Good Sound under $500

Hello All,
I'll get to the point, I'm downsizing and looking for a good sounding, inexpensive speaker to hold me over until I can get a pair of Proac 1sc or the newer D1. I presently have an Arcam AVR300, Oppo BDP83, Totem Hawks, Totem Signature 1 Center, HSU VTF2 sub. The Totem Hawks and Signature are going to waste because I live in a duplex and we share a common wall in our living rooms which happens to be 13x18x8. I've always felt the Hawks had a little more bass than I needed, I'm not a bass hound. But I do like a good solid detailed bass, The Hawks's bass is a little overwhelming and not very detailed. I went to a local audio store and listened to the Usher Tiny Dancer BE-718, an amazing sounding speaker but out of my budget now or in the future but it's sound was more of what I am looking for. Definitely different than the Hawks.

I'm looking for a decent stand mounted Speaker with clarity, imaging, and decent bass down to about 60 or 70 hz. The sub can handle the rest if needed. Is the size I quoted above for my living room considered small or medium?

Some I've been thinking about are:
Epos els3
PSB Image B6
Silverline Minuets (too small?)

To name a few. I've been reading the forums for the last month or so, this is where I decided on the Proac's but I have to wait till some come up for sale. Plus I will need a center channel speaker for these present and future speakers.

I listen to 50/50 movies/music, my musical tastes are Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton, acoustic guitar, blues, female vocals like Sarah Mclaclan, Bonnie Rait, etc.

I'm open to suggestions folks and thanks for your help.
ProAc Tablettes would be a great speaker for you ... the originals and MAYBE the 50's could be found in your price range.

I think the Tablettes are more solid state friendly then the 1sc so this may be a better overall choice with oyur ancillaries

Totem Model 1 would be another good choice.

maggie mmg
I would agree with jrinkerptdnet, ProAc tablettes are a good choice. Also consider a used re-foamed pair of Boston Acoustics A40's. I have the 1SC's, tablettes and the A40's. All sound good with solid state, but I run the 1SC's with tubes for a 'warm' sound. Stands a must.
you can never go wrong with paradigm (assuming they're in good operating shape, obviously). buy second hand, keep em as long as you need em, and sell them for little or no loss when you've found your "longer term" speakers.

jeff's suggestion of totem model ones would be great if you can find one in that price range, although i think they may be a little pricier. totem rainmakers are probably closer in price, but i can't comment on them.

the epos, eras, and silverlines you mention have failed to impress me IN LISTENING ROOMS (i.e., i have no real world experience with them). they all sounded small.

the paradigms aren't the warmest speakers out there, but your arcam will help that a bit, and, as you say, you have a sub to fill out the bottom end.

studio 40's would be perfect for you and the v2's come in around your budget. the studio 20's are really good, too, but i don't have any real experience with them.

good luck
Thank's Jeff and Dcrugby, I owned some paradigms studio 20's years ago. I believe back then I was using a NAD 973 receiver and I wasn't all that impressed with the 20's. I've also had in the past NHT's with a denon receiver and ran some Triangle Titus 202's with this Arcam. I loved the clarity of the Triangles but alittle thin on the bottom end. Jeff you feel the Tablettes sound better with SS than the 1sc? And here I was pretty sold on the 1sc's, oh well better to know that now than later. thanks. Maybe a better questioin would have been, what speakers sound great with Solid State?

I have two pair of Triangle Comete ESs in two different small rooms and they are coherent from top to bottom and are bigger than the Titus and do not seem thin in the bass to me. Great small speakers and well priced if you can find them.
Hello Jndean, I would also consider the Cometes if I can find a pair. I heard they had the bass that the Titus's lacked.
Ok, how about we up he anti. Let's raise the $ amount to 1500 or less? If any of you have listened to speakers using the Arcam AVR300, I'd like to hear from you.

Denon: Try the NHT Classic Three. Great little guys. They sound much bigger than their size. I think they went down to 50 or 40, can't remember. If you can, audition them.
Thanks JP, I would love to hear a set of the NHT's but I can't seem to find anyone who sells them in the San jose, Ca. area. I'm amazed that there aren't many higher end audio stores here in the Bay Area. I may have to go to San Francisco find a decent store. Go Figure!

JP, do the NHT classic 3's have good solid, detailed bass to them?

Denon: In my opinion, I think they're hard to beat at the used price point, all the way around. I think they're incredibly smooth and the bass is tight and fast...again..for the price. if you go to sfo, benicia, nht's home is a burb of sfo.
Check out the Magnepan MMG speakers. They are $600 new, and can be found for $400 used. They go down to 50hz, and sound lovely. Good resale values. Might spoil you though. :-)

Ascend Acoustics CBM-170
JP, I know NHT's shop is in Benicia, never been there though. I'll keep my eye out for a used pair. Thank you for the input. You as well manoterror, I would like to hear a pair of maggies, I've heard a lot of good things about them over the years. Cdc, I've read on here and in reviews that the Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1 is a much better speaker than the CBM-170, so knowing me I would be more tempted to get the latter. Thanks for the input.
Denon: I've always wanted to try out the MMGs, having read so many praises. But from all the posts that I've read about how diffucult they are to set up, I never bothered. I know I may have made that mistake, but I just don't have the patience, or time for that matter.
Whichever you choose, good luck.

Hi Denon53, your welcome. I rec'd the CBM170, as I have not heard the Sierra, and it is a fine sounding speaker. It's a well designed speaker on the clean, accurate, side of the spectrum.
I have always preferred drivers with a phase plug (except dome midrange like ATC) so that would be my reservation with the Sierras.
Thanks JP, I'm with you, I don't want a speaker that is too fussy with it's placement. I really don't want speakers sitting in the middle of my living room. Thanks Cdc, you've sparked my curiosity of the purpose of a phase plug. This is why I enjoy audiogon's forums, they help me advance my knowledge of the reproduction of music.

Denon53, you might want to start a thread about phase plugs. What I can suggest is:

1) Seas likes them because it reduces air pressure build up behind the driver so it moves more freely. May not be important if the x-over point is under 1,500 Hz.

2) I think the voice coil is NOT attached to the driver cone so it is lighter.

3) The phase plug is designed to reflect sound of the inner diameter of the cone so you get more even dispersion as the frequencies increase. Normally dispersion is less and becomes more directional as the frequency increases.

I have directly compared Seas Excel W12CY003 which has a phase plug vs. Seas Prestige CA12RCY (solid cone) and even though the measurements Seas Excel W15LY-001 (Nextel) vs. Seas CA15RLY like harmonic distortion appear worse with the phase plug driver, the Excel sounds noticeably better. It is more dynamic, more detailed, and more alive sounding. This has happened generally across the board with commercial speakers like Revel, Focal, B&W etc. But since the Sierra is over twice the price, maybe it is better in spite of the driver's inherent shortcoming, IMHO.

Again, dome midrange are a whole other league and worth asking about if at least for information's sake.
Harder to find these days, but the older Epos ES-11 and ES-12 are outstanding. Articulate bass, great midrange, treble and soundstaging. They only get better as you upgrade your amplification. These are under-rated classics that can easily be had for under $500.
If you were listening to the Usher Tiny Dancer and left the store,then you missed the best value under $500 the Usher S-520,its probably won more global awards than any other speaker and speaker history,its not hype either they really are that good.Others to consider are:

Wharfedale Diamond 10.2
Hsu hb1MkII
Arx 3
Your bass is a bit too strong and not too clear? From Totem Hawks?

Hmmm... Maybe you just need some bass traps in the corners.

Do you still have the Hawks' shipping boxes? To see if you need traps, take those boxes, stuff them full of wadded up newspapers, and stick them in the corners behind the speakers. If they improve the bass level and clarity, then go shopping for some real traps which will better control the bass while looking a lot better.
Tekton makes some great sounding monitors in your price range that are also very well built. I don't know how they do it for the very low prices they charge.
I've heard the Ushers you like.

Triangle Titus XS or Comete with sub used might give the Ushers a good comparative run but for much less in your price range.

I've run my Titus XS with an M&K sub and will say when dialed in the resulting sound is very big league and easily competitive with standalone speakers costing 5-10X as much
Any interest in a active speaker;those quad actives for 475 might be able to hold you over until you can get the speakers you really want.
Hello all, sorry I was gone for a few days. Many great suggestions since I've been gone. During my journey, I picked up another pair of Titus 202's, like I had before. I'm now thinking about swapping out my HSU sub for a REL T3 or T2 not sure which yet.

New problem, I just noticed that one of my Totem Hawks is missing the little Red Dot that is normally at the top of the tweeter, It must have slid off while I moved them into the other room. Does this little Red Dot really make a difference in the sound?