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Thread: Size matters

  1. #1
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Size matters

    I'm curious about small speakers, today. What's the speaker that has impressed you the most when it comes to great performance in a small speaker? In this case, small remains subjective. I'm not talking about an exact dimension in any particular direction, but its size should ideally be part of what's impressive.

    For purposes of this discussion, I'm talking about speaker performance without the assistance of a separate bass module or subwoofer.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    NHT Classic Three's, B&W 685'sand 683's, Paradigm Signature S2's, MMG's for the price point.

    My Monitor Audio S1's have terrific bass for their size but the treble is slightly rolled off.
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    Dynaudio 1.3 MKlls are hard to beat if driven properly.

  4. #4
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Without a doubt, the best my ears have heard are the Angstrom Modular Three, with 2- 5.5" and a 1.5"" Vifa.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Size matters-dsc02575.jpg  

  5. #5
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    I'm curious about small speakers, today. What's the speaker that has impressed you the most when it comes to great performance in a small speaker? In this case, small remains subjective. I'm not talking about an exact dimension in any particular direction, but its size should ideally be part of what's impressive.

    For purposes of this discussion, I'm talking about speaker performance without the assistance of a separate bass module or subwoofer.
    Totem Mani-2 Signature.
    Possibly the best 2-way standmount speaker ever designed. It's Isobarik woofer configuration makes for some of the tightest bass I've ever heard in ANY speaker, in addition to being able to play down into the 20Hz's range. Smokes most other manufacturers full size floorstanders for bass. It's not all good though, this speaker is seriously power hungry. Don't even think of hooking it up to a an amp that balks at slewing high current.

    JM Labs Micron Carat;

    My current computer speakers, and unfortunately no longer in production. Absolutely sweet and flat through the upper bass-midrange, the inverted Tioxid dome tweeter is similar to the ones used in the uber-expensive JM Labs Utopia and is smooth and extended like you would expect from a speaker costing many times the price I payed for them. I drive them with either my Music Hall A25.2, or lately with my Mingda MC368-B90. This speaker changed my mind about how good a computer sound system can sound.
    Last edited by Geoffcin; 12-07-2009 at 01:07 PM.
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  6. #6
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    The little Audio Engine powered speakers I found very impressive. They don't play all that low, only so much you can do with a 3" driver, but what they cover is very good.

    For regular speakers it would have to be something from Dynaudio, the Audience 42 or recently Focus 110. I've yet to hear a stand mount speaker play as low and take so much power as various models of Dynaudio. They make a lot of good ones, the 1.3 as mentioned, the Special 25 etc.

    A local dealer is supposed to bring in Totem, I want to check them out.

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    Mordaunt-Short Avant 902i

    I freaking love my MS 902i's. At $225/pr, new in box, they are quite a steal. Now, the MS 902's are not in the same league as Reference 3A or Dynaudio but they get very close to that level of musicality and so satisfying to listen to that it makes me think twice as to whether I should move forward with upgrading. The MS 902's are replacing my more costly and much appreciated Nola Mini's at $695/pr.

    Drivers
    1) 5" aluminum CPC mid
    (1) 1" aluminum dome tweeter

    X-Over type
    1st order with DVP HF

    Sensitivity
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    Frequency response
    55-22kHz

    Impedance
    4-8 Ohms

    Power rating
    15-100 Watts RMS

    Dimensions
    11 H x 6" W x 10" D

    Weight
    11 lbs

  8. #8
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    What got me to thinking about this is the 4.5-inch bass drivers in my primary speakers...wondering about other small speakers or at least small drivers. The NHT Classic Three blackraven mentioned has always impressed me not only due to size, but price, too. Of course, price isn't one of the criteria I offered up.

  9. #9
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    The aluminum woofers I've heard so far have been impressive. I've seen more in car audio than home, not sure if that's just a coincidence or not.

  10. #10
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    I am very impressed with my Canton 403's. They have one 7" Aluminum woofer and a 1" silk dome tweeter. Ported in the back. Good bass extension . It took a while for the speakers to fully breakin but once they did I got the sound I was looking for. No one piece of gear is perfect in its self, it take every piece in your system to get the right synergy and of course the room and its make up helps a great deal with the overall sound you get. My system is more on the warm side and I believe its the totality of each component in my system that gives the warmth not just one component, including the treatment on the walls. The speakers give good bass as well as mids and highs...not one of them (bass mid, highs) is greater than or stands out better than the other...its balanced. I have great transparency with these speakers, and like all good speakers, they will revel a bad recording. So yes I am impressed with these speakers. I have always been a Paradigm advocate because of their clarity and I do love Dynaudio with its neutral presentation. The 403's I would say are a very neutral speaker once they settle down and come into their own. I only wish we had a dealer here so I could audition their more expensive line of speakers. That would be a real treat for me.

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    I own Dynaudio Contour 1.3 SEs and I am still shocked at how low these diminutive speakers can play. One famous reviewer of these speakers utilized a Krell FPB 600 to best effect on them. They do require a lot of current to sing but sing they do!

    If you can find a used pair they are quite a bargain for their poise, refinement and overall level of performance.

  12. #12
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    I had a pair of Yamaha bookshelf speakers (I don't remember the exact model) but they had great bass and sounded very loud and clear! They also had the bass reflex holes on the back! For 6" Woofers and 1" Tweeter they were great!

  13. #13
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    6-inch woofers are huge compared to what I'm talking about... I'm talking about really small. Geoffcin is in the ballpark with the JM Lab speakers. Blackraven has the right idea with the NHT. These little ProAc cuties have 4-inch woofers...



    These by Linn have 5-inch woofers...


  14. #14
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    6-inch woofers are huge compared to what I'm talking about... I'm talking about really small. Geoffcin is in the ballpark with the JM Lab speakers.
    ProAc Tablette 2000 actually WERE the speakers I was going to get for the computer system. The JM Labs really just fell into my lap.

    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  15. #15
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Definitely my B&W 686s. Their low end is crazy!

    It's not only the low end either. And as you can tell by the picture, they are quite small (5" bass).

  16. #16
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    I'll second the B&W 685's and add the Klipsh RB-61's.

  17. #17
    Listener MikeyBC's Avatar
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    If your talking purely surprise factor then it would be Realistic Minimus 7's placed in a corner.
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  18. #18
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    Totem Mani-2 Signature.
    Possibly the best 2-way standmount speaker ever designed. It's hyperbaric woofer configuration makes for some of the tightest bass I've ever heard in ANY speaker, in addition to being able to play down into the 20Hz's range. Smokes most other manufacturers full size floorstanders for bass. It's not all good though, this speaker is seriously power hungry. Don't even think of hooking it up to a an amp that balks at slewing high current.

    JM Labs Micron Carat;

    My current computer speakers, and unfortunately no longer in production. Absolutely sweet and flat through the upper bass-midrange, the inverted Tioxid dome tweeter is similar to the ones used in the uber-expensive JM Labs Utopia and is smooth and extended like you would expect from a speaker costing many times the price I payed for them. I drive them with either my Music Hall A25.2, or lately with my Mingda MC368-B90. This speaker changed my mind about how good a computer sound system can sound.
    I'll have to second those Totems. I heard a pair several years ago in a little shop north of Albany NY. They were driven by a 40 or 50 watt Moon amp and they sounded incredible. Even my wife's mouth dropped open at the sound of them. She typically says "whatever" when it comes to audio.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    the usher BE 718 comes to mind for me. they have a very good low end for the size and can handle loads of power and it takes it to get the most out of them but when I heard them I was blown away. I just wish the friend of mine that owns them lived closer to me so I could go get my fix untill I can upgrade my own system. But the low end is great and the midrange is very very nuetral and the treble is balanced and natural. I need to go on a trip to a bigger city one of these days and listen to some of the new offerings from some of the manufacturers you guys are mentioning. I have not got to hear these companies newest stuff in a while. Maybe I will make a St. Louis tripp one of these days and visit Mr. Peabody and his very renowned system and he can show me around the different high end shops there and I can get to hear some of the newest stuff.

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  20. #20
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    I would add one vintage and one new speaker to this list.

    ADS L-300 is an excellent speaker, and sounds better than a lot of bookshelf speaker made today. The midrange and high end is smooth and tight, with a frequency variance of only -+2db from 80-25K. It plays crazy loud with low distortion, but they require a subwoofer with a crossover point around 80hz. At 8x5x5

    The second speaker I highly recommend is the CRM-2 by Sunfire. It is a ribbon/cone hybrid and is the best of both worlds. It is a mini monitor just like L-300, and just like the L-300 it has a sound far larger than its size. I used both of these speakers in 7.1 systems I use to hear what I mix in real rooms using consumer equipment. Both are very revealing and neutral sounding speakers.
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  21. #21
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeRoy
    I freaking love my MS 902i's. At $225/pr, new in box, they are quite a steal. Now, the MS 902's are not in the same league as Reference 3A or Dynaudio but they get very close to that level of musicality and so satisfying to listen to that it makes me think twice as to whether I should move forward with upgrading. The MS 902's are replacing my more costly and much appreciated Nola Mini's at $695/pr.

    Drivers
    Overall you think they're better than the Mini's? Are you using them as your main speakers?

  22. #22
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    B&W 683
    I'm not sure how you categorize these as small...

  23. #23
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I felt left out because I did not show a picture of the Ushers be-718 so here it is
    Attached Images Attached Images  

    Marantz SR5008(HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
    Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S Mains Speakers
    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
    Dell I660 music server running fidelizer windows 8 audio optimizer
    PS Audio Quintet power center



  24. #24
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    Hello, yes, the M.S. are my main speakers now

    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Overall you think they're better than the Mini's? Are you using them as your main speakers?
    I do prefer the 902's over the Mini's. The Mini's having a much larger cabinet and larger woofer and therefore do pump out more bass but not of the same quality as the 902's. Additionally, I feel the 902's are more accurate in the high's and mids and also image better than the Mini's. Furthermore, I have yet to hear the 902's distort or congest even when driving them hard with a variety of different music.

    Considering I have always preferred silk dome tweeters over aluminum tweeters the M.S. tweeter is the one exception to my standard preference.

  25. #25
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    Thought you might have a curious interest in these

    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    What got me to thinking about this is the 4.5-inch bass drivers in my primary speakers...wondering about other small speakers or at least small drivers. The NHT Classic Three blackraven mentioned has always impressed me not only due to size, but price, too. Of course, price isn't one of the criteria I offered up.

    Energy
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    Your Price: $99.88
    http://www.vanns.com/shop/

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