Originally Posted by Blindphleb
I was able to listen to some speakers today. I started off at Best Buy. I listened to the polk and klipsch offerings they had. I liked the sound of the klipsch better than the polk.
Then I spent some time at my local home audio store and listened to some B&W 684s. I really enjoyed sound stage and imaging of the B&Ws, but at $1100 they blew my budget. How would the Wharfedale, Ascend, and Jamo concert line speakers compare to what I listened to today?
I don't know what models of Polks or Klipsch that you listened to and I can't speak for all of the other but I have listened to several Polk and Klipsch products and the Hsu speakers and own a set of Ascend CMT-340SE and a set of their Sierra-1s.
Polk: I'm not a huge fan (but not a hater either) of Polk's Monitor and replacement TSi line but for what the discontinues Monitor series goes for on clearance they are a heck of a bargain. I have not heard the higher end Polks in a long time and make no judgement what so ever.
Klipsch: Most of their affordable products are much pretty much love them or don't love them at all. I find them a bit harsh and fatiguing but some people absolutely love them. The important thing is to spend some time (at least
30-45 minutes) listening at medium-high volume and find out for yourself if you or the wife find them fatiguing, if not and you like them then they might not be a bad choice.
Hsu HB-1: These are pretty good bang for the buck but not quite my taste. But again taste is relative. To my ear they have an ever so slight cupped hands horn sound that I don't care for but they have a very loyal following. BTW I am a big fan of Hsu subwoofers.
B&W: It's been too many years since I listened to 6 series B&W to say how they fare.
Ascend CMT-340SE: I find them very good for the money with a very flat frequency response. Very good bang for the dollars and very easy to drive.
The bottom line is my hearing and taste may be completely different than yours. Every one of the above speakers has fans here that will think I'm full of crap so the only advice I can give is listen to what you can and read up on some pro reviews. They aren't always trustworthy but it's a place to start.
Oh and make sure that you have a 30 day return window because a speaker can sound a lot different once you get it home.