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...
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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).
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
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..
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 !
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).
+1 @ seasdiamond
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.
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.
"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/
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.
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.
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: