The most recent issue of The Absolute Sound reviews / compares 6 reasonably priced pairs of speakers (in the $500-600 range). The most recent issue of Sound & Vision reviews another 6 in the $300 range. The most recent copy of Stereophile reviews the Polk RT25i ($300-ish) and the reviewer claimed it was easily his favorite inexpensive speaker. There are lots of good choices. -Kirk
I have had recent experience with a couple of monitor speakers that I liked a lot: the Krix Equinox ($600 MSRP) and the Coincident Technology Triumph Signature ($1200 MSRP). Both have decent bass response down to about 55 Hz, so they give the illusion of good bass without creating problems for your neighbors. The Coincidents are also quite efficient, and VERY well made with first-class cabinetry (Israel Blume is making some great speakers).
Another inexpensive speaker which has gotten very good reviews is a Renaud model -- the Twin? Not sure about the name, but it retails for about $750. You might look at the review of small speakers ($500-750) that was published about a year ago in "Listener" magazine. The article was where I learned about the Krix speakers, which I am currently using in a system in my office.
You don't mention what price range you're willing to go, but some totally wonderful satellites are the Revel Gems. They are amazing. They will last you forever, just add a subwoofer when you finally move.
I just recently put in a surround sound system for the den. I used the NHT SuperZeros. I have been very pleased with the result. They have no bass to speak of, but they have very nice midrange and highs. At around $100 apiece, they won't bust your budget either.
Have you considered going the high-end headphone route? A nice pair of Sennheiser's and a Headroom amp might be your best bet in your living situation...
Even before I got to the previous post, I too was thinking about headphones. I live in an apartment as well and my neighbors are not well insulated from the sound of my system. I find the circa 1990 set of Stax headphones I bought here exceptionally comfortable (both physically and in terms of listening fatigue) for late night listening sessions, television, movies, etc. Extension cords are avaiable. Much better on both counts than the Grado SR-325's I sometimes use in the office--though the source I have those hooked up to is not as good. The Grados do have better bass. --Scott
I second Gtrush1's recommendation. I use the hd600 and grado rs-1 headphone amp. With a good digital or analog source, the sound is reference quality with excellent bass and you can play at head banging spl if you are so inclined. The only caveat is there is no soundstage. The imaging is great, but it's all between the ears - something you can get used to once you get involved in the great music being reproduced.
Radio Shack Pro LX55. Recently on clearance for $45. Excellent image - lack only big time bass. What a deal. :)
If you are concerned with how much sound is going through the walls to your neighbor's apartment, then consider dipoles.
Mathematically, for a given bass SPL at the listening position, a dipole speaker puts out 5 dB less bass into the environment. This is because a dipole has a figure-8 radiation pattern in the bass, rather than the omnidirectional bass radiation pattern of a monopole. For an in-depth explanation see Sigfried Linkwitz's excellent treatment of the subject at http://www.linkwitzlab.com/rooms.htm .
Two other factors to look at in lowering the amount of noise (typically bass) that your neighbor hears:
1. Get speakers that are very articulate, so you won't have to turn them up loud to hear all the details.
2. Lower the noise floor in your room as much as possible, so you won't have to turn the speakers up to hear the details over the ambient noise.
You might consider the Gradient Revolutions, sort of a perennial underground favorite. These speakers are essentially a controlled dispersion, concentric-driver minimonitor down to 200 Hz, with a dipole bass system below that. I don't know if they're in your budget ballpark (retail is 4.5 grand), but you might find a pair used. Check them out at http://www.gradient.fi/En/Products/Revo/Revo1.htm . I'm a brand-new Gradient dealer, so pardon me if my enthusiasm is showing...
I still think a full range electrostat would be ideal for you, from your "help with speaker selection" thread, but I take it we may now be looking at a more restricted budget. You might want to consider used Acoustats - I can put you in touch with someone who can repair or even upgrade Acoustats should you ever need it, and Acoustats would meet your top seven or eight criteria (from the other thread) very well.
B&W leisure monitors. You can always find a place for them somewhere else later, and they are smooth, sweet and handsomely designed. Should run a little over $300.
Brian, try finding some of the little 2 way Castle's. Can't remember their model name, but they can be had "on sale" or as demo's for just a bit over $300. Unlike most English speakers, these actually sound relatively full bodied yet retain the excellent mids and treble that Anglophile's require. Sean
You can still find used LS 3/5As for around $700 or the new Spendor for $1000 and both are small, deliver well detailed sound and won't boom. Good luck.
B&W 302's. THese are incredible. I''ve hooked them up to my main system and except for the bottom end (which was still very focused) the details and imaging were superb. Around $300 a pair, and can easily go into a bedroom system later.
Get yourself a pair of Spendor/Rogers LS3/5A spkrs here used for about $600-$750, steal some Osiris stands here for about $200, mate them with a Musical Fidelity A1 25W Class integrated (if you can find one), a decent CD player, grab a used pair of Purist Colossus Rev A IC's that aren't banged up ($250 used), string a set of AudioNote's(Kondo)new copper spkr wire ($50/ft)with WBT bananas at the speaker end ($90 pr retail), and then forget about audio for about five years.
Rogers LS3/5a's (the originals)if you can find them. Not the reproductions! (Spendors, Harbeths, etc.)
Glorious mid-range and wonderful imaging.
You will love them for years.
Praised more than any other small speaker.
Backs are pre-drilled to be mounted with Premier brackets specially made for these speakers (I live in apartment too, so stands would be out of the question due to lack of floor space). Any authorized Paradigm dealer should sell them alongside the Atoms.
In addition to most of the speakers listed above, I would suggest you take a listen to the following:
NHT Super Two's
PSB Alpha Minis
They are all satellites that are intended to be used with a sub-woofer, but will give you nice detail in the highs and mids. I don't think any of them go under 60Hz, which should solve your bass problem.
Thanks so much for your help, everyone. I really appreciate all the options (and knowledge) I've gained from reading your responses to this thread.
Anyone have any thoughts on Spica TC-50/Kenergetic sub combination? Kids are moving back in,Quad ESL's have to go.What to do?
Assuming you want small speakers for a relatively small room, e.g. LS3/5a size, consider the Harbeth HL-P3ES/Monitor 20. The BBC is currently replacing a number of their LS3/5a's with the Monitor 20, which is just the "pro" version of the P3ES - that has got to be some kind of endorsement. They are the same height and width as the LS3/5a but an inch or so deeper. They sound pretty similar to the LS3/5as, but bass seems a bit deeper and tighter, the midrange is a bit less colored, and they are shielded so you can use them next to a computer monitor or TV without screwing up the color. There are actually three versions, the original HL-P3, which got a very favorable review in Stereophile about 10 years ago (felt to be better than the LS3/5a, and a review in Hi Fi News concurred), the P3ES, and the P3ES2. Knowing Harbeth, I would imagine that the sound pretty similar. You can occasionally find a used pair on sale for the same price or less than the LS3/5a. I've got both the LS3/5a (Harbeth version which won the recent shooout in Hi Fi News) and the HL-P3ES, which cost me less, and while I like both, I prefer the P3s.