

 

And some people love that sound.

 

My fave example is the Zu Audio Essence, which has possibly the worst measurements I've ever seen, and which when I heard them sounded as bad as you'd expect.

 

https://www.stereophile.com/content/zu-essence-loudspeaker-measurements

 

But many on this very site adore them.  Many on this site swear by the emotion of objectively awful vintage speakers and objectively worse single driver speakers.

 

I think they are nuts,  but just because a speaker is bad at the main task of speaker (accurately recreating the sound of a recording) doesn't mean it is bad at the secondary task (making you love listening to music). And for some the latter is obviously more important.

 

You've been given heaps of suggestions already. Including 15 in one post! You can't possibly listen to them all, and you, alas, can't really tell by listening at a dealer either.

 

It needs to be in your home.

 

So I'd suggest you ignore my earlier rant about what you should do, and do what I actually do do.

 

Buy used, try them at home and then flip if they don't work. You should usually come close to breaking even.

 

And don't assume that the latest speakers are necessarily better than older models.

 

I recently bought a set of Revel M20s for about $600. They were about $4K when new in 2002. And they were every bit as good as the latest (very good) Revels. Likewise the current very expansive Harbeths and Spendors don't sound appreciably different from the 40 year old designs they are based on.

 

Your $3K budget could have recently bought a pair of VAF i66 signatures here with $1800 left over.

 

They are currently a $10K speaker.

 

If you have the space and either don't care about looks or find their looks cool (I do), there is a pair of B&W 801 Matrix that has been sitting on eBay for a while.  A much better speaker than the current $45K B&W 800. Many recording studios still use them.

 

Heck, since I am now spending your money, I'll save you money.

 

Buy these:

 

 

No current box speaker for $1.4K will come close to matching what they deliver.

 

With the $1.6K you have left over, buy these:

 

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/wyoming/speakers/magneplanar-1-7-speakers/1255034237

 

Or the LRS I mentioned earlier.

 

Try them out at home and flip them if they don't work out.

 

Since I'm on a roll (bit of a pub night as you can probably guess :)), buy these:

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Lyngdorf-DP-1-Floorstanding-Spks-BW-1-Subs-in-great-condition-Reduced-Price/263457590708?hash=item3d574bcdb4:g:A7wAAOSwdHNeaGiA&frcectupt=true

 

Fabulous system.

 

Or bargain hard on these:

 

 

Go crazy!

Mate this is gold, I really appreciate the insight and experience passed on here sfdoodsy.  Your are correct about getting much more bang for buck in the second hand market and no better place to audition speakers than in your home.  I'm going to do this and there's plenty of recommendations here to keep an eye out for!  

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9 hours ago, sfdoddsy said:

It was an eye opener for me.

 

I've spent many many thousands over the past forty years chasing the perfect speaker only to realise in recent years (when I started building my own and paying attention to the science of audio) that the good speakers, ie those that aim for accuracy and reflect recent findings on the best way to achieve that, tend to sound more alike than not. 

 

Which is exactly what you'd expect if they share a common goal.

 

The speakers which sound different are the inaccurate idiosyncratic ones.

 

And some people love that sound.

 

My fave example is the Zu Audio Essence, which has possibly the worst measurements I've ever seen, and which when I heard them sounded as bad as you'd expect.

 

https://www.stereophile.com/content/zu-essence-loudspeaker-measurements

 

But many on this very site adore them.  Many on this site swear by the emotion of objectively awful vintage speakers and objectively worse single driver speakers.

 

I think they are nuts,  but just because a speaker is bad at the main task of speaker (accurately recreating the sound of a recording) doesn't mean it is bad at the secondary task (making you love listening to music). And for some the latter is obviously more important.

 

You've been given heaps of suggestions already. Including 15 in one post! You can't possibly listen to them all, and you, alas, can't really tell by listening at a dealer either.

 

It needs to be in your home.

 

So I'd suggest you ignore my earlier rant about what you should do, and do what I actually do do.

 

Buy used, try them at home and then flip if they don't work. You should usually come close to breaking even.

 

And don't assume that the latest speakers are necessarily better than older models.

 

I recently bought a set of Revel M20s for about $600. They were about $4K when new in 2002. And they were every bit as good as the latest (very good) Revels. Likewise the current very expansive Harbeths and Spendors don't sound appreciably different from the 40 year old designs they are based on.

 

Your $3K budget could have recently bought a pair of VAF i66 signatures here with $1800 left over.

 

They are currently a $10K speaker.

 

If you have the space and either don't care about looks or find their looks cool (I do), there is a pair of B&W 801 Matrix that has been sitting on eBay for a while.  A much better speaker than the current $45K B&W 800. Many recording studios still use them.

 

Heck, since I am now spending your money, I'll save you money.

 

Buy these:

 

 

No current box speaker for $1.4K will come close to matching what they deliver.

 

With the $1.6K you have left over, buy these:

 

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/wyoming/speakers/magneplanar-1-7-speakers/1255034237

 

Or the LRS I mentioned earlier.

 

Try them out at home and flip them if they don't work out.

 

Since I'm on a roll (bit of a pub night as you can probably guess :)), buy these:

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Lyngdorf-DP-1-Floorstanding-Spks-BW-1-Subs-in-great-condition-Reduced-Price/263457590708?hash=item3d574bcdb4:g:A7wAAOSwdHNeaGiA&frcectupt=true

 

Fabulous system.

 

Or bargain hard on these:

 

 

Go crazy!

Wow these suggestion are great, I honestly wouldn't have known to search for these.  I shall start to go crazy and mate you have been ona role for sure!  ?

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3 hours ago, Tasebass said:

+1 for the above statement...

By chance I put myself in the same conundrum having a "scratch to itch" so to speak with regards to a speaker "upgrade' but something new and up to date rather than vintage or used. 

With the same budget as the op..( knowing there might be a good chance that will double!!) I short listed some models from the usual suspects latest and greatest within the budget area.

I'm prepared knowing that I might be going through a few models and manufacturers products but Hey!! its all fun to me which is what ANY hobby should be IMO...

 

So when Fathers Day came around so did the first speaker.....Wharfedale's EVO 4.3.

Picked them up...got them home...one speaker's dome faulty....:cry:...( only happens to me)...no problem though straight swap and sorted.

Out of the box SQ was awful...thin, no bass, muddled like WTF....

keep 'em running for a few days and the change was dramatic like is this the same speaker dramatic?? Nothing is mentioned about running in via the manual which I found strange by the palpable difference...indeed as the days and now few weeks have passed thigs have only gotten better.... 

So far I'm one pretty happy camper....

Enjoy..

 

Tase.

I see the Evo's got 5 stars at whathifi.  Great to get your impressions on these babies.  Curious about these due to the rating.

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I love my Fyne's. I haven't listened to many high end speakers though. I did have a good listening session at A2A Perth with their high end NAIM / Dynaudio bookshelf setup. I preferred my setup. The bass on the Fyne's are superb, goes down to 29 Hz in my room. Midrange is sweet, rich and detailed (especially with the Pass amp). Treble shines without being bright. As said on what Hifi treble can be provoked with bright equipment. Initially a Electroharmonix tube in Schiit Saga paired with NAD C 658 was a tad bright. After a few weeks, and also a NAD update which tuned the DAC (as others have noted on SNA), the tad brightness is gone and the setup is awesome. 

Edited by Mikahakk1
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4 minutes ago, Mikahakk1 said:

I love my Fyne's. I haven't listened to many high end speakers though. I did have a good listening session at A2D Perth with their high end NAIM / Dynaudio bookshelf setup. I preferred my setup. The bass on the Fyne's are superb, goes down to 29 Hz in my room. Midrange is sweet, rich and detailed (especially with the Pass amp). Treble shines without being bright. As said on what Hifi treble can be provoked with bright equipment. Initially a Electroharmonix tube in Schiit Saga paired with NAD C 658 was a tad bright. After a few weeks, and also a NAD update which tuned the DAC (as others have noted on SNA), the tad brightness is gone and the setup is awesome. 

Good to hear a review in the Fynes.  Which model did you end up going with Mikah?

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18 hours ago, sfdoddsy said:

It was an eye opener for me.

 

I've spent many many thousands over the past forty years chasing the perfect speaker only to realise in recent years (when I started building my own and paying attention to the science of audio) that the good speakers, ie those that aim for accuracy and reflect recent findings on the best way to achieve that, tend to sound more alike than not. 

 

Which is exactly what you'd expect if they share a common goal.

 

The speakers which sound different are the inaccurate idiosyncratic ones.

 

And some people love that sound.

 

My fave example is the Zu Audio Essence, which has possibly the worst measurements I've ever seen, and which when I heard them sounded as bad as you'd expect.

 

https://www.stereophile.com/content/zu-essence-loudspeaker-measurements

 

But many on this very site adore them.  Many on this site swear by the emotion of objectively awful vintage speakers and objectively worse single driver speakers.

 

I think they are nuts,  but just because a speaker is bad at the main task of speaker (accurately recreating the sound of a recording) doesn't mean it is bad at the secondary task (making you love listening to music). And for some the latter is obviously more important.

 

You've been given heaps of suggestions already. Including 15 in one post! You can't possibly listen to them all, and you, alas, can't really tell by listening at a dealer either.

 

It needs to be in your home.

 

So I'd suggest you ignore my earlier rant about what you should do, and do what I actually do do.

 

Buy used, try them at home and then flip if they don't work. You should usually come close to breaking even.

 

And don't assume that the latest speakers are necessarily better than older models.

 

I recently bought a set of Revel M20s for about $600. They were about $4K when new in 2002. And they were every bit as good as the latest (very good) Revels. Likewise the current very expansive Harbeths and Spendors don't sound appreciably different from the 40 year old designs they are based on.

 

Your $3K budget could have recently bought a pair of VAF i66 signatures here with $1800 left over.

 

They are currently a $10K speaker.

 

If you have the space and either don't care about looks or find their looks cool (I do), there is a pair of B&W 801 Matrix that has been sitting on eBay for a while.  A much better speaker than the current $45K B&W 800. Many recording studios still use them.

 

Heck, since I am now spending your money, I'll save you money.

 

Buy these:

 

 

No current box speaker for $1.4K will come close to matching what they deliver.

 

With the $1.6K you have left over, buy these:

 

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/wyoming/speakers/magneplanar-1-7-speakers/1255034237

 

Or the LRS I mentioned earlier.

 

Try them out at home and flip them if they don't work out.

 

Since I'm on a roll (bit of a pub night as you can probably guess :)), buy these:

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Lyngdorf-DP-1-Floorstanding-Spks-BW-1-Subs-in-great-condition-Reduced-Price/263457590708?hash=item3d574bcdb4:g:A7wAAOSwdHNeaGiA&frcectupt=true

 

Fabulous system.

 

Or bargain hard on these:

 

 

Go crazy!

Great suggestions, since we are recommending vintage Kef 105, may as well mention the Yamaha NS1000 that come up for similar or a little more money, heck also the Spendor 1/2, S &. SP100, BC3; Proac EBS and Studio, Studio 200 and 250, Response 2, 2.5, 3, 3, 3.8 and B&W 801F and bunch of others if they come up.

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