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  1. #1
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    deciding between several bookshelf models

    Hello all,
    About a year ago, I sold off my Klipsch Reference 5.1 tower system due to financial hardship. I loved the speakers, but looking back, I'm glad it happened because the horns wore on my ears during extended audio/video listening sessions. I am currently in the market for a 2.1 setup featuring bookshelf monitors. Unfortunately, I do not have access to quality hi fi shops. I've only been able to auction m&k (too expensive), boston (good), and mirage (future purchase). Anyway, I won't be getting a sub for a while, so it's important that bass response is good. You will notice that my choices below all feature 6.5" woofers. It's a 50/50 split between audio/HT and I listen to pretty much everything. I honestly don't think that I can go wrong with any, but need to narrow down my list. Here are my needs:

    1. bass response
    2. highs that are not harsh (I hear this is a characteristic of metal tweeters)
    3. a nice midrange (never had that before)
    4. available in black finish

    Here is the list in no particular order:

    -Monitor Audio Silver S1
    -NHT Classic Two
    -PSB Image B25
    -Ascend Acoustics CBM-170SE
    -Axiom Audio Millienia M3ti
    -Energy C3

    Please provide not only feedback if you own any of these bad boys, but more so feedback if you auditioned any side by side and why you chose one over the other.

    Thanks so much!
    D

  2. #2
    rockin' the mid-fi audio_dude's Avatar
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    The energy C3 has a VERY harsh tweeter, so I would stay away from them...(which I did, I bought a set of paradigm atoms..which ROCK!!!) I auditioned these speakers and they really don't sound great, they don't extend very low, and for what lows they play, it's muddy...and did I mention the harsh tweeter? Ya, any metal/titaium/whatever tweeter will sound harsh, I personnaly prefer a silk dome tweeter, but the ceramic in my atoms is very smooth.

  3. #3
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsxgamer
    1. bass response
    2. highs that are not harsh (I hear this is a characteristic of metal tweeters)
    3. a nice midrange (never had that before)
    4. available in black finish
    1. Naturally, this is relative term. These are monitors after all and the laws of physics are going to be against pulling real bass out of limited cabinet and driver dimensions.
    2. Please don't succumb to other people's opinions. The worst thing you can do is form preconceived ideas of what something should or should not sound like based on heresy. I've heard harsh, sibilant soft domes just as often as I've heard smooth, laid back metal domes. It's the application and the skill of the designer that count. Form your own opinion.
    3. Well yeah!
    4. Any particular reason?

    Read this thread for some great suggestions for monitors in your price range. My faves are the Epos ELS3, Paradigm Studio 20 v3, and Von Schweikert VR1's. Note that the VR1's actually play to 40hz (-3dB), which for a speaker with a 13" footprint is absolutely extraordinary. If you want decent bass in a monitor, this is it. You can find them used on audiogon for around $650 ($1,200 new).

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    golden ear
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    among the choices you have, nht would sound best to me...however, let me add more..there is the paradigm studio 20 V3, triangle titus 202, models from acoustic research, dynaudio.

  5. #5
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    I would throw the Cambridge Soundworks Newton M80s in there also. They have a nice bass response. The tweeter and mid-range are pretty smooth. Good luck with your decision.

  6. #6
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Topspeed gives good advice. You need to go out and audition as many as possible. Setup in your home if possible. What sounds good to one, may not sound good to another. Perfect example is I own the C-3's and I think they sound great, although AD doesn't think so.

  7. #7
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    I have the Ascend CBM-170's, the generation before the tweeter redesign. I am a satisified listener and feel the value is great for the performance. Matched with the HSU vtf-2 or vtf-3 subwoofer, great combo. I think the biggest pro's for the Ascend's are the great mids (vocals are wonderful) and decent imaging. The highs on mine are fine at average volume, but pushing them beyond 40% volume I hear clipping and want more from the tweeter. Could very well be a weaker link elsewhere, but pretty sure it is the speakers. From what I read Ascend addressed this with the SE release.

    I have been checking out the CMT-340 SE mini-towers on Ascend, be nice to try those out.

    Just my input on what I have heard Keep us posted on your progress, I am curious too.

    Terraform

    Ascend CBM-170's
    HSU VTF-2
    Rotel RDV-1060
    B&K ST-202+

  8. #8
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    I've been looking abit at some bookshelfs that are at least as good/better to replace my 98/99 B&W 603's.
    Look & Listen

  9. #9
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    replies

    thanks for the input. i checked out the epos ls3, but on paper, it had one of the higher "low ends." This is important as I won't have a sub for a while.

    i'm not interested in cambridge and would like to audition paradigm, but can't afford them right now, or the von vr1's for that matter. anyone have experience with monitor audio (or a friend that has them) that wasn't necessarily with the silver series bookshelf?

    i can't audition any of these locally. the only speaker i've been able to audition was the boston acoustics cr77. I liked this one, but want things to compare it to. I'm taking axiom off the list. What I will probably end up doing is buying one of the listed pairs along with the ascends so that i have nice return policies.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    I've been looking abit at some bookshelfs that are at least as good/better to replace my 98/99 B&W 603's.
    You're going from towers to bookshelfs?

  11. #11
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    The right ones.
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  12. #12
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    shokhead

    did you ever try jm labs?When i was auditioning speakers a couple years ago the b&w's came in a distant second to the labs.I currently have cobalt 806s in front and chorus 706 in the rear but i just ordered a set of cobalt 816s for the front and the 806s will go to the back.Give them a listen.

    thanks
    bill

  13. #13
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Please stay away from used VR 1's from audiogon. I need a pair (probably 2) and I'm looking for a deal of a life time and don't need the competition or interest from others.

    that is all,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  14. #14
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    Visit this site http://www.snellacoustics.com/index....ist&familyID=1 . Best damn speakers I've ever heard.

  15. #15
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    Well rsx of the speakers you list I think the one most likely to satisfy are the PSB's. I'm not familiar with the others so the NHT and Monitor might work but as to the Ascend and Axiom speakers I think they'll fall down some in the bass area. They would probably be ok with a sub but I don't think so without one. I'm curious why you don't include the Boston's which you already like. While the CR series is quite good I think it would be worth your while to give the VRB a listen. They sound great and would fit your criteria and budget. If you are willing to consider used then I would suggest looking for a set of Lsi9's by Polk Audio. I think these would really be a good fit for you as to sound quality and I don't think you would feel the need for a sub. Lsi7's or Rti35 or 38's would also be possibilities but might need a sub down the line. In any case you seem to be considering good quality speakers so I don't think you'll go wrong with your choice just do as thorough auditioning as possible. Good luck.
    Gary

  16. #16
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    I would suggest that anyone looking for a great bookshelf speaker to consider the Human Speaker Model 81. With the classic 8" Woofer 1" tweeter configuration it has plenty of bass and won't need a sub-woofer. It has a great mid-range and a sweet tweeter that is not harsh at all. It can be had in black with a silver/white grill. I have oak with a dark brown grill and it looks great on my bookshelves. But it's the sound that will get you.

    The down side is that they are available only from the mfg direct, so you won't be able to hear them first and they are made to order so you'll have to wait and delay gratification until Hue finishes them. I had to wait 5 months, but they were worth the wait. If you've ever heard a pair of EPI 100 or Genesis I speakers then you know what you'll be getting from Hue, only in a slightly smaller cabinet and more sophisticated sound. Do a search on Human Speakers and spend awhile there. Its a great site.

  17. #17
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    So if i wont need a sub they will be playing down to 25Hz at 95db and i'll be feeling those planes taking off?
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  18. #18
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    I love my CBM-170s, but if bass response is your #1 need, as your list implies, they aren't going to fill it to your expectations. These are maybe the best sounding bookshelf speakers I've ever heard and certainly the best I've owned. They have an amazingly flat frequency response and a natural sound that is a true joy to experience, but they start to roll off around 80 Hz. Any speaker is a compromise and the CBM-170, as any good speaker should, focuses on what it does best. Bookshelf speakers that try to produce deep bass will almost certainly do it poorly because the enclosures don't have the volume required to produce deep, accurate bass. Pair the CBM-170s with a good sub like the Hsu VTF-2 and you'll have a budget system that will go toe to toe with any speakers under $5,000, and with lots of speakers over $5,000. But if you don't want a sub and still want deep bass, look at the CBM-340s instead. They don't start to roll off until 60Hz or so and will still do a respectable job on frequencies down in the 50Hz range. I've not heard them but have enough faith in the design (which borrows heavily from the CBM-170) and the honesty and integrity of the folks at Ascend to recommend them without reservation.

  19. #19
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    I use the Human 81s primarily for 2 channel music. I do use them for TV audio but again only 2 channel. I lived too many years in a small city with a SAC base. I don't need to experience an airplane's take off at 95db on my sound system. It's not a sound I particularly enjoy. The Human 81s will handle down to about 40 Hz and that's low enough for me.

  20. #20
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Then your missing all the fun stuff between 25 and 40.
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  21. #21
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    The Energy C3's aren't being produced anymore, so maybe you want to replace them on the shopping list with the C-50, C-100, or C-200's? Or if you'd really like Energy to win, scetch the RC-10's in and give them a listen.

    More info (including an inset review of the RC-10's that compares them directly with the C3's.
    Last edited by canuckle; 04-15-2006 at 11:13 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    So if i wont need a sub they will be playing down to 25Hz at 95db and i'll be feeling those planes taking off?
    Hey, Bud.
    The Snell LCR7 will play down to 70hz at 110db!
    If you get the Snell Basis 300 Powered Sub you can go down to 25Hz at 110db!
    WOW!

  23. #23
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    Hey Jim

    I got my VR1's new for $650. Send me an pm if you would like more info where I got them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    Please stay away from used VR 1's from audiogon. I need a pair (probably 2) and I'm looking for a deal of a life time and don't need the competition or interest from others.

    that is all,
    jc

  24. #24
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio_dude
    The energy C3 has a VERY harsh tweeter, so I would stay away from them...(which I did, I bought a set of paradigm atoms..which ROCK!!!) I auditioned these speakers and they really don't sound great, they don't extend very low, and for what lows they play, it's muddy...and did I mention the harsh tweeter? Ya, any metal/titaium/whatever tweeter will sound harsh, I personnaly prefer a silk dome tweeter, but the ceramic in my atoms is very smooth.
    I highly agree!!!!! They don't sound great.......they sound excellent!!!!!

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