Bookshelf speaker ideas....

I am looking for a nice set of bookshelf speakers and will have them on stands.
Want to do some serious enjoying of classical, jazz and soft rock music in my collection. Have a decent 55 wpc Onkyo receiver. Reading up on Polk RTi A3, Klipsch RB-81II and Energy RC10. Obviously, I am not looking to spend in three figures. Called a well regarded stereo store who doesn't do the "boutique" brands and claims there are speakers to be had for around $300 a pair that are "better than monitors".....any thoughts on all this? I am trying to sort this all out and it's hard to find stores that have a lot of brands to compare. Thanks!
second hand B&W 602 S3's i have a pair and it opened my eyes to quality sound even with a crappy amp. they're pretty impressive.
I'm not sure of that but I love monitors. Always have and always will. For $300 you're going to get a better monitor than floorstander.

I agree with Ellrotts. Even non S3 DM602s were awesome speakers and I noticed two pairs for sale on Agon last night. I used to have a pair and absolutely loved them.
What's your price limit? That will help us to give you recommendations.
There is so much to choose from, where to start? If you're dead set on bookshelf spks., you'll need quality stands. Min $100+. You could find floorstander/bookshelf's such as Paradigm's for well under your price range. If I was looking for a small bookshelf I would consider Energy XL-15's and Tannoy MX-1m's. Tannoy's would fall on the warmer side w/their newer model's, Fusion's, slightly more detailed. There really is a TON of choices. Older Mission spks. are very nice as well. B&W DM 302/303's etc, etc, ADS L400's. If you're considering a new spk., I thought the larger KEF bookshelf spk., (C300) was a very nice sounding spk. Retail $600. Perhaps Monitor Audio/PSB's as well. I wish you good hunting and try to hear my many as possibly. Be sure to buy a good stand as well. I use Plateau's.
Kotta is right on the money with quality stands for monitors. It should not be overlooked. I didn't believe that until I got quality monitor stands from Standesign that were sand fillable. Night and day difference between the the dinky little stands I had previous.

As for monitors in addition to the Tannoys and B&W DM303s that Kotta also mentions I say try to find the newer KEF Q100 speakers used. For a little more money used the KEF Q300s would really be nice.
Boston Acoustic A 25 $400...these are astonishing good...regardless of price....
well I don't mind spending up to $1000 max for the speakers. Ideas about stands are much appreciated--never gave it any thought! I did go to a store and heard the PSB Imagine B which was very nice indeed. Was told that it's the best thing out there in its price range and clearly superior in sound to many of the $600/pr options. Have also read good things about the Dynaudio Excite X12 but that might be hard to find in a store. Wonder if these others you folks have mentioned in a lower price bracket can compare?!
Hard to imagine you'd be disappointed with the PSBs, but then you never know which speaker will really "do it" for any individual's preferences (would help if you went into some detail in what you're looking for soundwise) so definitely try to get out to hear more. I've heard the Silverline Minuets sound fantastic with relatively inexpensive electronics, and Nola Boxers might be worth a listen as well (would need to get used to hit your price range). I just noticed a pair of Joseph Audio RM7si Signature MkIIs for sale here for 900 bucks, which I'd take over just about anything else listed here. But that's me.

Here's a link for stands that are probably at least decent in terms of price/performance (I'd get something fillable with sand or lead shot).

Oh, and I'd avoid $300 floorstanders unless you get a good deal on a used pair.

Best of luck.
This may or may not be helpful.$40-to-$400/
Energy veritas bookies. had a listen recently run by a Cambridge amp. surprisingly good bass for a tiny driver. very soft and smooth. would be better than 602's. good price new in USA around 400 a speaker. i almost bought myself a pair.
I started 8 months ago with a pair of paradigm mini monitors (v.6 made in canada, not the current v.7, which is made in china) and they were good enough that I caught the upgrade bug and now have paradigm studio 20's, which I absolutely love. If you are really interested, I will connect them to my 55wpc onkyo to let you know how they sound with that amp. As for stands, I've always used cinder blocks as they are solid and heavy as hell, along with being acousticaly dead and cheap. I used to place my turntables on them with great results too. You can also stash your c.d.'s in them. You could get a pair of v.6 mini monitors for $200, or a pair of used studio 20's for $1,000.
Hmm I was just reading about the studio 20 and was not aware of the differences in v.5, 6, 7 etc. If these are really great I could splurge and get a pair for $1000. Are you suggesting I avoid the v.7? What about v.5 etc. That would be great if you could connect to your onkyo but from what I've been told in a store, the amp does not make a huge difference in this price range unless it's really to high or low in power for a particular speaker....Thanks in advance!
Well Moverbob, I think with the difference between 300 and 1000 means different animals, esp. you are considering used, so you might ant to narrow your ideal range a bit.

For example, I'd be surprised if the below linked Montana Monitors were not pretty substantially better than the 300-500 speakers being mentioned (you might add the very well reviewed Warfdale entry level to the list at 350, though I've not heard it). I own a pair of Montana towers and love them.

If I had 1k to spend right now, and didn't want to risk used, I'd buy the Zu "Dirty Weekend" for $999, no stands needed. Zu is a strong flavor, but lots of fun, and it is a great company -- Sean and the gang will treat you right. I assume they have their usual 30 day return policy, which minimizes risk, and the used market seems to be strong.

Why not give the Zus a try, at your upper end?

in the studio line of paradigm's, they are on v.5. to my understanding, studio v.4's use the same tweeter, different midbass. the studio line is still made in canada, as are the signature line. the monitor line is now made in china. the difference between the monitor series and the studio series is fairly substantial in my oppinion. i feel that the studio line is far more musical. you need to look at the sensitiviy rating of a speaker to determine how well a lower powered amp like yours will play them. the studio 20's need some power to sound good, so your onkyo may not do the trick. i didn't think about zu audio, but now that i have, you might want to look into them. a while back they were offering zu omen standard's for 1,000. these are awesome speakers, built by cool people who care. the zu speakers are also incredibly efficient, meaning that your onkyo will push them without a problem. my vote would be to start checking out some zu's :-)
It is good to get recommendations, but I've learned that you really must listen to a lot of speakers to find the right ones. I heard the Totem Dream Catcher was the bee's knees. But when I went to listen to them...and I preferred the Rainmaker. Bought those instead.

Because each person appreciates different aspects of music reproduction, its impossible to just go on recommendations. My friend Bill listens to heavy alternative, and thus really wants powerful and tight bass. I value the midrange more.

Make a CD or playlist of music you know intimately, and go have fun listening to a bunch of speakers!

Well thanks all. What a great community! I have the good fortune of being ~45 min fro some good high end audio stores in the Boston area so I will get a chance to bring a couple of my CDs for a ride. Looking forward to hearing rx2 imagine B excite x12 and more. May have to pass on some others due to width restrictions in my room. I will gladly f/u after the weekend with my thoughts for YOU!

Best to all.
Be sure to include the-
Silverline Minuet Supreme Plus
Sjofn CLUE
Sounded great RMAF
Used or discounted new price for Dali Zensor 1. Add this one to your impressive list.

The Sjofn CLUE is tantalizing in the limited reviews I can read, and Mr. Erickson sent me a personal reply to my email of inquiry. He chose not to compare the CLUE to the other speakers I am considering, but only to higher end speakers like the Magico Mini! Said that nothing anywhere near the CLUE's price can touch it. Is is for real? Is the CLUE really THAT amazing? I'd need to order it with free money back guarantee to find out, because nobody close to me carries it....If it's that great, why isn't there more ink (or cyber-ink?!) about it?
moverbob, the sjofn clue seems to need quite a powerful amp as they have a very low sensitivity rating (86 db). In the reviews, they were hooked up to some pretty serious equipment. Alot of $1500 monitors sound good with $10,000 worth of equipment upstream. The zu's should sound pretty decent, and loud, with only 55 watts, and if later on you upgrade the rest of your system, they'll sound even better. My vote still goes to zu in this particular application :-)
LOL Well now that I'm really getting into it and learning a lot about how to get the best sound, it seems that a new amp may be in order, although maybe my old Onkyo will be OK. Question remains: with a decent amp, would the Clue beat out the Excite X12? That's what I've narrowed it down to...
I like dynaudio quite a bit, but I'm curious about the clue's. Maybe you ought to start a new thread "clue vs. excite" it'd be interesting to see if anyone has heard the clue's and what they thought about them. I like the idea of their placement as you could gain alot of width to the soundstage in a small room.
If I were you, I would upgrade the receiver and the cd player, and spend less on used speakers - you must balance the system to get a good sound.

You could get this NAD dvd receiver and buy used speakers, and you will end up with better quality sound.

Spend a little to upgrade the cables and you will end up with a surprisingly good sounding balanced system for under $1000 complete. You will have left over for a stands for the spekaers.
Thanks for these ideas. I am going for (hopefully used) excite x12 and a music hall a15.2 which has phono stage that might be handy some day for me and also great reviews. I assume that if I am playing digital music a la CD or computer ( mostly lossless) I will want to get their < $300 DAC add on too!? I Assume it makes a big difference...
There's a pair of Black Ash,Monitor Audio Silver RS 1's for sale here right now that are REALLY good speakers.Not quite up to the Dynaudio level but then they don't cost near as much & their much easier to drive!FWiW I have owned Dynaudio Focus 140's & Audience 52SE's & I LOVE Dynaudio speakers.