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post #1 of 52 Old 01-14-2020, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
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First Post - Bookshelf Speaker Search - I'm Dizzy

Hi all,
I've been researching bookshelf speakers obsessively and I can't seem to make up my mind. Part of my trouble is that I've had trouble auditioning any of the options I'm most interested in live.

I'm setting up a two-channel system in my office that's strictly for music. I'd like to avoid adding a sub. My room is around 10 x 12ft. I have an audio technica turntable running through a schiit mani into an old 45 watt marantz av receiver currently, but I have a cambridge audio cxa80 on the way. I'll connect my turntable system to the new amp, and I'll also connect my macbook through the built in usb dac. My current speakers are the second iteration of the cheap andrew jones pioneers. I'd like to upgrade these when my new integrated amp arrives.

I like balanced sound. I prefer music to sound more live than veiled, but I don't like treble that's too forward. I like well rounded bass. I like speakers that look decent (shouldn't matter, but I'm a sucker for good-looking products). I like larger speakers, because they seem to reproduce bass better. I'd like to be able to get rich, velvety sound even at moderate listening levels. Most importantly, I like a large sound stage.

The speakers will be placed on stands about six feet from my desk/listening position.

My budget is around $500. Below are the speakers I'm considering. Thanks in advance. Sorry for the overlong post.

Cambridge Audio Aeromax 2 (hey, they match my amp!)
Wharfedale Denton
KEF Q150
KEF Q350 (don't sound great at low volume?)
CHANE A1.5 (ribbon tweeter too harsh?)
DALI SPEKTOR 2
DALI ZENSOR 3
MONITOR AUDIO BRONZE 2
PSB ALPHA P5
FOCAL CHORUS 706

Any opinions?
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post #2 of 52 Old 01-14-2020, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by adnauseous View Post
Hi all,
I've been researching bookshelf speakers obsessively and I can't seem to make up my mind. Part of my trouble is that I've had trouble auditioning any of the options I'm most interested in live.

I'm setting up a two-channel system in my office that's strictly for music. I'd like to avoid adding a sub. My room is around 10 x 12ft. I have an audio technica turntable running through a schiit mani into an old 45 watt marantz av receiver currently, but I have a cambridge audio cxa80 on the way. I'll connect my turntable system to the new amp, and I'll also connect my macbook through the built in usb dac. My current speakers are the second iteration of the cheap andrew jones pioneers. I'd like to upgrade these when my new integrated amp arrives.

I like balanced sound. I prefer music to sound more live than veiled, but I don't like treble that's too forward. I like well rounded bass. I like speakers that look decent (shouldn't matter, but I'm a sucker for good-looking products). I like larger speakers, because they seem to reproduce bass better. I'd like to be able to get rich, velvety sound even at moderate listening levels. Most importantly, I like a large sound stage.

The speakers will be placed on stands about six feet from my desk/listening position.

My budget is around $500. Below are the speakers I'm considering. Thanks in advance. Sorry for the overlong post.

Cambridge Audio Aeromax 2 (hey, they match my amp!)
Wharfedale Denton
KEF Q150
KEF Q350 (don't sound great at low volume?)
CHANE A1.5 (ribbon tweeter too harsh?)
DALI SPEKTOR 2
DALI ZENSOR 3
MONITOR AUDIO BRONZE 2
PSB ALPHA P5
FOCAL CHORUS 706

Any opinions?
I'd try the Q150 but more at its $300 sale price than current $600.

The Chane should be great, its planar tweeter is perfectly neutral, not bright in the least...I have the A2.4 as a center and quite enjoy it, and I hate hate bright speakers.

I'd try the Wharfedale Diamond 225 from Crutchfield.com with its $10 flat rate return policy, minimizing risk. It has similar 45Hz bass extension as the Denton but costs less and is down-ported so more placement flexibility.

Believe it or not, the Hsu HB-1 despite being a horn tweeter is NOT harsh or bright in the least, due to a built-in treble roll-off and is actually rather attractive, esp. the Rosewood version. Brent Butterworth did a detailed review of it a few years ago, IIRC.

Haven't heard the Dalis, but the MA Bronze and Focal Chorus can be a little strong in the treble region so I'd want to have a good return option for those.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #3 of 52 Old 01-14-2020, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
I'd try the Q150 but more at its $300 sale price than current $600.

The Chane should be great, its planar tweeter is perfectly neutral, not bright in the least...I have the A2.4 as a center and quite enjoy it, and I hate hate bright speakers.

I'd try the Wharfedale Diamond 225 from Crutchfield.com with its $10 flat rate return policy, minimizing risk. It has similar 45Hz bass extension as the Denton but costs less and is down-ported so more placement flexibility.

Believe it or not, the Hsu HB-1 despite being a horn tweeter is NOT harsh or bright in the least, due to a built-in treble roll-off and is actually rather attractive, esp. the Rosewood version. Brent Butterworth did a detailed review of it a few years ago, IIRC.

Haven't heard the Dalis, but the MA Bronze and Focal Chorus can be a little strong in the treble region so I'd want to have a good return option for those.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply. The HS speaker wasn't on my radar, but the reviews make it sound ideal!

The KEF Q150 can still be had for 300 as recertified. The Q350 for 500. Do you think the larger speaker would be worth the money, or overkill for my space?
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post #4 of 52 Old 01-14-2020, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by adnauseous View Post
Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply. The HS speaker wasn't on my radar, but the reviews make it sound ideal!

The KEF Q150 can still be had for 300 as recertified. The Q350 for 500. Do you think the larger speaker would be worth the money, or overkill for my space?
Strangely enough, the KEF website lists the smaller Q150 as going lower (51Hz) than the Q350 (63Hz)! I'd definitely pass on the Q350 in that case, since you say you don't want a sub.

I still think the Wharfedale Diamond 225 or 11.2 from Crutchfield would be worth a listen given how easy/cheap it would be to return though.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #5 of 52 Old 01-14-2020, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Strangely enough, the KEF website lists the smaller Q150 as going lower (51Hz) than the Q350 (63Hz)! I'd definitely pass on the Q350 in that case, since you say you don't want a sub.

I still think the Wharfedale Diamond 225 or 11.2 from Crutchfield would be worth a listen given how easy/cheap it would be to return though.
Thanks so much for helping me narrow things down. Wharfedale has so many different speaker lines that I overlooked the diamond 225. It's current price is very good, and I quite like the walnut finish they offer.
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post #6 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adnauseous View Post
Hi all,
I've been researching bookshelf speakers obsessively and I can't seem to make up my mind. Part of my trouble is that I've had trouble auditioning any of the options I'm most interested in live.

I'm setting up a two-channel system in my office that's strictly for music. I'd like to avoid adding a sub. My room is around 10 x 12ft. I have an audio technica turntable running through a schiit mani into an old 45 watt marantz av receiver currently, but I have a cambridge audio cxa80 on the way. I'll connect my turntable system to the new amp, and I'll also connect my macbook through the built in usb dac. My current speakers are the second iteration of the cheap andrew jones pioneers. I'd like to upgrade these when my new integrated amp arrives.

I like balanced sound. I prefer music to sound more live than veiled, but I don't like treble that's too forward. I like well rounded bass. I like speakers that look decent (shouldn't matter, but I'm a sucker for good-looking products). I like larger speakers, because they seem to reproduce bass better. I'd like to be able to get rich, velvety sound even at moderate listening levels. Most importantly, I like a large sound stage.

The speakers will be placed on stands about six feet from my desk/listening position.

My budget is around $500. Below are the speakers I'm considering. Thanks in advance. Sorry for the overlong post.

Cambridge Audio Aeromax 2 (hey, they match my amp!)
Wharfedale Denton
KEF Q150
KEF Q350 (don't sound great at low volume?)
CHANE A1.5 (ribbon tweeter too harsh?)
DALI SPEKTOR 2
DALI ZENSOR 3
MONITOR AUDIO BRONZE 2
PSB ALPHA P5
FOCAL CHORUS 706

Any opinions?
Run! Run as fast as you can, and as far away as possible!

Right off the top of my head, the KEF Q150s would be a good choice - they're often rec'd for music, and I bought a pair myself (which I haven't set up yet) for a 2ch music area based off of how often they were rec'd. The Q150s are on perpetual sale, so you can probably easily pick up a pair for less than $400 USD. At one point, I even thought about the Cambridge Audio SX60 speakers.

@Zorba922 - that's very interesting about the HSU HB-1s. Having one of their subs now, my "OCD" would be very keen on having the same brand across the entire board. And I know they're affordable speakers, even after the exchange/taxes/duty for us lowly Canadians. By the grace of God (or if I just say **** it), should I fall into some money I would consider getting them. I was also interested in their CCB-8s (but anyway, I don't want to derail this conversation any further!).

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Music: Cambridge Audio AXR100 | Stanton T.62 | Cambridge Audio AXC35 | KEF Q150 L/R | Elac S10EQ Subwoofer
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post #7 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 05:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adnauseous View Post
Hi all,
I've been researching bookshelf speakers obsessively and I can't seem to make up my mind. Part of my trouble is that I've had trouble auditioning any of the options I'm most interested in live.

I'm setting up a two-channel system in my office that's strictly for music. I'd like to avoid adding a sub. My room is around 10 x 12ft. I have an audio technica turntable running through a schiit mani into an old 45 watt marantz av receiver currently, but I have a cambridge audio cxa80 on the way. I'll connect my turntable system to the new amp, and I'll also connect my macbook through the built in usb dac. My current speakers are the second iteration of the cheap andrew jones pioneers. I'd like to upgrade these when my new integrated amp arrives.

I like balanced sound. I prefer music to sound more live than veiled, but I don't like treble that's too forward. I like well rounded bass. I like speakers that look decent (shouldn't matter, but I'm a sucker for good-looking products). I like larger speakers, because they seem to reproduce bass better. I'd like to be able to get rich, velvety sound even at moderate listening levels. Most importantly, I like a large sound stage.

The speakers will be placed on stands about six feet from my desk/listening position.

My budget is around $500. Below are the speakers I'm considering. Thanks in advance. Sorry for the overlong post.

Cambridge Audio Aeromax 2 (hey, they match my amp!)
Wharfedale Denton
KEF Q150
KEF Q350 (don't sound great at low volume?)
CHANE A1.5 (ribbon tweeter too harsh?)
DALI SPEKTOR 2
DALI ZENSOR 3
MONITOR AUDIO BRONZE 2
PSB ALPHA P5
FOCAL CHORUS 706

Any opinions?

I think the Dentons match up best with your description of what you like. And I think they're the best of the bunch. I've had them as well as Kef q150's, Dali Zensor 1's, MA Silver, Focal Aria. The Dentons are best on your list imo.
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post #8 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 08:31 AM
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Wharfedale Reva 1 -- good price
https://www.crutchfield.com/S-yMKHro...-1-Walnut.html
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post #9 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 08:45 AM
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Triangle Borea BR03 Bookshelf
Efficient 90dB
some of the review/feedback claim that it has enough bass to "feel in the chest"


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post #10 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 09:00 AM
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speaker of the year by many klipsch rp600m


https://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-Refer...9104041&sr=8-4

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post #11 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 09:39 AM
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speaker of the year by many klipsch rp600m

https://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-Refer...9104041&sr=8-4
What upgrades/improvements were made over the RP-160, any idea?

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #12 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 09:44 AM
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What upgrades/improvements were made over the RP-160, any idea?

vented tweeter

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post #13 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 09:47 AM
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vented tweeter
Interesting. And what is the resulting improvement supposed to be?

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #14 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 10:00 AM
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Interesting. And what is the resulting improvement supposed to be?

suppose to be more neutral...https://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/...peaker-review/
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post #15 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 10:37 AM
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I just got my KEF R100 and love them so far. I think they are a step up from the Q Series. The Q's have good reviews though as well but some say they are a bit bright?.
But I have never heard the Q.

For me the R100 have a nice sound, detailed but too forward (as maybe the LS50 might be more forward). They also have a decent amount of base spec say down to 55 but using some frequency tests I found they play almost down to 45Hz. Oh, and I love the classic, clean, glossy boack look of them!

Just another option.

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post #16 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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My understanding was that the Klipsch tweeters would be bright, but I suppose not all horn tweeters are the same. I like the size of the RP600. I love a big bookshelf speaker on stands.
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post #17 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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It seems everyone is recommending a different wharfrdale model. Diamond 225, dentons, Reva 1. Should I just rank these by price?
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post #18 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 11:06 AM
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What upgrades/improvements were made over the RP-160, any idea?
They removed the midrange happy bump

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post #19 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by adnauseous View Post
Hi all,
I've been researching bookshelf speakers obsessively and I can't seem to make up my mind. Part of my trouble is that I've had trouble auditioning any of the options I'm most interested in live.
I feel your pain....

I've just started my Speaker research and am a ways off from being able to purchase for various reasons the biggest of which is plans to refinish the basement, but my biggest frustration has been that most of what interests me is only available online. That, or ONE store 90 minutes away carries ONE model so I have no option of side by side listening unless I pay for multiple sets of speakers and try them at home all at once. Frankly I don't see that happening.

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Last edited by smdelaney; 01-15-2020 at 11:21 AM. Reason: typos
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post #20 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 12:44 PM
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They removed the midrange happy bump
ugh, I don't see that as a good thing at all, given Klipsch's reputation for strong treble...a midrange bump would make it more tolerable.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #21 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by smdelaney View Post
I've just started my Speaker research and am a ways off from being able to purchase for various reasons the biggest of which is plans to refinish the basement, but my biggest frustration has been that most of what interests me is only available online. That, or ONE store 90 minutes away carries ONE model so I have no option of side by side listening unless I pay for multiple sets of speakers and try them at home all at once. Frankly I don't see that happening.
If HT/TV is your main usage then I would just audition different 2-3 center speakers, and then order the rest of the set from whichever one emerges as the winner.

If it's music, then yeah you'll need stereo pairs, but just stick to bookshelves, which can always be moved to surround duty if you have to do towers up front.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #22 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 01:31 PM
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ugh, I don't see that as a good thing at all, given Klipsch's reputation for strong treble...a midrange bump would make it more tolerable.
Every review/feedback I've read about the new RP lineup is the treble has been refined and the speakers overall tone is neutral BUT it can still get "shouty/in your face" at loud volumes.

I Demo'd(4 hour demo session) the RP600m/RP6000F and I felt it was lacking in imaging and sound-stage. To be fair it was a/b'd against the more expensive Revel concerta2 m16, Kef ls50 and Bryston Mini A.

I plan on giving it another demo at some point though.
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post #23 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by macgallant View Post
Triangle Borea BR03 Bookshelf
Efficient 90dB
some of the review/feedback claim that it has enough bass to "feel in the chest"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wt1JqQHpE8&t=1s
These look amazing. Seems they're back ordered, though. I'm a bit impatient ...
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post #24 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I just got my KEF R100 and love them so far. I think they are a step up from the Q Series. The Q's have good reviews though as well but some say they are a bit bright?.
But I have never heard the Q.

For me the R100 have a nice sound, detailed but too forward (as maybe the LS50 might be more forward). They also have a decent amount of base spec say down to 55 but using some frequency tests I found they play almost down to 45Hz. Oh, and I love the classic, clean, glossy boack look of them!

Just another option.

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A bit hard to find these. Only see one pair out there at the moment. I like the looks of them, though.
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post #25 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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These look nice. Would they be $200 better than the previously recommended diamond 225?
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post #26 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by djp2k7 View Post
I think the Dentons match up best with your description of what you like. And I think they're the best of the bunch. I've had them as well as Kef q150's, Dali Zensor 1's, MA Silver, Focal Aria. The Dentons are best on your list imo.
These have dual rear ports. They'll be on stands, but I won't be able to move them much more than 12 - 18" from the wall. I'm wondering if the down firing wharfedale diamond or reva wouldn't be better. What makes the denton special in your opinion?
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post #27 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm appreciating everyone's replies here. I just realized I never said what kind of music I'd be listening to. Not sure if that makes a difference, but on the off-chance it inspires a new suggestion I hadn't considered, I'm pretty across the board. I like music with a lot of atmosphere. Indie rock, alternative country, soul, motown, jazz, some hip-hop are things I listen to most. On second thought, I'm basically asking for a speaker that can handle everything. Probably not helpful info. Some records in current rotation:

Spoon- Gimme Fiction Anniversary Edition
LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
U2 - The Best Of 1989 - 1990
James Blake - Overgrown
Wilco - Live at the troubador (this came warped as ****, btw)
Otis Redding - Live in Europe

Anyway, thanks again to everyone who jumped in.
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post #28 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smdelaney View Post
I feel your pain....

I've just started my Speaker research and am a ways off from being able to purchase for various reasons the biggest of which is plans to refinish the basement, but my biggest frustration has been that most of what interests me is only available online. That, or ONE store 90 minutes away carries ONE model so I have no option of side by side listening unless I pay for multiple sets of speakers and try them at home all at once. Frankly I don't see that happening.
Yeah, it's tough. I live in a pretty populated area, but it seems like most of the high end audio shops are really targeting customers interested in custom home theater builds, and they tend to carry two or three brands that are geared to that application.

I guess there isn't much demand for quality stereo listening at the moment. I'm kind of surprised that the resurgence of vinyl hasn't created more demand for integrated amps and musical speaker setups.
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post #29 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by adnauseous View Post
These look nice. Would they be $200 better than the previously recommended diamond 225?
how much better would be based on the personal ear ... shipping return cost to Crutchfield is $10

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post #30 of 52 Old 01-15-2020, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by adnauseous View Post
I like music with a lot of atmosphere. Indie rock, alternative country, soul, motown, jazz, some hip-hop are things I listen to most. On second thought, I'm basically asking for a speaker that can handle everything.
ATMOSPHERE is something the Wharfedales do really, really well with. And they are quite forgiving of poor recordings/sources.

They are not the last word in transparency, detail or dynamics however...if you are an analytical rather than emotional listener, something like Revel might be better.

Personal tastes differ...I find analytical speakers a bit tiring after the initial "oh wow, listen to that" of sparkle and sizzle wears off...my preference is for speakers that I can effortlessly get lost in for hours at a time.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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