Changing to bookshelf speakers. Recommendations?


Looks like I'm moving in with my girlfriend and in the process am going to need to replace my floorstanders (Focal Chorus 836V) with bookshelf speakers. Unfortunately her cat thinks my floorstanders make a good scratching pole (ugh.....).

So I'm looking for some recommendations on bookshelf speakers in the 2K-5K range that provide enough reasonable bass in a medium room (15x15) that I won't get angry without having a subwoofer. I do listen to more rock but am not a big fan of "bright" systems nor do I listen at concert levels (but on the louder side from time to time).

My front end consists of:

- Muse Model 3 Signature Preamp
- Muse Model 160 Power Amp
- Quad 99 CDP2 CD Player (which will probably get upgraded to a muse product in the future)

As you may notice, I like Muse gear.....

Speakers I've thought about:

- Usher BE-718
- Focal Electra 1007Be
- Totem Mani 2 Signature
- Amphion Argon 2 Anniversary (or new Argon 3)

Anyway, any thoughts?
dsutfin
I can whole heartedly recommend the Ushers. Easy to drive, great bass response for a small speaker, and beautiful highs. Add great looks and youve got a winner. Of course, all your choices are nice-Good luck.
I used to catch my cat doing the same thing. I put a scratch pad next to the speaker and he prefers that instead.
Consider adding Dynaudio C1's or C3's to your list.
Toss Proac D Two onto the pile.
qm gurus--pretty amazing wallop for their size
I'll second what Tbromgard says about the Usher's. Having owned them, and presently owning Focal JMLab BE Micro Utopia's my guess is that you'd like the hard to describe unique quality of the Usher's to sound like a "much bigger speaker".
Easy- Harbeth HL5. Will sound superb in that room. Try to audition it. I know the distributor will send you a pair of speakers to try out!
Vik
Perhaps give a listen to the Paradigm S2.

Good luck!
Thanks for all of the input guys! I knew this was going to be a tough decision to make give the sheer quantity of different types of monitors being produced these days. Fortunately I live in Chicago and you can find almost every hifi manufacturer's gear at one of the dealers in town.

I will admit, I always have been intrigued with the British manufacturers mentioned (ProAc, Harbeth). The way their sound in described (good timing, fluid, etc) has tended to be how I prefer my system.

That's why I've always loved Muse gear. Some people say the gear is on the "soft" side, but it's just so fluid and listenable. It's like great tube gear without the hassle, and it's really reasonably priced for what it is on the used market.

Other gear that I've owned and initially enjoyed (monitor audio, cambridge audio) just sounded way too fatiguing after awhile. The soundstaging, resolution and air was really nice, but after while it just didn't matter as much to me.
Based upon your last post, Harbeth SHL5's should be on your short list.
DeVore Fidelity 3XL!
I do listen to more rock but am not a big fan of "bright" systems nor do I listen at concert levels (but on the louder side from time to time).

I will admit, I always have been intrigued with the British manufacturers mentioned (ProAc, Harbeth). The way their sound in described (good timing, fluid, etc) has tended to be how I prefer my system.

Other gear that I've owned and initially enjoyed (monitor audio, cambridge audio) just sounded way too fatiguing after awhile.

Look at Proac D Two and Harbeth SHL5. The Proac will be more dynamic with extended high-frequencies while the Harbeth will be slightly warmer, have sweeter highs and lower levels of listening fatigue. Both are revealing and have good timing. From your description it seems that the Harbeth may be a better choice for your listening preferences and priorities.
I have a Celestion SL700 based system in my bedroom and built a system for a friend around Spica TC-50s. Both are excellent.
Heard the HL5s recently and was impressed as usual. Have the Compact 7s which are also great speakers.
If you are midrange oriented, you will get the midrange of much more expensive speakers with the Harbeths.
A bit out of left field - Lenehan ML-1's. They have just replaced the Usher Be-718's in my second system and are truly remarkable standmounts. I recommend visiting the Lenehan website which provides a lot of technical information about their speaker building philosophy. The only issue will be the difficulty to audition before purchase. I took this gamble and it paid dividends, however.
I second the Lenehan ML-1 suggestion. I took a chance on them and have really been blown away by their performance
I just got some vintage Dahlquist DQM 5's

Oh my!! they are good!!!

I would check out vintage Dahlquist's for sure..

Good luck!
I have heard all those you listed and know the LSA1 Statements to be better. Since you say bookshelf speakers and these are all stand speakers, I assume this is a useful recommendation. I have a very nice home system but am going to be spending 4 months a year in the mountains of northern NM and am taking LSA1 Statements for use there.
The Lenehan ML-1's are outstanding! Solid State amp really drives these with authority. The bass is SO SO tight and everyone believes that there must be a subwoofer somewhere in the room. NOT, just the little ML-1 bookshelves from Lehehan. Soundstage is huge and decisive! Custom Paint is beautiful.