Originally Posted by gene c353
Prices for Beta's on craigslist are all over the place where I'm at (SF). There are 50's for $450 (too much) and $400 (the high end). Over the last year or two I've bought a pair of mint 50's (Ebony) for $225, a Cherry 360 for $75, (Ebony) 20's for $110 (from the same guy asking $450 for the 50's. Go figure...) and an Ebony 360 for $50! Last night I picked up a pair of mint 40's in Cherry with boxes and packing material for $200. I also have a CH 250 and 20's in CH (Cherry is much better than Ebony imo) and two pair of OSW-1's in (rare) White. I've sold the Cherry 360 (big mistake) and Ebony 50's and am now trying to decide to keep a CH Beta setup or some Revel Concerta's. The Revels are better, but not that much better, but would bring a lot more money.
In my experience, Beta 20's and a C360 make for an outstanding front stage setup for the price on the used market. The little 250 is also very good. Use whatever you want for surrounds (20's, 10's, OSW-1's, TS-750 satellites, whatever). 40's and 50's are really only a luxury but not needed in all but the largest of rooms (but we all like our towers!). If you can get past the idea that bookshelves are a step down from towers except for that bass extension stuff then you won't miss a thing. The Beta 20's really are are that good. Just my opinion of course.
I've echoed my agreement on this point before. As great a value as the Primus speakers are (see the latest listening test
Harman conducted, where the Primus towers were preferred over Polk, Klipsch, and MartinLogan), I have always preferred the Betas. I just replaced my C360 with the Revel C32, and it's not as much of a step up as you might imagine. I still own 4 Beta 20s and have no intention of getting rid of them! There are plenty of reasons to go with towers over stand mounted speakers, but low frequency extension shouldn't be one of them for most people. In multichannel setups, the bass will be redundant with a sub(s). And, generating low frequencies from towers will typically excite room modes due to their location, whreas you can position subs in more optimal places were your front mains couldn't go.
Now, with that said, I've owned the P162s before and they are close to the Beta 20s. They are more plentiful, and you should be able to get them cheaper.