The $15,000 speaker-selection question

To Doug Schneider,

I feel that I am kind of silly to ask this question, but I am seriously seeking advice from you on speaker choices. I used to have Monitor Audio RS6 speakers and have decided to sell them for an upgrade.

I am currently prepared to spend $15,000 for a pair of stereo speakers to last the next five years without worrying about hearing something that will make me regret my investment. I have so far tried the Monitor Audio PL300, Thiel CS 3.7, Magnepan Magneplanar 3.6, MartinLogan Vantage, Vivid Audio B1, Wilson Audio Sophia Series 3, and B&W 802 Diamond. I have narrowed it down to the Thiel CS 3.7, Monitor Audio PL300, and Vivid Audio B1 based on my listening preferences. May I know which of these three do you think is the best choice?

I also intend to try speakers from Focal, Verity Audio, and Von Schweikert Research. Do you think any of these, which I haven't tried, are worth my time to listen?

Lastly, what is your choice if you wanted to spend $15,000? Can't wait to hear from you soon!

Thanks and best regards,
Kriz Tan
From a small country called Singapore

It’s certainly not a silly question. You’re spending quite a bit of money and you’ve obviously been listening to plenty of speakers and you want to make sure you get your final selection right. You should be asking questions.

Of the three speakers you’ve narrowed your selection down to, they all have similar characteristics: neutral, precise, and very revealing, to name a few. I also know enough about each of the designs to say that they’ve been expertly engineered -- you can’t always say that about some of the high-priced stuff -- so they’re all good choices. Of the three, I like Vivid Audio’s B1. And if I were to spend $15,000 today, I’d probably get the B1 or Revel’s Ultima Studio2 (I use the Salon2s right now), which I don’t believe you’ve listened to. You should try to.

Should you also listen to Focal, Verity, and Von Schweikert? Definitely. You are making a long-term purchase and you have to get what you feel is exactly right for you. My best advice is to keep listening to everything you can and settle only when you’re completely sure you’ll be happy with your purchase for the next five years. At least you know where I stand. . . . Doug Schneider