Best budget mini stereo speakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-19-2010, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for a pair of stereo speakers for my hard-of-hearing dad.
They need to be small (the size of Audioengine A2) and passive.
Not interested in home theatre surround junk, just in very good tiny stereo speakers.
Budget: Under $150.
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post #2 of 16 Old 08-19-2010, 04:58 AM
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Look into the Wharfedale Diamond 9.0, there are some threads here discussing it.

Or, go used.

Not sure why "best" matters with someone who isn't going to really hear them. Almost everybody over 35 has some hearing loss, and your Dad has even more.

If you just want decent budget speakers, try these Jamos.
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-19-2010, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion of Wharfedale and Jamo.
I am looking for even smaller speakers than standard bookshelf - the size of Audioengine A2. My dad bought an LCD TV which doesn't leave a lot of room on either side of the cabinet.
Even though my dad is hard of hearing, he spends most of his day listening to classical music at high levels. I haven't figured out which frequencies he still hears. Because of the louder volumes, everyone else around the house also hears the music. So the more balanced/natural the sound, the easier it is on everyone's ears.
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post #4 of 16 Old 08-19-2010, 08:16 AM
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post #5 of 16 Old 08-19-2010, 08:18 AM
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The Diamond 9.0 are pretty small speakers. They're a nice little speaker... but laid back and a bit rolled off in the highs.

It's going to be tough to find a good sounding speaker under $150 that is even smaller than that.

The RC-Mini's are nice, but are $200 each.

Even Aperion 4B's, open box from aperion, would run $222/pr.


I'd say check out Energy CB-5's (from electronics-expo w/ coupon code), but they're slightly bigger than the Diamond 9.0.
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post #6 of 16 Old 08-19-2010, 08:46 AM
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Here ya go just a little bit larger than the A2s

http://store.cambridgesoundworks.com...B0031TFZTS.htm
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post #7 of 16 Old 08-19-2010, 03:13 PM
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Or these ones from HTD:
http://www.htd.com/Products/flat-pan...ompact-speaker

Just slightly over your budget. I haven't heard them but HTD has a 30 day return policy so you could try them and decide.
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post #8 of 16 Old 08-19-2010, 03:44 PM
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Can't think of anything under $150 that small that sounds good - small and good = $$

Put NHT Absolute Zero and ERA D3 on your radar if you decide to up the budget.

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post #9 of 16 Old 08-20-2010, 11:07 AM
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Boston Acoustics has these refurbed CS23's that might do the trick:
http://www.bostonacoustics.com/-CS-2...shed-P457.aspx

I use somewhat larger CR57's as part of my home theater setup and am quite pleased with them.
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post #10 of 16 Old 08-20-2010, 12:03 PM
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another vote for Energy CB-5, very impressive little bookshelf speakers for the price. They have a clear, forward treble, which should be nice for your dad. I don't think you could do better for $150 or under considering your size constraints.

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post #11 of 16 Old 08-21-2010, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the recommendations.

Based on the suggestions here, I went to a nearby store and auditioned the Energy CB5 and Wharfedale 9.0. We were auditioning classical music - Vaughan William's Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis (lots of massed strings) and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto #2 (piano and dynamic orchestra).

Both speakers left A LOT to be desired. The Energy were missing most of the detail from midrange and below, and the Wharfedale were distinctly dim and unexciting. We moved up to the Wharfedale 9.1, and while there was much greater resolution of detail, the top was clearly rolled off (missing, I would say).

The salesman suggested that I listen to the Reel RSX made by a small Canadian company called selling at $300 for the pair. The size was as small as the Energy and Wharfedale, but already I was hearing far more detail.

I then asked what's next in the Reel line and was played a pair of RSTC, which are really centre speakers, but can be turned to stand vertically. Being so narrow, they fit my dad's size requirements.

I was BLOWN AWAY by what I heard. These little elongated speakers were alive, detailed and VERY RESPECTABLE for their price. Now, I don't wish to mislead anyone with these adjectives. My main system consists of a pair of Legacy Whisper and matching CODA amplifiers. I am well familiar with how my reference recordings can sound on a top system, and I am not suggesting in any way that the REEL even came close. But for an office pair, occupying very small space, they are far superior to any other speaker combination that I heard that day.

I also ordered recently the Audioengine A5 for my own office (which are too big for my dad's available space) and will be curious to compare their sound to the REEL RSTC.

I ended up spending $460 (which is triple my original intention), but gave my dad speakers that fit his space requirement and do considerable justice to classical music. Here is a link to the Reel site, if anyone is interested in checking them. I've found almost no reviews of these speakers.

http://www.reelacoustics.us.com/category_s/12.htm
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post #12 of 16 Old 08-21-2010, 10:37 AM
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I'm curious whether you considered the Audioengine P4 speakers. It sounds like they may have been just what you were looking for, and at a lower price than what you ended up spending.

Hope you like the A5's. I have a pair of A2's for travel, and have been very pleased with them.
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post #13 of 16 Old 08-21-2010, 11:41 AM
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Wow, really? For 3 to 5 times as much the speakers were a lot better? Who'd have thought?

At least you didn't waste everybody's time or anything. And you weren't, like, ummm ... snotty ... at all or anything.
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post #14 of 16 Old 08-21-2010, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosik View Post

My main system consists of a pair of Legacy Whisper and matching CODA amplifiers. I am well familiar with how my reference recordings can sound on a top system

Here's the frequency response of the $17,000 Legacy Whisper speakers. Not exactly what's I'd call an accurate representation of the source :

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post #15 of 16 Old 08-21-2010, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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buzzy_ and gtommers,

I am sorry if I offended you, it was not my intention at all.

My original intention was to find sub $200 speakers to give to my dad. I posted the question on the forum to identify the best speakers that fit this description.
Upon auditioning, I decided that I simply would not be satisfied with what this price range affords. And so, I paid more than originally intended.

Regarding my own system - the Legacy Whisper. I bought it about 6 years ago. At the time, knowing that this was going to be a substantial investment, I auditioned just about every high-end speaker I could. To my ears, the Whispers were absolutely amazing. I also got them at a going-out-of-business price of $8500.

6 years later, I am yet to hear a pair of speakers that I like more, at any price. (And yes, I heard the $50,000 Watt Puppies in a local store.) Frequency graphs provide great clues for some, but when it comes to buying my speakers I go strictly by my own ears. I love listening to opera, and the sound stage opened up by the Whispers is stunning for that.

Some purist friends of mine tell me that the CODA amps add coloration, and that, in any case, I listen at unrealistically loud volumes for classical music. I don't care. I feel confident enough in my ability to determine what's a satisfying and exciting listening experience for me.

I thought that I'd post my impressions with the Reel speakers, just because they are little known and I thought they sounded great for their small footprint. Once again, I apologize if I offended anyone. My post was intended to be strictly informational.
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post #16 of 16 Old 08-21-2010, 04:41 PM
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