If you mean $650 retail (rather than used), then I'd suggest looking at the speakers made by either Paradigm or PSB. In the budget range below $650, I don't think there is much competition with the products made by these two companies.
Used?? What about JM Reynaud Twin's? Not sure of their used price but suspect them close to your range.
Audio Advisor has a sale on Epos speakers right now actually. I have not heard them, but I have heard some good things about them. They have the pair that retails for around $900 for $600 right now.
The Epos M12's are very good speakers, the AudioAdvisor deal which includes stands and free shipping is a good deal. They are unloading them as there is a version II of Epos that has just come out.
Athena Technologies AS-F2s, a full-range speaker for $600. Massively invoving Prat, killer bass, astounding dynamics, silky mid-range. And at 93db sensitivity, an excellent match for the cheaper ASL tube amps!
Go to Norh.com they have a lot a good speaker for
the price you mentioned.Very unique looks and
I don't know about "best," but I have heard the Epos M12's, and they are a terrific speaker.
Don't forget the little Maggies!
Magnepan MMG for $550 with a free 60-day trial...you can't go wrong! Mine just keep sounding better everytime I play them.
Another vote for the MMGs!!!!
For a NEW purchase, you can't beat the Magnepan MMGs. The Epos are nice speakers too considering that you get a new pair at a used price. They're not my cup of tea, but YMMV.
If you're into panels and willing to go used, I'd sure look seriously at a pair of Magnepan 3As. Phenomenal speaker for not much moeny. They can be found right at your $650 limit.
For a box speaker, I think I'd stay with something like Vandersteen 2CEs. Again, these can be had right at your limit of $650. Full range, time and phase coherent and just plain musical speakers.
My personal favorite monitor speaker in this price range is the Platinum Audio Solo. Reference quality monitors in gorgeous wood and piano black finish that can be had for a song considering that the company is now defunct. Very inefficient and require a LOT of juice - 300wpc would be good - but they are nearly full range, dynamic as hell and incredibly detailed.
I still like the Spica TC-60 for under $500 used. Has a magical quality that few speakers can match. Best on vocal, chamber, jazz etc but has enough punch to play classic rock, just don't try to play it to loud.
Can't buy Europa's for $650.00/pair Having said that, you'd be quite wise to increase your price $220.00/pair and but them. Just my $.02
Platinum Solos are a damn good speaker but you won't get dynamics or transparency without LOTS of power. I tried them 7-8 yrs ago with a 160wt Mesa Baron P/P tube amp -worked pretty good but I could tell they could handle even more. And I second the appearance comment, still look great today and I think they are a classic (looks wise).
The Spicas like/need lots of power, too.
TAS Recommended and Best Buy.
Easy to drive and a great bang for the buck
How are those little Maggies for bass though? The Epos have more?
Yeah ..but is more always better? I am sure the Epos are some nice little monitors. But is it posibble for them to match the MMGs in the midrange ? You will compromise one strong point for the other but thats what subs are made for..right.
I am a midrange nut as well, but if the gent only wants to spend $650 for speakers.... He doesn't have money for subs?
Well the Epos have a freq response of 60hz to 20 khz.
The MMG freqs response is 50hz to 24 khz. From the specs the MMGs actually dig a little deeper. I am willing to bet the bass is also cleaner.
If you have a dealer near you, definitely take a look at the Acoustic Energy Aegis Evo III, as well as whatever PSB is available at that price point. Both are very fine speakers, and when it came down to it, I bought the Acoustic Energy Aegis III (Not evo), because it had everything that I had wanted in the speaker. Detailed highs, good low-end extension, power, dynamics, etc. Plus, I got them for the low price of 375 USD used.