Originally Posted by adnauseous
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!)
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
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.