Bookshelf/midsize for $300 or less? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 02-03-2012, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I'm starting to develop an ear for all the properties I think you guys look for in speakers.

I'm trying to complete my first decent 2 channel system here, and am still not settled on the speakers. Currently I'm testing the Cambridge Audio S30s and their WS30s. Both are good, but before I pull the trigger, I wanted to ask your opinion on other options and go over what I'm hearing. I have no idea what the proper terminology is here for these things, so I'll go off the cuff:

(sampling, btw, is a wide range of techo, hip hop, rock, oldies, jazz, etc.)

S30s:
Here, the advantage is that the vocals all seem to be "in front of" or "on top of" everything else. In other words, if I had to give it a global percentage, it's as if 60% of the sound coming out is the vocals, 40% everything else. The bass is good but that's irrelevant since I'm using a sub. Mids are decent.

The con is that they still sound rather "small". The audio sounds like it's coming from a small stereo system in my room.

WS30s:
Overall, much better sound, but with its own properties. The biggest drawback is that here, almost all vocals sound a bit "behind" or less pronounced than all the instruments. They're clear, but the vocals sound a bit distant.

To their credit, however, these guys can really, REALLY fill a room. They sound much, much bigger than the S30s and the differentiation in sounds is much clearer. Sounds appear separate, and again, I really can't overemphasize how huge they sound- like big floorstanding speakers filling a hall (and they're not much bigger than the S30s - only about 15" tall and very slim). I suppose the only thing missing here would be the ability to somehow get the vocals "out in front" of everything else, as right now they're about 40/60 with the rest.

SO!

Before I make a final decision, I wanted to see, now that I've upped my budget to about 300, if there are any really good midsize bookshelves I've overlooked. Max height of about 15" (space considerations here).

What are your thoughts? What is *the most* well rounded, complete, pretty "picture" I can get at this price point?

Thanks so much all!
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-03-2012, 01:06 PM
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I had the S30s and thought they were pretty darn good for their size and price. But in the end I was mainly going to be doing 70% movies so I opted for the Energy RC-10s which blew me away after they broke in. If you want to fill the room have you considered trying the Hsu HB1s? Not the best (I had em too) but man oh man were they fun to demo for movies.

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-03-2012, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. Any other suggestions out there?
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post #4 of 15 Old 02-03-2012, 02:06 PM
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Have you considered studio monitors such as Behringer B2031P or KRK Rokit? Flat response and waveguide loaded tweeter to give great sound stage and imaging.
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post #5 of 15 Old 02-03-2012, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBrother70 View Post

Thanks. Any other suggestions out there?

If you act fast you can get the Infinity Primus P163 for what amounts to a song with free shipping. Sale ends today though.

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_108P163...63.html?tp=186

The have a 60 day money back guarantee so if you don't like them you can send them back no questions asked. I think it's $7/speaker to return via their return system (validate that with them before you order though). Not a bad gamble to make on these speakers. Most you'll lose is $14 and some time to pack everything up for the return.
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-03-2012, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBrother70 View Post

Ok, I'm starting to develop an ear for all the properties I think you guys look for in speakers.

I'm trying to complete my first decent 2 channel system here, and am still not settled on the speakers. Currently I'm testing the Cambridge Audio S30s and their WS30s. Both are good, but before I pull the trigger, I wanted to ask your opinion on other options and go over what I'm hearing. I have no idea what the proper terminology is here for these things, so I'll go off the cuff:
Thanks so much all!

It looks to me like you have the speakers placed in some type of
cubby hole. The WS30 was designed to fire forward. The S30 was
designed to radiate forward, to the sides and back of the speaker.

If you place speakers in some type of cubby hole - they need to be
sealed, or have a front firing port. Also, is a lot of your sources, some
type of MP3 music - using something like Bluetooth?

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-03-2012, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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What does flat response actually mean? New to this stuff.

Also, picked up the P163s, thanks for the heads up. May get the EC-10s as well to compare.

Also:

Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

It looks to me like you have the speakers placed in some type of
cubby hole. The WS30 was designed to fire forward. The S30 was
designed to fire forward, to the sides and back of the speaker.

If you place speakers in some type of cubby hole - they need to be
sealed, or have a front firing port.

No, they're just sitting on top of a bookshelf. The cubby hole for the receiver or amp is below.
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-03-2012, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokekevin View Post

I had the S30s and thought they were pretty darn good for their size and price. But in the end I was mainly going to be doing 70% movies so I opted for the Energy RC-10s which blew me away after they broke in.

+1

I own the S30s and RC10s. I like the S30s, but I love the RC10s

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post #9 of 15 Old 02-03-2012, 03:15 PM
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The Monitor Audio M2 would be my first choice for $270/pair. They were $400, but a couple of retailers have marked them down to $270, which is a steal. They are 13.7 inches tall.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

+1

I own the S30s and RC10s. I like the S30s, but I love the RC10s

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post #10 of 15 Old 02-10-2012, 05:21 AM
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My s30s sound their best on speaker stands, away from the wall, spread apart, and at ear level. The sound quality does substantially decrease when I place them on my long t.v. stand.

The ws30 are on-wall speakers. I'm not sure if you're using them on your bookshelf but maybe the sound will balance out if used as designed.

It seems your setup (speakers on top of a bookshelf while having a 15" clearance due to something from above) is better suited using a taller speaker that is sealed or front-ported design like the M2 that commsysman recommends.

Also, check out the Mordaunt Short Carnival 2 and keep an eye on this thread
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post #11 of 15 Old 02-10-2012, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The Monitor Audio M2 would be my first choice for $270/pair. They were $400, but a couple of retailers have marked them down to $270, which is a steal. They are 13.7 inches tall.

Check out Audiogon, there's a great deal on used Monitor Audio M2 that I've been eyeing. I've since settled on my newly purchased Mordaunt Short Carnival 2, so you can have the M2's.

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post #12 of 15 Old 02-10-2012, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, after all is said and done, I've now compared:

- Polk T15
- Cambridge S30
- Cambridge WS30
- Energy RC-10
- Infinity P163

The Infinities are the top, with the WS30s a very close second.

Now I just need to see if I can get the same high/mid balance from smaller Infinities! These P163s are a bit too large for the space, so I posted a thread about the quality of the smaller P153s and P143s here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post21627802

Your thoughts are appreciated!
-BB
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post #13 of 15 Old 02-10-2012, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBrother70 View Post

The Infinities are the top, with the WS30s a very close second.

Now I just need to see if I can get the same high/mid balance from smaller Infinities! These P163s are a bit too large for the space, so I posted a thread about the quality of the smaller P153s and P143s here:

I would try to fit the 153 - the 143 is bass shy.

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post #14 of 15 Old 02-10-2012, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I would try to fit the 153 - the 143 is bass shy.

Is it an issue if I have a sub?
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post #15 of 15 Old 02-10-2012, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBrother70 View Post

Is it an issue if I have a sub?

The 153 will blend better with a sub, to help even the bass. The 153 bass
will begin to roll off around 80 hz. The 143 is rated around 100hz and may
not even work well, with a 100hz cross over.

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Who and Where - is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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