So you don't even like the LS3/5A's? Those have been my go-to small speakers for 40+ years! And for contrasts I have KLH Nine ESL's, plus two pairs of Quad 57's.
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A two way box on a stand can, like all catagories of speakers, can be great or not so hot... Just like the Golf GTI was a great car in it's catagory, was it a Porsche, Lotus or a Ferrari...well it wasn't trying to be. A great dark beer from Capital Brewery or Anchor Steam are great beers, are they Dominus or Lafite...well no....but they are still great beer.
I think it very much depends on what type of music you prefer. I don't find them satisfying on any type of large scale music. Orchestral or rock sound very weak and a sub doesn't solve the problem. This type of music requires a large woofer that plays above the subwoofer frequency range to sound right. A small woofer can't provide a realistic punch. I think you need at least 8" and 10 or 12 is better.
On the other hand, if you listen to smaller scale music, I think small monitors and a sub are fine. I find them nearly indistinguishable.
Add a sub and they sound just as big as a floor stander.
This is pretty much what I have found.
I have some incredible DIY (with close to state of the art drivers and x-over), sitting on a woofer module, and they sound as big as any 3 way floor standing speaker.
Now mind you, the woofer module is NOT a subwoofer, it is a true woofer. The 2-ways are being crossed over at 200 hz, and the 10" woofer module takes over from there.
Something to consider with small 2 ways on stands.
-Not all two way monitors are the same. Some are amazing, many are just OK, and some are pretty bad.
-Without bass reinforcement from a PAIR of subwoofers they are not going to surpass the sound of good floorstanders.
Disclaimer: I design and build state of the art monitors with powered subwoofers for red carpet clients.
If your only tool is a hammer, everything is a nail, right?
I've tried probably a half dozen speakers, including some small monitors and larger speakers up to Klipsch Heresy in my small computer room and none of it sounded great.
I picked up some Harbeth P3ESRs and that's when the magic happened. I have a small sub in there and it's the perfect setup for that room.
Would they be as good in my main system? Even though it has better components, probably not, the room is just too big. I haven't tried it yet, but it would be a fun experiment.