Are there any speakers for nearfield listening that sound GREAT at low volumes?


Back with another question.  I've set up a small system for my home office.  My large desk sits at a right angle to the right wall, and as a result there is about 6 feet behind the speakers.  My local audio store remains closed due to COVID, so I'm buying gear based from reviews, and 'sounds like' something I've heard in person.

I picked up a pair of Totem Acoustic Sky speakers here, and I have been a little underwhelmed with the sound.  I play my music at low or moderate volumes, so as not to disturb my wife in the other room.  Today she went to her sister's house so I turned them up a bit.  Wow!  Now they sounded every bit as good (or better) than what I was expecting!!  Just terrific!  When my wife got home I turned the volume down, and everything got much smaller in a hurry.  The specialness just disappeared when the volume went down.

So my two questions.  Are there are small monitors (appropriate for desktop nearfield listening) that have that 'special' quality at low volumes?  My listening set-up is only 36" between the center of woofers, and the same to my seated listening position.

Second question, would a sealed speaker perhaps be better sitting out away from any wall, as in my set-up?  Would an LS3/5A speaker perhaps be the best fit?  If so, how do they sound at low volumes?

Thanks for your help!
Ag insider logo xs@2xazkeith
You might consider an integrated amp with a loudness switch.  With it engaged, your speakers will sound more "full" at lower volumes.

A great many of the older integrated amps had this feauture.  You can pick one up for close to nothing on the 'bay or your local craigs to see if that works for you.  

Good luck.


I owned Totem Rainmakers, and like the Sky's, and their model ones, they do need a bit of volume to open up. But sound great when they do. I agree with Audiodweb, an integrated with a loudness would probably be best. I say that because I now own Harbeth 30.2's which sound fine at low levels, but with my Luxman 590AXII with tone and loudness  and when I kick in the loudness at low volumes they sound as great as when I crank them up straight. So, two very different speakers both needing the boost when at low volumes. Changing speakers might help a bit, but I think you'll be disappointed. And I have the same problem with my wife, so I know what you are going through For me, the solution was adding the loudness, not changing speakers.
With that sort of listening position, perhaps look into the studio monitor realm vs desk top speaker. Studio monitors are designed for this type of listening scenario. 
azkeith

B&W 805 monitor.   Happy Listening!
How about Tannoy Autograph Minis. 
I love the suggestions so far -- really great. Don’t know your budget, but I can also imagine that a relatively inexpensive Klipsch paired with a sweet little tube integrated (Erhard?) might sound great. I have the RP600M and they are amazing at lower volumes. Perhaps the RP 500M with the Basie could be a dynamite desk combo.
Energy RC-10  bookshelf speakers.

Wonderful suggestions!  Thanks all!  I'll look into an integrated with loudness function, as well as some of the speaker suggestions!
Post removed 
KEF Wireless II full stop

An inexpensive way to tweak your speakers would be using a Schiit Loki.
That way you could configure the sound to your liking.
Bob
Your amplifier type and wpc will dictate in part type of speaker .
for low power Omega  single or dual driver No  Xover speakers 
or even. Spatial audio ,or new Klipsch heritage series what’s your budget ,many factors to consider for optimum synergy.
Single / full range driver speakers might be the answer.  There is no driver separation and complete coherence.  A single driver system like a MarkAudio Alpair 7 or Alpair 10p are very good. I tried both and the were impressive.  
Completely agree with bpoletti for the use of full range driver speakers for nearfield listening, otherwise the blend of 2 or more drivers won't happen perfectly at that distance.
unless it’s a coax...like a Vandersteen VLR.....perfectly coherent wave launch.....
Something like this, powered, use a direct source or passive preamp... these things will blow your mind in a near field setup... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y2B4Q45?tag=georiot-us-default-20&th=1&psc=1&ascsubtag=mrd-...
My early (late 70's) Rogers Ls3/5a's were great @ low SPL's in the nearfield, but I never tried them that close together.

Here's something cheap/interesting and if you do a search you will find a couple of positive pro reviews.

https://www.amazon.com/Arche-Audio-Loudspeaker-Semi-Horn-Loaded-Audiophile/dp/B07RWJXB1R

DeKay
 @azkeith 
Recently landed the KEF LS50 Wireless II for the work from home standing desk; Listening distance forms not quite an equilateral triangle- the monitor separates the speakers about 44" center to center, with head about 24" from the plane of the speakers; Prior to the KEFs I had Spendor A1; For an experiment I pulled the big rig electronics up and powered the A1's with them; It was a fun exercise, but the KEF's are superior across the board; Immediacy, low level detail, dynamics, and the bass response are all wonderful;  
 All needed are two AC wires to plug the speakers in- Iso Acoustic stands set them up about 8.5"; It's an honest to goodness high end sound in a tiny space; I did move the LS50 IIs in the typical hi-fi arrangement and the sound lost the most of the magic; I have never listened in the near field before and I think the key thing about the KEF's sounding so great is the axial driver design. They snap into coherence at very short throw distances from the front plane of the speaker cabinet; The upside of this is no other gear is necessary. The active electronics are excellent and the resulting sound at the ~$2,500 mark is astonishing; Good luck!

The Harbeth P3ESR Loudspeakers play well at low volumes. One of Harbeth's strengths.
I would consider a larger british monitor with an 8 inch driver like the spendor bc1 or variant for low volume close up listening that is what they are made for.
My kef ls-50’s sounded good nearfield at moderate volumes, but some Rogers LS3/5a’s are better nearfield at low volumes.