Our most popular price range for loudspeaker sales is about $2k per pair, give or take a few bucks. We have an absolute embarrassment of riches in that price range. Let’s take a look.
Magnepan MG-1.7i, $2200pr (65h, 19w, 2d)
Magnepan’s 1.7i is impossible to beat for the money. That doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. But it might be the right choice for you.
Musically, Magnepan presents a very large, airy, lifelike image. The sheer size of the vocal coming at you from a Maggie is as convincing as any speaker, at any price. The 1.7i at $2200 per pair does not take a back seat to the plethora of $50-100k per pair, gigundo boxes out there. In fact, the Maggies sound less congested- at a fraction of the price!
Maggies do their best work on acoustic music. Vocal, guitar, piano… which is most of what I listen to. As a bad classical piano player myself, but one who practices every day nonetheless, the definition of the Maggie is unsurpassed.
When a world class pianist like Emanuel Ax is going to play a recital in NYC, he goes to the Steinway store and tries out several different pianos. Even among Steinway D’s, the king of concert pianos, no two are the same. Ax will test drive what’s on hand. The tone can be a little brighter or duller. The bass can be muddier or more taut. Which one does he choose? The one his wife tells him to- of course! She’s a Julliard piano teacher too.
Why wouldn’t we want speakers that can reveal the most subtle of nuances? Ax chose his piano for its sound (and action). Why not hear in your living room what he chose?
The 1.7i is a three way speaker implementing a super tweeter. It has true Quasi design throughout.
Magnepan MG .7, $1400pr (52h, 15 1/4w, 2d)
GoldenEar FF-4 Subwoofer $700 (13 1/8h, 13 3/8w, 17 7/8d)
For $2100 all in, you get an enticing combination. You get Maggie definition for most of the music, and the muscle of a subwoofer to augment the bottom end.
The Maggie .7 is a two way. It doesn’t have quite the transparency of MG-1.7i. But it is competitive. If you like rock music or heavier classics and want to throw some thunderbolts around the room, you might opt to give up a tad of precision to garner jaw dropping thunder.
GoldenEar’s FF-4 sub offers quite the value. With front firing 10” woofer powered by a 1200w amp, and down firing infrasonic radiator, FF-4 is no sissy. We’ve learned that most subs are underpowered. People tend to blow up the amp a few years down the road. GoldenEar has made subs since they opened their doors in 2009. We’re happy to report that they make the most reliable subs we’ve ever sold. We attribute a good part of that success to having plenty of engine under the hood.
Any time you go to an amplified performance of rock or jazz music, you are listening through subwoofers on stage. If this music is your cup of tea, it makes perfect sense to have a ferocious sub in your system. Be sure to get a GoldenEar!
We caution you not to buy a pile of parts from one of a myriad of web suppliers and screw them into a box. Numerous outlets are pushing such products. They offer poor reliability and expensive repairs after the minimal warranty- which undresses whatever bargain they purport at the time of sale. GoldenEar did the research and backs their subs better than anyone.
GoldenEar Triton 5, $2000pr (44 1/4h, 8 1/8w, 12 3/8d)
T-5 is GE’s new, “tower” using a ribbon tweeter. T-5 provides a foot print that’s easy to get in the room. It’s efficient at over 90dB, so you can drive it with anything, even a garden variety receiver. Hence domestically, it’s pretty tough to beat. T-5 offers open sound without being bright, good bass, and can be driven by anything. No matter what you have now, you can just substitute T-5 for your speakers and make a nice upgrade.
Tonally, T-5 leans to the soft and mellow. It isn’t sharp or bright. All GE speakers are based around the Heil Ribbon Tweeter design. The goal is to attain top flight detail without being brittle. We think they’ve done an excellent job!
Bryston A-3 $2775pr (37.5h, 9.25w, 15d, 53lbs ea)
In Bryston’s A-3 we have a speaker with a different spin. Bryston values testosterone and the ability to deliver big time volume compared to everyone else in this range.
A-3 delivers the biggest punch and horsepower in its price class. With extremely heavy duty drivers and a massively heavy cabinet- typically 25-50% heavier than similarly priced competitors- A3 delivers the goods. In a recent survey by English mag “What Hifi” of speakers under $2500pr, 43lbs was the heaviest competitor. Some were 30lbs. The A-3 is 53lbs.
A-3 uses two 6.5” cast frame woofs with monster magnets, a 5.25” cast mid and the same Titanium dome tweeter used in its bigger brothers. SPL-wise, A3 is 3dB lower than T-5. A-3 is powerful and smooth- not bright.
Whether you’re looking for a powerful theater or music system, Brystons are up to the task with a 20 year warranty!