The best speakers I know of for under $2500/pair are the ones I am using, which are the Gallo Acoustics CL-3. I could go on all day about how absolutely wonderful they are, but it would probably be a lot more helpful and easier if you can get the article about them in the current (July/August) issue of The Absolute Sound. Even though they are not very large (31" tall), they put out powerful bass down to 32 Hz and put out incredibly good and powerful sound. They will go well above 100db with no hint of overload or distortion. I am driving them with an Audio Research preamp and Bryston 150W power amp, but they could easily be driven by a 40W amp.
Suffice it to say that I have two homes, and these sound almost as good as the Vandersteen 3A speakers that I have at my other house (they cost nearly $5000 and give out heavenly sound). My listening BTW, is mainly classical and jazz with a little of bluegrass, blues, pop, and other stuff to boot, plus movies too.
You can get them direct from Gallo by ordering online for $1595 (which is $800 less than the dealer price quoted in the TAS article), and they give a full refund and pay return shipping for 60 days; hard to lose on that. I think that they are very confident that you won't want to send them back...lol. These things compete well with speakers in the $3000 range...really!
They replaced a set of PSB Image T6 speakers, which run $1300 and are also excellent speakers for the money. I had them for two years, and the sound was very good.
The best integrated amplifier I know of for under $900 is the Music Hall A15.2, which Music Direct is selling for the incredible low price of only $499. There are a couple of Cambridge Audio and NAD amps that sell for $800 that are fairly good, but this one is better-sounding and less money; a nice combination for sure. It also has a pretty good phono preamp built in to it, which saves spending $100-200 for a separate one.
The Musical Fidelity M3i is a great integrated amplifier, but it is $1500 and does not have a phono preamp.
Originally Posted by br00mmmm
I'm new to writing in these forums but have found them helpful through other people's threads and always seem to find myself here after a quick Google search.
So here's the deal: I've got about $2,500 to spend on setting up an audio system. The room it will be going in will be quite large, but may differ to a smaller sized room in the future. They will be connected to my computer and record player, and will be mainly used to play music (including records), games, and the occasional movie. My musical tastes cover every genre, from blues and free-form jazz to punk rock and even the occasional rap album.
I'd like to be able to play said music at reasonably high volume levels (probably around 90 - 100dB maximum), without worrying about loss of quality. That being said, I highly doubt that my house will turn into a dingy suburban nightclub anytime soon.
Note that the $2,500 budget must include the amplifier (Integrated, I'd assume. I don't think you can get a power/pre amp combo under $1,500?), but I'd like the brunt of the budget to be spent on the speakers.