Adam Audio . Number one in the Pro Audio sector . Very flat response . All around great speaker .
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You have quite a few to choose from in that price range...
I've owned KRK VXT6 and JBL LSR4328. I've heard Focal Solo6. I currently own K+H O300D and Neumann KH-120A.
All are over your budget except the KRK VXT6. I used it in a desktop office system. In hindsight the VXT4 would have been sufficient. The Neumann KH-120A is a little past your budget, but is the best small speaker I've heard.
I've heard very good things about Mackie HR series.
So... brands I suggest are KRK, Focal, JBL, Mackie and Neumann. Of course, there's Dynaudio and Genelec.
Like I said, lots of choices.
If you are looking used, NHT M00s should also be considered, at well under that $$. In fact, you could probably do a sub and a darn good DAC w the M00s for under $1K. That's what I have on my desktop. M00s, a passive attenuator, HRT DAC and a powered sub. If it were any better, I'd never get any work done ;-)
The KRK Rockit line is a level below the VXT. I see zero reason to have an 8" driver sitting on a desktop.
How much do you really want to spend?
If you need to stay on the low end, then JBL LSR2325P would be a good choice.
You might want to visit the AudioStream web site. He's reviewed desktop speakers... http://www.audiostream.com/category/desktop-component-reviews
PSB has introduced a powered (not active) desktop speaker. That may be more what you're looking for.
I use small M Audio monitors in my home studio and a larger pair in my kitchen as a Sonos zone. Neither is truly an audiophile type product, but both are good performers that do yeoman's work in their respective application and IMHO represent excellent value. I preferred both to the KRK Rockit models and the Sampson models at the same (sub $500/pr) price points, FWIW.
I'm willing to go up to $1k, but if I can get the job done cheaper, so much the better. Above all, the desktop monitors have to be sweet to listen to -- an harmonically rich and detailed midrange, non-anemic midbass and a non-fatiguing high end. In other words, musical. Good imaging and air a big plus.
There are several powered monitors in the Emotiva Pro line that fit your budget and use a Heil AMT-type folded ribbon tweeter. I haven't heard these Emotiva monitors yet, but I've heard several speakers that use some variation of this tweeter by GoldenEar and MartinLogan. The treble on these is airy and extended, yet smooth and totally devoid of the resonances, ringing, and overshoot so common to certain pistonic dome tweeters.
Here is another recommendation for the Emotiva AirMotiv speakers. They are active speakers, having their own built-in amps. The AirMotiv 5s are $449/pr. and the AirMotiv 6s are $699/pr.
The main difference between the two models is in the woofer size, 5.25 in. vs. 6.5 in. The 5s go down to about 53 Hz and the 6s are good down to about 43 Hz. Both have the Heil-inspired folded ribbon air motion tweeter (AMT) which is a very good tweeter indeed.
Emotiva offer a 30 day in-home trial, so you might want to go ahead and order a pair and see how they sound in your home. Because they are self-powered (and bi-amplified!), you could conceivably put together a very satisfying system with the AirMotivs and something like an Oppo BDP-103 ($499) universal player. And/or, connect them to a decent sound card in a PC.
For right around $1,000 - $1200 you could put together a very credible, musical sound system that would satisfy 'most anyone...