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Best new pair of bookshelfs $250 shipped can buy

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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   voltainthesky



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Posted October 12 2008 - 08:47 PM

Hello everyone, I’d like some advice on upgrading from my Klipsch ProMedia 4.1 computer speakers. I want to make a leap to the next level of sound quality. I am eventually going to complete my bedroom with a 5.1 setup, but for now I’d like to start a very nice 2.1 setup. I have an Onkyo TX-SR506 receiver, and I’ve decided to opt for the Energy ESW-8 subwoofer, since I can get it for $99 dollars and it will let me invest more in a pair of bookshelfs.

I want to be able to listen to my music loud. If it helps, this will be used for 70% music, 30% movies. I like to listen to rock, indie, experimental, some acoustic, and hiphop. I listen to a lot of Muse, Modest Mouse, Explosions in the Sky, Magwai, Against Me, Beirut, Gnarls Barkley, M83, Ratatat, and the list goes on…

I started with the intention of getting the 2 $70 pairs of Insignia’s from Best Buy and a Dayton 10” sub all for $270ish for a 4.1 setup, and here I am, spending almost that in just front speakers with the intent to buy higher quality parts slowly over time.

So far I have narrowed my choices down to the following:
1.Axiom M2 v2 1" 5.25" (these cost $280, but I’d consider spending that much if they absolutely dominate the rest)
2.Audio Monitor Bronze B1 1", 6.5"
3.PSB Alpha B1 .75", 5.25"
4.Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 1", 5"
5.Energy C-200 1”, 6 ½”
6.Intimus 5B Bookshelf 1”, 5.25”
7.Elemental Designs A6 5T5
8.Behringer TRUTH B2030P

I feel like I have a pretty good list here. They all range from $199-$250, except for the Axioms. If anything, I’d just really like to narrow down my options. So I ask all of you- which pair of speakers would you go for if you were in my situation, and which speakers would you recommend I take off the list?

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   brandonchenry


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Posted October 13 2008 - 12:43 AM

I have these SVSound - Speakers for my computer. Couldn't ask for more!!

just saw this while getting the link: Note: Recieve a rare 10% SVS factory discount! SBS/SCS-01 speakers shipping O/A Oct. 31st.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   voltainthesky



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Posted October 13 2008 - 09:38 AM

Ayayay... another speaker to add to the list! Posted Image

I have not heard of SVS (I am still really new to the home audio world), but I read a little bit about them and they do seem like a fine choice. I just don't know how I am ever going to narrow down my selection of speakers, and then pick the best one for me? I really don't want to go through the whole process of auditioning speakers in my home, and then sending them back to try the next pair, so how does one choose the best speaker? I really just want them to sound good at low and high volumes, and I don't want to be afraid of hurting them if I want to play them loud. I don't listen to classical or orchestra music, and not all of my music is mastered in the best quality possible, so I suppose I don't need the most detailed speaker, just one that is going to sound amazing compared to my little Klipsch 4.1 satellites.

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Brian D H

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Posted October 14 2008 - 06:04 AM

Try HTD Level 3:

HTD Level THREE Speakers

I have a set (in the dark cherry) and love them. They are a great company to work with and will take them back if you don't like them. I know that it's a pain to audition and send back speakers, but I never regreted taking the risk. After auditioning speakers sold at B&Ms I learned what I thought was good, what I thought was crap, too bright, not detailed enough, etc. Then after reading what others thought, I determined that HTD might be the type of speaker I'd like and (since it was less than half the cost of a similar speaker at a B&M) I bought a pair. Is it the perfect speaker? No. But I'd have to pay more than double the price at a B&M to get one as good. I'm glad I bought them.
How do they sound: Well rounded; smooth; not bright; the highs are maybe a tad muddy, but still leaps and bounds better than anything else at that price. (Note: I got the earlier model with the dome tweeter, the current model with the ribbon tweeter is said to be even clearer.) This is, of course, only my opinion. YMMV
(The level 3s are a little over your budget at $299, but you could get a pair of the level 2s for $179. The 3s have the new ribbon tweeter and the 2s have the older silk dome.)


While the Rockets at av123.com are well liked, they are twice your budget at $499 (for the Rocket RS250MkII).

You might consider a pair of their ELT525M for $299 instead:


Regarding SVS: Look around this forum. SVS is the universal favorite for subwoofers.
Lurking at HTF Since 2001

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Bry_DD


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Posted October 15 2008 - 03:15 AM

also check out the Axiom..

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted October 15 2008 - 04:34 AM

You can get more than your money's worth by either buying used or buying older models that are on closeout because they're no longer produced.

If I were shopping in your price range, I would check the deals page at Saturday Audio first.

Saturday Audio

Then I would proceed to "Accessories 4 Less" and see what they offer.


Plenty to choose from at these sites (maybe pushing it at Saturday), both of which have been previously recommended to me by others here on the HTF (I have no affiliation with either). I'm sure there are other good online resources.

Unfortunately I can't help with specific model recommendations. My philosophy is pretty forgiving when it comes to speakers. Either I have discovered that my brain can happily get used to any "quality" speakers, or I just happen to get my hands on exceptional speakers. I'm running a set of B&W DM602s in my home theater that I bought new in 1998 I think. Not even the slightest interest in upgrading, ever. My stereo system has a pair of even older Mirage 290is bookshelves.
Philip Hamm
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#7 of 9 OFFLINE   voltainthesky



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Posted October 16 2008 - 12:45 PM

Are any of these speakers going to be pretty bright? I'm not really looking for bright speakers.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted October 17 2008 - 01:47 AM

I don't know if any of those speakers would be characterized as "bright". I do know they would be characterized as high quality units. Again, I no longer care much about particular manufacturers or models (unless they have an egreigeously poor reputation like Bose), I've found that my ears appreciate and can get used to any quality speakers. Your opinion/experience may differ. Many people absolutely will not buy a speaker they have not personally audition. Not me.
Philip Hamm
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#9 of 9 OFFLINE   voltainthesky



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Posted October 17 2008 - 11:17 PM

I've done some thinking and I feel I have narrowed it down. I like to listen to my music and movies loud, so I'm really looking for a speaker that I can play loud that will sound good and not distort. That said, I feel like it's between the KEF iQ3 and the Wharfedale 9.2. I would be down for the AV123 because it looks amazing, but I'm not sure how it compares to the KEF and Wharfedale.