The Onkyo Monitor 2000X. I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so!

S0und Dragon

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Playing Wagner at loud volume will reveal a lot about a speaker. These apparently are not having any issues with the material at all. So to tally the score so far. They are on crates not stands. And are playing Wagner at concert level with no audible distortion Or audible loss of cohesion. Yeah I am seriously impressed with these speakers.
 

S0und Dragon

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And I just gave myself a serious scare on the opening drum of Fanfare for the common man. I mean I jumped out of my seat! If this where the Harbeths, the woofer would have blown out of the cabinet.
 

JohnVF

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I’m seriously jealous of this situation. I know I’m a Harbeth fanboy but I’m also keenly aware of what they don’t do and it’s what speakers like these can do. Maybe the Monitor 40s...
 

S0und Dragon

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I’m seriously jealous of this situation. I know I’m a Harbeth fanboy but I’m also keenly aware of what they don’t do and it’s what speakers like these can do. Maybe the Monitor 40s...

My only issue with the 40’s is that they require the right amount of space to really work. Hearing them in a small (for them) space makes them boomy. The only time I heard them sound poorly was at the NY Audio Show in a room that was not good for them. It proved to me that they were not going to work In my space either. If not for knowing just how magical the Monitor 40’s can sound, I would have left the room striking them off my want list.
 

S0und Dragon

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They remind me of the Yamaha NS-1000 Speakers.View attachment 26088
A true classic that I have owned and enjoyed. I definitely felt the NS-2000 was the superior speaker and these Onkyo’s are more towards the 2000. Where it excels however is the bass. It’s just super present and coordinated. No subs really required. And the speed at which the Onkyo produces the sonic effects may make integration of a sub an expensive and persnickety endeavor.
 

S0und Dragon

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Well. I love these speakers. And am seriously not going to pull them out of rotation now. So....the king is dead, long live the king.
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
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As with all things, this thread needs to be taken within context. This is by no means a knock on the Harbeths at all. They are a fantastic speaker and one that everyone should endeavor to hear at least once. What they do, they do with excellence. Lush midrange and vocal clarity for miles and miles. On acoustic and Jazz, one would struggle to find a finer speaker. In this regard they surpass the Onkyo Monitor 2000X.

Where the Onkyo overtakes the Harbeths is in its ability to do full range sound. Regardless of fine placement and in not ideal conditions. Improvement of those criteria net you sound that is borderline heretical. I also believe that there is indeed some serious engineering in these speakers that is just not spoken about or acknowledged today. Most folks see the brand and cannot fathom that they are a serious contender. Fine by me! I am more than willing rest my sonic hat on this combination.

I will miss the Super HL5’s and if it were another season, I would keep them around for contrast and options. But I am not in a gear hoarding stage at this time and they truly deserve to be played and played often.
 
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JohnVF

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A very interesting thing about the Harbeths, at least in my ownership of them, is that they are true chameleons. I had thought for years I was getting the most out of them and I wasn't. It took a very specific amplification setup to really appreciate them on another level, and a much more refined turntable setup. I'd been, apparently, feeding them fast food for awhile (good fast foot, like In 'n Out, not Burger King) when they demanded something more like steak. Which was what they finally got when I mated them with the transformer volume control. I even tried to replace them a few times... Spendor S-100s, and the Quad 63pros coming in and out every so often. What happened with the TVC was that they -finally- became really dynamic. They opened up. They came alive. They were actually ... exciting. Along with the open window/neutral/holy crap that sounds exactly like a real (x) thing they do.

There were some other times with my ownership of them, that they were kind of crappy. They sounded terrible with my Sony TA-f808es integrated amp, and that's actually a really nice amp. Just dead, lifeless, dull. With my VAC setup, they revealed everything I hated about the VAC preamp. Veiled, noisy...lifeless. If something in the system wasn't fully transparent they'd just close a window.

What I'm saying is, they can be a pain in the butt. And I still missed some of that bottom octave kicking out of the jams. When I figured them out, I didn't want to sell them. Up until then, they were always kind of on the line.

I'm stoked about these Onkyos, though. When a Japanese hi-fi company is showing off, watch out. Something incredible is going to happen.
 

S0und Dragon

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Staff member
The stands arrived. Ordered them from Etsy and I was not really impressed. I wondered if I accidentally ordered them from WISH instead? But I was able to reinforce them and they will do for now. The Bar was set at “look better than crates”. In that, they succeeded. They are also the correct height and the sound emanating from the Monitor 2000X is telling me good things. I am really digging these speakers.

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I watched these sit and sit (and sit some more) on BT for what seemed like an eternity. Its been great to read this thread and know they landed with someone who really appreciates them.

And for the record I left that same room in NY with the Harbeths and thought the same. It was an exceptionally bad pairing of room , gear and music....

Jblnut
 

S0und Dragon

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Staff member
I watched these sit and sit (and sit some more) on BT for what seemed like an eternity. Its been great to read this thread and know they landed with someone who really appreciates them.

And for the record I left that same room in NY with the Harbeths and thought the same. It was an exceptionally bad pairing of room , gear and music....

Jblnut
Honestly, what these speakers are able to do defies conventional wisdom. They have sent some very well regarded speakers off to new homes. I am convinced that nothing under 10K msrp would be able to match them, much less beat them..

They are timely also as I would like to stay put for the coming year core component wise and focus on other things. 2021 is for finalizing the analogue playback with the last remaining punch list items and some ancillary things like power supplies and cables. I will be hunting the matching stands to complete them as they are going to be staying with me for the foreseeable future. So if anyone has a line on a pair of rare outside of Japan AS-2000x stands...

The other nice thing is that they do not seem to care if they are paired with my Scott 299c or my Levinson 432 or the AG10. They are true team players and take up the role that is needed. I cannot wait for my resto-modded Onkyo M-508 to come back. The goal of running an all Onkyo Integra system all modded out and in top shape is the perfect way to start a new year.
 
I think it highlights the tip of an audiophile iceberg, for us in the US anyway. And that "berg" is the hidden treasure of Japanese-market gear that was never sold here. I became aware of this through the mighty Yamaha GT2000 turntable but as you have clearly shown here there are many, many other examples of superb gear that just never made it across the ocean.

Have I spent many (too many) hours drooling at the HiFiDo web site over the last few years ? Yes....I certainly have :-)

jblnut
 

S0und Dragon

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Staff member
after spending the evening with the Monitors paired with the matching stands. It has become very apparent that they were not just for looks. The Stands really bring out the best from a speaker that until now, I felt were not fussy about where or how they were placed. Well au contraire! On the rigid and inert stands, the bass became even more cohesive and spookily three dimensional. I was super impressed. Just solid engineering. I am quite pleased.
 
"The icing on the cake! 😍😍"

I had forgotten about this thread and reread it earlier. Love those speakers and the Onkyo brand, great read as well. I bet your Grand Integra 🤪:drooooool: will power those reaaally nicely!
 
Sowhen we can all hang out safely, beers and music is on you at your place!
Those are beautiful. The scratches in the stands should sand out easily. The tricky part will be matching the stain colour. Yup, I spelled it correctly!
Maybe bring them to the eventual next Blue Mountain Lodge meet as well.

Cheers, Glenn
 
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