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lsleelee
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Bookshelf loudspeakers under about $700/pair

I've purchased a Marantz PM5004, CD5004, Pro-Ject Debut III, and Grado RS2i's. Now I want to add some decent speakers, hopefully under $5-700, though I could go higher.

The glowing Stereophile review almost convinced me to splurge on the Dynaudio X12's, but I don't think the PM5004 has enough power (I'm not sure how to read it, is speaker handling the amount you NEED or the max the speaker can survive?)

Anyway, I'm a total noob and have no idea where to start, so no limitations, all recommendations welcome. I listen mostly to Jazz and Classic Rock.

RGibran
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Re: Bookshelf loudspeakers under about $700/pair

These are the new replacement models for the RS6 which were a Stereophile class B rated floorstanding loudspeaker. The msrp is $1,250.00 but can be purchased HERE almost at your budget. They sound superb on your preferred music. That they have real wood veneer furniture grade cabinets at this price is unheard of! No additional expense for good quality stands or a subwoofer required. Something to consider.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Bookshelf loudspeakers under about $700/pair

It really depends upon how loud you listen whether the Marantz will work well. If you listen mostly like me at between 80-85DB I think the Marantz will be fine. If you plan to audition, take your Marantz with you.

jackfish
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Re: Bookshelf loudspeakers under about $700/pair

The Totem Mite at $695/pair is a winner. Very convincing bass for their size and exceptional dynamics and articulation above that.

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/two-channel-speakers/633-totem-mites.html

Jan Vigne
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Re: Bookshelf loudspeakers under about $700/pair

I'm guessing you're fairly new to this side of audio and that you'd realy like us to name a few specific speakers you should consider. IMO that's all but impossible. We have no idea which speakers you have access to and which you could actually audition - and speakers require an audition. Speakers will couple with your room to produce the sound of your room, move the speakers to another room or even to another wall in the same room and you are likely to hear a different "speaker". The music you prefer might in some ways dictate the best few speakers to consider. All in all, buying speakers without an audition is probably one of the least-likely-to-succeed-long-term ideas in hifi.

Speakers require placement within the room to provide the most enjoyable musical performances, though "soundstaging" and "imaging" are hardly the values which make or break a buying decision, you'll find you will be paying more attention to the individual performers when they are more properly located in front of you and the tonal balance isn't tilted in one direction or the other. All of this is the result of spealer placement. Read a bit about speaker placement as that might also inform your buying decision; http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/speakerplacement.html, http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/roomacoustics.html, http://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/waspe.html, http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&...0room&type=

Buying new speakers and failing to do proper set up is like dining in a nice restaurant and ignoring the free entrees.

Finally, I would say establish some priorities about music and understand how they relate to speakers specifically and audio systems broadly; http://www.stereophile.com/reference/50/index.html. If it's been a while since you've heard some live music, spend some money there to get ideas about what your speakers need to reproduce and what they don't. Use those ideas to identify what you have in your other components. In your opinion do the components you've chosen lean towards a certain balance or favor notable sonic values? IMO the Grado and the Dynaudios are both excellent budget items but they are on the opposite ends of the pole when it comes to their "house sound". In my experience pairing like with like rather than "warm" with "cool" or "laid back" with "forward" or "bright" will get you more enjoyment in the long run. Think of equippping a 3/4 ton pick up with passenger car tires and don't go there with your system.

"Power handling" is meaningless. Most specs taken alone are meaningless. Most newcomers cruise the ads and websites and they're comparing specs. It's a waste of time if you're trying to use those specs to select a product and you'll get as much bad information as you will good information. Even those of us who have been doing this for a long time wouldn't be able to tell you much about a product from what's on a spec sheet. Find a good dealer who can spend time with a person willing to learn and then let them, over the course of a few weekday visits (not weekends), assist you in finding those qualities of music which motivate you to pull out album after album. Once again, my opinion of a good dealer is one who makes you think and reach decisions on your own with their assistance rather than one who tells you everyone else is wrong and you should buy what they tell you to buy. A good dealer asks questions and listens to your answers. If you find such a dealer, reward them with your service and don't undercut them for a few dollars less from an internet dealer who you'll never see or speak to again. As a newcomer, the after the sale service and advice you can receive from a good dealer will be worth more than any amount you save on a pair of $700 speakers.

http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=97282&an=0&page=0#Post97282

Monty
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Re: Bookshelf loudspeakers under about $700/pair

I like Dynaudio speakers a lot and have a pair of the Audience 52se that I'm pretty sure is the model that the x12 has replaced in the pecking order. In looking at JA's measurements of the x12, it's very similar to the measurements of the 52se. I mention this because my experience with the 52se model might be relevant to your concerns.

I've paired them with all kinds of electronics from flea watt tube gear to heavy solid state stuff. The 52s have performed nicely with everything, though they do open up a bit played loudly with lots of amp. Where many bookshelf models will become congested as they are pushed, the Dynaudios don't even blink at sound levels sane people listen to. I had to go way up in spls to get the driver to bottom out.

I think they are superb speakers for the type of music you mentioned because they can handle the crappy recordings of most rock cds without making the siblance over-bearing. You would like them for jazz as well because they nail the piano and human voice way better than most.

They are terrific all-around speakers that are very easy to live with.

jackfish
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Re: Bookshelf loudspeakers under about $700/pair

Another option which deserves a listen are the Ascend Sierra-1 for $688/pair (Natural re-certified).

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0907/ascend_acoustic_sierra_1.htm

commsysman
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Re: Bookshelf loudspeakers under about $700/pair

In my second system, at my city house, I am using the PSB Image T6 tower speakers, which are really excellent; I recommend them highly. I bought them for for $1198 from Audio Advisor. If you are willing to spend $1200, these are far better speakers than the Dynaudio you mentioned.

If that is more than you want to spend, the Image T5 is also very good at $900/pair.

Two excellent bookshelf speakers are the PSB B6 at $499/pair (reviewed in Stereophile in June) and the EPOS ELS-8 at $495/pair (while I like the Dynaudio speaker, at $1200 it seems very overpriced. I think the PSB B6 at half the price is better or at least equal to the Dynaudio, and so is the EPOS; see the review).

All of these speakers have had excellent reviews and offer great performance at reasonable prices. You can't go wrong with any of them.

PSB is currently putting out a whole line of speakers that are just excellent for the money.

To see what is available, go to the Audio Advisor website and you can easily check the prices and specs on PSB and several other good lines.

By the way, I am using a Cambridge amplifier that has the same power as your Marantz, and the power is quite adequate for the T6. The volume knob is never higher than 1 o'clock; the T6 are very efficient speakers (89db/watt). Your Marantz will have plenty of power as long as your speakers are rated 86db/watt or higher; below that it might be marginal.

The speaker rating is a maximum power-handling rating, generally. My T6 speakers are rated at 20W-200W. This suggests that amplifiers rated in this range are a good match for the speakers. At a sensitivity rating of 89db/watt, these speakers will give 92db at 2 watts (very loud), 102db at 20 watts (damn loud), and 112db at 200watts (which should loosen the nails on the wallboard). Each doubling of power increases the sound level by 3db; each 10-fold increase in power gives a 10db increase...until the speaker voice coils melt...lol.

lsleelee
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Re: Bookshelf loudspeakers under about $700/pair

Wow, I think this is the first thread I've ever started anywhere where every single response was helpful.

Glad I joined this forum. Thanks!

I'm gonna do a lot of listening for myself before I pick anything up, but this has at least given me a few names to start with.

Any brands I should specifically AVOID?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Bookshelf loudspeakers under about $700/pair

Any brand that accidentally gets loaded into a white van and the guys driving it tell you they don't want to take them back to the shop. They'll offer you "$2k speakers" for $200 "cash only". Anything that sounds too good to be true, most likely is too good to be true. Spend your money with reputable - and, if possible, local - dealers and you'll get more than monetary value back.

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