With the size of your room, why not go with a larger--and more refined--monitor? At the price range you're looking in, you could get a lot more for your money (especially buying used, and assuming you already have stands). Check out speakers from KEF's older Q (Q15 is great: look on eBay) or newer iQ lines. They're front ported (great for a small room) and have ~90dB sensitivity, which would work well with your Jolida. KEFs have a great, warm sound with a beautiful midrange that would suit your listening tastes ideally. I have a considerably more expensive pair of Vandersteens now, but I still miss my Q15s: they really got voices right. As I recall, they went to the mid-50s in the bass. Always sounded great in even medium-sized rooms. A step to floorstanders at the price you're considering would likely be a step sideways.
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Thanks, I hadn't really thought of going that way. I have Target stands filled with shot, so I'm good to go.
In terms of "a step sideways" with regards to the floorstanders...are you saying that the increase in low frequency response would be offset by decrease overall performance from my current Missions?
I do think the step sideways could be gaining some bass (that might not be all that well defined or might create room-interaction problems) while giving up some mid/high frequency refinement. For the music you listen to, I'd think a less musical midrange would be a big downside.
All the suggestions above are good ones, though I will say (though I love my Vandies) that the 1c probably wouldn't work in your room as you need to keep them away from boundaries and be able to sit 8 feet away from them (so the time and phase aligned drivers can come together by the time they reach your ears). Part of the reason I like KEFs is that they have a (more or less) point-source approach (tweeter mounted in the middle of the midrange driver) that gives them very even dispersion and great soundstaging--not very fussy in terms of where you sit in relation to them at all. Triangles and others, same thing essentially compared to Vandersteen--easy to use in the near-field.
The Vandersteen 1Cs mentioned above are an excellent choice. But for something a tad better look at the Meadowlark Audio Kestrels I have listed for $500.
Ok, so I'm biased. But I have owned the Vandys and they are good but for a room your size, the Kestrels are outstanding.
I was going to send you an email but thought why not be upfront with my shameless suggestion.
The Mission M72 is a much better speaker in regards to your observations of bass. I took a pair and Frankenstein-ed them with Auricaps, Audioquest Type 6 wire and rope caulked all of the corners and they were monsters considering I only paid $200 new for them. You might look for those or Frankenstein your M71s although I think the bass would still disappoint.
I just re-read your post, and noticed that you're driving the speakers with a Jolida 102b. That's a 25W amp.
Given that, I would consider Coincident Triumph UHS (monitor speakers). They're available used on the high end of your budget, maybe slightly higher ($600). But they have the sensitivity to handle the music you listen to with the Jolida. An alternative would be some used Klipsch speakers (you can find several models under $500 used).
If you sell the Jolida 102b and either upgrade within the Jolida family (ie, 302b) or switch to a high-value integrated (such as the Onkyo A9555 that's been getting a lot of press), then you'll find your options in speakers considerably wider.
Thanks for all the info. I've been looking into the Kef Q series since Ablang made the suggestion. Accessories4less.com (authorized Kef dealer) has the iQ3s for $300. On paper, I should get more mid bass with those and the price is right. As an experiment, I brought my B&W DM305 floorstanders up into my listening room and hooked them up to my Nuforce Icon. I didn't want to connect them to the Jolida because I've got a bad tube now. The Icon did a nice job driving the B&Ws but I lost a lot of the detail in the midrange and treble. I think I'll stick with monitors for that small room.
Incidentally, I used to own a set of Vandy 1B's. I think they'd totally overpower my small room based on the fact that the B&Ws seem to do so. I recall them being fairly laid back even though I drove them with a big old Carver M500T with 250 solid state wpc.
I have owned the Soliloquy 6.2's and I feel they are excellent speakers, but I don't think you could find them for $500. or less. I have also owned the Mission M71's which are VERY good for the money but of course they don't have the best bottom end because of their size and price. Another speaker I used to own, Castle Stirling 3's, are very good speakers with much better bass than the Mission M71's, not as good as the Soliloquy 6.2's however, and they can be placed close to the wall and are beautifully finished like all Castle speakers. There is a pair on Audiogon right now for $300. which is a VERY fair price. BTW I have no affiliation with the person selling them. Good Luck.