Advice on smaller sized Bookshelf speakers [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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12-02-2012, 04:54 AM
I am a rookie when it comes to audio. I currently have a mixed set of:

Cambridge Soundworks ensemble IV satellites
Cambridge Soundworks CenterStage Center channel
Infinity PS28 Sub

Receiver: Onkyo SR-605

I am looking at getting a smaller sized pair of bookshelf speakers as my main front speakers. I will be upgrading the sats & sub at a later date.

I have been doing some research and would like to keep the price around 400 for the front pair. I also would prefer white speakers, but have found them more difficult and usually more expensive. Here are some speakers I have seen get good reviews, any other ideas or thoughts on these and other choices?

Paradigm Studio 20
Definitive Technology Mythos Six
Klipsch RB-81
B&W 686
Energy RC-10
Kef iq10
Axiom Audio M3v3
NHT Absolute Zero
Wharfedale DX-1 HCP 5.1
I really like the look of the Wharfedale's. I know they are 5.1.

I know I'm kindof all over the place, but any recommendations/thoughts would help me out. Thanks for any feedback.

JoeE SP9
12-02-2012, 12:29 PM
Around here we actually listen to speakers before we buy them. Who cares if the wharfdale's are 5.1 or not. What they sound like is far more important.

My advice: Make the effort and actually listen to some speakers!

12-02-2012, 06:27 PM
Hello Murph22, it's kinda difficult to direct someone in any direction without a little bit more info. Are you seeking to put together a whole new speaker system for HT only or a whole system that will do double duty for HT and music?

See if you can visit a few of your local audio dealers and have a listen to as many speakers that you have listed above and determine which ones you liked best. Then maybe you can get some worthwhile suggestions once your preferences are known.

12-02-2012, 06:45 PM
I would consider some PSB Alpha B's, PSB B4's, B5's or wharfedale 10.1, 10.2's

Saturday Audio ( Click on PSB specials and it takes you to their B-stock speakers that you can get at great deals. I bought a pair of B6's for $399pr.


For white speakers consider these NHT Absolute Zero's. They come in Gloss white or Black

NHT - Absolute Zero Mini-Monitor Speakers-Audio Advisor (

Mr Peabody
12-09-2012, 10:21 AM
You do have a list of pretty good budget speakers. If you will be doing home theater you should make sure the mains you buy have matching center and rears to offer for the future. If not able to listen locally then buy from some place that allows the 30 day return.

The Klipsch is a bit unique in your list that they are very efficient which allows them to play louder with the same input signal. The horns are more directional which could be a plus or minus depending on your room set up, a plus where needing to minimize reflections. They will also be crisp sounding on effects so they aren't for every one. They will come closer to what you'd actually hear in a theater but for music and some people's taste that may not always be good :).

The Paradigm to my ears seem to always have an extended high frequency and pronounced midrange which gives them a lively sound. The Studio series is very popular.

The NHT and PSB I believe will be a more warm sound.

B&W is a bit hard to explain, sort of a flat response meaning no one certain area stand out more than another.

Energy struck me as a good budget speaker but I didn't listen long enough to comment more.

Wharfedale and KEF both have good reps. Like I mentioned you have a list of good performers but speakers are typically a personal choice that should match your taste. All of us who answer may favor different brands on your list.

12-09-2012, 11:32 AM
I am currently enjoying a pair of speakers that are working some magic in my room. I think you should check out the JBL Studio 530's. They have recently been reduced in price from $599 to $479 a pair. The horn loaded tweeter is smooth and defined. Great imaging and dynamics but will not play crazy loud. In their frequency range they better the Monitor Audio RS6's and the Mobile Fidelity OML1's.

Mr Peabody
12-09-2012, 01:29 PM
Glad you mentioned those JM, I forgot about them and with the price reduction, an outstanding value.

The JBL horns will be smoother and more refined than the Klipsch model you listed and still bring a nice theater experience with doing music well.

12-09-2012, 05:44 PM
I would give serious consideration to the PSB B6's as mains. They are a slightly warmer speaker with excellent bass for a bookshelf. They are definitely a more forgiving speaker if your system or music is bright. They image well and have a very smooth midrange. Treble could be a little more resolving but every speaker around this price is going to have some weaknesses. I bought a pair for my son's system and I like them better than my $650pr Monitor Audio S1's. You can buy a pair of B-stock B6's at Saturday Audio ( for $439pr, list price is $550pr. They also sell the matching center channel and the B4's which are satellites.

Here are some reviews on the B6-

6moons audio reviews: PSB B6 (

PSB Image B6 loudspeaker | (

PSB Image T6 Speaker System | Home Theater (

Of all the speakers on your list, I like the Paradigms, NHT's and the B&W 686's. I don't care for the newer Energy Speakers-too bright and unrefined. The PSB B6's beat them all IMO

Let us know which speakers you decide to buy!