Dynaudio Xeo 2
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The RP-600M is indeed a great speaker for the price; however it’s impedance in the treble is very high, thus a tube amp would make the speaker sound brighter, and it’s already bright to begin width.
Despite popular belief, Klipsch speakers aren’t actually that high sensitivity (par the Heresy and such). Klipsch states sensitivity as in-room and not anechoic, historically they use +6dB. So even though the RP-600M states 96dB, it’s actually 90dB (John Atkinson estimated it at 89.6dB). Still higher than average, from a far cry from the ridiculous 96dB spec.
There's an endless variety of speakers out there cooper......You didn't mention what electronics you will be using to drive the speakers. A most important element. If you have the opportunity to audition speakers with YOUR electronics that would be a big plus in your decision. Some speakers sound great with some electronics and not so good with others.
Your statement..... "There's an endless variety of speakers out there" is so true. You will receive countless recommendations from many who have different speakers and attest to their satisfaction with their speaker choices. Most opinions will be base on complete system setups and personal tastes. Audition speakers if you can!!
I have a pair of Celestion SL700s (stand mounted) in my bedroom. I don't plan to part with them. Ever.
That said, you should always audition speakers - and preferably at home and in situ. If your budgets can handle it, you should consider a pair of LS35a. Even today and almost regardless of the manufacturer, they represent a landmark speaker.
I've mentioned these speakers before....here it goes...wharfedale diamond 225's. They have to be heard to be believed, for just $449 I don't think they can be beat for an honest sounding audiophile speaker. A touch of warmth, non fatiguing, unbelievable bass response, crystal clear highs, and a sweet midrange. Stereophile recomended component.
My last system was with Vandersteen 3A signatures, Aragon 8008BB power amp & Adcom GFP-750 Preamp. Current system is Maggie 1.7is, PS Audio Direcstream DAC & PS Audio BHK 250 amp. My bedroom system is a Nuforce STA 200 power amp with a pair of Focal 706s. These are amazing speakers & I got them for $450 a pair new here on Audiogon from Canadian dealer. I have not heard ANYTHING remotely this good up to $800. I chuckle every time I hear them. Punchy, clear, revealing, delicate, open & with good imaging. No brainers at $450.
My favorite bookshelf speakers right now are the Focal 906. I have used them as near field listening monitors for PC, as L/R paired with a PS Audio Sprout 100 in a 2 channel configuration, and as Surround L/R in an all Focal 5.1 configuration with a Yamaha RX-A1060 AVR. I have never been disappointed, in fact they rival their tower big brother - the Focal Aria 926. I am positive you can pick up a pair of 906’s in your budget, either new on sale or gently used here on Audiogon. Happy hunting!
For the money the ELAC UniFi UB-5 speakers are great. They are also just very good speakers. An added bonus is that for some reason, they are heavily discounted and you can find them on Amazon. If you want to move up to they big brother towers the ELAC UniFi UF-5 are even better and discounted too and on Amazon. These aren’t bookshelf or speaker stand speakers in the traditional sense, but the Magnepan Little Ribbon Speakers (LRS) are excellent, and ordered directly from Magnepan for only $650!
Thanks for all your suggestions. There are a few speakers presently listed here on A'gon that I'm very interested in: Some Spendor SP 3/1Ps and the above mentioned Focal Aria 906s. From this you might get an idea of what appeals to my taste. Speakers like the KEFs (and a lot of other modern speakers I've heard) are clean and tight with great imaging, but I find them uninvolving, sometimes downright shrill. I'm also interested in LSA .5s but I haven't seen these for sale anywhere recently. Discontinued, I think.
A bit more detail about my system: amplification is an Arcam A85 integrated, and between the computer and the amp I'm using a Musical Fidelity VDac II (basic but very serviceable DAC). Digital optical cable between computer's sound card (Soundblaster Z) and DAC.
Update: I've settled on a set of Focal 906s (new) that were listed here on A'gon at an irresistible price. They'll be here tomorrow. It'll take some time for them to find their voice (100 hrs. or so, I'm told) but I'm really looking forward to hearing them. I'll let you know what I think when I've had a chance to put them through their paces.
Thanks again for all your suggestions.
Focals arrived today and they're playing happily away in my system. Right out of the box I'm impressed with their remarkable imaging and facility with vocal tracks. I thought a good touchstone would be a CD of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, where the opening chorale features a double-choir. Wow. The sense of space comes through in blazing technicolor.
Because the speakers are still brand-spanking new, they sound kind of closed up and overly polite but I'm sure this will all open up with sufficient playing. It's really unfair to try to assess them right now, because they obviously need quite a few more hours of break-in before I can get a true sense of what they're capable of, but I'm looking forward to hearing what happens as they open up in the coming days. Well weeks, more like...