Usher makes a couple of stands which appear to be adjustible. Not sure of the diminsions of the top-plate or how just how affordable they are. They appear very attractive in my opinion.
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Mapleshade has a new line of speaker supports, and stands. With their near to the floor models., and the speakers pointing somewhat upward from below the listener, different size and height speakers should be able to be accomodated. They sell different size spikes for supporting the speakers at their best sounding angles, from what the mapleshaderecords.com site seems to show. They have good customer service when you email.
My older Jamo adjustable speaker stands were of fixed height, and also varied the effective "height" by having the support surface vary the angle of the speaker face toward the listener, but too flimsy for use with the current era of heavy for size quality speakers.
Mapleshade has a variety of choices, and with their advice over the phone, or by email, worth looking into.
Beware, you will be intrigued by their iconoclastic approach to everything in audio, but so far, using their power cords, power strips, and interconnects (although my ultimate choices currently from email@example.com for interconnects and speaker cables) purchased used on Audiogon, performance is usually surprisingly wonderful.
Perhaps, a user of their new stand designs will comment in this discussion thread, in addition to learning what you can by directly contacting their website.
Hi Drubin, you may want to check into Standesign #BB-75. They adjust from 30"-40" in height, have a 6"x6" top plate, and spiked bases. I actually use them for my HT in conjunction with 4 Sound Dynamics RTS-3s. They are really not a bad stand, although I don't know if I would be using them for any type of super critical listening.
I purchased mine at J&R Music in NYC for about $70.00 a pair although they are presently available from Audio Advisor for $65.00 a pair.
The base design will allow you to use some form of weighting if desired. For evaluation purposes, as you mentioned, you can probably get away with a couple bags of sand or shot, etc, laying across the bases. This will set the spikes adequately. Please keep in mind that this suggestion is simply for evaluation purposes only, and not something I would suggest as an end use product.
Best of luck.
Thanks everybody! The Usher stands have only a 10 cm adjustment, which is not enough. The Standesigns sound like the right idea (good price, too), but 30"-40" seems not quite right for the kinds of middle-sized speakers I want to try. Better would be something that adjusts from, say, 18"-32", but maybe that's not feasible.