Question Naturally detailed bookshelf speaker

luiscardoso88

Active Member
Hi everyone!

I‘ve an upgraditis case again. I use my stereo system for both music and movies (and TV shows) and, while I generally enjoy the detailed treble (and mids) of my Quad Z1s, on some shows the voices sound strangely off (nasal and really thin), which isn’t generally noticeable on the Monitor Audio Silver 2 I have access to.

Also, I listen to 60s, 70s and 80s rock (Dire Straits, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Barclays James Harvest, etc) and the tweeter seems to lack a bit of bite or body (although it‘s very detailed and I can hear water drops on movies that I cannot with the Monitor Audio Silver).

So I began looking for another pair of speakers. Had the opportunity to try the Quad Z2s and while they have plenty of bass, it bleeds into the mids so voices sound more detailed and natural on the Z1s.

Since I wanted to try and support British manufacturers that still operate in the UK, I went to hear some ATCs for the first time.

The ATC AD had a pair of SCM11 on display that I really liked, even with my weak Audiolab 6000A (also tried with the 150w integrated ATC and much to my surprise, at my moderate listening levels, there wasn‘t much in it). Rock sounded...”alive”! Drums, cymbals sounded realistic and the voices were well focused and fleshed out.

And then I came across some mint Monitor Audio Platinum PL100II at the same price as the ATC SCM11. I’m inclined to buy them and if I don’t like them, I‘m pretty sure I’ll be able to sell them without losing any money.

Do you think the Platinums are technically and sonically the better speaker? Would they be more detailed than the ATC even being “bassier”?

Thanks so much!
 

matthewpiano78

Active Member
Nexus 7i stands are quite high at 70cm. Do these place the Quad tweeters at ear level when you are in your listening/watching position, or are they too high? Getting this right could improve focus.

I would also add a caveat that so many of us can forget at times. Some of those recordings aren't great in the first place, and whilst they can sound enjoyable when the kit is right, there's only so much to be achieved sonically. Most of the BJH stuff, for example, is superb musically but pretty badly recorded, so there comes a point where you have to listen through those shortcomings and enjoy the music.

I think with the Platinums you are at risk of striking above the capabilities of the Audiolab. I would also say that although a very good amp for its price, the Audiolab does have a tendency towards thinness in the mids, and a slightly clinical nature overall. Trying a Quad Vena or Rega Brio may provide a better combination with your existing speakers. You could even go a bit further with the amp, and try something like the Rega Elex-R.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
Rock sounded...”alive”! Drums, cymbals sounded realistic and the voices were well focused and fleshed out.

From my personal experiences, I'd suggest you may be heading down a dead end path and you won't get the sound quality you're after. I think you need to investigate an alternative technology.

Can you get to audition a pair of active speakers (nearfield studio monitors) in your price range? IMO, they tend to offer better sound quality (i.e. greater accuracy) than passive speakers for similar outlay and their sonic strengths, generally, seem to be what you're aiming for. And your amp seems to be able to work as a pre-amp which could feed the active speakers and get's around the fact that the power amp section of the 6000A isn't particularly powerful.

In the £1 to 2k price range, I'd be looking at active speakers such as:
Hedd Type07
Focal Solo 6be
Genelec 8040
Dynaudio BM6A
Quested S7R Mk3
Adam A7X

All these actives will have more available power than the 6000A and, because they don't have passive crossovers (i.e. electrical sponges), they'll usually play louder and cleaner.
 

luiscardoso88

Active Member
Nexus 7i stands are quite high at 70cm. Do these place the Quad tweeters at ear level when you are in your listening/watching position, or are they too high? Getting this right could improve focus.

I would also add a caveat that so many of us can forget at times. Some of those recordings aren't great in the first place, and whilst they can sound enjoyable when the kit is right, there's only so much to be achieved sonically. Most of the BJH stuff, for example, is superb musically but pretty badly recorded, so there comes a point where you have to listen through those shortcomings and enjoy the music.

I think with the Platinums you are at risk of striking above the capabilities of the Audiolab. I would also say that although a very good amp for its price, the Audiolab does have a tendency towards thinness in the mids, and a slightly clinical nature overall. Trying a Quad Vena or Rega Brio may provide a better combination with your existing speakers. You could even go a bit further with the amp, and try something like the Rega Elex-R.

Thank you for raising these important points. My couch has kind of a high seating position, so I bought these stands after asking my friend to measure the ear height on my seating position.

She has a similar couch, a Quad Vena II, older 60cm Atacama stands and a pair of Monitor Audio Silver 2 and I can just about see the top of the speakers when I'm sitting.

Currently my ear just about matches the middle of the ribbon tweeter.

I also begin to think that the speakers are revealing the bad recordings and mics (more so on series than on music, in fact).

Regarding the amplifier I must say I'm not one to notice much difference across solid state amps. I've tried her Quad Vena II and I didn't notice any difference. And it makes sense: it's the same basic AB design, using the same 200VA transformer, same 15000uF Elna Caps (although just 2 of them instead of 4 in the Audiolab), same ESS Sabre DAC, etc.

Also, most current amplifiers measure quite well. The Audiolab, for instance, is only 0.13dB down on FR at 20KHz (I can only hear up to 17KHz) and distortion is always below well 0.01% (I listen at a 3m/10ft distance at about 65dB/70dB -oh, the perks of living in an apartment... :/ ). I surely am not one to notice such low levels of distortion or frequency response deviation.

I even tried the expensive ATC SIA2-150 (150w @ 8ohms) at the ATC dealer right after my Audiolab (using the inefficient SCM11 speakers) and only at high volumes it sounded more composed and in control than the Audiolab.

With that being said I really am curious about Rega amplifiers (especially after hearing their RX1 speaker doing voices so well - but the extra detail and soundstage of the more expensive ATCs had already stolen the show by then) but I do appreciate the added convenience of an integrated DAC and that has won until now.

The Audiolab is not on the same ballpark (price-wise) as the Platinums but it sounds very good to my ears (after having tried it with the Quad Z1s, Quad Z2s, ATC SCM11s, Monitor Audio Silver 2s) and it provides 85w (measured) over 4Ohms (PL100II are rated to 60-120w at 4ohms, as per their manual) and since I listen at low levels, I believe I won't be missing much (especially after the comparison with 5x more more expensive ATC).
 

luiscardoso88

Active Member
From my personal experiences, I'd suggest you may be heading down a dead end path and you won't get the sound quality you're after. I think you need to investigate an alternative technology.

Can you get to audition a pair of active speakers (nearfield studio monitors) in your price range? IMO, they tend to offer better sound quality (i.e. greater accuracy) than passive speakers for similar outlay and their sonic strengths, generally, seem to be what you're aiming for. And your amp seems to be able to work as a pre-amp which could feed the active speakers and get's around the fact that the power amp section of the 6000A isn't particularly powerful.

In the £1 to 2k price range, I'd be looking at active speakers such as:
Hedd Type07
Focal Solo 6be
Genelec 8040
Dynaudio BM6A
Quested S7R Mk3
Adam A7X

All these actives will have more available power than the 6000A and, because they don't have passive crossovers (i.e. electrical sponges), they'll usually play louder and cleaner.

I think you're right and I had already searched for Adam speakers recently after their (mostly) glowing reviews. Though I enjoy the classic idea of an integrated AB amplifier running passive speakers, your suggestion might represent the best course of action.

I'll also take a look at the others you've mentioned. Thank you!
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
Try and find a less-than-glowing review of the HEDD Type 07 - I couldn't. They are currently the sub £1.5k monitor to beat, it seems. A well-reviewed new kid on the block at under £1k:
APS Klasik2020
 

luiscardoso88

Active Member
Hi again!

Although there were some very good suggestions here, I couldn’t help it and went ahead with the PL100IIs, just because I can’t lose. Either I love them and they’re an upgrade over my Quads, or I sell them, most likely for a profit, even.

I will receive them in a few days and will let you know how I like them.

Thank you so much!
 

luiscardoso88

Active Member
I received earlier today my PL100IIs! They’re in absolute pristine condition (it seemed I was unboxing brand new speakers) and... they’re everything I wanted in a speaker!

The bass is astounding for such a compact speaker (will come in handy for movies), the mids are detailed and the highs are extended and very resolving as well.

Also, they’re very easy to drive and don’t require heaps of power. My Audiolab is plenty enough.

These speakers will be my end game for a fair few years. When I’m satisfied with something, “upgraditis” isn’t really something I suffer from. It’s just that I was never completely happy with my Quads.

Thank you all for chiming in!
 
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