Bookshelf Speaker Recommendations


Hi All!

Longtime lurker here.  I am interested in recommendations for bookshelf speakers in the sub $1500 range.  My current setup:

I have a small, non optimal office/listening room at home.  It is about 12'x8'.  For years I have been running B&W 602's which are hard to beat for the $250 I paid for them.  I am running an Emotive Pre and I have 2 Carver 65x2 amps that I recently had refurbed. They are running the speakers biamped.  These little amps are excellent.  

I recently purchased a pair of B&W CDM1 SE for a steal on Craigslist, and while the treble is more detailed, they don't sound as good overall as the 602's.  I have also tried a new pair of the B&W CM series and there was a very marginal improvement in clarity and image, but not enough to justify the cost difference, so they went back.

I have heard many here recommend the Ascend Sierra 2, which are currently on sale and have a trial period.  I am leaning in this direction.  Before I pull the trigger, I would like to hear the thoughts of people that have heard more speakers than me.  I live in a smaller city and pretty much all of the dealers are gone.  I have heard some Paradigms locally in this price range, but that is about it.

I have done lots of component swapping over the years and what I am running now has beaten the other things.  I am considering upgrading other components too.  I have an opportunity to buy a Parasound A21 for $1300.  it has 5 hours on it and a small blemish.  The only thing holding me back is that it is overkill for my room.  I am also considering upgrading my preamp as well.

I look forward to your suggestions, thanks in advance.


why0why
Evolution Micro Ones is you could find used for $1500 would be my suggestion. Add a sub and you'll be in heaven. Reference 3A DeCapos or Totem Ones are both very nice too. All of these perform well above there price and are big step up IMHO from all the B&Ws you mention. Cheers,
Spencer 
I'll second the De Capos.  I have a tube amps and had a pair of BW 602's and upgraded to the de capos.  Major difference, the de capos are more detailed, dynamic, sensitive, richer.

The 602's are now in my home theater system and they work very well there.

used you can get them for around 1200-1900  depending on model
the wood cabs are my fav

I hadn't heard of the de Capo before.  They look interesting.  There is a single one for sale on eBay for $799 :)

I have heard a lot of great things about the Totems.  I think I will put them on the short list as well.

Thanks and keep them coming!
There are the Zu Omen Bookshelf speakers. They even have a trial period if you buy them from Zu. A nice price, too.
I use them for my office, now that they are broken in, I really like the sound- And this is from a Vandy guy.
Bob
Kef ls50s?  They'd like the power from the Parasound. 

I have a pair pair resting on an inexpensive wood disc from Herbie's that elevates the front just a touch (like 15 degrees), and that sits on top of a glass topped media center in a similarly small room.  Nirvana. 
ELAC Unify 5....  best all around speaker for under 1K IMHO
KEF LS-50 would also be awesome too with the right stuff upstream
Absolutely... the LS50's with the A21 - "match made in heaven."  

Had this for 3 years, before moving on to higher priced stuff.  


one more to add Proac Tablets, or possible the Response 1sc. very musical speakers. should find them used easily.
http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649263949-proac-tablette-50/ heres a set for $700 Canadian well worth a look.
there is a set in mahogany on usaudiomart as well.

"I recently purchased a pair of B&W CDM1 SE for a steal on Craigslist, and while the treble is more detailed, they don't sound as good overall as the 602's.  I have also tried a new pair of the B&W CM series and there was a very marginal improvement in clarity and image, but not enough to justify the cost difference, so they went back."

If you're doing a horizontal biamp, try it vertical. I will probably sound a lot better. If you still feel the need to get new speakers, DeVore makes a really good pair bookshelves. Sterling is another good one. 

If you're leaning toward the Ascend Sierra 2, that's a good direction to lean! I've been very happy with mine.

Thanks for the continued recommendations.  There is so much good stuff out there in this price range, it is difficult to choose.  I have looked at everything suggested.  The LS50 seems to have a strong following.  There were a fair amount of comparisons with the Ascend on the web.  Analysis paralysis!  Now even more choices.

I hadn't heard of vertical biamping, even though I have considered that the tweeters basically don't tax an amp at all.  If I have time this afternoon I may switch them.

I appreciate the continued dialog! 

"I hadn't heard of vertical biamping, even though I have considered that the tweeters basically don't tax an amp at all."

That's the problem. An amps power output is based on frequency/resistance. The lower the resistance (frequency), the harder the amp has to work. In a horizontal setup like you have, the amp for the tweeters doesn't have to work nearly as hard as the amp for the low frequencies. An amps sound will change depending on how hard it has to work. When you use 1 stereo amp to power each speaker, both amps are being asked to work the same amount. Vertical solves a lot of problems. To be honest, you really shouldn't make any decisions until you either do a vertical biamp, or just use 1 amp for everything.