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  1. #1
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    How about bookshelf speakers for under $1000

    This is probably a subject addressed quite a bit already, but any thoughts on good bookshelf speakers under $1,000? Used speakers and demo's are acceptable...not just MSRP. My own criteria would include power handling of at least 150 watts...maybe even 200...but that seems to knock some of the good ones out of the discussion.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    My favorite is the NHT Classic Three. Its a 3 way and has a warmer sound. Read the reviews in stereophile.com.

    Dali Ikon 2's
    PSB Synchrony B's
    PSB Imagine B's
    Epos M12.2
    Dynaudio's
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
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    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
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  3. #3
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    B&W CM1, Monitor Audio RS1, Dynaudio Audience 52, B&W 685, Quad 12L, Polk Audio LSi9 to name a few

  4. #4
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I've been interested in the Polk Audio LSi9, but the only place I've seen them is at Fry's, which didn't have them hooked up and the store is too loud for a good listen.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Many speakers can handle more power than they are rated for as long as its clean power and not at the upper limits of the amp where it can clip.
    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

  6. #6
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    I've been interested in the Polk Audio LSi9, but the only place I've seen them is at Fry's, which didn't have them hooked up and the store is too loud for a good listen.
    Try Circuit City?

  7. #7
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    What does power handling have to do with sound quality? Some of the best sounding standmounts such as the Focal Chorus line have sensitivity in the mid 90's and only require a few watts to really rock.

    As you don't mind pre-owned, a quick scan of audiogon revealed quite a few treasures such as the Spendor SP3 (awesome midrange and clarity), MF OML1 (JM, a mod here, swears by these), or the Usher X719 (extremely musical, love to rock). I'm admittedly biased towards the Von Schwiekert VR1, but they aren't in production anymore and are getting hard to find, even on a'gon.

    A lot depends on what you listen to and what kind of room you're putting them in. What's your front end?

  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    These Mordaunt Short Mezzo's are a nice speaker as well.
    http://www.wildwestelectronics.net/m...f-speaker.html
    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

  9. #9
    nightflier
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    Some time back I purchased a pair of Talon Audio Kites for $800, and they've been the best speaker I've ever owned. They retailed for $4K-ish when new, and I can see... I mean hear, why. They are amazing speakers and for what I paid, a fantastic bargain. They are currently my reference.

    What I would suggest, if you're going to buy used, is to look for a lesser-known but still highly-respected brand, maybe from some of the smaller mom & pop shops. Also look for Western European brands that people here may not know so well, and there's quite a few American ones too. Brands like Talon, Meadowlark and Odyssey aren't that well known, but they make very good hand-made, real-wood speakers with the kind of engineering craftsmanship you really don't find anymore nowadays.

    Another speaker that has intrigued me over the years is Nohr. They are hand-made in the far East using reverse horns, hence the name. Their hollowed out wood 5.1 model (http://www.norh.com/products/norh5/walnut5_1_5.jpg) is the kind of speaker that will make visitors ooh and ah and they sound just as impressive from what I've read. What's cool about Nohr is that they are local-owned, fair labor, and from what I can tell green too. And the prices, which include shipping, are also right in your price range.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    I'll second Topspeed's recommendation of the Usher X719's. They are recently discontinued and you can find great deals on them on Audiogon. Totem Rainmakers are another nice speaker with warmth and detail. Vienna Acoustics Hayden is still another. Saw them the other day for $550 at Tweeter, which is going out of business.

  11. #11
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I'll take speakers for $1,000, Alex.

    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    What does power handling have to do with sound quality? Some of the best sounding standmounts such as the Focal Chorus line have sensitivity in the mid 90's and only require a few watts to really rock.

    As you don't mind pre-owned, a quick scan of audiogon revealed quite a few treasures such as the Spendor SP3 (awesome midrange and clarity), MF OML1 (JM, a mod here, swears by these), or the Usher X719 (extremely musical, love to rock). I'm admittedly biased towards the Von Schwiekert VR1, but they aren't in production anymore and are getting hard to find, even on a'gon.

    A lot depends on what you listen to and what kind of room you're putting them in. What's your front end?
    The power handling issue...At the 12:00 position, my Adcom GFP-565/GCD-575/GFA-545II setup drives my current speakers to the point of making clapping noises. Now I've switched to a GFA-555II and I'm limited to the 10:00 position. But I knew that would be an issue...I've been shopping for speakers with that in mind.

    As for high-sensitivity Focal speakers...My Cobalt 806S speakers sound great, but they're the ones that can't handle the power.

    Thanks for the other suggestions. I've been looking at Audiogon with my search limited to my local area and the selection isn't too bad even with that constraint. But I don't know much about the models I'm seeing...thus the idea of seeking some suggestions.


    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Try Circuit City?
    Forgot about those guys. The stores in my immediate area closed, but I see on circuitcity.com there are some out in the 'burbs.


    Type of music I listen to on this system...Classical, Jazz, standards, bluegrass, old-school country, R&B, pop...much of it on vinyl. What I want to crank up is more of the pop and R&B genre on CD, like Alicia Keys.
    Last edited by 02audionoob; 11-26-2008 at 01:28 PM.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    What do you mean by 'clapping noises'? Are you sure it's the amp you're not over-driving? (which causes 'clipping'- a distorted signal to the speakers)
    If you want speakers that'll play loud, you want high sensitivity & preferably floorstanders with several drivers. And perhaps a higher power amplifier (I dont know how much those Adcoms output)

  13. #13
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    What do you mean by 'clapping noises'? Are you sure it's the amp you're not over-driving? (which causes 'clipping'- a distorted signal to the speakers)
    If you want speakers that'll play loud, you want high sensitivity & preferably floorstanders with several drivers. And perhaps a higher power amplifier (I dont know how much those Adcoms output)

    The noise I called "clapping" is a very fast noise. It sounds like sort of a blap-blap-blap during periods of somewhat heavy bass. I actually have been able to avoid that issue at my normal listening levels by adding a subwoofer and setting the crossover to 100 Hz. The noise doesn't sound like like it's being played through the speaker. It sounds like it's the actual cone.

    I'm sure it's not the amps. The GFA-545II is a conservatively-rated 100 wpc continuous average power at 8 Ohms and the GFA-555II is 200. The speakers are rated for something like 75 watts RMS, which I certainly expected to be more than enough. I feel sure running the Adcom amps at the 12:00 position isn't overdoing it. The amps have warning lights for distortion/clipping and the lights have never come on with either amp.

    A side note...Part of my original plan for these two amps was to bi-amp some floorstanding speakers...so that's an idea that still rocking around in my brain.

  14. #14
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    What I would suggest, if you're going to buy used, is to look for a lesser-known but still highly-respected brand, maybe from some of the smaller mom & pop shops. Also look for Western European brands that people here may not know so well, and there's quite a few American ones too. Brands like Talon, Meadowlark and Odyssey aren't that well known, but they make very good hand-made, real-wood speakers with the kind of engineering craftsmanship you really don't find anymore nowadays.
    I like this idea, too. I think this would allow me to aim higher than the likes of Polk (no offense intended, Mr. Polk). I saw a pair of Jean Marie Reynaud 'Trente' on Craigslist today, but not inside my arbitrary constraint of $1,000.

  15. #15
    nightflier
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    Polk's best speakers, the LSi series, are certainly respectable, albeit getting a bit long in the tooth.

  16. #16
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    What does power handling have to do with sound quality? Some of the best sounding standmounts such as the Focal Chorus line have sensitivity in the mid 90's and only require a few watts to really rock.

    As you don't mind pre-owned, a quick scan of audiogon revealed quite a few treasures such as the Spendor SP3 (awesome midrange and clarity), MF OML1 (JM, a mod here, swears by these), or the Usher X719 (extremely musical, love to rock). I'm admittedly biased towards the Von Schwiekert VR1, but they aren't in production anymore and are getting hard to find, even on a'gon.

    A lot depends on what you listen to and what kind of room you're putting them in. What's your front end?
    Great advice and suggestions, especially for a member who hasn't posted in months!
    Guess you are too busy screeching rubber.

    Are you looking for speakers that'll wow listeners or something you can listen to for hours and hours.

    Defintely put Tyler Acoustics' Taylo Reference Monitor in your list.
    Since the new "D" products are out, you should be able to steal a pair for around your maximum budget. One of the best inexpensive speakers on the market for sure.


    It's all a matter of taste, but you may want to get Polk off of your list. They dont resolve music except for mush. They are overpriced for what they produce.

    JRA

  17. #17
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I'm glad some one else made that comment about POLK. There are a lot better speakers out there for under $1K.
    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

  18. #18
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Woofer bottoming out?

    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    The noise I called "clapping" is a very fast noise. It sounds like sort of a blap-blap-blap during periods of somewhat heavy bass. I actually have been able to avoid that issue at my normal listening levels by adding a subwoofer and setting the crossover to 100 Hz. The noise doesn't sound like like it's being played through the speaker. It sounds like it's the actual cone.

    ...

    A side note...Part of my original plan for these two amps was to bi-amp some floorstanding speakers...so that's an idea that still rocking around in my brain.
    I would back off the volume in that case. What you'll need is a bookshelf with a large bass driver or multiple bass drivers. If you're thinking loud, perhaps think Klipsch. They tend have high sensitivity & power handling (larger bass drivers, depending on the model). The Polk may fair ok at higher levels aswell.

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    The noise I called "clapping" is a very fast noise. It sounds like sort of a blap-blap-blap during periods of somewhat heavy bass. I actually have been able to avoid that issue at my normal listening levels by adding a subwoofer and setting the crossover to 100 Hz. The noise doesn't sound like like it's being played through the speaker. It sounds like it's the actual cone.





    Sounds like the voice coil former hitting the backplate of the magnet structure. Happens during high excursions when trying to reproduce bass at loud volumes. If the speakers are rolled off below 100 hz you should not have this problem as you have discovered.
    JohnMichael
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  20. #20
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Great advice and suggestions, especially for a member who hasn't posted in months!
    Guess you are too busy screeching rubber.

    Are you looking for speakers that'll wow listeners or something you can listen to for hours and hours.

    Defintely put Tyler Acoustics' Taylo Reference Monitor in your list.
    Since the new "D" products are out, you should be able to steal a pair for around your maximum budget. One of the best inexpensive speakers on the market for sure.


    It's all a matter of taste, but you may want to get Polk off of your list. They dont resolve music except for mush. They are overpriced for what they produce.

    JRA
    Have you heard the LSi9's?

  21. #21
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Not sure if I've heard that specific model, but I've heard tons of Polk speakers @ CC. I've never been impressed. Also, not a huge fan of MTM design either.

  22. #22
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    There is a Reference 3A Dulcet on Audiogon for $1100. You'll be hard pressed to find something better for that price, in my opinion. There is no crossover, the driver gets direct coupling. Google some reviews or checkout the reviews here for any of the 3A speakers.

    Compared to B&W, Monitor Audio, and even (don't shoot me) the Quad stand-mounts I've auditioned, the Dulcet has a greater sense of realism, presence, and palpability.
    Source: Musical Fidelity A5CD
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  23. #23
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    I would back off the volume in that case. What you'll need is a bookshelf with a large bass driver or multiple bass drivers.
    I think he's simply hearing clipping. Many speakers with small drivers can play at ear bleeding levels when provided enough power.

    rw

  24. #24
    nightflier
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    Two different worlds

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Not sure if I've heard that specific model, but I've heard tons of Polk speakers @ CC. I've never been impressed. Also, not a huge fan of MTM design either.
    What they sell at CC is not of the caliber as the LSi series. I've owned the LSi 7s and that tweeter is amazing. I bought the speakers second-hand for about $300, a bargain, IMO. They don't compare to others I've heard since, but my taste has gotten a lot more expensive (much to my pocketbook's chagrin). Once you hear speakers in the $2K range and above, there is definitely a difference from the CC & BB stuff. The LSi series, while not gian killers, are certainly a stand-out.

  25. #25
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    What they sell at CC is not of the caliber as the LSi series. I've owned the LSi 7s and that tweeter is amazing. I bought the speakers second-hand for about $300, a bargain, IMO. They don't compare to others I've heard since, but my taste has gotten a lot more expensive (much to my pocketbook's chagrin). Once you hear speakers in the $2K range and above, there is definitely a difference from the CC & BB stuff. The LSi series, while not gian killers, are certainly a stand-out.
    What gets me about Polk is that a lot of his older stuff was so amazing
    compared to his new, more generic stuff.
    Sad what has happened to his gear.
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
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