EMP Speakers has a bookshelf and hybrid tube amp combo on sale right now for about $550
Not self powered but definitely worth looking into for the price. Audio Engine has a nice range of powered speakers with modern cabinet finishes, including gloss white.
the AudioEngines, or maybe a set of Quad 22's powered
have front ports and look nice to me. I use the VXT 6 in my office system.
Another choice would be the new JBL 2300
series. Rear ported though. I use the LSR 4300 series in my main system.
I like the VXT 6 design. How is the sound? Price is right. It takes an RCA on the rear? Love to see the rear pictures. Looks like I need XLRs out of the Apple TV which I doesn't have. What do you do? JBLs look nice as well but the porting as you mentioned.
I use Mackie THX actives for my center and surrounds, but occasionally take them out of the system for record monitoring. They are very, very good for near field. They also have balanced and single ended inputs. Not quite bookshelf size; actually quite imposing when next to my Mac, but then again they put out amazing full range sound due to a passive radiator at the rear, with adjustments for wall proximity. A used pair can be had for around your budget, but even at retail. they are well worth it. I auditioned them at Guitar Center, plus they have a 30 day mbg.
These are in a class by themselves.
If you can still find the closeout priced NHT active sub/sat combo (I believe it was the "S" series) which was designed for desktop use - either PC or nearfield monitoring - it's a very good value. It's not quite full range, but unlike most desktop options (even many of those with subwoofers) you could legitimately call it "extended bandwidth". Any of the NHT sub/sat speakers are IMHO excellent choices at their respective price points.
Actually, I think Macrojack identified the monitors I was referring to. The matching subs are either the s-10 or s-20.
Lots of good suggestions here. NHT M-OO and S-00 might be good is the speakers are right up against a wall (provided you can move the sub out into the room a little.
Here's a review of the Rockit (line below the VXT): http://www.avguide.com/review/tested-krk-rokit-6-powered-loudspeaker
Here's a link to the manual. You'll find an image of the rear there: http://www.krksys.com/manuals/vxt_manual.pdf
The VXT is balanced via XLR/TRS input only. I run balanced everywhere so it's a good fit for me. You could have RCA/XLR cables made by Blue Jeans
. And, of course, there are various adapters and transformers as well.
As Marty said, the NHT M-00 and S-00 (no longer made I think, now suggesting the S-20), are better suited for a desktop system.
Thanks to everyone for the recommendations. I am going to use it for a fairly large space & will be stand mounting the speakers. I won't be using them as a desktop system (I wish, but way too many phone calls). That being said, these all sound easy to listen to so that might be what I do. I wouldn't mind more recommendations. Once again thanks.
You can look here for other choices: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?ci=8617&N=4294550597+4289944001
Since you plan on stand mounting them, unless they're going to be less than 2 feet from the front wall, I wouldn't be overly concerned with a rear port.
B&H won't have them to listen to but I can pick them up easily enough. Heard some Adam speakers. Very high end but wasn't so impressed. I am definitely going to listen.
Dynaudio make a Focus 110A that might work, thought I have no idea what the cost is. May be too much. THey also make other models in the past that may be still available. I seem to recall a Audience 42 model or something.
AVI adm9 or 9.1 show up used on occasion for around $1k. These have an integrated dac and analog preamp with remote built in. To say they are stellar is a massive understatement.
Quad 12l active is formidable in this class.
For true pro monitors you have the adam a7 with a ribbon tweeter and the dynaudio bm5a. These are often regarded as the best monitors under $1k by the pro audio guys.
All of these are incredible speakers that will trounce "audiophile" designs well over this price point. I congratulate you on going down this road. I spent so many years of wasted time buying traditional gear before I realized that buying active pro stuff delivered so much more.
B&H also have the Yamaha MSP 7 for a very,very good price.Yamaha and VXT6 would be my first choice. Above that,check the new Focal CMS 50.