Bookshelfs <$500 to consider

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by eric_kl, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. eric_kl

    eric_kl Extra

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    What bookshelfs are worth auditioning that can be had for $500 or less? I currently have a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze 2. These are OK. Good dynamics but voices like James Taylor have too much resonance. Overly warm. Also, highs can be shrill.

    I have listened to Paradigm Mini-Monitors and they seem to have the same problem with male voices.

    Thanks.
     
  2. JerryW

    JerryW Supporting Actor

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    I'd go with a pair of Infinity IL10s. They're the best bookshelf speakers I've ever heard for under $500. Beautiful highs, smooth midrange, and tight punchy bass down to 55Hz. Hell, for $600, buy two pairs! http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S...8IL10C&o=m&a=0
     
  3. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

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    Give the new Kef Q1 speakers a listen.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    B&W 601/602 S3s. I am not sure what the MSRP is on the 602's, but the 601s are certainly in your range.
    http://www.bwspeakers.com/
     
  5. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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  6. peter_anderson

    peter_anderson Stunt Coordinator

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    erik_kl: check out the Swans Diva 2.1 at av123.com and the Axiom M3Ti and M22 at axiomaudio.com. I wish somebody here has compared the Infinity IL series to Axiom. That would be a fun comparison.
     
  7. Terry Flink

    Terry Flink Stunt Coordinator

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    nOrh ceramic 4.0 are wonderful speakers for $400.00/pr or a complete 5 speaker package for $850.00. I have the nOrh's and an SVS 20-39CS for both music and HT and love em. Check out www.norh.com
     
  8. Dan_Jones

    Dan_Jones Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll second the Axiom Audio M3Ti's and M22Ti's. Pristine highs and excellent midrange.
     
  9. Randy G

    Randy G Second Unit

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    1) Norh, if you can tolerate the looks

    2) ACI Emerald if you build it yourself or have somebody build for you...email me if you're looking for a builder

    3) GR-Research AV1

    These will kick the crap out of regular distribution channel stuff at anywhere near the same price.
     
  10. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I agree with the GR research and ACI suggestions. I have the AV1's and actually just listened to them last night in a comparrison with the minimonitors. I agreed that the mini's had a more muffled/resonant lower end. With the GR AV1's, they have a smooth midrange and the silk dome tweeter will solve the shrillness issue. I enjoy them very much.

    You will need a sub with them though to get the lowest octave, but that's true with any speaker. Even floorstanders.
     
  11. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    Another vote for the Divas 2.1's.
     
  12. peter_anderson

    peter_anderson Stunt Coordinator

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    jeff lam: i am sure the AV1s sound wonderful with an SVS helping, but for music and people with smaller budgets, the AV1 is not a good fit; it is designed to drop off lower frequencies quicker than most bookshelf/monitors, and it based on a 5.25" driver, not 6.5". An Axiom or Infinity floor-stander would be a more logical choice for the budget-minded music listener.

    of course, erik_kl did not specify whether he was interested mainly in music or HT and what kind of sub he does or does not have, so the AV1 may be the best bang for $400 (with pre-fab cabinets).
     
  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Having auditioned a pair of AV1s with Jeff last night, I'd have to agree with him on the AV1s. Yes they are 5-1/4, yes they roll off quickly, but for the price, they are quite good and it won't take much of a sub to team up with them to get very good sound. But pair them with a good sub....watch out. [​IMG] I was very impressed with these speakers.
    Minis are very sensitive to room placement, and can also be affected by the gear they are hooked to. I should know, these are my mains right now and I had to play with placement quite a bit to get them where I was OK with the sound (I have an odd orientation in my room, dictated by a door and floor register). I don't find the Minis to be shrill in the upper end though. I agree that the AV1 is noticably more detailed and smooth in the midrange. Muffled is probably the right word for the Minis, as Jeff says.
    The IL10 is another very decent bookshelf for their current price. And, as always, Phil with the JBLs. [​IMG]
    The KEF Qs are exceptional speakers. [​IMG]
     
  14. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    Polk rt55i $399/pr...crutchfield !!
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    here we go again...I don't think (just my opinion) the Polks are in the same league as most of the speakers mentioned here so far. I did a head to head with the IL10 and the RT35i, and there was no comparison, the IL10 was better in every respect...and I am not an Infinity advocate.

    *edit - I don't want to slander Polk or offend Polk owners, I just was not impressed with them.
     
  16. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Peter,

    An SVS is definitelly not necassary with the AV1's. Any sub with good deep clean bass paired with the AV1's will outperform just about anything under $1K-$2K retail. Sure, the bass rolls off quickly below the tuning point(F3@55Hz) but that's what it was designed to do. As I was told many times before and I am now telling many times over. "I would rather have a speaker that has no bass than have a speaker that mucks it up by being muffled, boomy, muddy, resonant, etc..."

    Personally, I just let the sub take over at the normal 80hz. I enjoy the sound very much this way.
     
  17. Russell _T

    Russell _T Supporting Actor

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    I have also done a head to head with the Interludes and Polks. The Interludes are a much sweeter speaker and the best value in the Interlude line. I sold mine for the Diva 2.1's which are far better still. You can see them here.
     
  18. Stephen Houdek

    Stephen Houdek Second Unit

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    Here's another vote for the JBL's. Don't discount them in favor of the more "chic" brands you see promoted here. JBL has a long history of quality speakers. IMHO you won't find a better price/performance value.
     
  19. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Personally, I think the Polk Audio RT35i is quite an excellent speaker. I currently owned a pair and after listening to them last night, I am surprised at how good they are, especially at their current clearance price. Extremely good soundstage and transparent, highly recommended. Despite that, I am contemplating switching the Polks to NHT SB2. For me, it's not an issue of sound quality as they are both excellent; it's more of an issue of having a smaller speaker (in a very small den) and that gorgeous shiny finish on the NHTs.

    For $500/pair, try calling J&R and get a quote on the NHT SB3s....these are great bookshelfs that will rival the B&W 602S3 and Paradigm Reference 20. But most important of all, go out and listen to the speakers and decide for YOURSELF.
     
  20. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

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    Newbie question here: I'm fairly sure I'm going to upgrade my speakers this summer, but I might just buy some rears and a center, as I have an old pair of Sony towers (OLD), that seem to do the job quite well. I'll tell for sure when I audition some REAL speakers, but would these aforementioned speakers be suitable for rears, or should I look a specific type of speaker for rears? Thanks, I might be able to squeeze out $500 for a pair of rears, but let's just pretend for me.

    Thanks, I'll check back occasionally, I should start my research soon anyhow.
     

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