Which approximately $300 bookshelf speakers to choose - AVS Forum
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Arx A1b
Ascend CBM 170SE
HSU HB1 MK2

Any opinion on which of these would be best for a primarily HT based listening experience? It seems like I can't go wrong with any of these.

I may occasionally use these without a sub for outdoor home theater on the go (i have a portable screen) so if one of these choices is better in that configuration that would be good to know as well.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Brad
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mblibby View Post

Arx A1b
Ascend CBM 170SE
HSU HB1 MK2

Any opinion on which of these would be best for a primarily HT based listening experience? It seems like I can't go wrong with any of these.

I may occasionally use these without a sub for outdoor home theater on the go (i have a portable screen) so if one of these choices is better in that configuration that would be good to know as well.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Brad

I hope you don't mind a differing suggestion. If you want just a pair of speakers for HT, with our without sub, it would be hard to beat these AR's...remade and re-voiced by one of the finest designers in the world, IMO, Dennis Murphy. See them on this page ... http://philharmonicaudio.com/index.html

And only a hundred bucks! eek.gif

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Old 06-15-2013, 10:12 AM
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oops...duplicate...

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Old 06-15-2013, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion but those are quite a bit above the price of the other 3. Would like to stay in this range.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:20 PM
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HTD Level Three
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Bookshelf-Speakers

Polk LSi7
http://www.ebay.com/itm/PAIR-LSi7-EBONY-Bookshelf-Loudspeakers-Polk-Audio-/390426100204?pt=Speakers_Subwoofers&hash=item5ae73581ec

You'll never get a consensus for one best bookshelf speaker because people have different listening preferences. All are good speakers, you'll just have to make a decision.

Several of those brands have a 30 day in home trial offer. Take advantage of that.

Afro GT
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mblibby View Post

Arx A1b
Ascend CBM 170SE
HSU HB1 MK2

... It seems like I can't go wrong with any of these ...

+1
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:59 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion but those are quite a bit above the price of the other 3. Would like to stay in this range.

I'm a little confused. How is $100/pair "quite a bit more" than the others??? Look at the AR4X speakers I referenced. That's a steal!! There is a picture of them in the middle of the linked page...plus information on them.

Plus, these are likely quite superior performers to the three you've listed.

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Old 06-16-2013, 04:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Did not see the refurbished ones you were referring to. I would like to go new with this purchase. Thanks for the suggestion though.
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Old 06-16-2013, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
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After reading a bunch of threads on this forum I had a hunch that it would be hard to reach a consensus. Just wanted to check to see if I wasn't missing something. I will likely pick two of the three and demo them to decide.
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Old 06-16-2013, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mblibby View Post

After reading a bunch of threads on this forum I had a hunch that it would be hard to reach a consensus. Just wanted to check to see if I wasn't missing something. I will likely pick two of the three and demo them to decide.

If you demo them at home, exactly as you intend to use them, then there is a chance that your demo will mean something.

In your price category, the Infinity Primus P163 (bookshelf) and P363 (floor standing) are worth a look.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:02 AM
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Arx A1b
Ascend CBM 170SE
HSU HB1 MK2
3

+1 probably some of the best $300ish bookshelfs right now. The Arx and the HSU is great but never really had a chance to listen to the Ascend 170SE. Although i'm biased toward the Arx speakers.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:59 AM
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Plus, these are likely quite superior performers to the three you've listed.

Unless you're basing that assertion solely on their acoustical size - which comes with trade-offs - I don't see a basis for it.

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Old 06-16-2013, 06:17 AM
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Don't count out a passive studio monitor, like these Tannoys:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/tannoy-reveal-601p

Or these Behringers

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Behringer-TRUTH-B2031P-Passive-Monitor--Single--485797-i1529409.gc

If you don't care about looks, finish, or grills, you won't be paying for any of that with a passive monitor. Pretty much all the resources went into performance. Just my 2 cents.

Also, you can check Accessories4Less for some used Bostons RS's or KEF Q's--they both have good pedigrees. Also I think OneCall has the Bostons on sale too, though I could be wrong.
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:03 AM
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Unless you're basing that assertion solely on their acoustical size - which comes with trade-offs - I don't see a basis for it.

As I stated, I'm basing it on the new drivers and crossover applied by Dennis Murphy, the superb designer of Salk and Philharmonic loudspeakers. I have speakers optimized by Dennis and they are a tribute to his abilities. I'd guess you are familiar with his work, Jon. Would you not agree? (Or perhaps not, since you sell the ARX's?)

But like most of these threads, the OP usually ends up ignoring our posts and goes with what he/she knows and puts up in the very first post.

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Old 06-16-2013, 07:57 AM
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As I stated, I'm basing it on the new drivers and crossover applied by Dennis Murphy, the superb designer of Salk and Philharmonic loudspeakers. I have speakers optimized by Dennis and they are a tribute to his abilities. I'd guess you are familiar with his work, Jon. Would you not agree? (Or perhaps not, since you sell the ARX's?)

But like most of these threads, the OP usually ends up ignoring our posts and goes with what he/she knows and puts up in the very first post.

What drivers are those? Even so, we can assert X or Y about Z but only a thorough analysis of each design and a lot of ears-on experience with each will give us the perspective we need to validate a particular opinion, if any.

(As an general aside, analyzing a design is not frequently done - if ever in the consumer world - partly because industry trends move from place to place and as they do they can be accepted in any one era as absolute or nearly so, which is a questionable method. Analyzing a design is also not a function of limited glimpses of particular data sets, and even assuming a comprehensive set of data there are still elements of a design that escape it but will serve a comprehensive analysis.)

Two designs are very commonly differentiated by relative differences much more than they are one overall absolute. In other words, the 'best' of a group does not exist and is almost always better stated as a comparison of subjective impressions. There are absolutes like the design's fundamental acoustical size - stated in terms of the system's foundational F3 and efficiency in the bass upon which everything else has to be layered in precise levels hopefully using careful rationale - but most of what we perceive is a mixture of a lot of variables that rarely all favor one design or entirely disfavor another unless they are outliers.

Where does that leave us? If we can't know all of the variables and if we accept that they fall where they do broadly across a group, we have to trust our ears. If we identify others whose tastes mirror our own, we can trust theirs too. We just can't assert truths about largely unknown variables in a large set.

Jon Lane
Chane Music & Cinema
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post

What drivers are those? Even so, we can assert X or Y about Z but only a thorough analysis of each design and a lot of ears-on experience with each will give us the perspective we need to validate a particular opinion, if any.

(As an general aside, analyzing a design is not frequently done - if ever in the consumer world - partly because industry trends move from place to place and as they do they can be accepted in any one era as absolute or nearly so, which is a questionable method. Analyzing a design is also not a function of limited glimpses of particular data sets, and even assuming a comprehensive set of data there are still elements of a design that escape it but will serve a comprehensive analysis.)

Two designs are very commonly differentiated by relative differences much more than they are one overall absolute. In other words, the 'best' of a group does not exist and is almost always better stated as a comparison of subjective impressions. There are absolutes like the design's fundamental acoustical size - stated in terms of the system's foundational F3 and efficiency in the bass upon which everything else has to be layered in precise levels hopefully using careful rationale - but most of what we perceive is a mixture of a lot of variables that rarely all favor one design or entirely disfavor another unless they are outliers.

Where does that leave us? If we can't know all of the variables and if we accept that they fall where they do broadly across a group, we have to trust our ears. If we identify others whose tastes mirror our own, we can trust theirs too. We just can't assert truths about largely unknown variables in a large set.

I'm fully aware of industry and designer trends and measurement standards, as well as listener biases, Jon. But one can make a generalized statement as I did "that the AR's are 'likely' superior performers" and not get a philosophical argument about comparatives and superlatives ("better", "best") like this. Extending the argument, would you not agree that the older (trend) design of the B&W 802D's are "likely superior performers" to your 'new' ARX's? Or would I have to defend that, too? If you are suggesting that all loudspeakers are equal and subject to listener preference or auditory bias, then I take issue with you.

And I think it's generally good form to announce one's financial interest in gear (TAI-ARX in this case) if posting about comparatives as in this thread.

The ears are the ultimate arbiters of preferred loudspeakers. The OP should audition-audition-audition. But I think even you would admit that 100 bucks for those Murphy optimized AR's are a good value...which is why I suggested them as an alternative in the first place.

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Old 06-16-2013, 10:23 AM
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I'm fully aware of industry and designer trends and measurement standards, as well as listener biases, Jon.

Then we're both aware of what constitutes a particular design and model and how that perspective ideally informs assertions about either.
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But one can make a generalized statement as I did "that the AR's are 'likely' superior performers" and not get a philosophical argument about comparatives and superlatives ("better", "best") like this.

One can, yet the points I made stand, one of them offered as an aside.
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Extending the argument, would you not agree that the older (trend) design of the B&W 802D's are "likely superior performers" to your 'new' ARX's?

In the sense of the point - that absolutes like bass foundation and acoustical size do exist but variables elsewhere rarely earn any one design the benefit of a sweeping assertion, much less two similarly-sized designs - I cannot agree. I would certainly expect, on the other hand, that a 802 would be to a good design a fraction of its size and cost about what a Bentley would be to a Mustang, just probably not universally such as to claim that the latter just cannot exceed in areas.

As to any two products in similar classes however, I think we can agree that they're going to relate to one another about like how I claimed they would.
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If you are suggesting that all loudspeakers are equal and subject to listener preference or auditory bias, then I take issue with you.

I didn't.
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And I think it's generally good form to announce one's financial interest in gear (TAI-ARX in this case) if posting about comparatives as in this thread.

It is and signature lines come and go from time to time ... historically mine not being one of them that ever has. Where it went is anybody's guess, although I wasn't promoting a product.
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The ears are the ultimate arbiters of preferred loudspeakers. The OP should audition-audition-audition. But I think even you would admit that 100 bucks for those Murphy optimized AR's are a good value...which is why I suggested them as an alternative in the first place.

No issue there. Whether they're likely quite superior performers to the rest entirely may be.

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Old 06-16-2013, 12:45 PM
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If you demo them at home, exactly as you intend to use them, then there is a chance that your demo will mean something ...

+1 It may sound like overkill for $300 speakers, but really it was the best advice I got here in the forums when I was starting out (and there was lots of good advice). Or, maybe don't think of it as "auditioning" the speaker, just remember that you have 30 days to send it back if you don't like it ... peace-of-mind for the price of return shipping is a great deal wink.gif
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