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  1. #1
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    Bookshelf Speaker Recommendation

    I am considering purchasing new speakers for my two channel audio system, and due to the layout of the room I would like to first consider bookshelf type speakers on a stand. The amp that I am considering requires speakers to have an efficiency of 89 or better. I would like to begin my search in the $1000 range.

    Can anyone recommend speakers that might meet these requirements?

    I tried a pair of old B&W DM600 , however they were not very loud [efficient], were lacking in presence compared to my old Marantz speakers, and had no sub lows that I could hear.

  2. #2
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Three rules of speaker design you might waht to keep in mind.

    They can be designed for any two of these three goals:

    1) Small size

    2) Efficiency

    3) Deep bass

    You can have any two, not all three. I think you can forget "sub" bass and sensitivity in a bookshelf speaker.

    Isn't that Marantz speaker the one with a 15" woofer and an aftermarket Scanspeak tweeter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    They can be designed for any two of these three goals:

    1) Small size

    2) Efficiency

    3) Deep bass

    You can have any two, not all three. I think you can forget "sub" bass and sensitivity in a bookshelf speaker.

    Isn't that Marantz speaker the one with a 15" woofer and an aftermarket Scanspeak tweeter?
    Yes, a 14" woofer actually and the scanspeak tweeters are still on loan. I like the simplicity of your three-goal explanation. I have read many postings in this forum, looked at several online retailers, investigated some speaker manufacturers websites, and am completely confounded on where to start. Are there any small size speakers with deep bass for under $1000 that you can recommend?

  4. #4
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    That depends on what "deep is"

    IMNSHO, "small speaker" and "deep bass" are oxymorons, particularly when your gold standard is a 14" woofer.

    Personally, I think a vintage/older full-sized speaker would be more suited to your wants.

    Ther are some towers that have dual woofers that might come somewhat close, but they are not bookshelves. Athena AS-F2's come to mind but they aren't made anymore.

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    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Hello again.

    My first rec is a speaker I had the distinct pleasure of hearing recently. It's the Mentor Menuet by a Danish company called Dali. Simply put, it's the smallest speaker with the biggest/cleanest bass sound I have ever heard. Remarkable, and in the $1K range. If you want to achieve all of your goals, and be in the cutting edge, this is it.

    http://dali-speakers.com/display_con....html/183/2373



    If you want efficient with great sound, Tekton are another fantastic brand. The Kat's Meow are in your range, but I would suggest the 8.1t which is on sale. By all means email Eric and ask him what you need, very accessible.

    http://www.tektondesign.com/loudspeakers.htm


  6. #6
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Hello again.

    My first rec is a speaker I had the distinct pleasure of hearing recently. It's the Mentor Menuet by a Danish company called Dali. Simply put, it's the smallest speaker with the biggest/cleanest bass sound I have ever heard. Remarkable, and in the $1K range. If you want to achieve all of your goals, and be in the cutting edge, this is it.

    http://dali-speakers.com/display_con....html/183/2373


    Cool, poppa. I've been curious about the Dali models with ribbon drivers like the IKON series, but I've read about some integration problems. Did you get to compare the Menuet to a model with the ribbon/dome combo driver?

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    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctctc
    I am considering purchasing new speakers for my two channel audio system, and due to the layout of the room I would like to first consider bookshelf type speakers on a stand. The amp that I am considering requires speakers to have an efficiency of 89 or better. I would like to begin my search in the $1000 range.

    Can anyone recommend speakers that might meet these requirements?

    I tried a pair of old B&W DM600 , however they were not very loud [efficient], were lacking in presence compared to my old Marantz speakers, and had no sub lows that I could hear.
    Totem Rainmaker;



    Huge sound from a modest sized speaker. My favorite $1k standmount!

    http://www.totemacoustic.com/pdf/rev..._Rainmaker.pdf

    http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speak...5_4290crx.aspx
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  8. #8
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I was there with Chubbs, listening to the Dali speakers. Everyone in the room (including 02audionoob) was highly impressed. This wasn't just a speaker that sounded great for its size...this was a speaker that sounded great.

  9. #9
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Cool, poppa. I've been curious about the Dali models with ribbon drivers like the IKON series, but I've read about some integration problems. Did you get to compare the Menuet to a model with the ribbon/dome combo driver?
    No Dean. Just so you know the Menuet were hooked into a Rega system. All I can tell you is that if you were there, the last thing you would have thought about is comparison.

    These things are in a league of their own. Very impressive. We couldn't believe there was no sub hooked up.

  10. #10
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    I'm going with you guys next time.

  11. #11
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    What the size of your room?

    http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...SRM1/srm1.html

    Sierra-1 by Ascend Audio.
    They sound very good, and crazy good considering the price.

    Th Sierra-1s are rated at 87dB, but they offered plenty of volume with 8 watt valve based integrated amp. 5.25" woofers provide plenty of bass as well.

  12. #12
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    Totem Rainmaker;



    Huge sound from a modest sized speaker. My favorite $1k standmount!

    http://www.totemacoustic.com/pdf/rev..._Rainmaker.pdf

    http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speak...5_4290crx.aspx
    The 602 has more bass than the Rainmaker without the frequency issues and is less expensive than the rainmaker. I like the Rainmaker if we're talking about sound quality under a grand too but it has gutless bass.

  13. #13
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    They can be designed for any two of these three goals:

    1) Small size

    2) Efficiency

    3) Deep bass

    You can have any two, not all three. I think you can forget "sub" bass and sensitivity in a bookshelf speaker.

    Isn't that Marantz speaker the one with a 15" woofer and an aftermarket Scanspeak tweeter?
    I would add that to get those three things it will also come at a premium price. Also, a speaker can get you the bass depth but it may not provide the dynamics or smudge the midrange. The Dynaudio C1 has a lot of bass but isn't particularly agile in the midrange and I'll trade some bass for midrange openness and dynamics every time.

  14. #14
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctctc
    I am considering purchasing new speakers for my two channel audio system, and due to the layout of the room I would like to first consider bookshelf type speakers on a stand. The amp that I am considering requires speakers to have an efficiency of 89 or better. I would like to begin my search in the $1000 range.

    Can anyone recommend speakers that might meet these requirements?

    I tried a pair of old B&W DM600 , however they were not very loud [efficient], were lacking in presence compared to my old Marantz speakers, and had no sub lows that I could hear.
    The B&W 602S2 or 602S3 and their new replacements should have about all the bass you are going to get from a speaker around this size and under a grand. Like Mark noted you have to give up some things in this price and size bracket if you want to maintain high efficiency. Small speakers trying for big bass are usually inefficient or sound rather muddy in the midrange like the Totem Model one which has great bass for the tiny size but also sounds incredibly boxy and shut in.

    Standmounts in theory have the advantage that sound comes from a point in space and therefore sounds cohesive - but many designs don't really produce in practice. Since most don't offer the dynamics in the midrange or bass drive then you could try for a quality standmount and add a sub later (though I've found this route to be more of a headache). Many floorstanders take up the same footprint as a standmount on a stand so you might be better off looking at some of them. Floorstanders tend to have higher efficiency and bigger physical drivers which can provide a bigger more effortless presentation. Some are also two way so you get the "theoretical" advantage of the standmount.

  15. #15
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Cool, poppa. I've been curious about the Dali models with ribbon drivers like the IKON series, but I've read about some integration problems. Did you get to compare the Menuet to a model with the ribbon/dome combo driver?
    Before I moved to St.Louis, I lived in Raleigh/Durham/Cary/Chapel Hill North Carolina. All the cities are small college towns next to each other, but is one of the Technology head quarters for many big companies...white collar work force. This is why thy had so many hi-fi shops. I had the privilege to listen to a lots of gear that you cant get here in St.Louis. One Hi-Fi shop was Audio Video Excellence. They had a full line of Dali speakers. I had a chance to listen to the Ikon 1, 2, 5 and 6. I also had a chance to listen to the Helicon 300 MK2 and the Helicon 400 MK2

    Firstly...if you have a chance to get the 400 MK2, grab them if you can afford the price. They are a nice High-End speaker with a large following...cult like.

    The speakers are just gorgeous in real wood veneer. They where connected to Cary audio tubes and the 300 MK2 stand mount was connected to a Cayin audio integrated tube amp the A-50t. Both speakers where well balanced. But you have to match them correctly to the right gear. They have unbelievable detail in the highs and upper mids. If you don't pair them correctly, the top end will over power the bottom end....this is due to the fact they have a hybrid tweeter system...one tweeter is ribbon and the other is silk dome.

    The Ikons are mid-fi speakers. The finish was not shinny like the Helicon line but never the less they where not bad looking at all. The price is more reasonable. They where comparable in price to Paradigm Monitors or Monitor Audio RX series. Vinyl wrap no wood. They too where connected to Cayin tubes with a Cary Audio CDP and I do remember listening to Diana Krall. Her voice was clear with tons of air. I could hear great detail from her breathing as she sang. Lots of air and detail from the hybrid tweaters. They did not sound like the Helicons but they still sounded good but not as balanced. The bass was not a profound as the tweaters. After listening to the Krall CD they switch out the Ikons and replaced them with a pair of Theil's. The Ikons made the Theils sound boring.

    MrP and I got a chance to listen to the Mentor Menuets at a local shop here in St. Louis. To me they sounded much different from the Ikons and Helicons. They where less detail in the mids and highs...did not have the detailed extension in the tweaters and had more of a balanced sound with a good bottom end....overall a good little stand mount speaker.
    Last edited by frenchmon; 06-05-2010 at 07:55 PM.
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  16. #16
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    The 602 has more bass than the Rainmaker without the frequency issues and is less expensive than the rainmaker. I like the Rainmaker if we're talking about sound quality under a grand too but it has gutless bass.
    Well if you drive Rainmakers with gutless amplification then it's just GIGO. I've heard them driven with proper amplification and they had SMOKING bass. Truly eye blinking, scratch you head kinda bass came out of these modest sized speakers.

    All Totem products need amps than can deliver current. The minimum I would use with the Rainmaker is something like my 50wpc Music Hall 25.2 (100w into 4 Ohms). However a decent amp in the 100wpc+ range will definitely make these modest speakers shine. When I got to hear these speakers for the first time. Vince Bruzzese, the owner of Totem Acoustic, was using Ayre amplification with like 300wpc and the quality of both the speakers and amplification was obvious. These speakers will definitely show you what your amp's got.
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  17. #17
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon
    Before I moved to St.Louis, I lived in Raleigh/Durham/Cary/Chapel Hill North Carolina. All the cities are small college towns but is one of the Technology head quarters for many big companies...white collar work force. This is why thy had so many hi-fi shops. I had the privilege to listen to a lots of gear that you cant get here in St.Louis. One Hi-Fi shop was Audio Video Excellence. They had a full line of Dali speakers. I had a chance to listen to the Ikon 1, 2, 5 and 6. I also had a chance to listen to the Helicon 300 MK2 and the Helicon 400 MK2

    Firstly...if you have a chance to get the 400 MK2, grab them if you can afford the price. They are a nice High-End speaker with a large following...cult like.

    The speakers are just gorgeous in real wood veneer. They where connected to Cary audio tubes and the 300 MK2 stand mount was connected to a Cayin audio integrated tube amp the A-50t. Both speakers where well balanced. But you have to match them correctly to the right gear. They have unbelievable detail in the highs and upper mids. If you don't pair them correctly, the top end will over power the bottom end....this is due to the fact they have a hybrid tweeter system...one tweeter is ribbon and the other is silk dome.

    The Ikons are mid-fi speakers. The finish was not shinny like the Helicon line but never the less they where not bad looking at all. The price is more reasonable. They where comparable in price to Paradigm Monitors or Monitor Audio RX series. Vinyl wrap no wood. They too where connected to Cayin tubes with a Cary Audio CDP and I do remember listening to Diana Krall. Her voice was clear with tons of air. I could hear great detail from her breathing as she sang. Lots of air and detail from the hybrid tweaters. They did not sound like the Helicons but they still sounded good but not as balanced. The bass was not a profound as the tweaters. After listening to the Krall CD they switch out the Ikons and replaced them with a pair of Theil's. The Ikons made the Theils sound boring.

    MrP and I got a chance to listen to the Mentor Menuets at a local shop here in St. Louis. To me they sounded much different from the Ikons and Helicons. They where less detail in the mids and highs...did not have the detailed extension in the tweaters and had more of a balanced sound with a good bottom end....overall a good little stand mount speaker.
    Thanks for the insight. I've read about Dalis but never had a chance to audition any.

    North Carolina also has a reputation for excellent furniture makers. I have a pair of Soliloquy 5.0 standmount speakers built in NC. The cabinet work is top notch and the sound is pretty good too. Unfotunately, they went out of business a few years ago.

  18. #18
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Thanks for the insight. I've read about Dalis but never had a chance to audition any.

    North Carolina also has a reputation for excellent furniture makers. I have a pair of Soliloquy 5.0 standmount speakers built in NC. The cabinet work is top notch and the sound is pretty good too. Unfotunately, they went out of business a few years ago.
    Your welcome. About the furniture...you are absolutely correct. Furniture stores all over the place. And while im at it....if you get down that way, be sure to find a good "pig pickin."
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  19. #19
    Forum Regular YBArcam's Avatar
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    A couple of speakers I'm currently looking at come to mind. The Monitor Audio RX2. It features an 8" driver in a relatively big box, but it's still a bookshelf speaker. The RX2 is pretty efficient and goes deep, but it's not the smallest bookshelf around of course, though I'm not sure just how small you want to get. It retails for about $900.

    The ProAc Studio 110 supposedly goes down to 33 Hz. That's quite incredible if anywhere near accurate. It's small enough and ProAc speakers tend to be efficient. $1,400 I believe.

    Then there's the Dynaudio DM 2/8. Another 8" driver bookshelf, relatively efficient for Dynaudio and it'll go deep. Not that unlike the MA RX2. It retails for $1,200. More expensive than the RX2 but not nearly as nice to look at. Maybe it sounds better though.

    That Dali is gorgeous.
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  20. #20
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    Well if you drive Rainmakers with gutless amplification then it's just GIGO. I've heard them driven with proper amplification and they had SMOKING bass. Truly eye blinking, scratch you head kinda bass came out of these modest sized speakers.

    All Totem products need amps than can deliver current. The minimum I would use with the Rainmaker is something like my 50wpc Music Hall 25.2 (100w into 4 Ohms). However a decent amp in the 100wpc+ range will definitely make these modest speakers shine. When I got to hear these speakers for the first time. Vince Bruzzese, the owner of Totem Acoustic, was using Ayre amplification with like 300wpc and the quality of both the speakers and amplification was obvious. These speakers will definitely show you what your amp's got.
    Why is it that no one asks before they insinuate that I used underpowered amps. I auditioned it with a Bryston 4B, and Parasound amps most recently. But I have also used Classe separates and rather powerful Sim Audio amplifiers in the past. The poster wants a speaker that is 89db or more - the rainmaker is 87db and Totem usually measures lower than their rated spec. Curiously they also state on their site that that "87.5 dB/W/m. Maximum sound pressure before dynamic compression" which I take to mean that once it gets to 87.5 db it will begin to compress. That's not really very good at all if louder levels are desirable. They recommend 30-100 watts.

    It also has some treble fatigue which granted a lot of other speakers in this price range have as well. But like some other Totem speakers there is a boom and sizzle quality to them. Several years back I directly compared the Totem Model One against the B&W CDM 2SE which was 2/3 the price and it was far more open dynamic and effortless. The Arro I had a similar experience with again a cheaper Energy C5 where the Arro was more bass and treble and little midrange. It's as if the drivers are trying so hard to pump out deep bass to impress on the showroom floor and sacrifice midrange clarity and seamlessness. The upper midrange lower treble pronouncements somewhat invade the experience for me. I think it's better than all the other standmounts they make in terms of value for the dollar though but there is some stiff competition. The rainmaker is not easy to drive and does not meet the requirement the poster posted. 89db or better. The rainmaker falls short and it is recommended that the end user use 4ohm taps. The OP wants an easy to drive speaker.

    The Audio Note AX Two I am considering myself but as Marc pointed out you can't get all three - it has the sensitivity and it's reasonably small but it's probably only good to 60hz but it's also incredibly good on acoustic instruments like Piano giving you the sound of the impression it is capturing more of the fundamentals and overtones than a lot of other speakers are capable of. But it's no bass hound either. It costs several hundred less than the Rainmaker. In general I would avoid metal tweeters in this price range.
    Last edited by RGA; 06-06-2010 at 11:15 AM.

  21. #21
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Why is it that no one asks before they insinuate that I used underpowered amps. I auditioned it with a Bryston 4B, and Parasound amps most recently. But I have also used Classe separates and rather powerful Sim Audio amplifiers in the past. The poster wants a speaker that is 89db or more - the rainmaker is 87db and Totem usually measures lower than their rated spec. Curiously they also state on their site that that "87.5 dB/W/m. Maximum sound pressure before dynamic compression" which I take to mean that once it gets to 87.5 db it will begin to compress. That's not really very good at all if louder levels are desirable. They recommend 30-100 watts.


    .
    Actually the OP wanted standmounts to replace his larger Marantz speakers. His idea of a 89dB+ speaker on a stand isn't going to happen, but the larger "presence" of the Marantz can be had with a smaller speaker like the Rainmakers, which like most speakers of it's size, have not been designed to play absolutely flat, but have a bass and treble "hump". B&W tend to be flatter in response, and the OP didn't like that kind of response, being much more used to what the Marantz sounded like.

    I will disagree with you that the Rainmaker is hard to drive. A good amp SS or tubed will drive them just fine as long as the amp can deliver current when called for. I didn't see anywhere that the OP wasn't considering 4ohm speakers.
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  22. #22
    RGA
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    The impression I have is that he wants a relatively easy to drive loudspeaker - the Rainmaker isn't and even your post suggested that the trouble I had with them is that "I must be using an insufficiently powered amp," which gives the impression that the speaker needs power. Not all amps are rated for 4ohm or have 4ohm taps.

    The B&W 600 is gutless - the 602 is considerably bigger and has a lot more oomph and is a couple hundred less than the Rainmaker. I am no B&W fan but IMO the 602 is a better loudspeaker - cheaper finish though and dumpier looking. None of these will replace a big floorstander with bass. I just didn't hear any big bass from the Rainmaker. The only one I felt has any sort of bass and retained acceptable dynamics and volume capability was the Totem Mani-2. But there are plenty of speakers that offer similar bass ability for 2 grand less and are easier to drive like the Reference 3a MM De Capo.

    But certainly auditioning the Rainmaker is fair enough. But I would spend the time paying attention to the midrange very closely. Maybe I'm just getting grumpy about speakers under a grand but they all start irritating me very quickly these days. I need the

  23. #23
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    The impression I have is that he wants a relatively easy to drive loudspeaker - the Rainmaker isn't and even your post suggested that the trouble I had with them is that "I must be using an insufficiently powered amp," which gives the impression that the speaker needs power. Not all amps are rated for 4ohm or have 4ohm taps.
    The impression that I got was that he wanted a speaker that could play loud, hence the 89dB requirement. Most good amps can drive a 4 ohm load. Even my vintage Fisher 500c receiver has 4ohm taps. Of course if the OP has a flea watt SET then he is looking for the wrong kind of speaker.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Thanks for the insight. I've read about Dalis but never had a chance to audition any.

    North Carolina also has a reputation for excellent furniture makers. I have a pair of Soliloquy 5.0 standmount speakers built in NC. The cabinet work is top notch and the sound is pretty good too. Unfotunately, they went out of business a few years ago.
    I love the Soliloquy 5.0's, a fantastic speaker but i was disappointed with the newer "i" versions of that series.

  25. #25
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    My first rec is a speaker I had the distinct pleasure of hearing recently. It's the Mentor Menuet by a Danish company called Dali. Simply put, it's the smallest speaker with the biggest/cleanest bass sound I have ever heard. Remarkable, and in the $1K range. If you want to achieve all of your goals, and be in the cutting edge, this is it.
    It sure is beautiful to look at! It appears that none are stocked for another month or so at the local shop given to me by Dali's website. What is your opinion of published specs? The Mentor Menuet states a low range of 59 hz., but you said that it had a great low end?

    I would suggest the 8.1t which is on sale. By all means email Eric and ask him what you need, very accessible.
    Thanks, I did contact him and he told me that the speakers are made to order, so there's nowhere I can go to give a listen prior to purchase. Before I have him waste his time making me a pair I would like to know what corners are usually cut to make speakers so much cheaper than more expensive ones with similar specs?

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