need recommendations for standmount speakers

Hi guys.

I’m looking for new standmount speakers. Budget is up to 3k but can stretch if needed. 

My current setup in my small bedroom (about 3x3m size) is as follows:

Cambridge Audio cxn v2
Benchmark dac3b
Benchmark hpa4
Benchmark ahb2
B&W 606 on b&w stav 24 stands
Rel t7i

Music is from tidal/roon and I have done REW on this setup. Somehow feels like something is missing.. I can’t pinpoint what exactly, but perhaps lacking some weight in the mids..

I’ve tried the Buchardt S400 for a month before eventually returning them. Although very good speakers, I felt they lacked a bit of high end sparkle. I preferred the top end of the b&w.

Unfortunately, I can’t have the speakers more than 20 cm from the back wall. They’re about 5 feet apart.

Any recommendations for new speakers? I was considering the B&W 705 s2, Dynaudio Special 40 and Focal Aria 906. Home demo is pretty hard to arrange where I’m at.
I have the ProAc Tablette 10 signature and love them. I am using it in my attic space with Rega Brio and Rega dac-r. 
Not Dynauadio Special 40 if you are looking for sparkle. Focal Aria 906 definitely sparkles, but unlikely to be a good match for your electronics. I would suggest the Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2EX, which features a custom RAAL tweeter and proprietary SEAS EXCEL woofer.
Fritz Carrera features an under-control beryllium tweeter.  Might be up your alley.
@vinguard, I have owned both of those speakers ...

imo, I wouldn’t say that the Special 40’s lack sparkle, it’s just that they lean a lot towards the mid-bass. OP wants both more mid-bass weight and some top end sparkle - I think the S40 tonality might be a good match. The bigger problem might be that they need space around them - 20cm from wall might cause problems in that 3m x 3m room. would probably want to try the single port bung.

Sierra RAAL ribbons have revealing/clear top-ends for sure and would work well in the small space, but might not satisfy the desire for weight in the mids ... I found them (including the towers) a little too neutral/dull for music. But they excel in multi-channel home theater (which is where I use them).

Out of the 3 you have listed I would go with the Focal in that small of room that close to the wall. I especially suspect the Dynaudio would be pretty boomy. In the right room I would go Dynaudio all day. 
We have currently a lot of monitors in that price range, from ATC, KEF, Dali, Paradigm, Quad. 

The Quad Z2 is one of the best sounding monitors we have ever heard in the $2,500.00 price point. 

All the drivers are custom designed including one of the best sounding ribbons we have ever heard. Most ribbon tweeters have a bit of glare along with their superior speed and articulation.

The Quad's tweeter is a pure ribbon bonded to a thin layer of plastic which damps the metal which stops the normal ringing which occurs in most conventionally designed ribbon tweeters.

The Quad Z series tweeter is also considerably larger than most ribbons which allows it to handle more power as well as having a lower crossover point.

The Quad Z2 throws a gigantic sound stage, the midrange is smooth and full bodied, the bass is also quite deep and tight. 

The Z2 also uses a custom designed Kevlar midrange/woofer which integrates beautifully with the tweeter.

Quad hired Peter Comenaeu the genius behind Heybrook loudspeakers who previously had spent years at Heybrook developing a proprietary ribbon tweeter to spearhead the Quad dynamic loudspeaker project.

They have been receiving rave reviews all over Europe.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Quad dealers
Thank you, everyone, for all your suggestions! I'll be honest, some of the brands mentioned, I've never even heard of. Looks like my work will be cut out for me and I've a lot of reading up and listening to do. 

The Quad Z2 look interesting. Only experience I've had with Quad is with the 11L and that was so many years ago. 

I've really got to try and find a Harbeth to listen to. Never heard one in person all my life... 
Save yourself a bundle and buy a nice pair of Joseph Audio RM7XL Monitors available now on AudioMart for $1300. You’ll be thrilled. 
how about a pair of used Proac Response D2?  They are front-ported, and do just about everything well.
I have the b&w 705. They are very good I used to have the 605, these are better.
I'm quite a bit more bass, and a high-end is extended. The separation is better. So is the imaging.
If you like the sound of B&W, I don't think you can go wrong with these

It would be remiss not to include ATC SCM19's (or SCM11's) on this list, as the sealed design works well near walls, they have revealing tweeters, and mid-bass punch ... downside is that they are too neutral and/or analytical for some.
I would recommend front ported (since you are placing it close to wall) speaker from Selah Audio. You can choose between speaker with RAAL tweeters which offer good dispersion (my choice) or go with traditional dome tweeter. Rick is a good designer and he can build you speaker you like (with respect to finish you want in your room) or you can check for used selah speakers. Highly recommended.
How do you quote people/replies on this forum?? 

Thanks again, everyone, for taking the time to reply. I see Raal ribbons are quite popular. 

The ascend acoustics Sierra 2ex look nice and I've googled and read some reviews. Not sure if I can source or even audition them locally.. Will see if they have a distributor here in Singapore.

I've also actually tried emailing Tekton as I'm looking at their double impact full towers to replace my lounge set Dali Ikon 6 mk2 I think they're due for an upgrade.. But unfortunately they have not replied me.

Have auditioned the Klipsch 600m and I actually prefer my 606 and the Buchardt S400 over the 600m.

Will Google Selah.. I've not heard of them till now.

I've heard the dynaudio s40, excite, evoke and they sounded great in the showroom but they were well spaced out and far from the back wall. There was one dynaudio (can't remember which model) I auditioned which was close to the back wall and the sound was a bit of a mess, muddy and congested.

You can never go wrong with a pair of Watkins Stereo Gen 4s, amazing sounds quality out of a small speaker. 

How do you quote people/replies on this forum??

Copy, what you want to quote, by right clicking on it. Open a "post your response" box and paste the text you want to quote. Once the text is pasted, right click on it again and highlight it. Once the text is highlighted, click on the " just above the top left corner of the "post your response" box. That will turn it into a quote. 

Paradigm Prestige 15Bs are outstanding, and $1600/pair. I'd give them a listen. I haven't heard better for less than $6500.
Copy, what you want to quote, by right clicking on it. Open a "post your response" box and paste the text you want to quote. Once the text is pasted, right click on it again and highlight it. Once the text is highlighted, click on the " just above the top left corner of the "post your response" box. That will turn it into... 

Hey thanks! I think it works. 

Anyways, was browsing through some speaker reviews and was curious if anyone here had any comments on the Kef R3. 

I have had the KEF R3s with the KEF R400B subwoofer for about a year. I think the combination is great. I have not heard most of the other speakers mentioned in this thread so I cant give you a comparison. I have the R3s in piano black to match the sub, they are very well made and beautiful. I power them with a Yamaha AS2100 and it seams to be a good match. I'm shopping for a new TT and cartridge, that should make it even better. They have a very natural sound alone.  For my taste the sub was necessary and is adjustable. Soundstage is very good, instrumentals such as jazz and classical are extremely clear. Vocals also are excellent. I'm very happy, let me know if you need any further info.
Theres a pair of R300 for $900 on Audiomart or Audiogon, I can’t remember where I saw them...

The new Wharfedale Evo 4.2 may be something to consider.  The Wharfedales may be my next purchase.  I heard the floorstanding version at RMAF this year and they were fantastic.  Great build quality and very extended, sparkly highs.  Fairly wide sweet spot also.  The venner on the cabinets is really nice looking!
Thank you for the Wharfedale suggestion. My last speaker from them were the Diamond 9.1. The 4.2 I've just found out are available to audition. So will be adding that to my list during my walkabout. Thanks! 
Hey AudioTroy

So you are saying Quad ribbons are better than the AMT tweeters  like the ones used by Martin Logan motions and Elac Carina etc.?
I just wanted to give a quick update.

No more speaker recommendations needed for now as I’ll have my work cut out for me trying to demo some of the speakers above.

Yesterday i managed to audition the Dynaudio Special 40 again.

The Dyn S40 was hooked up to a Hegel 190, with the same speaker cables as my own (chord epic) and similar stands. The speakers were about 10 cm away from back wall and in a small cove ie not much space to right and left of speakers. Speakers placed about 5 ft apart. Room was smaller than my own.

Wow! I was blown away. These are some pretty amazing speakers.. So dynamic. Very clear highs. Super sweet vocals. I seriously thought there was a subwoofer connected, because the bass was just so deep, full, punchy and textured.

Hegel volume display was at 60 so I think lots more headroom to go, but speakers were already plenty loud.

If this is the first speaker in the list.. I really hope the rest of the speakers are just as good.

Price for new is around usd3240. Grey cabinet..

In the same showroom I saw the new Confidence line. They’re really huge speakers! Much bigger in real life than I thought, with the price to match.

The speakers were about 10 cm away from back wall and in a small cove ie not much space to right and left of speakers. Speakers placed about 5 ft apart. Room was smaller than my own.

Were there any foam bungs in the rear ports? Surprised it didn't get all messy in the bass given those confines.
I checked with the dealer yesterday; there were no foam bungs in place.

Went to audition the Focal Aria 906. They were connected to a Naim Uniti. Mids and bass were good, but occasionally sounded a bit muddy and congested when passages were complex. The highs sounded a bit too rolled off for my preferences. 

I went to the Kef dealer to try to audition the R3 but he was a bit of an ass and just didn't want to hook up the speakers, even though there was no one else in his shop and he was just playing on his phone. Asked me to come back over the weekend instead.. Whaaat? I'm trying to spend some money here and you don't even wanna get off your ass to hook up two speakers? I got annoyed and left.

Not sure if it was a loss to me as I just read a thread on avsforum where this guy did blind a/b test between kef r3 and ascend Sierra 2ex and the 2ex won.. 

Close to pulling trigger.. 
I wold still give the KEFs an audition from the jackass. You don’t want to be wondering “what if” after you make your purchase.

 If you happen to prefer the KEFs, buy  them from someone else!
PS, I'm a KEF guy. LS50's at home and REF 1's at the office. I've had both close to a rear wall and didn't think things got too muddy.
Your amp and DAC are not warm at all. I owned both and was happy using them with KEF LS50, though a warmer speaker may have been even better. When I recently went to demo some Luxman amps they used some Harbeths and I thought the Harbeths would be good with the Benchmark. I found the Harbeth fun, not the type of speaker I am normally drawn too, but if I have extra rooms I would not mind having a pair.
KW64 yes the Quad ribbons are different then an AMT driver. 

The AMT driver is a larger folded diaphram usually made out of some kind of plastic  that use small strips of wire to drive the diaphram.


Regular ribbon a flat sheet of metal in  large magnetic field.


Quad Ribbon a flat sheet of metal in a large magnetic field with a very thin layer of plastic bonded to it, hence a damped ribbon.


Great power handling as the diaphram is less fragile and more flexibile
Greater power handling and output
The damping layer takes out the sizzle quality of a pure ribbon as the metail is not slightly damped, creating a sweeter but highly detailed sound.


Less top end extension than a 100K rated ribbon

In our experience for the price of $2,500.00 a pair one of the best sounding monitors we have ever heard.

Considering we sell Dali, Kef, Paradigm, ATC, Elac, which all make fantastic monitors that is a big thumbs up.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ 
Thanks Dave and Troy for explaining the differences! Btw since you are dealer for Elac have you heard of the new Elac Carinas and how they compare to the Quad S2 or Z1?
Hi everyone. 

Just an update. I decided to pull the trigger on the ascend acoustics Sierra 2ex and they are arriving today. Took about 4 days to ship from usa to Singapore via DHL. Had to fork out for some hefty shipping, PayPal fees, cc conversion and import tax. I do hope they were worth it!

Thank you for all the advice given. It is very much appreciated. 
So what did you think about the sierras, and what did you decide on?

I think I made the right choice. They went well with my small-ish room. 

They have good low extension and tight punchy bass. There is a good amount of bass, so much so that I could even run it without my REL sub and still be happy with the sound. 

The raal ribbon is quite impressive; so much clarity and air up top. 

I have no regrets going with the 2ex. The buy was sweetened by the fact I got them during the introductory/holiday discount.