I bought these speakers about 6 months ago from a fellow Audiogoner. They sound wonderful and perform perfectly but are just too big for my tiny listening space. I've moved to Reference 3A Dulcets to get a similar sound in a much smaller speaker. Compared to the Reference 3A Dulcets and the Reference 3A DeCapo MMi's, both of which I own or have owned, these sound larger. That's the only way I can describe it. The soundstage is bigger but the speakers still image wonderfully - as the smaller ones are famous for - and the sound is still wonderfully detailed and fast.
Although Reference 3A is now a Canadian company, these were hand made in Switzerland, not Canada. They are made from extremely high quality components, and they sold for $6500 originally (in the mid-90s). I have no idea what they'd sell for now. The build quality is amazing. For instance, the sides are not veneer; they're solid wood about an inch thick.
I'm including the original aluminum flight cases, which have lost some of their internal packing material, but I have plenty and the speakers will be snug with no wiggle room. I'm also including Van den Hul Clearview jumper cables and the original grills for the speakers, which are in 8/10 condition. These speakers are in 6/10 condition, because they have a small crack in the black, beveled, Corian side of the edge of the front on one speaker. The crack has been repaired with black filler and does not go through the edge or compromise the integrity of the cabinet. There are also a few nicks here and there, including a 3mm divit in the top of one speaker (which doesn't go through the finish), two tiny dents in the wooden trim on one speaker and a small divit in the black beveled frame. There are also a couple of small pulls in the foam around the drivers, but they're small and don't affect the sound. In other words, these speakers are not for the perfectionist. They've been well-cared for but show their age. The point is that they sound amazing, like all Reference 3As.
Unique crossover-less design, for sonic purity and phase accuracy. The Cabinets are made of very thick Corian covered in natural wood on the sides (Walnut I believe).
Buyer pays shipping, and expect it to be around $100-$140, depending on where you are. These are not small monitors; they're a little bigger than the DeCappo MMi's that I had before, which were pushing it as "bookshelf" sized.
US buyers only
Read the reviews:
From the Reference 3a website:
HVT Magazine - from Holland
"The Reference 3A Royal Master is the best monitor in the world, is it not?"
What HI-FI? - from Thailand
"another great test on the Royal Master....!"
HI-FI Journal - from Korea
"among the best speakers in the world..."
STEREO - from Germany
"may be the best test we ever got....EXCELLENT....***"
AUDIO ACCESSORY - from Japan
"our speaker is selected by the review to be their reference speaker for testing all audio components..."
In my quest to find “the perfect speaker”, my listening room has seen many speakers come and go. Big, small, expensive, exotic, anything under about $70k was auditioned. Then I found a very rare pair of Reference 3A Serie Master speakers (made in France) for only $5000. Just for kicks, I connected them to my primary system to compare against my (very expensive and exotic) benchmark speakers. MY JAW DROPPED!!! I couldn’t believe my ears. I spent the next three months trying to find a flaw using every recording I had. No speaker is absolutely perfect, but damn! The Serie Masters has amazing imagery, perfect tone, musical balance top to bottom. They melt into the background immediately and I find it difficult to walk away from them when they play. The bass is deep and full down to about 45 hz. I hear mid-range details like never before. Singers do not mumble. The sound is scary-real. I attend CES every year just for fun. Overall, I think the Reference 3A Serie Master is the finest speaker I’ve heard at any price.
I just traded away my lovely JM Lab Electra 926's last week that I have owned for about 2 years now.(a record for me). I traded them for a pair of Reference 3a Royal Master's that I was told they were about 7 years old. I found out that they actually are about 10-12 years old. They also were not in anywhere near the shape that my like new JM Labs were. I thought at first that i got screwed.
After listening to these speakers, almost right away i knew that they were special. I can now say after a week of steady listening these speakers will be my last speaker. They are AMAZING. No matter what kind of music i play I just can't turn it off. Just one more song. Well maybe ONE more. Several hours later.
In the last 15 years I can say that I have owned some pretty nice speakers.
Thiel,Totem, Focus Audio, Celestion,Living Voice, Micro Utopia's,and the list goes on. These speakers are without a doubt the best I have ever had in my system.
At first I thought that I was the loser in the trade that I made for these speakers.
I now realize that from a musical standpoint,the other guy got an inferior speaker.
After all it really is about the music isn't it.
OK. Thought that Sonus Faber Electa Amators were my audio nirvana. Small, dynamic, open and full of musicality. Had not heard Royal Master II:s yet. The only pair of those corian-cheeked wonders in my country - dealer is out of busines -came in for an audition and that was it. From bottom to top: astonishing weight and control in the bass, liquid and natural mids, open and airy treble. But that was just the beginning of the story. Properly set up - thank You Mr. Goka from Divergent Audio -the soundstage opened up and I was able to see through my record collection. Talking about visual aspects of audio, have never experienced the "vanishing effect" so strongly as with the Reference 3a:s. The loudspeakers don't exist! Only the music plays.
Of course You need decent system to achieve such a illusion of realism. The sensitivity and friendly impedance curve make things easier for a man of tubes and tubes You gotta have for digging out the best RM II:s have to offer. 40 watts class A NFB seems to work out fine in my 90 cubic meters room.
Is it the exotic carbon fibre woofer with no filtering, internal Siltech wiring or multilayered and sturdy box construction? Or is the secret hidden in the papers of the designer, Daniel Dehay, who has decades of experiece in going his own way. Don't know and don't care. The sound is the thing that matters and that sound is music, nothing more, nothing less.