Which bookshelfs to get for around/under $300?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Steve_T, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. Steve_T

    Steve_T Auditioning

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    Hi, I'm relatively new to the forum and the HT experience and I'm looking for some opinions on what bookshelf speakers to use as mains with my Yamaha HTR-5550. Right now for my 12x20x8 dorm room I have the serviceable Sony SS-CR350 center and surround package, along with open-box JBL N26IIs as mains. After listening to the JBLs I realized I want more musical speakers, provided that they're under or near $300 a pair. I have no sub yet but will most likely wait and save up for a high quality one such as SVS.

    With better mains I figure my system will be 60% movies/40% music. Music will be 50% rock, 20% trip-hop/electronica, 20% jazz, 10% classical.

    Current candidates, in no particular order:

    Polk Rti38 ($250) or Rti28 ($200)
    Athena AS-B1 ($175) or AS-B2 ($260)
    Axiom M3ti ($275) or M2i ($255)
    JBL S26II ($150)
    Ascend CBM-170 ($328)
    Paradigm Atoms ($188) or Titans ($220)
    Home Theater Direct Level 3 Mains ($219)
    JBL S38II ($260), though the S38II may be too big for the room.

    Other speaker recommendations are also welcome and appreciated.
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I have not heard them, but based on reviews and specs, I'd have to say the Ascends are going to be the most musical out of that bunch. Going to need a sub.

    The S26 and S38 will give you the most bang for your buck and probably the most bass.

    The M3tis are very musical, but lack bass also, and will want a sub.

    Titans are an all around performer, but not as clean as the M3s. Atoms are a bit more accurate at the expense of bass, but The M3s are still better.
     
  3. Steve_T

    Steve_T Auditioning

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    Thanks for your input John. It sounds like I should try to add a sub sooner rather than later.
     
  4. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    I'll second the Ascends.
     
  5. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I'd bank on the fact that the 170s with the DLS sub from www.partsexpress.com would work rather nicely.
     
  7. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Steve,

    Since you are in LA...you are more than welcome to stop by for a listen to a pair of CBM-170's.

    No one has been reported missing yet after listening to speakers at my place. [​IMG]

    And is that 12x20x8 dorm room all for yourself?....if I recall, my dorm room was the same size, but I had to share it with a roommate!
     
  8. Steve_T

    Steve_T Auditioning

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    Curtis,

    The dorm room I described is actually the common room of a four person, two-bedroom suite, so I guess you could say I'm actually sharing that space with three other people. It's a lot more room than I had last year, that's for sure!

    Another question concerning the Ascends... The main thing stopping me from buying them is whether or not my Yamaha HTR-5550 will keep the speakers from sounding their best. It seems to perform well enough for movies, but I wonder whether I should give the Yamaha to my parents (who will soon need a receiver) and buy a refurbished H/K avr 225 from their H/K store on eBay.

    In other words, will upgrading my receiver make a noticeable difference in performance for the Ascends or, for that matter, any other quality bookshelf speakers?
     
  9. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    I am not familiar with that Yamaha. The best thing to do is try them out. My guess is that it will be fine. But I also like HK's.

    You are more than welcome to bring the Yamaha here and hook them up to the 170's.
     
  10. Keith*D

    Keith*D Agent

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    I will tell you that HK and Axiom sound great paired together. If you can squeeze it in your budget upgrade to the HK 325, I wish I had because it has preouts. I don't think you can lose with the Ascends as long as you don't mind the looks. The next best choice is the M3ti's, and they are pretty dang close.

    Keith
     
  11. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    I've compared the CBM-170's to the M22's. Now those two are extremely close in performance.

    From reading the Axiom board, when compared to the M22, the M3ti has a bit of a bump in the midrange, and does not seem as detailed.
     
  12. Chris A H

    Chris A H Stunt Coordinator

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    Since you are in SoCal, your should drop by Hsu Research located in Anaheim to listen to their subwoofers.
     
  13. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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  14. Brendan Low

    Brendan Low Auditioning

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    I have the Titans and I have to say that I love them. For the price, they are fantastic.
     
  15. Steve Griswold

    Steve Griswold Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Steve,

    If you want to audition the Ascends in your own home, call up Ascend directly (they're in Gardena, just off the 405 @ Western) and see if they'll waive the shipping fee because you're local. They *may* let you pick them up but more likely will ship free instead. Ordered mine yesterday, total was about $355 including tax. I should get them either monday or tuesday depending on when they ship.

    And since they have a satisfaction guarantee, you can just drive over and drop the speakers off for a full refund. It's win-win IMO [​IMG]
     
  16. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I think I would have to say the JBL, nice speakers they make.

    Also, I just listened to the Klipsch SB-1's today and all I have to say is for a lower-end bookshelf they were awesome. Gonna get me a pair for the holidays... Take a look at them, they are around $300 a pair and amazed me... I never thought they sounded that good until I listened.
     
  17. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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  18. Steve_T

    Steve_T Auditioning

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    Thanks everyone for all your input, it's helped me out a lot in guiding me to a decision.

    Unfortunately I have no car right (it's back at home), but right now if I had to pick I'd go with the Ascends, or maybe some Titans or JBL S26s if the price is right. But first I think I'll get the $130 DLS sub on partsexpress.com and pair it with the stereo speakers from my mini-system, to get a feel for what I want next.
     

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