Lots of detail, great imaging, not much bass?

Since my o.p. didn't go through, here's the short version...

Looking at possibly buying a pair of great imaging, loads of detail, low bass (as not to bother neighbors) speaker.

Budget $700-?

Front end is Classe Ca-150, lightspeed attenuator, parasound z dac blah blah blah.

Musical tastes: rock, house music, jazz, female vocals...

Want great imaging, detail and bass I can hear, jusy not bass the neighbors can hear!

Suggestions? Totems? Silverline minuets? I'd prefer to buy used since I'm looking for lots of bang for the buck!

Mucho Gracias!
You might want to check if you have enough gain in the system because of a passive volume control. The next speakers that you get should have a sensitivity rating of at least 90+db.
I faced this issue when I introduced the Promitheus TVC in the system. But as soon as I changed the connection between the TVC and the amp to XLR, things fell into place. Enough bass to shake the entire house! The reason was the amp now sees, for example, 0.8V instead of 0.4V, since there are 2 legs (+/-) in the XRL connection. So I am getting a nice gain at lower settings of the TVC. In your case you simply cannot do this, since you have no XLR at the attenuator output.
You might give consideration to a used pair of Triangle Cometes.
Thanks sandstone! That was actually another pair that I've heard about here and was considering also.

Thanks for the input Milpai, but I think you might of misunderstood my question; I'm looking for a pair of speakers that image well and have good detail but have low levels of bass, as bass is what is going to travel through walls and bother neighbors. Sorry if my question is confusing!
My goodness, B. If you want those really low bass notes, you have to have the right set up! My 800wpch. monos hit the spot. I have a neighbor who's a real a-hole too:)
Amphion Helium might be good in that situation also.
Headphones, my man. fuhgeddaboudit!

Let get this straight --

You DO NOT want a lot of bass.

You DO want detail and imaging.

With a budget of $700 for used, I would recommend you listen to some smaller Proacs, maybe some of the Tablettes and if you can find a 1SC (great speaker) near your price level.
Hi B_limo,
As Milpai implied, you'll first have to work to getting good gain from your system
(generally, avoid passives) - this will enable your system to open up/come to live
better with just minimal volume.

Then, look for well balanced speakers/monitors that will play nice and full at lower
levels - usually good efficiency ones.

Hence this way, you can do away from disturbing neighbors without sacrificing much
from enjoying full range sound.

From original post (as perceived from your request), you'll likely be getting many
recommendations of speakers with tendency to be tilted upwards having limited bass
~ you might want to avoid this. Good luck!
I think a perfect pair would be a used set of Silverline Preludes. Superb bass but won't bother your neighbors as it is tight but not ultra deep, excellent imaging and beautiful with female vocals, and can be found in your price range.
"With a budget of $700 for used, I would recommend you listen to some smaller Proacs, maybe some of the Tablettes and if you can find a 1SC (great speaker) near your price level."

That would have been my first choice but I think it will be hard to come by used and within budget.
There are a pair of Paradigm Studio 20s active version (built-in amps) that would be *perfect* for your needs. All you need is a preamp or universal player with volume control to drive them, Seller is asing a very reasonable $800 for the pair...


I recommend auditioning the GoldenEar Aon 2. They retail new w/warranty at $800/pair, so you can probably get them within budget, but they need stands.

They are a good match for your needs in several ways, including your driving electronics:

o Unlike most small speakers, they are fairly sensitive at 89 dB. The passive preamp shouldn't be a problem to get reasonable listening levels.
o Their recommended amplifier power is 10-200 watts, so they can absorb a lot of power from your Classe amp.

In addition, they have a fast but extremely smooth folded ribbon tweeter responsive out to 35Khz. This indicates a very fast rise time, which translates into upper treble detail that helps define images and soundstage, not to mention getting the full spectrum of overtones that define timbral accuracy. The GoldenEar tweeter is a revelation; it is so devoid of overshoot and ringing you'll realize how much of these distortions we've been trying to ignore up to now.

The bass/mid driver is likewise very fast and responsive.

The front of the speaker is small and tapered to make for better imaging. The cabinet has no parallel lines to minimize cabinet resonances. All these factors contribute to better detail and a lower noise floor.

They are capable of good bass without being gassy, and stand-mounted speakers will not leak bass to the neighbors as easily because the bass waves won't be reinforced by--and travel along--the floor so much.

Rave reviews abound for these speakers. Many are for the big brother Aon 3, but they share the same design and exact same tweeter. They are also widely distributed so you should have little trouble getting auditioning them. When you do, however, make sure the dealer hooks them up to high quality electronics; the speakers are so affordable some dealers hook them up to a mass market receiver, and when that happens, the Aons reveal the shortcomings of the receiver.
You asked in your other thread about the Totem Rainmaker. Audition them if possible; 4 ohm but easy to drive, detailed, tight bass, very impressive. About $1000 I think.
Von Schweikert VR 1
I've been through quite a few models of bookshelf speakers over the past few years. I've had a couple of NHT models, a couple of PSB's the Epos Epic 1 and for the past few months, I'd kind of settled with 3 speakers that I was rotating in and out of the system, the Harbeth P3, the Kef LS50 and the little Silverline Minuets.

The Minuets are fun speakers. With the right music, they really can do some magic, but you have to be aware that they can fall apart fast with the wrong material. When I have them running, it's not uncommon for me to put something on, smile, shake my head and just think...nope, they are just not going to pull that off. Remember, this is a little 3.25 inch driver in a very small cabinet. However, with most stuff and within volume limitations, they can produce some wonderful sounds with a nice little sound stage and tight imaging and that is what has driven me to keep them despite also having the Kefs and Harbeths.

Just this past week, I've had a new speaker come in that is starting to give me everything the Minuet does but on a larger scale. It's a single driver Omega Super 3XRS. The speaker is still breaking in, but it's really starting to sing and I'm starting to think that this may be the one that brings me to selling all the other speakers. It's that good.

Being a single driver design, it does run out of steam earlier than the Harbeths or Kefs, but can handle bigger and louder music than the little Silverlines and would be a great speaker for those not looking to bother their neighbors. The detail and imaging of them is the best I've ever heard in my room by a good margin. If you have a way to hear them locally, I think they'd be worth a listen as they do make models in your price range.

That said, one thing I've learned is that the state of small speakers these days is so good, it's not hard to find something that sounds good, in fact, it'd probably be harder to find something that sounds bad as long as you go with one of the well recommended models.
Since I just got into a couple of pairs of Minuets, I have to give a plug for the Silverlines. They have good bass, but they don't go low. Just for reference, when I run a sub for music that would benefit from it, I run my sub crossed over at 55hz, although I have been running the Minuets without the sub for the most part.

The funny thing about the Minuets is that you can spend time with placement, setting them up to sound their best; but I've also found that I've been really hard pressed to make them sound bad. They sound good no matter where I put them. Mine are sitting on shelves in an entertainment center.

I've had Paradigm Studio 10s and 20s and in my room, the Minuets sound much better. They put out a nice sound stage and have yet to hear them get edgy. I know that this is said a lot in reference to small speakers, but these really do sound a lot bigger than they really are.

For your budget, you can get a pair of Minuet Supreme Pluses brand new. You might also want to consider the ERA D4 and D5.
All the stars are aligned with your electronics for you to just pick the speakers you want, we just had a shoot out yesterday at our monthly Ason audio society meeting of a hand full of small book shelf speaker from $400 to $4.5k and the Silverline Minuets came out on top, judged by a around 25 people, all so called audiophiles. I was surprised just how full bodied they were for the size.
The sensitivity 2.1v of your Z dac is a great match for your Lightspeed Attenuator and the Classe's input impedance 75kohm and sensitivity of 1.5v so you will have an abundance of spare gain, it is also a great match for the Z dac and Lightspeed combined.

Cheers George
I just got back from the Newport Audio show and if you can stretch your budget another $100, there was the Martin Logan Motion 15 that made more than adequate bass and sounded pretty good for a monitor. Actually more than pretty good. I don't know how it would sound in the long run but if you can audition it, it might be worth it.

The sound attracted my from out in the hall and at first I thought it was their electrostatic panel speaker with the built in sub playing.

All the best,
Magnepan MMG!

$500, money back guarantee with return, purchase direct from manufacturer!

Will not disturb people next door! Plenty of detail, imaging, and great midrange.

A no brainer choice!
Tekton should be on your list to consider.
06-02-13: Nonoise
I just got back from the Newport Audio show and if you can stretch your budget another $100, there was the Martin Logan Motion 15 that made more than adequate bass and sounded pretty good for a monitor. Actually more than pretty good. ...

The sound attracted my from out in the hall and at first I thought it was their electrostatic panel speaker with the built in sub playing.
The Martin Logan Motion series uses the same type of folded ribbon tweeter as the GoldenEar products. This is a very extended and natural sounding HF transducer, and works well in both products. Emotiva also uses them in their powered monitor Pro series, but since you have a Classe amp, I didn't mention them. Point being that this 21st century realization of the Heil air motion transformer is gaining some traction in speaker design.
What is house music?
The sound it makes as it settles in the night.
Seikosha, you mentioned ls 50's which is one I forgot about but also am intrested in; how do those stack up against minuets? I'll check into those omega super 3's also, thanks for the tip!

Seems like minuets keep coming up...

I'm a little surprised triangle cometes didn't come up...

House music: booka shade, hernan cattaneo, james zabiela...
Hi B_limo,

First thing about the LS50's is that they are way over your $700.00 budget, even on the used market. Out of the speakers I have right now, they are probably the most inappropriate for your requirements. They like to play a little louder than the others, they sound the "biggest" and they have the most bass. They also seem to be fairly room sensitive as well, not so much for tonal balance but for proper imaging; getting that center image "spot on" for me is trickier with the LS50's vs. others. Quite possibly it's my room though and not a trait of the speakers.

They are certainly very nice speakers, and I wish I could hear them in a different bigger room than what I have. Compared to the Harbeths they do have a lighter more direct presentation and every once in awhile, I wonder if they are just the tiniest bit bright but then other times I think..."this is a great implementation of a metal tweeter, it sounds so natural" Driver integration between the tweeter and the woofer is really really good too. Lastly as the music gets bigger and louder, the Kefs do best (out of my speakers) of going along with the demands.

As I mentioned previously, there are a lot of good small speakers out there and system interaction, rooms and personal bias' will determine what's best for you and what one person loves, just might not hit your buttons as much as something else.

Hope that helps, good luck and let us know what you decide on.
rega rs1 sounds like they're just what you're looking for.
Depending on your room...you probably could get away with small 5in type monitor...Dynaudio 42, BBC/Spendour variations, Proac, etc...European/UK models tend to fall in this group...quick but somewhat lean bass...which beats overly warm, bloated bass in my book...Sonus Faber Concertino from a few years back would be my first choice in your range used...or the Monitor AUdio Studio 2 from the same era...good luck
I was out the rest of the weekend and could not reply earlier. I have exactly understood your question. But since I have gone through the same experience, I still feel that it is the "gain" you are missing. A good gain makes "night" and "day" difference during listening. Most of Niel Diamond and Joni Mitchell CDs that are very well recorded, did not have "body" in my system, till I got the correct gain. Now there is ton of body and bass!
Milpai, he doesn't want ton. Few kg's are enough. ;)
Bvdiman, sorry, I only sell ton. No kgs. That is low volume :-)
Oh, I forgot to mention System Audio 505s. Another tiny pair of speakers, similar in size to the Minuets. I ultimately traded those for a pair of Minuets because they were a bit picky about placement. Well, maybe not picky, since I can't consider a speaker not wanting to be on a shelf picky; but they didn't like being in an entertainment center.

If you can find some 505s used, they go for about $400.
Other than the $700 budget, the OP's requirements practically scream for the KEF LS50. Stereophile rated this a Class A (limited LF) recommended component. This is unprecedented for a $1500 (list) speaker. Basically it is a true Class A performer from around 80 Hz on up, and with the inherent dynamics limitations. But in everything the OP is looking for--clarity, detail, imaging, soundstage--the LS50 is just about state-of-the-art (according to the reviews).

As for whether it has too much bass for his room, you can't know that until you try it. The LS50 may have been too bassy for Seikosha's room but not necessarily for the OP's.

As for bloated bass in a ported speaker, that's pretty easy to attenuate--stuff a sock in it! Or, more accurately, roll up a small towel or wash cloth and put it into the port. You can attenuate the bass by how loosely or tightly you stuff the port and also by how far you place the speakers from the wall behind them.

And if you shop around, you can get a pair for close to your budget.

Read the Stereophile review. They compared the LS50 side-by-side with the Rogers LS3/5a and B&W CM5 and they exhibited more clarity than the Rogers in upper bass, less total bass extension than the CM5, but equaled or bettered both in imaging, soundstage, and midrange, especially in both male and female vocals. Reviewer John Atkinson said in part:

At the start of the review period, I was in Los Angeles producing the vocal sessions for the opera Cooperstown, composed by Positive Feedback Online contributor Sasha Matson. At the end of the review period, Sasha sent me a CD with some test mixes. Listening to our two sopranos, Julie Adams and Carin Gilfry, and comparing what I was hearing through the KEFs with my memory of what I'd heard live at Bill Schnee Studio, I would go so far as to say that the LS50 is one of the finest speakers at reproducing female voices that I have heard—for less than what you can pay for a set of high-end interconnects!

I'm assuming that we're talking about an apartment environment. Right? What speakers do you have now? Is size a consideration?

I don't know about the LS50s. It seems that many of the reviews and owner comments revolve around the amount of bass that the LS50s produce, which is something that the OP is trying to avoid.

I recommended the Minuets because they are small, and thus, are limited by their size in the bass department. I do, however, have to qualify this by saying that although the Minuets are small, they are not, in the least, bass shy. No, they do not go low, but they do produce what they can with pretty good authority.

Maybe your answer would be to get a pre amp with tone controls so that you can dial down the bass. Or perhaps you could check out some of NHT's offerings. Unless I'm mistaken, they offer a couple of smaller models that are of the sealed variety, although the models that I've tried didn't even come close to the quality of the music coming from the Minuets.
Thanks Everyone for your input! Much appreciated. I do read and consider all input; I know some posts take a bit to type out and that much thought and knowledge is given, silo thank you!

So, to answer a couple questions: my current speakers are kef qx5's and I've finally gotten my system all dialed in; it sounds great! Only problem is, in three months I'm getting married and will be moving in with her and she lives in a guest area of a home. She helps a man who is in a wheelchair, get ready in the mornings, and in return, he is gracious enough to give us a place to live, rent free! The room where we will have the stereo set up shares a wall with ghe home owner and we are on the second floor so sound will travel through our floor into the homeowners hallway ceiling also. Yhis is why I am looking for a nice pair of speakers WITHOUT MUCH BASS!!

I'm thinking Silverline Minuets (supreme plus??), Triangle Cometes (30th anniversary??) or kef ls50.

I think that I'll just go ahead and pay the $500 to triple up on the sheetrock between my back wall that is shared whit the homeowners bedroom wall just to help with bass transmission.
Oh, add to that short list 3a mm decapos. As you can see my budget is increasing. Lets just say $1500 or less!
How good is the guys hearing? Maybe Totem Hawk or I do like the Silverline. Verity Tamino but I haven't seen them used in a year or so. Never heard the decapos but I think I'd like them.
Now you are in Green Moutain Europa territory...good place to be
At the Newport Audio show the Silverline Minuets were displayed right next to the Prelude Plus models and though I only heard the Preludes, if the MInuets can play anything like their bigger brother, then your search has narrowed down quite a bit.

All of the Totems I heard at the show did nothing for me, but most rooms didn't sound that good, save for a few. In fact, stuff that I know sounded good last year didn't hold up that well this time.

The one room that completely floored me was the Pioneer room. Yes, the Pioneer room. This small floorstander was designed by Andrew Jones (think TAD)
and had no right to sound as good as it did. Sure, it didn't do everything but they were musically satisfying and made me wish they were around when I first started this hobby.

All the best,
Now that you've upped your budget I think a used pair of Joseph Audio RM7XLs would be very worth consideration given what you're looking for.

Also, I don't think tripling the wall thickness will do much for your bass problem although it may help a bit with the mids and highs (especially if you use something like green glue between the layers). The walls will still be attached to the studs, which will still vibrate with the bass and transmit to the wall on the other side. Plus, depending on construction the beams in the floors and ceilings will also continue to transmit bass to the other room. Unless you're willing/able to install something like resilient channels in your walls and, significantly more difficult, also isolate the floor and ceiling I don't think you'll be able to attenuate the bass transmission enough to allow you to crank the music very loud if it contains significant bass. Sorry to be a bummer but that's my understanding of it and don't want to see you waste $$$ on something that won't work, but maybe others have suggestions.
Just wondering, why not simplify system since moving into smaller quarter?

Get an excellent quality integrated amp with tone controls ~ (adjust bass as you wish) +
loudness boost (for late night/low level listening) + built-in headphone amp (ready when
adding one). This, I believe will suit your purpose better, whilst giving more flexibility and
less clutter too (happy fiancé). Only then on to speakers later ~ when/if still needed.

Something like a Luxman / Accuphase / Mc Intosh unit would be nice. Just saying..

*Btw. House music with little bass is like living with no soul. So you still do need that bass
reserves for when no one's looking! ;)
Soix, thanks for the input regarding bass transmission, as I was thinking that the triple layer, green glue would help with bass. I think really what I need to do is just wait until I move in and then do some sound tests with my music playing and then go down in there bedroom to see how bad the situation is going to be.

I really don't get why home builders (especially custom home builders at the price point that this home is; $800-$1m?) don't spray insulation in the floor joists in an attempt to help withnoise transmission through walls, floors and ceilings. It sure would help homeowners enjoy thier homes more if thier teenagers pounding techno music (or in this case, my pounding techno music) throughout the whole house. I love techno / house music but I can totally understand how utterly annoying it is when all you can hear is "boom boom boom boom boom".
B_limo, knowing all the facts now I think most important is having enough gain from your system and damping the room as you have wisely decided.
I've lived in apartments (new construction) where neighbors complained about my TV thru their walls.
So what you're telling me is that if I had more gain I'd get more detail, better imaging and less bass? Because that's what I'm after. And do you know how much gain I have in my system? Should I just replace my lightspeed attenuator, one of my favorite pieces? Ummm, okay...
I'm not saying to replace anything; what I mean is some of the techs on this thread have voiced this concern and maybe they can offer advice since it's all about system synergy.
(with more gain, you would get higher efficiency and not less bass; that's not the goal; you would have more control).
We are again coming back to the "gain" topic. Trust me, I have seen what gain can do and why people complain about dull, lifeless music with passives. Once you balance the system with the right gain, you will be thoroughly rewarded with great music. Unfortunately, to do this in your system, it means changing your speakers or the amp. If you get a amp, make sure it has a max sensitivity of 1V. If you change the speakers, make sure they are at least 90+ db. There are many sensitive speakers - just research them. I would say at least 92+ db speakers will fit nicely in your system.
Thanks for the help guys!

I'm a little confused about whether I am confused, or you guys are confused.

My amp has a sensitivity rating of 1.15v and my speakers are in the 90db sensitivity range; I really like the way my system sounds.

What I'm looking for is a pair of speakers that image well, have lots of detail, BUT THAT DON'T HAVE MUCH BASS OUTPUT!

I'm moving soon and don't want to bother my neighbors with bass transmission through the walls, so I'm trying to get good suggestions on speakers that image well, have lots of detail, AND THAT DON'T HAVE MUCH BASS.

I'm not trying to say that my current speakers don't have enough bass, what I'm looking for is a pair of speakers that don't put out much bass.

Please, no more suggestions on how to get more bass, I'm looking for some speakers that image well, have lots of detail, AND NOT MUCH BASS.

Image well, yes, detail, yes, Am I looking for more bass, no, AmI looking for less bass, yes!

Less bass, good, more bass, bad.
I think we get it. I'll bet your system has enough gain and the small speakers suggested such as the Totem and Minuets would do well. They'll have tight bass and crossed-over higher that your towers. No low-end boom or rumble.

perfect example...

Since I just got into a couple of pairs of Minuets, I have to give a plug for the Silverlines. They have good bass, but they don't go low."
KInd of like my suggestion with the Martin Logans "adequate" bass?
Yeah, I' gotten more recomendations for silverline minuets than any others. Guess I should pull the trigger on pair...
If you're looking at minuets, there are three models floating around. The latest are the Minuet Supreme Plus. The models before that were the Minuet Supreme and the then there is the first model, the plain old Minuet.

They are all ~9" tall and 5" wide. The original came wrapped in a vinyl veneer. The Supreme has a wood veneer. The original and Supreme are ~7" deep. The Plus added almost another 2" to the depth, making them go a bit deeper.

There were a couple of other adjustments. Listening to them side by side, you can tell minute differences.

I sent you a message.