I personally have no experience with Athenas but have read some very good reviews from several places like audioreview.com .
I've also been looking at Mission, Paradigm, Dahlquist and Wharfedale. As of now the Wharfedale Diamond 8 series and the Dahlquist QX series lead the way for me. There are many choices so I suggest you do your homework before you lay down your cash. Happy hunting.
The best way to shop for speakers is to listen to them. Really.
Take some music you're familiar with (or some movies with certain scenes you're familiar with) and listen to the speakers. There are plenty of tips and guides about listening to speakers both in old posts here and on the web.
Personally, I don't think that retail chains like FS and A&B are always the best places to go speaker shopping (well, FS just sucks in general but that's a different story
). Let me amend that -- don't constrain yourself to just these stores. Try to check out Paradigm (a really popular brand on this board), for instance, or B&W or Mission ...
Ultimately it is YOUR money that is being spent and it's most important that YOU are happy with your speakers. Loudspeakers make sound -- no amount of web-opinion or specsheeting will tell you if they sound any good.
Okay, off my soapbox now. Hope I didn't come across as harsh... what I would do is this: try to obtain recommendations on speakers to try out from this board. Take a quick web-look for prices and specs and shortlist the stuff that you want to try out.
Then go out and check the speakers out! Have fun!
And write back and let us know what you wound up with, and what you didn't like about the stuff you didn't buy
I was at futureshop not long ago and listened to some of their speakers, and I thought the Athena ASF1's we're pretty damn good for the money. They are $499.99 so I guess they meet your budget.
Go check them out at the listening room, it is the only way to decide! http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/pro...&newdeptid=10#
reid, the specs on speakers won't really tell what is the best sounding one. for that you need your ears, and i do mean YOUR ears. what sounds great to me might only sound ok to you or worse. i have read good things about the athena's but have never heard them myself. i guess they are good value for the money but they would be near worthless if you don't like how they sound. shop around, listen well and decide for yourself.
reid, from edmonton? there are lots of great audio/video stores in edmonton. try audio 5.1 on the south side. audio ark & audio plus are also very good. don't be scared of high end stores as they are a good place to learn. you can listen to the best and find the 'sound' that you prefer and then go search out that same 'sound' in less expensive models or brands. a&b sound on the south side has some nice equipment also. spend the time & listen well and you will be rewarded.