Bookshelf speakers for near-field (desktop) use


I am looking for a decent pair of new/used bookshelf speakers for near-field / desktop use. I plan to use this with my PC as the source. The speakers would go into a fairly small room but in the future, I may use these as a bedroom setup so it would be nice to have them be capable for both. 

I can power the speakers with either a PS Audio Sprout100, Anthem MRX510 or something I may buy in the future. I don't want to spend a ton on an amp to drive these speakers though. Budget is around $2,000. Just looking for great sound. I'm not a bass head so that's not a huge priority but the fuller the range in sound, the better. 

A few speakers that I have considered are: 

  • Buchardt S400 - Are they appropriate for desktop use though? 
  • KEF LS50 Passive - Used I can find one for around $800 or just buy new for ~$1,000
  • KEF LS50 Wireless - Good reviews, but about the same price as the Buchardt's

freesole
I would take the Dynaudio Excite X14 over the Kef’s every day of the week & twice on sunday...Brand new pair of Walnut on Ebay for $800.00...Take the balance & get a Quad VA-One...Sell the Sprout/Anthem get some really good headphones...
 
I use a pair of Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary speakers and I think they sound really good. Very easy on the ear and are very smooth across the audio band. Good value and they look nice too.
@freediver Haven't looked into the Quad before. Is that even enough to power the Excite X14's?
I use a pair of Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary speakers and I think they sound really good. Very easy on the ear and are very smooth across the audio band. Good value and they look nice too.
The benefit of coaxial really shows itself in nearfield. As a reference, measure the distance between the tweeter and woofer (center to center), you should be roughly 3x that distance in order for the drivers to combine cohesively. Another benefit of cow is for near-field is in regards to vertical off-axis performance; regular bookshelves would need to be angled perflectly to hit your ears (and only in one sitting position, sitting straight up and slouching would sound different) or you would need stands that bring them all the way up to ear level (which is unlikely and also leases to different performance when sitting upright and slouching).
Personally I would get a pair of Genelec's
@freesole:YES,plenty of power..I am running Harbeth M30.1's with the Quad in a medium size treated room & it's heavenly...As long as you don't listen at headbanging levels or try to fill a BIG room you will get only beautifully voiced music..
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I’m using Alessis Monitor One for my desktop setup.  
Classe SSP25 pre and Classe 25 amp. 
Whole setup cost me $1550 total. Sounds amazing. 
Denton 80th! Rival my Paradigm Studio 60 v4!
Yamaha near field monitors like HS5 are great and well below your budget max. 
I have the Quad S2, and at $1000/pr, imho, they are a steal. I use them as computer speakers, and sit about 2-3 feet away from them. They can be bi-wired/bi-amped, too.

Neat Iota is just what the doctor ordered.
All of the above are good choices, you will have to go and listen to them yourself.

On a different note, what do you guys consider "desktop use"? As good as, for example, KEF LS50 may be, that would have to be quite a large desk. I am imagining some computer screen on the desk, maybe some free space for writing, etc. Where does the amplifier go? I thought a "desktop use" would be, size wise, something like this...https://www.sony.com/electronics/wireless-speakers/cas-1
Underwood Wally here has those Scansonic MK5's for $479.00..They look like a killer desk top speaker but the small size won't scale up like the Dynaudio's or Dentons which could move to a larger listening room...
Without a doubt & without hesitation, Burchart S400's. I have then sitting on an 88" Gladiator butcher block workbench in my audio room.. That is just about perfect for stereo imaging and no subwoofer, its not necessary. I am using Prism Sound Callia (DAC) and PS Studio M700's. Reason for that is they are 4-ohm speakers but you would not know it seeing how they are being feed 700watts i think.. There is only 1 pair of speaker terminals so obviously you cannot bi-amp or else i would.. Mads Burchart, who is owner operator of Burchart Audio in Denmark and he is quick to respond to your emails although you have to figure in the time difference. If they are out of the color or product you want he will knock some off for the wait.. I am very pleased with the speakers and i ordered them without listening to them..         
@mrdon 

How far away do you sit from your S400's? Mine would be fairly close to me, in a 9' x 8' office. I am definitely intrigued though and would power it with either my PS Audio Sprout100 for now or my Anthem MRX510. 
These have a 10” square footprint (big for computer/desktop use) but they’re excellent coaxial near field monitors with good bass extension

https://www.adorama.com/fafx8w.html?utm_source=rflaid913479
My 2 c.
In your situation I would go for powered speakers. Anything mentioned above is a worthy choice but since your space is confined why bother with an amp at all ? With your budget you can get some top of the line near filed powered speakers from the likes of Genelec, Neumann, Adam, Focal, Dynaudio. No worries about amp up to the task or potential upgrades, less cables, less space overall IMO better SQ. All of the ones I mentioned are common for Pro applications and there must be a reason for that. Each have their own character, they all tend to the analytic, more so the Genelec, less so the Dyns. all of them well within your budget.
Good luck ! 
@jbmac75 @stevecham intrigued by the Denton suggestion. I looked them up. Only $499 at MD which is far below my budget. Not a bad thing. Have you compared them against the LS50?
Edifier powered speakers, like the R1700s (bought a pair for my daughter and when I finally heard them I was amazed)...about 150 bucks, and they sound astonishingly good to my cynical audio perfectionist ears, and seem very well made.
My prior post should reference my Paradigm Studio 20 v4. Sorry. I am actually quite impressed with the quality and sound these Dentons deliver. Never tried any KEF (yet).
Zeos has a review on youtube of the Buchardt S400. According to him they aren’t really appropriate for nearfield, too diffuse sounding and preferred coaxial Kef R3.

Which reminds me of my experiment with using Revel M126BE and Revel Gem2s nearfield. Neither worked well. I believe speakers using large waveguide designs measure well in the midfield (2 meters or so) in terms of dispersion and look competitive with a coaxial design there but not once you move into the nearfield since they aren’t a true point source like a coaxial--a lot of the output you are getting is from reflections (direct output of the tweeter reflecting off the waveguide) which gives an excessively diffuse sound nearfield resulting in poor imaging.

This doesn’t matter in the mid-field because by the time you are out of the nearfield the majority of the sound you hear is reflections anyway, so I believe there’s sort of a minimum useful distance for large tweeter waveguide designs of at least several feet.

To me the ultimate nearfield monitor is a 3-way coaxial. Obviously if you aren’t budget limited, Kef Reference 1, Genelec 8331/41/51 or TAD ME-1 would be my first picks. But on a budget Kef R3 (or older R300) is probably the best. A 2-way coaxial isn’t quite as good because midrange excursion causes some doppler shift which affects the frequency response--unless you are listening at low SPLs (< 75).
@seasdiamondUnfortunately the Ref 1 would be a bit outside my budget but the R3 is right in my wheelhouse. Not sure how they would perform near field but I would be able to return them if I don't like them so that is another consideration. 
I believe you can buy kef r3 at best buy magnolia which has 14 day return policy. They also sell kef ls50/lsx/ls50w so u can certainly compare them directly at home if you wanted.
Wharfedale Denton, quite a balanced speakers for near field and mid field, save the money for a powerful amp ready to drive your speakers
3 votes already for the Denton - sounds like a popular, affordable desktop speaker. I'll have to look into this... 
@seanheis1 Another good candidate. Reviews so far seem to think that the LS50 Wireless is an overall better speaker though (though it is more expensive). The LS50W would scale up better for future uses as well. 
+1 @ seasdiamond 

good advice.

Don't sell your Anthem 510. Whatever speakers you choose, having them on a desk means you absolutely need a correction tool. Arc2 is really good. Reflections make it impossible for any speaker to produce a flat response. Best is if you can place the speakers on stands in front of the desk.

Personal favourite desk monitors at the moment are Kef 201/2, ATC 12, Quested H108, Lipinski 505, Monitor Audio Studio. All crossed at 100 Hz to a sub for fullrange. Indeed very nice listening. Looking right into the recording.

Heard the Kef R3 and it's a very fine but for my liking a little too polite or should I say sofisticated speaker. Like the LS50 (wired or not). Too much bass. That was only a first listening and your opinion may vary. Liked the R7 much more. Fine balance. Perfect (but polite) speaker for the price.
Ended up finding a good deal on the LS50 wireless and took the opportunity to give those a try. I'll post thoughts when I get them. If I don't like them, I think I can sell them rather easily at the price I got them so there is low risk to me. 
Get a pair of Klipschorns and suspend them on wires above your desk...it might not be exactly what you had in mind, but in MY mind this setup fosters an interesting image.
KEF LSX. Just great sound and no clutter.  KEF LS50 are too big.
@chiptech10 Will see if that is the case when I get the LS50W next week. If it is, I may consider the LSX then. People do seem to be very impressed by them. 
Another option to consider if the KEF's are too big.  Well under your budget and takes the amps out of the equation also. Connect one of the "small" streamers like the Node 2 or Aries Mini or even a Chromecast Audio and you are good to go.  

https://vanatoo.com/shop/speakers/transparent-one-encore/
"I can power the speakers with either a PS Audio Sprout100, Anthem MRX510 or something I may buy in the future."

You might want to sit tight for just a bit. In the near future PS Audio is going to be coming out with a "Sprout speaker." I have been curious myself.

Here is a preview of the concept as seen in this video. https://www.psaudio.com/askpaul/how-many-drivers-should-a-speaker-have/
@genez Yeah I follow PS Audio's instagram and they have shown the enclosure for their smallest floor stander as well. Very interested in what they are going to come out with but should we be a little cautious that they are new to the speaker game? 
Paul McGowan used to be a part of Genesis Speaker company. Arnie Nudell and him were close friends. Arnie was the one who designed the giant famous Infinity IRS speaker system that the editor of Absolute Sound loved. Paul understands speaker construction very well...   Personally,  I have my eye on this Sprout Speaker and am considering them when they come out. 
I use Revel's M106 monitors.  

The previous model to the M106's are the Revel M22's which also sound very accurate.


How much room will there be on this desk from the corners and rear wall? You’re going to get potentially huge (distorting) bass gain from most speakers designed to be free standing.

A safer choice might be sealed box or at least front-ported speakers, which will be less affected by this positioning. Maybe something like the ATC SCM7 if you have a beefy amp.
I had a pair of Totem dream catchers that I wish I would have kept for just that. 
@lovepianos 

Revel M105 would be much better than the M106. Both use a 2.3KHz crossover point, but the M105 is a 5" woofer whereas the M106 is a 6.5" woofer. To get the same directivity as a 5" woofer with a 2.3KHz crossover the 6.5" would need to be crossed over around 1.5KHz!

Very predictably the M105 has the better measurements:

https://i.imgur.com/EVbiW75.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/V0jSgnb.jpg


My Harbeth P3ESR in my workstation are about 4' from the ears, and imaging, dynamics, musicality are sensational. If you go active, try Equator D5.