Best Tower Speaker Pick $3,500 or less

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Big D Design, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Almost "Made"

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    Do you mind sharing where you got your Harbeths and Grahams from? I am assuming you are in the USA, but if you might be in Europe then it won't really mean anything to me. I need to touch base with the USA distro of Graham again and see how things are going. I miss working with the dealer network!

    To my ears the LS5/9 had a more satiable tonality and detail retrieval. Sound staging was better, in width and depth, and to that degree the micro dynamics were better with the LS5/9. Certainly, your mileage may vary and I am happy to hear that you will be comparing them directly side by side with the SHL5+. If you're going to invest that kind of money into speakers it's vital that you make your own decision. If you can, try the Chartwell LS3/5 and compare it with the Harbeth P3ESR. The difference is not subtle.
     
  2. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    I got them on canuckaudiomart. in canada there's a couple of dealers...

    the break in is over and ive been listening to the graham for 2 days. im honestly blown away, im melting on my chair actually. Johnny hartmann never sounded so fucking smooth but crisp alltogether. i think I found my holy grail (finally)
     
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  3. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Murphy have you ever owned Totems?
     
  4. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    never heard a pair!
     
  5. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Almost "Made"

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    I'm glad to hear you are so fond of them!! :cool:
     
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  6. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    yeah, the graham are in every way equal to the shl5+. direct comparison make it very hard to determine which presentation I prefer.
    something stand out. the graham image slightly better in that the musicians have more space between each other and there's a very solid phantom center. the harbeth have wonderful imaging but slightly more stuck around the box.
    the harbeth have more bass extension which for some music is noticeable but for jazz i dont hear much difference.

    harbeth: more extension in the bass, highs seem more polished, less raw . no bbc dip measured.

    Graham: highs have a more real quality, id say i prefer the highs of the graham. there's a weird phenomena with the graham, im less impressed with the sound and more impressed with what the musicians are playing.
    with the harbeth, the sound is more impressive but I feel like my mind is not as convinced that its live musicians playing. it seems almost contradictory as the harbeth are more detailed overall. hard to describe but I have that feeling that the Graham are more musical but it may be new toy syndrome. is it due to the bbc dip? my measurements show a BBC dip of about -3db between 1.5khz to 2.7khz. is it new toy syndrome? so, me and my friend are exchanging speakers as I need his help here and unbiased opinion. My friend notice that the harbeth seem to have better decay of instruments, im not so sure i agree. this will be hard, i never had two speakers sounding so good in their own way. I have a feeling the Harbeth drivers are more perfectly integrated and they do seem to have more detail

    the harbeth are actually slightly more efficient: id say about .5db more efficient.

    so far, thats all I got. this will be hard to figure out which to sell and which to keep.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
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  7. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    I ll need help of blind test with friends to figure out which I prefer. Both are just amazing speakers, the best ive ever had for sure, and its impossible to not fall in love after 5 minute with either the shl5+ or the grahaml

    in resume, graham are more immediate, dynamic, fast, brighter. very special texture and detailed real sounding midrange.
    harbeth are slightly more coherent and laid back, more extension in the bass, have that harbeth magic, more forgiving. more boring?

    dunno which I freakin prefer, weird feeling honestly. will have to do some blind test with more then just a friend. My friend which heard the graham for a week in his system also have the same conclusions: dunno which id keep.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  8. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    With so much happiness, it sounds like you can't loose even if you just tossed a coin!

    I'm too lazy to do blind tests. Kudos to you if you are not! Looking forward to the result.
     
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  9. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Of course you need to do the third test and run them simultaneously. Maybe you'll luck out and they'll combine for the best of both worlds.
     
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  10. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Two different record players. Two different Hawkwind albums. One room. One listener. Some, ahem, substance... c. 1972.

    I didn't really think of it as a listening test at the time, though :pirate07:
     
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  11. BleaK

    BleaK Friend

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    Anyone here listened to goldenears tritons? They look kinda awesome with the built in active sub.
     
  12. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    Which Tritons? I've heard the Triton 1 on a couple occasions. I'm sure they could be more dialed in (as I've only heard them at a local dealer and at shows), but they didn't really sound very cohesive. I also felt there was a bit of congestion; however, that's most likely due to hearing them immediately after Sanders e-stats at a show and the Magnepan 3.7 (I think) at my local dealer. It could be crossover issues, or it could just be that I don't agree with the mid drivers. I think they'd make killer mains for a dedicated HT setup, but I'd never buy them for my stereo listening.
     
  13. BleaK

    BleaK Friend

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    Cool, thanks! Was reading some great reviews and impressions on an another site and just wonder if they matched up to others in the same price category. Looks like I need to reconsider.
     
  14. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    Don't necessarily count them out just because I don't like them. It looks like there's only one dealer in Norway (maybe ~35km Southwest of Oslo). If you find enough other items that they carry and that interest you, you may as well check them out for yourself. I certainly won't be offended if you do like them and tell me I have shite for ears.
     
  15. SineDave

    SineDave Friend

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    If you're in Norway, XTZ deserves a look. They're a great option.
     
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  16. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    Yeah XTZ is good value, nice tweakability options too. Used to own 99.36 mk2 floor standers and they were solid but you need to be a bit careful with that ribbon tweeter when it comes to matching gear.

    Too bad the price has gone up with the 3rd gen of the 99 series(FLR).
     
  17. BleaK

    BleaK Friend

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    I got to get myself over there and take a listen.

    Never heard about XTZ, will check them out, thanks!
     
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  18. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I think you're in Quebec somewhere...a trip to Montreal might be worthwhile. I really like them but definitely have a certain taste.
     
  19. skem

    skem Friend

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    I auditioned these for about two hours two weeks ago after reading the gushing reviews on Stereophile. Here's my bottom line: Great speakers for your home theater, not so good for music.

    EDIT: After writing this, I see it's basically what @Daveheart said.

    I tested these at Park Avenue Audio in NYC (excellent services, by the way). After lots of phone calls, they let me bring my DAC, source, preamp. The only component that wasn't mine was the power amplifier. They used a Hegal H20, with which I had no experience and have no views. I don't know what the amp did to the sound. However, I tend to think decent solid-state power amplifiers are all relatively transparent objects compared to other components, so I'm assuming the differences I heard between my standard system and the Triton One were primarily because of the speakers.

    When we powered them up, my first impression was "Impressive, remarkably well integrated top to bottom." It was a positive first impression. They really made an effort to tune this system's SPL response. But that's where the favorable impressions ended. After a few songs, I looked for that characteristic shimmer on certain cymbals (there, but not great), or instrument-defining timbre on bassoons and oboes (mostly smeared and gone), and was left disappointed. The sound is quick, but not clean. Put another way, you can hear the DSP at work.

    A strange observation, the speakers sounded better the further away I got. Normally, I enjoy near-field listening, but at >15 feet, I found that some of the instruments became more defined and the sound more cohesive. My speculation, totally pulled out of my ass, is that this might be because of phase issues associated with having multiple drivers in the mid-frequencies. It would make sense: the path length between two drivers becomes more similar the farther one gets, causing phase interference to lessen. *IF* this is a real effect, this would not be a fault of the Triton One, but rather common to all systems with multiple mid-range drivers. Another speculation is the Triton One's use of non-circular drivers causes more distortion. I could not hear the cabinet resonance mentioned in the Stereophile Review.

    At the end, the three of us testing this out noticed that our ears were hurting -- we had somehow managed to get the volume turned up to quite a high level. I think we kept upping the volume in search of things we were used to hearing in the music, but which were hard to extract. That said, far better to be in the regime where you keep turning the volume up to get more, then where it irritates and you keep turning it down.

    If I had to build a modern hybrid or dedicated home theater system, these would be great. For music, I'll stick to my more unevenly balanced yet more enjoyable old favorites.

    DAC/Preamp was PS Audio Direct Stream with Huron. My (immediate) comparison speakers were B&W 801 Series III.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
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  20. Luigi Pichardo

    Luigi Pichardo Rando

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    Interesting, are you referring to the Salk Song 3 Encore, because I see it retailing at $6000 per pair instead of the $2895 you mentioned. They have a nice finish but I'm more interested in the audio qualities you favor over other speakers at that sub $6000 price range if you can offer. Thanks.
     

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