Looking for bookshelf speakers for a friend (<$400 and >$250) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-20-2014, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Looking for bookshelf speakers for a friend (<$400 and >$250)

Hello audiophile community, looking for a recommendation on the best valued bookshelf speakers between $250 and $400. $400 is on the high end of the budget and I would like to show my friend he can get great sounding speakers without pushing his budget, but he says he's willing to go that high for something worthwhile. I don't suspect my friend has ever spent this much money on speakers and he seems to take great stock in my recommendation so of course I come to you guys. I think it would be best to focus on bookshelf speakers because he lives in an apartment and shouldn't have to constantly worry about disturbing neighbors with too much bass. I was looking at Swan M200MkII's because always piqued my interest but I've been looking at these things forever and they're quite old now, I'm sure there are much better speakers out there for the money now, right? If you recommend Passive's, please recommend an amp to purchase it with, all within the budget.

Thanks guys
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-20-2014, 08:29 PM
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http://www.musicdirect.com/p-57507-e...eakers-pr.aspx nice price for a real nice set of speakers..

At the bottom of his budget I would be thinking http://www.wavecrestaudio.com/produc...udspeaker-pair use code jayman to save 15%...

HT-Emotiva UMC200 and XPA5, Ascend 340se front stage, 200se surrounds, Dual HSU VTF2's
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Guest parlor-Parasound 2100 outlaw 2200 monos, csb1 bookshelfs, dual SVS sb12nsd subs
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-20-2014, 08:52 PM
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MB Quart Alexxa B1 - they would be on my short list
http://shop.mbquart.com/p/as-b1pb-pair?pp=24

http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/spe...28/286262.html

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post #4 of 17 Old 07-20-2014, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Can all these speakers be adequately driven by a T-Amp? You know, enough for home use? Not trying to throw any booming parties. Also, I can't see where I input the coupon code on that Wavecrest site :P.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-20-2014, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t1337Dude View Post
Can all these speakers be adequately driven by a T-Amp? You know, enough for home use? Not trying to throw any booming parties. Also, I can't see where I input the coupon code on that Wavecrest site :P.
I would look at some nice Powered speakers - like the Airmotiv 5
https://emotiva.com/products/powered...rs/airmotiv-5s

I would not power the MB Quart with a T-amp

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-20-2014, 09:55 PM
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The Ascend Acoustics 170SE is a very nice speaker in that price range, too (BTW, Wave Crest is some sort of joint venture between AVS member CS Chang and Ascend (Dave Fabrikant)).

What are the power specs of the t-amp? How loud do you listen? How far away do you sit? You can use an spl calculator with speaker and amp specs http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html

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post #7 of 17 Old 07-20-2014, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
The Ascend Acoustics 170SE is a very nice speaker in that price range, too (BTW, Wave Crest is some sort of joint venture between AVS member CS Chang and Ascend (Dave Fabrikant)).

What are the power specs of the t-amp? How loud do you listen? How far away do you sit? You can use an spl calculator with speaker and amp specs http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html
From the OP

Quote:
If you recommend Passive's, please recommend an amp to purchase it with, all within the budget.

I don't have the amp yet, I'd like to be recommended one with the speakers if possible, and since I'm on a smaller budget I was assuming someone would recommend a T-Amp. It's for a friend, but he will be listening at low to moderate volumes (never loud), probably typically sits a few ft away from his computer where they will be placed. Obviously I can't recommend him $399 speakers since he doesn't have an amp, but if a T-Amp sufficed I could probably convince him to spend the extra $25.

Personally though, I'm digging all these speaker recommendations. Even though this thread is for a friend these recommendations are looking really temping (I have a couple of KRK Rokit 8's, been stuck with them for 3 years :P).
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-20-2014, 10:05 PM
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They'll all be fine with a T-amp as long as you don't go silly with the volume knob.

A couple of my favourites in your friend's budget range are discounted at the moment:

PSB Image B6 : $329/pr

Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE : $298/pr

What's your friend's usage Dude? Would these powered/active speakers appeal?

Aperion Audio Allaire Bluetooth Speakers : $399

They recently won an Audioholics Consumer Excellence Award.

Last edited by GIEGAR; 07-22-2014 at 07:40 PM. Reason: Forgot to subscribe (again!)
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-20-2014, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t1337Dude View Post
he will be listening at low to moderate volumes (never loud), probably typically sits a few ft away from his computer where they will be placed
For sitting directly in front of the speakers, powered near-field monitors would probably be best as they are designed to be listened to that way - with the listener close to the speakers which are angled directly toward the listeners ears.

Here are a couple of recomendations

Audioengine A5+ Premium powered bookshelf speakers

M-Audio BX5 D2 5" Active 2-Way Studio Monitor Speakers
(There is a new version and a 6" version but I haven't heard them)

If you are looking for more traditional powered speakers meant to project sound into the whole room (there aren't many of these around and most are not in your budget):

NHT SuperPower 2.1 Self-Powered Speaker

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
Home Theater: Bryston 4BSST2 amp / Paradigm CC-590 (C), Outlaw 7700 amp / (4) Def Tech UIW-RSSII (LS/RS/LB/RB), Samsung 46” 3D LCD
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t1337Dude View Post
I don't have the amp yet, I'd like to be recommended one with the speakers if possible, and since I'm on a smaller budget I was assuming someone would recommend a T-Amp.
There are a lot of bookshelf speakers out there for under $300/pr and you could just add a small amp or discounted AVR, but I don't think that I would recomend a T-amp with them. For 8 ohm speakers, the T-amp puts out just over 5 watts per channel before distortion rockets north of 10%+. If your speakers were rated over 95dB/w sensitivity that might be enough power for moderate listening but for "normal" speaker sensitivities it won't. There are other Class-T amps (like the T-amp) with more power

Dayton Audio DTA-120 Class T Digital Mini Amplifier 60 WPC

Or you could just get a discounted or used AVR for around $100

DENON AVR-1513 5.1ch Home Theater Receiver 3D ready

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
Home Theater: Bryston 4BSST2 amp / Paradigm CC-590 (C), Outlaw 7700 amp / (4) Def Tech UIW-RSSII (LS/RS/LB/RB), Samsung 46” 3D LCD
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t1337Dude View Post
From the OP




I don't have the amp yet, I'd like to be recommended one with the speakers if possible, and since I'm on a smaller budget I was assuming someone would recommend a T-Amp. It's for a friend, but he will be listening at low to moderate volumes (never loud), probably typically sits a few ft away from his computer where they will be placed. Obviously I can't recommend him $399 speakers since he doesn't have an amp, but if a T-Amp sufficed I could probably convince him to spend the extra $25.

Personally though, I'm digging all these speaker recommendations. Even though this thread is for a friend these recommendations are looking really temping (I have a couple of KRK Rokit 8's, been stuck with them for 3 years :P).
I missed the last sentence it seems....

I'd spend more than $25 but if a simple integrated amp will suffice for his source(s) in terms of number and kinds of inputs then that Dayton DTA120 looks nice and still comes in budget with the sale on the 170SE too. If he has need of more connectivity/features, then a simple avr would work well but with shipping that means a change in speakers to keep in budget. I've heard nice things about the AudioengineA5 for an active speaker but haven't ever needed an active speaker as I've got always something on the shelf to use...

"I realize that somebody playing free music isn't as commercial as a hamburger stand. But is it because you can eat a hamburger and hold it in your hand and you can't do that with music? Is it too free to control?" - Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) discussing commercial success in the music biz


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post #12 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 05:23 PM
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I actually experimented with a couple of 8 watt or so T-Amps in my main setup, and was actually quite shocked at how loud they could driver several different sets of speakers, and none of them would be considered high sensitivity. Eventually I went back to my 200wpc B&K, but I still use a T-amp in my bedroom setup, and I have a slightly larger than a typical T-Amp class D in my computer setup, and I have a few other amps I could use if they didn't perform as well as they do.
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post #13 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 08:58 PM
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My favorite small amp is the Parasound Zamp - the v.1 and v.2 are 30W per channel and can be purchased used on eBay for around $100. The v.3 is 45W per channel and is very nice but these go for significantly more. Quite small - only 9-1/2"w x 2"h x 10"d

I use these amps to power my whole house audio system and have had very good results.

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-22-2014, 07:28 PM
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I'd recommend the Denon 1513 and Wavecrest speakers per above.

A nice modest good sounding system at a decent price.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-22-2014, 07:40 PM
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I would look at the new released NHT SuperOne 2.1 bookshelf speakers.
http://www.nhthifi.com/Bookshelf-spe...&category=3772

With something like the Denon 1513, or the Parasound amp
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post #16 of 17 Old 07-23-2014, 07:10 AM
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Another heavily discounted speaker is the Boston M25. $300 a pair from ac4less

http://www.accessories4less.com/make...ck-each/1.html
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post #17 of 17 Old 07-23-2014, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
I would look at the new released NHT SuperOne 2.1 bookshelf speakers.
http://www.nhthifi.com/Bookshelf-spe...&category=3772

With something like the Denon 1513, or the Parasound amp
+1 - agree that this speaker is worth listening to. A classic design with modern updates like improved braced cabinet, crossover and drivers.

For a true 2.0 system you really should consider the woofer size and how smooth the bass is - these have a 6.5" woofer and since they are acoustic suspension they do a great job reproducing musical bass without being boomy and without port noise.

One additional benefit to the acoustic suspension design for desktop listening is the sensitivity (which is a fairly low 86dB) - when driving these with a powerful AVR it is very easy to get just the right volume even with the remote (really sensitive speakers make a huge jump in volume with a tiny volume knob adjustment - not a problem here).


2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
Home Theater: Bryston 4BSST2 amp / Paradigm CC-590 (C), Outlaw 7700 amp / (4) Def Tech UIW-RSSII (LS/RS/LB/RB), Samsung 46” 3D LCD
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