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post #1 of 40 Old 02-13-2019, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
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smaller speakers with wide stereo dispersion

Hey, I'm looking for some small speakers to use with 2.1 home theater and music listening.



Currently I'm using a pair of borrowed Bose 301's (Series V) that I was loaned to try out (I borrowed them from my S.O.). The problem I am having is they are placed on shelves and the rear tweeters don't really reflect well off the wall- one tweeter is even up against a bookcase. As near as I can tell, the rear tweeters don't really contribute to the sound in any positive way. I like the diagonal facing tweeter on the 301's, though, with the waveguide, because it really does help fill the room with sound, and you can still listen to them at other listening positions and it's still tolerable.



I have a pair of Sony bookshelf speakers as well (I think they are the SS-MB350H), they are not bad but they don't have great dispersion and are harder to drive. I picked them up from a thrift shop years ago, they are magnetically shielded (something I see as pointless now days) and heavy for their size, but they sound decent, they just don't fill the room with sound very evenly. I'm looking for speakers that can fill a small space with sound, sound good at high volumes and work from multiple listening positions- I don't have an audiophile setup with dedicated listening chair, just a normal living room with a couch.


I don't have alot of experience with speakers (I am more of a headphone person). So I would like recommendations for other small speakers that have good dispersion. I actually thought about getting a pair of Bose 201's but I am wary of the fact that Bose have a relatively high price and can only be justified on other factors, other than build quality, so I'm curious about alternatives. I'm willing to look at speakers no more than $400 or so. The apartment we live in is noisy often enough from a nearby highway, even if it's relatively isolated from our neighbors (you can play subs here at moderate volumes without bothering anybody since we have concrete walls), so there is no point in spending too much on audiophile nuances.

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post #2 of 40 Old 02-13-2019, 10:50 PM
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Kef Kef Kef!

Uni-Q technology was designed for wide dispersion and great off axis response. Perfect for what you need.

The Q150’s can be found for $300 when on sale. I’d also check the classifieds for a pair. Maybe you could even find the bigger Q350’s under your budget.
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #3 of 40 Old 02-13-2019, 11:05 PM
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post #4 of 40 Old 02-14-2019, 05:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireDragon76 View Post
Hey, I'm looking for some small speakers to use with 2.1 home theater and music listening.



Currently I'm using a pair of borrowed Bose 301's (Series V) that I was loaned to try out (I borrowed them from my S.O.). The problem I am having is they are placed on shelves and the rear tweeters don't really reflect well off the wall- one tweeter is even up against a bookcase. As near as I can tell, the rear tweeters don't really contribute to the sound in any positive way. I like the diagonal facing tweeter on the 301's, though, with the waveguide, because it really does help fill the room with sound, and you can still listen to them at other listening positions and it's still tolerable.



I have a pair of Sony bookshelf speakers as well (I think they are the SS-MB350H), they are not bad but they don't have great dispersion and are harder to drive. I picked them up from a thrift shop years ago, they are magnetically shielded (something I see as pointless now days) and heavy for their size, but they sound decent, they just don't fill the room with sound very evenly. I'm looking for speakers that can fill a small space with sound, sound good at high volumes and work from multiple listening positions- I don't have an audiophile setup with dedicated listening chair, just a normal living room with a couch.


I don't have alot of experience with speakers (I am more of a headphone person). So I would like recommendations for other small speakers that have good dispersion. I actually thought about getting a pair of Bose 201's but I am wary of the fact that Bose have a relatively high price and can only be justified on other factors, other than build quality, so I'm curious about alternatives. I'm willing to look at speakers no more than $400 or so. The apartment we live in is noisy often enough from a nearby highway, even if it's relatively isolated from our neighbors (you can play subs here at moderate volumes without bothering anybody since we have concrete walls), so there is no point in spending too much on audiophile nuances.
I love solving interesting systems like this and enjoy the challenge!

Some quick questions to better understand you and your listening habits...

- Maximum dimensions of the space the speaker is going: Height, width, depth of the shelf?

- What kinds of things are you listening to? TV & movies? Music? What kinds of music? Like, what are your favorites?

- What volume will you be listening at? Low, medium, high?

- What finish or colors would you like? I mean, if you are starting from scratch you should get exactly what you want, right?

- What related electronics do you have? Band/model? How old?

- What is your source? Do you wirelessly stream? CDs, Alexa, Google?

^ All of these questions will help get you the exact right thing. With the above info I would be more comfortable giving a more focused recommendation.
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post #5 of 40 Old 02-14-2019, 06:13 AM
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One relatively inexpensive speaker which surprised me with amazing imaging is the Klipsch Synergy B2. They image so well everyone who listens to them think I'm running a center channel speaker. A pair can be purchased used for $100-$125. I prefer them over Klipsch' B3 because I think the tonal balance is better. Well worth a try and you can always resell if needed.
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post #6 of 40 Old 02-14-2019, 10:32 AM
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The relative position of the speakers in the room and to the seating area has a huge effect on the soundstage that is presented. Most speakers like to be out in the open (on stands) and away from walls/shelves/boundaries of any kind. Clearly, given the positioning you describe, you will always have a compromised sound. Upgrading the speakers may be of benefit, but upgrading the positioning would probably give you the most improvement. Try it with your current speakers and you will see what I mean ... experiment with depth, width, and toe-in until you get the imaging you are looking for.

Gallo Acoustics might be a good speaker for you. They are well known for throwing a huge soundfield. However, you will need to have a good subwoofer that has excellent output up to 150 or 200 Hz, to fill in the bottom octaves. Even with these speakers, positioning will still play an all-important part in getting what you want.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

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post #7 of 40 Old 02-14-2019, 11:13 AM
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My advice is to stay with something with a smaller woofer because they disperse better. That said, you also said you need loud levels, which means a larger woofer is better. So you're not making this easy. My vote would be 5.25" woofers. Because your speakers are in odd locations, sealed boxes would be best. Front ported would also work.

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post #8 of 40 Old 02-14-2019, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireDragon76 View Post
Hey, I'm looking for some small speakers to use with 2.1 home theater and music listening.



Currently I'm using a pair of borrowed Bose 301's (Series V) that I was loaned to try out (I borrowed them from my S.O.). The problem I am having is they are placed on shelves and the rear tweeters don't really reflect well off the wall- one tweeter is even up against a bookcase. As near as I can tell, the rear tweeters don't really contribute to the sound in any positive way. I like the diagonal facing tweeter on the 301's, though, with the waveguide, because it really does help fill the room with sound, and you can still listen to them at other listening positions and it's still tolerable.



I have a pair of Sony bookshelf speakers as well (I think they are the SS-MB350H), they are not bad but they don't have great dispersion and are harder to drive. I picked them up from a thrift shop years ago, they are magnetically shielded (something I see as pointless now days) and heavy for their size, but they sound decent, they just don't fill the room with sound very evenly. I'm looking for speakers that can fill a small space with sound, sound good at high volumes and work from multiple listening positions- I don't have an audiophile setup with dedicated listening chair, just a normal living room with a couch.


I don't have alot of experience with speakers (I am more of a headphone person). So I would like recommendations for other small speakers that have good dispersion. I actually thought about getting a pair of Bose 201's but I am wary of the fact that Bose have a relatively high price and can only be justified on other factors, other than build quality, so I'm curious about alternatives. I'm willing to look at speakers no more than $400 or so. The apartment we live in is noisy often enough from a nearby highway, even if it's relatively isolated from our neighbors (you can play subs here at moderate volumes without bothering anybody since we have concrete walls), so there is no point in spending too much on audiophile nuances.
Klipsch RP400m or RP500m are wide dispersion and Best Buy, with free returns, matches Crutchfield's lowest prices so no financial risk to try them.

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-oGA3s5...e-RP-400M.html

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_714RP5...BoCFtoQAvD_BwE

Geoff A. J., California
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post #9 of 40 Old 02-14-2019, 03:30 PM
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Totem Mite or Totem Dreamcatcher. Mite being easier to drive.
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post #10 of 40 Old 02-14-2019, 04:08 PM
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Dali Zensor 1s have wide dispersion and are moderate sized bookshelves (not small, but only 5.25” and are definitely no large). But soundstage for the size.

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post #11 of 40 Old 02-15-2019, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrestigeAudio View Post
I love solving interesting systems like this and enjoy the challenge!

Some quick questions to better understand you and your listening habits...

- Maximum dimensions of the space the speaker is going: Height, width, depth of the shelf?

It's just a rectangular room in a moderate sized, 2 bedroom apartment, all the ceilings are 9 feet. The main living room-dining room is about 12 feet wide and 24 feet long. It's not going to be possible to get speakers more than about 6-8 inches away from the wall as that would use up too much space and leave no room to get the couch away from the wall (to avoid bass resonance).


Quote:
What volume will you be listening at? Low, medium, high?
85 decibels maximum. More like 55-65 average.



Quote:
- What related electronics do you have? Band/model? How old?
I have a Yamaha RX-V377, a Yamaha subwoofer (I think it is 8 or 10 inches), a Chinese Android box, and an XBox 360.


Quote:
- What is your source? Do you wirelessly stream? CDs, Alexa, Google?
I use Spotify, Youtube, or Netflix, or stream movies or music wirelessly from a network server through the Android box, which connects to my receiver through an optical cable. I have some CD's but I don't play them in the living room, I rip them to FLAC and then store the CD's.


Mostly, I listen to classical, easy listening, electronic music, vocals, background music. My S.O. has eclectic tastes and that's influenced me as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
The relative position of the speakers in the room and to the seating area has a huge effect on the soundstage that is presented. Most speakers like to be out in the open (on stands) and away from walls/shelves/boundaries of any kind. Clearly, given the positioning you describe, you will always have a compromised sound. Upgrading the speakers may be of benefit, but upgrading the positioning would probably give you the most improvement.

It is a compromise, but then again it is a small apartment. I have headphones if I need to critically listen to music. The only change I could make in the setup would be to move the listening area to in front of the sliding glass door, facing outside. But that would leave alot of space in the rear as it goes into the dining area and the area we have our printer on a low bookshelf.



Klipsch were mentioned and that is actually something I am curious about.



What I really want are speakers that are good for casual listening and that people can sit in different positions and still get acceptable stereo imaging. The Sony SS MB150H's don't do that, they are beamy. Bose seems OK though the 301's rear tweeters seem like a bit of a waste because the rear firing tweeters are somewhat obstructed and the room positioning cannot be ideal.

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post #12 of 40 Old 02-15-2019, 09:13 PM
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A speaker that is said to be unfussy about positioning is from Q Acoustics. 3020i or Concept 20.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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post #13 of 40 Old 02-15-2019, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
Kef Kef Kef!

Uni-Q technology was designed for wide dispersion and great off axis response. Perfect for what you need.

The Q150’s can be found for $300 when on sale. I’d also check the classifieds for a pair. Maybe you could even find the bigger Q350’s under your budget.
Kef uniq has uniform dispersion but I would not classify it as "wide" as it tends to rapidly roll off past 35-40 degrees. This to me is actually what makes them extremely good for nearfield because excessively wide dispersion will actually cause a lot of reflections which would disrupt imaging and detail in a nearfield setup IMO.
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post #14 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 04:26 AM
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These are a real bargain right now. Also they come with a free return for 30 days. https://www.ebay.com/itm/JBL-Studio-...s/153169789280

Z review of these
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post #15 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 05:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driedmango View Post

Kef uniq has uniform dispersion but I would not classify it as "wide" as it tends to rapidly roll off past 35-40 degrees. This to me is actually what makes them extremely good for nearfield because excessively wide dispersion will actually cause a lot of reflections which would disrupt imaging and detail in a nearfield setup IMO.
^ This is wildly incorrect.

In general, Uni-Q does the complete opposite of what you're describing.

For those inclined, please read through this link. In particular, the last 3 paragraphs: http://us.kef.com/explore-kef/kef-innovation/uni-q

I'm always down to learn, however. So, if I may ask, what is it that gives you this notion?

Thanks!

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post #16 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bugtussle View Post
These are a real bargain right now. Also they come with a free return for 30 days. https://www.ebay.com/itm/JBL-Studio-...s/153169789280

I second this recommendation.
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post #17 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 05:52 AM
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Let's keep in mind that soundstage and imaging, while related, are not the same thing, and neither is "dispersion". Dispersion has to do with the soundwaves as they leave the speaker at various angles. Soundstage is the ability of the speakers to re-create the height, depth, and width of the "stage" of the recorded material and imaging the ability to localize specific sounds (instruments) accurately across that soundstage. Coming from Bose 301s, that are designed to have some reflectivity, I think what the OP is looking for is speakers that provide a greater sense of "presence" or "ambience" than any other the others. I'm not sure what his size constraints may be, but I think what he might want to look at is some dipole or other speakers with reflective sound as part of the design - Magnepan MMGs or the smaller Ohm Walshes might be considerations.

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post #18 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 09:28 AM
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^^^ Maybe add "off-axis" performance to that list also. In my experience that contributes to a functionally wider soundstage and good imaging much more than dispersion.
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post #19 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BluesDaddy56 View Post
Let's keep in mind that soundstage and imaging, while related, are not the same thing, and neither is "dispersion". Dispersion has to do with the soundwaves as they leave the speaker at various angles. Soundstage is the ability of the speakers to re-create the height, depth, and width of the "stage" of the recorded material and imaging the ability to localize specific sounds (instruments) accurately across that soundstage. Coming from Bose 301s, that are designed to have some reflectivity, I think what the OP is looking for is speakers that provide a greater sense of "presence" or "ambience" than any other the others. I'm not sure what his size constraints may be, but I think what he might want to look at is some dipole or other speakers with reflective sound as part of the design - Magnepan MMGs or the smaller Ohm Walshes might be considerations.

Yeah, that's more or less what I am looking for. I had two-way monopoles for a few years and I got tired of it, even if the soundstage and imaging were very good, it's just not a room-filling sound. The Bose speakers are more relaxed in terms of listening. You could lay on a couch or in a bed and listen to them casually and they have a nice ambiance that doesn't seem to come from a pair of boxes.


ZeosPantera did an awesome review of the Ohm Walsh speakers on Youtube and they look like the sort of speakers that I would like, but the price is prohibitively expensive.

Last edited by FireDragon76; 02-16-2019 at 09:57 AM.
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post #20 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 10:26 AM
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Yeah, that's more or less what I am looking for. I had two-way monopoles for a few years and I got tired of it, even if the soundstage and imaging were very good, it's just not a room-filling sound. The Bose speakers are more relaxed in terms of listening. You could lay on a couch or in a bed and listen to them casually and they have a nice ambiance that doesn't seem to come from a pair of boxes.


ZeosPantera did an awesome review of the Ohm Walsh speakers on Youtube and they look like the sort of speakers that I would like, but the price is prohibitively expensive.
What's your budget? Magnepan MMGs are pretty cheap, all things considered, though they certainly take up more space than most significant others not into Hi-Fi like. But they sound really sweet, especially at the price point. I know there are some "mini-Maggies" but don't know their cost. You're not going to find what you're looking for in a traditional box, and certainly not one that is set into a bookshelf.

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Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post
^^^ Maybe add "off-axis" performance to that list also. In my experience that contributes to a functionally wider soundstage and good imaging much more than dispersion.
Agreed, though good "off-axis" performance is essentially a function of the dispersion characteristics of a given speaker. I don't think the OP will get what he's looking for in a traditional box speaker. At least not in a stereo pair.

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post #22 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDaddy56 View Post
Agreed, though good "off-axis" performance is essentially a function of the dispersion characteristics of a given speaker. I don't think the OP will get what he's looking for in a traditional box speaker. At least not in a stereo pair.
You're right of course. I think I've started thinking of it as its own characteristic because sometimes a speaker manufacturer will advertise "wide dispersion" even though the sound quality/signature radically changes at less than 10% off of center. Which, in my mind, means the useful dispersion is really less than 10%.
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post #23 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 11:24 AM
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Mirage Nanosat is cheap and will give you good sound distribution in the room:

https://www.miragespeakers.com/produ...sku=NANOSAT-BS

Look for used options, as they have been discontinued. For example, my local craigslist has a 5.1 set for $300, in great condition. Tons on eBay, as well.
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It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

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post #24 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BluesDaddy56 View Post
Agreed, though good "off-axis" performance is essentially a function of the dispersion characteristics of a given speaker. I don't think the OP will get what he's looking for in a traditional box speaker. At least not in a stereo pair.

A Dolby Atmos 2.1.2 setup intrigues me, but I do think traditional boxes will be less appealing otherwise. Pioneer has one of those receivers, but I haven't auditioned one yet.



I have some cheap Pyle speakers that have whizzers, and though the frequency response of the speakers isn't so great, they have a nice coherence to the sound, and maybe the KEF's might take that and go further with their coaxial design. I'll have to try to listen to some, some time.
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post #25 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 11:58 AM
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I did something very wrong to get wide dispersion. I will probably be banished from AVS for saying this, and perhaps deservedly so, but I'll share what I did anyway as food for thought (junk food, perhaps).

I had a 40ft by 12ft space in my basement and I wanted to fill the length of that long room with music, so I used Fluance SXBP bipolar speakers as left/right mounted in the ceiling, pointing down, placed about 1/3rd of of the way from each side wall (I also added some hidden powered flat subs in the ceiling joists to fill out the bass).

I've probably violated every law of audio design, but I'm pretty happy with how it sounds for that setting. It's a very unique sound where everything feels like a live performance. We use it for an informal get together/wine room and the sound works really well for that space. Probably a crazy thought for a normal room, but just tossing out my experience. <putting on flame suit now>

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post #26 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 12:01 PM
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I did something very wrong to get wide dispersion. I will probably be banished from AVS for saying this, and perhaps deservedly so, but I'll share what I did anyway as food for thought (junk food, perhaps).



I had a 40ft by 12ft space in my basement and I wanted to fill the length of that long room with music, so I used Fluance SXBP bipolar speakers as left/right mounted in the ceiling pointing down placed about 1/3rd of of the way from each side wall (I also added some hidden powered flat subs in the ceiling joists to fill out the bass).



I've probably violated every law of audio design, but I'm pretty happy with how it sounds for that setting. It's a very unique sound where everything sounds like a live performance. We use it for an informal get together/wine room and the sound works really well for that space. Probably a crazy thought for a normal room, but just tossing out my experience. <putting on flame suit now>

That actually sounds like a fun system and you essentially made a Bose Direct-Reflect system that has both highs and lows!

I would like to try this now. I feel like you should get an award for your contributions in the science of audio!

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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #27 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 12:29 PM
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Mirage Nanosat is cheap and will give you good sound distribution in the room:

https://www.miragespeakers.com/produ...sku=NANOSAT-BS

Look for used options, as they have been discontinued. For example, my local craigslist has a 5.1 set for $300, in great condition.
Looks like an intriguing design. I'd be interested in hearing them, myself.

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post #28 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 12:41 PM
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Mirage Nanosat is cheap and will give you good sound distribution in the room:

https://www.miragespeakers.com/produ...sku=NANOSAT-BS

Look for used options, as they have been discontinued. For example, my local craigslist has a 5.1 set for $300, in great condition.
I have a pair of Nanostats. They are built like a brick and sound pretty good if you use the proper amp .

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post #29 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 12:55 PM
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I have a pair of Nanostats. They are built like a brick and sound pretty good if you use the proper amp .

Ha! Like using a sledgehammer to kill a moth!

(nice sledge, BTW)

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It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

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post #30 of 40 Old 02-16-2019, 02:29 PM
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These are a real bargain right now. Also they come with a free return for 30 days. https://www.ebay.com/itm/JBL-Studio-...s/153169789280

Z review of these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJhXgiRXa_E
They are pretty good IMO, I don't know if they still giving the $15.00 gift coupon to use at NewEgg
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