My speaker journey

So as you guys may have read I recently upgraded to 282/hcdr/250dr. The upgrade has been amazing but I haven’t been entirely happy with the focal aria 906’s for awhile. So I’ve been researching speakers on different forums including here. I have discovered that being in a wheelchair is a pain for in store demo’s. On the plus side it means I have a great reason to ask for in home demo’s.

One of my local speaker stores came for a shoot out I thought you guys might like my thoughts on the speakers in my room.

  1. Spendor classic 3/1- I’ve heard a couple of the A series at my naim dealers before and thought they sounded great so I was hopeful for this one. But it didn’t suit my room/position. I listen quite close to my speakers and the spendors project a lot. It also felt like something was missing in the mids but it was suggested by the dealer that it was too much bass drowning out the mids.

  2. Harbeth p3ESR xd- I loved them they add a lovely tone to vocals. They are very polite and laidback at least in my room. They are maybe a bit less exciting than other options but definitely non-fatiguing I just wanted to keep listening to them.

  3. Kudos c10- these would normally be out of my budget but the store have old stock cheap and since I use kudos speaker cables I wanted to see what they were like. These had better midrange than the spendors but there was an overemphasis on the treble (you definitely didn’t miss any cymbals used :joy:) and vocals were a bit drawn back.

  4. Fyne audio 500sp- this was not chosen by me but offered the dealer as a mystery speaker option :joy:. I loved these too. Due to the construction music is cohesive with perfect timing. I think if you asked me which one sounded best it would be these, everything sounds just as you expect. It was definitely the most exciting speaker but I’m concerned that it might prove fatiguing overtime. As while I didn’t feel the need to stop listening during the demo session it may be a lot for every day listening.

So far I’m currently torn between the two speakers- the dealer described the difference between them as being like being at the front row at a concert vs being a few rows back. I often listen while relaxing or doing something else, so I’m not sure I want extremely exciting all the time. I’d definitely suggest people consider Fyne audio for a demo apparently they sell loads at the shop I got the demo from.

There will be a part two to speaker shoot out as I have another store bringing several different models of Proac speaker. I was honestly surprised how much difference there is between speakers though will say it’s easier to hear what I don’t like than compare different aspects I do like.


Can you elaborate on what you mean by sounding exciting! To me music might be exciting, or not, and I’ve never heard speakers make non-exciting music exciting, and I find it a rather disturbing thought. But perhaps I am misunderstanding?

What type(s) of music did you play, and if more than one were your feelings on each speaker consistemt for each type of music?


The dealer bringing the speakers suggested using 3-4 songs I knew well so I could concentrate on the small differences. So I listened 2 a couple of pop songs, defying gravity from wicked and a different song say something soft as my fourth one.

It’s probably my description I don’t really know which hifi terms apply to what I’m hearing so I’m probably not communicating well. I wouldn’t say any particular part of the music is more forward as it’s very well balanced. But the music as a whole is very in your face, there is a lot of energy and beat I did say if I just wanted to party I’d pick the Fyne.

When people talk about fatigue they usually link it with more treble which this doesn’t have. But I’m just not sure if I will find long term listening exhausting.

Thanks for clarifying. I’m not good at hifi descriptors either! Your description suggests to me that the Fyne might be exaggerating the upper bass-lower midange, but of course that is only a guess. If your listening consists of partying that might be right for you, but perhaps not for more “serious” listening. (For me with that sort of presentation I doubt they’d have lasted five minutes!)

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Try the Proac that best fits your space and buy the nicest one you can afford, preferably with a ribbon tweeter. The ribbon tweeter may be out of reach at this level but keep it on the list. That is my best advice.


Hi @dmu I used to have the Aria 906s and so I’m familiar with their sound and understand why you are wanting to upgrade, given your system. I had them with the Atom in a second system and they matched well (but less so with the Nova). FYI, I now have Neat Iota Alphas with the Nova and they sound wonderful (FWIW I didn’t get on with the Proac Tab 10 Signature in my room).

From your feedback on the Harbeths, it sounds like they would continue to grow on you, whereas there is a risk the Fynes will be fatiguing. If you like the vocal tone that the Harbeths gave you and you listen to a lot of vocal-led music, plus the fact that you say a lot of the time you are doing something else whilst music is on, these could be the perfect match.

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Speakers significantly influence our temporal perception of music, and can make even exciting music feel more exhilarating. Fyne, stands out in this regard. I own the F1-8, and when compared to my other speakers — such as the Marten Parker Duo and the Harbeth M30.2 XD — I’ve noticed that Fyne has a unique way of projecting sound. It seems to push the sound forward, actively engaging with the listener, while the other speakers seem to create a more immersive soundscape that pulls the listener into the music.


I am due to hear several different models including the d2r which is slightly over the top of my planned budget so I will hear the ribbon tweeter. All the models are different in some way so I’m really interested to see how how they compare in my room.

I think that what you’ve written captures what I feel about these speakers. I’ve still got another demo day scheduled to which I’ve actually added the Proac tab 10 signatures due to their similarities to the Harbeth. After I’ve listened to everything I’ll take stock and no matter what happens I now understand the difference speakers can make in a system.

Edit: I did look at the neat brand but the shop I was speaking to asked me to shrink my demo list down and they would have had to be ordered in so wouldn’t have been run in at all so I went with what the shop had available.

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Thank you yes that explains things so much better than I could.

That is why people always say you really must hear speakers for yourself not rely on reviews or what other people say, with a possible exception where you know enough about an individual’s taste in speaker presentation to know theirs yours is the same as yours. The following copied from a recent post of mine in another thread: …many years ago when I did a mammoth audition of 13 speakers, all in the same quite high price bracket*. Considering that they all had received very good reviews, with most being the flagship of their respective manufacturers’ ranges, I was surprised and amazed at how different they all sounded - ten sounded so bad to my ears that I rejected within the first couple of minutes (yet at least one of those is loved even now by a number of forum members). Of all system components, speakers have the greatest effect on the sound character of a system. This is why I strongly advocate finding speakers that you love early on in system building, just ensuring the amp has enough control to make them sound good enough and that the source is half decent, then improve other components later.

(*Inflation equates to something like £2.5-£3k today, but there weren’t very many speakers priced significantly higher in those days, and at least some of those speakers if made today would be considerably more - the IMFs I bought then would sit somewhere between the PMC Twentyfive.24 and 26 in equivalent models today, so somewhat in excess of £6k.)


I definitely understand now, I’ve always thought you should demo stuff but didn’t realise how true that was for speakers or how much difference the room makes as it isn’t as obvious with amp changes.

Yeah inflation has really changed prices comparing the when reviewed price to now can be a shock. I honestly think if you tried to save up a bigger budget by the time you looked again it would be the same speakers as they would have gone up to the new budget :joy:

I completely understand what you mean, as I have had speakers which, without being necessarily too bright, were too exciting and in your face for long term listening (they were called Dynaudio Excite after all! :innocent:) Back then I had only demoed speakers at the dealer’s room, which is a mistake that I will not be repeating any time soon.

I recently went through the process of auditioning several speakers, and have documented my experience in this thread:

It’s a bit of a long read and of course our hearing and rooms are different, so I will not make any speaker suggestions. But feel free to have a read.


Try the PMC Twenty5.21i I would imagine they would be excellent…I had the little 20.21 for years they were terrific…even used them with the NAP500…to great effect. Now use the Vivid S12 which is a whole other ball game…


I had read the thread but without the context of my demo experience so I’m now going to reread with hopefully better understanding.

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What is the size of your listening space? And what is the budget you allocated for the subject?
I would recommend you to also sample the
heritage special - DYNAUDIO
NEAT-elite classic

So my room 13’9 by 19’9 as with a lot of people my speakers are facing into the shorter measurement (I really wasn’t sure how to describe that). My listening position is quite close 6-8 feet from the speakers and they are about 1 foot out from the wall. My room is carpeted and there are a lot of bookshelves. Budget wise I’m thinking £3000-3500 at the top end.


So we stayed with the Neat…

Hang on, or the other speakers being reviewed understated the mid range?

I suggest that as the review material was pop, and if anything that genre, in general, should sound exciting?

One might like an understated presentation, but not to the extent it makes pop unexciting?

If I understand your position correctly, speakers should honour the source material. I admit I’m not familiar with the material used - and good grief I’m aware how out of touch that makes me sound X) - but assuming it ought to sound exciting, why does that make the Fynes “false” or “exaggerated” for accurately representing it?

For the OP, I have heard some good Fyne speakers, I think they were the 500s you listened to. They were on the end of Rega amplification and a Technics TT. I don’t recall being blown away by them compared to my own far more prosaic Neat SX3s. It was a pretty short audition. I couldn’t say if they had their best chance of performing, and at the danger of recommending speakers I own, I’d also think about listening to some of Neat’s offerings, if they’re locally available. The Ministras are well within budget, are designed for close to boundary siting, so might suit your listening position too.

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