Confused!


Slowly piecing together a respectable yet reasonably (for me) priced system. Right now, it's about the speakers. Was looking for a budget yet legit bookshelf, and landed on the Polk Rti-a3's and Elac Debut B6's. 

The Polks have a great clean sound, more than enough low end, and sizzle on the top. In fact, too much sizzle. I like things crisp, but not burnt. Where's the midrange?

Enter the Elacs. Andrew Jones, rave reviews, should be a sure thing. Great low end, fantastic middle, but missing some crispy goodness. After the Polks, sounds like someone threw a wet blanket over them. A day with them on their own though, I'm beginning to like them more. A lot more. Although, still finding that I'm twisting the evil treble knob that I shouldn't have (new amp day comes later) clockwise.

Finally, a question. Is there a more Polk-like B6, or a more B6-like Polk out there for less than $700? Should I stick with the Elacs and fiddle with placement? They will be forced to be close to a wall, about 1 foot give or take. I'm about ready to return the Polks, there's just not enough in the middle to handle riffage.

Room is about 12 x 13. Front end is a 10+ year old Yamaha HTR-5560 run in stereo mode and an Onkyo C-7030 CD player. No 'table in my future, I sunk my early retirement funds into CDs starting 30 years ago, can't comprehend investing in vinyl. Music tastes are mostly rock, punk, indie rock, blues, metal and its several subgenres, and a good sprinkle of jazz and polka. Speakers will be on stands.

Help!
iron57
Iron the B6 are superb speakers, I used tube amps, and ss plinius.what cable are you using?
Nothing too fancy here, right now I’m running Blue Jeans 10 AWG. Also Blue Jeans RCA cables from CD player to amp.
Everything about your Elac sound problems seem like speaker placement and room issues to me.   The Elacs don’t like where they are sitting.   Either pull them out from the wall or get some corner bass traps and see how it goes after that.   Where is your listening position? Are you near the back wall?   You might need corner traps to fix the bass.  You could have bass build up that is taking away your highs. 
I own a pair of B6s for occasional fun with a smaller set up. Not knowing how new yours are, they do benefit from some break in time to open those highs up.  I found that 30 hours on them at healthy volume, say played at an average 80-85 dB at 10 feet did the trick.
Try this.....take 2 of your coats ....place one each on the floor in front of your speakers.   If you like the sound, get a couple of inexpensive rugs instead of the coats.
Thanks for the suggestions, last night I boxed up the Polks and took them out of the equation. With all of the A/B switching, I was driving myself nuts, and suffering from analysis paralysis.

I put the B6's back on the stands, and left them for an hour or so. Came back to them with fresh ears, and I'm really starting to like them. I moved them out from the walls a bit (they are on two different walls, either side of a corner. Listening seat is equidistant from each speaker, on a couch, which is in front of 3 windows). This non ideal setup doesn't have much room for changes, due to furniture placement.

Will do some more adjustments tonight. Thinking the advice is spot on, they are too close to the wall, and likely sending some extra bass waves out. Not so offensive that things are too muddy, but enough to cover up some high end detail.
Post removed 
Thanks, definitely looks interesting!
Check out some pre owned KEF LS50’s
KEF is having a sale right now on the LS50---$999 a pair.
How many hours of playtime have the Elacs had?  I wouldn't judge most speakers until at least 100 solid hours on them. 

To your point, only about 15 hours or so. I optimized placement a bit more last night, and let OK Computer loose on them. Very, very, good. Heard some things from that album I never have.

I'm not going to guess if it's mental trickery with my ear to brain wiring, or a physical speaker wiring break in, but even after the first few minutes things started to develop within the same session.

I'm starting to see why these things get the reviews they do.
Interesting things happened tonight.  I went from pulling out some CDs to test the speakers analytically, complete with mucking around with incremental changes to volume and placement. And then it turned into something else entirely.  I started putting in albums that I wanted to hear...

...because I was digging the listening experience. 

Went through a good few classics (to me) with a good few 2017 Celebration Ales.  Hell, even the kids came up and connected with this modest system.  The six year old told me that "Shine on you Crazy Diamond" was CREEPY, but to keep playing it.  So I did.

Ugh, I'm up too late for a school night. 

Aww f-it, I'm calling out tomorrow!

The Elacs are on the road to being fantastic. Keeping these damn things, thanks to you all for the advice.
I’m confused — why not just get the Elac UB5? 
Entertaining post Iron57. This is what it's all about. 
You are correct noromance, this is what it's all about.

FYI, I did take the day off. Spent a few alubum's time in the space, and still continuing to grin. 
I completely agree with your B6 findings. With all respect, they are boomy and bloated in the midbass and sound rolled of and closed in. We compared them side by side with a pair of Gallo CL-2’s I bought on closeout for $390 and it was not even close. The Gallos were MILES better. Because of that I ended up selling the Gallos for what I paid and buying the CL3 on closeout for $650. Very happy.

Back to your question. If you want nice monitors in that range, I would look at Dali, Gallo (if you can find them), Sonus Faber Chameleon B. I also like the Martin Logan Motion series - if you can find B-stock or used Motion 35xt they would also be a great option.

If you want to go B6 cheap, I would look at the even cheaper Affordable Accuracy Monitor from Philharmonic. Many prefer them to the Elacs and say they are more open sounding, neutral and detailed with very good bass for the size. They are a whopping $210.
Can I be blunt here? With all due respect to fellow audiogoner @clarinetmonster2, the B6's are almost universally lauded and appreciated by most peeps in the community. Are they perfect? No. He's trickling down Tidal speaker tech into a $229 monitor. But they DO present and bloom like few others within $1K of their price point.

Yes, there are many speakers that could be better: Gallos, Dalis, Triangles, Dynaudios. But for $229, you're going to get a beautiful monitor at an incredibly good price that will respond to placement and components accurately.
Well, I wouldn’t say universally. Plenty have found flaws with them similar to what I describe. Don’t got me wrong, they sound fine for the price, but his design choices sonically left me scratching my head wondering what all the hype was about. Maybe I heard a defective pair, who knows. I am willing to give them another listen if I get the chance. I'm more interested to hear his Andante line though.