Good speakers for Gaincard under $1500?


I have the Silverline SR11 and borrowed a friend's ProAc Tab 50 Sig.

To make a long story short, I am listening to my old NHT SuperOne. SR11 sounds too recessed, and Tab50 sounds too hyper to me. I find the SuperOne more natural sounding than both ProAc and Silverline. Sad day for me indeed...

So, what are some good speakers around $1000 give or take a few Gs to match with the Gaincard? A few speakers that I got my eyes on and can afford and haven't listend to are:

Audio Physics Spark-avaialable used on Agon
Von Schweikert VR-1
Audio Physics Yara
Dunlavy SC1/AV or SC2/AV
HorneShoppe's The Horn
Moth Cicada
NHT 1.5, ST-4 or SB-3

Some speakers I'd love to hear but can't afford:

Rethm entire line
Konus Essence
Silverline Sonatina
Audio Physics Virgo
Dunlavy SC-iii
Von Schweikert VR-4 SE

Rest of my system:
Meridian 500
Channel Island VDA-1 and VAC-1
All Bogdan cables except a Virtual Dynamic Audition Power on the transport

Please share your opinions with me. Thanks.
Though they should be quite detailed within their range check out the single driver speakers @ (

They use Jordan drivers and are similar in design the the Euro speakers which are popular with 47 Labs gear (forget their name).

I have listened to these drivers in similar DIY cabs and liked their sound. The ones that I heard used the wide front baffle design (not the narrow one).

If the amp will handle a 4 ohm load then maybe check out the new Reynaud Twins. I have not listened to the new model but have used the original version for more than two years now. My only reservation is that I have found the Twins to sound quite a bit different (better) with tube amplification (they have a planer like quality with a good SET amp that is not there @ all with the SS amps that I have tried).

There is also a new speaker (forget the name, but it's something like "VPMS) that uses a ribbon tweeter. It has been receiving positive feedback and if you mainly listen while seated (due the directionality of the tweeter) it might be something to look into.

The Carolina speakers are $1500 and the VPMS (whatever it's called) is $1600, or so. The Twins are $850, but do require high quality stands to perform their best (figure another $250-$400).
Hey Dekay,

The Carolina stuff looks intrugueing. Just hopped on their website per your suggestion and found the JTM with Jordan drivers. These look like exact replicas of the 47 Lab designed and European hand made Konus Essence speakers that list for $3500. The JTM are list at $1500 but has a "March Sale" listed on their website. I will email them.

The VMPS and Reynaud speakers are not pretty. I like odd looking speakers. A fashion statement?


Hi Ed:

Yes, that's it Konus. They treat the wood in some manner and most likely use different internal wiring, but the basic cabinet is a Jordan design, I think. The Jordan drivers themselves retail for approx. $250/pr.

I was pretty close VMPS Vs VPMS.

I almost purchased the Carolina speakers approx. one year ago (@ an introductory price), but did not have enough watts to properly power them (too much change for me @ one time - speakers plus the amps).

The owner/builder's name is Ronnie (enjoyed talking with him on the phone a few times). He will probably install the hookup wire of your choice if you mail it to him.

I will be using my vintage full range 8" drivers (Stephens 80FR's) as main speakers soon, due to downgrading my system. Not really a downgrade sound wise (just a different type of sound), but as I will probably end up selling my big amp (12 watt push/pull 6bq5) I will then have nothing to power the Twins (3 watts is not enough for full-scale music in our living room).

As you are looking for art as well as sound you might also consider locating a pair of the Gallo Solo's (one big ball with a top mounted tweeter on Gallo Barcelona stands). If your room is not too large they might work with the Gaincard and they are great/unusual looking speakers (only available used and $1200-$1500 would be a fair price for this model, I think).

I do find the Twins to be attractive with the right stands (they look/balance well with my Target HR70 and the Reynaud Magic stands), but I have to admit that they did look kind of stupid on some frail (single post) stands. I'm tired of having speaker stands in the living room anyway, so will make taller floor standing cabinets for the Stephens drivers when I an able budget high quality materials for the project (they are currently in vintage cabinets).
Hey Dekay,

Your response seems almost God send to me. I've talked to Ronnie on the phone and asked him like a billion questions. He's got a bit of that Southern/Ahmish accent and seems like a very nice guy.

Yes, I've asked him if I can send him cables to use internally. He said he needs 32" per speaker. So, I am thinking about sending him 10' per speaker and have the drivers connected directly to the Gaincard via Bogdan speaker cables. But, he told me he uses some type of magnet cables that are really similar to the Gaincard's OTA. It is some 24 gauge magnet cable if I remember correctly. So, I might ask him to run a length long enough to connect straight to the amp with those cables instead.

I also am thinking of taking the speaker to some autobody shop to get it painted there. Ron also offered to send me the speakers with 200 discount sans any finish. And, I can get some guy to do the finishing. But, his handy work looks quite good. I like the Shaker/Ahmish/Provincial finish on his speakers.

The Gallo, I think, look like how speakers would look like to me if I was on LSD "HEY the speakers are starring at me!!" I don't need eye balls in my living room. Although I did read they sound fanstastic.

Anyhow, I am 90% settled on getting the Carolinas. I don't get the introductory price *dammit* but he does have a sale running through march for $1200. But, actually, the more I look at them the less attractive they look... but I do like the finish on this particular Konus

Also, I grew up worshipping BnW Matrix speakers and did not know of Reynaulds until the last few years. So, to me, they look like mutated 805 speakers. Hey, that's how phenomenology works haha.

Thanks again DK!

The gaincard is really an amazing amplifier. The Carolina's look like a good product but are internally nothing like the Konus. The Konus has a radically different transmission line which really refines the sound... they sound amazing but $2000 more ?!?! arrg. But alas they are $3500 which is why I don't own a pair. You should really consider a pair of meadowlark kestrel wouldn't believe the sound with this combination. I would strongly suggest stay awaying from the speakers on your original list. I have had the sparks and they really only sound good loud. The Yaras are very dissapointing. I just sold a pair of Kestrel hotrods... but there are some deals to be had as the new Kestrel 2 is out. I would also strongly recommend using Symposium platforms/rollerblocks 47 Labs always use these at the Shows and it is well worth every penny.
Just wanted to clarify that the differences I was talking about with the Konus was in comparison with the plans at the Jordan website, not specfically the Carolina's. I am going to look into the Carolina's further as I am quite interested in them myself ...any owners out there ?
Hey Chellingworth,

I read on 6moon that Ted Jordan and Sead Lejilic co-designed the Konus. And, Ronnie told me he took the plans for the JTM speaker off of Ted Jordan's website. Yet, the production Konus is radically different than the plans on Jordan's website? I guess it's too good to be true that Jorday would put the production plans for the Konus as public domain property...

But, Ronnie did say he didn't follow the plans to a "T". He tapers the transmission line, buffered some stuff, and the bottom horn section is different.

I will look into the Kestrels, but I like the idea of having a "Konus" although its sorta like having a fake Rolex haha. My roommate actually told me to get the thin model instead of the Konus-esque flat model. But, I told her if I am going to get a fake Rolex, might as well get one that looks like the real thing.

There are some Carolina owners in Audioasylum. Ron sold a total of about 60 speakers...

OH, I've had my eye on Symposium Svelte shelves for a long time, but I am using a "Target" made cheap copy version: two chopping boards sandwiched together with rubber nubs in between. It is very solid and improves the clarity of the sound with my transport and Gaincard sitting on them.

I am also getting a Parasound CDP-2000, which uses the CEC belt-drive transport that is also used in 47 Labs transports. I think my system can be described as superPOORman's 47 Lab wannabe system if I get the Carolinas. Only the Gaincard is genuine.
Your post led me to a conversation with Ronnie. I was very impressed with his knowledge and experience.

Based on what I've heard about both the Konus and Ronnie's Carolina's. I would in know way call the Carolina's a poor mans version by any stretch. In fact I would say that they are just two variations on a similar design using the same great driver. The price difference I think has a lot more to do with the fact the Carolina's are built stateside and sold factory direct whereas the Konus are a dealer sold product built very far away.

Both products make refinements on the original design providing better bass and dynamics... wouldn't it be great to here them side by side....

I may have a chance to here the Konus at a dealer in the near future and I am seriously considering giving the Carolina's an audition at home, they are the ones in my budget anyway. and also give them a comparison to the Kestrel 2's that I'll have at home. Fun stuff....
Hey Chellingworth,

You are right. I am not giving the Carolina's justice by calling it the poorman's Konus. I meant it in a tongue and cheek way. Like you said, they do use the same drivers. I am not sure if the Konus is really different from the design on Ted Jordan's website since Sead co-designed it, and Sead is the maker/exporter of Konus speakers in Bosnia. So, if anything, the Carolinas are an improvement over the Konus if you believe Ronnie is capable of improving on the Konus. And, I do believe he is.

Yah, the Konus are hand built using "Bosnian pine wood" and finished with a rather stylish 6-layer lacquer. The Carolinas use MDF with black satin paint. So, there are some of your cost differences there too. None of which I believe would have an effect on the sound.

You can also order the Carolinas without any finish and do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. I am contemplating on the latter since I like the Konus look on this thread. But, most my friends like the black better. Art students don't like the wood look I guess.

Oh, and please update us on your experience with the Konus after you hear them.
Well, I just placed an order for the JTM speakers. Now I just have to wait 3 weeks for it to be built and shipped to me. I ordered it with extra long speaker cables directly connected to the driver, so there will be no connection issues to deal with.

Also, I ordered the black finish. Carolina speakers only comes in black, white or no finish. And, since Carolina speakers are made with MDF, staining the speakers to look similar to Konus like the one in the link would be difficult.

Dekay, I did come across the Reynauds Twin, and they are actually very good looking. I got the Twin mixed up with the other Reynaud speaker with the top mounted tweeter.
Viggen, and the top mounted tweeters were (let me guess:-) staring @ you? LOL!

I do not care for top mounted tweeters due to our free range cats (such a design is an accident waiting to happen in our household).

The drivers on the Gallo speakers (mentioned above) remind me of big nipples, but I can see how they would look like eyes to some.

If you find the new speakers to be good for the for the long haul you can always have them veneered @ some point.

I will be very interested in your feedback once the drivers have 200-300 hours on them (baby them @ first).

I think we need to start a new thread. Speakers and Psychodynamics.

Perhaps I have insecurities unknown to me and want to be away from prying eyes thus I saw eyeballs.

You saw nipples because... lets not go there haha.

I will let you know how the pseudo-konus sounds and away with this pseudo psychoanalysis.

But seriously, what do you think of the magnet cables that Ronnie uses in his speakers. I think it is a CAT 5? Or, rather, should I send him my own cables? The Bogdans I am using are inexpensive and are the best speaker cables I've used so far.
Hi Viggen:

Not certain about the cable.

I have listened to DIY speaker cables made from CAT 5 before, but the design was a complex one that killed the music compared to the simplistic speaker cable that I am used to (did not pay much attention to the Belden cable itself).

How is Ronnie using the CAT 5?

I think he is using 3 cables and braided. I am not certain. When he first spoke of the CAT cable, I was like HUH? So what he said about the cable after that went over my head. At first, I thought he meant the CAT that makes those preamps.

But I think I will send him 10ft pair of Bogdan to install.

Also, I understand you use OTA cables? Tell me, how do you use their speakercables? Single run each for hot and ground and bare-wire? So, if I want a 10ft pair, I will need 40 ft of OTA? Or, do you use braided multi-conductor thus needing more than 40ft for a 10 ft cable pair ?

Also, I just perused the OTA thread, there seems to be a degredation in sound quality when the OTA cable length is over 2M?
Well, I took a RJ-45 and a USB cable apart this morning. I only have one of each in the house. So, the RJ-45 is on the left speakers, and the USB is on the right. I am using only single 24 gauge conductors to each hot and ground posts on the amp and speakers. So far, the mids sound very very real. The highs and lows are not quite as present. Then again, I am only using SuperOnes at the moment.

I did use all 8 conductors in the RJ-45 cable on the left speaker, but it made the speaker play louder than the right speaker that is using the USB. The USB only has 2 conductors (and two very tiny ones that I didn't even bother stripping), so I am forced to use one conductor on each binding post.

I also found using a single conductor has a much more real portrayal in the midrange than when using all the RJ-45's conductors.

I also found this website very helpful.
Hi Viggen:

Yes, I use the 47 Labs cable in single runs (your calculations are correct).

I did not notice any difference in the sound between 3' and 12' speaker cables (tried both on a near field system that I used to have in the spare room). I do however try to keep the length of small gauge single run speaker cables to 12' (or less) as longer will start to roll off the HF's.
I use Cain & Cain Abbys (95 dB), and they work extremely well with my 25 w/ch Gaincard.
I think this thread is dated. Didn't you get a knock off of the Konus audio speaker for the system...aka Carolina Audio. Now, you have sold everything else off.
I have paired a SVS 16-36 Subwoofer with a pair of Cain & Cain Abby's for a wonderful sound. However, even when this speakers are designed for low powered tube amps, I powered them thru a pair of Odyssey Stratos Monoblocks at around 180 RMS each. The result has been that I decided to stop my search for audio nirvana once and for all. The amplifiers flow effortless due to the huge efficiency of the Abby's and my subwoofer fill the gap and seems to dissappear. This is a set up that is quite inexpensive and that will bring such listening pleasure that will make you question the "supermegabucks" audio market's existence.