My journey to search for standmount bookshelf speakers...


Over the years, I’ve auditioned several speakers:

System Audio SA706 - Sound really good with classical music with state of the art recording, otherwise I would not consider it as forgiving kind of sound on some less than perfect recording, the high can become pretty hot sizzling, no sibilance though, just a bit bright if listen for a long time, but I have no complain on bass except drum kicks music

Chario Syntar 516R - Sound crisp and clear, thus not so forgiving on some recordings sensitive to treble, though no sibilance found, bass not as clean as others I’ve listened

PSB Alpha B1 - Small little speakers that sound great, a bit glaring on the tweeters over long listening sessions, bass limited due to small woofer size

Q Acoustics 2020i - The best smooth treble I’ve ever heard, I found nothing to complain on the mid & high, rich but not overly lust, bass though again due to limited woofer size not dynamic and fast enough

Elac B6 - Oh, sound pretty balanced, neat and vivid, overall presentation is clean and clear, bass is varied based on recording, I would say it sound a bit light on some, some just right, treble compare to Q Acoustics a little bit less smooth, most probably a better amp will do better, but I’m not sure how much you have to spend again

Dynaudio Focus 110 - I actually feel in awe when listening to this speakers with first track Igor Stravinsky - The Firebird - Finale (from album Tutti!), a small speakers that sound so big dynamic powerful, surprisingly the Focus series is pretty forgiving on some old recordings, very listenable, the only weakness I would say is the woofer a bit stiff for drum music, and frequency cutoff by the crossover design, instead of rolled off I’ve experienced from other speakers I’ve auditioned, I’ve to say the high really special on this

Currently, I own Wharfedale Denton classic speakers, very forgiving speakers, a bit of mid bass bump kind of speakers, high is not as clean as Dynaudio Focus 110 but still sound smooth without hot sizzling effect, the bass is considered not powerful and dynamic enough

Guys, what else I can look for at this price range?

wim1983
What amplification are you using? What is your maximum budget? New or used? What size is your listening room? 
I have 3 amplifiers:
Marantz PM6005
Class D Audio SDS-400C
Yamaha A-S801

I’m not using any tube gear, DAC/pre is Fostex HP-A3, only playing FLAC/MP3 files from computer

Budget will be roughly less than 2K. I’m thinking to try Dynaudio Exite X18 perhaps, need to check the price though, I'm ok with used item as long as the condition is good
You should take a look at a LS3/5A type of speaker (sealed two way). Spendor 3/5, Harbeth P3 ESR (my favorite), Stirling,Falcon,etc,etc.
If you can find a used pair of DeVore 3XL or ProAc Responce, you will probably like them. Personally, I would get a different amp first. Any of the speakers you've already tried would sound much better with something like an Ayre CX-7.
Listening to Audio Note AX-Two's powered by a solid state Burson Timekeeper (nice amp), check them out.
Have you heard about Omega speakers? This speakers are addicting to listen? They are very musical too, and fast.
I have the denton too, but i find them actually quite powerful in the bass region, and i also like the soundstage they layout. It is a really good warm speaker and a steal at today's price. Marantz pm 6005 vs yamaha 801, do you get the same result?
I power mine with marantz pm 8004.

Reference 3A de Capo i.  One of the best standmounts under $5K you can find. Available used for around $1500 to $2000.
I would strongly consider Fritz loudspeakers, he uses very high end drivers etc . He only makes stand mount loudspeakers 
Or pony up 3k and get Speaker Art Ribbon Clefs and be done. I've owned proac response 2.5 and 1sc and many others.

 Check out the Spendor 3/5r2 ( $1595 new) . If you are looking for used, earlier versions pop up here for about $600. 
I second yogiboy's recommendation of the Harbeth P3ESR. 
Try to find some tekton 6.5t monitors I have some for sale in the Seattle area with rigid black steel Linn tukan stands. Sound great and can listen to them all night. My friends asked me where my sub was (don’t have one). I put them 11-12" from the wall. I upgraded to ProAc studio 148s. 
Try the KEF LS50 with the Yamaha intregrated.... you might find that combination very alluring. We also have a set of Fritz Groves which are also amazing. The Carbon 7's and REV 5 are also absurdly good with the right stuff upstream.
There is a used pair of Dynaudio Excite X14 for sale here on AG. 
I second yogiboy's recommendation of the Harbeth P3.
I've yet to hear a speaker in this price range that moved me more.
I'll third the Harbeth P3. You need to at least listen to them. 
Guys thanks for all the great recommendations:

Harbeth P3ESR - I heard only good thing about this speakers, but I just wonder how much improvement compare to the Wharfedale Denton I currently own, it can be just not much I get, especially in terms of bass, dynamic and power? The Malaysia price of this is enough to buy a larger monitor

ProAc SC1 or D2 - Actually I'm wainting someone to let go, but I just keep waiting, no news yet...

Omega, Fritz, Reference 3A, Speaker Art, Tekton speakers - I'm afraid I'm not able to audition these great speakers at Malaysia because simply N/A

KEF LS50 / R300 - The price is indeed very high at Malaysia here, they are really famous anywhere I've seen in shops, I feel a bit hesitate to audition KEF LS50 as I think the bass would be quite limited for orchestra music, physical driver size limitation just always happen to me when listening to smaller speakers, indeed I'm looking for medium size speakers, not too small not big like floorstander, something like 6.5inch woofer driver, with almost perfect tonal balance, KEF R300 would be a great option consider that, but then the price is shockingly high, almost absurd if it make sense to me

My best bet would be used item like Dynaudio Focus series, or ProAc D2 which very rare in sale, another option I'm eagerly waiting to audition is Sonus Faber Venere 1.5/2.0, the resell price is indeed very attractive, half of original sale price, but that would be curious to me why?
@chrisr Marantz PM6005 is a good but not a great match with Denton as I feel the bass a bit color from the amp, initially the Denton has enough bass already, I would say that the Yamaha a better cleaner amp in bass, the Yamaha can provide neutral sound, thus some standmount like Diamond 9.1 the bass will sound just as much as the 5in woofer size, nothing more nothing less
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I second the Omega's!
Although I'm a big fan of Omegas, I'd be cautious about recommending them to someone who likes the warm laid back sound of the Dentons.  The Omegas are on the opposite side of the spectrum.
@seikosha oh, that means Omega speakers are not forgiving type for some less than perfect recording?
I just watch a Z review about Buchardt S200, claimed to go as low as 37hz, interesting, made and designed in Denmark, anybody? I'm interesting how musical, dynamic and powerful is this speakers? The name sound to me like 'Butcher' haha
@wim1983 

If you have a bad recording, the Omegas will definitely tell you that you do.  Something like a Harbeth P3ESR (which I used to own) will do a much better job with less than stellar recordings.
@seikosha I got you sir, that means Omega is not my type of speakers, I love music too much and not willing to sacrifice some of poorer mastering but soulful piece of recording
I would still reach out to fritz op he is here sometimes 
Give the Nola Boxer 2's a listen if you can. I find them to have a very detailed top end, and plenty of heft in the bottom.( For a bookshelf speaker) 
There is a used pair of Joseph Audio Pulsar on sale here at Malaysia, USD 3.5K, that’s still way beyond my affordable budget, you see it’s hard to find something good and affordable nowadays, especially my country now suffer a serious drop of currency value
Lowball the guy and sell whatever you have to for the Pulsars. 

I take it that you haven't heard the Legacy Audio Studio HD's, I was in the market for some bookshelf speaker back in the summer and the "Boss" and I listened to every bookshelf speaker we could find (Revel M105 and Paradigm Signature S2 just to name a couple). We went to Cap Fest and found the Legacy speaker...Oh my word, they played so large, couldn't believe the bass (from a bookshelf) and the AMT tweeter was crystal clear. If I shut my eyes and just listened I felt like I was listening to a pair of towers, and at less than 2 grand for a pair in a premium Rosewood finish you have a speaker that looks great and sounds even better.

I now own two pair of Legacy speakers (Focus SE's and the Studio HD's) and they are definitely keepers.  
Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand Symphony Edition (SE) Superb!
I will second the endorsement of the Pulsars at that price. You won't ever regret it.
If you can find a pair of Focal 706V or 806V, you will experience a 3D holographic sound unlike anything you will ever experience. I have a pair of 806V along with the Focal S700 stands, and these have been the best investment besides my network audio player I have in my system. These are definitely worth the price, and if you can find a pair lightly pre-owned, that would be even better.
I second that Nola boxer audition. 
They have a great sound 
KEF KS50 are a default choice.  Surprisingly good bass response in a small room.

Triangle Titus 202, first version with metal bullet phase plug in the tweeter mouth.  Great HF extension, whip sharp transient response, completely disappear in room, very easy to drive- even with low power amplifiers.   Downside is no bass response in room below about 70hz.
@soix  haha, but still got one thing I dun like about the Joseph Audio Pulsar, the finish is glossy, I prefer something like real wood veneer without glossy finish, as shiny surface looks uncomfortable to me from time to time
@cb5300 Oh, it looks so small, first glance of it did not draw my interest, I thought it look a bit weird, with the ribbon tweeters?
@toneski Oh my Haydn Grand Symphony Edition, > USD 2000 a pair!!!
@4play The metal tweeters could be the concern for me, as I'm using a Yamaha A-S801, may sound bright on some materials?
The JBL 530s are pretty odd looking but they are incredibly smooth and sound good with all types of music. The Omegas are very cool but single driver is more niche. Your Dentons do two things very well. Midrange and looks. Weakness is dynamic range and speed.


I have had Spendors since they came out and still use them off and on despite having had many other more exotic ones over the years. They simply have an accurate sound that does not exaggerate any part of the music. What there is on there is what you hear. Harbeth is also great, the designers worked together at the BBC and the speakers are named for them and their wives. Spencer and Dorothy Huews and Beth Harwood. I was a dealer for them both years ago and still have Spendor SP1s SP2s, and S100s I quit being a dealer years ago but still listen to them and am getting ready to set up systems for my family members using them. Forgive my spelling
@seanheis1 You are right on that, the Denton really lack dynamic if really need to go extreme sometimes, can be a bit laid back for some
@seanheis1 Yeah, only read good things about the JBL Studio 530, but I honestly do not like the look and how it is put on stands
@stanwal  I think Spendor speakers is great, but not sure the modern design still keep the bloodline and heritage
Buy a pair of Polks , mate it with a good tube amp
I may be late to the party here, but you should consider Wavetouch Audio's (Alex Yoon) Antero's. Not only gorgeous but a wonderful sound - they use the AMT (Air Motion Transformer) 2" tweeter .. .... three words come to mind: neutrality, transparancy and realism. Highs are so sweet, have a nice bass extension and very detailed mid range. And when they're broken in .... they disappear into the wood work~!
You should look at ATC and PMC. Your comments suggests that you really notice the true dynamics of music when playing Dynaudio. Some people are not very sensitive to this aspect but obviously you noticed it. Many suggestions above are good but they won't have that "awe" effect that you noticed with a pro-driver that does not compress as easily as home audio gear. Dynaudio make and use better drivers than the usual consumer stuff. Same for ATC and PMC. 
@shadorne I'm eyeing on ATC SCM11 v2, price is not cheap but at least affordable, I read somewhere claimed that this is a redesigned for home users and more forgiving to listen compare higher end pro series like SCM20 and models beyond that, what do you think? My only concern would be the Yamaha A-S801 amp gear matching, not sure the total package include DAC works well with the ATC?
@tak1 Thanks for your suggestion, actually I got take into consideration for the speaker, but I still dun like how it look and need to sound better with the phase plug, and the ribbon tweeters does not look ok to me too, besides that, I'm not able to audition the speakers too