budget towers? $500/pair

I am a novice in the knowledge of world of high-end audio equipment. I am looking to buy two very budget-minded towers that will fill a small/medium sized room for movies/music. I have a set of yamaha HS80m studio monitors along with the matching sub, and I am very happy with how these sound within a 5' foot range (i.e at my desk mixing music etc). However, these speakers do not seem to have a room filling sound any farther away than a desk seated position in relation to them on account that they are near-field monitors. Does anyone have advice as to whether or not I should stick it out with current monitors or upgrade to a 2.1 tower config for movies/music and if so which brand/model?
Another option, NHT 2.5i. A pair is for sale for $529, but I've seen them go in the $400 range. Great speakers, especially at that price.

Take a look at your local craigslist. Good stuff does come up occasionally. I got my NHT classic fours that way for about what you want to spend.

Check out tsto.com

Michael does a great job with close-out pricing on floorstanders from Mission,Wharfedale and Mordaunt Short all for less than $500.
If you can stretch your budget to around $ 750 (with a bit of bargaining), try to spot a Polk Audio LSi 15. Forget about the Polk name, this is a serious speaker that will compete with many 2 to 4K ones and beat them. An absolute steal for the price. Read up on it...
vandersteen 2c and 2ci are in your range. Read some reviews about these speakers, and about 1st order crossovers and time and phase alignment. You would be hard pressed to get better sound for the budget than a used Vandy. Don't expect a looker...the cost is in the drivers and the sound, rather than a cabinet.
I agree with Tpreaves and Tompoodie. Also check out these small towers: Aperion Audio Intimus 4T Tower Speaker, Boston Acoustics CS 226, Energy RC-30 tower.
Would anyone recommend Wharfedale Diamond 9.6's? Transnova posted a good link to tsto.com and those are on there in my exact price zone.
Go to Audio Advisors website, many good towers at discounted price, here's one for Athena's:

Look at these right here on agon Legacy Super Satellites,forget tower speakers
How big is your room and how loud do you listen? Vandersteen 2C will not tolerate high volume for long periods of time. It will cause permanent damage to the crossover. It's an inherent problem with Vandersteens.
I have not heard the 9.6,but have heard the 9.4.I found them to be very good for their price(especially for the discounted price).I found the Mordaunt Short 914 to be even better.They are a little more forward sounding.I like their detailed presentation.I purchased a similar pair of MS bookshelves for my wife's sitting room.
its the larger living room section of my finished basement. It is about 16x36 ft. However, the focal listening area is on one side of that room's dimensions so about 16x18ft.
There's a guy here and on ebay named Lanemart that has Wharfedale 9.6 NIB for $450. I haven't heard them but that's a good price. Tsto.com wants more $ for 9.4's.
The dome midrange looks interesting on the 9.6 as well.
If anyone has heard these can you please comment.
"Vandersteen 2C will not tolerate high volume for long periods of time. It will cause permanent damage to the crossover. It's an inherent problem with Vandersteens."

Have you informed Richard Vandersteen of this?

Have you informed Richard Vandersteen of this?

I was thinking the same thing,Hesson11.
I'm sure it's something he'd want to fix, pronto! It's probably something that has escaped his notice in the 33 since the speaker was first produced.

tsto sells the 9.4 for $299.I am not affiliated with tsto in any way other than being a long time customer.They are one of my favorite local stores,especially for introducing younger folks to a decent pair of speakers at very affordable prices.
I think I'm really leaning towards something like those wharf 9.6's. Just worried about not being able to audition the speakers i've been looking at. I think I'll try to settle on the speakers with the most detailed sound and tight bass from what I read around. Would be very disappointed to buy a set of floorstanders and get a very "meh" experience from them, but I guess you get what you pay for if you aren't careful researching sometimes.
I had some older Wharfedale Diamond 8.1's in a second system, and liked them for what they cost me. They do a couple of things very well - rich and tuneful midrange, and good spatial presentation. Their biggest sins are sins of omission - a slight lack of sparkle on top, and of course as a for smallish stand mount there is a lack of deep bass.

I have heard the 9 series Diamonds and they are better in every way than the 8's - same compelling midrange, but better treble and bass and less coloration from the cabinets at higher volumes. The 9.6's are a good bargain, better speakers than most of the other new speakers listed here for your budget - maybe comparable to the PSB's, and would give some (much) older Vandersteens 2's available for that price a run for their money. Of course, garbage in, garbage out of any decent speaker, and better associated gear will be rewarded with the Wharfedale speakers.
Thanks! I found a set of paradign millenia 200's on amazon for 548 shipped new? Which is kinda strange bc they are nearly a grand on tsto.com.
Pretty different design than those wharfs, better or just different sounding? I can imagine the low end will be weaker with those on account of their size and freq rating, but Im not apposed to getting a sub eventually. Thanks again for the info on the wharfs. much appreciated!
Energy made a speaker that was very similar to the Millenia 200 called the Take Tower.I own a pair.They are terrific for Home Theater and are at their best with a sub.Anothe store near my home (World Wide stereo) was closing them out for $129 each on their website:


Of course if you don't mind a couple of dings, there is a pair of NHT 2.9's for $650 avaiable here, link below, now that's value --> http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrfull&1276805149
perfect solution, buy a used pair of vandersteen 1c, very,very nice speaker for 500.00 and thay will sing well with average electronics. can not think of a better speaker for your price range.
For two channel audio,you would probably be happier with many of the speakers suggested here(both used and new)than a more video/home theater oriented speaker.Good used such as the Vandersteen 1C suggested by Dmastri is always good "bang for the buck." Discontinued,Close-out and Demo with full warranty is another great option.I would recommend the Wharfedale 9.4,9.6 and the Mordaunt Short MS 914 over speakers such as the Millenia 200 0r Take Tower if listening to quality 2 channel audio is a priority.The sound will usually be more balanced and richer thsn with a theater oriented speaker whose design goals were slanted towards asthetics and the inclusion of a subwoofer was assumed.

Matching center channel speakers can be found for most all of the suggestions on this thread if you branch into full blown home theater.There are anumber of affordable subwoofers(such as the Rel T series)which are designed to mate with full range floorstanders for both music and movies.

If accurate music reproduction is a primary goal,I would opt for a speaker that was designed for first and formost for listening to music.

While there are some exceptions such as the Definitive Mythos STS,these are usually not inexpenstve.A used pair of Mirage OM-6 with built-in powered subs could be the ticket for an affordable double duty system.
Paradigm does make very good affordable music oriented speakers as well.They would be a nice purchase if you can find good used or demo...
much appreciated advice! and yes, 2 channel music listening is the priority so thank you very much.
Chek out a new listing here for Wharfedale EVO30 towers. These sound good to my ear. Well balanced with good bass and a touch of warmth. This guy is asking $475 that's a good price. The cabs on these are great. Real wood veneer with curved sides and very nice finish. You could do without a sub with these.
Disclaimer: I do not know the seller but I have heard this model speaker.
Hey....there's also a pair of Martin Logan Preface towers in the auction here. They have a ribbon tweeter that probably sounds good, with lots of detail. I haven't heard them though. If anyone knows these please give us some info. The auction starts at $400. Audio Advisor has em on sale for $998. Again, I do not know the seller.