Small Speaker Recomendations [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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02-19-2004, 08:45 AM
- Paradigm
- Energy
- JM Lab
- Monitor Audio
- Axiom

Equipment: Yamaha RXV1300 Receiver, Mirage BiPolar Subwoofer
Room Dimensions: 10x12
Music: Pop, New Age / Instrumental, Soft Rock

Hi, I am looking for bookshelf speaker recommendations in the $500US range. The speakers are going to be used for 2 channel music so I only need 1 pair. I have researched many speaker companies and made a list. So from the speaker list and information above which speaker would be best suited for my needs. I dont have time to demo all the speakers so I need to narrow the list down to 2 speakers so I can go and audition them in the store.


02-19-2004, 08:50 AM
Ascend Acoustic CBM 170. Great for music. Retails for $328. Unfortunately, they're only available online, but you can return them if you are not satisfied.

02-19-2004, 09:38 AM
My list would have the B&W 602S3 the Totems (Mite - I believe), Mission M73, Wharfedale Diamond series.

My list would not include speakers I cannot hear like internet companies, and it would not have Paradigm Monitors.

Of your list I would be tempted to keep the Energy(C Series) and JM labs (chorus) on the list.

I like the b&W because of its full bodied sound like a bold coffee over a medium roast. Bass is bigger and deeper likely because of the physically larger cabinet. The Mission may have the smoothest treble response of the lot.

02-19-2004, 11:49 AM
Well, you really have no way to narrow down your list unless you do go out and listen. The speakers on your list and the ones that others have recommended have different strengths and emphases, and you have no way of assessing whether those attributes are pluses or weaknesses until you start listening and comparing.

Unless you have a store credit with a pending expiration, I would not rush the decision. It took me about two months of constant auditioning and comparing before I made my final speaker decision, and I thoroughly enjoyed that whole process. Just make sure that you pick out a selection of discs that you're familiar with and are representative of what you'll play through your speakers, and use the exact same discs for every listening session. Speakers are by far the most subjective purchase in an audio system, and I don't think you should trust reviewers and specs to narrow your list down for you. Things that I like and would recommend might not be what you're looking for, you're the final arbiter on that. So, go out and enjoy yourself while hunting out the right pair.

02-19-2004, 02:44 PM
Also, I know someone who posts on another forum that built a pair of North Creek Music Okara II's and is selling them for $375 for the pair (about half the cost of the kit/cabinets). You will not find anything under $500 that uses drivers or crossovers of similar quality. The tweeter and woofer are used in speakers costing up to $25,000. If you are interested, I will give you the guys e-mail address and you can see if they are still available.

02-21-2004, 10:28 PM
I have two sound systems.

One is a HT:

Yamaha RX-V1300
Arcam DIVA CD 62
Paradigm Studio 40/v2
Paradigm Studio cc-470/v3
Paradigm Atoms v3
Paradigm PW2200/v2

I'm in the process of building a second audio system which will consist of (so far only my Ascends have arrived):

Pioneer Elite VSX-43TX
Marantz CD 6000 OSE
Ascend Acoustics CBM-170
Sampson 1000 W subwoofer amplifier
SVS 20-39 CS+

I recently got the Ascend Acoustics and for fun auditioned them against the Paradigm studio 40s with the Yamaha/PW2200/Arcam being common to both sets. The Paradigms had a bit of an advantage as I don't have the appropriate height speaker stands for the Ascends yet, while the speaker stands I do have were specifically bought for the studio 40s.

The results of my listening showed the Ascends to be far superior the Paradigm's. There was an airiness and depth to the Ascends that the Paradigms just could not match. You have no idea how much it hurts me to admit this being a big fan of Canadian speakers, in general.

There are two downsides to the Ascends that you should be aware of. They don't do well with bass so a subwoofer is really required if you are going this route. Secondly, when I tried them with my old JVC receiver they sounded terrible. This is because they are rated at 4 ohms and my JVC couldn't drive them properly so you need a good receiver. Since you have the same receiver as me, this should not be a problem.

I am now considering getting two more CBM-170s and one new center (CMT-340) as well as the new Yamaha universal (DVD S1500 which will be Faroudja-equipped and have a MSRP $399 US - Yamaha USA told me to expect them to be available in April) to create a high-rez audio room.

In terms of the Monitor Audios, a friend who recently bought the Audio 8's for $2000 Cdn and teamed them up with an Axiom subwoofer and a Denon AVR-2803 stopped by for a demo yesterday. He was kicking himself when he heard the Ascends and realized they were outperforming his Monitor's according to his ears (mind you, he has a much weaker sub and a budget CD player so there are some confounding factors). I have yet to hear his system myself.

02-21-2004, 11:31 PM
I've no opinion on your post... Just love your Avatar.... Leave it to you to find a goodie...

Da laughing Worfster :D

02-27-2004, 03:22 PM
While I agree that you should definitely hear speakers before deciding to keep them, I disagree that you should exclude any on-line only resellers and sticking to just brick-and-mortar shops (according to some posts). Most online dealers offer money-back garantees and free shipping so you can test them at home. This is much better than making a decision based on what a speaker sounds like in the store.

Another advantage is that on-line dealers have much lower overhead and these savings are passed onto the consumer. Smaller shops like Axiom, Aperion, and others will give you very personalized service just because they know that they must compete with the retail channel. And this fear of online competition is apparent in speaker manufacturers too: Klipsch won't endorse any online dealers at all (warrantee is void), and while I'm sure they make an excellent product, this fear ultimately excludes them from a growing number of consumers. Personally, I won't buy Klipsch, because their markup at typical retail outlets (Good Guys, Best Buy) is as high as 25%. If I can cut that expense by purchasing from their competition online, then that's what I'm going to do. It allows me to purchase speakers from England, Japan, Canada, or wherever, and compare them on their specs and comparative value before I narrow it down to those I actually want to audition in my home.

Aric M L
02-27-2004, 03:25 PM
Does anyone have any opinions about how Tannoy stacks up to more well known brands like B&W or Mission?

02-27-2004, 07:09 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions, I have decided to audition the following bookshelf speakers: B&W, Energy, JMLab

If I do finally purchase a speaker, then I would definitely consider purchasing online or wait for a clearance sale. I used to work in retail and I know the markup on some speakers were as much as 300%, in fact bigscreen tvs and speakers had the largest markup in the store.

Lets suppose I do buy speakers online, will any of the 3 speaker manufacturers that I mentioned above honor the warranty ?

If not then do I really need the manufacturer warranty because most online retailers should have a 30 day guarantee. The probability of the speaker having problems IMHO is very low, I have had my Titans for 8 years now without any problems.

Also the money that I would save in buying speakers online would it cover - in the event that in a year a driver is blown - the cost of buying replacement parts from the manufacturer. In other words is it really worth it to get the warranty.

02-27-2004, 07:33 PM
I know someone recommended against the paradigm monitors which is his opinion but you might want to check out one line down and sample out the paradigm focus. They might suit your ear.