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  1. #1
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    Bookshelf Speakers

    I am in the process of setting up my 2 channel system in the basement "studio/gym". I say studio because my drums are set up down there. I recently bought a Harman Kardon HK 3490 which puts out a max of 120 watts per channel. I have a pair of Paradigm Titans, I think version 2, which seem to have blown tweeters. I will probably replace the tweeters but I don't think they will handle the power of the HK. Therefore, I'm in the market for a nice pair of bookshelf speakers to go with the HK. I also have a Polk PSW10 subwoofer. I had bought that prior to knowing the tweeters were blown. Anyway, since I have the sub I'm looking for a pair that have the highs and midrange as its strengths. My price range is in the $500 per pair range. Could go a little higher if I feel its justified. Anyway, I have a list of possibilities that I know can handle the HKs power output and in no particular order:

    Silverline Audio Minuet
    Polk RTi A3
    Polk TSi200
    Pinnacle BD500
    Klipsch RB-51 or RB-61
    Aperion Intimus 5B
    Axiom M22 v2
    Focal Chorus 706v

    I would very much appreciate some perspective to help narrow the choices down. I realize speakers and stereo systems for that matter are very much a personal choice. My taste in music runs from Rock to R&B to Jazz to Funk. And of course, I will be heading out to go listen but thought I'd hear peoples thoughts before I do some auditioning. Thanks in advance for everyone's help.

  2. #2
    Old AR guy, reincarnated.
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    I have been looking for a while also. I personally settled on a pair of Polk TSi100. You may want to look into a pair of Polk TSi200. They run 399 a pair. I did see a new reburb pair on Polk Audio's Ebay website sell yesterday for $167.50 + 30.00 dollars shipping. They come with a factory 2 year warranty. I am pretty sure you can also get a pair of these for that price. They handle up to 150 watts and have extension down into the high 40's. They are receiving good reviews. I was going to go with the 200's but I need the highs and midrange more. If you use these for your fronts with your H/K should be a good solid buy. I also have an H/K receiver and just love it. The HSU research bookshelf speakers are also a good buy and have received stellar reviews. I have not heard them, but the company has a solid track record of quality and customer service....as does SVS who also has some nice speakers to check out.
    Samsung 50" 1080p DLP w/LED light engine. Harmon Kardon AVR 635, Denon DVD-1920, Sony PS3, Athena F2.2 Fronts, Athena C2 Center, Acoustic Research M1 Holographic Rears, Polk Audio TSi100 rears. Dual SVS PB12 NSD Subwoofers Stacked. Direct TV HD receiver. 10 gauge speaker wiring, Subs are cabled by Cobalt, The rest of my cables are Monster and Monoprice.

  3. #3
    Old AR guy, reincarnated.
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    Correction my friend, Amazon has the Polk TSi200 for 299 a pair with free shipping.
    Samsung 50" 1080p DLP w/LED light engine. Harmon Kardon AVR 635, Denon DVD-1920, Sony PS3, Athena F2.2 Fronts, Athena C2 Center, Acoustic Research M1 Holographic Rears, Polk Audio TSi100 rears. Dual SVS PB12 NSD Subwoofers Stacked. Direct TV HD receiver. 10 gauge speaker wiring, Subs are cabled by Cobalt, The rest of my cables are Monster and Monoprice.

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    Thanks

    Thanks Mountwoody. That kind of pricing is extremely attractive. I was reading the reviews of the Silverline Minuets which have me drooling. But I doubt I'll be able to audition those since I don't think anyone in New Jersey or NYC carry them. Not sure I want to buy blind. Thanks for the perspective. I assume the TSi 200s or the RTi A3s would go well with the PSW10 sub.

  5. #5
    Charm Thai™
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    The Silverlines and Focals are at the top of that list for me. I am in the same boat as you though not having heard the Silverlines myself either.
    Last edited by TheHills44060; 01-31-2010 at 12:16 PM.

  6. #6
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    After looking at the Focal website, it says amplifier power for the 706v's is 25 to 120w. I'm not sure if that is total or per channel. I'm sort of new to this whole thing.

  7. #7
    RGA
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    Don't pay attention to the watts - they're practically meaningless

    My amp is 10 watts and I'll blow you into next week. Volume level is a function of speaker sensitivity, efficiency and "real watts."

    I say real watts because "good" amplifiers have a "good" power supply and an ability to go way above their rated numbers. Most receivers however are not "good" amplifiers. How can a 10 watt amp beat a 100 watt amp you may be thinking. Well volume is expressed as decibels (db) and not expressed in watts. This confuses most beginning audiophiles because you see advertisements that this amp is 100 watts this amp is 300 watts and you think ah it must be louder - no it's not - it can be louder but in itself it isn't. There is a grant Fidelity tube amp that is rated at 45 watts for example that drives hard to drive speakers very very well while a receiver rated at 150 watts may blow up trying to drive them. Most of the best sounding amplifiers also tend to be lower watt varieties regardless of cost.

    I digress. How can 10 watts blow you into next week - or even 1.5 watt amplifiers (and they are out there and they can cost 5 figures? Speaker efficiency, sensitivity.

    The "average" speaker sensitivity is 87db (1 watt @ 1 meter) - that means that when you put 1 watt of electricity into your speaker you will get a VOLUME level of 87 decibels at a distance of 1 meter. Can you see where this is going? If you buy a 97db sensitive speaker they you get 10db more volume with the same 1 watt. What is 10db? 10db is a "doubling" of the "perceived" volume level - ie it is twice as loud as 87db. But here is the issue - for every 3db more vlume requires a doubling of amplifier power.

    So if your buddy has an 87db speaker and a 100 watt amp

    87db - 1watt
    90db - 2 watts (this is considered loud - most people listen at under 85db most of the time)
    93db - 4 watts
    96db - 8 watts
    99db - 16 watts
    102db - 32 watts
    105db - 64 watts
    108db -128 watts (but remember if the speaker can't handle more than 120 watts then anything past this is meaningless).

    Now if YOU have a speaker rated at 98db sensitive and an 8 watt Single ended tube amplifier)

    98db - 1 watt (You'r buddy needs 16 watts to your 1 watt).
    101db - 2 watts
    104db - 4 watts
    107 - 8 watts ( you are now playing at the same volume level as your buddies system with his 128 watt amp.
    110 - 16 watts

    There are other factors involved - speaker's load characteristics and the way a speaker's dispersion enhances or detracts from requiring amplifier power.

    But if I want loud with not a lot of watts then Klipsch has always been one of the better speakers for that - the Reference series from them would be a good selection - they're more rock, dance pop hip hop geared than most at the price. Horn speakers tend to be higher in sensitivity and "generally" present easy loads for tube amps - ie low powered amps. And while you may not be thinking of tube amps at this point in your audiophile journey - you may think about trying them 5 years down the line - in which case it makes a lot of sense to buy an easy to drive high sensitivity loudspeaker. Unfortunately Klipsh tends to show up mediocre sound quality of budget gear - people blame Klipsch unfortunately when they should be blaming the stuff connected to it.

    The Klipsch Ref series often comes up on sale - that is th eline to get not the RB line. The REF 62 was selling in Canada for $299 each at a store called London Drugs - yes it's weird that a drug store sells audio - they carry some high end gear sometimes oddly enough.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the education. Now I'm even more confused. None the less, in looking at the Klipsch Reference series, and the Klipsch website, they are showing the RB's as reference. The B must stand for bookshelf and the RFs, the F must stand for Floorstanding.

  9. #9
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MntnMan62
    I am in the process of setting up my 2 channel system in the basement "studio/gym". I say studio because my drums are set up down there. I recently bought a Harman Kardon HK 3490 which puts out a max of 120 watts per channel. I have a pair of Paradigm Titans, I think version 2, which seem to have blown tweeters. I will probably replace the tweeters but I don't think they will handle the power of the HK. Therefore, I'm in the market for a nice pair of bookshelf speakers to go with the HK. I also have a Polk PSW10 subwoofer. I had bought that prior to knowing the tweeters were blown. Anyway, since I have the sub I'm looking for a pair that have the highs and midrange as its strengths. My price range is in the $500 per pair range. Could go a little higher if I feel its justified. Anyway, I have a list of possibilities that I know can handle the HKs power output and in no particular order:

    Silverline Audio Minuet
    Polk RTi A3
    Polk TSi200
    Pinnacle BD500
    Klipsch RB-51 or RB-61
    Aperion Intimus 5B
    Axiom M22 v2
    Focal Chorus 706v

    I would very much appreciate some perspective to help narrow the choices down. I realize speakers and stereo systems for that matter are very much a personal choice. My taste in music runs from Rock to R&B to Jazz to Funk. And of course, I will be heading out to go listen but thought I'd hear peoples thoughts before I do some auditioning. Thanks in advance for everyone's help.
    While I have not heard them, I've been to the Aperion forum and spoke to the guys over there who seem to think the Intimus 5B's are a good performer for the money. I was thinking about the 6B's about a year ago. They give you a 30 day in home trial before they charge you and if you don't like them, they pay for you to ship them back. They also come with a 10 year warranty. And there floorstandes have won a few awards.

    frenchmon
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  10. #10
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I think your taste in music sounds like what the Focal Chorus 706v does rather well. I have the Cobalt 806S on a 125-watt Marantz and was initially surprised at how little it took to seemingly over-drive them, but I think the Chorus is a bit more of a rocker.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I think the warmth of the HK receiver would match well with a pair of B&W 686's, PSB B-25's, PSB T-45's

    http://www.saturdayaudio.com/picture...07-29-2009.htm

    Monitor Audio RS1's http://www.saturdayaudio.com/picture...er_rs_sale.htm

    By the way, its better to have too much power than 2 little power. Too little power will damage speakers in a hurry if turned up too loud.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  12. #12
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    By the way, its better to have too much power than 2 little power. Too little power will damage speakers in a hurry if turned up too loud.
    This is a myth that needs to stop on internet forums.

    Speakers can be damaged with too much power or distortion. And very little else. The reason some report that their lower powered amp blows up speakers is simply and ONLY because they pushed the volume too hard - ran the loudspeaker into distortion - which tweeters don't like and they blow up. When you hear audible distortion - turn it down.

  13. #13
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    This will be my third referral in a week, but for your price range Tektons are a great choice. They are extremely revealing while being non fatiguing. For $500, you could afford the Model 8.1, a fantastic speaker that can play down quite low. Unless you're a real bass junky, no sub would be required. They are quite efficient at 96db.

    http://www.tektondesign.com/model81.htm


  14. #14
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MntnMan62
    Thanks for the education. Now I'm even more confused. None the less, in looking at the Klipsch Reference series, and the Klipsch website, they are showing the RB's as reference. The B must stand for bookshelf and the RFs, the F must stand for Floorstanding.
    Actually, he couldn't have broken it down any better. Sounds like you need to read up MtnMan. Anyhow my Sound Dynamics play to 99db/M. That's 12 inches all up in your face homey!!

  15. #15
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    This is a myth that needs to stop on internet forums.

    Speakers can be damaged with too much power or distortion. And very little else. The reason some report that their lower powered amp blows up speakers is simply and ONLY because they pushed the volume too hard - ran the loudspeaker into distortion - which tweeters don't like and they blow up. When you hear audible distortion - turn it down.
    That's true, RGA. You'll likely hear distortion before it blows the speakers -- on the other hand, your drunken party revellers might have altogether too much tolerance for distortion.

  16. #16
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    I really appreciate everyone's imput here, especially RGA for the detailed technical perspective. Realizing that it is all about listening, I will be heading to a Best Buy to listend to the Polks and the Klipsch's side by side. The other ones on the list don't appear to be sold by anyone nearby for me to listen to them. I may also look further into the Aperions since they offer a 30 day no risk at home trial period. On the subject of power, I don't usually play music at very loud volumes however, I would still like to know that I can if on occasion I want to crank some Zappa or Return to Forever or Michael Brecker. And if I understand RGA correctly, since my HK puts out 120 watts per channel, I need a speaker that can handle that amount of power. I now know I also need to check the speaker's sensitivity as well. And if I still have it all wrong RGA, don't hesitate to let me know.

  17. #17
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MntnMan62
    I really appreciate everyone's imput here, especially RGA for the detailed technical perspective. Realizing that it is all about listening, I will be heading to a Best Buy to listend to the Polks and the Klipsch's side by side. The other ones on the list don't appear to be sold by anyone nearby for me to listen to them. I may also look further into the Aperions since they offer a 30 day no risk at home trial period. On the subject of power, I don't usually play music at very loud volumes however, I would still like to know that I can if on occasion I want to crank some Zappa or Return to Forever or Michael Brecker. And if I understand RGA correctly, since my HK puts out 120 watts per channel, I need a speaker that can handle that amount of power. I now know I also need to check the speaker's sensitivity as well. And if I still have it all wrong RGA, don't hesitate to let me know.
    If you want to buy one pair of speakers, once; take your amp with you! Unless it's an ungodly inconvenience, take the HK to Best Buy, and try to get into an H/T room to listen. Don't listen on the floor, you won't learn anything.

    Make the sales people work for you. Most of these places have at least one proper room with a seat. You can position everything correctly and actually listen to the results.

    Otherwise, I wouldn't even bother. You'd be better off just buying a pair to bring home and then return once you're done.

  18. #18
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    Good advice Poppachubby.

  19. #19
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Brecker fan huh? I occasionaly blast these originals...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bookshelf Speakers-dsc02795.jpg  

  20. #20
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    Great stuff. Heavy Metal Bebop is sick with Bozzio on drums.

  21. #21
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Anyhow, give the Tektons some thought. You can email them any questions you might have. I can promise you they'll sound better than the Polks. The Klipsch are in their own category, dependant on whether you like that bright sound or not.

  22. #22
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by MntnMan62
    I really appreciate everyone's imput here, especially RGA for the detailed technical perspective. Realizing that it is all about listening, I will be heading to a Best Buy to listend to the Polks and the Klipsch's side by side. The other ones on the list don't appear to be sold by anyone nearby for me to listen to them. I may also look further into the Aperions since they offer a 30 day no risk at home trial period. On the subject of power, I don't usually play music at very loud volumes however, I would still like to know that I can if on occasion I want to crank some Zappa or Return to Forever or Michael Brecker. And if I understand RGA correctly, since my HK puts out 120 watts per channel, I need a speaker that can handle that amount of power. I now know I also need to check the speaker's sensitivity as well. And if I still have it all wrong RGA, don't hesitate to let me know.
    You don't need a speaker that can handle 120 watts - you could buy a speaker that can handle 300 watts or a speaker that can handle 20 watts. Think of a loudspeaker as a bucket and an amplifier as a well. The speaker merely asks the amplifier for power. My speakers handle 80 watts and my amplifier is 10 watts. Actually the amplifier is 4.2 watts without distortion. You'd be surprised just how little watts you actually ever use - whether the amplifier is 5 watts or 500 watts. most of the time you're under 2 watts. Which is why I would rather buy quality than quantity.

    If a 5 watt amp can drive you from the room with your ears ringing then it's not something to pay much attention to is it. The problem is marketing departments have nothing to SELL. At big box chains where listening conditions are terrible - it's hard for the average person to hear which is better. So they try and sell numbers - similar to mega pixels on a camera. More is not necessarily better - A DSLR 6mp camera is usually better than a 12mp point and shoot because it's all in the lens not the digital processing.

    Your amp will drive most loudspeakers and probably all loudspeakers in the price band you're considering. The easy to drive speakers are a good idea because if down the road you choose to get really serious about this then you can look at better quality lower powered amp and you won't need to replace your speakers. The Klipsch or possibly the Tektons mentioned would certainly be easy to drive loudspeakers - the trouble with single drivers tends to be a lack of bass output - but frankly most speakers this size don't have a ton of bass depth. It would be nice if whatever you choose you can audition first. You may like the Polks although Klipsch may have an edge here. Athena Technologies and Energy loudspeakers (sister companies) if they're in your area are pretty easy to drive and sound pretty good for the money as well.

  23. #23
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    That's true, RGA. You'll likely hear distortion before it blows the speakers -- on the other hand, your drunken party revellers might have altogether too much tolerance for distortion.
    That's quite true - most tweeters can handle about 8-10 watts of distortion - after that they blow up. So there is something to be said for those 3 watt amps - you can run them at full output at their highest distortion and they simply don't have the power to blow a loudspeaker. You're friends can turn the dial to max and you're safe. Do that with a top of the line Bryston and watch the woofers explode.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I've seem many of my friends tweeters blown because they turn turn their low powered amps up too high, as well as speakers blown from too much power. Most of these people are not audio people and don't know any better. You see it car audio all the time! So I would not call it a myth because it does happen. But your right. Most people will turn down the volume when they hear distortion.
    Last edited by blackraven; 02-01-2010 at 12:17 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
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    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
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    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  25. #25
    RGA
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    No the myth is that low powered amps will blow a speaker while a high power amp will not. Both can blow up a loudspeaker. Running the amp into distortion can blow up a speaker and granted a lower power amp will reach distortion sooner than a high power amp - but this is not the low powered amps fault - it is the fault of the owner. And unfortunately it then gives us a very wrong notion that more power is better - it's not - several articles illustrate that high powered amps usually sound worse that lower powered amplifiers.

    And there's the rub. People buy impossible to drive loudspeakers and then they have to buy worse sounding big, usually very expensive power amplifiers. The whole room is taken up with monstrous sized loudspeakers, amplifiers, cables etc. And the sad thing is eve if the hard to drive loudspeaker truly did sound good (and most of the time they don't) - that advantage is very likely destroyed by having to connect worse sounding front end equipment. Garbage in garbage out. Walking around CES and it was interesting that most of the best speakers, amplifiers were not all that big, and didn't have massive equipment connected up to it. Some exceptions of course - but even then the cost to performance ratio wasn't really there.

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