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twwen2

Standmount Speakers: An Addict's Guide

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Standmount Speakers - An Addict's Guide

This thread was inspired and encouraged by Cafad's fantastic "Integrated Amps - An Addict's Guide" thread: http://www.stereo.ne...-addicts-guide/. I thought it would be good to document my similar addiction to standmount speakers. Over the last few years I have owned or heard (in my system) the following models, roughly in order of purchase.

I'll use the following system loosely to rate each speaker according to my own personal preference in my system and room:

1 star = Poor

2 stars = OK

3 stars = Good

4 stars = Very good

5 stars = Excellent

  • Monitor Audio Bronze BX2 (3 stars)
  • Usher S-520 (4 stars)
  • Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (3 stars)
  • Dynaudio DM 2/7 (2.5 stars)
  • Dynaudio Excite X12 (5 stars)
  • ProAc Studio 110 (3.5 stars)
  • Monitor Audio Silver RX2 (2 stars)
  • ATC SCM7 (4.5 stars)
  • Rega RS1 (3.5 stars)
  • Dynaudio Focus 110 (4 stars)
  • KEF LS50 (5 stars)
  • ?

As you can see, I've had quite a few through my system. I've kept some for months; some were moved on in a matter of weeks. I intend to give each speaker it's own post in this thread, where I will outline my thoughts on how they sounded and maybe some additional notes. I'll do my best to include some nice pics, but there are some models that I don't have any good ones of. Just so everyone has the full picture, I will include a section in each post that states what other equipment was used with each speaker. Other components in my system have also changed over time, and this no doubt will have had some say in my experience with each speaker.

Amplifiers have been:

  • NAD 3020
  • Redgum Sonofa'GUM
  • Rega Brio-R
  • Audiolab 8000Q/MF A3CR
  • Creek Destiny
  • Bladelius TYR

​DACs have been:

  • ASUS Essence STX
  • Stello DA100
  • Audio-gd NFB2
  • PS Audio DLIII
  • Rega DAC
  • Audio-gd DAC19-DSP
  • Audio-gd Reference 5.2

If anyone has any particular requests or follow-up questions, feel free to ask. I'll do my best to make this an informative, interactive experience which benefits everyone. :)

I thought I'd start with a shot of my system to give people some perspective on the type of listening environment I have. In a word: small. This is a very early photo; I now have the left speaker on the other side of the CD rack. Otherwise the setup placement remains the same, including the chest of drawers which provides it's fair share of early reflections... :lol:

7830463824_0848f479d3_z.jpg

Edited by twwen2

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Hi Tom, I enjoy Cafad's amp thread so looking forward to your standmount one. Just one question, sure you don't have a dac addiction also?

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Good stuff, I have been waiting for one of these. I have only ever owned one pair of floor standers, and visually I thought they were a bit much, so I very much like the less imposing look of a nice bookshelf speaker and stand:)

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Great to see the emergence of this thread. It will be very interesting reading indeed and I hope to add some input as well.

Good on you Tom.

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Hi Tom, I enjoy Cafad's amp thread so looking forward to your standmount one. Just one question, sure you don't have a dac addiction also?

And it looks like an integrated addiction in third place. Well done mate, an audio "hat trick" all in one post!

Seriously though, this looks to be a very informative thread from a well listened SNAer. I know I've certainly clicked on the "follow" button. Go for it Tom!

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Audioengine A5

Speaker: Audioengine A5 active desktop speakers ($399)

Source: ASUS Essence STX

DAC: ASUS Essence STX

Amp: N/A

Intro: I had actually forgotten about these, and was reminded by trawling through some of my older photos. These were the first "real" speakers I ever owned, previously I had been using a Logitech X230 2.1 setup with my PC. The Audioengines came highly recommended by the PC community, so I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about.

Where we first met: I still remember the night I set these up in my room - I played "Sand in my Shoes" by Dido and there were tears in my eyes. I'd never heard a female voice sound like that before, and it was truly divine. It's been a few years since that moment, and my memory has faded somewhat, but I'll do my best to articulate what I do remember of these speakers.

Construction: Solid and reasonably heavy for their size. Composite exterior with a carbon-fiber (or was it kevlar?) woven woofer and silk soft-dome tweeter. Well made with clean lines and curved edges. The main speaker contains the amp, line inputs and volume controls.

Bass: Not bad for a little box & woofer. These are rear-ported which helps, but they aren't going to command the room. There's enough "bop" in them to be enjoyable though.

Mids: The mids are the strong point of these speakers. Nice and open, with relatively good detail (remember at this stage I only had the logitech's to compare to, and the A5's were in another world altogether).

Highs: Very sweet and unoffensive, but with plenty of "tizz" to keep things interesting. They actually remind me of the Wharfedale 9.1 in this regard.

Overall: A very sweet and open sound that excels with voices and accoustic material. There's enough bass on tap to enjoy electronic music in a small room, but it won't shake the windows.

Conclusion: The A5 is a great desktop speaker that provides a solid entry point into the messy world of HiFi. They are the sort of thing you should recommend to your friends who still think that Logitech's Z-series are the duck's nuts of HiFi. :lol: The A5's are well built, easy to setup and use, and sound great for the small price they command. I suspect they would be bested by the Aktimate Micro/Mini/Maxi, but I didn't stay with desktop speakers for long enough to find out. As soon as I discovered the HiFi scene (and SNA), I promptly made a trip into Carlton Audio Visual...

More info: http://audioengineus...e/Audioengine-5

Pics:

7812012170_3635843346_z.jpg

7812014122_ab338d217d_z.jpg

Edited by twwen2

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Hi Tom, I enjoy Cafad's amp thread so looking forward to your standmount one. Just one question, sure you don't have a dac addiction also?

Haha, don't you know it. I actually went through the DAC phase very early on in my journey, before I really started experimenting with speakers. In one sense that was a blessing, as I had a relatively stable baseline to compare the various DACs.

If people would like to hear my thoughts on the DACs and amps, I'd be happy to slip them into the thread. :)

Great to see the emergence of this thread. It will be very interesting reading indeed and I hope to add some input as well.

I encourage everyone to chip in with their comments on the speakers I put up. The more opinions we have in one place, the more informed we all will be. Just remember that speakers (like all HiFi components) are a very personal and system-dependant thing, so preferences (and therefore opinions) will differ between individuals. :thumb:

And it looks like an integrated addiction in third place. Well done mate, an audio "hat trick" all in one post!

Yeah I haven't been so bad with the amps, although that is about to change over the next month... ;)

Also, one thing I forgot to say: Please provide feedback so I can tailor my posts to make them the most beneficial to everyone. Do you like the structure? Do you want to hear more about a particular aspect? Feel free to give some suggestions or ask follow-up questions.

Edited by twwen2

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I think I'm getting a bit of acheap DAC addiction, I have 3 now all acquired in a 2 month period, but have settled on 1 for the main system. I keep looking in the internet for others to try, my dilemma is I want to keep the 'toys' under $100, so far I have a single chip TDA1543($22 kit plus case) and a 4 chip TDA1543 ($55 complete inc power supply) .

THe main 1 doesn't count as it was considerably more than $100.

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my dilemma is I want to keep the 'toys' under $100

Once upon a time I set an arbitrary limit for my system of $500 per component. Not sure what happened to that... :lol:

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