• SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - NAD Viso HP50 Headphones (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - GoldenEar Technology's Anechoic Chamber (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - PSB's M4U 4 Earphones (April 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - GoldenEar Technology's Triton Two+ and Three+ Loudspeakers (March 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- KEF's LS50 (February 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Monitor Audio's Platinum II Series (January 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Pryma 0|1 Headphones (December 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- KEF's Blade Two Loudspeaker (November 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- KEF and the Uni-Q (October 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Monitor Audio Acoustics & Aesthetics (August 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- PSB's Imagine T3 Loudspeaker (June 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Hegel's H160 Integrated Amplifier-DAC (April 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- MartinLogan's Neolith Loudspeaker (February 2015)

To Hans Wetzel,

I enjoyed your review of CES and Vegas. I agree with your take on the place. I'm heading down for four days during spring break, and I'm sure that will be about all I can take. Still nice to get down to some higher temps for a few days.

Just a question: I have a pretty small office and have a secondary system in there. Nice front end (I think, anyway) with a VPI Scoutmaster outfitted with a Signature arm and a Shelter cartridge, an Arcam amp, a Burson DAC and little Silverline Minuet speakers. The Minuets replaced an old set of ProAc Tablettes. I'm sure they are easier to drive and more dynamic and have more bass, but I just feel they don't have magic. My issue is in this small office: they are only about 6’ away. I feel that a small speaker that spoke from the 10th or 15th row would be ideal.

I love the look of Sonus Faber's speakers. Do you think they might give me what I want in a small room? Or is there any other speaker you have auditioned that struck you as a great solution for a small space? Help me narrow down my search.

Thanks,
Ashley

Sounds like you have a terrific little system, though I can understand what you mean about the speakers. I have several suggestions, though I have not had the chance to formally review any of them.

GoldenEar Technology's $798/pr. Aon 2s would offer a more full-range sound than something like the Silverline, due in large part to the 6" driver on offer, compared to the 3.5" driver in what you currently own. Moreover, it uses the same tweeter as the one used in the Triton Three that I reviewed last December. I found the tweeter to offer broad, even dispersion that allowed for an enormous soundstage, but with a smoothly refined and relaxed quality about it. The "10th row" effect could most easily be found in something like the Aon 2s. While they are larger in every dimension to the Silverlines, they're still relatively compact.

For a more classical styling, I think you're on to something with Sonus Faber. I saw their Venere 1.5 bookshelf speakers out at CES, and heard the 2.0 models playing. They managed to retain the signature Sonus Faber sound -- warm, involving, relaxed -- while also remaining pretty resolving. Add to that the fact that 1.5s can be had for $1198/pr., while also looking fantastic, and I think they're an easy recommendation. I'm hoping to get a pair in for review in the coming months, but until then, I can't really comment any further on these.

My last recommendation would be PSB's Imagine Mini bookshelf speakers, which retail for $760/pr. Roger Kanno reviewed them last year for SoundStage! Hi-Fi, our sister site, and was bowled over by their performance given their diminutive stature -- approximately the same as your Silverlines. I was skeptical until I received a pair of PSB's Alpha PS1 powered loudspeakers a few weeks ago (review forthcoming). Sometimes I can tell how good something sounds within a few hours of background listening, but sometimes it takes much longer to pin down what I'm hearing. With the PSBs, however, which are conceptually very similar to the Imagine Mini (short of the built-in amplifiers), it took seconds. What I hear with these Alpha PS1s roughly mirrors what Roger heard with the Imagine Minis -- they have this "rightness" to the midrange that I haven't heard in this price range before. Given that the Imagine Minis measure crazy-flat and offer 4" woofers, compared to the 3.5" units on your Minuets (and have about the same cabinet size), they would probably be the neatest overall fit of the speakers mentioned here. However, they don't offer quite the relaxed sound that you're looking for. They're not forward, per se, but the GoldenEars and Sonus Fabers are almost certainly going to sound more laid back than the PSBs. Hope this helps. Let us know what direction you wind up going. . . . Hans Wetzel