This is a ramble as I am sort of thinking out loud.
After years saying “I must sort out my hifi”, having accumulated various bits over the years largely sitting in a room where it was never listened to, I finally had a big change at the end of last year. Sold off virtually everything and acquired a Nova and Core and had my LP12 properly serviced. All good so far.
I had 3 lots of speakers around in the house. I sold the Ruark Talisman III (never did like them) and some Monitor Audio speakers. And, just for a laugh, connected up my B&W DM4 speakers which I have had for the last 40 odd years and which were being used as bedside tables (oh the ignominy). What a revelation; they were finally being properly driven and sounded great.
But the grand plan is to aim for good enough and then stop. I am determined to avoid the upgrade treadmill as that route leads to permanent dissatisfaction and anyway I simply don’t have the budget.
And speakers and stands are the last part of the jigsaw.
The listening room is appalling. It is small (roughly 12’ by 12’ but with some bits cut out by a stairwell and chimney) with a low (<7’) ceiling, it is cluttered as it also doubles as my office although that does have the advantage that I can listen a lot. I have tall speakers stands as they have to lift the speakers above the desk level. My listening is primarily classical with some jazz and 70s rock.
So to the speaker conundrum. They have to be stand mounts, there is simply nowhere floor-standers could go.
I read this forum and the old forum and generated a short list of possible speakers. The only ones that my dealer had were the Dynaudio S40 which I borrowed for a few days last week. I used my own playlist plus some from the “What’s your top reference track” thread.
I was impressed by the S40s especially the bass from such a small speaker (the DM4s are considerably bigger). With a bit of playing around with the positioning, I avoided any boomy bass and got a good soundstage. By Saturday night, I was all ready to ring the dealer and place the order. Unfortunately this is where I made a big, although inevitable, mistake. I packed up the S40s to return them and connected up the DM4s again. Yes they didn’t have the heft of the S40s or the bass but, and it is a very big but, they sounded better to me with more attack and just more musical. The killer tracks for me were Richard Dane’s suggestion of Zaide and the Drum Processional from the Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary (Academy of Ancient Music); the former was more coherent and better balanced on the B&W and the drums were far more impressive in the latter with the cathedral reverberation only slightly less than the S40. I have to say I was surprised. There were certain tracks where the S40 clearly outshone the B&Ws so it is not entirely clear cut (Benny Goodman Sing Sing Sing – not sure of which release but the track is timed at 5:02 – a really good test track). The DM4s had a better soundstage as well but that was probably down to not finding the ideal positioning for the S40s.
I’ve given it two days and I realise that I do not miss the S40s apart from the bass.
So where do I go from here? The DM4s are good, much better than I realised but they are not quite there overall. My dealer has suggested that I try the B&W 705 S2 which he should have in shortly; they also have an ex demo pair of B&W 805 D3s which might be a possibility if there is any room for manoeuvre on the clearance price.
Unfortunately the other speakers on my shortlist which are currently Neat Momentum SX3i and the Proac Response D2R (when available) don’t seem to be available for demo reasonably locally. PMC and ATC an outside possibility but, from reading, they don’t seem to be quite what I am looking for.
Thank you to anybody who has waded through this far. A bit of a stream of consciousness I’m afraid.
Any thoughts as to what I should try out or any other thoughts for that matter?