Help chossing a good speaker. $ 3-5 K

Hi guys: Need some help. Trying to buy a good pair of speakers. I listen mostly to Classic, Jazz and some Rock from the 60-70's. The room is small (13 * 10 * 9). I have a Mc MC 352. I have looked at Harbeth (M30, SHL-5), ATC (SCM 19, 35 and 40) and Dynaudio Confidence C1. I'm looking for clear, non congested sound. I do have a REL strata III on hand that I could use to extend the lower frequency if a feel I need it. I usually listen at no more than 75-80 dB. Thanks in advance.

PS: this is a review/opinion based blind purchase. Dallas is an underserved City and the ones I have auditioned are too expensive or I did not like.
Clear and dynamic-Klipsch Cornwall's. They work well with McIntosh. Check out for the McIntosh forum.
Nice amp and will get a ton of suggestions on AK.
your room is small and I'd probably try some monitor speakers. You can plug in your sub for the low end, if you feel the need but the room boundaries will emphasize bass and the sub most likely won't be needed. I'd spend some money on treating the room acoustics. Cornwalls are huge and too big for your room. I used to own a pair and they need some room to breathe. The clarity of sound you seek will be heavily influenced by your room acoustics, ac power quality and your source-front end component.
I think the Dynaudio C1's (used) would be an excellent choice for your room. I have a pair and are great for near field listening. I also have a Rel B3 sub which is the icing on the cake.
Aerials 7Bs sound quite good with my McIntosh. The 6Bs or 5Bs I think would work fine for you as well. You'll be substantially under $3k used.
KEF Reference 201/2. Love KEF for natural clarity and musicality. Good fit for your room size and can be found for $3K new.

How did you like the Harbeth M30's? Given your room, equipment and musical tastes I think you will be hard pressed to do better. I ran a pair of Compact 7's in a 11 X 11 room some years back and they had plenty of bass for that space. I think with the M30's you could sell the sub and invest the cash elsewhere in your system to really bring out the best in your speakers.
With the the Mac gear, Klipsch all the way, how about in that price range some Belles? will sound great.

Harbeth's are awesome too.
Agree with Dodgealum.. Based on your room size, musical taste and budget I'd try to hear the Harbeths. After many speakers, I bought the M-30's blind, and think I'm finally off the spearker merry-go-round.

The Harbeths are great for classical music yet I was surprised at how good they are with Rock/Jazz. As dodgealum says you may not need the sub. The M-30s seem to have more bass then their specs show. Vocal & acoustic music is natural and there's no fatigue.

The M-30's are the best monitor I've heard for low level listening sessions. I really wanted to hear the Dyn C-1, but never had the opportunity.. Good luck.
The CarderSound Tybone v2. ( +-$4500) 4.5" Full Range Driver/93 db/42 hz.
These double mouth horns sounds wonderful, transparent, dynamic and extremely detail. Soundstage and image is on par with the best.


Omega Super 8 Alnico XRS ($3500). No need for sub with these beauties.

Both extremely easy to drive.

I'd also recommend monitors. I'm not a Klipsh fan - to me they are an acquired taste. I'd also go used. I don't see the point in buying speakers new.

Harbeth is an excellent recommendation. I've always thought that B&W was inferior to KEF. I'd also recommend Spendor. To me, they are top-of-the-line sound in monitors, and there are several pairs on Audiogon well within your price range.

I'd stay away from the really esoteric brands. That way, if you're not happy with what you buy, you can sell them more easily and get something else.

Dali Helicon 300 $3000 (ribbon/tweeter combo with 6" woofer)
Focal 1007BE $4500 (beryllium tweeter with 6" woofer)
Usher Be-718 $2700 (beryllium tweeter with 7" woofer)

All of these speakers have great midrange with extended and deep soundstage. Paired with great electronics you can get great sound.
Usher Be-718 are excellent.Huge bass for a monitor so you wouldn't need the sub. They love power, so you'd get great response from your MC352.
The models listed in your post are all excellent choices. I'm a biased Dynaudio fan, but would be happy with any of the speakers you listed.
Have you gone to see John Fort and listened to any of the Vandersteen line here in Dallas? His store is nothing special but, he is the best audio dealer here in D/FW, IMHO.

Crystal Clear Audio carried Totem the last time I was in there (been a long time). I like the sound of the Totem monitors. If you can get past the owner's, what I sell is better than what everyone else has opinion then, it might be worth a trip.

Good luck.
Thanks for all the input. I'm leaning towards the Harbeth's or the ATC SCM 40. The later is a three-way, sealed enclosure that doesn't go down too low. Doe any body here has any experience with 3-way small floor standers in small rooms? I think that the fact that is not ported may help?
KCS SEAS exotic equipped monitors. No one else offers $2200 worth of electric parts in a all green non Chinese sourced loudspeaker. For $3999 you get a heck of a lot or quality and performance for funds outlayed. And loudspeakers are built in the US. Not imported.And shipping's included in US 48 so again more savings.
Yes check out John's KCS SEAS for the money damn their good
As a satisfied owner of Dynaudios C1 I shall shout for them. I never regret the purchase.
In your circumstances, I'd spend my first $1k on a $350 bass buster and a $600 Velodyne SMS 1 sub controller (room analyzer, PEq and active x-over) which will allow you to optimize your REL for your room and acheive a smooth blend with the main speakers of your choice. IME, once you get it right below 150hz in your room (and the SMS-1 with Bass Buster is IMHO your best shot at that, particularly in a smallish room like yours), the rest is a relative piece of cake! You will have a ton of good choices at the remaining budget of $2-$4K.

Actually, many of the recommendations above sound like pretty good ideas to me. The smaller Ohm omnis (model 100 at app $2K or Micro Tall at $1K) would also work well in your space and are appropriate for your taste. However, IMHO, my 100s (paired with Velodyne subs via SMS as per my recommendation) sound best when played north of 90db. Ohm provides a money back offer with purchase so your risk is hedged.

Good Luck

Just to correct my previous post, I meant to say that IMHO KEF is inferior to B&W.
no brainer!

A) Dynaudio Confidence C1

B) Usher BE-718

C) and now a ringer> the S.A.P. Audio "Trio"

they love tubes and are perfect for your tastes.....will blow away Sonus Faber Auditors!


Phase-correct, 3-way, full-range monitor
1” Piezo horn super-tweeter
2" S.A.P. cone horn-loaded tweeter
Dual 5" S.A.P. full-range drivers
8" rear-firing, “tuned” passive radiator
Frequency Response: 40 Hz - 40 kHz
Sensitivity: 94 dB/1 m/ 1 watt
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms

My favorite mini monitor works great with a good sub (which you have). The ProAC One SC with Target stands. Very dynamic, musical, disappear in a room as good as the best out there, but very inefficient. If you have a high powered amp the One SC will blow your mind. I have never heard the Dynaudio C1 or the Usher BE-718, but have read great things about them also.
If choosing between the ATC and the Harbeth M30 I'd go Harbeth. The ATC is really too large for your space and, going on my memory of the ATC 35 from which the 40 is based, is nowhere near as good a speaker as the Harbeth, particularly through the midrange.
In Plano, go to High End Theatre and Audio to hear the Vienna Acoustics line, particularly the Beethoven Baby Grand. They're at 972-208-4382.

Audio Concepts on Preston carries ProAc, which is another excellent speaker, my second choice to the Baby Grands. They're at 214-360-9520.

Don't do a blind buy if you can avoid it. DFW has several good dealers, IME.

Thanks again. I have narrowed my choice to harbeth vs ATC. Dodgealum showed little entusiasm for the ATC. I undertsand that they maight be a little too big. The only reason I though they might work is that it is a sealed enclosure. The mid range has great reviews. Could you elaborate a little more? With regards to the dealers in Dallas, I have visited some of theme. I heard the Viennas and at my price range I did not think it offered a signifincat improvement over the JM Focal Cobalts 826 that I just sold. Have not heard the proacs. May try to do that today. The Wilson Benesch at AUdio Concept are great but above my spending limit.
Thanks again. I have narrowed my choice to harbeth vs ATC.

Either will make a great choice and should make you happy.

IMHO, Harbeth's excel at lower volumes with a lovely midrange and warm delicious sound. ATC's prefer to be driven harder as they have a very precise tight punchy bass (sealed box low Q). Depending on your music tastes and how well the room is treated one may work better than the other.

ATC's midrange could easily overpower a small untreated reflective room without carpet - too harsh - so vocals and pleasant sound may favor the Harbeth. However if you want detail in large orchestral classical pieces or big band jazz then ATC will probably carry the day. Horses for courses - remember Harbeth's tend to be used in broadcasting and drama and excel in speech intelligibility and natural non-fatiguing sound whilst ATC's are more like a race horse (rock, movies soundtrack and classical monitoring).

Are your listening preferences more towards going for a nice pleasant enjoyable trot in the countryside or do you want the exhilaration of tearing around the race track? Or put another way, if you like drums with a kick drum and crash that sound like the real deal then ATC will float your boat (for others it may drive them from the room...)
Thanks Shadorne. Do you think I will need to crank the ATC's volume up to more than an average of 75-80 db to get them to sound good? That would definetly be a problem for me. That is my average listening level and I do want to get good/decent orchestral/symphonic sound that is not congested and grainy.
small room! Well, it looks as if you have narrowed it down, but if you are still open to suggestions,I would probably look at Tyler Acoustics new offerings. I have been extremely pleased with his Linbrook Sig System, and he has smaller floorstanding monitors that would be a good match. He told me that his newest offerings (Decade line) are a better match with tubes. I may try a Mac MA2275 with my new D2's. I demoed a bunch of items before purchasing my Linbrooks, and for the money, nothing I demoed at retail was close.
Do you think I will need to crank the ATC's volume up to more than an average of 75-80 db to get them to sound good?

Sincs you have a sub you will be able to compensate for teh lean bass response of ATC at low volume levels. However, I think that ATC 40 will be overkill if used this way. Why pay for something with typically less than 1% THD at very high SPL levels if you only ever need to listen at modest levels. I'd go with Harbeth's for your application.

FWIW - your concern about congestion might be related to your room (most any speakers perform quite well at such modest SPL levels). Unless heavily treated with acoustic panels, a small reflective room will tend to sound congested with most any get a "claustrophobic" of cluttered kind of soundfield. So it might not be a speaker issue at all...
Musicfile: Yes check out John's KCS SEAS for the money...

Website, specs, reviews? Thanks.
The Proac D2s should be considered, amazing sound, very transparent with great bass. Must be heard! There is a review in Absolute sound you can check out.
Spendor S8e. Great speaker. Very very clear with excellent imaging. I've had mine for about four years and they're the one component I've never considered upgrading. They like juice, so your MC352 ought to pair well.
Thanks again for all the good advise. Shadone I agree, I think the room has a lot to do with the "congestion". I think I may go Harbeth at the end. I wish I could listen to these speakers but even if I could, it would be at the dealer's room where they may sound better or worse. Elctronics, room dimensions, room treatments, etc will be different. I'm not sure how valuable it would be. Ideally one would be ablt to test them in ones room and decide but not very many dealers will agree to that. On the other hand I want to buy used and it would not be fair to them.
You really cannot go wrong with the M30's. There are many, many speakers out there and a large number of monitors that would "fit" in a small space like yours. However, there is only one speaker that I can recommend without reservation given the parameters you have shared--the M30. ATC makes some nice speakers--the larger active monitors are capable of producing an extremely convincing portrait of large orchestral music and can rock like crazy. However, IMHO, the SCM 40 is 1) going to be too large and move too much air for that space (I wouldn't even recommend the smaller SCM 35 in your application) and 2) the Harbeth is simply a better speaker--regardless of the room limitations. The ATC will sound like hifi in comparison to the Harbeth which will sound real and alive. The Harbeth is also less fussy about what you put in front of them and where you place them. If the choice is between these two speakers, given your room, system and taste in music, it is a no brainer. Now, are there some other small monitors that you might like better? Perhaps--I can't account for your taste. But your biggest issue is the room. I've set up in a lot of small spaces and the one thing that I can recommend to you is that you NOT try and go too deep. Your room cannot sustain frequencies below a certain level--say 45hz--and if you overload the room with bass from a larger speaker (or your subwoofer) you are not going to be happy in the long run.