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Bookshelf Recommendations

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I started a thread in the "Theory, Setup and Chat" section looking for advice on upgrading my 2.0 system and received some good info. I've decided to upgrade my old Infinity Reference 2000.1 bookshelf speakers for now, and thought I'd try here for some recommendations from the group.

Based on my room constraints, I will actually be placing the speakers in built-in bookshelves in my library - stands are not an option. I'm looking for good bass response (if possible) from the speakers themselves because a sub is also not an option due to the room configuration. The room is about 12'x12'. I'll be initially powering the system with my Kenwood receiver, which is older than the Infinitys (with hopes of upgrading that as well in the near future). My budget is up to about $450 for the pair.

One member from the other forum section recommended the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2s, but from various reviews it appears that certain speakers are fussier than others regarding placement, and with the Diamonds being rear ported I fear my intended placement won't work out. Although I have no doubt that virtually any decent speaker out there today will blow away my lousy Infinitys, are there any recommendations for speakers in my price range that might work/sound best as true "bookshelf" speakers?
post #2 of 19
fwiw, take a look at the kef q300's $500 at accessories4less imo great sounding speakers with some nice low end
post #3 of 19
Also look in to the Focal 706V, they on sale for $449 here and are front ported which should make placement a lot easier.

If you can forego looks a bit, the Arx A1b speakers are very well reviewed and do dig pretty deep for a bookshelf speaker. They are also only $299 so you could upgrade your receiver sooner than later.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post


If you can forego looks a bit, the Arx A1b speakers are very well reviewed and do dig pretty deep for a bookshelf speaker. They are also only $299 so you could upgrade your receiver sooner than later.

+1 but IMO the Arx isn't any worst looking than the Ascend 170SE, HSU HB-1 (satin black), or any other painted or vinyl black speaker. And they do go very deep but have a very balanced sound as well. You'll also be hard pressed to find a speaker using the level of quality the Arx does in its price range.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smasher50 View Post

fwiw, take a look at the kef q300's $500 at accessories4less imo great sounding speakers with some nice low end

Those look real nice, but according to some reviews they're best to be positioned away from walls (even though front ported and they have a wall mount bracket confused.gif).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

Also look in to the Focal 706V, they on sale for $449 here and are front ported which should make placement a lot easier.

If you can forego looks a bit, the Arx A1b speakers are very well reviewed and do dig pretty deep for a bookshelf speaker. They are also only $299 so you could upgrade your receiver sooner than later.

I hadn't looked at the Focals but I'll check them out. The Arx are on my radar and I've heard good things - with the foam plug that TAI includes they apparently effectively convert to acoustic suspension for use close to boundaries. Any experience using them this way?
Edited by smok3 - 7/10/13 at 11:40am
post #6 of 19
Look into the new Wharfedale speakers, the ones replacing the 10.2s. They can be ordered from Bristol in the UK (not available from US distributors yet). They are ported on the bottom. I can't remember the name designation atm.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Still trying to gather info, especially from those who have tried bookshelf speakers on shelves instead of stands. On my list currently are a bunch: Def Tech SM 55, Arx A1b, Wharfedale 10.2 (don't think I can locate a pair of 122s), HTD Level 3, Ascend 170SE, NHT Classic 2, Axiom M3 v3 KEF Q300, Focal 706V, Monitor Audio Bronze BX2. I like the idea of risk free auditioning for some on the list here (Axiom, NHT, HTD), but I just don't know if those are the best offerings for my wants and needs. Any info is appreciated!
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by smok3 View Post

I like the idea of risk free auditioning for some on the list here (Axiom, NHT, HTD), but I just don't know if those are the best offerings for my wants and needs. Any info is appreciated!

Unless I'm misinterpreting (return shipping?), "risk-free audition" would also include Ascend.

I have the CBM-170 in a built-in - they sound great; clean and dynamic. The SE can only get better; ditto with a small sub in that size room.

I have the Sierras (outside budget) in a built-in (different room) - rear port can be plugged. Less efficient, but deeper bass.

Either one is a winner in their price bracket in my book. Haven't heard the others; I just know Ascend will not come up short in the bang for buck category.

I would be interested in how the Focal's would sound compared to the Ascend Sierras - similar list prices.

You might look into the new WaveCrest offering. Front-ported and an off-spring of the Ascend engineer/designer.
Edited by PD50U - 7/11/13 at 5:56pm
post #9 of 19
Just about every internet direct company offers some kind of risk free audition. Aperion Audio and HTD are one of the few that offers free return shipping. Axiom, Arx, HSU, Ascend, ect.... All charge to ship back. Usually its some kind of discount UPS/Fed Ex rate.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PD50U View Post

Unless I'm misinterpreting (return shipping?), "risk-free audition" would also include Ascend.

I have the CBM-170 in a built-in - they sound great; clean and dynamic. The SE can only get better; ditto with a small sub in that size room.

I have the Sierras (outside budget) in a built-in (different room) - rear port can be plugged. Less efficient, but deeper bass.

Either one is a winner in their price bracket in my book. Haven't heard the others; I just know Ascend will not come up short in the bang for buck category.

I would be interested in how the Focal's would sound compared to the Ascend Sierras - similar list prices.

You might look into the new WaveCrest offering. Front-ported and an off-spring of the Ascend engineer/designer.

The Ascend policy isn't clear to me regarding return shipping, but in any event they say the original shipping charges would not be refunded, so I didn't consider that one in the "risk free" category. Do use the CBM-170s with a sub or without?
post #11 of 19
Can risk your shipping cost, go best buy and grab some apeakers. But even then your are risking your time and gas money.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by smok3 View Post

Still trying to gather info, especially from those who have tried bookshelf speakers on shelves instead of stands.

Look into the HSU HB-1 MK2s. They have wave guide directional tweeters. That could be an advantage for placing speakers in bookshelves because of the narrower dispersion over other dome tweeter speakers.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by smok3 View Post

Those look real nice, but according to some reviews they're best to be positioned away from walls (even though front ported and they have a wall mount bracket confused.gif).
I hadn't looked at the Focals but I'll check them out. The Arx are on my radar and I've heard good things - with the foam plug that TAI includes they apparently effectively convert to acoustic suspension for use close to boundaries. Any experience using them this way?

Kef do quite well close to a wall. I had Q300 and placement limitations, I had to build shelves. The first day or two they were freely placed, once they were on shelves (about 10" from wall) there was no difference unless placed in a corner.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by smok3 View Post

Those look real nice, but according to some reviews they're best to be positioned away from walls (even though front ported and they have a wall mount bracket confused.gif) ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Kef do quite well close to a wall. I had Q300 and placement limitations, I had to build shelves. The first day or two they were freely placed, once they were on shelves (about 10" from wall) there was no difference unless placed in a corner.

Based on my experience I would agree with Nethawk. I probably read the same review that said the KEF Q300's needed space behind them. But, I auditioned both the Q300 and Q100 in home and they sounded very good mounted on the wall. (Though I don't recommend using the port-bungs if you're wall mounting them.)

Couple of months later I help a friend with her HT where we tried Q300's "in" a shelf and they worked great again. We also tried the NHT's in her setup and they worked well - they are a sealed speaker. She ended up keeping the KEFs because the equivalent sounding NHT, the Classic Three, was almost twice as expensive (both sounded very good!)
post #15 of 19
fwiw, just recently upgraded from the Cambridge s-30's to the kef q300's in my small listening room. they are on pinpoint am 40 wall mounts and are no further than 2-3" from back wall and they sound great. I do agree with nethawk not to place to close to or in corners, this goes pretty much with all speakers
post #16 of 19
I'm not sure what you mean by built in bookshelf. Is there room on the sides or back?

the deftech's are rear ported so you'll need some room in the back.
I also have klipsch rb-61 that are front ported and sound awesome, with good lows.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpcamaro70 View Post

I'm not sure what you mean by built in bookshelf. Is there room on the sides or back?

the deftech's are rear ported so you'll need some room in the back.
I also have klipsch rb-61 that are front ported and sound awesome, with good lows.

No room on the sides or back. My built-ins are built into the room, floor to ceiling - kind of like these (except the room is larger). The speaker wires come up through the bottom of the lowest shelf of the bookshelves on either side of the room, both in corner locations, and that is where my current speakers sit (and they sound awful). Should I expect that any speaker placed in that location will sound poor, or can I expect at least some improvement with better speakers (front ported or otherwise)?
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, based on the recommendations here my short list is down to the Kef Q300 and the Focal Chorus 706V. I'm leaning heavily toward the Q300s. My anticipated placement of the speakers is going to be limited and likely not very forgiving, but based on the experience of others (at least with the Q300s) I'm pretty confident I'll get much, much better sound and performance than my current setup.
post #19 of 19
Both good choices smile.gif
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