Edit: those "Acoustic Energy" speakers are Aural Ecstacy TAD-805SD's - my mistake.
For now I will swap the Aural Ecstacys with some Linn Kan's.
Well, there is Mcintosh and then there is everything else (this comment is both true and designed to for effect)
I couldn't be happier with my Audio Engine A5's paired with a single SVS SB12-Plus subwoofer. Smooth and natural highs that are never fatiguing and a fantastic midrange. Plus you don't need an amp and they image like never before.
Highly recommend the Focal XS desktop rig. Love mine.
Mark and Daniel Maximus Mini's make for first rate ultra near-field monitors. Exceptional sound quality, output, and range from these affordable tots.
Dynaudio Focus 110A's would be a good bet if you were up for disregarding your amp. A passive set of Focus 110's would also be good, although you have to be mindful of placing them real close to walls.
Meadowlark Swallow's - if you can find a set used. Warning, the company hasn't been around in awhile so there's no support. Great speakers though.
Finally, on the pricier side of town - we have the Guru QM-10. Exceptional monitors that deliver the hi-fi good's in spades and best of all, can work well against walls and in both near-field and mid-field apps.
Whatever you end up with, be it my suggestions or something else entirely - I hope you end up finding what you're looking for.
Was just listening to desktop speakers and found the Bose desktop speakers with ICE amps actually sound very good.
Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 4 speakers are another speaker that makes you go WOW. It also uses the ICE amps technology for desktop speakers.
Wouldn't EXTREME nearfield listening be headphones?
If your computer desk is against the wall and your listening position is directly in front of the flat screen monitor of the PC, I would concur with Entrope's idea.
Quad 11L2s are extremely attractive, both visually and and sonically.
Lack of a sub is one reason. Get the speakers elevated off of the desktop. Choose speakers that are designed for desktop use: some pro active monitors for example -- many have adjustments for various placement locations.
ATC 16As. These were developed for professional studios. You can buy them for approximately $2,800 and they are actives, so you get the amp as well. ATC is found in over 1,000 professional studio environments.
If you want the classic KEF driver BBC sound, I would recommend the new mini monitor by Spendor called the A1. I owned the original KEFs and this is as close to obtaining their sound in over two decades of waiting.
Also try the Audioengines above and the Blue Sky Audio EXO if you listen off an iPod environment. Both offer killer sound.
For a desktop system I would buy a speaker setup that is designed specifically for that purpose. I'm moving into a new house and loosing my audio room for the time being. So, I'm looking into building a desktop system too.
Here's one that has peaked my interest:
Thanks for the responses. I'll think for now I will stick with the Kans' and am using a Behringer 2496 EQ to knock down a upper bass-lower mid 'honk' - seems to help.
Sequerra MET 7.7 Mark II, IV or VI ....
I have a pair of Acoustic Adagios which cost 5 times what these cost. I just hooked these back up and I still love them. They are an older design, kind of ugly and relatively unknown and yet anyone who ever owned a pair regrets they ever sold them. I never will.
I just went to 2 audio stores and listened to the Regas and to JM Labs.... I was nice to the guy there, but all I could keep thinking was that these things sound like crap compared to my Sequerras.
NHT M-OO, if you can find them, are an excellent powered computer speaker. They were designed to perform as console monitors in recording studios so they are meant for near field listening and intense scrutiny. Nothing I've heard comes close.
I second Macrojack, these computer speakers will out perform many main systems when coupled with S-20 subwoofer and a good DAC.
Chuck Ainlay uses them (ever heard of Dire Straits - yep Chuck is Mark Knopfler's man behind the meter bridge) - check out Blackbird Studios Nashville where Chuck works...
Find a used NHT Pro A-20 system. Been discontinued for years but was one of the best. At $2000 for the system, it had to be. It is designed for exactly what you want to do.
Think the Roger's would be a bad choice for your application. While I admire them and the Sequerra's, too, I think there are better recommendations above. Those speaks need some space to develop to their potential and some substantial power in that case. Explore self powered speaks.
If you like low level detail and high quality bass from a small package. Designing for mixing, the front port and EQ make them usable in any room.
Two-three times the price of Audioengine A5, which I had a pair, but they sound like it. I like my son's Dynaudio BM5A Esotec, but have been very pleased with how easy it is to listen to the Al tweeter.
I guess the tweeter is a step down from the Be but it's still sweet. Less boomy and easier to place than the Dyns which have a rear port.
Best desktop sound I've ever had (that actually fits on a desktop).
Speaker described in my previous post: Focal CMS-50
OK now I'm just looking for some tweaks to help the sound of the Kan's.