KLH Albany bookshelf impressions in my home - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 31 Old 06-20-2019, 06:51 AM - Thread Starter
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KLH Albany bookshelf impressions in my home

Got the very very nice looking KLH Albany speakers yesterday that I chose as likely being perfect for my friends who lost their home and "old school" 2.0 setup in the 2017 Santa Rosa fires.

As the KLH speaker line has received solid pro reviews and good reviews from the handful of AVS owners thus far I ordered them when 20 percent off as the wood veneer was a huge plus for them.

They are listeners with zero pretension of being audiophiles so, all things being equal, aesthetic is almost as important to them as solid sound.

I'm evaluating/breaking in speakers for them prior to their house being complete in about 2 months.

The old school aesthetic they have in spades so a much better aesthetic fit than my Martin Logan LX16s or my friend's Q Acoustics Concept 20s I tested a few years back.

They are quite unusual in this day and age in that they are sealed speakers; but are a bit taller than the ported LX16 and Concept 20 that I evaluated.

There is one "so so" review on these speakers on line out there from WhatHiFi who actually nailed the sound I heard when testing the LX16s and Concept 20s.

But very preliminary first impressions with a little Beatles and New Order tells me thus far they are somewhat off base with their negative comments regarding the Albanys which were:

"Bass lacks weight and authority...Overly forward treble."

Their positive comments I agree with thus far:

"Lovely build Lag-free Admirable upper to mid range clarity."

Set up temporarily in my kitchen (as I was evaluating my newly restored Sansui 881 receiver and old JVC 3 CD changer/burner I'm giving them) that was not the first impression I have at all.

In a kitchen with flat surfaces the bass was weighty with them sitting 5 feet from any wall and the treble was clear but hardly over emphasized.

But that is just my preliminary impressions that these are very "listenable" speakers.

I think they will be keeping these, (they come over next Wednesday), but I will be returning them for a new pair due to very minor damage on the rear edge of one speaker that is hardly noticeable but not acceptable for a high aesthetic product.

Not a UPS issue as the box was fine but must have happened at the factory.

The magnetic grills are a bit snazzy as you can't see metal landing points anywhere on the surface of the speaker but as you move the speaker grill over the drivers the magnets pull and the grill magically snaps into perfect place.

Despite the dent to look and feel of quality is very very good as is my preliminary impression of the sound balance in a "bright" room.

I'll be A/B testing them vs my LX16s at some point in the living room and while Russdawg just returned my Umik I may not be bothered to run measurements in my living room as they would be rather meaningless for your room and I'm not getting out a ladder and tower to do "real" outdoor testing!

I will use test tones and my SPL meter to evaluate where the bass drops off as the specification for low bass extension of 35hz is just a wee bit, um, optimistic!

The LX16 and Concept 20s dropped off by 3db right about 60hz +/- which is more plausible and in line with their specs.
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post #2 of 31 Old 06-20-2019, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Sheesh, taking that photo of the receiver/CD player/speakers I now see that while the receiver repair was perfect in terms of sound that a freaking light bulb needs replacing!

I will say having not laid hands on that old receiver for 20+ years just using the knobs and buttons is a joy as they feel weighty and solid compared even to my NAD 7250PE receiver.
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post #3 of 31 Old 06-20-2019, 07:37 AM
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Interested to get your complete findings. I ordered the Kendalls at Crutchfield but they were out of stock. They are now back in Stock so I'm tempted to test them vs the Emotiva's.

Your findings will help me either way. Have fun!!
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post #4 of 31 Old 06-20-2019, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpk1970 View Post
Interested to get your complete findings. I ordered the Kendalls at Crutchfield but they were out of stock. They are now back in Stock so I'm tempted to test them vs the Emotiva's.

Your findings will help me either way. Have fun!!
My wife is going out later so I'll be able to putz around with them for real for the first time, (albeit not "broken in").

I suspect that the same drivers as the top two drivers in the Kendall will perform better as they won't be covering as much frequency range in that application but will let you know if they get strident in 2.0 when pushed; might even do a quick preliminary A/B vs my LX16s without using a sub, (which they both need).

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post #5 of 31 Old 06-20-2019, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Minor point; the speakers came in a single box so just $10 to return within 60 days to Crutchfield if not happy.

They offered a $47 discount for the dent on the rear vertical edge should my friends choose to keep them as is.
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post #6 of 31 Old 06-20-2019, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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With my first comparison of the one hour old KLH vs the thousands of hours on the LX16s the latter sounds fuller and richer with more bass extension and midbass.

But early days.

Very easy to A/B as the specs of both say 92db sensitivity and I find them well within 1db of each other using my SPL meter.

I'm going to leave further analysis for at least a week.

I will now move them to my main HT and hook them up as my left and right to put some hours on them.

In a week or so that should be well over 50 hours.

I'll eventually hand both of these speakers off to Russdawg to test and hopefully measure outside; he really might want to use the Sansui to add in his Ascend 340s, (which should win with no sub in play), as I'd forgotten it has A, B and C speaker connections!

I'm hoping the 50+ hours will loosen up the bass driver and move the sound closer to the LX16.

The tweeter, however, is not fatiguing or over the top and has good detail without sibilance.

At the moment its the mid/lower bass that needs to blossom.
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post #7 of 31 Old 06-25-2019, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Well folks, after 60+ hours of break in as the left and right in my home theater playing full range in stereo I have to say that, sadly, these speakers, unlike the Concept 20s from Q Acoustics, cannot hold a candle to my Martin Logan LX16s.

Less detail in the highs, cymbals that you can hear clearly on the LX16s are almost not there with the KLH.

Middling midbass and bass in 2.0 full range compared to the similarly priced LX16s (at Crutchfield) that at least one AVS member criticized the LX16 for several years back.

They look great too bad they don't sound great, only "good."

But I expect my friends won't care, to be honest, as they are perfect aesthetically for them and the Sansui has three tone controls to partially "fix" the sound of the laid back midrange and bass.

The tweeter is not "bad" but not good enough for me to think that the tower versions will fare all that much better in that department vs other choices.

In the end I have to agree with the assessment of WhatHiFi except I do not think the tweeter is overly forward, it just lacks the detail provided by the Concept 20s which were just a hair behind the LX16s in that department.

So If I give the LX16s 5 stars, the Concept 20s 4.5 stars (for me, I still HIGHLY recommend them) I can only give the KLH Albanys 3 stars just like WhatHiFi.

IIRC correctly they gave the Concept 20s 5 stars and the Motion 15/LX16 4.

I'm hoping they go back so I can audition the PSB Alpha 5s that seem a steal at $350/pair but they may like the look of the Albanys so much they'll deal with their less than standard setting performance.
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post #8 of 31 Old 06-25-2019, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Well folks, after 60+ hours of break in as the left and right in my home theater playing full range in stereo I have to say that, sadly, these speakers, unlike the Concept 20s from Q Acoustics, cannot hold a candle to my Martin Logan LX16s.

Less detail in the highs, cymbals that you can hear clearly on the LX16s are almost not there with the KLH.

Middling midbass and bass in 2.0 full range compared to the similarly priced LX16s (at Crutchfield) that at least one AVS member criticized the LX16 for several years back.

They look great too bad they don't sound great, only "good."

But I expect my friends won't care, to be honest, as they are perfect aesthetically for them and the Sansui has three tone controls to partially "fix" the sound of the laid back midrange and bass.

The tweeter is not "bad" but not good enough for me to think that the tower versions will fare all that much better in that department vs other choices.

In the end I have to agree with the assessment of WhatHiFi except I do not think the tweeter is overly forward, it just lacks the detail provided by the Concept 20s which were just a hair behind the LX16s in that department.

So If I give the LX16s 5 stars, the Concept 20s 4.5 stars (for me, I still HIGHLY recommend them) I can only give the KLH Albanys 3 stars just like WhatHiFi.

IIRC correctly they gave the Concept 20s 5 stars and the Motion 15/LX16 4.

I'm hoping they go back so I can audition the PSB Alpha 5s that seem a steal at $350/pair but they may like the look of the Albanys so much they'll deal with their less than standard setting performance.
Thanks for the review Geoff
I read some other review of the books -- well the conclusion mainly and they didn't like them either and disappointed.

I was going to try the KLH Kendall's but I'm going to pass now.
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Thanks for the review Geoff
I read some other review of the books -- well the conclusion mainly and they didn't like them either and disappointed.

I was going to try the KLH Kendall's but I'm going to pass now.
I really wanted to like them.

BTW, I can't recommend Martin Logan towers.

While the LX16s are very price competitive the ML towers are not.

I'd look at PSB towers as they have the same engineering philosophy, (and measurement tools at their disposal), that Revel does but at a more friendly price point.
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post #10 of 31 Old 06-27-2019, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Well my friends were here yesterday for the audition and while they aren't audio fanatics they immediately chose the LX16s as clearly superior to the KLH Albanys.

They were level matched using my SPL meter but the difference is that stark.

They don't want to muck about any more so will order a pair of LX16s while they are still available in the Cherry finish.
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post #11 of 31 Old 06-27-2019, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Well my friends were here yesterday for the audition and while they aren't audio fanatics they immediately chose the LX16s as clearly superior to the KLH Albanys.

They were level matched using my SPL meter but the difference is that stark.

They don't want to muck about any more so will order a pair of LX16s while they are still available in the Cherry finish.
Yes, sometimes you don't need double blind, single blind studies. When I got my Philharmonic BMR, right out of the box I could hear they were better than anything I owned (or had ever owned). I did A/B them with every speaker in my house in a non blinded study and found that my initial observation stood!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Well my friends were here yesterday for the audition and while they aren't audio fanatics they immediately chose the LX16s as clearly superior to the KLH Albanys.

They were level matched using my SPL meter but the difference is that stark.

They don't want to muck about any more so will order a pair of LX16s while they are still available in the Cherry finish.
I will admit that the LX16's cherry finish does look quite nice. They sound pretty sweet and I agree that they're reasonably priced right now.

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Yes, sometimes you don't need double blind, single blind studies. When I got my Philharmonic BMR, right out of the box I could hear they were better than anything I owned (or had ever owned). I did A/B them with every speaker in my house in a non blinded study and found that my initial observation stood!
They did not know which was playing and I didn't give them my thoughts prior to their listening.

When I compared the LX16s to the Q Acoustic Concept 20s it took me literally hours to decide which I preferred it was so close and only existed in the tiniest sense on classical, (which I don't listen to), Jazz, (which I rarely listen to), and on vocals and/or acoustic music.

With the KLH it took no time at all even after 50+ hours of breakin.
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post #14 of 31 Old 06-27-2019, 12:19 PM
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Who needs Jazz and Classical when you got The Beatles and New Order (although I would throw in some Joy Division too)?

Thanks for sharing your impressions, Geoff.

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Who needs Jazz and Classical when you got The Beatles and New Order (although I would throw in some Joy Division too)?

Thanks for sharing your impressions, Geoff.
I kid you not that was two of the bands I played on them.

New Order's "Low Life" seemed perfect for break in at loud levels.

Must have played that 6 times during the break in process.
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post #16 of 31 Old 06-27-2019, 05:24 PM
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yep. I also found the Albany's disappointing. Thanks for sharing your opinion!
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So, if I can summarize...
-decent/good high end, with good clarity and detail.
-Good sensitivity, so I assume those got loud without much effort.
-lacking in bass, even more so than the ML XL16 (and another example of spec inflation)

For those of you who have heard the speaker, Geoff, Brian or others...is this accurate?

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Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post
So, if I can summarize...
-decent/good high end, with good clarity and detail.
-Good sensitivity, so I assume those got loud without much effort.
-lacking in bass, even more so than the ML XL16 (and another example of spec inflation)

For those of you who have heard the speaker, Geoff, Brian or others...is this accurate?
Well, I didn't find the treble fatiguing like WhatHiFi did but the detail was well below that of the LX16 or Concept 20

The sensitivity was identical in use to the LX16 and Concept 20 despite the Concept 20 being specified at 88 db and the other two at 92db so either the KLH and Martin Logan specs are inflated or the Q Acoustic spec is too conservative. None of them are "hard to drive.

The KLH rated at a ridiculous 35hz extension did not have the fullness or ability to reveal bass lines in a song like the other two could despite their extension specifications being 60hz for the LX16 and 64hz for the Q Acoustics.

In fact the Q Acoustics I thought at the time had a bit more extension than the LX16 so it would seem that specs for KLH are "pie in the sky" nonsense while those for the Q Acoustics are conservative and those for the LX16 are believable.

I could see half of people choosing the LX16 over the Concept 20 and vice versa but I would be shocked if anyone chose the KLH over either of the other two listening head to head.

The KLH needs a complete redo and the tweeter does not lead me to recommend the towers which share the same tweeter though it likely sounds a bit better when used in a 3 way design as it has less work to do, but still, the detail was lacking.

They went back yesterday.

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There is only so much bass a sealed speaker can give in a box that size .... even the NHT SuperOne 2.1 is not hitting -3db at 57 hz

The KLH Albany seems to be over-hyped like the Cambridge Aeromax bookshelf speakers

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There is only so much bass a sealed speaker can give in a box that size .... even the NHT SuperOne 2.1 is not hitting -3db at 57 hz



The KLH Albany seems to be over-hyped like the Cambridge Aeromax bookshelf speakers


What’s your go-to these days in this price range?

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What’s your go-to these days in this price range?
Right now I am using some older speakers such as the Sapphire SB bookshelf speakers, and the a/d/s CM60 bookshelf speakers

For around $400 and under -- I favor the likes of JBL Studio 5 series and Canton Chrono series .... I like the NHT speakers above the Super series (but at sale prices), but the SuperZero is still decent for a small speaker. .... I still want to hear the Chane, but when-ever I tend to want to get them, they are out of stock. I still want to test the new PSB Alpha and Paradigm Monitor Atom one day
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What’s your go-to these days in this price range?
My friends are going with the LX16 and my other friend has the Q Acoustic Concept20s in that price range.

Both worthy choices.

Here are others that AVS members have had good luck with, available at Crutchfield or Best Buy with good return policies.

$420 REAR 14x7x101 2 way 5.25" [48hz] KLIPSCH RP 500M**

$450 DOWN 14X7X12 2 way 6.5" [45hz] WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 225, often 10% off Best Buy**

$500 FRONT 14X8X10 2 way 6.5" [42hz] MONITOR AUDIO BRONZE 2^^

$500 REAR 12X7X11 2 way 5.25" [55hz] PSB IMAGINE XB^^

$500 REAR 13X8X11 3 way 5.25" [46hz] ELAC UNIFI UB5, often 10% off Best Buy**

Other choices with less advantageous return policies from the vendor.


$450 FRONT 12X8X9 2 way 5.5" [65hz] FOCAL CHORUS 605

$260 REAR 13X8X11 2 way 6.5" [51hz] BOSTON ACOUSTICS A26

$430 REAR 22X7X7 2 way 2 X 5.25" [57hz] RBH R515 LCR

$432 REAR 13X7X8 2 way 5.25" [55hz] RBH R5 E

$480 REAR 13X7X8 2 way 5.25" [55hz] RBH R5E

$350 REAR 11X7X12 2 way 6" [33hz] CANTON CHRONO 502.2 Accessories4less pice

$490 REAR 12X8X9 2 way 5.25" [70hz] AXIOM M2

$499 REAR 13X8X11 2 way 5" [40hz] WHARFEDALE DENTON Music Direct Price

$500 SEALED 10X6X8 2 way 5.25 [70hz] NHT C1
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post #23 of 31 Old 06-28-2019, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post
What’s your go-to these days in this price range?
If you don't mind the financial risk of A4L when it comes to speakers they have some great pricing on Canton Chrono and Focal Chorus speakers at the moment.

And great deals on the now out of business Boston Acoustics A series are excellent as well but the Cantons and Focals would be superior in sound for most.
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post #24 of 31 Old 06-28-2019, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
My friends are going with the LX16 and my other friend has the Q Acoustic Concept20s in that price range.

Both worthy choices.

Here are others that AVS members have had good luck with, available at Crutchfield or Best Buy with good return policies.

$420 REAR 14x7x101 2 way 5.25" [48hz] KLIPSCH RP 500M**

$450 DOWN 14X7X12 2 way 6.5" [45hz] WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 225, often 10% off Best Buy**

$500 FRONT 14X8X10 2 way 6.5" [42hz] MONITOR AUDIO BRONZE 2^^

$500 REAR 12X7X11 2 way 5.25" [55hz] PSB IMAGINE XB^^

$500 REAR 13X8X11 3 way 5.25" [46hz] ELAC UNIFI UB5, often 10% off Best Buy**

Other choices with less advantageous return policies from the vendor.


$450 FRONT 12X8X9 2 way 5.5" [65hz] FOCAL CHORUS 605

$260 REAR 13X8X11 2 way 6.5" [51hz] BOSTON ACOUSTICS A26

$430 REAR 22X7X7 2 way 2 X 5.25" [57hz] RBH R515 LCR

$432 REAR 13X7X8 2 way 5.25" [55hz] RBH R5 E

$480 REAR 13X7X8 2 way 5.25" [55hz] RBH R5E

$350 REAR 11X7X12 2 way 6" [33hz] CANTON CHRONO 502.2 Accessories4less pice

$490 REAR 12X8X9 2 way 5.25" [70hz] AXIOM M2

$499 REAR 13X8X11 2 way 5" [40hz] WHARFEDALE DENTON Music Direct Price

$500 SEALED 10X6X8 2 way 5.25 [70hz] NHT C1
I feel the Ascends should be added to this list. Both the 170's and 200's are very competitive.
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post #25 of 31 Old 06-28-2019, 08:08 PM
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KLH Albany bookshelf impressions in my home

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
Not at Crutchfield or Best Buy, but I feel the Ascends should be added to this list. Both the 170's and 200's are very competitive.

Neither are available at Best Buy or Crutchfield with cheap/easy returns

But they definitely are good.

Edit: Sorry, they could definitely be added to that second part of the list.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #26 of 31 Old 06-28-2019, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
If you don't mind the financial risk of A4L when it comes to speakers they have some great pricing on Canton Chrono and Focal Chorus speakers at the moment.

And great deals on the now out of business Boston Acoustics A series are excellent as well but the Cantons and Focals would be superior in sound for most.
Agree BUT...from what I heard BOTH lean towards the bright side?? T or F?

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post #27 of 31 Old 06-29-2019, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
I feel the Ascends should be added to this list. Both the 170's and 200's are very competitive.
Oh, the list is longer, but I didn't go that low in pricing as the Albanys are closer to $500.

But I have to believe from everything I've read here on AVS that they indeed would be better.

I probably should have given the Albany 2 stars as in "would not recommend to anyone I know or don't know!"

$322 SEALED 11X7X6 2 way 2 X 4" [74hz] ASCEND ACOUSTICS HTM 200 SE

$330 REAR 12X9X10 2 way 6.5" [58hz] ASCEND ACOUSTICS CBM 170 SE

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post #28 of 31 Old 06-29-2019, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpk1970 View Post
Agree BUT...from what I heard BOTH lean towards the bright side?? T or F?
I haven't read that on AVS and I haven't heard that myself.

But buying speakers from A4L is only a good idea in my opinion if you have heard the speakers somewhere else before ordering as even a pair of $500 bookshelves could cost $200 to return in shipping (both ways) and 15% restocking.

Or if you live near their Orlando facility.
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post #29 of 31 Old 06-29-2019, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mpk1970 View Post
Agree BUT...from what I heard BOTH lean towards the bright side?? T or F?
Canton Chrono -- Focal -- and several Boston speakers have never been bright sounding to me
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post #30 of 31 Old 07-01-2019, 05:22 AM
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Right now I am using some older speakers such as the Sapphire SB bookshelf speakers, and the a/d/s CM60 bookshelf speakers



For around $400 and under -- I favor the likes of JBL Studio 5 series and Canton Chrono series .... I like the NHT speakers above the Super series (but at sale prices), but the SuperZero is still decent for a small speaker. .... I still want to hear the Chane, but when-ever I tend to want to get them, they are out of stock. I still want to test the new PSB Alpha and Paradigm Monitor Atom one day


I definitely would be interested in your thoughts on Chane, they just released the new A1.5 and I am always impressed by what that speaker can do.
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