2.1 Channel setup discussion with photos!

Damn that money tree looks bangin! Here is a pic of mine:

I think I pay attention to my headphones too much and not enough to other things :joy:


I think you may have overwatered.
As a Financial Advisor, I’m not permitted to post the words “Money Tree” on my work LinkedIn or Facebook. I used “Pachira”, and the famous plant that rhymes with “Honey Bee”. Seriously. For some reason compliance thinks I’m promising something if I say Money Tree. Maybe if I posted the words with a picture of yours, it would get by.


1). These are hard to photograph.
2). They are two feet taller than what they replaced, yes I will need to move the art.
3). Kind of a bucket list acquisition for me.


Nice transducers and abode.


I forgot about this thread! I need to update my Schiit…@mfadio


I forgot about it also. Posted about a 2.0 channel setup in On-Topic Off-Topic thread
It really isn’t 2.1 and maybe the topic police would cuff me here.


So, I think I’ve finally nailed my headphone setup, and am ready to dive into the world of 2 channel. Don’t really know where to start. I also bought a house a year ago and have a finished basement, so finally have the room.

I have demoed harbeth speakers in the past, and I felt that is as good a place to begin my search as any. I also have a pair of KEF LS50W, and like the british monitor sound.

Part of me wants to just jump into the deep end and look at the Harbeth 40.3xd. That said, the speaker may be too much for my room. While I have a relatively large basement, the listening area wouldn’t be massive. They are also very expensive.

I’d like to use my Dave/MScaler/Lumin U1 as a front end for any 2-channel system I have. That said, I am using both of Dave’s outputs for my Woo Wa33 and Enleum amp 23r. So I’d need a switchbox of some kind. The biggest challenge is my headphone setup is on the other side of the room to where my speakers would be. Short of moving it - I’d need to run either XLRs from the dave to a poweramp on the other side of the room, or speaker wire if I put the amp with my headphone rack. I’ve tried to figure out how I could realign my headphone setup, but it’s hidden away a bit, and from a WAF standpoint, it would be better if it stayed there.

As for amps, I have been looking at integrated amps, because I’d like to use the speakers with my TV, and make it not impossible for my wife to use. Also, potentially thinking of something that has a DAC, so I can use that for the TV, and run music through the Dave. Otherwise, I have to run digital coax from the TV to the Dave across the room too, and, from a control standpoint - I’m sure I could make something work - but it would be complicated.

Anyhow, I know I have to demo some speakers, but I’m struggling with logistics a bit. It’s hard for me to rationalize buying another DAC, when I’ve invested so much in a world-class digital front end for my headphones, though it would make like easier at least in terms of placement.

Any suggestions, reccomendations, etc would be much appreciated. Especially, if you have dealt with trying to merge a head-fi setup and a 2 channel setup.

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I hope the rest of you wants to listen to them, not just look. I have that same interest, but found that I’m pleased with my EgglestonWorks Nico Evo - so much so that I really want to listen to some of their bigger bretheren before I make any moves. These speakers, made in Memphis, TN, have a sound that is very much in the range of the monitor sound. They did remind me of Harbeth.

So put EgglestonWorks on you list to audition. I would not be surprised if you also like their OSO at roughly $10K. The person who restored my amp used to be a dealer - and sold his place to the folks who sold me the Nico Evos. He had the floor stander version, the Emma Evo in that shop - has more woofer than my bookshelfs. He tells me that EgglestonWorks very much has a house sound.

I have demoed the 40.2, but it was a couple years ago - and I need to listen to a range of speakers, you are absolutely right. The challenge is finding a dealer with enough good lines that I can ensure I’ve heard enough.

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Where are you located? From my home in Lancaster PA there are several good stores within a 90 minute drive. But nothing really convenient.

Plenty of dealers, I just don’t know where to start. I’m in Long Island.

I am interested in Harbeth because I’ve demoed them before and I have the KEFLS50w and like the monitor sound. I’ve also had Meridian hand me downs in the past.

I’m also interested in a Lumin P1, because I have a U1 for my headphone system and really like it. I also like the fact that it has HDMI inputs and is Roon Ready, so I can easily use the system with my TV and streaming.

It’s hard enough to find a dealer that carries both, let alone know what other lines I should consider to pick a couple of dealers to set up demos with.

If you like the monitor sound then Harbeth, EgglestonWorks, and Vandersteen should be on your list

And don’t forget Splendor and Graham Audio ( the Graham BBC LS speakers rival Harbeth, I would love a pair of their BBS LS 5/9’s. ).

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2.2 Sonus faber Olympica Nova V with stereo REL Subs. Quick Cell phone snap.


So I thought the Sonus Fabers were full range, and subs might not be needed.

I had an opportunity to go to a few dealers and check out some speakers. The Harbeth 40.3 XD, Harbeth SHL5+, Credo Evo 900 Mkii with a Chord Dave > Gryphon Diablo 120.

I also heard a Paradigm Floorstander, a Kef R3, a Focal Kanta and a Martin Logan ESL Impression 13A with a Chord Qutest > Pass Labs Int 60.

I fell in love with both the Harbeth and the ML Electrostats. I am very much a tone guy and both sets of speakers were very involving - made me just want to listen to music for hours and not leave (specifically the HL5+ and the Impression 13A). The 13A is a bit more expensive, but in discussing discounts, both systems would be in my price range. That said, I’m leaning towards the Martin Logans because they did technicalities at a higher level than the Harbeths, while still maintaining the tone. My next favorite was the Focal Kanta no 2 - so I may listen to that again in comparison to the other two.

I am going to do more listening, but I don’t think anything can compare to the MLs to me. Plus, I have a relationship with that dealer and he will check out my room, make recommendations before purcgase, install and calibrate after. The MLs also had near perfect cohesion between woofer and panel. In this generation, apparently, it’s nearly been perfected. The sweet spot isn’t huge, but I can live with that if the sound is great in the sweet spot of my room.

That said I am still a little overwhelmed by what I’m reading about the fussiness of electrostatic drivers. Certainly installation and calibration helps a lot. I’m curious to hear from any one who has electrostatic panels and their experience. I also have a Martin Logan sub with Anthem, so am familiar with how well that system works - which is a huge plus.

I also think my Dave/MScaler combination could be incredible given the resolution of the electrostats. For amplification, if I purchased the Martin Logans I would demo more amps - but I demoed them on a Pass Labs Int 60, and there was more than enough power for these particular panels - and the sound was spectacular - so that very well may be what I land on.

Yes, it is not necessary to have the subs with them; however, the subs do dip about 5hz or so lower, and I find that once integrated with the Olympica Nova V’s, they have a very nice icing on the cake effect to the overall sound quality in my room.

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My wife, Barbara, loves the HL5+ also. I’d like to hear why you like them more than the 40.3 - is it just price? I also like ML, but more from a few years back, the Odyssey was my favorite. When you listen again to the ML, be sure to pay attention to upper bass/lower midrange because that is where they cross over from electrostatic panel to the dynamic woofer. The precise imaging can get fuzzy there. Try a small chamber group with piano and cello that can hit that range plus something that has good highs. Or this, one of my favorites has the right notes in the right places:

If you can find Vandersteen, they have some very nice floorstanders that compete in your price range. I was far less impressed with the KEF, Paradigm, and was sort of OK but hardly bowled over by the Focal Kanta also. I got to hear some of the less expensive Magicos at the same time, and only liked the ones that were significantly above my price range.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to go out speaker hunting. At least my stunt kite flying hobby is much more reasonably priced…

I wouldn’t say I like the HL5+ more, except for the fact that they seemed to play better at lower volumes. The 40.3 seemed like the superior speaker, and had better extension on top and bottom - but especially with the bass - it was enough for me. The 40.3 also provided a bigger sound, as can be expected - which I liked better. But from a tonality standpoint, It was a very similar sound, so hard to justify 3x the price - out of my budget.

The Martin Logan’s, though, are kind of having my cake and eating it too. The sound was as big as the 40.3, or bigger in terms of vertical and horizontal soundstage, the tonality was very natural, similar to the Harbeth’s (at least with the Pass amp) - and it extended even further top to bottom, and had better technicalities than the Harbeth’s.

The biggest thing I’ve read with Martin Logan’s ESLs is their fussiness. It has me concerned but not overly concerned, based on what I experienced. I wasn’t in an ideal listening room, and the dealer just plopped down the ESLs after we were done with the other speakers. I was sitting basically nearfield - less than 6 feet away and the Martin Logans were in the center of a rectangular room on the long side, only about 6 feet apart. It was brick and hard wood flooring with no treatments and a lot of other speakers and equipment around the room. The sound was still absolutely magical. Yes, if you stand up the sound changes, but moving seats left to right it was still perfect. I played close attention to the integration of bass and the panel, and I could not detect any incoherence at all. While I didn’t look at the lower mids specifically, what struck me is that both the Martin Logans and the Harbeths didn’t have the suck out there a lot of other speakers I demoed had. That said, I am going to demo them again and will most definitely play the tracks you’ve suggested. I was told by the dealer that the bass/panel integration really made giant leaps with this particular generation when I asked about it. That said, I haven’t listened to any previous Martin Logan ESL so I can’t compare.

I’m very much leaning toward them if I can get them to work in my room. The Martin Logan’s are better priced than the Harbeths as I’m in the US (and if I’m honest with myself, I like the Expression 13As better than the SHL5+ AND the 40.3s), so I may be able to get more speaker for my money - plus I have a dealer that’s willing to work with me on price, setup, calibration, etc.


I may get some LOL’s for saying this…but honestly I love my Corsair 2.1 system that I’ve had for years.
The SP2500. You can’t even find them anymore new as they stopped selling them.

This was back before I even understood all the definitions of sound. Even today on the odd occasion when I take my headphones off and power on the speakers, I still get some joy in how they sound.
Some day I will get into speakers again when my kids are grown a bit and I can enjoy it!