Requesting Advice on Speaker Upgrade


I am in the market for a new speaker upgrade. I am hoping to receive recommendations on brands and models to look at. I have already demoed some Kef and Totem speakers, which I really enjoy. I really have my eye on the Totem Rainmakers. Not sure if they will be a good fit for my room or amp though.

I’d also like something that will be flexible with integrated amp upgrade possibilities down the road.

I’d say it’s a small to medium room size at approximately 15’ x 20’. There is a large picture window to the left of the listening position that has curtains covering it. To the right of the listening position is a half wall that goes into an open kitchen. Behind the seat is a floor to ceiling stone hearth and fireplace wall.

My budget tops at $600-$900, but $1100 will be the absolute max. Looking for bookshelf monitors and I’d like to be able to include stands within that budget.

I enjoy a balanced sound profile. I don’t necessarily crave super clarity or very bright sounding speakers, but enjoy a neutral sound. Sharp, clear bass is great, but I’m not super into hard, thumping bass. I’m still new to audio so pardon if these descriptors aren’t exactly clear.

My current setup is a Rotel RA-12, Project Debut Carbon w/ Ortogon 2M Blue cartridge, and a DTS Play-Fi streamer (for Tidal Hifi and Spotify streaming). Current speakers are stand mounted Polk RTi-A1s.

I have a toddler that wanders around this space. So grille covers are a must. I am also welcome to floorstanding recommendations, but thinking stand mounted ones will be ideal since it’s less he can mess with on the floor.

Sorry for the super wordy post... But one last note: We have a lot of mid-century modern furniture in our home. So looking for options with a clean, simple design and aesthetics.

Thanks, and cheers!


Ha!  Thanks for that.  These little speakers are really nice.  Can't complain for $100.  

The Stereophile review is pretty accurate to how I hear them too.  

Little dude is definitely interested in what's going on with the stereo.  It'll be so much fun as he grows, and maybe, enjoy listening to music with his dad.  We'll see!

After about a month, the Quad's I ordered from California, have arrived. The long delay was my fault, and UShip's; actually UShip saved me money, as the Quad's needed packing, but UShip was very hard to get used to, as it continually erased their long forms, and sometimes wouldn't allow the proper select box entry [kept reverting to a simpler, WRONG entry].  In the long run, UShip saved over $100, compared to FedEx, though was the 1 month delay worth it?  Later, I'd like a forum on UShip, vs the other carriers as FedEx, UPS, DHL and USPS.

The Quad 63's are pristine, coming close to new; and include factory stands, upping them about a foot.  As I've never heard Quad's before, the difference between them and my JBL system, was not even close.  Magnitudes, would be the proper description. Now, I'd imagine I'll never leave the Quad's.  Playing 3 albums,  classical, Moody Blues live, and In A Godda Da Vida by Iron Butterfly.  The Moody Blues brought out the midrange the best, as I heard all types of sounds, that I'd never heard before.. like a couple of instrument's that had been hidden, some drumming and stage yelling between the performers.. These sounds were separate, and clearly heard, where before on many listens, they were hidden.

Quad's [electrostatics, vs the newer smaller Quad boxes], have a reputation of passing a square wave, that no other speaker can do.  Simply put, passing a square wave, mean's an ultimate fast rise time, that most speaker's can't do. Quad electrostatics, starting with the 63, have a ring of sound, that are delayed, a little in each ring at a time, to approximate the "pebble in a pond", duplicating the exact sound, as nature intend's it.  These ring delays, are designed in loops around the speaker, from center outward, with increasing long and longer delays [controlled by circuitry]. 

Because of Quad's "unearthing" the mids, bringing new, unheard of, sounds, out, I don't think many other speakers could do this, especially with an almost unheard of quick rise time.  If anyone's heard of speakers, that can play these "new sounds", normally unheard, could they post it?

Quad's, the best...
Just a second for the GoldenEar Technology line. In addition to the Aons, check out the floor standers such as the Triton 7 or Triton 5 - should be well within your budget used or demo. They're very easy to drive but sound like much more expensive speakers. 

BTW, I have the PM8004, predecessor of the 8005, and it's a great amp. I generally feel you should match your amp to your speaker, not the other way around.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the Quads.  The more I read about Quad, the more I want to own a pair.  

  BTW, I have the PM8004, predecessor of the 8005, and it's a great amp. I generally feel you should match your amp to your speaker, not the other way around.

Thanks for the Triton recs! .

Happy with the 8005 so far.  Been swapping out with the Rotel RA-12 depending on my mood.  Both have very different sound from one another.  I'm noticing that I prefer the Marantz with older recordings, especially jazz, and more laid back, mellower music.  The Rotel shines with electronic and higher processed oriented production.  

For me, at the moment, I am mostly piecemealing because of budget constraints.  I'll keep saving, and hopefully will be able to purchase a decent speaker pair and amp combo at the same time.