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Bookshelf speakers for my room

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I am trying to decide between a few pairs of speakers. The ones I was mainly interested in are the Energy RC-10, Ascend CBM-170, HSU HB-1, Wharfedale Evo-2-8 and Home Theater Direct Level Three. I've seen other threads comparing these speakers, but never all of them against each other.

My bedroom is 13'x10', so its not all that large. These speakers will be mains powered by an Onkyo HT-RC160 80w/ch and I will be applying the speakers to 65% music and 35% movies/games. Essentially I want the speaker that will sound the best at a low to moderate volume because I am regularly not allowed to crank it up, as it will disturb the rest of the people in my house.

Also, which speaker will offer the most bass? I do have a subwoofer, but it is a bad one. And again, I am not always able to have the sub on because the bass is annoying to everyone else in my house. So with no sub, which speaker will dig the deepest?

Thanks!
Regards,
Jhucke
post #2 of 28
All of the speakers you have listed have different specs as far as how low they can play. Some in the 50hz range and some in the 65hz range. The truth is that most of those speakers will not reach 60hz with much authority while receiving a full range signal. I would suggest using your sub with whatever speakers you get and just turning the sub down. Another speaker you may want to consider is the Polk TSI-200. These are rated down to 50hz. If you want to save some money look for a pair of Polk monitor 40s. It's almost identical to the TSI-200 just the older model. The monitor 40 is rated down to about 47hz. I just got a pair of monitor 40s and I'm very impressed with the bass they produce. I'm using a subwoofer with them and have them crossed over at about 60hz. The dual 5.25" woofers work very well. Better than the single 5.25" book shelfs I was using.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

All of the speakers you have listed have different specs as far as how low they can play. Some in the 50hz range and some in the 65hz range. The truth is that most of those speakers will not reach 60hz with much authority while receiving a full range signal. I would suggest using your sub with whatever speakers you get and just turning the sub down. Another speaker you may want to consider is the Polk TSI-200. These are rated down to 50hz. If you want to save some money look for a pair of Polk monitor 40s. It's almost identical to the TSI-200 just the older model. The monitor 40 is rated down to about 47hz. I just got a pair of monitor 40s and I'm very impressed with the bass they produce. I'm using a subwoofer with them and have them crossed over at about 60hz. The dual 5.25" woofers work very well. Better than the single 5.25" book shelfs I was using.

From what I've heard, RC-10s or any of the speakers I said I was interested in will very easily blow away Polk monitor series speakers... I'd rather not save money to be honest.
post #4 of 28
Buy whatever you want. I've been down that path of spending more money thinking it buys better performance and in a few cases in my experience it didn't.
post #5 of 28
I've auditioned the RC-10, they are quite nice and would do well in your small room. One small caveat - they are rear ported. The ports can be blocked but it muddles the bass a bit. If you have room to give them a bit of clearance behind the speaker I don't think you would be unhappy with them as a choice.
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

Buy whatever you want. I've been down that path of spending more money thinking it buys better performance and in a few cases in my experience it didn't.

+1. Placement is key with the Monitors. DO NOT put them in a corner or back against a wall. Several feet from a side wall and 18 inches out from the back wall is a good start!
And $6-700 a pair is the next step up to notice a big difference.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

I've auditioned the RC-10, they are quite nice and would do well in your small room. One small caveat - they are rear ported. The ports can be blocked but it muddles the bass a bit. If you have room to give them a bit of clearance behind the speaker I don't think you would be unhappy with them as a choice.

Thank you, but I was aware of this. It will not be a problem because the speakers will be on stands anyway.
post #8 of 28
The Hsu speakers do bass pretty well, they will dig down into the 60s, very good for bookshelf speakers. The HTD speakers look interesting, but I don't know how they really perform. For the strongest bass I would be looking at larger woofers, 6.5" or larger, they will have an easier time with bass extension than 5" woofers. A good, affordable speaker that does this is the Behringer 2031p, it has 8.75" woofers, and very good bass, but it is 4 ohm speaker, probably not the best to pair up with your receiver. The Ascend CBM ought to do bass pretty good too. Remember to run your speakers on 'large' in the receiver when you run them without the subwoofer.
post #9 of 28
The HTD Level Three are good speakers with good bass. I do prefer them
over the likes of Polk and Infinity Primus. However, the choice is yours.
The Ascend and HSU, also look good. Pick the one that attracks you the
most, and go for it - in home demo is the way to go.
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

The HTD Level Three are good speakers with good bass. I do prefer them
over the likes of Polk and Infinity Primus. However, the choice is yours.
The Ascend and HSU, also look good. Pick the one that attracks you the
most, and go for it - in home demo is the way to go.

Are you basically saying to pick the one that looks the nicest essentially?
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHucke View Post

Are you basically saying to pick the one that looks the nicest essentially?

No, not looks. The one that draws your interest the most. You have
been looking for a while - you have some decent choices on your list.
I will say that the HTD will sound laid back, compared to the Klipsch.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

All of the speakers you have listed have different specs as far as how low they can play. Some in the 50hz range and some in the 65hz range. The truth is that most of those speakers will not reach 60hz with much authority while receiving a full range signal.

Yep. Some of the crappiest sounding speakers have the best looking specs. One thing is for sure, the specs never give even a clue how good the speaker will sound.
post #13 of 28
Paradigm Atom Monitor V7 or Mini Monitor V7 (whichever you can afford).

-Matt
post #14 of 28
I would personally not consider Paradigm for music unless you can afford their Reference series.
post #15 of 28
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

I would personally not consider Paradigm for music unless you can afford their Reference series.

I beg to differ. Google "paradigm mini monitor review" and you will find numerous references to the quality of the sound produced by them for music. If you can find one bad review from a reputable reviewer (S&V, hometheater.com, etc) I would love to read it.

They are amazing speakers for the price.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjsiv View Post

I beg to differ. Google "paradigm mini monitor review" and you will find numerous references to the quality of the sound produced by them for music. If you can find one bad review from a reputable reviewer (S&V, hometheater.com, etc) I would love to read it.

They are amazing speakers for the price.

Here's a dollar. Don't waste it on reviews

The operative word is personally. Sure, they sound great, and for HT I could live with Paradigm monitors, but for music there are better choices. Different tastes, my friend. I prefer transparency, Paradigm monitors haven't impressed me in this regard.

While personally I take reviews with a grain of salt (in particular in this case, where I'm betting you're the judge whether the review is reputable), just for kicks, here is the very first hit:

Even with the grilles off, I'd still characterize the Mini Monitors as somewhat dark sounding. Whether or not this was a detriment depended on the source material: McCoy Tyner's New York Reunion [Chesky JD051] has almost perfectly recorded cymbals (not harsh, but not unrealistically smooth either), and on the Minis they sounded lush and velvety. Vocals, on the other hand, didn't fare so well...guitars and drums on AC/DC's Back in Black kicked hard in all the right ways, but the energy in Brian Johnson's vocals seemed somehow obscured. I had a similar reaction to Natalie Merchant's Tigerlily where the overall presence and dynamics were excellent, but the highs were slightly veiled, almost as if the Minis were trading in a bit of top-end air and sparkle for a more muscular midrange.

The Absolute Sound praises their greatness, at the same time giving credence to my sentiment:

A couple of lower-bit-rate MP3 tracks have slipped into my music library thanks to iTunes. One particular track by Faith No More is especially nasty. The Minis manage to retain this track's essentially groddy nature while still making it aurally tolerable. How do they accomplish this seemingly impossible feat? By presenting the midrange cleanly while gently rolling off the upper-frequency hash and low-frequency junk...

...But from the very beginning Paradigm Minis have a sweet disposition that makes even rude sources tolerable.


You can't have it both ways, can't be true to the music and at the same time make bad recordings tolerable. Personally speaking, of course.

Peace.
post #18 of 28
And at the end of that same review:

That said, the Paradigm's punchy midrange worked wonders with chamber music. They delivered the best performance of all the speakers in this roundup of Azazel by the Masada String Trio [Tzadik 7351], bringing their violin, cello and bass strings to life in a way that was effortless and involving. The dynamics the Minis displayed on Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra's recent double-SACD of Mozart Symphonies 38 - 41 [Linn Records CKD 308] was nothing short of spectacular for a speaker this size. The tonality of the Mini Monitors could be exactly what the doctor ordered for taking the edge off the inexpensive electronics that speakers in this price range are often mated with, but no matter what the gear... if paired with the right music, the Mini Monitors certainly deserve a place on the nickel-pinching audiophile's audition list.

I'm no fan of chamber music, but the point is that they are not worthless for music as you imply. In the age of mp3s and AirPlay, I'm good with the Paradigms. I do take reviews with a grain of salt. My opinion is based off of the way they sound in my room with my setup. They are now on surround duty replaced with monitor 9s, but I was happy with them for the couple weeks that they were mains. Point is, they deserve an audition.

Like you said, we all have preferences.
post #19 of 28
It's great that you enjoy your speakers, I'm happy for you. But lets keep this within the margin of meaningful discussion rather than wrapping your apparently insulted ego in fantasy. Nowhere did I imply that they were worthless.

If it helps, take that dollar and buy yourself some comprehension.
post #20 of 28
At which point in my post explaining my position did you decide it was perfectly ok to become a condescending D-bag? Although I was a product of the public school system, I did manage to pass comprehension.

Not once in my post was I insulting or rude. Your statement was that unless the OP had money for the reference line that the monitors were not worthwhile for music, in your opinion. That's fine. In my opinion, they are. I understand your point about transparency. I get it. But at what point is it ok to be an ass about it. Speaking of asses, I know of a place for that dollar you keep offering me....
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

The Hsu speakers do bass pretty well, they will dig down into the 60s, very good for bookshelf speakers. The HTD speakers look interesting, but I don't know how they really perform. For the strongest bass I would be looking at larger woofers, 6.5" or larger, they will have an easier time with bass extension than 5" woofers. A good, affordable speaker that does this is the Behringer 2031p, it has 8.75" woofers, and very good bass, but it is 4 ohm speaker, probably not the best to pair up with your receiver. The Ascend CBM ought to do bass pretty good too. Remember to run your speakers on 'large' in the receiver when you run them without the subwoofer.

+1 for the Hsu HB-1s. Great speakers, play clear, loud and low. Often A/B with my sub on/off and often can't tell much of a difference unless I'm playing really bass heavy music loud.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHucke View Post

Thank you, but I was aware of this. It will not be a problem because the speakers will be on stands anyway.

Then the RC-10s could work very well for you. They are well known for rich mid-bass.
post #23 of 28
Out of all those I've had the hb1s and rc 10s. I chose the 10s because music sounded better with em (imho)
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

I would personally not consider Paradigm for music unless you can afford their Reference series.

I will side with you on this one. But, my experience is with the previous models. The Atom and Mini Monitors. Kind of lifeless and, with the Atom, almost lifeless.
Stepping up to the SE models, it seemed to "open up" quite a bit.
The Signatures seemed to complete the "picture".
post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for the input! And as much as I would love to buy some reference line Paradigm speakers, I simply do not have the money. After research, I have narrowed it down to RC-10 and I've added to the list, Mordaunt-Short Carnival 2's.
Does anyone have anything to say about the Mordaunts?
post #26 of 28
Tough call. I auditioned the RC-10 and Mordaunt Short Carnival 2 side by side. The MS are wonderful speakers and happened to work better on my desktop than the RC-10, I wouldn't trade them for anything. That said, the RC-10 may be better for your setup. Slightly more bass, a bit more forward than the Carnivals. My suggestion would be to order both from Amazon and return the pair you don't decide on. It will be extremely rewarding to do so.

Read this thread for more info on my search, and review of both speakers.
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Tough call. I auditioned the RC-10 and Mordaunt Short Carnival 2 side by side. The MS are wonderful speakers and happened to work better on my desktop than the RC-10, I wouldn't trade them for anything. That said, the RC-10 may be better for your setup. Slightly more bass, a bit more forward than the Carnivals. My suggestion would be to order both from Amazon and return the pair you don't decide on. It will be extremely rewarding to do so.

Read this thread for more info on my search, and review of both speakers.

Thanks for the post! Your thread was very interesting. It made the RC's seem like the better candidate as I enjoy a brighter sound. Also, most of the time I will be about 6-9 feet away from the speakers at all times. If I can, I will try and buy both, but we will see.

Again, thanks, that was very helpful.
post #28 of 28
You're very welcome. Please report back when you have decided with your own review, let's keep paying it forward
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