NHT SB3- great speaker on its own, not terribly expensive, flush mounted tweeter, sealed box
On a bookshelf you are going to be limited as to how good anything can sound so there is little sense in spending big $$$. THis is a versitile and durable little speaker.
Not sure how much space you have, but I had a very good expereince with the B&W 602 S3's. They are front ported which enables them to sit real close to a back wall. For a monitor they have a very natural sound across a broad spectrum. Decent price, especially if you can grab some used. There's also a matching sub that you could mate later on if you wanted to.
I also tested the Acoustic Energy Aesprit for a month, Phenomenal speaker with unbelievable bass output.
If you can find a less expensive, used version of the classic LS3/5A from Spendor (or another British manufacturer with the BBC license to produce this model) you'll be pleasantly surprised at the high level of listening enjoyment.
Mine are positioned at the front of the bookshelf edge, and you can experiment with support, such as AudioPoints, or Aurios, or Mi-Roller. Great for nearfield listening since the sound image snaps into focus amazingly close to the front of the speakers, and does not have deeper bass, so not as wonderful listening far out in my room.
Some Linn's. Thiel SCS's.
I've tried a lot of bookshelf speakers, my preference is Totem Rokk monitors. No longer in production, you should be able to find a pair for less than $400 on the used market.
Allison has a wonderful speaker designed expressly to sit on a shelf. Has excellent bass response. It is not inexpensive; think it is around 2500/pr.
Linn Tukans do well on a shelf, too, and placed near a rear wall as they were designed with this in mind. The Tukan is one of the better true bookshelf sized moniters out there and s/b about 500/pr used.
A recent copy of the Absolute Sound had an article featuring a speaker which was engineered to go on a bookshelf. I think the article was earlier this year or late last year and I think they were North Creek Audio speakers.
Might be worth tracking down the issue.
Reasonable price for the speakers under a grand, new.
this is the TAS article.
I have written variations of this response over two dozen times, so here goes two dozen and one:
1. Do not spend a ton of money on speakers that will sit on an open shelf near a back wall or on an enclosed shelf inside of a bookcase near the bookcase's rear walls.
2. Use speakers that are either acoustic suspension/sealed box or front ported in design.
3. You will be making some compromises sonically by placing your speakers on a shelf inside of a entertainment center. In essence, you will have a box inside of a box and speaker companies really do not design their speakers to work optimally in this type of situation ... though in reality, it is probably a more common set-up than they might imagine. Typical audiophile speaker concerns, such as ... imaging; soundstage; separation; ability to disappear ... are difficult to come by in this type of set-up.
With this in mind, there are some things that you can do to make the best of this type of set-up.
If the speakers are more than 12" or 13" in height, you may have to place them on their sides. You can experiment with placement ... whether to place the speakers standing right side up or on their sides. With side placement, you can also decide whether you get better separation and dispersion with woofer in/tweeter out [o O] [O o] or vice versa speaker placement [O o] [o O] . If possible, try to place the speakers on a shelf that is close to ear level height (or even slightly higher) when you would be sitting down.
4. With all that said, I have had the best success with the NHT SB series (I own the SB2; $400 list) used with a solid state amp (NAD C 320 BEE) and also with the Omega Super 3/narrow cabinet $540 list used wth a tube amp (Prima Luna Prologue Two). I have had the least success with B&W 300 series (rear ported) and EPOS 11 and ESL3.
5. The NHT SB series are stunning for the money ... you do not have to pay a cent more.
I am looking for a similar solution ... after searching a lot and asking questions in this and other forums, it seems there are some other quality options from makers such as ACI and North Creek. These systems are, according to the makers, designed for a shelf application. For example,
Von Schweikert VR-1 bookshelf monitors sound great, even in a bookshelf. They still project a wide soundstage. They have detail and a sweet midrange. It will even help the bottom end reach to about 50 Hz. I have used them in a bookshelf wall with great results.
VR-1 is a good speaker.
The hole in the back is not called a port as its tuning frequency is higher than that of the woofer and has no useful bass output of its own
Thanks for all the input guys.I think the VR1 will be my first port of call.They have an importer here in the UK.
You would do well to peruse the North Creek Music Systems Kits. For example the "Spirit" (very favorably reviewed in the Absolute Sound) or the Okara II. You can make or buy the cabinets and choose any finish imaginable. George Short is the genius behind the designs (He is especially special with crossover design) and Lee Taylor is the cabinetmaker. You can visit the website at www.northcreekmusic.com.
I had asked the same thing here myself just a few weeks ago, then answered my own question and went with a pair of Aeriel 5b's.
Aeriel's website recommends them for close to wall applications and I'm quite happy with them. (Some day they will become rear speaker for HT.)
I'm not very familiar with small monitor speakers. Are any of them difficult to drive? Will a 50 wpc SS integrated, such as a NAD 320, be enough to handle the speakers mentioned in this thread? Sorry for the interruption, but any info would be greatly appreciated.
I'm using a NAD 7175 (75 wpc) and it plays plenty loud in my 12x20 room, long wall placement, even though the are only 85db sensitive. They are 4 ohm BTW.
From Aerial's page, "Tonal balance remains good even when placed on shelves or wall mounted." I think wall placement helps out the bass.
Anyone know how the Paradigm Studio 20 compares with the Von Schweikert Vr-1's?