What is it that you like about PSB, or at least think you like? I have only heard PSB speakers a couple of times and I liked what I heard, but preferred some other options. I think that if you really like the sound of a speaker you will know pretty much right away. You could also take your speakers to the store for comparison.
Paradigm makes some monitors that are generally well received and are pretty small. Also, I really enjoy my Audioengine A5+ speakers and the would reduce your required equipment even more.since you just need a CD player or other source.
Thanks, Mceljo for the good reply.
My local audio store sends emails with various specials and audio events they hold, so that's how I learned about and started researching the PSBs. I purchased an NAD integrated amp from them 2 years ago. The PSBs are within the cost/size I would like, plus they offer in-wall selections, so that's what got me interested. Then I read where the PSBs had superb sound for the price, a sentiment which seems to be about as unanimous with the PSBs as with my ADS. And apparently they are neutral (like the ADS). I don't know if anyone sells Paradigm in my area for me to audition, but I could check. But my main concern is simply that I enjoy the sound at least equally to the ADS at the most reasonable cost. Since ADS is long gone, nobody ever compares the sound of the two speakers. Maybe I'll be the first, ha. But I thought I would see if anyone might be familiar with both before I took that step.
I did read about the Audioengine A5+ -- but I don't know if I want to give up my NAD for the amps in the Audioengine speakers. Though granted, the space saving would be nice. I pretty much use my Mac & PC as my audio sources now. (My NAD was an upgrade / downsize from my previous chunky A/V, so ... even if you're not crazy about NAD, it's way better than the Sony, plus it had the specific features I wanted).
It would seem that you are looking to find some speakers that provide very good bang for the buck, good on ya! The Andrew Jones designed Pioneers (Sp-Sb22) have gotten great reviews from all who have heard them.
The same goes for the Tekton speakers, their Mini Lore model is well-regarded. They are a bit higher priced than the Pioneers, $625/pr.
The Gallo Classico CL-2s are a bit higher priced still ($397 ea., but can be found here: for less), but they have the advantage of Gallo's fabulous CD3 tweeter.
Also, the Golden Ear Aon 2s are very well-designed and come with their well-regarded folded ribbon tweeter as well as a pair of passive radiators to augment lower bass response. $400 each.
There are *many* good speakers out there, hopefully this short list will give you a starting point...
Since you are lucky enough to have a local audio shop, you should be auditioning speakers. If the store carries the PSB speaker line, I suggest comparing the Alpha B1 to a PSB- Image B5 Bookshelf Speaker which is a step up, and has that warm and open PSB sound.
I will also add the Tekton Mini Lore as a highly regarded, "bang for the buck" speaker.
I should add that my personal preference is Focal speakers and the Chorus V series speakers are being discounted heavily right now due to them being replaced by a new model. Music Direct has the 30 day return policy so that could be an option as well. The 705v, 706v (i bought a pair of these for my father-in-law), or the 806v are in or close to your price range. The 807v is a bit more, but also an excellent speaker.
I did see the Image B5 as well, thanks, and will plan to audition them also. Unfortunately, none of the other brands are available through this store. He did mention something about Totems if I decided to go the in-wall route ... but I'm not sure if I want to go in that direction.
If the dealer carries Totem, check out the Mites and the Dreamcatcher bookshelf speakers. Terrific imaging and bass from such small speakers.
While I don't currently own any, I have owned and greatly enjoyed several pairs of ADS speakers in the past. I've been actually considering going back to them. Criticisms against ADS are that they are not neutral but far too bright on the top end. However, I enjoyed the brightness as it gave life and air to many recordings and it did so without giving sizzle and harshness which too many bright speakers do. I suspect the PBS are more neutral and accurate overall.
However, based on what you've said, unless your 470s are worn out (it does happen because their woofers are paper/pulp and the foam surrounds deteriorate, etc) I think you're going to be disappointed with any replacement for a couple of reasons. 1) you like the voicing of ADS and no new speaker I'm aware of is voiced similarly. Right or wrong, the ADS voice is compelling. 2) While a new speaker may be more accurate or do some things better, any budget speaker requires compromises and so you'll be trading one set of compromises for another. 3) If you're having trouble placing your ADS speakers, you'll likely have trouble with new ones too.
In wall speakers solve some problems. Paradigm makes very nice in walls if you go up to their reference line. But, while they solve placement problems, mounting speakers in a wall also causes a few problems and so they should be considered a very large compromise for convenience over performance. I have Paradigms in one system currently and put them in our previous house so I can elaborate if needed.
I would be careful about giving up on your ADS speakers. They are very good sounding, and while its true that there are very good sounding current offerings in this price range, I would be surprised if you are able to accomplish much more than a sideways move overall without moving up to the next price level. Some of those vintage speakers had a certain musicality and "right" quality that many current "more hi-fi" sounding speakers don't. For instance, the above mentioned Dreamcatchers which I have as part of their 5.1 system are good and as mentioned image very well, but sound uneven tonally and are dynamically constricted compared to your ADS which can really rock. Definitely try to compare before buying. Good luck.
I have used ADS speakers for years (L570, L880, L520) and that sound is unique. Recently i have moved on to other speakers like Silverline and Focal. The bass on the ADS always sounded tight and articulate due to their sealed acoustic suspension designs so you will find a difference out there with newer ported speakers like PSB. Someone else mentioned Focal earlier as a recommendation, and i will second that because you already have a NAD amp which should be a good match. I am running Focal 806v's in a bedroom system off a NAD integrated and i think they sound excellent. Good luck in your search but don't be surprised if you stick with the 470's!
I have owned so many ADS speakers I couldn't even begin to name them all, and have heard nothing in their price ranges that could change my mind about owning them. Currently, I own the 1290/2's with L400 surrounds in my theater room, and 1590/2's in my audio only room, all powered by newer model McIntosh equipment. I should also mention I use older Velodyne F1500 subs with both pairs. Love the sound.
I would have to take exception with one of the comments about ADS using foam surrounds, as they are actually butyl rubber and will last indefinitely. Mine are over 28 yrs old, so that speaks for itself.
If you like their sound, stick with them. They can all be had quite reasonably now from this site and Ebay.
Interesting... 15 years ago I listened to many speakers that I felt could best my trusty ADS's. I finally found the PSB Stratus Golds kicked everything to a whole new level. Obviously this was many years ago, but from a value perspective, PSB is still a way to go. I had been an ADS proponent since 1978.
Since you're looking at used, the Stratus Mini is probably available at a great price. I know you said space constraints are a consideration, but if that is temporary, the Stratus Silver, Bronze, or Gold can be had at great prices, most likely.
I still wish I had held on to my various ADS speakers- they certainly were special... Good luck.
Thanks for all of the good responses. Sorry I haven't been able to check back before now. It's true that I really enjoy these ADS speakers. I bought them off eBay back in 2002 and they are about as good condition as they were then, and had been well cared for previously. It's very likely my ears are degrading more than these speakers, they still sound excellent and the drivers are in good shape.
In college I purchased a pair of L690s. I liked the speakers so much, the audio store allowed me to make $100-$200 installments until I paid the full purchase price, preventing me from spending the money on something else in the meantime.
I'll bet those 1590s are phenomenal.
I guess the only thing I can really do is compare them with some others to see how they stack up. I've read where some speakers (like PSB, Wharfedale and others) claim to have high-end sound at a low cost and that speaker tech has come a long way since the 80s, so that's what got me interested in looking for a more space-saving design. But if they lack the clarity or tight bass of the ADS I would be disappointed, I'm sure (not that the 470s produce as much bass, but are fine in my small listening area).
I will try to check out some of the other brands mentioned as well.
PS to my last response -- I didn't mean to sound as though I ignored the suggestions given by everyone. I just realized I practically repeated my opening post in my last one. I'm going through the responses again to help determine what course I'd really like to take. I suppose I've become curious enough to at least listen to one or two modern speakers for comparison, but I also suspect I might be disappointed.
About the in-wall speaker idea -- I currently have an entertainment center/cutout over my fireplace, which is situated diagonally in the corner of the family room. There is wall space on both sides of the entertainment area in which I could install speakers. Of course, the height isn't ideal (it would be above ear-level), but it's at least a consideration for my small living room.
I do have good floor stands for my speakers but I've just run out of room. It would be a challenge to find space for the stands with smaller speakers as well, but I might be able to make something work. But I like the "idea" of utilizing that unused wall space -- though if the sound tanks as a result I just couldn't do it. If I decide to keep the ADS, they'll probably be stuck *inside* that entertainment center area for awhile. Surprisingly, the actually sound good there, too, as bad as that placement is.
****I've read where some speakers (like PSB, Wharfedale and others) claim to have high-end sound at a low cost and that speaker tech has come a long way since the 80s****
Don't put too much stock in printed comments like that. As always, trust your own ears (what you like); "high-end sound" is a relative thing. Good luck.
Agree with Frogman, don't be fooled by advertising hype. You indicated you could get an in-home audition, that is the best way to go if you'd like to see what the PSBs have to offer.
Well, I brought the PSB Alpha B1s home this evening, and I'm playing them now. Without getting into sonic detail, my "bottom-line, first impression" summary is this: They sound like they are a little smaller with similar quality, and, well, that's what they are. Ha. They sound about as good as I would expect smaller, less expensive ADS speakers to sound (different, but as good). So I wouldn't consider it a lateral move, but still a good move for downsizing.
They do sound better than I expected, notwithstanding all of the good reviews and my curiosity. I wasn't expecting quite the presence of the bass that they have (I do run a sub, so perhaps it's not as noticeable). It's not quite as tight (probably for being ported), and they don't seem to push quite the same volume before breaking down. But in this small room they don't sound anemic in the low end.
I generally listen with the tone defeat on (that's just a personal requirement I have for speakers, that they sound good enough on their own). The sound isn't quite as full or bright as the ADS, but they seem to produce more tonal accuracy in the mid-range, with more subtle, yet very clear highs. So they have more of a warm sound with a little less overall presence. An overall very pleasing sound that I could live with, I think. The size is really perfect.
That said, I have 4 days to decide, and the speakers have not been broken in as yet.
Whoa! Ok, I already have to update my last post. I had originally placed the Alphas in my entertainment center area (over the fireplace). That means they were sitting in an enclosed area, as if on a bookshelf. So I broke out my speaker stands and did a little rearranging in order to place them more ideally at ear level, away from the wall a bit, etc. And the sound really popped! I can't believe the difference. I believe I can honestly say I enjoy the sound of these better on the stands than the ADS, but the ADS sound quality wasn't as diminished in the entertainment center. Probably again this is due to the ported design of the cabinet, along with having them directly at ear level now.