Looking for good bookshelf speakers less than $1k

I spend a LOT of time at my desk and want to upgrade my speakers, new or used would be ok.

My system is Jriver/Flac > Schiit Uber Bitfrost > NAD c356bee > B&W 601s2, and utilizing a Velodyne Impact 10 sub to supplement the bass.

Desk is 4'x5' and will be up against a wall in the family room. The speakers should work well on a desk really close to the wall. (the Revel M20 flush mount switch and high frequency control sounds like a good idea).

They probably should not be rear ported since they are so close to the wall?? And since they are so nearfield they should sound good with low volume, and I usually listen at lower volume anyway, but I like to crank it once in a while. I like a bit of a warm sound, however the B&W 601s2's are a little too warm and not much detail or bass slam.

I listen to a large variety of music with a huge interest in The Blues. Also listen to Jazz, Rock, anything acoustic, Indie, Alternative, Folk, Classical, Avantgarde.

My main system doesn't get used much since I'm at my desk most of the time. It's in a dedicated audio room. (Sony SACD 777ES > First Sound Presence Deluxe Mk II > Plinius SA100 MkIII > Von Schweikert Audio VR4->VR5).

TIA for any suggestions.
I have similar reqs. Adam F7 turned out terrific for me with no sub. Front ported. Active so no power amp reqd.
Totem Dreamcatcher is best low volume speaker I ever heard
and can boggie as well.
Adams would be a great solution I've heard them in a friends nearfield set up and they were excellent.
I'm not sure if I want actives or not, but I will keep the Adams and the like on my list.

Unfortunately I am unable to audition anything due to living about a 10 hour drive to a larger metropolitan area and have always been somewhat envious of others who live where they could just drive across town to listen to whatever they wanted to.

Having said that, I have not heard any of the speakers I have considered, and only mention these due to comments and reviews I have read that seem to jump out at me. Used speakers are the way I will probably go.

Dynaudio Focus 140
PSB Platinum M2, Imagine B, Synchrony Two B
Revel M20
Usher X 718
Harbeth P3 ESR
Ref 3A De Capos, dulcets
Sonus Faber Concertos
Joseph Audio RM7xl
PSB Imagine B
Spendor SA1, Spendor S3/5R2
Totem Model 1
Rega RS1

Any help would be very much appreciated to narrow this list down, or suggest something else that may work. I have been away from speakers for a while with a headphone addiction and if it would help to clarify my preferred sound signature, the headphones I really enjoy are the LCD 2.2, Sennheiser HD650 and AKG 712.

You can take the Harbeths off your list,they go for about
$1500 used. I have owned the Spendor SA1 ,Harbeth P3ESR and
Spendor 3/5R. If you are looking for warm sound the Spendor
3/5 (original)would go for under $700. I am not familiar with
the others on your list. Happy hunting!
Thanks Yogiboy and others who have given input. I could stretch my budget to $1500 if it was something that really impresses me and looked like a speaker to keep for a long time, a speaker to listen for extended time periods at fairly low volumes (occasionally cranking it up) and never feel fatigued. (however I would prefer to keep it around $1k or less).
Brand new Factory refurbed OHM Ls are an option worth considering. I bought my pair in 1978 when they sold for $500 a pair. I still have them and refurb and upgrade them as needed. OHM has been around for over 40 years and still supports every speaker they have ever made. I think the refurbs from OHM go for $600 now. Those are refurbed cabinets with new modern updated components to bring the sound into the 21th century.

Check the OHM "outlet store" here:


I see a pair available for $475 there currently.

The CAM models there also got a lot of good press back in their original day and are worth a look.
Thanks Chrshanl and Mapman for your input. Could anyone describe what happens when a rear-ported speaker is placed within a couple of inches of the wall, (probably with some toe-in as well), so I know if I definitely have to rule them out? On my 4' x 5' desktop the speakers front baffles will be approximately 4 feet to my ears so the speakers pretty much have to be very close to the wall.

I just had a thought, I do have the option of placing the desk so it wouldn't have to be up against the wall. I would be facing out into the room, instead of facing the wall... Hmm? Then it seems rear ported, or not, it should work...
You'll get generally get more bass reinforcement close to the wall with rear ports as you will with any speaker. You generally would not want to go flush or even very close against the wall and obstruct the air motion through the port. That would limit the bass levels. Not to say that might not be desirable and sound better even in some cases. Generally, it is just not a good idea to fully obstruct the air motion through the port.

The main downside of placement too close to wall in all cases is early reflections from the wall that smear the soundstage. Its more an issue at higher frequencies though and not really an issue at the lowest frequencies handled by ports though. Some speakers might be designed to be placed close to the front wall and still control or avoid early reflections. A lot of speakers designed for "bookshelf" or near wall placement are this way. Nowadays, many small speakers are designed to go on stands aways from walls rather than close to walls or on bookshelves. It was much more common in years past.
Thanks for the explanation Mapman. I plan to use the current orientation for new speakers. The rear inside of the speakers are within an inch of the wall and the rear outside is about 6 inches from the wall. They are toed in with the tweeter leveled off directly at my ears about 4 feet away.

I believe that space should give a rear ported speaker a little room to breathe. And I could easily hang some acoustic material on the wall which should break up some of the early reflections hopefully maintaining most of the soundstage.

The list of possibilities has shrunk, (a little bit:). Some I have been considering in the $1500 or less, (as always I raise the $ bar once researching), category are some model of these:

Acsend Sierra
Ref 3A
Harbeth P3 ESR

Another I have not heard of is Selah which some have high regard for. Anyone have any experience with those?

TIA to any who have input on these, (or others)!
Hard to beat the small size and band for the buck of the KEF ls50s but I think most of the home audio speakers you identify are designed to perform best on stands with some distance from walls. Not to say they might not sound very good still otherwise, but...

Have you considered any pro active monitors? That is where I looked recently for the most compact and cost effective solution to use on an office desk or shelf. Check out amazon Guitar Center, or anyplace that sells pro studio gear for many options there.

Audioengine active monitors are popular in these parts as well for cases like yours.
Well, I found a smoking deal on the LS50's and HAD to get them:)! I'm very impressed initially, however I will withhold judgment until 200+ hours burn-in.

When first set up, my desk was facing out into the middle of the room and they had an unbelievable spacious and deep soundstage. However out of necessity I have had to place my desk up against the wall:( Unfortunately, as has been said, the sound stage suffers.

I am now looking into some sort of acoustic material to hang/tack onto the wall behind the speakers as well as pulling the desk away from the wall a few inches in the hope of regaining some of the stage and depth.

Can anyone recommend some type of acoustic panel ~ 5' x 2'?
That looks like good stuff Roscoeiii. The speakers are about 4 ft apart and will be up off the desk to be level with my ears, which would put the tweeter at ~ 18", (Top of speaker is 2 ft off desktop). So it looks like I will need a good diffusion panel about 4 ft wide and at least 2 ft tall.

I will be considering GIF, RPG, Acoustical Solutions, Core Audio Designs, Auralex diffusion or other.

Anybody have any thoughts on QRD vs Q7D vs skyline or whatever for this situation?

TIA, I really appreciate the input I get from this forum.
I can recommend the auralex line available on Amazon for good value, quality and effectiveness as advertised.