Another "Which Bookshelf Speakers to Get" Thread


Hey folks,

I realize these threads are pretty populous, but I also realize that y'all never seem to have a lack of opinions, so I'll give it a shot ;)

I'm building up a very simple, pure system for listening in my small Brooklyn apartment. It currently consists of:

• Marantz 2235B (35wpc)
• Technics SL-D3 (my Dad's, bought new the year I was born) running a Grado Black cartridge (new last year)

...aaand that's it. I may put an iPod dock into the mix, but for the time being I'm only going to be listening to vinyl and Red Sox games on the radio.

My speaker shortlist is:

• Rega R1
• KEF iQ3
• Paradigm Atom
• EPOS ELS-3
• Cambridge Soundworks Model 6 ($50 used...)

I'm interested to hear what you think, and also where I should look to buy (NYC local, or online)

My musical tastes trend towards the lo-fi (Pavement, Radiohead, Band of Horses), old country, and the occasional John Adams record.

My room is wood floors, fairly narrow (6') and the speakers would be backed up to a brick wall.

Budget gets painful anywhere north of $400, and I'm not shy about used.

And...GO! (thanks)
ryantomorrow
Paradigm Atom is very good.
But my favorite is the Axiom M3i sold online at www.axiomaudio.com

I owned the first version 5 years ago and have absolutely no complaints, they sounded great.
Linn Kan?
Hadn't ben aware of the Linn Kans before (novice, obvy) - they seem nice!

So hard to tell without being able to audition. The Axioms were also intriguing, but I'm wary about a lack of low end. I'm no bass fanatic, But I'd like to have a reasonably wide spectrum. I don't want to run a separate sub, and it seems like consensus that the Axioms are at their best with one and a little more power.
Energy RC-10...If I was forced to get rid of my Paradigm Signature S2s, I'd be very happy with the RC-10s!
Sound Dynamic 300ti, There is a pair on ebay right now, check em out! They need to be on stands about 12 to 18 inches high depending on how high your listening seat is.Plenty of bass, so no need for a sub.
Wow, you guys certainly aren't narrowing my field down! I'm tempted by the Energys, considering they're well reviewed, real wood veneer (I'm an aesthete, as well) and $290 shipped here on Audiogon.

Any other opinions on them?
I have seen Ruark Icons and Prologues on here and on eB** in the $200 range. Both are excellent bookshelves for that price.
tsto has rega r1s cheap...$400 and free shipping. they are last years, however. not sure what changes may ahve been made.

http://www.tsto.com/cgi-bin/TSTO.storefront/4a021b010058272e2740ac1003410522/Product/View/2383&2D1
At another audio site someone posted about Roth speakers. They get a good write-up on Whathifi and can be had for under $200 on Amazon. Check it out-

http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/index.php?topic=66580.0
The B&W DM601s3 is surprisingly not bad. I had the 602s2 and was never satisfied with it, but the 601 Series 3 is a much better monitor, in my opinion of course. You could probably find a pair used within your budget. The good thing about B&W is that you can sell them easily should you decide to upgrade (personal experience).

Usher S520 gets recommended on this forum a lot but I've never heard it. And then there's the Onix/AV123 stuff like the Reference 1 or X-LS which have gotten good reviews for budget gear. Lots of options.

Good luck.
If you're not proud and just want the best sound for the money, you are absolutely not going to beat these psb stratus mini's currently offered on Agon http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrmoni&1245173622&/Psb-Stratus-Minis-cut-rate-pri . I have owned a pair of these for 10 years with a Luxman R-117 receiver in one of my systems, and they ROCK. Additionally, they are front-ported, so there is no problem with placing them against the wall or on a bookshelf. Good luck.
Well...here are a couple of other options.

If you can stretch your budget a bit, consider a used pair of Green Mountain Audio Europa or Europa Max speakers.

Another option would be to DIY. Check out the offerings by GR Research (www.gr-research.com). There are lots of information about GR Research projects over at audiocircle.com. I've never heard a set of GR Research designs, but I like to follow the builds, and the builds seem to have a following. Given your budget, this may be an interesting way to go. Your can order the kits through GR Research, and the pre-made cabinets from Parts Express (or you can have custom-cabinets made for not much more). Seems like a very easy project. Something to think about.
05-06-09: Ryantomorrow
Wow, you guys certainly aren't narrowing my field down! I'm tempted by the Energys, considering they're well reviewed, real wood veneer (I'm an aesthete, as well) and $290 shipped here on Audiogon.

Any other opinions on them?
You're on the right track. You're going to get a lot of sound quality for the money from a Canadian stand-mounted speaker in your price range, whether it's from Energy, PSB, or Paradigm. They provide similar amp loads, very linear response curves from upper bass on up to 20K, and room-filling and natural-sounding dispersion patterns to provide an even in-room power response.
Thanks, all - I'm going to put an offer in on the Energy RC-10s, and if that falls through, will come back to the drawing board!
I would also recommend the Energy RC-10 at your price point ($400)
05-07-09: Ryantomorrow
Thanks, all - I'm going to put an offer in on the Energy RC-10s, and if that falls through, will come back to the drawing board!
This review may help reinforce your decision. Looks like a great speaker for the size and cost.
I'll second the Usher S-520. Front ported, very easy to place and very easy on the eye. The build quality is much better than expected for a $400 (new) monitor. You can find them used in the $300 range. Oh yeah, they also sound great.
agree w/ nrenter on the GMAs. Roy Johnson knows how to make fantastic sound happen.
In keeping w/ your vintage system you might consider AR3a, Larger Advents, Dynaco A25, JBL L100 Century (or the studio versions), and Klipsch Heresey amongst others.