A lot of small studios use Mackie speakers.
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You will definitely want to look into the Shelby+Kroll Nano Monitors. Most of Tim Krolls sales go to recording studios and you may still be able to get a pair of B stock for $1300.00 or so and Tim has a 30 day money back guarantee in the unlikely event you decide to return them. These speakers have gobs of detail without ever sounding fatiquing.
with the exception of purchasing his woofer monitor to compliment the Nano monitors, I'm officially off the audio merry go round now, That's how much I like these speakers.
I'm well aware this line is thrown out as often as The N.Y. Yankees are predicted to win the World Series but The Shelby+Kroll Nano Monitors perform WAY above their price point, and with the exception of a little bit of advertising on Agon to liquidate their B stock the only people I'm aware of that own these are two other people in N.J. so I'm going out on a limb here saying these are a hidden gem that very few people have heard so I think they qualify as "sleepers" that haven't got a whole lot of publicity.
Value is a relative term. You might be wise to look for well-known company speakers that have been passed over by average, less value-conscious audiophiles. When you go to sell them you won't have to re-list them endlessly. I'm referring to companies like Hales and Thiel. They have products in their line that were quickly superceded by a newer product. I have seen items here that I would happily buy at the prices asked, but how many speakers does one audiophile need? No need to answer that, the question was rhetorical.
Thanks - keep the responses coming.
BTW - lots of studios have at least one pair of typical consumer speakers (car speakers in a box were popular for years). This is to check the mix on an average system. While I plan to set up some inexpensive speakers for such purposes (the Mackie's might do well for this, even though they are "pro-audio"), the goal is to find a really great pair of speakers (the Shelby+Kroll's look very interesting).
GoldenEar Aon 3. I've heard their Triton 2 towers and their Heil-style folded ribbon tweeter is both very resolving and smooth. The conventional drivers are fast and integrate well with the tweeter. GoldenEar is Sandy Gross's most recent brainchild. He was co-founder of Polk and Definitive Technology. It's a 7-inch 2-way augmented by passive radiators. About $1K pair list price.
If there's a dealer in your area, I recommend you listen to these before buying anything. I'm not saying they're the best at that price, but I suspect they're serious contenders for what you seek.
Evolution Acoustics MMMicro Ones, an incredible monitor including stands for $2500/pair! I have listened to them at several T.H.E. shows and have always left the room very impressed with the incredibly musical sound and frequency extension for such a moderate sized monitor. Personally, This speaker embarrasses the Magico Q1's selling at several thousand dollars more. Check out the Evolution Acoustic web site for pictures and details. Disclaimer; I sold my MAXX 2's in favor of the MM2's I was so impressed with what I heard .
I'm a bit skeptical about giant killer speakers just because I can also listen to a more modest system and be impressed and find it enjoyable. I have a HT system composed of mid-fi speakers from a brand that sells both mid-fi and high end. I can put a CD in the blu-ray player and enjoy the music. It sounds great. So why do I hang on to my costly stereo system? Simple, the sound and the detail are way beyond the next level. I lived without my good stereo system for a couple of years while in Europe. I used a mid-fi system and really was thinking about selling it all (the hi-fi) when I got back, but then I listened to it when I got home and was hooked all over again. The music is just too liquid and the detail so engaging. More modest systems are fine for a while but I get bored with them in a short period of time. I wouldn't buy a speaker without hearing it first. I also lean towards professional reviews only because the reviewers have the experience of hearing so many brands and types and can quickly pick up on the cues separating the great speakers from the good ones. One last comment: The law of diminishing returns. The cost goes up quickly for smaller and smaller gains in sound. More discerning listeners with the means are rewarded with the highest standards obtainable.
Well...I am going to go more mainstream than most of the posters here and say that , generally, the two best selling speaker brands in High End history --- Magnepan and Vandersteen --- are so successful because they sell great sounding, high-value --- and I emphasize high value --- speakers that are robust, last forever and, when a problem arises, these two firms back their product. There is a reason these giants have lasted decades and still sell strong as johnny-come-lately after johnny-come-lately speaker after speaker goes out of business. Also Martin Logan is a high value brand too.
I hadn't even considered benchmarks like Magnepan, Vandersteen , or Martin Logan - thinking everything they made was too big (and too expensive) for this project.
Some surprising finds:
Magnepan Mini Maggie - a bookshelf ribbon speaker! About $1500 (includes sub)...I need to check these out.
Vandersteen VLR1 (about $1k pr)- bookshelf with coaxial driver.
Martin Logan LX16 ($800 pr) - bookshelf with folded ribbon.
Thanks Robsker! Now to find somewhere around San Jose where I can audition these.
If you're thinking of stretching your budget, consider the NOLA Boxer ($1500) and the new GoldenEar Triton Three ($2K).
Oh wait! I just remembered my own speakers now available on an insane closeout, the Mirage OMD-15, a reasonably sensitive floorstander presenting a reasonably easy load, with a modest footprint, honest timbres, and room-filling sound. These originally listed at $2500/pair and sounded it. Now they're on closeout. Get the rosewood finish and save another $200. I've had a pair of these for 3-1/2 years and love them. At $800 they're insanely good. I paid twice that and have no regrets.