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bookshelves for < $800

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41 replies to this topic

#1 of 42 OFFLINE   David Walker

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Posted April 09 2003 - 08:05 AM

My insurance adjuster tells me I can spend up to $800 on a pair of new speakers. I had never planned on spending this much money on speakers before my place got robbed. But, since there is an 800 credit from my receiver, I have to put it toward new speakers (already replaced the receiver). Setup: Marantz 2245 Receiver Cambridge Audio D500SE CD Player My place is small, so bookshelves are a must. I'm not familliar with the speakers in this higher price range, so please let me know of any suggestions you have. thanks, Dave

#2 of 42 OFFLINE   Yousaf


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Posted April 09 2003 - 08:20 AM

If you don't mind DIY you can get some GR-Research A/V-1s for a couple hundred dollars, with the price varying depending on what you want (prebuilt enclosures, finished enclosured, upgrades). Alternately, you could purchase the A/V-1s prebuilt, finished, and with both the Sonicap and Blackhole 5 upgrades for something like $750.

The speakers are only ~12" tall, ~11" deep, and 8" wide...if you're interested, go HERE . And don't be afraid to call them; Danny is a really helpful guy.

#3 of 42 OFFLINE   Brian Kleinke

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Posted April 09 2003 - 08:23 AM

I'd look at the Polk LSi9 or LSi7. Both are excellent speakers right in your price range:



#4 of 42 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted April 09 2003 - 08:25 AM

Look up Audio By Design in Austin. They should be able to hook you up with some very nice speakers in that price range. Last time I was there, I auditioned some small British bookshelf speakers, I can't recall the name, but they sounded very clean. They list at $800/pr but he was discounting them quite a bit at the time. Give a listen to the Aerial Model 5s too Posted Image

If you don't mind DIY, I will strongly second the A/V1s Posted Image
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
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#5 of 42 OFFLINE   David Lorenzo

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Posted April 09 2003 - 08:30 AM

I'll throw in a few possibilities.

Studio 20

ACI Emerald

Rocket RS250

#6 of 42 OFFLINE   BobAlbano


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Posted April 09 2003 - 09:31 AM

I second the Rocket RS 250's!!!Posted Image

#7 of 42 OFFLINE   Scott Oliver

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Posted April 09 2003 - 09:54 AM

First off check out Mirus Audio, Jonathan Atkins and Scott Hinson who were at the last local meet are the owners. They started making speakers last June and initially I was not too impressed by their creations but through tinkering and reworking they have really refined the sound of their speakers. I heard the Debrio this past November and was impressed. It retails for $750 and you can contact them through their website http://www.mirusaudi...ign/default.htm
(Note I am not affiliated with them in anyway just cosider them friends and heard their designs quite often at local meets. Good guys.)

Next Whetstone Audio on the drag carries NEAT speakers. Their Critique and Petite models are something to look into, although the Petite may be too expensive. Last I heard he had some Critique demos on sale.

Also see if he still has some Totem Arros on the floor. They are officially floorstanders, but extreemly petite and would probably take less room than most bookshelf models.

Other stuff locally available would be Linn Katan's at Audio Systems or some Ruark Epilogues at Audio By Design.

Some other really good speakers in this price range but not available locally are Spendor S-3/5's, JM Reynaud Twin MKII or III's, or Harbeth HL-P3ES-2's.

Lastly another great speaker that is out of this price range but available on the used market for $925 right now and you could probably negotiate that some is the
Audio Note AN-J/L
The $925 does include matching stands for them so I don't know if your $800 figures in stands or not
Some reviews of their larger brothers (AN-E) can be found at http://www.audionote.co.uk

#8 of 42 OFFLINE   Brent-T



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Posted April 09 2003 - 10:38 AM

I second the polk audio lsi7's or lsi9's. I really recommend the 9's, they just sound terrific, and look great too. For a bookshelf, they put out a good amount of bass for a small place like yours. For not much more money, you could get the 9's as fronts, and the 7's as rears. Just my 2 cents.

#9 of 42 OFFLINE   RobCar


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Posted April 09 2003 - 12:46 PM

These by Boston Acoustics sound pretty sharp, and they look cool too:


#10 of 42 OFFLINE   stephen_z


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Posted April 09 2003 - 02:33 PM

I'll put in my usual plug for Triangle Titus 202's ($495/pair). Great for jazz, vocals, classical... extremely efficient (92db). A little light in the deep bass, but not unsatifsfying.

#11 of 42 OFFLINE   Paul Bryan

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Posted April 09 2003 - 03:29 PM

Definately audition the Paradigm Studio/20's... Excellent speakers...

#12 of 42 OFFLINE   JamesCB


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Posted April 09 2003 - 04:15 PM

There's a place in Austin that sells Phase Technology speakers. I would give a listen to some of their Premeir Collection (PC) series. A little note about Phase Tech: Phase Technology is the brand name for the line of speakers made by the parent company, American Speaker Systems. This company invented the soft dome tweeter and the self damping woofer. They've produced drivers for many well known companies for nearly 30 years. Their Speakers are very musical.

#13 of 42 OFFLINE   Vincent_S


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Posted April 09 2003 - 06:51 PM

The place that sells the Phase Tech's is High Fidelity Inc.

#14 of 42 OFFLINE   JauCheeze


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Posted April 09 2003 - 08:09 PM

You should probably look at the B&W 600 line too, probably the 602's which is right under ur price range. I also recommend the LSi 9's, a really smooth and well balanced speaker. Though I think the LSi's a overpriced when compared to other speakers of the same quality.

#15 of 42 OFFLINE   Gabriel_Lam



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Posted April 09 2003 - 08:28 PM

If you like the sound of ribbon tweeters, here's a good choice. I love mine:

Posted Image
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#16 of 42 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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Posted April 10 2003 - 03:05 AM

i bought Ascends last Aug @ $300/pair on sale. after 8 months or so, if i had $800 to spend i would still buy them. i had Rocket 250s for a month, and certainly beautiful, rich looking speakers, but i much prefered the sound, size and price of the Ascends. i felt the Ascends gave me - a wider sense of soundstage - better vertical dispersion - more precise imaging - one of the best senses of transparency i'd found in an under $2k pair of speakers and they were significantly smaller and easier to place. i was looking at floorstanders originally, and had a budget of around $2k for a set ( and was prepared to go over that and buy in stages). i was really surprised by the sound quality of the ascends, and the fact that a smaller size was much more desirable to me than i had originally thought. they worked out great all around and i'm still tickled with them. they are fairly laid back though, i dunno what kind of sound you gravitate towards- you may be looking for something more forward and in your face. Gabriel- what speakers are those and how much do they run? i've never heard them but the ribbon tweeters have me intrigued. i was very close to going with Maneplanars, but when i demoed them, they were physically all wrong for my room. loved the sound though.

#17 of 42 OFFLINE   shanlei



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Posted April 10 2003 - 04:11 AM

Yeah, the Leisure2 Deluxe recommended by Apex is very nice. Here is the link to a group purchase:


#18 of 42 OFFLINE   Scott_N


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Posted April 10 2003 - 04:56 AM

The Quad 11L and 12L are great bookshelf speakers. Opera, Dali and JMLab also make good bookshelves in that price range.

#19 of 42 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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Posted April 10 2003 - 05:04 AM

thanks for the link. if i wasn't so strapped w/ bills right now, i'd be tempted to try these out. one thing though, no matter how great they sound, they have one thing in common with the rockets that i found wasn't right for me- they just look too damn nice!. honestly, appearence was the reason i got so hot and bothered by all the talk of the rockets, but when i had them in my ht 1) i got super anal about their appearence, and constantly worrying about any small ding that would mar their surface and 2) all the reflectivity of the surfaces i found undesirable for a fp set up. by contrast, the ascends are so non-descript and matte, that they 'disappear' better in the room. its a case of a 'lesser' looking unit better serving the whole (room). however if i had a dedicated 2 channel audio set-up in another room, something like the Rockets ,or especially those L2Ds, are what i would investigate.

#20 of 42 OFFLINE   David Walker

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Posted April 10 2003 - 06:03 AM

thanks for all the great responses! I'm off to the local stores to hear what $800 bookshelves sound like... what a day! Scott, Mirus does sound intriguing, but the insurance fella has special deals with certain manufacturers, and I doubt Mirus is one of them. You can be sure I'll be listening to all the other brands you reccomended though. I'm off! -David

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