Budget speaker selection help

I am trying to set up a second system with some vintage components... Sansui 9090 receiver and a Pioneer PL-10 turntable. The music will mostly be classical and light jazz records at low to moderate listening levels.

Anyway, with a $200-300 budget for speakers, I would appreciate any opinions on experiences with the following...

Axiom M3Ti
Paradigm Atom
Athena AS-B1/AS-B2
Epos ELS-3

I have read all the reviews out there on these speakers, but would appreciate some first hand feedback.

How about a pair of Vandersteens ?
I must recommend a pair of old Paradigm Mini Monitor MkIII for the list. It goes for around $200 a pair. It's the best performer/$, IMO.

My opinion is that the Paradigm Titans are better sounding than the Atoms, and only a few bucks more. The Atoms, while possibly having a flatter frequency response, have very little bass response. (I.e. almost none really).
I prefer the Titans because they have at least "some" bass response, especially at low listening levels.
(Some people have stated that the Titans can sound a little "boomy", but at that level, I would rather have a little more LF response, than none at all. IMHO.)

I would therefore recommend the Titans for a secondary system. (I use them in my bedroom, and they sound pretty good.)

I have not heard the others on your list, but I have read that the Epos are supposedly pretty good.

Good Luck in your search!
I have the Atoms, which I am using for surrounds. Iin spite of very positive press, i think they are a little thin in the midrange and the bottom end is a little "tubby". They are okay for my home theater surrounds, but not for listening to music. I would encourage you to look at the others. Good luck!
I cannot offer you feedback on the noted speakers (although I know the Epos are pretty well regarded), but would suggest you add Phase Tech to your list. They offer great 'bang for the buck', especially on the used market. I own a little pair of PC-40 speakers that I used as 'upstairs' speakers for quite awhile. Even though they were bettered by the Harbeth's that replaced them, they didn't give up THAT much. I've heard a couple of their other speakers which also left favorable impressions on me.
I heartily second the Vandersteen recommendation. I feel that you get significantly more music from them than with any of the minis you are currently considering. Besides, once you factor in the cost and space necessary for proper stands, many of the advantages of the smaller speakers disappear.

The speakers on your original list are all well thought of. A couple of other good options would be the B&W DM303, new or used and the Ruark Epilogue, used.
I've heard the Axioms, the Vandy 1s, and the Epos, and I now own the Epos. My biggest issue was my 12x12 listening room. Any speaker with too much low end just overwhelmed the space. The Epos are great down to about 50-55hz and then roll off rapidly - perfect for my room. The Vandys were just too much. The Axioms I heard in a different space, but liked the midrange on the Epos a lot better, probably due to the first order crossovers in the Epos.

Siliab is correct that you'll need to factor in the cost of stands (I'm using 30") but I was able to buy the Epos and stands used here on Audiogon for $250 shipped.

Used the EPOS ESL3 with a vintage Marantz 2240 receiver and felt that they sounded boxy.

In your price range and a real winner with vintage receivers are the NHT SB1 (list $300; Audio Advisor has an open box pair for about $150). The key is that the NHTs are acoustic suspension speakers, which have a more natural sounding bass than ported speakers. I used the NHT SB2 with the Marantz and a Music Hall CD 25 cd player and the sound was excellent.

Be careful of the Axiom's as they have a fairly forward sounding treble. Have heard the same about the Athenas.

Regards, Rich
Give these a try. Ascend Acoustics 170s.
Thank you for your responses... Very interesting read. Does anyone have experience with older Thiel speakers? Particularly the Thiel SCS speakers (circa 1995)? Someone if offering to sell me theirs at a great price.

Besides the mentioned Thiel, I am leaning towards the Epos... I know the Vandersteens are nice, but my wife will not allow floorstanding speakers (even though they are about the same size as monitors with stands).
My brother in law just bought some used Thiel CS.5 speakers. They are pretty small floorstander, and yet sound pretty decent for the money. (Not a lot of bass, but they image well and the frequency response is pretty flat.) You could do worse that is for sure. He paid $600 for them from a local Audiogon seller.

Good Luck in your search!
Kick the wife out and get Vandersteens!
magnepan is your best bet