Usher S520 is a good budget choice.. about 300-400 used
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Most definitely no...entry level Paradigm offerings such as atom and titan are extremely rolled off...dont know if this is purposely to entice one to try their better monitor or studio series...at any rate...try athena as bi budget speaker...great detailed tweeter...behaves like a much more refined product...dynaudio 40 nice too....
Thanks for the suggestions, people.
Phasecorrect - i used to share your view of the atom in its original inception back in the day and have disliked paradigm since then...
I heard the atom v6 at kromer in Toronto, paired with marantz's new entry level integrated and entry level cd player. I noticed that the atoms were the most revealing of the speakers in that room (all in the same price bracket). Boston acoustics had some reasonably good speakers in the 330-350 dollar mark and so did Mordaunt-Short. However, the atoms seemed to pull out more detail, treble energy and air than the two aforementioned speakers. Believe me - i was shocked.
Having said that, maybe I should should try speakers from B&W and a few others that I 'don't like' as well. May be in for some pleasant surprises.
I have an offer for a pair of Epos M5's, but i'm not sure if those would fit the bill either.
for all i know, i should just spend my money on changing out flooring in my apartment, since i believe the carpet is what's actually sucking the life out of the music.