$1000 bookshelf speakers with "recessed", "laid back" or "flat" mid-range?


Dear all,
As stated above, I am looking for a bookshelf speaker with a mid-range that is laid back, recessed or flat. I currently own a pair of Elac Uni-Fi UB5, and I find their presentation quite forward in the mid-range, which I don't appreciate, especially at moderate to high volumes. I also own a pair or Pioneer SP-BS22, which I find more pleasing sounding (particularly the more recessed mid-range) than the Elac.
Since I can't audition speakers where I live, I am asking for your recommendations on bookshelf speakers that have a more "recessed" or "flatter" presentation in the mid-range. I have a budget of $1000. Any help will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
8609d283 b140 4dc9 9fe9 70cdc1ff1972luciano33
Don't laugh, but if you use the grills, tape some tissue paper to the inside blocking the tweeter. Start thin and add layers to suit.
Have you tried toeing the speakers out a bit? 
https://www.cnet.com/news/the-definitive-technology-d9-speakers-sweet-sound-tickles-your-ears/

These as reviewed seem to be what you’re looking for,
definitely worth a listen. Plenty of in home options of buy and try too.  
You might also look at your upstream components. The speakers may be simply reproducing other issues which you are trying to fix by changing the output transducer (speaker!)
However, your Elacs are cheap and cheerful budget designs... 
Hey guys, thanks for your responses. First, I am fine with the treble response. I am not saying the speaker is bright or harsh. It has a way too forward presentation to my taste and I simply looking for a more recessed presentation in the midrange. For example, with the Elac, when you start cranking up the volume, the vocals, guitars, etc become so prevalent (in your face), to the point I don’t like it anymore. This does not happen with the Pioneers.

I tried different positions and different gear with them. I am pretty sure it’s the nature of the speaker. This reviewer describes what I am talking about here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiMfuXJpbqs.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic speaker. I am just looking for speakers that does not have a in your face presentation in the midrange.
dougsat, thanks for the recommendation. I actually read about them last night and they seem like a good candidate. Cheers!
There's a pair of Spendor S3/5 for $450 on the gon.
If you want really laid back, get some Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand Speakers. A little too laid back for me, but very easy to listen to. 
Thanks guys for the suggestions. 
noromance made a great suggestion. I owned a pair of s3/5’s,(which ultimately lead me to Graham Chartwell LS3/5’s) A very magical midrange.  I had both in my listening room for a while. I found them to be more alike than different. The Spendors were VERY enjoyable. At least to my ears.
    
stay away from metal drivers.

Seas A26 are stupid good for the money
Ascend acoustics Sierra2ex 
I recently bought some Revel Concerto2 M16's to replace some forward sounding Paradigm's. Wonderful, speakers. Retails for $900. 
We used to sell Spendor. Noromance is spot on.
Thanks. I own Spendor SP2/2 in a second system which can be had used for $500+ and are wonderful.
How about these?

https://www.stereophile.com/content/polk-lsiiim703-loudspeaker

Not only are they beautiful but they sound absolutely wonderful for the price.  I’m surprised actually that they don’t have more of a following.  They have a nice detailed top end and a smooth slightly recessed midrange with a hint of warmth to them.  I know they retailed for 1400 or so but can be had brand new for half that on various websites.

I also had the same set of Elac speakers and never did really love them.  They had a weird congested feeling to them at volumes that didn’t seem very loud and became strident the louder the got.  They were quite nice at lower volumes though.  The Polks eat them for lunch.
Vandersteen 1C.Best bang for the buck and really nice laid back sound.
You might like NHT classic 3 speakers.
Thank you guys so much for the suggestions! I wanted to add that I will be pairing bookshelves speakers with a sub (RSL Speedwoofer 10S). I listen to a lot of different types of music, from delta blues to heavy metal.

I am making a list, and so far I have from you:
Definitive Technology D11
Revel Concerta M16
Spendor SP/2, S 3/5
Polk Lsi M703
Vandersteen 1C
NTH Classic 3
Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand
Canton Vento 836.2
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2

What about these?:
Dynaudio Excite 14
SVS Ultra
Martin Logan Motion 35XTi

Cheaper options:
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1
PSB Alpha 5 (cheap, but with great reviews)
Klipsch RP-600M (I have not read a review about them being forward in the midrange)
Focal Chorus 706
KEF Q150
Quad S-2
I suspect that you will be able to achieve your goal by simply changing the angle of rake that your speakers are currently at. All you have to do is raise the front of the speaker some and the sound will mellow out. Good luck
Thanks for the suggestion, but I rather have something with a different sound. I think what you propose will only work if I am sitting only at the sweet spot. The thing is, these are in my living room, so I listen to music in different situations, and I am not always sitting down at the sweet spot. Funny thing is, I can hear the forward sounding nature of the speaker in many different listening positions. I also experimented with speaker position, different gear, room treatment, etc. Nothing made a significant change to the forward presentation of the Elac UB5. I know I can hook up an equalizer and tame the midrange, but that's not the route I'd like to go.
I use older Sonus Faber Concerto that I bought used.  I see them often on Ebay in your price range.  They are very warm/laid back.  I have a sub, but don't use it always as their bass is adequate. 
@luciano33 You may want to look at the Q Acoustics line of speakers. They are known for their laid back character but yet very expressive and dynamic. My previous speakers were Klipsch RP600M and I had the same issues as you. For example, I couldn’t crank the volume up on Tool - Parabola on my favorite part because It was always a headache to listen on a loud level, although my room is medium to large (38square meters). I replaced the Klipsches for Q Acoustics 3050i and now I can listen to any song at any level of loudness. There are many reviews on the internet speaking of Q Acoustics 3000i series, but I’ll highlight you few things. They have a very good low extension, have very warm full-bodied midrange and very sweet silk dome tweeter. If you can stretch your budget for the concept series you’ll be even more pleased. They compete with a speakers 10 times more expensive. This is a quote from John Atkison from Stereophile about the Q Acoustics Concept 300 (3999$) .

https://www.stereophile.com/content/q-acoustics-concept-300-loudspeaker-page-2
This is not surprising, as these speakers stepped out of the way of the music in a manner I have only experienced from more expensive models, such as Wilson’s Alexia 2, Magico’s S5 Mk.II, and KEF’s Blade Two, to name three speakers that I have reviewed in the past few years

celestial__sound Thanks!! Tool is my favorite band of all time! I will definitely consider Q Acoustics! Cheers

My amp is a Yamaha A-S801. Do you think it would be a good match for the 3030i or 3050i?
Absolutely, they are not hard to drive speakers. They rate very honestly their nominal impedance at 6 ohm (unlike many other manufacturers) but they never drop below 4.  The sensitivity is also above average, 88db for the bookshelfs and 91db for the floorstanders. I drive them on my hybrid Pathos Classic One MKIII which is rated at 70wpc without any problems.  Your Yamaha if I remember correctly is even more powerful rated at 100wpc . 
Yes, the Yamaha delivers 100W at 8 Ohm and close to 150W at 6 ohm.
Wharfedales are what you need...Denton's or the 225's....
The only Wharfedale I’ve been able demo,was the Reva 1 . My brother has a pair,and he’s running it with a Yamaha integrated. Very smooth speaker. Nice detail,but definitely not bright. I could live them without a doubt. 
I second the Wharfedale Denton's. I own them and love them. The least bright speaker I've ever heard. They are on constantly in my kitchen setup. I never tire of them. And the low end out of that 5 1/4" driver is ridiculous. I also own the Martin Logan 15's and they are now for sale. Super bright compared to the wharfedales. Running off of a Jolida 502a. 60w tube amp.
Buchardt S300
Focal Chora 806
Revel M16
Wharfdale Denton
Thank you guys for keeping the suggestions coming!
I was seriously considering the Wharfedale Denton, because I read good reviews and they look gorgeous. Most reviews talk about how delicate the top end is and how sweet the midrange is; however, according to this guy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuvTGNfOj8Q), the presentation of the midrange in the Denton is more forward than in the LS50. So, the speaker is smooth, but forward. Have you experienced that?
i know what you mean about the presentation of Elac speakers. I compared them to B&W and much prefer the gentle and laid back sound they give. no reason to buy new. Used are great
Vienna Acoustics Haydn Concert Grand or the Webern
Sonus Faber Concerto or Concertino. 
paradisecom, thanks for the suggestions! Are they good for rock?  
This is an awesome thread.  Been looking for something similar in a floor-standing speaker.  Looking at Ohms right now because I heard they are pretty laid back.  

Will look at a few of the other suggestions too.  
Rega RS1 are nice, detailed and mellow. I have them with the A-S801 currently. 
Where can Vienna Acoustics be purchased online? 
I play all types of music on mine and I really like them. I purchased my current set used. 
paradisecom, thanks! and thanks to the other suggestions as well. 
I find Whareldale has a warmish sound in line with what you describe.  You can get Wharfedale Jade 3s used in your price range and they are awesome speakers.
Seas A26 is probably the best suggestion so far soundwise.

Dentons and Lintons are another good option.


I think the Wharfedale Diamond 225 would be perfect (and quite affordable).  I really enjoyed it - warm, listenable, laid back soundstage. I think it has a slightly bigger sound than the Denton 80, but the Denton 80 is also a fantastic bargain with similar sound characteristics.  The treble is a bit more resolved in the Denton 80 (but not bright or forward).

Good luck, and let us know what you decide on!
Scott
Linn stuff are all pretty laid back. I own Linn Majik 109 bookshelves for laid back listening (jazz) and own elac vela bs for forward detailed listening (female vocal and chamber). Majik 109 retails for $1690 but I am sure you can find used close to $1k.
Thank you guys! I have not decided yet. What about the newest Wharfedale Diamond 11.1 or 11.2? I read good reviews about them, and they seem to be laid back, but detailed.
Vandersteen 1B or [email protected]'s got a huge soundstage and very smooth.Even know it is a floorstander it is 36" high and 10" wide.Also about 10 inches deep.One of the internet mags gave it a  top 5 speaker choice but I can't remember who.I've seen them for about 300.
I think the Diamond 11.1 or 11.2 would be a great choice.  But the older Diamond 225 just sort of hit a sweet spot in their lineup.  I'd still recommend the 225 or the Denton 80 (not the 85).  But overall, the affordable Wharfedales share a fairly warm, easygoing sound.  The only models that were generally considered to be bright or forward were the Jade series.
 
Might sound crazy but I would look for a used pair of ProAc bookshelf speakers.