The new meadowlark line is one to consider. Granted, not tons of bass, but the Swift does vocals very well. That is what I'm most critical of when listening, and I've been very happy.
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I assume you mean the Spendor S3/5? Are you referring to their new price or used ($600) price?
There are many speakers that will sound more "transparent" than the Spendors, especially at lower volumes, where the inefficiency of the S3/5 makes it tough to drive. There are a lot of small speakers that are cheaper, more efficient and will sound more dynamic than the Spendors. Few will image as well and probably none will have their midrange richness. B&W DM 601 and Monitor Audio 2.5's are good examples of what I am trying to say. The Spendors are somewhat euphonically colored and are not for everyone, but to get this type of sound with the level of resolution offered is tough to find at even higher prices. Good luck and please let us know what you end up with.
Check out Spendor (any of their speakers are not bright), Dynaudio 1.3mkII (Carefully position closer to a rear wall to reinforce a bit of the bass), Meadowlark Swift is a great rec. Amazing sound out of a small package and the bass is VERY impressive. Actually some of the best low end I have ever heard from a small speaker.
Revel M20s. Great bass, female vocal, upper end-- definitive, not bright, detailed, and tremendous soundstage. Don't use the Revel stands. I use the Sistrum Mini Monitor Platforms. Pricely, but worth every dime. Unfortunately, most people do not place a large enough empahsis on the speaker stands, when buying monitors. Stands are a fundemental extension of your speaker, and the actual price of the monitor purchase is not the real deal, after one purchases killer stands. Definitely something to consider. Although killer monitors with matching stands and sub are hard to beat. You can find the M20s nicely discounted. I shopped for months and listened to just about everything. At this leve, of course, I don't like to use the term "they blow everthing away," but given my amplicfication, and love of jazz, these were the ones.
Nice thread....I couldn't help but sample a dozen or so shops while I was in Scotland last summer, and EVERY time I asked about mini-monitors the guys waded through the new KEFs, B&W, Monitor Audio, Missions, even the Quad 11L, and ended up at the Spendor S3! Yet their 84db/w (in)efficiency
is unfortunately necessary for voicing that 5" in an acoustic suspension small box. And at 450L VAT-free, discounted ($700), I passed. Glad I did, as I found their big brother, the WONDERFUL Spendor S3/1p in ROSEWOOD used here on A'gon for $800!($1400 list). Sure they're bigger, as they use phenomenally well-matched 6.5" with a Scanspeak tweeter (NOT the cheaper VIFA in the 3/5 or new floorstanders). At 89dB/w they meld completely seamlessly with the SC3 center as my HT front trio (which is also used for FM music)....Yes, Spendor pads the tweeter down a bit to be forgiving (NOT like the aforementioned B&W 60XS3), but if you want some really quick, reasonably extended bass at highish efficiency, look no further....unless you can spend twice as much and get the impressive Revel M20: flatter, more neutral high frequency response is more "high-endish", but not at all as forgiving.
Note also that the Spendor SC3 is simply one and a half S3/5
(two 5" woofers and that Vifa 19mm) in a longer, vented cabinet. I've already suggested to the Spendor rep that they turn this great center sideways to make a tall and narrow L+R pair for HT, or for S3/5 lovers who want more bass and efficiency. But then again that's what the S3/1p is for. So you can pick D'Appolito 2x5+3/4 (18.5"x6"x10") or more tradtional 6.5"+3/4 (8.5x15.5x11") and get that great Spendor midrange and soft treble magic WITH extended bass and high efficiency for about $1100 new (hard to find two used SC3, I'd guess), or $800 used (S3/1p).
Sorry that I'm not familiar with the Swift....
I put the S3/1p on some great 'n cheap ($200) Plateau V23 (inch) sand-filled Target-clone stands. Ellen likes the elegant look, but more (?) importantly they solidify the Spendors' bottom really well.
Happy hunting, and a fine Thanksgiving and Hannukah!
You didn't mention anything about price range, and some of the previous suggestions from other folks included speakers from the mid to higher priced range. My suggestion is the new B&W Nautilus 805 Signature. Improved electronics and incredible fit and finish. The sound of these things is absolutely amazing, not at all like your typical small speaker sound.
I Love my Epos M12! Very efficient and the midrange and highs are wonderful. Quite fast too. Somewhat light in the base but hey it's a $750 (new) monitor. Be aware that they are a very revealing speaker so music you may be currently enjoying may end up sounding horrible if it was recorded poorly. Can find them used for probably $500-600.
PS - And they are not wrapped in vinyl!
Finally broke in my new pair of Role Audio "Discovery" minimonitors, and they are sounding great. It took over 100 hours for the top end to open up. I was going to send them back, but then it happened, and was worth the wait. Have not heard another speaker this small (6 x 7 x 11) sound this good. Most definitely NOT bright. Leagues beyond the NHT's they replaced. I bought direct from Role, but I see that an Audiogon dealer has them, too. Of course they cannot compete with more pricey speakers like the ProAc Response 1sc, but at a fraction of the cost, they shouldn't.
One of the really musical monitors on the market is the Sequerra Pyramid MET-7. I owned a pair for a number of years, and found them immensely satisfying. There have been several pairs of these monitors for sale recently here on A-gon, so you might want to check them out.
For more info about the Sequerra MET-7's, go to this link:
When you get their home page, you will want to look under "Sequerra Audio" for the page on the MET-7's.
This is just my listener's opinion, but Castles sound a little dark and closed in and Totems (Model 1 and Mites, I've listened to both) sound somewhat flat and uninteresting. I also have a small room (11 x 13.5 x 8) and use a REL Strata III subwoofer. I put off auditioning subs for years, wish I'd done it sooner. The little Spendors are, in my opinion, far more musical and involving than either speaker you mentioned, and will mate just fine with a REL.
For something reasonably affordable but never a slouch, the Paradigm Reference line is neither bright nor thin. As an aside, if you are seeking a rich sound, I would recommend staying away from the JMLabs monitors -- they are nice speakers (and well reviewed) and detailed, but a bit pale in their reproduction.
Kinima G1's on Osiris stands with Cardas Crosslink bi-wires will do what you want. The Kinima's take a long while to break in, but once they do, you will be amazed on the smooth non-fatiging highs and the tight bass. Midrange is perfect. These speakers are finished in wood veveer, Cardas post and wires with there own customed made speakers. You will not be disappointed. Check out Zetag corp in Toronto or go to the website.
Thanks to all...and I probably would have been happy with many of the above suggestions...but as you all know...this is a very subjective hobby(or disease!)...and after limiting myself to monitors due to space restrictions...finally settled on the Quad 12Ls...which some have commented sound "bright"(even with their soft dome tweeter)...and to some extent this is true....they are very revealing of source and electronics...however...I plan on going with tube power...and their soundstaging, speed, dynamics, and clean bass was what really sold me...I really do like the 3/5s...but it came pretty apparent that for my musical tastes a sub would be needed...and I wanted to avoid that(for the moment anyways)...thanks again...
Buy a lower priced small monitors and install Mi-Horn. Mi-Horn will give you a musical satisfaction in small monitors. Also, if you have a sub-woofer, Mi-Horn will give you a good balance between powerful low bass and mid and high frequencies. The speaker with Mi-Horn will sound clearer and musical. If you have seen Burmester B99 (http://www.burmester.de/images/mat/lautsprecher-b99-big.jpg), you will see why Mi-Horn will sound great.