Add Swan D2.1SE, full sound and not bright at all.
27 responses Add your response
One of the 'problems' you may encounter with bookshelf speakers is that even if the mids and highs were perfect the reduced bass would serve to emphasize the mids and highs making them seem bright or at least thin thru the mids. Many folks wanting fully fleshed out response incorporate a sub woofer OR find a small speaker with a 'bump' in the mid/upper bass frequencies. (Rogers LS3/5A did this quite nicely - at medium volumes, in a small room, it was hard to beat!).
I can't comment on the speakers you list. I've not heard them.
Question: Why MUST you part with speakers that you love?
If it is just to upgrade because you have the "itch", perhaps you should wait until you are no longer in love with them, and really want to upgrade for legitimate reasons. Just a thought.
As far as a recommendation for some really nice bookshelf speakers, the Revel M20's are really nice. They are now out of production, so the price has dropped considerably, (down to around $1,000 or less). The only complication is that they need a fair amount of power, so small SET type of amps won't work too well. The upside of needing that much power is that they go fairly deep, and you'll not miss too much in the way of bass response. (I believe these were even on Stereophile's limited response "A" list for awhile.)
Here is a link to their review:
Stereophile's M20 review
And, if you buy them and don't like them, buying used means that you can resell them for little to now loss, except for shipping costs.
Good Luck in your search.
I have a new pair of Harbeth P3esr's. Can't believe a) how smooth and natural they sound and b) how big they sound. They compare very nicely with my Ellis 1801s which are a very large standmount and definately not bookshelf speakers in terms of sound. Seem to need a little power to bring out the big sound though.
Look into Omega's, Louis is a great guy who will custom make most of his speakers to fit his customers needs. Check out his site, forum, and give him a call. He is very busy and can get behind in email, if you call he usually picks up the phone or will answer a voice mail in about a day.
I just finished my home system build and one things that I learned in the process (6 months with maybe 25 speakers/packages auditioned) is that small speakers do not have to mean small sound. I started with a notion that I needed big speakers and I was just flat wrong within the context of my expectations. I looked very seriously at many bookshelf speakers and found several that really were quite good. I'm only familar with the ERA models out of what you list but the D5's especially can go very big for their size. Mine can shake the floor. I use them in Zone 2 with D4's as my rears in Zone 1 HT. Never push the D4's much but the 5's are stout.
Totem Acoustic Mani-2 Signature. 8.5"x16.4"x12" and genuine bass extension (thanks to an isobaric woofer implementation) into the mid-20's and overall very linear with good in-room dispersion. Updated Stereophile measurements here.
1-20-09: TpreavesThen you don't just need small speakers, you need speakers voiced to sit on a credenza, like these of the (way expensive) Wilson Duette. I suspect that if you put speakers designed to be stand-mounted on a credenza, you'll be disappointed. Also at least consider getting some Auralex Monitor Pads.
At 18" from the wall I suspect most book shelf speakers will be OK. I've run my era D5's there with no notable bass issues and my d4's are closer than that now. So I guess I would say than yes they should be OK. Mind I have never hears any of the other speakers on your list or mentioned in the responses above. Take that back. I have heard several Dynaudio and I respect that brand.
If you're looking for small speakers with big sound, check out the technological marvel, Mark&Daniel Maximus Monitors. They have a huge sound. In my listening room, my trusty RadioShack db meter shows them to be flat down to 31.5cps, and they image very nicely.They are incredible for stand mounted speakers. The only caveats are that they are only 85db efficient and the impedance can dip to 2.8 ohm at certain points, so they require a powerful amp. Also, they need a minimum of 150sq ft listening room, according to the disributor.
If you're looking for small speakers with big sound, check out Mark&Daniel Maximus Monitors. They have a huge sound. In my listening room, my trusty RadioShack db meter shows them to be flat down to 31.5cps, and they image very nicely.They are incredible for stand mounted speakers. The only caveats are that they are only 85db efficient and the impedance can dip to 2.8 ohm at certain points, so they require a powerful amp. Also, they need a minimum of 150sq ft listening room, according to the disributor.
My favourite small speaker is the Paradigm Atom. I have owned and listened to dozens of towers and bookshelf speakers and the Paradigm Atom v.3 or v.4 is my favourite speaker.
I have owned the v.6 but feel the v.3 and v.4 sound better. Even A-B'd them with Paradigm Studio 10 v.5 speakers and they were comparable except for the bass and build quality. Although the Atoms have an excellent overall audiophile sound the only caveat is deep bass and high volume capability. The Paradigm Studio 10 v5 or 20 v5 depending on room size would give you greater volume and bass as well as beautiful cabinets and fantastic build quality.
But going back to the Paradigm Atom v.3 or v.4. I think this is a very special small speakers at 10.5"h * 6.5"w * 8.5"d they play big and reproduce music very very well for a relatively small speaker and low price. If you didn't like them for some reason I'm sure you could turn around and sell them for what you paid. After buying used Paradigm v.3's and liking them so well, knowing that Paradigm no longer makes this Performance Series Atom, I bought another used v.4. Highly recommended!
nht Classic 3. Three way speakers in a very compact package, about 14" high. Music is very full, and if you really need the bottom octave, get the Classic Subwoofer 10 or 12, or better yet a pair. But I find the Classic 3 sufficient without subs.
Otherwise, PSB Alpha, Imagine or Image depending on your budget.
You know... normally I don't do the whole "x3" bit, but I agree with the Mark and Daniel recommendations. Honestly... Those little Mini's / Mini+ monitors should work nicely in your situation.
Speaking from an objective point of view, I feel like the Mini's have a 'maturity' to their sound that is lacking in some of the other M&D models that I've heard. They do a lot of great things, and I wish more people knew about them.
Alas, there is a caveat worth mentioning.. These speakers consume rain forests for power. OK.. not really. But for casual to elevated listening volumes, I'd heavily encourage you to pair them with a power amp that is capable of dishing out a muscular 50wpc or more.
Otherwise, you should be good to go!
If you can wait until they hit the stores, the new GoldenEar Aon series, especially the $998/pair Aon 3, looks promising. It's not listed as a product yet on GoldenEar's website , but it's been showing up at shows. Here's a picture and description . I've heard the GoldenEar Triton 2, which shares the same folded ribbon tweeter (a much evolved Heil AMT-style driver) and the treble is extended and smooth and the drivers are exceptionally well integrated. GoldenEar claims usable bass down to 38 Hz on the Aon 3's.
Oops! I just remembered another approach which might work for you. What if you got some compact omnidirectional satellites and a couple of "stealth" subwoofers? I'm speaking specifically of the Mirage OMD-5 satellites. The OMD-5's were originally $750/pair but are available from Vanns.com for $340-400/pair. With an omnidirectional radiating pattern, they are very room-filling. I have the OMD-15 floorstanders which use the same mid and tweet, and they definitely fill up the listening space.
The OMD-5s work best with one or two subs as the satellites are only rated down to about 60 Hz. The MM8 sub is a 1200 w (peak) 9" cube made to sell at $799. I managed to score mine at $279 from Vann's at eBay but it looks like that sale is off. They're a great match, however, as they are extremely fast and blend easily with a 0-360 deg. continuous phase control. Or you might get a pair of OMD-5's and get a single sub from somewhere else, such as SVS.
At any rate, the omnidirectional dispersion pattern of the OMD-5s gives them a big advantage in being able to fill a room, or even a larger listening space such as an open architecture cathedral ceiling living space. The subs would fill out the bottom. Bear in mind that in spite of their $340/pair closeout price the OMD-5s were designed to compete at $750/pair and have that level of dynamics, transparency, and linearity.