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High efficiency speakers to replace Apogee Divas
High efficiency speakers to replace Apogee Divas
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Old 9th December 2013, 06:05 AM   #1
c3474 is offline c3474  United States
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Default High efficiency speakers to replace Apogee Divas

Necessity is fostering the "upgrade" bug. I currently use Apogee Divas and love them, but alas they are large. The space I have now classifies as "adequate," but I see that changing in the next few years.

A second factor driving the "upgrade" is that my wallet shrinks too fast and/or quality is sacrificed when I have to buy two of everything (how can you NOT biamp Divas?!). My thoughts have been drifting down the road of a full range high efficiency speaker with at least a hint of the massive sound, speed and detail of the Divas. I would love to be able to power them with about 30 watts - something like an DIY Aleph for F5 (which is on the to-do list!). So I'm guessing something like 91+db efficiency should do?

I found and fell in love with ribbons fairly early in my audiophile journey and haven't strayed much. If I could cough up the $31k for the new Apogee 95 db/w or even $15k for the Salk Pharos I would. My budget will most likey be what ever I can sell/trade the Divas for.
As I have said, I have a few years to research, but would like a insight on where to begin. Maybe you "upgraded" from Apogees and have some insight?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 9th December 2013, 07:33 AM   #2
Scottmoose is offline Scottmoose  United Kingdom
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Quite frankly, I'd save up for the second amp. I like wideband drivers well enough, but the Diva, tricky load & middling sensitivity aside, is unique and my money says you'd kick yourself for getting rid of them. Nor do panel types always require as much space to the front wall as is often stated. I know of a pair of electrostatics that are used within 6in, which reduces the size issue to an extent.

If they really do have to be for the chop, a single driver system is going to sound very different due to the dissimilarity in power response between a small cone & a very large set of panels. You could go down the open baffle route, but they're no more living room friendly than the Divas are (probably less). A modest line array, perhaps, with Eq if unsupported wideband drivers are used, or a supporting tweeter line if without, would probably get you into the parish. The latter might be favourite, since you could use ribbons or planar units. But to get sufficient quality, the drivers wouldn't be cheap.
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Old 12th December 2013, 12:24 PM   #3
c3474 is offline c3474  United States
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Originally Posted by Scottmoose View Post
my money says you'd kick yourself for getting rid of them.
I am worried about that. Thank you for the advice Scottmoose. I may look into trading the Divas for some duetta sigs (smaller) or something.
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Old 12th December 2013, 05:19 PM   #4
chrisb is offline chrisb
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I'd second Scott on that - while not personally a huge fan of any of the fine ESL planar/ribbon combos I've heard over the past 40yrs (or rather I should say, tired of being bitched at for "not another ugly, big-a$$ed speaker you don't, buster!"), I've got more than a couple of buddies who keep on going back to their old favorites - ESL57 and various Martin Logans, in one particular case.

How does that serenity prayer go, as can be related to audio gear?

As much as I've come to accept the limitations of smaller systems that my domestic situation will tolerate, if your own will allow anything close to the performance of the Apogees to which your "aural matrix" has been fine-tuned, I'd imagine converting to something as different as a high efficiency / full-range system would be like learning to walk all over again.
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Old 12th December 2013, 06:21 PM   #5
hobbers is offline hobbers  Canada
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Not sure if this helps you c3474. I unfortunately had to sell my Woden Design Victors.
The guy who bought them replaced his esl57's with them, said there was no comparison
the Victors blew them away. I didn't get any time with the 57's so can't make any comment
on the two but the last time I saw him he had a big a$$ smile on his face still.

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Old 12th December 2013, 07:30 PM   #6
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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High efficiency speakers to replace Apogee Divas
Originally Posted by c3474 View Post
I would love to be able to power them with about 30 watts ... So I'm guessing something like 91+db efficiency should do?
One thing for sure, going with a FR will be quite different.

Many people are fine driving much less efficient than 91 dB FRs with less than 10w if in a smallish room. I regularily use 20w with a range of speakers from low 80s up. I have a biggish room.

I would suggest you start with a modest pair of FRs and see whether they will work. My recommendation would be Mark Audio Alpair 7.3 or the new Alpair 10p. Sans finishing, something could be done fro $300-360.

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Old 15th December 2013, 02:24 AM   #7
Brian Beck is offline Brian Beck  United States
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I don't post here very often these days, just because I have re-prioritized my scarce free time, but I felt compelled to respond to the OP. I have to agree with Scottmoose. I think you would kick yourself if you sold them. The Divas are really quite special. I recall other 'philes expressing serious remorse after having sold their large Apogees. This reminds me of guys who have gorgeous wives or girlfriends, but whose eyes begin to stray after a while. Could there be something even better? (In this case the Diva's little sister, Duetta, might be a worthwhile "squeeze", but is she really that much smaller?)

After 40 years of audiophilia, I've had an epiphany of sorts during the past couple years after I introduced Divas into my system. I am still not sure of their limitations as reproducers of music. The Divas, like any large planar, do require care in associated equipment and room treatment. I drive them in bi-amped mode too, with large tube amps. Their 3-ohm load is not tricky at all. It is about as close to a pure resistor as I've ever measured in a speaker, the impedance phase angle rarely straying past +/-10 degrees in the working band of each driver. You just need plenty of power to overcome the low sensitivity. And the Apogee DAX crossover demands and responds well to some tweaking. Anyway, those are my 2 pesos...
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