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I am thinking of upgrading my 14-year old Athena AS-B2 bookshelf speakers for my condo living room home theater/2.0 music system.

At the time, the Athenas were very well reviewed and punched above it's weight.

I recently side-by-side demo'd the KEF Q150 when they were on sale late last year and found that my old Athena's outperformed them significantly in vocal mid-range where the KEF's sounded like the vocals was in the back of the room, vs the Athenas were right up front on the stagein terms of the clarity and transparency. Although low-end and imaging the Q150's were better.

Anyway, just out of boredom from COVID, am considering upgrading my main bookshelf speakers. I am in a condo so I do not have a sub. My amp is a Yamaha RX-V1500 rated at 125w per channel.

So far I have come across the KEF LS50, Elac Debut 2.0 b6.2, and have always considered the Klipsch RP600M.

The KEF's I am hesitant because I do not plan on running a sub.

I am not sure how if the Elac's are simply good 'for its price', or actually good compared to these higher end options.

The Klipsch RP600M is older and I am not sure if other speaker models/manufacturers have come along and surpassed them.

Anything else I should consider?
 

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if you don't run a sub you can rule out the ls50.. i would recommend waiting a month or so then ordering the philharmonic audio aa+ or go slightly above your stated budget and try the bmr or the ascend sierra 2ex..
 

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I am in a condo so I do not have a sub.

The KEF's I am hesitant because I do not plan on running a sub.
I live in a condo too, and I have 3 subs. 2 smaller sealed subs in an all-music setup in my living room, and 1 large ported sub in my HT room. Zero complaints from anybody.

There is a popular misconception that subs are a bad idea in any non-detached housing. Not true at all, in my experience: every sub has a "gain" knob on the back. I used to live in an apartment with paper-thin walls, ceilings and floors, where you could easily hear neighbors fighting or having sex. Had neighbors across the hall, next to me, above and below me too. When I moved out five years later, they were all shocked to see me lugging a 65lb sub. They could hear my music (usually at moderate volumes, so never had any complaints) but never guessed that there was a sub in use the whole time!

Another nice benefit is that when you move to a bigger place, you don't have to spend more money to upgrade from a weak "apartment friendly" sub. :)

Moral of the story: use the GAIN KNOB, and some common sense, and you'll be much much happier with a decent sub in play, esp. when going with small bookshelf speakers. A home sub is NOTHING like one of those horrible boom-boom-boom car subs you see teeny-boppers driving around showing off.

Last but not least, having a sub opens you up to a vastly larger selection of speakers that DON'T pack a bunch of mid-bass but DO have a far better balance of mids and highs, and cost a fraction as much as those bass-heavy ones.
 

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I live in a condo too, and I have 3 subs. 2 smaller sealed subs in an all-music setup in my living room, and 1 large ported sub in my HT room. Zero complaints from anybody.

There is a popular misconception that subs are a bad idea in any non-detached housing. Not true at all, in my experience: every sub has a "gain" knob on the back. I used to live in an apartment with paper-thin walls, ceilings and floors, where you could easily hear neighbors fighting or having sex. Had neighbors across the hall, next to me, above and below me too. When I moved out five years later, they were all shocked to see me lugging a 65lb sub. They could hear my music (usually at moderate volumes, so never had any complaints) but never guessed that there was a sub in use the whole time!

Another nice benefit is that when you move to a bigger place, you don't have to spend more money to upgrade from a weak "apartment friendly" sub. :)

Moral of the story: use the GAIN KNOB, and some common sense, and you'll be much much happier with a decent sub in play, esp. when going with small bookshelf speakers. A home sub is NOTHING like one of those horrible boom-boom-boom car subs you see teeny-boppers driving around showing off.

Last but not least, having a sub opens you up to a vastly larger selection of speakers that DON'T pack a bunch of mid-bass but DO have a far better balance of mids and highs, and cost a fraction as much as those bass-heavy ones.
That is a bit of a wide range in prices (and performance...) - $300/pr to $1200/pr. Is that your budget spread ?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That is a bit of a wide range in prices (and performance...) - $300/pr to $1200/pr. Is that your budget spread ?
Yeah that's the tough thing, when I read 'best bookshelf speakers' lists online, they often list the ELACs right alongside the LS50, which is why I was curious if the ELACs were good "for its price", or just simply good.

My max budget is $1500, but besides that, looking for anything that is a noticeable step up from my Athenas and am agnostic about the price.
 

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I've demoed the new Elac Debut Reference towers, so I would think they sound sort of similar to the 2.0's that you are looking at. It is a more laid back sound vs the Klipsch. I've owed the RP6000f and they are more dynamic, which I like, but some people like the more warm/laid back sound of Elac. No real right or wrong in my book, just go with what you prefer. I haven't heard those KEF's before, so can't help there.
 

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Yeah that's the tough thing, when I read 'best bookshelf speakers' lists online, they often list the ELACs right alongside the LS50, which is why I was curious if the ELACs were good "for its price", or just simply good.

My max budget is $1500, but besides that, looking for anything that is a noticeable step up from my Athenas and am agnostic about the price.
I once set up a friend of mine with an Athena setup consisting of the AS.F2 towers about 12 years ago. Nice detail but the treble was a little harsh, esp. at higher volumes. Reminded me of Paradigm speakers from that era (today's Paradigms are reportedly smoother).

I don't think you need to blow $1500 to get "a noticeable step up."

Without a sub and for music only, I'd look at the Wharfedale Evo 4.2 ($1K/pr with $10 flat rate return shipping to Crutchfield).

Ascend Sierra 1 or Sierra 2EX also, depending on how much you want to spend...but return shipping would be out of pocket.

The 4.2 and 2EX above have no lack of detail but zero treble harshness due to their folded ribbon tweeters, and can both be run full-range. The Evo is 3-4db more sensitive so it would be easier to drive to higher volumes.
 

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Since you're in Canada, a speaker brand that we don't hear much about in the States is Axiom Audio. Their bookshelf speakers vary, as I recall, between $500 & $1000/pr US and they seem to focus on music. No first-hand knowledge and I'd like to hear from people who have experience with them. Just might be something of interest.
 

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The Debut 2.0's won't be anywhere close to a $1000+ speaker. Maybe the Uni-Fi 2.0's possibly will be, but with the smaller 5.25" woofer you may feel that they don't provide the bass that you're looking for.

Go for the largest woofer/largest cabinet that you find if you are truly a 2.0 for music and home theater.
 

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Anything else I should consider?
Oh, I forgot you're in Canada. With your budget and no plans of doing a sub, if you have the floorspace I'd take a close look at these:

3db roll off at 35Hz and 91db sensitivity.

And I wouldn't worry about the 4 ohm impedance.
 

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Are you dead set on bookshelf speakers? Without a sub, floor-standers should help greatly in bass department.

Seeing as you're in Canada, something like PSB Imagine X1T should be within your budget.
 

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The Debut 2.0's won't be anywhere close to a $1000+ speaker. Maybe the Uni-Fi 2.0's possibly will be, but with the smaller 5.25" woofer you may feel that they don't provide the bass that you're looking for.

Go for the largest woofer/largest cabinet that you find if you are truly a 2.0 for music and home theater.
Good point on the woofer size. I was a bit surprised that with that budget range the OP mentioned the Elac Debut 2.0 vs perhaps the Debut Reference.
 
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Just to mention, the towers have rear facing ports, but shouldn't be an issue if you can get some space around them... or any speakers really... I believe the current speakers owned also have rear ports... but not confirmed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Good point on the woofer size. I was a bit surprised that with that budget range the OP mentioned the Elac Debut 2.0 vs perhaps the Debut Reference.
The debut 2.0 was mainly based on some rudimentary research on best rated and recommended speaker lists, which often featured that over any other elac models.

As for bookshelf vs floorstanding, that's a WAF (wife acceptance factor) decision more than anything :LOL:
 

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Just to mention, the towers have rear facing ports,
The ones I posted above are front-ported. :)

Alas, if it's a WAF issue, port location doesn't matter.
 
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Look into the Monitor Audio bookshelves with the 8" woofer as well (Bronze and Silver). They have a tweeter that'd be good for HT as well as for music (although there are better for music in that price range, they'd be a decent dual-purpose speaker that'd play well enough without a subwoofer)
 

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Did you check out the line from RSL? The CG5 or CG25s are in your price range.
The OP is in Canada, and RSL, like most ID companies and JBL/Revel/Infinity don't ship to Canada.
He may be able to get a deal on a pair of Paradigm Prestige 15B bookshelfs, which actually have decent in-room bass extension. The Premier 200B would be an excellent alternative, along with PSB bookshelfs.
If it's 2-channel only, there's the possibility of Harbeth or Pro-Ac or PMC speakers in that price range too.
 

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There are many good choices. That being said the Elac are great for the price. if you use them with a good subwoofer they should work great. The thing I like about the Elac is the front port which makes placement easier. A close friend has the Elac Debut 6 with a Monoprice 10 subwoofer and the sound it great in his home theater.
 
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