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markrjones
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"Affordable" Speaker Recommendations Requested

First time posting in the stereophile.com forums, but after lurking for awhile, I find I really like the helpful and informative feedback provided by the forum members, whether asking about $300 equipment or $30,000 equipment.

I'm just dipping my toes in the waters of the audiophile world and am building an "affordable" two channel stereo system. I recently purchased a Marantz PM6005 amplifier and Pro-ject Debut Carbon Esprit DC turntable and have Pioneer SP-BR22-LR speakers. The speakers are "okay", but okay just isn't good enough. I'm hoping to get some recommendations for new/upgraded speakers.

Please see below for relevant details:
My budget is around $1000, but feel free to recommend speakers slightly higher than this, since open box and other deals can be found on different audio equipment websites and possibly eBay.
My current room is pretty large, but I am more interested in filling the listening area than the room. I am also considering relocating my setup to my home office, which is between 300 and 400 square feet.

***I do not have a preference of floor standers over stand mounts, but would like good speaker stand recommendations for any suggested stand mounts.
***I don't have to have brand new speakers if there are some really good used/vintage speakers to be had.
***I listen to numerous styles of music including jazz, acoustic singer-songwriter, adult alternative, and rock. Not much rap, heavy metal, or techno in my library.
***The Marantz doesn't have a sub out, so I'm only look at main speakers
***I've done tons of research and consistently see the following brands and models listed in or near my price range:

KEF Q300, Q500, Q700 (deal at A4L - $479.99 open box with 5 year warranty)
B&W 684S2, 685S2, 686S2
Wharefdale Diamond 10.x series
Monitor Audio
Definitive
PSB

I don't have a local audio shop (to my knowledge) where I can audition any of these speakers.

I've tried to provide all the relevant details needed for a solid recommendation. If something is missing that would help in recommendations, let me know and I'll provide the info. Thanks!

bierfeldt
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More than adequate

First off, welcome to the forum and the hobby. I would applaud your choice of the PM6005 and the Pro-Ject turntable. That is a fine foundation for a system.

You can add a subwoofer to that Marantz if you use speaker level inputs. You would run a second set of wires from the back of the Marantz to the subwoofer speaker level inputs. This is actually the recommended method by Rel and IMO the best method as the speakers and sub get the same signal. The sub draws a nominal amount of power and has not impact on performance. That being said, a set of floor standers might be the way to go.

For just above your budget at $1300 / pair the PSB Imagine X2T is absolutely amazing. The Absolute Sound did a review on them and are projecting them to get an Editor's Choice award and are expected to be a recommended component. PSB is perfectly neutral in its sound profile and surprisingly detailed. If you can find a deal on an open box, I am not sure you are going to find a better speaker in this price range.

My next choice would be the Infinity Reference R263. For exactly $1000, this speaker represents a strong value. Infinity borrowed heavily from its sister company Revel in the design and although not in the same league as the Performa3 line from Revel, a darn nice speaker for the money.

I believe the Marantz would do a fine job driving either of these.

You can get a deal on the Wharfedale Diamond 10.7s at Music Direct for $799 which is a great value. They operate at 6ohms and although they are efficient, might be tough to drive. If Marantz has one issue with these entry point units, it is their ability to handle lower impedances. I would call and ask the folks at Music Direct if this is a good option since they sell Marantz as well.

I personally am not a fan of Definitive as I find their speakers to be very bright. I do not like the grainy quality of the B&W 6XX line and feel that they are generally a poor value. I feel the same way about the Kef Q line and that the only really good speaker in the lineup is the Q900. That is my opinion, many disagree.

For bookshelf speakers, to me the conversation begins and ends with the Monitor Audio Silver 2s. That will be the best bookshelf speaker in your price range and will have the best range. I will leave a stand reco to someone else as I am not expert on those. Generally, you will spend a $200 to $250 on stands and that would put you up in the price range of the PSBs as the Silver 2s are $1000 or $1100.

commsysman
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Speakers

I am not a fan of small speakers, especially if stands need to be used. Good stands cost several hundred dollars, and cheap stands are not very good.

I will always go with floorstanding speakers if possible.

I think the PSB Imagine X2T is an excellent speaker, as Bierfeldt has already pointed out.

The Imagine X1T can be had for $898 per pair and are nearly as good. The X1T does not have as much depth of bass as the X2T, but is otherwise similar.

The Cambridge Audio Aero 6 is another that is very good and goes for $1000 per pair.

For real room-filling large drums, pipe organ low notes, etc. you will need a subwoofer with almost any speaker, so The X1T might be a better choice with that in mind.

skydynamics
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sub

i have the PM6005 as well, what sub would you recommend for it? sorry to leach off your post mark :)

bierfeldt
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Best option for the money

The SVS SB1000 can be had in a black ash finish for $499 off Amazon. The NHT B-10D is $599 or the Sunfire HRS 8 for $850 though I think their is a open box for $768 on Crutchfield.

Each has speaker levet inputs. IMO the Sunfire is the nicest partially because it has the broadest frequency response and also that it has a 1000w amp instead of a 300w amp. Full disclosure, I own two Sunfire subs, one is the HRS 12, the 8s big brother and it is awesome. That being said, all three are very good for the money and couldn't fault you foe selecting any one of them.

skydynamics
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Look like the NHT B-10D has

Look like the NHT B-10D has EQ for music and movie. would that be a better option for me? im planning to use the sub for both.

bierfeldt
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How big is your room

I am a little concerned about that 10s performance for home theatre in a large room. 300w sounds like a lot of power, but is relatively modest for a sealed subwoofer. Ported subwoofers need a lot less power to deliver high volumes but lack detail for music.

I am curious how big your room is. I am also curious what commsysman thinks. He will likely have better perspective on how adequate the b-10d would be for home theatre in your room. Additionally, you could call NHT and ask their opinion.

The issue is, both NHT and SVS next level subs lack speaker level inputs. I would not recommend the HRS 8 for home theatre. You would really need to step up to the HRS 12 from Sunfire, but it is $1050. I can tell you, the EQ is irrelevant for the HRS 12 as it goes down to 18hz, though I have mine in a 20 x 20 room.

skydynamics
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the room size is 22 x 16. And

the room size is 22 x 16. And it's in the basement if that matter. thanks

markrjones
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Great Info - Thanks!

Bierfeldt, thanks so much for the wonderful feedback. Crutchfield has some "scratch and dent" Imagine X2Ts for $553 each and I've found several places selling the Infinitys for between $380 and $500 each. I'm going to bet you tell me to grab those PSBs for $100 over my budget...

Also, thanks for the sub information. I forgot that I could use speaker level inputs to drive a sub with speaker level inputs. If I go for the PSBs, I don't think a sub will be a part of my future purchases anyway.

bierfeldt
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I recently listened to the X2Ts

I recently listened to the X2Ts. Admittedly, driven by $12K in electronics but I really liked them. In fact, I have never heard a PSB product I didn't immediately like. The X2Ts are unquestionably better than the Infinity Reference R263s. I like Infinity's and if your budget was a hard cap, I think they would have been a fine option. If you can flex a hair, you will be better off with the PSBs.

markrjones
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The X2Ts Have Arrived!

So I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the PSBs. They arrived yesterday and I set them up ASAP. Unfortunately, I was only able to listen for 30-45 minutes and my speaker wire is old 16 or 24 gauge stuff from Radio Shack.

My VERY brief initial thoughts:
--- My Marantz PM6005 drives these speakers with ease. At approximately 40% volume, they were plenty loud enough to fill the relatively large room in which my stereo system currently resides.
---I can hear nuances in songs I've never heard before such as relatively quiet brush work in jazz and soul albums, or the simple slide of a guitarist changing chords in more acoustic tunes.
---As with all speakers, proper listening position makes a HUGE difference in sound quality. Listening while standing or walking around really takes out some of the bass response of these speakers and limits the crispness of the highs. When I sit tweeter high 6-8 feet away, the sound is complex and very pleasing.

That's it for now. I have some 12 gauge Belden speaker wire on the way from BJC, and look forward to getting everything hooked up and doing some extensive listening.

bierfeldt
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Glad to hear your initial reaction wasfavorable

Always good to hear that the speakers sound good and are a good fit for your romm and integrated amp. Keep us posted on how things progress.

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