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Bookshelf suggestions $600-1000 range

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
Interested in purchasing some new bookshelves for my stereo-only setup for music only. I'm currently using Primus P162's in my den.

My goals for this purchase is to get the flattest, and longest (lowest) frequency response I can get for a price between $600 to 1000.

Due to space, and the fact that this room is very small, I'm not interested in a sub, even a small one.

The speakers I have been looking at are the NHT's. I first looked at the Absolute Zero, but the FR drops off around 70 hz. I then looked at the Classic Three's, which claim to have a FR of 45Hz-20kHz +/- 3db.

I'm interested in considering other options with these purchase goals in mind, and any advice/recommendations are appreciated.
post #2 of 65
I would take a look at the Boston VS260 - this speaker has strong bass
for a bookshelf, and it is tight and controlled. I do not hear a bass bump
like the Classic three, and it will handle what you throw at it.
http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it..._c=site_search

Frequency Range (+-3dB): 45Hz – 30kHz

Recommended Amplifier: 10 – 250 Watts

I do not have third party measurements for the Boston - however, this is
the Classic Three.
http://www.stereophile.com/content/n...r-measurements
post #3 of 65
If you want absolute flattest I would get a pair of Genelecs and then run the in-room calibration program...

But the 3s are definitely fantastic for $600 and you'd be hard pressed to beat them for accuracy at that price range for passives.
post #4 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I would take a look at the Boston VS260 - this speaker has strong bass
for a bookshelf, and it is tight and controlled. I do not hear a bass bump
like the Classic three, and it will handle what you throw at it.
http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it..._c=site_search

Frequency Range (+-3dB): 45Hz – 30kHz

Recommended Amplifier: 10 – 250 Watts

I do not have third party measurements for the Boston - however, this is
the Classic Three.
http://www.stereophile.com/content/n...r-measurements

The Classic Three does not have a bass bump.

The hump you see in the Stereophile measurements is caused by the splicing technique Atkinson uses in making measurements/graphs. It is explained somewhere on the Stereophile site. You can see similar "humps" on most of the speakers measured by Stereophile.

There are measurements available for the VS240 which is said to sound like the VS260 without the extended bass of the larger woofer/cabinet.
post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

The Classic Three does not have a bass bump.

The hump you see in the Stereophile measurements is caused by the splicing technique Atkinson uses in making measurements/graphs. It is explained somewhere on site. You can see similar "humps" on most of the speakers measured by Stereophile.

The Soundstage measurements look better for the Classic Three -
however, it is not going real low.
post #6 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

The Soundstage measurements look better for the Classic Three -
however, it is not going real low.

Yes, Soundstage has access to the NRC's anechoic chamber (Stereophile does not use an anechoic chamber).

One thing to note, although it is not an issue with the Classic Three since it is sealed, is that Soundstage measurements do not take into account the bass coming from the rear of rear ported speaker (an anechoic chamber has no reflected sound). They do not specifically measure port output. So measurements of a rear ported speaker do not so the actual bass response.

The Classic Three does not seem to go that low. It is an excellent speaker, that I feel is a tad on the warm side. The measurements I have seen of the VS240 make it seem a bit on the bright side.

The spec on the VS240 have a -3dB point of 70hz. The measurements here don't seem the reflect that:
http://www.hometheater.com/content/b...-labs-measures
post #7 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

The Classic Three does not seem to go that low. It is an excellent speaker, that I feel is a tad on the warm side. The measurements I have seen of the VS240 make it seem a bit on the bright side.

The Classic Three is a winner, for a lot of people.

The VS 240 sounds OK to me - the treble rise after 10khz goes back
down. And like me, none of the reviewers have complained about the
brightness. I get no ear fatigue > 88 to 20khz is around +/- 3.5 db.
200hz to 10khz is a winner.

The VS240 is a little box.
post #8 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

The VS 240 sounds OK to me - the treble rise after 10khz goes back
down. And like me, none of the reviewers have complained about the
brightness. I get no ear fatigue > 88 to 20khz is around +/- 3.5 db.

Reviewers almost never complain about brightness.

Definitely not bad measurements, but depending on where the 3.5db swing happens, it can definitely be audible. A perception of greater detail can be attributed to the rise to 10khz. The 10khz-20khz area is 3+ dB higher than the midrange.

Of course if we had more off-axis measurements, it would be more telling. A real anechoic measurement would be interesting...actually more third party measurements in general would be helpful. Looking at one set of measurements can be misleading.

On the otherhand, the subjective descriptions I read about the VS260 do seem to be explainable by elevated treble. The more I think about it, I wonder if they sound like the Onix Ref. 1's....another well liked speaker!
post #9 of 65
Speakers that can produce flat response are great. But speakers that produce flat response and control HF dispersion to reduce unwanted reflections are even greater - better clarity and imaging icing to go with your flat response cake. Behold the studio monitors, like JBL LSR series, KRK Rokit or VXT, or Mackie HR's.
post #10 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiok View Post

Speakers that can produce flat response are great. But speakers that produce flat response and control HF dispersion to reduce unwanted reflections are even greater - better clarity and imaging icing to go with your flat response cake. Behold the studio monitors, like JBL LSR series, KRK Rokit or VXT, or Mackie HR's.

Smooth off-axis response is key for many, but studio monitors aren't only ones that have it.
post #11 of 65
post #12 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Smooth off-axis response is key for many, but studio monitors aren't only ones that have it.

The Mackie HR's are excellent constant directivity speakers that give great off-axis response. I think KRK and JBL waveguides are also constant directivity.
post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

On the otherhand, the subjective descriptions I read about the VS260 do seem to be explainable by elevated treble. The more I think about it, I wonder if they sound like the Onix Ref. 1's....another well liked speaker!

I can listen to the VS260 all day long - no ear fatigue. I am not judging
the details from any type of treble rise. I do not know what others hear.
All I know is, the speaker sounds smoother than the Polk's and the RF
Klipsch speakers - and better to me than, the Focal Chorus or the Snell
speakers. I do not know what happened to that chart at HT Mag, because
I do not pick up a continued rise after 10khz to 20khz.
post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I can listen to the VS260 all day long - no ear fatigue. I am not judging
the details from any type of treble rise. I do not know what others hear.
All I know is, the speaker sounds smoother than the Polk's and the RF
Klipsch speakers - and better to me than, the Focal Chorus or the Snell
speakers. I do not know what happened to that chart at HT Mag, because
I do not pick up a continued rise after 10khz to 20khz.

I'm not suggesting anyone is getting fatigued. Fatigue usually comes from the range where the ear is most sensitive...1khz-4khz. A rise from 10khz to 20khz doesn't mean it can not sound smooth. From the chart...it just means there is a rise of about 3-4dB...not a huge rise, but it does add a characteristic.

Do you run any type of EQ with your system?
post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Do you run any type of EQ with your system?

I fired EQ a long time ago.
post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I fired EQ a long time ago.

LOL!! Good for you. I am not a huge believer in it other than for bass...although I have heard it do some great things as well. Hit or miss.
post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

LOL!! Good for you. I am not a huge believer in it other than for bass...although I have heard it do some great things as well. Hit or miss.

I also look at it this way - If I need to EQ the speakers, then they will
get fired also. For all my speakers, I have the back wall and the corners
of the room, somewhat treated - and I treat for early reflections. Then
I just enjoy the music and movies, and try to stay out of trouble.
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I fired EQ a long time ago.

You know, I've started doing this recently as well (turning the EQ off).

It felt like Star Wars when Luke is making his trench run in the Death Star, and he turns off his targeting computer to use the Force
post #19 of 65
DEF TECH!!!!! You not going to find any lower frequencies on a speaker compared to these. (2 10" inch subs)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882325060
post #20 of 65
i don't know what your source for power is but if it can handle into the 4 ohm range i would look at the polk lsi9 for$600 they have great bass and great mid and highs just powering them could be tricky freq.range 38hz-27khz great tweeter
post #21 of 65
The Deftechs hit 24hz.
post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by peck1234 View Post

DEF TECH!!!!! You not going to find any lower frequencies on a speaker compared to these. (2 10" inch subs)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882325060

They are not subwoofers - they are passive radiators, that operate as
the same character as a bass port. There is no wire or amp, hooked up
to the 10" passives. They are still nice speakers. I did own the Studio
350, which Definitive says 26hz - well, they did hit around - 3db 57 hz.
post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by peck1234 View Post

The Deftechs hit 24hz.

That is unfortunately NOT a -3db point. You have to go somewhere other than DefTech "spec" sheets for accurate FR values.

Note: I am not dissing DefTech speakers (I have a pair of PM800s which i think are amazing value), just their "specs".
post #24 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by smasher50 View Post

i don't know what your source for power is but if it can handle into the 4 ohm range i would look at the polk lsi9 for$600 they have great bass and great mid and highs just powering them could be tricky freq.range 38hz-27khz great tweeter

They will have decent bass for a bookshelf > they are about -10db at 40hz
http://www.hometheater.com/content/p...m-measurements
post #25 of 65
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who's offered suggestions. I appreciate them all. Just as a reminder of sorts, my primary interest is in linear response, not just in how low a speaker can go. I know some may be able to dip down to the 20's and 30's, but how far down in db's is that from say the midrange?

Has anyone who's contributed to this thread heard the Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1's?
post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by peck1234 View Post

The Deftechs hit 24hz.

On a good day > maybe around -3db at 50hz.
post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bo130 View Post

Thanks to everyone who's offered suggestions. I appreciate them all. Just as a reminder of sorts, my primary interest is in linear response, not just in how low a speaker can go. I know some may be able to dip down to the 20's and 30's, but how far down in db's is that from say the midrange?

To me the critical midrange is 400 to 5000khz - I do not want any
serious peaks or dips in the midrange. some peaple measure the
bass relative to the 1000khz mark. There are not that many book
shelf speakers that go real low - in a small room they can sound
bigger. A good designed speaker with a true -3db around the 60hz
area, will sound good with a lot of music. The trick is for the woofer
to roll off cleanly after its limits.

I am not trying to sway you from the Classic Three, it still looks
good around 60hz, and I like the NHT products, I have owned a
few and demoed a few. I am not trying to push you towards the
Boston 260, - all I can say is, that it will easily crossover to a sub
at 60hz. You do not want a speaker that goes real low, to cheap
out on the midrange. The Ascend Sierra is a well respected speaker
and maybe someday, I can hear it. Good luck with your adventure.
post #28 of 65
I recently purchased a pair of LSi9's delivering sound to an extremely difficult room, 25ft ceiling, one wall predominantly glass, and they are quite impressive despite the added difficulty of few options for speaker placement. While my choices were limited in testing different speakers, the LSi9 were stellar in all genres but classical, where the B&W CDM1NT was the winner (and I'm not a fan of B&W).

For $550 refurbished I'm quite pleased.

Soundstage review has charts:
http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/polk_lsi9.htm
post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I can listen to the VS260 all day long - no ear fatigue. I am not judging
the details from any type of treble rise. I do not know what others hear.
All I know is, the speaker sounds smoother than the Polk's and the RF
Klipsch speakers - and better to me than, the Focal Chorus or the Snell
speakers. I do not know what happened to that chart at HT Mag, because
I do not pick up a continued rise after 10khz to 20khz.

Interestingly, the HT Mag measurements of the RS 260 (similar tweeter to VS?) and the Sound and Vision measurements of the VS 240 also show the rising treble..

http://www.hometheater.com/content/b...-labs-measures
http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/art...ystem?page=0,2

Not to say it's necessarily a negative... but measurable.

I still want to hear the VS 240. I'd like to hear the VS 260 as well, but I just can't get past the bulky baffle size. The Classic Three is about as big as I'll go with a speaker in my room...
post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bo130 View Post

Thanks to everyone who's offered suggestions. I appreciate them all. Just as a reminder of sorts, my primary interest is in linear response, not just in how low a speaker can go. I know some may be able to dip down to the 20's and 30's, but how far down in db's is that from say the midrange?

Has anyone who's contributed to this thread heard the Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1's?

I had them awhile back. At the time, they were the best speaker I had heard (although within their limits, ie. midrange on up, the ACI Emerald XL may be my favorite). I preferred the Sierra's over my Energy RC-10's, but sold them and kept the RC-10 to pocket some needed cash at the time. I felt the RC-10's got me "close enough for the money" that it made sense, but that the Sierra was a better speaker.

I now have a pair of Classic Three's that I've been demo'ing. I can say they sound VERY nice. I cannot say how they sound compared to the Sierra, since it's been so long since I've heard those.

Soon enough, I'll at least A/B them against the RC-10's and see where I think both stand.
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