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post #1 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Best towers < 550 for pair

Hello,

I'm looking to build my first 2.1, mostly for music (80%/20%).
Need a little help to make a choice.
So far I narrowed down the list to (updated, version 2):

Emotiva Airmotiv T-Zero ($400)
WHARFEDALE - Diamond 240 ($600)

Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 (about $500 for pair)
Polk S60 (sometimes on sale for $550/pair)
HDT Level TWO Tower ($450)
infinity r253 (only if to wait for the sale)
Klipsch F-300 ($400) - I'm almost not considering them at all, as based on the reviews I will not like this brand

Yes, I'm planning to add a sub. And then later the center (for better HT experience)

Thanks in advance

Last edited by Igor Gomozov; 02-07-2020 at 05:50 PM.
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post #2 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
I'm looking to build my first 2.1, mostly for music (80%/20%)

Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 (about $500 for pair)
Emotiva Airmotiv T-Zero ($400)
Polk S60 (sometimes on sale for $550/pair)
HDT Level TWO Tower ($450)
infinity r253 (only if to wait for the sale)
Klipsch F-300 ($400) - I'm almost not considering them at all, as based on the reviews I will not like this brand
From that list, I'd take the Emotiva hands down.

However, if you can do $600, I'd take these---no need for a sub at least not for music:
https://www.musicdirect.com/speakers...tower-speakers

~ 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 88 Old 02-06-2020, 07:24 PM
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If you are going to add a sub, have you considered sinking your money into a quality pair of bookshelves? You might be able to get some better sound quality but the towers of course will usually go louder. Might be worth looking into.
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post #4 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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When I see "Nominal impedance: 4Ω" it scares me. Will Yamaha TSR-7850 be able to handle them?
it's $200 difference between T-Zero and WHARFEDALE - Diamond 240... Is it worth the extra?

Btw, I'm not limited to that list... I made a list based on a week spent reading the forums and also using the reddit page with recommendations (cannot post a link)
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post #5 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gary Mertz View Post
If you are going to add a sub, have you considered sinking your money into a quality pair of bookshelves? You might be able to get some better sound quality but the towers of course will usually go louder. Might be worth looking into.
I have not, because I don't have shelves around my tv . Honestly, for some reason, I thought the towers would be better for music. But if the sound quality can be better within the same price range, it's worth to consider.
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post #6 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
From that list, I'd take the Emotiva hands down.

However, if you can do $600, I'd take these---no need for a sub at least not for music:
https://www.musicdirect.com/speakers...tower-speakers

Two questions, if I may and hopefully they will help the OP as well.
1. What draws you to the Emotivas? They are on my list of candidates, too.
2. I have read that the Wharfedales are quite warm sounding compared to the competition. Would you describe them as such also?


Igor, you would have to enjoy a quite forward and bright sounding speaker to go for any of the Klipsch lines.



I would seriously consider bookshelves (on stands, lol). Many an audio junkie go for bookshelves especially when supplemented by a sub. Don't let the size bother you, so for sound quality first and foremost. Personally given the budget you have I'd go for bookshelves paired up with a nice sub.
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post #7 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
Hello,

I'm looking to build my first 2.1, mostly for music (80%/20%).
Need a little help to make a choice.
So far I narrowed down the list to :

Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 (about $500 for pair)
Emotiva Airmotiv T-Zero ($400)
Polk S60 (sometimes on sale for $550/pair)
HDT Level TWO Tower ($450)
infinity r253 (only if to wait for the sale)
Klipsch F-300 ($400) - I'm almost not considering them at all, as based on the reviews I will not like this brand

Yes, I'm planning to add a sub. And then later the center (for better HT experience)

Thanks in advance
Igor,

What is the size of the room and how loud do you want the audio?
What type of music do you mainly listen to? Classical vs POP
Are you happy to consider secondhand speakers?
Have you listened to many speakers before and what are your preferences? (Even different headphones might give me an idea what you like)
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post #8 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Mertz View Post
Two questions, if I may and hopefully they will help the OP as well.
1. What draws you to the Emotivas? They are on my list of candidates, too.
2. I have read that the Wharfedales are quite warm sounding compared to the competition. Would you describe them as such also?


Igor, you would have to enjoy a quite forward and bright sounding speaker to go for any of the Klipsch lines.



I would seriously consider bookshelves (on stands, lol). Many an audio junkie go for bookshelves especially when supplemented by a sub. Don't let the size bother you, so for sound quality first and foremost. Personally given the budget you have I'd go for bookshelves paired up with a nice sub.
OP and Igor is the same person - me.
1. I don't remember exactly the reason... I read endless number of the posts and reviews. And the end I just go them in my list.
2. I have 0 information about Wharfedales, probably because they are a bit of my budget
3. About Klipsch line - I heard they are too bright and harsh.
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post #9 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Mertz View Post
Two questions, if I may and hopefully they will help the OP as well.
1. What draws you to the Emotivas? They are on my list of candidates, too.
2. I have read that the Wharfedales are quite warm sounding compared to the competition. Would you describe them as such also?
I used to have the Emotiva B1, and the T-Zeros are basically the B1 with an extra woofer inside a tower cabinet so I can only assume you get double the goodness of the B1 --- the extra woofer should provide more headroom/dynamics, and I loved Emotiva's super smooth, never harsh AMT tweeter. At $400 it's a steal unless one prefers a bigger 3-way design which would lead to its bigger brothers the T1 or T2.

I have the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 which is from the generation preceding the 200 series, they have a beautiful lush yet clear midrange albeit at the cost of some treble extension/detail...a trade-off I'm fine with, given how little they cost and my preference for midrange-dominant genres. The 200 series by all accounts has improved on that treble performance, if measurements and reviews are correct, and are described as "neutral-warm" rather than flat out "warm" like the 10x series.

This is a review of their smaller brother, the Diamond 230 (the 240 is the flagship of that line so I'd expect it to be even better):
https://www.whathifi.com/us/wharfeda...ond-230/review

~ 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 #10 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
When I see "Nominal impedance: 4Ω" it scares me. Will Yamaha TSR-7850 be able to handle them?
it's $200 difference between T-Zero and WHARFEDALE - Diamond 240... Is it worth the extra
I'd be concerned about the 4 ohm impedance only if you're a volume freak, then you would be better off with higher sensitivity 8 ohm speakers---since you say you're not 100% wedded to towers, that would lead you to the Ascend 340SE and Chane A2.4 which are also dual woofer models just in bookshelf form.

The Wharfedale 240 would provide an extra 20Hz of mid-bass over the T-Zero due to its bigger and more numerous drivers.

~ 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 #11 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeK0Resolution View Post
Igor,

What is the size of the room and how loud do you want the audio?
What type of music do you mainly listen to? Classical vs POP
Are you happy to consider secondhand speakers?
Have you listened to many speakers before and what are your preferences? (Even different headphones might give me an idea what you like)
Size: 20x13x8.5, not very loud (kids)
Classical, Rock
Secondhand - why not? If we're talking about craigslist or facebook marketplace - I could not see anything decent there.
No, I have not. So it's hard to say what my preferences are... (the headphones. I don't have anything expensive. Regular iPhone headphones sounds good for me, but hurt my ears. So I tried several cheap sets and stopped with jlab because of good bass )
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post #12 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
I'd be concerned about the 4 ohm impedance only if you're a volume freak, then you would be better off with higher sensitivity 8 ohm speakers---since you say you're not 100% wedded to towers, that would lead you to the Ascend 340SE and Chane A2.4 which are also dual woofer models just in bookshelf form.

The Wharfedale 240 would provide an extra 20Hz of mid-bass over the T-Zero due to its bigger and more numerous drivers.
ok, I understand about wharfedale. It's on my list, since I'm not a volume freak.

I'm still not sure why the bookshelves is better choice? Does Ascend 340SE have better sound? It's the same $500/pair
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post #13 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
ok, I understand about wharfedale. It's on my list, since I'm not a volume freak.

I'm still not sure why the bookshelves is better choice? Does Ascend 340SE have better sound? It's the same $500/pair
Chane A2.4 is a center, did you mean A1.5?
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post #14 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
I'm still not sure why the bookshelves is better choice? Does Ascend 340SE have better sound? It's the same $500/pair
No, it's just a matter of price and taste. In the $550 range there aren't that many great tower speakers. The Wharfedale 240 is regularly $1,0000 if I remember correctly...it's just being closed out.

The Ascend 340SE just has the ability to play louder with the same amount of power. It has a very "neutral" sound signature which most people like, although I personally prefer the warmth of Wharfedale when it comes to music.
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~ 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 #15 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
I have not, because I don't have shelves around my tv . Honestly, for some reason, I thought the towers would be better for music. But if the sound quality can be better within the same price range, it's worth to consider.

Generally, if you have subs, I would expect $600 bookshelves to outperform $600 towers.

That said, don't forget to account for the price of quality stands that don't add resonances of their own when comparing bookshelves to towers.
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post #16 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
Size: 20x13x8.5, not very loud (kids)
Classical, Rock
Secondhand - why not? If we're talking about craigslist or facebook marketplace - I could not see anything decent there.
No, I have not. So it's hard to say what my preferences are... (the headphones. I don't have anything expensive. Regular iPhone headphones sounds good for me, but hurt my ears. So I tried several cheap sets and stopped with jlab because of good bass )
Thank you for the quick response.
As you do not know what sound profile you like I would try to visit any local store to demo a few units. My guess you would prefer a warm sound due to the large percentage of music and being happy with apple headphones.

Based on your original list the Emotiva would most likely be the best option. Personally, I would be looking at updating your list with Emotiva, Wharfedale and Ascend. If I had to choose, I would be aiming for the Ascend but if I needed to save a few bucks would go with the Emotiva.
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post #17 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
Chane A2.4 is a center, did you mean A1.5?
No, the A2.4 like the 340SE is an "LCR speaker" meaning that it can be used for L/R as well as center.

Another LCR speaker is the Hsu HC-1, though Hsu for some reason doesn't explicitly promote it as such.
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hc-1.html

~ 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 #18 of 88 Old 02-06-2020, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
Size: 20x13x8.5, not very loud (kids)
Secondhand - why not? If we're talking about craigslist or facebook marketplace - I could not see anything decent there.
I would not recommend looking at places like craigslist or facebook marketplace for audio gear. Look at Classifieds dedicated to AV.
E.g.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/209-audio-gear/
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Properly placed, bookshelves have the ability to disappear in the soundstage and provide pinpoint imaging to the point that with acoustically recorded music the instruments are spread out in your room just as they were in the venue. Looking right at them you can't tell that the sound is coming from the speaker. Adding a good subwoofer that blends with the bookshelves fleshes out the images and makes them sound fuller and more developed and in my experience adds detail to sounds that were there w/o the sub. Bookshelves probably won't be able to recreate the soundstage of large scale orchestral works to the point that you can hear each instrument and the acoustical space around it distinctly but they will still sound good. They should do a very good job on smaller scale recording like quartets.

Last edited by morasp; 02-07-2020 at 08:30 AM.
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post #20 of 88 Old 02-07-2020, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeK0Resolution View Post
I would not recommend looking at places like craigslist or facebook marketplace for audio gear. Look at Classifieds dedicated to AV.
E.g.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/209-audio-gear/

also

https://www.usaudiomart.com/

and its Canadian equivalent Canuck Audio Mart
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Best towers &lt; 550 for pair

Personally, if you could stretch your budget a little I would recommend these. They are on sale right now and a tremendous value at the sale price.

https://www.paradigm.com/en/floorsta...nitor-se-6000f

I would at least listen to the Klipsch before you discount them. Reviews are very handy, but nothing can replace your own ears. You can listen to Klipsch almost everywhere that sells speakers. There isn’t another speaker I would enjoy classic rock on than Klipsch. They are made for that genre IMO.

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post #22 of 88 Old 02-07-2020, 09:37 AM
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RP 600 m get a 12 inch sub you’ll thank me later


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post #23 of 88 Old 02-07-2020, 10:25 AM
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Are Canton speakers any good? I see people recommend them but I haven't heard any myself. The 476 is rear ported while the 470 is front ported

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ck-each/1.html (

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ck-each/1.html

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Are Canton speakers any good? I see people recommend them but I haven't heard any myself. The 476 is rear ported while the 470 is front ported

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ck-each/1.html (

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ck-each/1.html
Canton makes excellent speakers and has a good following here. Check out the Canton owner's thread.
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post #25 of 88 Old 02-07-2020, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
I have not, because I don't have shelves around my tv . Honestly, for some reason, I thought the towers would be better for music. But if the sound quality can be better within the same price range, it's worth to consider.
Given the same budget, going with bookshelves can sometimes allow you to step up to a better model speaker line from what you can get in towers. And thus, better sound.

So I would look at both, and then make your decision.
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post #26 of 88 Old 02-07-2020, 01:50 PM
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Now that we have sorted out the issue of broken crossovers on the DCM TFE100 speakers, they are simply unbeatable at the closeout price of $250. I am listening to them as I type this, truly nice speakers. Considering that they were competitive at full price, this is a STEAL.
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post #27 of 88 Old 02-07-2020, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeK0Resolution View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Igor Gomozov View Post
Size: 20x13x8.5, not very loud (kids)
Secondhand - why not? If we're talking about craigslist or facebook marketplace - I could not see anything decent there.
I would not recommend looking at places like craigslist or facebook marketplace for audio gear. Look at Classifieds dedicated to AV.
E.g.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/209-audio-gear/
Sometimes you can find good deals on there. I put 3 pair of Jamo D590 new in box on FB marketplace in my neck of the woods for $550/pair. They MSRP for $1400/pair and Crutchfield has them for $700 on closeout. They are limited edition 50th anniversary models and went out of production, so they are getting rid of stock.

Not posting that info to try and sell here (at near 60lbs, shipping would be brutal) but these are pretty cool speakers. I only have them in black, but if I could gotten the walnut I would have kept a set. https://www.jamo.com/products/d590

I put things on there for clients all the time. About to list a Pristine Rotel 1560 I just pulled out of a theater for a client.

You can find cool stuff there on occasion!
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post #28 of 88 Old 02-07-2020, 04:51 PM
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I know you are looking at towers, but Polk LSi 703m's for $599/pr are **really** hard to beat. The original MSRP on those is $1,499/pr.

My humble main system:
Vizio M75-E1; Oppo 203 universal UHD player; Marantz 7013 AVR, Dual PSA S1801's; Monitor Audio Silver RX-6 mains, RX center, and RX surrounds; one pair NHT mini Atmos speakers; Home-built HTPC (Xeon E1230, 16gb RAM, Crucial M500 480gb SSD, GeForce 980Ti, Corsair CX600, CoolerMaster mini-ITX case); Roku Premiere+; Amazon 4K Fire TV
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post #29 of 88 Old 02-07-2020, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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thank you all for your comments.
I updated my list. And here is my answers:

Quote:
Originally Posted by richard12511 View Post
Generally, if you have subs, I would expect $600 bookshelves to outperform $600 towers.

That said, don't forget to account for the price of quality stands that don't add resonances of their own when comparing bookshelves to towers.
At this point it's about 75% / 25% for towers/bookshelves. Mostly because of no wife approval.. unless I can find really nice stands.
Could you give me a sample of the bookshelves with $600 price that outperform WHARFEDALE - Diamond 240 for the same money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeK0Resolution View Post
Thank you for the quick response.
As you do not know what sound profile you like I would try to visit any local store to demo a few units. My guess you would prefer a warm sound due to the large percentage of music and being happy with apple headphones.

Based on your original list the Emotiva would most likely be the best option. Personally, I would be looking at updating your list with Emotiva, Wharfedale and Ascend. If I had to choose, I would be aiming for the Ascend but if I needed to save a few bucks would go with the Emotiva.
Emotiva, Wharfedale - they are in the top of my list. Ascend - not approved

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeK0Resolution View Post
I would not recommend looking at places like craigslist or facebook marketplace for audio gear. Look at Classifieds dedicated to AV.
E.g.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/209-audio-gear/
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post
also

https://www.usaudiomart.com/

and its Canadian equivalent Canuck Audio Mart
I'm planning to check them on this weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by morasp View Post
Properly placed, bookshelves have the ability to disappear in the soundstage and provide pinpoint imaging to the point that with acoustically recorded music the instruments are spread out in your room just as they were in the venue. Looking right at them you can't tell that the sound is coming from the speaker. Adding a good subwoofer that blends with the bookshelves fleshes out the images and makes them sound fuller and more developed and in my experience adds detail to sounds that were there w/o the sub. Bookshelves probably won't be able to recreate the soundstage of large scale orchestral works to the point that you can hear each instrument and the acoustical space around it distinctly but they will still sound good. They should do a very good job on smaller scale recording like quartets.
thank you. This is a really good explanation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeanMachine View Post
RP 600 m get a 12 inch sub you’ll thank me later


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I will definitely need to listen Klipsch in person..

Quote:
Originally Posted by sk373 View Post
I know you are looking at towers, but Polk LSi 703m's for $599/pr are **really** hard to beat. The original MSRP on those is $1,499/pr.
Similar to Ascend , bookshelves are not approved by wife (at this moment)
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post #30 of 88 Old 02-07-2020, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brireeves629 View Post
Personally, if you could stretch your budget a little I would recommend these. They are on sale right now and a tremendous value at the sale price.

https://www.paradigm.com/en/floorsta...nitor-se-6000f

I would at least listen to the Klipsch before you discount them. Reviews are very handy, but nothing can replace your own ears. You can listen to Klipsch almost everywhere that sells speakers. There isn’t another speaker I would enjoy classic rock on than Klipsch. They are made for that genre IMO.

well, it's hard to name it "a little stretch", it's more like multiplying by 2
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