We know the usual advice regarding where to place the majority of our hard earned $ when building a system. I am interested in hearing from those who have broken the rules. I’ll go first. My front end components cost roughly ten times that of my speakers. After many years trying to improve on my Thiel 2.2 speakers I bought online Buchardt S400. They are fed PWT, DS sr, Jeff Rowland pre, JL Audio CR 1 crossover and share the stage with two JL Audio e110 subs. And I am happy, vocals rival my old Sound Labs, I have bass I could only dream of before, the soundstage is wide. OK, King Crimson is not happening but jazz, vocals and chamber is wonderful. Any other true confessions?
Seems like you’ve left a lot of room for improvement. Speakers are definitely the most important piece of the puzzle. You seem to have the rest set to give you a big boost when you are ready to move up the ladder from your current speakers. Good luck!
Thiels are great, no question. Nonetheless, the most massive improvement you could make would be with modern speakers (with the advancements in drivers) or with better used speakers from the Thiel 2.2 days forward.
My system spend is lopsided as well, but only because of my listening space
I’ve had a pair of Seas/RAAL/bamboo stand mounts, made by Dave Fabrikant of San Clemente, CA - 30 miles up the road from me, for 3+ years - $1100/pair
In that time I’ve carefully selected each and every component behind them and they’ve resolved each and every step quite nicely.
…I’ve spent the last 6 months auditioning other stand mounts and I must say there are some super genuinely great transducers out these days.
I’m quite handy and have built a few ‘boxes’ of all sorts over the years I’m impressed by the show of quality build as the top 3 of 10 pairs I’ve listened to, each for more than a few weeks, in the past 6 months using off the shelf drivers.
It is relatively easy to move and store when they are only 20-30 lbs. each and between 8-10 liters in volume
All have been priced by purchase shipped to me, I pay return or flat fee, with minimum 30 days, preferably 60 days eval, $1.1k - 4k or about the cost of my Iconoclasts
The two pairs of Dynaudio were nice but two similar to my Ascends and not in the same league as the ATC playing the past 2 days- we’ll see after 6 weeks.
…I had some SVS and ELAC and I learned that I cannot live with Darth Vadar piano black and they are less refined in many areas
Cherry is nice, bamboo is nice
after playing wide band pink noise at 70db wired out of phase facing each other to null the output in the garage for 2.5 days - a bit of exercise does a body good
My place is small with significant lower frequency room gain with modes at 45hz and multiples to ‘work’ with
It becomes difficult to spend more, if that was my primary goal, as the speakers quickly get much too large for my listening area. Not just physical size and weight but I can do better with dual subs strategically placed in the space to work together with the room and not against it.
Highly rigid walls and ceilings made of 1952 Southern California lath and plaster and raised red oak suspended flooring throughout
I use 4 panels - 2 diffusers and 2 absorbers, pillows and a couple Bernese mountain dog/middle poodle cross active absorbers tuning the reflection points to taste
I sometimes struggle to write coherent sentences, hope this makes sense
Very impressed,Brett. I am not a diy person but appreciate the talent in others. Where I live the days of take home trial of speakers from a local shop seem to be over. This reality may increase the likelihood of mismatched symptoms. I look at this situation as an experiment, perhaps there are unconventional systems that produce good sound but are more affordable, less massive and fit into a multi use room.
100% agree and feel I’ve built a quite nice one given my constraints. It fills my entire 1300 sq ft with wonderful music
I live in North San Diego county and there used to many more shops 30 years ago but I’ve only built 2 systems in those years so I never really hung out at them enough to listen for more than an hour or so
I’m fortunate shipping costs are quite low given my populous location thus they’ve all been delivered to my door and drop-off returns less than a mile away though I don’t abuse the try/return policy and have purchased a couple of times via the distributor and choose the demo/eval units as they have some time with energy running through them.
Some have certainly needed more time than others and one pair I liked for 3 weeks and then it turned and went backwards for long enough I decided to move to the next pair
One thing I note is how well the two speakers null when face to face and out of phase with a mono pink noise signal - it’s rather easy to hear how well matched they are or aren’t. No doubt the better matched the better they sound for me.
Oh, my next and last are the Buchardt S400 up against the ATC SCM11 v2. One or the other will stay to share their spot in the closet with the Ascends.
~$30k feeding 1/10 to 1/20 value in speakers but certainly not misallocated for the circumstance and last system in my last home