Speakers for Kondo Ongaku... Please Help

Uwiik

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There is a thread made by me discussing this matter but it went beyond the title of the thread. So I created this new thread to keep things in perspective and to help other members that might be facing similar situation.

I am very confused on speaker selection right now. I have a finish completed “audiophile” system upstairs consisting of Franco Serblin Ktema speakers, Accuphase C3900/A-250 pre/amp, Kuzma XL DC TT and Jadis JPS3 Phono with Silvercore MC Pro SUT and Siltech cable throughout. The system upstairs is perfect to my ears in the audiophile sense (perfect tonal, staging, transparency, crazy good bass, clean clear treble, engaging, fast, etc) and I have no desire to change nor upgrade anything right now.

I do however, have started building the second system downstairs and I am dead set on SET all tube amplification and gears. I want a system that is totally different to the system upstairs. I want to be engaged in the music emotionally where I get goosebumps and get spooked without any concerns nor the need to critique the system on “audiophile” checkboxes as I already have that “audiophile” checkboxes checked with my system upstairs. For the downstairs system I have bought Kondo Ongaku with Kondo G70 pre amp and Kondo flagship cable everywhere. Now comes the BIG CONFUSING decision....The speakers!!! Obviously due to the very expensive nature of the Kondo gears I have to maximize my investment. Meaning the speakers must be a perfect match for the Kondo and able for both to be driven optimally. The room/mancave downstairs is 4.85 X 8.5 meters, speaker can be places against the wall or with distance very flexible space arrangements. There are two wall corners on equal shape on right and left front wall. I want speakers that is NOT directional and not “audiophile” checkboxes sounding, I want everyone in the room regardless of their seating position to be able to enjoy the music (I have achieved this with the Canterbury SE loaner showing the prowess of dual concentric/point source speakers).

I have shortlisted my speakers considerations based on realistic price, local availability and short descriptions below;
- Canterbury SE: I am running this right now as loaner. I love it, it can engage me emotionally if only this speaker is not underpowered by my Kondo resulting in non existent “low/thump” bass I would’ve snatch this cheap 15 years old speakers already.
- Westminster GR: will have to buy brand new, no prior audition and it’s bloody expensive here. But folks said this is easier to drive than Canterbury SE.
- Avantgarde Messo Duo XD: there is one available locally new old stock. The guy bought it 2 years ago for $50.000 is the US and never even open the box. This one can be had for approx $35.000. No audition possible.
- Cube Audio Nenuphar Basis: seems like a good choice and it’s single point. Definitely will be vastly different to the system upstairs. No experience and never heard one. Glowing reviews everywhere and I am very keen on this speaker. My only concern is the price, it is very affordable I am wondering if this affordable speakers will play in the same league as the rest of the gears as basically this speaker (if I choose it) will be the cheapest on the entire system, seems to be counter intuitive considering typically speakers cost as much as two major front end components in most system. No audition possible but I actually am very keen on this speaker. If only the maker/manufacturer cheated and put much higher price I probably would’ve bought this speaker sight unseen/unheard.
- Viking Acoustic: I originally considered L’instruments for its horn design (I actually really really want to try horns). But the owner of Viking Acoustic told me that he won’t be able to fulfill my order until 2022 and he only have the Viking Acoustic Tube Master on stock for immediate purchase. He did recommended Tube Master to be superior against L’instruments for my system and room. Again I am cautious due to the very affordable price and wondering if this will perform at the same league as the rest of the system. No audition possible.
- Classic Audio Reference T-1.5. Glowing reviews everywhere. Proven unchanged design since long. Rather expensive, can only be ordered with confirmation of order meaning no audition have to buy blind.
- Audio Note AN/E Alnico Hemp: Highly suggested by an audiophile friend I really trust but I am afraid this typical layout will give me sonic signature to similar to my upstairs system. Relatively affordable and proven high performer. But like I said above, I am very keen to try different speaker design (horns/point source) and AN/E is not different. No audition possible must buy to try.
- Goebel Divin Marquis: my favorite dealer will have a pair for audition on May. Concern is power handling. Wondering if my puny 27 watters Kondo can drive this mammoth adequately. Expensive, so will not buy it if cannot be driven optimally with my Kondo.
- Line Magnetic LM-3 Field Coil: Chinese made horns, copy of WE horns design and supposedly to be really good just like the rest of the gear made by Line Magnetic. Off course it’s Chinese made so no prestige in owning one but if the sound is sublime I really don’t mind. I am half Chinese anyway LOL!
- Wolf Van Langa Son: glowing reviews everywhere and my favorite dealer happens to be the dealer and can order one for me. He have the WVL 33221 Berlin (flagship) on demo stock and offered to home audition the gigantic flagship from WVL. I am leery because of the size and I don’t feel good if my favorite dealer took the huge pain to home audition the humongous WVL 33221 Berlin and I ended up buying speakers from somebody else. Granted I spent $200K already with this dealer but still. He did told me that I can keep the WVL 33221 Berlin as long term loaner shall I decide to order WVL SON from him. Very interesting option indeed.

Above are all what I managed to gather these past few weeks. I am in the point of feeling anxious regarding this delicate topic....any advices or even new suggestions of brands are welcomed. Although anxious my logic still win over my head and I will take my time to find my dream and “different “ speakers to pair with my Kondo gears.
Thanks in advance folks!!
 
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Uwiik

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A063B1F3-3A38-4D91-9D6F-0A9384446AE3.jpeg 3B3B50D2-C1B2-4C5D-BB1C-B54210F5D6D8.jpeg

the opening on the left has been converted to corner wall effectively sealing the room from the adjacent room. The big glass windows on the right is being converted to solid wall with solid teak wood acoustically treated overhang/high windows. 4.85 meter width 8.5 meter long 3.3 meter high ceiling.
 

howiebrou

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I have driven 3 pairs of speakers with the Ongaku (Kondo and ANUK) which worked. Marten Coltrane 2; excellent speaker, Avantgarde Primo Mezzo and Sonus Faber Stradivari. The Marten and the SF might not be the obvious choice but to me the Ongaku had enough power and control for both. Of course they also sounded good with SS amps as well.
 

Uwiik

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I have driven 3 pairs of speakers with the Ongaku (Kondo and ANUK) which worked. Marten Coltrane 2; excellent speaker, Avantgarde Primo Mezzo and Sonus Faber Stradivari. The Marten and the SF might not be the obvious choice but to me the Ongaku had enough power and control for both. Of course they also sounded good with SS amps as well.
What do you think about the Avantgarde? Reviews on AA seems to be all over the place. Some said it is the next best thing since slice bread and some said they cannot stand 5 minutes in the same room with AA speakers. Stradivari is actually on my radar too but seems to be too old school... but hey, I am currently running Canterbury which is older than any Stradivari... my concern with Stradivari is the ability to fill the room. My Ktema which is designed by the very same late Franco Serblin is sublime but sideway seating position is horrendous unlike the Canterbury SE.

Gave a short look at Marten Coltrane 3. I think I’ll pass considering it’s a $100.000 speakers with zero chance of audition and the specifications is hugely against Kondo Ongaku.
 
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Uwiik

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On the other note. My favorite dealer just called and he got the news that he actually have WVL SON on stock tucked somewhere on his warehouse ready to open and home audition.....I’ll give it a try probably.
 
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howiebrou

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What do you think about the Avantgarde? Reviews on AA seems to be all over the place. Some said it is the next best thing since slice bread and some said they cannot stand 5 minutes in the same room with AA speakers. Stradivari is actually on my radar too but seems to be too old school... but hey, I am currently running Canterbury which is older than any Stradivari... my concern with Stradivari is the ability to fill the room. My Ktema which is designed by the very same late Franco Serblin is sublime but sideway seating position is horrendous unlike the Canterbury SE.

Gave a short look at Marten Coltrane 3. I think I’ll pass considering it’s a $100.000 speakers with zero chance of audition and the specifications is hugely against Kondo Ongaku.
Strad is a fantastic speaker and though old, if you can find a good used pair it could be very cheap. It is warmer than the Ktema so i wouldn't reall consider it if you want a different system flavour. Avantgardes are very personal. Some really like them, some really hate them.
 

Uwiik

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Just spoke with Classic Audio dealer. He can get T-1.5 on stock in 3 weeks but I need to put down payment meaning purchase commitment. This is the speaker I also strongly consider and comes with 100% satisfaction rating on various but limited discussions on forums, but I’ll put it aside as consideration for now prior to auditioning WVL Son and WVL Berlin next week, I’ll have to bring my Kondo to the dealer due to the sheer size of the WVL Berlin.
 

Uwiik

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Strad is a fantastic speaker and though old, if you can find a good used pair it could be very cheap. It is warmer than the Ktema so i wouldn't reall consider it if you want a different system flavour. Avantgardes are very personal. Some really like them, some really hate them.
Exactly what I thought. I don’t want to spend that much on the Kondo to just end up with the same sound signature and behavior as my upstairs system. I wouldn’t call Ktema warm, I prefer to describe it as neutral after comparing both spectrum of SF sounds, old SF being warm and new SF being analytical, so yes you are right by saying Stradivari will be warmer than Ktema but I although have extensive experience with various SF speakers old and new, actually never heard Stradivari for an extended period, so I am generalizing SF sound.

Having same sound/behavior as the system upstairs would really anger my already pissed off lovely wife and if she is angry then I will have to quit the hobby for the sake of family... LOL!! In other words, yes it definitely have to come in different flavor than my system upstairs. This is why I am very very confused right now, I can still play around with 15-20K speakers hence the Cube Audio Nenuphar and Viking Acoustic L’instruments and Tube Master consideration but I definitely don’t wanna spend 50-80K commitment to just end up with similar flavor as upstairs, that would really hit me gob smack on my face and I do not want to lose motivation.
 
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Uwiik

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Stumbled upon Volti Vittora. That thing is interesting!! At the price I don’t mind buying blind, beautiful as heck, glowing reviews everywhere and true to the bone Full Horn speakers! Anyone??
 

rpk

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Hello Uwiik,
........ any advices or even new suggestions of brands are welcomed.

We have several audio fairs here regionally and I am still fascinated by the audio presentation of the Blumenhofer Classic 1743. Regardless of the appearance of the blocks, they provided this special magic, combined with calm, foundation, strength and charisma. The room was barely treated and yet the audio combination managed to keep the visitors (and me) listening for a long time and not changing after 3 minutes as in the other rooms. It was a great moment for me, what the speakers (and the other components) were able to present.
If you have the opportunity to hear these exotic species, you should take the opportunity (even if they are not particularly attractive).
I suspect a bottle of Furutech Nano Liquid on the table? Please use sparingly as a suggestion.
I'll attach a photo of the blocks and the room conditions of the demonstrators, done at analogue audio association 11.2019 Krefeld Germany.
Rainer wishes a happy Easter in a healthy environment
 

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Bobvin

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With a Kondo system, there is really only one choice of speaker (!), that is Diesis Roma Triode, wired completely with Kondo wiring. If this does not provide the goosebumps you seek then you must be dead.

The new Whats Best Forum video page debuts with Diesis Roma Triode & Kondo, be sure to watch.

Here is an exceptional sample in zebrawood.

915B4FE2-15D1-4825-B771-6882FA157E03.jpeg
 
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Bobvin

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And another: (this pic is, I believe, a custom “Roma” model not the Roma Triode) but offers some view into the artisanal craftsmanship of the crew @ Diesis.

84AA8E94-6841-48A9-B121-5667BDC4DA3E.jpeg
 
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Uwiik

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With a Kondo system, there is really only one choice of speaker (!), that is Diesis Roma Triode, wired completely with Kondo wiring. If this does not provide the goosebumps you seek then you must be dead.

The new Whats Best Forum video page debuts with Diesis Roma Triode & Kondo, be sure to watch.

Here is an exceptional sample in zebrawood.

View attachment 76552
LOL I like your statement! I’ll read about that speaker!
 

Uwiik

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The Diesis Roma Triode is like $180K speakers...LOL, you’re absolutely right, if I don’t get goosebumps from (paying for) it, I must be dead. The non “triode” seems more down to earth on pricing.
 
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cal3713

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- Canterbury SE: I am running this right now as loaner. I love it, it can engage me emotionally if only this speaker is not underpowered by my Kondo resulting in non existent “low/thump” bass I would’ve snatch this cheap 15 years old speakers already.
Have you confirmed that the bass issue is actually due to the amp/speaker pairing rather than a simple room null/mode? Would be a shame if a room issue led you to get rid of pairing that you otherwise love.
 
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Uwiik

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Update... the following are available for immediate audition:
- WVL Son and WVL Berlin. WVL Son seems to be the company’s live blood judging from their obvious favor in representing the Son on their social media. All reviews are EU based and 100% of the reviews are good to very good. Very interesting indeed
- Classic Audio T-3.4. Expensive for a speaker I know nothing about and lack of any decent reviews or discussion. I am going to give it an audition bringing my own Kondo gear.

All are available at deeply discounted price.
 
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Uwiik

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Have you confirmed that the bass issue is actually due to the amp/speaker pairing rather than a simple room null/mode? Would be a shame if a room issue led you to get rid of pairing that you otherwise love.
Yes I am very sure as I can tell the difference between room issue and underpowered driver. My audiophile friend who used to own the OG Ongaku paired his with Westminster and he too felt underpowered despite the Westminster’s higher than Canterbury’s sensitivity.
 
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Bobvin

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The Diesis Roma Triode is like $180K speakers...LOL, you’re absolutely right, if I don’t get goosebumps from (paying for) it, I must be dead. The non “triode” seems more down to earth on pricing.
Heh heh! Yes, the standard "Roma" is much less than Roma Triode, and will still deliver everything your Kondo gear can serve up. I heard these in NYC a couple years back and was completely gobsmacked... and the speakers were not hooked up to the Kondo gear. It was just a social visit and after a little time I asked "what the hell am I listening to—I've not heard anything quite like this before?"

Where are you located? Are you in USA? If so, by summertime I will have Diesis Roma for audition as the new Rhapsody Listening Room--Portland. There will be RLRs also in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and of course NYC and on Long Island. So the ability to hear some Diesis will be much better by summertime.

But regarding the Roma Triode... if that isn't some audio porn of the highest caliber, OMG!
 
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Solypsa

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I have not heard the big WvL speakers but was impressed with the discontinued 'Black and White' when I heard it and with low power amp as well.

Ralph @Atmasphere uses the Classic Audio speakers, perhaps pm him?
 
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1_Ongaku

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If you are considering the Volti then also look at Charney Audio. I have an Ongaku ANUK and was going to bring it up to his place to listen. Have not been able to do it yet. Choice of a variety of quality drivers is a nice option.
 
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