Help finding a good bookshelf speaker $200-400 pair - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for a speaker that is very clear, crisp, on the bright side, and a tad bit forward.

Klipsch RF/RB - really liked it but thought the mid-range was tinny and really absent compared to other speakers. I liked the crispness though.
Veritas and RC line - midrange sounded muffled, kinda flat, and I missed the high frequencies. Sounded great for acoustic and classical though and "In the arms of an Angel", though I'm not into that type of music. Did not like them for HT.
Pioneers BS22 and they just failed to wow me in any way, really flat and completely lacking in dynamics.
Polk's TSI they sounded good but didn't wow me. More of a jack of all trades but master on none speaker to me.

There is not way for me to audition any other speaker locally.

I did hear several comparisons between Klipsch and B&W on youtube and I must say I really liked the B&W mid-range much more. I know that this is NO way to really compare speakers but it confirmed my first impressions about Klipsch. BTW there is no way I can afford B&W.

I will be listening to about 50/50 between HT and music.
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post #2 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 04:23 PM
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If gently-used is an option, Paradigm Mini Monitor or Monitor 3 speakers - either v3 or v4 - would very much fit your bill. And they'd run you, dunno, ~$200-$250.

(Audiogon.com, usaudiomart.com, craigslist, etc.)
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post #3 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
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What type of sound does Paradigm have? Is it good with both HT and music? Also is it possible to get new online? Do they only sell Brick and Mortar?
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post #4 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 04:52 PM
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What type of sound does Paradigm have? Is it good with both HT and music? Also is it possible to get new online? Do they only sell Brick and Mortar?
I'm not familiar with the newer versions of Paradigm's Monitor series (versions 5 and up), but versions 3 and 4 were:
- bright, with a very open top end;
- forward mids; and
- a good bottom end (especially for a bookshelf speaker).

I believe Paradigm only sells through authorized retailers, which you can find here: Where to Buy?
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post #5 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manbearpig01 View Post

What type of sound does Paradigm have? Is it good with both HT and music? Also is it possible to get new online? Do they only sell Brick and Mortar?

I have a pair of monitor titans, and their sound is described as clean and clear, as that is what they are known for. I mainly used them for home theater and i thought they did very well compared to the polk monitors i had before them.

Anything v.6 and below are very hard to find nowadays, ive been looking for a pair of atoms or minis for sone time with no luck. They do sell them in B&M stores but as i said, pretty rare now unless you go for v.7.
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post #6 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 04:58 PM
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Anything v.6 and below are very hard to find nowadays ...
Finally, one advantage to being in Canada: We have a better used-Paradigm market! wink.gif
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post #7 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 05:00 PM
 
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I would check these Behringer 2031p speakers out, they have a very flat response and terrific off-axis response, so they sound good with every frequency region. They even have pretty good bass extension, going down to the 50 hz range nicely. The drawbacks are they are pretty large for bookshelf speakers and they are a lower impedance load. As long as you aren't running them on a cheap receiver with a whole bunch of other low impedance speakers, they will do fine. At $400 there are a lot of good bookshelf speakers out there, look at Arx A1s, Hsu HB-1s, Ascend CBM-170s, HTD Level Threes, Aperion 5b, and so on. Check these out too, they measure superbly.
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post #8 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok I will consider Paradigm. What other options are there based on what I said I'm looking for in a speaker? BTW I won't be able to drive any 4ohm speakers.
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

At $400 there are a lot of good bookshelf speakers out there, look at Arx A1s, Hsu HB-1s, Ascend CBM-170s, HTD Level Threes, Aperion 5b, and so on.[/URL] out too, they measure superbly.

Thanks I am aware of these speakers and I know they are reputable. Do any of these have the sound I'm looking for though?
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post #9 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 07:27 PM
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+1 the Arx and Ascends, and I would add the KEF Q100 to the list - $400 a pair at http://www.accessories4less.com/.

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post #10 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I completely forgot about KEF. They are kinda bright right? I heard great things about KEF and completely forgot to consider them.

Can anyone comment and/or compare KEF, PSB, Paradigm, and Arx for me based on their experiences?

I also found some Paradigm Studio 20's v.3 for $380 but I seriously doubt that the bid will stay that low.
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post #11 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

I would check these Behringer 2031p speakers out, they have a very flat response and terrific off-axis response, so they sound good with every frequency region. They even have pretty good bass extension, going down to the 50 hz range nicely. The drawbacks are they are pretty large for bookshelf speakers and they are a lower impedance load. As long as you aren't running them on a cheap receiver with a whole bunch of other low impedance speakers, they will do fine. At $400 there are a lot of good bookshelf speakers out there, look at Arx A1s, Hsu HB-1s, Ascend CBM-170s, HTD Level Threes, Aperion 5b, and so on. Check these out too, they measure superbly.

I read a lot of praise on those behringer b2031p, but I always get skeptical the more praise I hear about a speaker. I wonder how the 2031p sounds though. I may be in the market for nearfield desktop speakers.

Have you compared with other passive monitors?
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post #12 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 10:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Manbearpig01 View Post

BTW I won't be able to drive any 4ohm speakers.
Any receiver could drive the Behringers. You just wouldn't want to run them hard on a really bad receiver.
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Originally Posted by csgamer View Post

I read a lot of praise on those behringer b2031p, but I always get skeptical the more praise I hear about a speaker. I wonder how the 2031p sounds though. I may be in the market for nearfield desktop speakers.

Have you compared with other passive monitors?
I have compared the Behringers with other monitors. They are very good- for the price. There are better, of course, but you are going to have to pay. JBL, Mackie, and Adam make some great monitors, but they are all self powered and pretty much start at $500 a pair. If you want a inexpensive, passive monitor with decent bass extension, you aren't going to beat the Behringers.
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post #13 of 48 Old 05-29-2013, 10:47 PM
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Yeah, I am contemplating trying the behringer 2031p. I need to find some time to go check them out, I think they have them at guitar center.

I think I read they sounded very similar to the ascend cbm-170se. However, I don't know how much truth to that there is.
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post #14 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 12:16 AM
 
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Yeah, I am contemplating trying the behringer 2031p. I need to find some time to go check them out, I think they have them at guitar center.

I think I read they sounded very similar to the ascend cbm-170se. However, I don't know how much truth to that there is.

I haven't seen Behringer monitors at any of the Guitar Centers I have been to.
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post #15 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Manbearpig01 View Post

Can anyone comment and/or compare KEF, PSB, Paradigm, and Arx for me based on their experiences?

Anybody?
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post #16 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 02:55 PM
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I also found some Paradigm Studio 20's v.3 for $380 but I seriously doubt that the bid will stay that low.
Those would be a very excellent buy at around that price!
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post #17 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 03:01 PM
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I'd recommend the Emp Tek E41 or the NHT SuperZero. Both quality, accurate/neutral speakers.
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post #18 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 03:09 PM
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Speaing of EMPtek
Speaker:
http://emptek.com/e5bi.php
Review
http://home:theaterreview.com/emp-tek-e5bi-bookshelf-speaker-reviewed/

250/pr, sound great and look fantastic!

Set up #1: EMP e5Ti, e5Ci, and EMP e5Bi surrounds, Outlaw LFM1 Plus sub, SVS NSD SB12 sub, Marantz Slimeline 1504 AV receiver
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and EMPtek10i10i sub, Denon 1910 AV receiver
Set up #3: Philharmonics- BMR in a 2.0 system, music only, Yamaha RXV-363 AV receiver
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post #19 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 06:30 PM
 
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I just got back from demoing the Hb1 mk2's at Hsu's and and I must say I couldn't believe the soundstage these put out. For $300.00 a pair its pretty crazy on my way back home I found myself comparing these with commercial theatre speakers. The sound stage is that huge. No joke. It was almost like being in a theatre. For $300.00, I would definately recommend it if your looking for warm, envoloping sound, and great soundstage. As far as music goes, I thought it was pretty good as well. Nothing spectacular, but good overall. When they played a movie clip for the first time I caught myself literally saying "wow". Again, cant brlieve you get this much soundstage from $300.00 a pair speakers.

I'm just a guy with average ears btw. Tommorow I'm heading over to ascend to demo out 170 Se and 340's. Will let you know how it sounds.

For now, the main thing about these speakers is, most of sound will mimic what you would hear in a movie theatre. This is what you should expect from these speakers.
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post #20 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 06:38 PM
 
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I forgot to mention that the demo was done in a 12 x 12 room.
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post #21 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 06:44 PM
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Manbear;

Those speakers you mention (PSB, KEF, etc,) are almost all 4 ohm speakers in my book; looking at their actual impedance vs frequency curves. I suggest that you read the Stereophile review of the DALI ZENSOR 1 speakers.

They are very good speakers, and have a higher impedance and are easier to drive than most speakers. They also have very good-quality treble (I won't say "bright" because to me that means harsh).

It is actually VERY HARD to find ANY speakers that don't have an impedance of 4 ohms or less at some frequencies (even those that are supposedly "8 ohm" speakers...lol). The "nominal" impedance given is usually misleading and nonsense.

That is why the manufacturers almost never publish the impedance vs frequency graph!! It would discourage consumers to see how low they really go.

But anyway, the DALI Zensor 1 might be what floats your boat...lol biggrin.gif
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post #22 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 07:42 PM
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+1 for the ascend cbm 170se

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post #23 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok well I saw a HI FI vision review of KEF Q100's. They compared them to the Dali Zensor and a few other european brands. Kef and Dali came out on top but they gave KEF the nudge because it was more lively. I have to say that the tweeter and woofer is the wierdest combo I have ever seen though.
http://www.kef.com/uploads/files/en/award/hifi_en_q100_version.pdf

I see that the MSRP of Paradigm's Studio 10 is $399 new each but the prices seem around $1100 for used confused.gif . I was willing to go for a used pair for $500, $100 over limit just for the looks.
Kef looks good but is pushing my $400 mark.
I seem to find the least info on PSB online and they seem a bit expensive.
Arx has piqued my interest but I think I like a brighter speaker. Maybe it will do it for me. I just don't want a dull speaker. I want it to be exciting and not dull like some other laid back speakers are.
HSU looks good but don't think it will give me the Klipsch/Paradigm sound.

I listen to all genres except opera and classical, and while not the particular song in the videos below I listen to that type of music as well.

I just can't decide and absolutely no way to audition any frown.gif

I'm trying to get as close as possible to Paradigm or Klipsch. Paradigm is way too expensive (unless I find a good deal) and Klipsch completely lacks the midrange (but I love everything else).

I want a nice audible high frequency, very clear where the mid-bass/bass doesn't muddy things and has a clear mid-range. Also a detailed midrange that Klipsch lacks.

I like these videos as I liked both type of sounds. Exactly what I'm looking for. Slight nod to the Paradigm video for me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7qDZJGo4cM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KORkOpICnSc
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post #24 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 08:20 PM
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If no way to audition, then just got to take a gamble.
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post #25 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 08:30 PM
 
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It sounds like you might enjoy the Cambridge s30. They sound like they have an edgy mid range.
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post #26 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 09:04 PM
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You can probably find some used Paradigm SE1's for under $500. They have the Monitor style cabinets with the Studio drivers. They sound fantastic IMO.

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post #27 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Not sure about Cambridge but from what I see online looks promising. Thank you for the Paradigm SE1 recommendation. I wasn't even aware that they existed. Great review from hometheater. Currently comparing the SE1 to the Studio based on what I find online, might be a good compromise.
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post #28 of 48 Old 05-30-2013, 09:27 PM
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I have a pair of S30's. IMO the S30's sound is just bit forward and crisp but not particularly bright or edgy, unless you push it too loud. It's forte is a clean and balanced (and surprisingly full range for it's size) sound at medium and lower volumes. Perfect for a bedroom system, which is where I use it wink.gif

I also have KEF 100's in the living room HT and really, really like them. But, I must admit I'm somewhat confused by the OP's preferences/comments re the sound he's looking for ... I have no recommendations to offer.

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post #29 of 48 Old 05-31-2013, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VicTorious1 View Post

I'd recommend the Emp Tek E41 or the NHT SuperZero. Both quality, accurate/neutral speakers.

I own the Emp Tek E41-B (beryllium midrange), they're fantastic speakers. I understand the only difference is non-B goes a little lower. Based on the description of the sound you're looking for I think this is a great choice.

I also have a pair of Kef Q300 that are very nice, and I've heard that the Q100 is actually a better speaker. Read up on that weird driver, there are interesting benefits to the design.

And, I've auditioned the Cambridge S30, another great choice if you're not looking to crank up the volume.

All are better choices than Paradigm, but this is subjective. I'm not a fan.

Edit: the Ascend CBM-170s mentioned above are being reviewed extremely well, I've seen no negative comments or unhappy buyers. I've never heard them, but did just purchase their larger siblings, the 340SE, which I should receive next week.

Ascend, Emp and many other internet direct manufacturers have good return policies for in-home audition. Sometimes it pays off to add additional postage to your budget, especially with this confusing (and confused!) industry.

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post #30 of 48 Old 05-31-2013, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manbearpig01 View Post

Anybody?

A reviewer at stereophile was was taken with the definitive technology sm45 bookshelf speaker ($200 each), which bested his psb speaker. A reviewer at Goodsound now has them as his new reference budget speaker. They are well reviewed wherever I have looked. An amazon.com a reviewer who has the very impressive new Ascend ribbon towers also owns and likes the sm45s. Another reviewer there compares them to the B&W and Mirage speakers, and although he favoured the B&Ws over the sm45s in pure vocals, overall he prefered the sm45s.

They are sold at Best Buy (in the United States) so you could audition and see if they are up your alley.

(I'm having a very hard time finding anyone in Canada who has them for audition!)

Mark
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