To Hans Wetzel,
I am buying new speakers and don't want to spend much more than $2000 unless I need to. They need to go on stands. I would like to know what your favorite speakers are from this list: GoldenEar Technology Aon 3, KEF LS50, KEF R300, Monitor Audio GX100, Aperion Audio Verus Grand Bookshelf. If there are others I should know about, let me know.
Troy, you’ve singled out some great speakers in this list. If you’re definitely limiting yourself to bookshelf speakers, the KEFs are standouts in this group. The LS50 has received wide acclaim, including from our own Doug Schneider, while the R300 is the smaller brother of my reference R900 loudspeakers (review to be published on GoodSound! in May). The R300 has the benefit of a dedicated bass driver to complement its Uni-Q driver, and this allows for not only deeper bass, but also less distortion through the midrange, as the R300’s Uni-Q is not saddled with the burden of producing full-range sound. Personally, I find the LS50 to be the cooler design, but I’d bet the R300 will play louder, cleaner, and ultimately better than the LS50 for just a little more money.
The GoldenEar Technology Aon 3 should produce a broad, smooth sound for under $1000/pair, as would Aperion Audio’s Verus Grand Bookshelf. The GoldenEar will have greater low-frequency extension than the Aperion, but in the case of both companies, floorstanding models can be had for less than $2000 that bring significantly more to the table.
I can’t be sure why you’re limited to using stand-mounted speakers, but you should seriously consider GoldenEar’s Triton Three and Aperion’s Verus Grand floorstanders, both of which retail for just under $2000/pair. Both of these options will produce more bass than any of the speakers you’ve listed, and probably by a wide margin. I have not taken a good listen to anything made by Monitor Audio, but the GX100 was reviewed on our sister site, SoundStage! Hi-Fi, last year, receiving a Reviewers’ Choice award. I have also seen the GX100 at recent audio shows, and I have to say they are very pretty, and seem well-built. Though their fit and finish might be better, I suspect the GX100s will come up just a little short of KEF’s R300 in sound quality, as the KEF is a three-way design using the crazy-good Uni-Q. You may find the Monitor’s ribbon tweeter to be pretty intoxicating, however.
The only other suggestion I would have is Sonus Faber’s Venere 2.0. At $1699/pair, the stylish Italian bookshelf speakers would arguably be the best looking of this group, with the Monitor Audio a close second. With their matching stands, the price would be right around $2000.
Which is my favorite? By default it would have to be KEF’s R300 since I own its bigger brother, but every speaker here makes a compelling argument for itself in some form or another. The question is which fits your wants and needs, and you can only answer that by taking a listen to them all. Let us know which direction you wind up going. . . . Hans Wetzel