Budget minded bookshelves

I'm beginning to build my budget college setup (I'm a freshmen) and am really confused when it comes to speakers because there's just so many choices. I already have an Onix SP3 MKII integrated amp and a Fubar II USB DAC. Right now I'm looking for some decent bookshelf speakers in the $3-350 range used. That price does not include shipping. Any ideas? I'm looking at mainly B&W DM602s and PSB B25s. Since I'm around 150 miles from any kind of dealer auditioning isn't an option -- but I'm okay with buying and trying, and selling if necessary. None of the dealers I can find have any "low-end" stuff in stock.
There is a really nice pair of Ascend Acoustics CBM170
for sale right now on Audiogon, they are listed as
'ASCEND CBM-170, award winning'
What about NHT Absolute Zero. Keep in mind a sub at some point.
Thanks for the suggestions - I'll look into all of those mentioned. I mainly listen to rock and folk, if it makes any difference. I prefer a more forward sound with lots of sound stage. None of my music uses too much low stuff.
You can also check local Craigslist - I bought some good stuffs for your budget - speakers costing over 1k originally.

This way, you can hear it first and see if you like them.

PSB is a good name to look for - I like mine.

Other ones you might want to consider are :

Paradigm studio series


NHT zero is a good speaker but as it was stated, really need a sub. Your dorm mates might not appreciate a sub though - low sounds bother neighbors...

I wish I had your system at that age - sure beats what I had at back then...

I used DM602 s3 with my tube Primaluna PL2 and was not thrilled. Sound was a bit dull and not as rich as i had hoped. Bought a pair of Triangle Comete's and wow the sound is full and rich (as best it can be with bookshelfs) and a nice top end.

A friend was over the other day and he was very impressed with the sound as he listened to his heavy metal cd's.
Find some VonSchweikert VR1s. You can find them for a bit over your range, around 400 or so. Very efficient at 90 db, wonderfully smooth crossover, easy to place in any room and sound good, can place close to wall with a really small rear port. Fairly deep bass for the size (down to about 45-50 hz) and a smooth tweeter. Amazing sound stage and imaging for the price. I have a pair I was using in my small living room system with a 100 w amp and it cranked. They may not be quite as forward as you might like but you should consider as they sound so good with rock, acoustic, folk, bluegrass, jazz.
The Von Schweikert's look appealing.

I'm wondering how I'd get a sub attached to my system with the NHTs as my amp doesn't have a sub-out. I could plug the sub directly into my sound card on my PC but since I'm using a USB DAC it disables the sound card when in use.

And thanks for the input on the DM602s, after doing some reading that looks like a general consensus.

Also, I don't have any neighbors or anyone nearby that would care, so the music can be as loud or bassy as I want :)
it seems you'd want something fuller range, so i'd look at these within your budget:
acoustic energy evo (very dynamic, big bottom end)
canton gle (really nice--you can get 'em for around 300 at accessories4less)
All standmount speakers (and most floorstanding speakers) need a subwoofer. Many integrated amps to not provide preamp output jacks and fewer still provide main amp in jacks. NAD, Bryston and a few others provide both.

In cases where line level connection isn't possible, speaker level connections can be used. I personally think this is a poor choice for stand mount speakers, because you run the main speakers full range. But even in these cases a sub is worth having.

If I was building an inexpensive 2.1 system today, I'd use an AV receiver that has bass management and room mode correction. A few stereo receivers now offer bass management.

These are real nice. Too bad you weren't in the market for these this past summer. They were $200/pair.
I just saw a pair of Celestion 8s on Audiogon for $200. In the past I've owned the 3s and the 5s for second systems and been very happy. I've not heard the 8s, but at the price, you've got little to lose. My mother still uses my old 3s. They sounded quite good just the other day.
You can't go wrong with NHT. The SB2 or Classic Two
can be found used here on the gon, and would fit you budget.
Vanns has the Energy RC 10 on sale for $300 shipped.
Great little speaker for the money.
In a weak moment, I regretfully sold mine.
If you're really lucky you might be able to find a pair of Paradigm Studio 20s here, on eBay, Craigslist (much less likely), etc. They can occasionally fall through the cracks for less (I got embarrassingly lucky w/ eBay a number of years back) and are pretty spectacular for that price. I also think both the PSBs or VSs would be a really good find if you can find 'em at your price point. That part's all a crap shoot, and you may have to lurk for a while until you find a decent deal at your price.
I would recommend four different speaker choices for you.
1) Epos Els-3
2) Usher S-520
3 )Triangle Stella
4) PSB B25

I would also probably get a better DAC. You can get the VALAB USB DAC on ebay for $200. That's about $50 more than the Fubar, but it is much much better. I've had both.

All the above speakers should work with the tubes you have, and I think you would be happy with any of them. I have the Epos right now and for the $200 I paid for them they do so many things right. They are amazing for the price.
I found some Paradigm 20s for 400 OBO... should I bite if I can get them for $350 or less?
Scratch that - he just sold them. Bummer.
I didn't realize your integrated amp is tubed. You'll probably be happier with a speaker that has a smooth, flatish, impedance curve. Unfortunately, there aren't many that are designed that way.
i noticed someone (not me) on agon selling some mordaunt short ms30i for 150 or so. a no brainer at that price--very fine speaker from hugely underrecognized company.
ANYTHING from PSB. they make very good bookshelves. Also Epos and Usher. Neither of the two latter brands will leave you lacking and punch way above their price/weight.
Ive seen good Dahlquist's sell on Craigslist super cheap,like the 905's and such,even eBay.

They are very good speakers. In fact, I would take them over many speakers, they're smooth with good bass.
Just a thought.

Good luck.