Talon Audio Khites are front ported and show up here on a-gon once in a while. Very fast & detailed with good bass.
Spendor 3/5 are completely unported and sound pretty good when very close to the rear wall.
Induction Dynamics S2's are unported, and seem to be very tolerant of location, even up against a wall or in a bookcase.
Can't say which is best since I haven't heard them all! With that caveat in mind, I've been living happily with the JA's. With good stands: very well balanced, suprising bass from a small box, and good looks for WAF. Depending on your electronics, these could be for you...happy hunting!
Wilson Benesch ARC are ported on the bottom. Placement is very flexible and they have a BIG (not bloated) sound. Very open and uncolored.
CHECK OUT THE SHAMROCK EIRES ON THE SHAMROCK AUDIO SITE. WELL BALANCED PRESENTATION W/BASS DOWN TO 35HZ W/O BLOAT. SIMILAR IN PRESENTATION TO THE VANDY 5'S.
fully sealed might sound better in this case. Ported speakers usually need more breathing room because they're bass reflect type. I definitely recommand used 3/5A type (spendor or rogers will do) and used ATC SCM10 passive.
I was in the same situation and went with Tyler Acoustic Tylos -- and am very happy. There are lots of reviews here if you're interested.
Von Schweikert VR-1s are closed boxes (except for a little pressure release "port" in back, but not realy a port) and are specifically designed to be placed close to a wall.
You could also consider Dyn Audio -- they are rear ported but come with plugs/filters which are designed to be used when speakers are placed close to wall.
I have a pair of Aurum Cantus, and could not be happier.
Thanks so much for the feedback. Sounds like I should be looking at sealed-speakers and no front-ported. Any opinions/experience regarding Merlin TSM's close to rear wall? Thanks
NO PORT AT ALL! Soliloquy Sat-5. Amazingly clear and clean with a design that allows placement almost anywhere. Yes, you need a sub for real bass, but they are quite nice down to 70hz or so.
ATC SCM 12s, British, more open and natural than Spendors, non-ported, difficult to drive properly (code: inefficient)yet probably the most detailed and natural cone speaker I've every heard. Benchmark of simplicity.
The GMA Europas are front ported. They are a great speaker for the money.
I definitely would consider the Joseph's. As an owner of the 25's, however, I might be considered biased ;)
If you're in NYC they can be auditioned at Rhapsody.
BTW, while you're checking them out, you might also consider a nice Korean tofu restaurant called Cho Dang Gol on 35th street, nearby.
Audix Niles 5 made by the pro microphone company Audix. They are now only available to recording studio heads by special order...however some are still floating around for sale at professional music stores. Amazing soundstage depth, accuracy, very strong but tight bass response. Custom scanspeak drivers and front ported. I keep trying to find a monitor that performs better but cannnot. Blew the Revel M-20s and Proac 1sc away in recent trials.
For $880, they are a serious steal and one of the best bargins in audio.