Sweet sounding speakers?

Love Sonus Fabers so Italian also Audiovector do a Q1 ribbon speaker worth checking out PMC speakers have a good reputation if lacking in the style stakes my 'speakers are Focal Aria 906s very good too

The baffle of my Audiovectors are 52 cm from the rear wall. My dealer carried out the adjustment and we both agreed the placement worked well.
On your other points, we considered other finishes (seen them in red!) but the white suited our room and the money saved went elsewhere - see the system pics thread. I have twice had a demo of the Arrete and I would describe the treble as clear and airy, not sharp or fatiguing at all, although YMMV. I will confess this was with AV speaker cable and their grounding cable. I couldn’t justify the Arrete’s when I bought mine but I am currently saving up!


I find your post very interesting - but I still think that the hearing aids are at least partly responsible. Hearing aids are far from perfect, even the latest ones - they may have improved but they cannot work wonders.
We can hear the top end better, but what causes the treble to sound harsh may be, simply, the distortion added by those tiny hearing aids. That is certainly my case; to be honest, I haven’t noticed much difference when listening to other people’s speakers. And lots of people don’t find the PMCs harsh - they can’t all be wearing hearing aids.
But this is a very personal issue, and we all have to find our own solutions.

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@Jeff105 . Of the two dealerships you mention, I have been very happy with the one in Belbroughton, much less so the one in Birmingham, who I believe didn’t guide me well when I started my Naim journey. Maybe I didn’t ask the right questions, the dealer set up the gear gave me the remotes and left me to it. I have not been back.

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Hi Bob,

Thanks for that useful insight. I had wondered how ATC and Proac could be happy with a dealer who has shut down for such a long period when others are open and attending promptly to customer enquiries.

When I was first trying to understand this new fangled streaming lark and before I had made any decision to adopt it I did call in on them for a chat, by prior appointment, expecting some sort of demonstration to help me understand the concept and the level of expenditure on hardware which it might require. Instead I was treated to a few brief words standing in their reception area. I was a bit nonplussed actually.

In the several years since then I could not have been given better service than Adam, the Solihull branch manager of Music Matters, has given me. This outfit exemplifies what a purveyor of high end gear should offer and I have tried to put all my business with them. But if they don’t stock it, you can’t buy it there.

John at Midland Audio Exchange is a real gent. Patient and knowledgeable, and not trying to force his preferences on you or to upsell. Again, it was a pleasure to be there, but sadly most of the brands he stocks are beyond my pocket. Franco Serblin stuff looks divine, but it’s out of my reach (just like the Sonus Faber Olympica 3 referenced above) and I’m not sorry. Don’t think I will ever come to the view that goods at these price levels are necessary to the enjoyment of this hobby. But John was happy to spend time with me even though I was clear about my more modest budget and aspirations from the outset. He’s a nice person.

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Another SF / Serblin fan here. Mine are said to be the last speakers from his hand before he left SF.

Not sure if this has been suggested but how about something from the BBC heritage like Graham or Spendor Classics?

The little Vivid S12 speakers I am using sound real sweet…I am 60 and have some tinnitus (always have had it) I am very sensitive to treble harshness. I originally had PMC20.21s and they were brilliant (literally)…however, I found the treble slightly elevated and slightly edgy…meaning you had to have your setup spot-on…which I managed. If you look at some of the reviews for this pmc the treble is elevated by a few dB. The Vivids immediately struck me as being very sweet…without being dull… I am not sure if the latest pmc speakers are as peaky as the 21’s… I also tested the B&W 805D3 this has a really sweet and detailed treble…

Nice to see new semi converts to audiovector. W If Another route to take is to go for the r1 avantgarde wh and keep the sub you have an d iit integrated with the r1s.
It is a high jump in price to get to the avantgarde level but the amt tweeter makes a big difference!

John, as far as I can gather, “gets” what Naim are all about and the same for Shahinian. He has a used pair of Obelisks you may find worth auditioning….

If they are well run in, their tweeters will have come into their stride (they can be a little harsh when new).


Hi Jeff

Pleased you found my comments useful, my second and last visit to the Birmingham dealer was similar, no proper demo. A friend also went there a got much the same service. He spent his £6k ++ in Music Matters as did I when I started my Naim journey, their service has been excellent. My recent purchases are from John Roberts and again great service, very knowledgeable, relaxed, unhurried and I spent a rather large chunk of my pension pot.

I would checkout the Living Voice Avatar R4.
This speaker was recommended by the dealer and he told me that he sold them to musicians with hearing problems. (Tinnitus)
Unfortunately I have that problem to and that’s why I bought them. (And love them :+1:t3:)

I tried the Harbeth P3 ESR and it did not grab me. My hearing overall must be so poor now that I failed to hear the magical subtleties which many others find there. Bass only down to 75Hz of course, so a fail at both ends of the spectrum for me.

These fail the wife test, and for that matter the me test too just on looks, and the wallet test as well. Can’t ever imagine products like this feeling at home in our staid and beige environment. They deserve to live in a nice cheerful techno pad really with folks who appreciate that design milieu.

As you say the previous version of this range of PMCs like mine take no prisoners. I have tried toeing them back out again to reduce the treble emphasis but to no avail.

Well I certainly liked the Signatures at the dealers, but with two rear ports I’m now doubtful how they might sound placed too near for comfort to the back wall. The high jump in price to the Avantgarde is not for me when the soft domes sound so nice. And cheap(er). Compared to the upper reaches of the range of course. I have accepted I am no longer bothered to strive towards lofty peaks of all kinds.

Yes. And he does not stock the 500 series and above. Classic is his limit. He also drives a white Golf R, which makes him ok in my eyes.

Obelisks just look weird to me. Like Neat Iota Alphas and Explorers. They look like a re-purposed de-humidifier. This is my failing, not the products.

I have to steel myself and go there when I can because they are the only game in town for the two marques which are most likely to offer the solution I need at a price I can afford. I’m no longer up for long jaunts in the car, courtesy of the old prostate thingy. They have offered to have any product delivered to my door with unconditional right to return, but you can’t park anywhere near them and I’m not going to try taking a pair of SCM40s back into town on the 50 bus, thankyouverymuch.

Interesting. But having Googled I can’t find out much about them, and apparently no UK stockists? Where do you live? Where could I see and hear them?

From their website

Ultra high performance audio products for the world’s most discerning music lovers. Designed & manufactured in England.

Long Eaton huh? No prices. Does no bode well, unfortunately.

No, the more I delve into this the more it seems the shortlist will likely comprise ATC, Proac, Neat, or of course the SF Sonetto 3 which I know I like the sound of, can afford, can be placed close to the wall, will be delivered to my door for a home demo, and will be offered with a keen deal on price and trade in by a dealer I know and trust and out of loyalty want to give my business to. It’s just the looks…

They certainly do look different (and precede the Neats by quite a number of years).

Listen to them, especially as a lover of classical music, and you may well change your mind, though, finding all other speakers look like uninspiring coffins that only vary in size and not presentation.

I’ve certainly not find any other speakers that bring an orchestra to life in the same way - or a strinq quartet or jazz band etc.

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Just re-read this and it has finally sunk in that this means the front of your R3s is a mere 52cm from the wall. This obviously had me baffled on earlier reading. Easily done.

Perhaps I might go to the ball after all?

@Michaelb I do appreciate your insight and advocacy for this brand but no, price and appearance rule them out. Large speakers of any kind and design are certainly intrusive objects in a domestic interior and the enthusiast, if wise, and if not blessed with a single purpose listening room, will remain sensitive to the thoughts and opinions of their partner, if they have one. I too just don’t see pieces in this form factor as acceptable in a living room. But that’s just me. I’m imprinted on the conventional appearance of the big vertically oriented boxes which for me are what speakers should look like, as long as they are nicely made and finished, which the Audiovectors most certainly are. Yep, hidebound is what I am alright.

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Perhaps LS35A…they can sound pretty good to my ears…and are more conservative than pmc’s…you could also try something from the Spendor family… these are perhaps more classically balanced…

Hi Jeff, I live in the Netherlands. Just search the LV website for dealers or send them an email.

You may well rule out my suggestion on aesthetic grounds, because planar speakers certainly divide opinion in that respect. However, they would certainly provide you with deliciously sweet sound (in my opinion unmatched at their price point) for just under £3,000.

My suggestion would be the Magnepan 1.7i planar speakers - beautiful sounding and also very elegant in their own way.


You can even, incidentally, iron your clothes :joy:


More than a plan, a Magneplan - and wrinkle-free!


I learned a word today: wrinkle free. Thanks :grin: