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"Bookshelf" Speaker recommendations  

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
When I say bookshelf, I literally mean bookshelf.

The speakers will be placed in a home entertainment unit. I will be using a Denon 3801 receiver. I have my eye on Paradigm and Def Techs. I am open to any and all ideas for a 5.1 system. Cost is not a problem if it makes sense.

post #2 of 22
You have to be careful with some speakers and their bass response if you pack them into a bookshelf. Two speakers that come to my mind are the PSB Alpha series and the Norwex B-2 Nisse ($995/pr). The PSB's ($200/pr for the Mini and $250 for the A/V) are one of the all time classics of budget audio and are definarely worth a listen. They were designed to be placed close to the rear wall or on a bookshelf and still sound good. If you have to pack your speaker on a bookshelf, they are my favorite budget option. The Norwex B-2 Nisse is a new speaker that has been reviewed favorable by Sound Stage and Planet HiFi. It's also designed to be placed on a bookshelf and supposedly sounds its best when placed there. I haven't personally heard it, but like I said the reviews are good.
post #3 of 22
I'd look at the Dynaudio Contour series. 1.1, 1.3 or 1.3SE are all outstanding bookshelf speakers. As was previously noted I would avoid putting ANY speaker on a bookshelf is at all possible. You are asking for poorer fidelity than necessary by doing so. Good luck.
post #4 of 22

One thing you didn't mention is size? Will the entertainment unit be built with the speakers in mind and around them? If so, there are some minor things which can greatly help the sound. As for the speakers, there are speakers which will work in a "built in" type application.

Triad would be one I would put at the top of your list, but I'm not terribly familiar with their lineup, but I believe the Platinum LCR are some of the best they offer. Maybe Paul of Triad can jump in on this one.

For a few more good options I wouldn't hesitate with the NHT VS-2.4, and VS-3. These are designed to be placed against a wall, and will work well in this type of situtation. The other definite speaker to consider is the Aerial LR-3 and CC-3. The only problem with these is that they are somewhat in-efficient, but as long as you aren't sitting 30' from the speakers, and you have the speaker set to "small" with a decent sub in the corner, these will still sound better than most any other speaker in this situation, and would be similar, but different (depending a lot on the model) than the Triads I suggested above.

Mark Seaton
post #5 of 22
Paradigm Reference 20's. Audition them, you'll buy them. HTman.

David Richie
Home Theater & Multi Media Co.
post #6 of 22
Triad has several options for in-wall, and in-room applications. Ranging from bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Bronze being the intro model, and of course platinum being the flagship of the line.

You can check out more information on their website:

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
A little more info.

The home entertainment unit was custom built about 10 years ago. And, alas, life is a series of negotions, so it's cheaper to keep the unit and not go through the expense of a divorce.

The size of the space is about 18 -24 inches wide (estimated because I am not near the unit). The shelving is adjustable.


post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Sorry, make that negotiations. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/redface.gif
post #9 of 22
I second the Reference 20s. They are great speakers at resonable price.
post #10 of 22

Are all 3 front speakers going in the entertainment center? Also, depending on the width of your shelves, you could even use 3 apropriate center channels, which could all be on their side. For this implementation you would ideally want to go with a 3-way center where the tweeter and midrange are still oriented vertically, as to not cause problems off-axis and particularly with the right and left speakers.

My favorites for this use would be the Aerial CC-3 (I've used this in exactly this sort of case with success), and NHT's VC-3 or AC-2. Both of these NHT center channels are real steals when it comes to price/performance. Width will be the biggest issue with selecting such a speaker. This set-up works very well asthetically too, as you don't need to have huge vertical spacing of the shelves in the cabinet. Certainly you can argue there may be better sounding options, but I've also done many systems which didn't match the performance of the 3 CC-3 speakers up front when mated to a healthy sub. The Aerial CC-3 is 24" wide, the NHT VC-3 is 23.25" wide and the AC-2 is 22" wide. If I recall, the respective pricing of each is $1500, $1000(maybe $900?), and $850.

Mark Seaton
post #11 of 22
I also recommend you audition PSB Alpha speakers. The Alphas come in several sizes.

Go to www.psbspeakers.com to find the Alpha models that fits your dimensions.

In my 12' x 14' den, I run a 5.1 Alpha system:

FL,FR: Alpha Mites
FC: Alpha Center
SL,SR: Alpha Mites.
LFE: Alpha Subzero
post #12 of 22
Recently got the B&W DM 303 at Myer Emco (reviewed favorably in What Hi Fi?). Excellent sound specially in the mids and highs.

Unfortunately they have a port in the back which may play havoc in your situation. If they can "breathe" around the back (actually any back vented bookshelf speaker may cause you trouble) they should be fine.

No JVC Spoken Here ...

[This message has been edited by Madhav Panwar (edited 05-08-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Madhav Panwar (edited 05-08-2001).]
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
All 3 speakers will be in the unit. Back vented speakers would definitely be a problem.

post #14 of 22
If you have the width available, I would go for the 3 center channel solution. There is also the benefit that any of these center channels will be great improvements over most average center channels which might be the "match" to right and left speakers which will fit in your space. Also, do NOT place an upright bookshelf speaker on it's side, you will be much happier with the center channel implementation.

Mark Seaton
post #15 of 22
I would relly look into constructing enclosures for triad speakers. If this really isn't an option, try taking some speakers home and seeing what fits and sounds good. This is a tough call but I am sure there is something out there for you. B&W speakers are front ported and would work. They also sound great and if you decided to move them out they would make great speakers anywhere.

post #16 of 22
The Paradigm and PSB are both nice. Compare the Paradigm Reference 20 against the PSB Stratus Mini rather than the PSB Alpha.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Lots of great input.

Mark, your center speaker arrangement is intriguing. Well worth investigating.

The Paradigm Reference 20 also sounds interesting. Which would be more appropriate for my situation? The Active-20 or the Studio-20? Also what about the B&W CDM1 NT? Are the these ported?

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Also, what's the main differences between the Paradigm Reference and Pardigm Monitor series when applied to my situation.

Thanks again
post #19 of 22
Lots of good suggestions in this thread that cover a wide variety of budgets. I would stay away from the B&W CDM series. Not their best effort IMHO. I own a complete B&W setup including a CDM CSE center and while I am very pleased overall I will be upgrading to another brand. I just feel there are better choices. Be sure to include the Dynaudio speakers I mentioned in your analysis. They are incredible performers but I will warn you that they are at or near the top of the price chart for bookshelf speakers. IMHO you get what you pay for and Dynaudio will certainly outperform PSB or Paradigm albeit at a much higher price point. Good luck and let your ears be your final guide. If I were you I would INSIST on an in-home trial due to your placement issues. Regards.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Bill. I will look at the Dynaudio. As I mentioned price is not a problem if it makes sense. I tossed in the "makes sense" because some wise guy always recommends a piece of equipment off the price chart just to make a statement.

post #21 of 22
You should also consider the Sonus Faber Concertinos or Concertos. Excellent for both the audio and HT systems. They have front ports so it should mitigate most of your shelf enclosure problem.
post #22 of 22
You shoud try Energy Veritas 2.2. Glowing review from one of Canada's top and most respected magazines. Here's the link. http://www.audio-ideas.com/reviews/l...nergyv2-2.html

I tried them at hoe. Truly amazing. I bought the flor standing 2.3's which are due to arrive at my door this week. Can't wait!
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