Speakers suggestions with Arcam SA30

Currently I owned a Monitor Audio RS6 and recently purchase the SA30.
Already feel my speakers to be reborned.
But back in my mind i want to start looking for an upgrade soon.
So i open this section to find out & discuss best matches with the Arcam SA30.

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I purchased a pair of B&W 705 S2’s at the same time. Love them.

I went for several listening sessions at the time I bought the SA30. In the end I decided for the B&W 704 S2. I was going for a KEF bookshelf speaker (I thought it was the KEF LS50) because of its minimal size. In the end I decided for B&W 704 S2 floor stand speaker because of its sound. Maybe one cannot compare these two models but I convinced myself to go for the sound instead of the minimal size.

At that time the best advice I got was to arrange several listening sessions. I would highly recommend it. Ask your dealer to for a setup with the SA30 and select the speaker you like.

Sounds like the B&W 700 series is a good match then.

i was thinking about KEF and Elac and i always have a good feeling about Focal.
But unfortunately no demo this period cause the Covid Situation.

What are you actually looking for? Bookshelf or floor stander? Are there any budget constraints?

A pair of KEF reference 5 speakers (€8k segment) is certainly something different compared to a pair of Elac Debut reference DFR52 speakers (€600 segment), at least in price :wink:

Personally I wouldn’t spend €2k5 on a pair of speakers without being able to hear the speaker. Perhaps wait until the situation allows you to have a listening session?

The SA30 is superb with Kef R3s


I have my SA30 paired with Wharfedale Linton’s. Pretty good match for me :slight_smile:

Spendor A2 here ……would be A4 if I had the room, but everything is in the main lounge.

I will not recommend any speakers, as strange as it sounds :slight_smile:
I have monitor audio gold 100 5G and the are very good with different amps. But I’m not saying it’s recommendation. Everyone has a bit different taste and ears, so what suits me, might not suit others.
My point is something else. The beauty of sa30 is Dirac Live. Except for dealing with room correction, what it does is provide ability to create your own frequency response curve.
In reality it means: get speakers good enough technically, that are fast enough, with light, rigid cones, that are easy to control. This way you can get sound of any speakers you want, of course granted technical limitations :slight_smile:
But the biggest part of speaker’s “sound signature” is their frequency response. B&W likes to tune their speakers to “V” sound (bumped lows and highs), and I.e. Dynaudio is relatively flat.
Granted speakers will be good enough, you can “copy” frequency response of different speakers to Dirac house curves to imitate their sound.
I’m actually testing that recently. I have MA’s, but recently I’m listening to… B&W 705 S2 mentioned here :slight_smile:
It sounds really good, much better than standard curves like default, Harman or NAD. Recommend testing that.
If I will find some time, will try to test also others.
I’m not saying, that by doing that you will have this I.e. 705’s. But general feeling is close.
And I’m definitely not saying, that you can get some cheapo speakers and make them sound like Magico’s or something similar, as here you’ll have those technical limitations :slight_smile:
(OK, maybe this will be a bit of recommendation after all… :wink:) MA Gold series is actually quite nice. Reasonably priced, with very, very good drivers based on same tech as in Platinum series. Big magnets, very light and rigid sandwich cones (CCAM+nomex honeycomb structure+carbon fiber), very, very fast AMT tweeters that are smooth, yet detailed, very well made and tuned crossovers. They are more on neutral side (with a little bump on lows), but are really good in imitating other speakers.

For speakers, go for companies that build speakers based on objective measurement:

Typically Focal, Revel and Kef are good starting points and if you don’t care about appearance, Neumann and Genelec are safe bets.

Ultra light, rigid cones with materials such as Beryllium and special composites are the answer to achieve good sensitivity, even frequency response, minimum cone break up at reasonable volume levels and most importantly a fast transient response, starting and stopping to musical notes accurately.

Dirac seriously helps though to correct an even okay speaker but ultimately, speakers are by far the weakest link when using an SA30, even if you buy £10k speakers.

Every major speaker manufacturer uses measurements in the process of designing their products.
Yet speakers sound very differently, cause every manufacturer has different objectives.
Focal for example is good, but usually far from neutral, the response is not flat, it usually had bumped highs.
Want measurements? Check Dynaudio and what they are using now in design process :slight_smile:
But I agree about materials, although for tweeters I think AMT or good ribbon is better than beryllium. Much lower mass, much bigger radiation area, and much faster response (due to mass). But again that’s a matter of taste…

I’ve heard this before but never seen this in objective measurements (e.g. Focal Aria 906 demonstrating how to fulfil a Harman curve):


I’ve heard a fair few Dynaudios but never felt satisfied. Do they use Beryllium now?

Neumann and Genelec are the defacto meaurement specialists but do check out their industrial appearance, probably because of their recording studio heritage.

I bought a pair of ML 40i’s and an SVS 12 inch sub and they are all just finally broken in after 100 hours or so and the sound is absolutely crystal clear and deep.

One of the best matches for SA30 is a pair of KEF R7

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where did you get the curves? did you create them manually in dirac live or are there presets?

I’ve heard my share of Focal speakers, so I know how they sound. They sound good, but are not neutral. Which is interesting, as years back, when they were selling transducers, and ready speakers were sold under JMLab brand (had 503’s for many, many years) the sounded differently.
Anyway, here you go, objective measurement of Focal Aria 948, as an example:

Really easy to find. It shows nice V, with bumped highs, just as in BW, and little bit less bumped lows.

Am not sure if they use beryllium, but you were looking for objective measurements.
They measure very good, and this is what they use during design process:

Had to create curve on my own, based on measurements I found. That’s why it takes time, and that’s why I only did it as a test with 705’s for now.

Fascinating that the top of the line Aria measures far less accurately than the base Aria 906, which is perfectly neutral.

An Aria 906 paired up with an SVS would probably be a good answer.

Dynaudios haven’t performed well on objective measurements on audiosciencereview.

Revel, Focal, Kef, Neumann and Genelec are the ones that are highly recommended.

I have the Focal Aria 906 in my bedroom and some Cobalt 816S in the living room.

I have measured the Cobalt 816 via Dirac using my AVR850 and it is spectacularly flat, even without Dirac.

There was a very detailed review with lots of objective measurements that compared all of the major players and I remember wanting the PMC FB1s to win as I loved the look of them in oak.

I was so convinced that the PMC FB1s were the ones (despite the Focal being 3 x faster on the transient response measurements) that I borrowed a pair for 3 weeks and I thought that they were terrible.

I struggled to find a Focal dealer but eventually tracked them down and was blown away with the Cobalt 816s which have Focal top ‘w’ sandwich cones and their lesser (non Beryllium) Tioxid treated tweeter from the Electra range and have never looked back.

Combined with the Arcam AVR-850 and the Oppo BDP-105, I suspect that I would replace the Arcam before the Focal (JmLabs) speakers and replace with a yet to be produced high quality objectively measure AV amplifier (I don’t think I’ve seen one Dolby Digital/DTS product score highly on audio science review and at this moment in time, the AVR-850 is about as good as you get).

Focal Aria 906:

Nope, not perfectly neutral to me. Objective m measurements don’t lie…

Dynaudio Evoke 20:

Seems more neutral. Still bump on lows, as in case of most speakers, but highs seem more neutral, flatter. Not by much though.
I loved Focal’s Tioxid inverted domes. Had those for years, really good. But not quite neutral, and can be harsh on top end.
Sorry, but for me ASR is not an “oracle”.
When you’re measuring response using DL, you’re not measuring speakers, but the system consisting of your amp, room and speakers. And measurement mic. Room is more important in this case.
So unless you live in anechoic chamber, measurements done this way are everything but objective.