Help choosing a pair of bookshelf speakers sub-$600/pair - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 01-22-2013, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

I am relatively new here. I am looking for a pair of bookshelf speakers for music listening. I am prepared to spend $600 max (lower is better). After reading more than a few reviews and considering the availability in my area, I was thinking about these:

1> KEF Q300 - either open box from accessories4less or new from a local dealer
2> Paradigm Studio 20 v2 - from ebay (if they are better than mini monitors v7 or v2)
3> Paradigm Mini Monitor v2 - from ebay
4> Paradigm Mini Monitor v7 - from local dealer

I won't be adding a sub-woofer anytime soon.

If you guys can help me decide, it will be great!

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 25 Old 01-22-2013, 12:36 PM
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What kind of music do you like? Bass-heavy music without a subwoofer wiil demand something that can come close to handling it ( some ..........heck, most here would say you need a subwoofer in that case).

Other speakers to consider..........

Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 or 10.2 10.2 at ~450/pr
Arx A1b ( the larger 2b/2c won't be available for a while.....) $300/pr
Ascend 340SE ~$600/pr
Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 450 ( $379/pr at Amazon) or SM55 ($600/pr)......both of these rated down to 30HZ or lower,presumably good for lower bass
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post #3 of 25 Old 01-22-2013, 12:39 PM
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The Andrew Jones Pioneer's are tough to beat at $89 a pair at Best Buy...I've bought several pairs, one for surrounds, and one for dedicated 2.0 music in a very small room. Very pleased so far!
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post #4 of 25 Old 01-22-2013, 12:46 PM
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I suggest either the PSB Image B6 or the Monitor Audio BX2, but the KEF Q300 is not bad either. Check Saturday Audio for discounted prices on the PSB B6 speakers (factory warranty; minor factory finish imperfections; $439/pair).

Any of those will sound very good. The BX2 has good bass extension, and the B6 is good too.

The Paradigm small speakers are TOO small for main speakers.

For main speakers, without a subwoofer, I would want to have at least a 6.5-inch main driver in the speaker system.
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post #5 of 25 Old 01-22-2013, 01:00 PM
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As padgman said the Arx A1b is a great bookshelf. 5.3" woofer puts to shame alot of larger diameter woofers, XBL2/Splitgap motor and crazy excursion makes it equal or better than alot of 6.5" woofers. I'd also would be very confident it could perform close to some 7" woofers too. A 5.3" woofer thats flat +/- 2db from 47hrz to 20hrz+ is amazing for a single woofer/planar combo.
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post #6 of 25 Old 01-22-2013, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

What kind of music do you like? Bass-heavy music without a subwoofer wiil demand something that can come close to handling it ( some ..........heck, most here would say you need a subwoofer in that case).

Other speakers to consider..........

Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 or 10.2 10.2 at ~450/pr
Arx A1b ( the larger 2b/2c won't be available for a while.....) $300/pr
Ascend 340SE ~$600/pr
Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 450 ( $379/pr at Amazon) or SM55 ($600/pr)......both of these rated down to 30HZ or lower,presumably good for lower bass

I listen to classical, jazz, classic rock, some country music. I heard DefTech SM55 and didn't like them too much. I was thinking about throwing Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 in the mix earlier but on the grounds that I haven't heard them, I didn't.

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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I suggest either the PSB Image B6 or the Monitor Audio BX2, but the KEF Q300 is not bad either. Check Saturday Audio for discounted prices on the PSB B6 speakers (factory warranty; minor factory finish imperfections; $439/pair).

Any of those will sound very good. The BX2 has good bass extension, and the B6 is good too.

The Paradigm small speakers are TOO small for main speakers.

For main speakers, without a subwoofer, I would want to have at least a 6.5-inch main driver in the speaker system.

Heard both PSB Image B6 and Q300 in the same room, same setup and same tracks. Liked Q300 better. Though I can get B6 for $490 or less new. I can probably audition BX2 but not sure. I'm trying to find a dealer near me. Paradigm Mini monitors and studio 20s do have 6.5-inch main driver.

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Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

As padgman said the Arx A1b is a great bookshelf. 5.3" woofer puts to shame alot of larger diameter woofers, XBL2/Splitgap motor and crazy excursion makes it equal or better than alot of 6.5" woofers. I'd also would be very confident it could perform close to some 7" woofers too. A 5.3" woofer thats flat +/- 2db from 47hrz to 20hrz+ is amazing for a single woofer/planar combo.

Absolutely no idea how they sound like. Are they really in the league of BX2 and Q300s? Or A2b are more of a competition to them?
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post #7 of 25 Old 01-22-2013, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niksfin View Post

Absolutely no idea how they sound like. Are they really in the league of BX2 and Q300s? Or A2b are more of a competition to them?

The A1b would compete just fine with the BX2, Q300, Ascend Acoustics 170SE, Paradigm Mini Monitor, ect. The only thing is personal perference. Do you want a speaker that has a forward treble (sizzle) or something laid back that isn't in your face? None of those listed are going to drastically out perform the other.

The most important thing is to demo speakers in your room using your equipment and your content (cds/blurays). Arx has a 30 day inhome trial as well as alot of other brands too. If you looking at local retailers its up to them to determine if they will let you have a generous return policy or argue about returning something after a certain time period. A few days isn't enough to find out if you like something or not.
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post #8 of 25 Old 01-22-2013, 06:54 PM
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fwiw, if you dont mind used there are a real nice pair of dynaudio dm 2/7 's for $600 including ship. on audiogon

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #9 of 25 Old 01-22-2013, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

The A1b would compete just fine with the BX2, Q300, Ascend Acoustics 170SE, Paradigm Mini Monitor, ect. The only thing is personal perference. Do you want a speaker that has a forward treble (sizzle) or something laid back that isn't in your face? None of those listed are going to drastically out perform the other.

The most important thing is to demo speakers in your room using your equipment and your content (cds/blurays). Arx has a 30 day inhome trial as well as alot of other brands too. If you looking at local retailers its up to them to determine if they will let you have a generous return policy or argue about returning something after a certain time period. A few days isn't enough to find out if you like something or not.

How would you compare A1b and BX2/Q300? I mean bass/mid/highs point of view. Because a1b leaves me some money to buy a used sub.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smasher50 View Post

fwiw, if you dont mind used there are a real nice pair of dynaudio dm 2/7 's for $600 including ship. on audiogon

I don't mind used at all. I'll have a look.



If these DynAudio are in the mix, do they become the undisputed best choice of all these speakers?
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post #10 of 25 Old 01-23-2013, 04:04 AM
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If these DynAudio are in the mix, do they become the undisputed best choice of all these speakers?[/quote]
fwiw, the only one that can answer that question truthfully is your ears.as for hearing or owning pretty much everything listed (except the arx speakers) at one time or another over the years. not saying that any of the listed speakers are bad they are all very good and i would be happy with any pair of them but imo to my ears they are a step above in sound quality.my somewhat audiophile brother in law owns the dm 2/6's and for a small speaker it has great sound especially with voices or the midrange.( was listening to some elton john the other night and did not want to leave until the cd ended. very intoxicating sound) again buying these new they would be out of your price range but at $600and in your budget they would be a nice option to look at. just my 2 cents

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #11 of 25 Old 01-23-2013, 04:26 AM
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If you want something that will really float your boat, and could spend $795, you can go WAY up the ladder and get a pair of Anthony Gallo Classico CL-2 speakers.

They have a tweeter that is absolutely amazing, and also a bass driver that is very powerful.

This is in a whole different class than the ones you have been listening to; major high-end sound quality.

You can get them in your home for a FREE 60-day home trial! They pay full refund and shipping both ways if you return them, so there is no risk to you at all. The worst thing that can happen is that you get a free taste of the very best (of course once you hear them...be warned...you will never be able to send them back...rofl...cool.gif).

(I have the CL-3 speakers, and they sound damn near as good as the $5000 Vandersteens I have at my other house...and they only cost $1600 per pair)
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post #12 of 25 Old 01-23-2013, 05:11 AM
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Since you will not be using a subwoofer, how about something with a larger woofer?
I have a pair of these Klipsch Reference RB II, they have 6 1/2 inch woofers and sound very nice.
Price was $399 a pair.
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post #13 of 25 Old 01-23-2013, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niksfin View Post

How would you compare A1b and BX2/Q300? I mean bass/mid/highs point of view. Because a1b leaves me some money to buy a used sub.
I don't mind used at all. I'll have a look.

A1b has great bass very "full" sounding, it reproduces the drum kick really well for being a bookshelf, it easily match some larger bookshelfs. The only bookshelf I've heard that had better bass was the Paradigm Titan and Klipsch RB81. Midrange and Treble are clear and detailed without being harsh or shrill sounding. I would describe it as natural and easy to listen to for long periods. The planar has a very "quick" sound to it, never any overhang or after ringing that i've noticed in some dome tweeters. I can say that if your a fan of metal dome tweeters that have very loud highs than the Arx probably is going to sound underwhelming.

I listen to everything from AC/DC to Elton John, Dire Straits, Metallica to Eagles and they've yet to be disappointing. A1b B-Stock would leave you a pretty good chunk for a used or better subwoofer around $350-400 for the subwoofer.
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post #14 of 25 Old 01-23-2013, 09:53 AM
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I have q300's and I don't regret buying them
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post #15 of 25 Old 01-23-2013, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

If you want something that will really float your boat, and could spend $795, you can go WAY up the ladder and get a pair of Anthony Gallo Classico CL-2 speakers.

They are $200 out of my price range. But still if I want to try them, do they have enough bass? If you have heard CL-2 and Q300/BX2, which ones have more bass? (I know that all these must have nice quality bass... that's why asking about amount).

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

A1b has great bass very "full" sounding, it reproduces the drum kick really well for being a bookshelf, it easily match some larger bookshelfs. The only bookshelf I've heard that had better bass was the Paradigm Titan and Klipsch RB81. Midrange and Treble are clear and detailed without being harsh or shrill sounding. I would describe it as natural and easy to listen to for long periods. The planar has a very "quick" sound to it, never any overhang or after ringing that i've noticed in some dome tweeters. I can say that if your a fan of metal dome tweeters that have very loud highs than the Arx probably is going to sound underwhelming.

I listen to everything from AC/DC to Elton John, Dire Straits, Metallica to Eagles and they've yet to be disappointing. A1b B-Stock would leave you a pretty good chunk for a used or better subwoofer around $350-400 for the subwoofer.

Thanks for the short review. I was reading the thread with comparison between Arx A1b and Ascend 170SE. From that comparison, I didn't like the A1b sound. Maybe my personal preference about what kind of speakers I like but the ones where you don't hear the dialogues properly isn't for me.



Thanks everyone for their inputs. I found a place to audition BX2s. Surprisingly it was just a block away from my place. I had a long session listening to Jazz and Classical stuff... some vinyl some cd....

I really don't want to buy Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 before auditioning them first. So here are the contenders now:

Paradigm Mini Monitor v.7 (can get these for $425 new)
KEF Q300 (around $480 open box from a4l ..... $585 new)
Monitor Audio BX2 (around $390 factory refreshed .... $490 new)
Anthony Gallo CL-2 (over my budget but I might be willing to risk it if extra $200 are worth it).

What do you think?
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post #16 of 25 Old 01-24-2013, 12:01 AM
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You really need to listen to speakers for yourself, but if it were my money:

New: Focal 706
Used: Dynaudio DM 2/7
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post #17 of 25 Old 01-24-2013, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niksfin View Post

They are $200 out of my price range. But still if I want to try them, do they have enough bass? If you have heard CL-2 and Q300/BX2, which ones have more bass? (I know that all these must have nice quality bass... that's why asking about amount).
Thanks for the short review. I was reading the thread with comparison between Arx A1b and Ascend 170SE. From that comparison, I didn't like the A1b sound. Maybe my personal preference about what kind of speakers I like but the ones where you don't hear the dialogues properly isn't for me.



Thanks everyone for their inputs. I found a place to audition BX2s. Surprisingly it was just a block away from my place. I had a long session listening to Jazz and Classical stuff... some vinyl some cd....

I really don't want to buy Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 before auditioning them first. So here are the contenders now:

Paradigm Mini Monitor v.7 (can get these for $425 new)
KEF Q300 (around $480 open box from a4l ..... $585 new)
Monitor Audio BX2 (around $390 factory refreshed .... $490 new)
Anthony Gallo CL-2 (over my budget but I might be willing to risk it if extra $200 are worth it).

What do you think?
reading and listening to the actual speaker is VERY different. like you i was reading the same thread and i was going towards the Ascends but decided t give the Arx a try. Very impressive bookshelf for the price. im 40hrs into break in. lest see when i hit 60hrs. so i can re-listen to the same content!!
i would suggest you to try to listen to the speakers and see which one suit your needs better. good luck
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post #18 of 25 Old 01-24-2013, 04:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justindo View Post

You really need to listen to speakers for yourself, but if it were my money:

New: Focal 706
Used: Dynaudio DM 2/7
+1

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post #19 of 25 Old 01-24-2013, 07:46 AM
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So...........you have listened to the Paradigm Mini Monitors v7, the KEF Q300's, and the Monitor Audio BX2's

Unless you are willing to store demo other speakers, OR are willing to demo other speakers with return policies ( Internet Direct or otherwise) , I would choose between the above 3.

As many people ( continue to) say, listen for yourself and make the informed choice...........then you have NO ONE to blame, including yourself.....smile.gif...

There is no Holy Grail of speakers, just ones that you happen to like a lot at the time..........
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post #20 of 25 Old 01-24-2013, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justindo View Post

You really need to listen to speakers for yourself, but if it were my money:

New: Focal 706
Used: Dynaudio DM 2/7

Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

So...........you have listened to the Paradigm Mini Monitors v7, the KEF Q300's, and the Monitor Audio BX2's

Unless you are willing to store demo other speakers, OR are willing to demo other speakers with return policies ( Internet Direct or otherwise) , I would choose between the above 3.

As many people ( continue to) say, listen for yourself and make the informed choice...........then you have NO ONE to blame, including yourself.....smile.gif...

There is no Holy Grail of speakers, just ones that you happen to like a lot at the time..........

Well, I can try auditioning Focal 706. A dealer near my place has them. He's the same guy who has Paradigms. But he'll kill me if I audition another set of speakers and then not buy them. :P

How much do they cost btw, approx?

And I'm willing to do in-home audition of Anthony Gallo CL-2. Actually it was your (padgman1) review that turned me away from Arx tongue.gif
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post #21 of 25 Old 01-24-2013, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niksfin View Post


Well, I can try auditioning Focal 706. A dealer near my place has them. He's the same guy who has Paradigms. But he'll kill me if I audition another set of speakers and then not buy them. :P

How much do they cost btw, approx?

I would find a way to listen to them - Focal is nice
Dealer price is around $699 - people who want to sell, tend to give you a deal

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post #22 of 25 Old 01-24-2013, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niksfin View Post


Actually it was your (padgman1) review that turned me away from Arx tongue.gif


The ArxA1b's that I have are very neutral to "laid back", so dialogue is more difficult to discern at lower volumes.........the Ascend 170SE's that I also have are easier to discern dialogue at lower volumes, probably because of its higher sensitivity........at higher volumes, dialogue from the Arxs comes through loud and clear....

MY translation of this............if you are going to listen to music at background volumes, then the Arxs aren't for you.......better off with a higher senstivity speaker, regardless. If you are going to listen to music at below reference/ above background volumes, you'd be hard- pressed to find a better set of speakers for $300/pr new.........

That said, I don't think you can go wrong with ANY of the speakers listed in your contenders post above........

Please let us know what you decide on, would be interested.......
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post #23 of 25 Old 01-24-2013, 11:18 AM
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You need to use a SPL meter to determine output. You can't judge two speakers based on what the volume level is on the receiver. If the Ascend can play at 60db at a certain volume level on the receiver (-20 example) and the Arx can't doesn't mean anything, the Arx will play find at 60db too it just may need to be bumped up a little more on the receiver volume (-12) to play at the exact same SPL as the Ascend.

Its not a fair comparison thats why an SPL meter is very important. A typical conversation is around 60db, use the SPL to find out when the Ascend reaches that output then find out how far you need to raise the volume on the Arx to play the same level. The Arx will play just fine at lower SPL's too just like the Ascend, you just need to make sure your judging them fairly ie samed measured output.
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post #24 of 25 Old 01-24-2013, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I would find a way to listen to them - Focal is nice
Dealer price is around $699 - people who want to sell, tend to give you a deal

Done! Auditioned Focal 705v and 706v. 706v are nice. Nice soundstage. Sales representative there looked disappointed when I left without buying one. frown.gif But I guess he will be okay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

You need to use a SPL meter to determine output.

Will borrow friend's SPL meter once I setup the speakers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by padgman1 View Post

Please let us know what you decide on, would be interested.......

I went ahead and ordered Anthony Gallo Classico CL-2s. Their 60-day return policy gives me enough time to audition them at home. Lets see how they measure up to Focal and others. If I feel Focal were more to my liking, I'll return CL-2s and buy them instead.


Now, which cheap but sturdy speaker stands do you guys recommend? At least tell me from where to buy them. I need more than 30'' height. Adjustable if possible. I don't want some kind of expensive audiophile type stands.... just the ones to serve the purpose. Aesthetics don't matter (at least now).

I can't thank you all enough for helping me with this. I appreciate all your inputs.
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post #25 of 25 Old 12-07-2013, 12:46 PM
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Hey Niksfin - wondering what you thought of the CL-2's? I''m also trying to decide on new bookshelf speakers. I was going to jump on some Polks when they had their big sale but decided I really wanted somethin better.
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