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best bookshelf speakers for music/ht for around 400-500 bucks!


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#1 of 27 OFFLINE   TedLee

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Posted January 02 2005 - 01:54 PM

so anyone wanna chime in on some sweet bookshelves for around 400-500 bucks?

today i was at jandr music world auditioning the klipsch rb35s with a multitude of difference recievers.

all the brands that they carry and i have got to say those digital recievers are not all what they are cracked up to be.

i tried the panasonic xa70 which from what AVS forums said was supposed to be an UBER reciever that was as good as some 1000+ reicevers or seperates. Combined with the Klipsch it was FAR FAR FAR too bright and shrill. Even with the HK AVR6 something the sound was too bright for my tastes. The Sound from the onkyo and denon receivers were much better.

oh the setup of the store was SUPPOSEDLY - good cd player (one of those obscure high quality ones) -> receiver -> speaker switcher -> speakers.

Other speakers in the range include the BW602s or 601s neither of which i have auditioned.

These speakers are going to go in my apartment room next year so its basically mostly for listening to music since im probably not going to get surrounds.

So if any of you out there have any recommendations or experience with speakers in this price range let me know!

I also need a new reciever since my onkyo sr501 needs to be upgraded Posted Image

I prefer balanced sound...since i am more of a headphone guy the only thing i can say is that i prefer the the audiotechnica a900 sound (which is very clear in the transients with the slightly recessed midrange with great tight bass) as opposed to the the grado sound which is more upfront and bright. the sennheiser sound is fine also, its a bit more laid back and not as aggessive. either way bright + headache = bad.

as for the rb35s i loved them and thought they were great and just wondering what other good speakers are in the price range that i should go demo Posted Image

thanks a bunch guys!
omg im HT less!
i need a new low price sub 400 reciever with preouts for my headphone amp and that sound good
and two bookshelves for music sans headphones!

#2 of 27 OFFLINE   Nick Bum

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Posted January 02 2005 - 03:17 PM

Polk makes the Rti 7's or Rti 9's at the same price point. To me they were a bit muddy but this might be what you like. This is the price range speakers I started out going for but ended up with somethign twice as expensive.

Try the B&W 602's it think it is. I was not a big fan of them they were well ballanced and all but I liked the 704's much better. Sonus faber makes speakers in this price range or actually just a bit above 1200 for the set and they are amazing.

#3 of 27 OFFLINE   TedLee

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Posted January 02 2005 - 03:45 PM

lol 1200! thats like 3 times my price range!

oh and muddy is bad.
i don't like muddy! i like a clear and transient sound!
the bass doesn't matter so much since i'll have a sub.

where is it muddy exaclty?

in the mids or the highs or the lows?
omg im HT less!
i need a new low price sub 400 reciever with preouts for my headphone amp and that sound good
and two bookshelves for music sans headphones!

#4 of 27 OFFLINE   Nick Bum

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Posted January 02 2005 - 04:37 PM

The polks that I tried out were muddy with the mids. The highs were crisp and clear. I thought you were talking about 500 a speaker not a set sorry.

#5 of 27 OFFLINE   WayneO

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Posted January 02 2005 - 05:10 PM

Paradigm Monitor 3's or 5's for a spin.........
If the best advice is "listen for yourself", then why offer your opinion?

#6 of 27 OFFLINE   DavidCooper

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Posted January 03 2005 - 01:24 AM

Check out the Swan 2.1's in the Black Cherry finish at $299 a pair there isn't much out there IMO that will sound as good. They are amazing speakers for the money!

#7 of 27 OFFLINE   TedLee

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Posted January 03 2005 - 02:35 AM

hmmmmm. thanks for all the input so far guys, im going to have to give my local audio shop a call and see which of these bad boys they have in stock!
omg im HT less!
i need a new low price sub 400 reciever with preouts for my headphone amp and that sound good
and two bookshelves for music sans headphones!

#8 of 27 OFFLINE   William_Gravem

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Posted January 03 2005 - 02:55 AM

I'd recommend either the Paradigms mentioned above, or Axiom M22's.

Axioms are an Internet brand. I have the Axiom M22's... pretty good speakers that are in your price-range but I'm biased. The upside is that you're not paying the overhead so your speaker/dollar is better. The downside is, it's not so simple to audition them. You can either order them and take advantage of their liberal return policy (but you'd have to shell out the money to ship them back if you don't like them) or if you go to their website you may be able to find someone near you who'll have you over to their home to audition them. That's what I wound up doing.

I was looking in that price-range not too long ago, it came down to either the Paradigm Monitor 5's or the Axiom M22's. After listening to the Paradigms in a store and the Axioms at somebody's apt, I couldn't tell which would sound better in my condo, so I wound up going with the Axioms b/c a) they were cheaper, and b) they were wall-mountable and so it provided better protection from my cats. I'm very happy with my choice.

Hope this helps, happy hunting.


#9 of 27 OFFLINE   craig_curtis

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Posted January 03 2005 - 03:23 AM

if you want to save a little money, and since you are going to have a SUB anyway, look at the paradigm Mini-Monitors. I just got them and they sound really really nice. Of course I'm using them more for home theater than music, but they sound wonderful...

if you happen to live in Jersey, 6th Ave electronics carries Paradigm. Not sure where you can go in the city. Maybe Sound Exchange?
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#10 of 27 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted January 03 2005 - 03:45 AM

I'd buy anything by NHT in your price range. I have some SuperOnes that I bought 5 years ago and have been very happy with them. I find NHT to be quite neutral and can play good volume cleanly.

#11 of 27 OFFLINE   ScottCHI

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Posted January 03 2005 - 03:46 AM

well..................

...........i don't usually pimp my speakers, but i'll chime in:

KEF Q1s

you may find them to have that "grado sound" you don't like; but so do the rb35s, which you seem to like.
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#12 of 27 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted January 03 2005 - 05:40 AM

I wasn't all that impressed with the Q1s. They seemed too directional, especially in a large room. Off axis, they didn't seem to perform well, which goes against what their marketing says. Auditioned with Denon 5900 hooked to a 5803 and my own SACDs. I played around with them for about a half an hour tweaking them to get the right sweet spot, and when in that spot, they sounded great, but outside it they did not. This was in a well damped sound room, but the size of the room could have contributed to what I heard.

For Paradigm, the Monitor 5 is noticably better than the Mini, I've owned both. Used, you could get a set of Studio 20s, which would be better than either of them.

The M22 will give up some bass extension to the Monitor 5, but it has a clearer midrange. For the price, the M22 is a better choice, especially if you already have a decent sub.

The NHT SB2 is in your price range, but I'd try to squeeze out the SB3, as the added bass is beneficial in this case. Due to their sealed design and low sensitivity, they like plenty of power, and the bass is tighter than most ported designs, so it doesn't seem as deep sometimes.

Check your area for a Mordaunt Short dealer. For the $$, the 902 or 904 are excellent speakers. Very neutral and musical.
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
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#13 of 27 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted January 03 2005 - 06:54 AM

Also check out the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170. They are also in the same regard as the Axiom M22 and NHT SB2/3.

For the B&M route, add the Monitor Audio Bronze B2 to your list as well.
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#14 of 27 OFFLINE   Daman

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Posted January 03 2005 - 07:20 AM

Ted,
Ill suggest while you are at it you check out the Energy C Series also, i totally love the C3's i have. I auditioned Polks and Athenas and Kliscph's and CSW's and still ended up on the Energies. C3's are bookshelves and if you want towers you can go with C7's too. Just give them a try before you finally decide. Im sure you wont be dissapointed.Posted Image


#15 of 27 OFFLINE   TedLee

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Posted January 03 2005 - 09:32 AM

oh my so many speakers to audition!

well i live in central jersey near princeton.

but i goto school in philly.

the only audio shop that i know of in philly that is David Mann audio shop...which is a BW authorized dealer.

anyone ever been there before? or know of other places in the new jersey or philadelphia area?
omg im HT less!
i need a new low price sub 400 reciever with preouts for my headphone amp and that sound good
and two bookshelves for music sans headphones!

#16 of 27 OFFLINE   William_Gravem

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Posted January 03 2005 - 10:18 AM

if you go to paradigm's website, I believe there is a dealer locater that could help you. As for the Internet brands listed (Axiom, Ascend...) you'll either have to find someone for an in-home audition (Axiom has speaker owners who volunteer for this on their website) or try to use their buy/return policy... which they make as convenient as it can possibly be... but still isn't.

#17 of 27 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted January 03 2005 - 11:18 AM

I own a pair of Seinnheiser HD 580s and Paradigm Studio speakers. To my ears, the Studio series speakers are touch brighter than the Seinnheiser headphones. Might be able to get a used pair of studio 20s or 40s in your price range. Energy makes great speakers as well as definitive tech, phase tech, and Boston Acoustics. Look around and have fun auditioning different speakers. It's a blast.

#18 of 27 OFFLINE   Jeff-0

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Posted January 03 2005 - 11:35 AM

i recently auditioned the axiom m22's the axiom m3's and the paradigm mini monitors...............the paradigm mini's are the only ones still here. for my ears the paradigm mini monitors are incredible.

#19 of 27 OFFLINE   MikeGee

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Posted January 03 2005 - 12:03 PM

i find you have to have a very trained ear to hear the differences between alot of different companies. I have Athena AS-B2's and i compaired them to the Energy (i believe C series) and honestly my hearing is so crap cause of playing guitar too loud and cause of where i work so with my hearing i can't really hear the difference.

#20 of 27 OFFLINE   Evan H

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Posted January 03 2005 - 12:30 PM

Ted, keep in mind that your ears are different from everyone else's in here, so the audition is by far the most important way to decide on which brand to pick up. I haven't heard any products in your price range recently so have no particular opinions on which products are the best. William_Gravem is a good friend of mine, and I had the pleasure of watching (well hearing is more accurate as he's in DC and i'm in NYC) him as he went through the paces of which system to purchase, so I'd have to second his notions about Axiom... although my bias is towards Paradigm.

I disagree with the notion that Craig said previously that "since you are going to have a SUB anyway, look at the paradigm Mini-Monitors" While the -2dB point on the mini monitors may be 2Hz lower than the monitor 5's, they will have nowhere near the same level of bass response when played side by side. I'm not sure why this is, but i'd assume that it has something to do with harmonic distortion. The monitor 5 will allow you to tune your subwoofer to a lower frequency which generally will allow you to have a more accurate reproduction of your audio in the bass frequencies, and will provide you with an overall better experience.