$400 isn't a lot for speakers that provide clean highs and tight bass. I am sure every speaker maker thinks they do that, but very few actually/really do. Spend some more and get used Focal bookshelf speakers. Focal speakers as a general rule tend to be clean from top to bottom.
Check out the reviews for the new Andrew Jones speakers from Elac. Only $200 too.
Used Silverline Minuet Supreme Plus. I have them on my desktop. They are really lovely.
Thanks for the input so far but I have a question.
If I'm going to have these speakers either on a bookshelf or close to a wall shouldn't I be looking at speakers with no or front ports?
No rear ported speaker for your setup. You need a sealed or front
I guess that narrows the field of choices a lot when one eliminates rear ported speakers.
Triangle speakers , cheap, great , and front ported.
What color are the walls? I need more info. just one
point. If you like to crank your rock music you need to
consider speaker sensitivity. how many tube watts are you
willing to pay for if you get a speaker rated less than
90 db or so. then again you may not want to play it too
loud in that room
There's a nice pair of ATC SCM7s for sale here a bit over your price that would likely meet your requirements, but you'd need a solid state amp. Best of luck.
Check out the LSA.5. A dealer is selling them on this site for $399.00 new. They are front ported and a sensitivity of 90 db. Looks like a no brainer to me !
Veroman, I'll probably use a 50-70W amp. I don't plan on cranking the music. I'll play it just loud enough so it kind of fills the room but not shake the walls.
Get a pair of Wharfedale Denton (believe me, the craftmanship is amazing for the limited walnut version, I don't like the red veneer version though, for small to medium listening pleasure, it's one of the best bang of the buck), or you can get Wharfedale Diamond 10.1, looks very compact and sound good, easy to be put in office too
The Wharfedale has rear ports and will not work in a bookshelf
where the OP wants to put his speakers . He needs sealed or
Yogiboy: Though the Denton is rear ported, but so far this is the best bass port handling speakers that does not bother me with bass resonance, really love the bass. Just few inches will be suffice for it to sing!
paradaigm offer good value for money. front ported and good bass for a bookshelf.
Wim1983: That Denton looks like a bargain for the $500 price. If the rear ports cause no problem,the OP should jump on them! If I needed a second set of speakers they would be on my short list!
I've had more fun with my office system than any other system I've owned. It is where I had the flexibility and freedom to play around with all the variables. I would encourage you to "store" your system in a rack or at least some place open that would allow you to change components and cables without much hassle.
Now to answer your question. I'm no expert, but my experience has taught me that it is difficult to get tight bass with a punch from small bookshelves in your price range. I'm not saying that it can't be done, but that it will be a challenge and you may have to think outside the box, no pun intended. Rather than looking for front ported speakers, I suggest looking for sealed box speakers. Also, older speakers may not be as appealing as the newer ones, but they might provide the best alternative given your budget.
I once had a pair of Boston Acoustics A-40s paired with a small sealed M&K sub woofer. I was quite pleased with the sound and especially for the price. The A series speakers by Boston might be a good place to start. They were pretty good speakers in their day. I currently have the A400s in my office. They are a sealed box tower about 8 inches deep and can be placed right up against the wall. They have two 8" woofers so the bass is plentiful and tight, but they do tend to like power. When I'm in the mood for rock and jazz, I make sure the A400s are hooked up.
Another speaker I've used which I enjoyed for jazz (especially) and rock was the Polk Monitor 7B. Again, it was a sealed box but it utilized a 10" passive woofer.
Trying connecting with some audiophiles locally. Most audiophiles have unused speakers in a closet somewhere, and some might be willing to bring them over to your place for a listening session.
Finally, you might want to consider another option; combine your amp and speaker budget to purchase active speakers. I have no experience with active speakers, but the concept just seems to make sense, especially for smaller budgets. If studios are using them to produce the music we listen to, why wouldn't it make sense to use them for playback in our own settings?
Enjoy the journey!
Paradigm models to look for? Used is OK
The BA A-40 are dirt cheap as a lot of them need the foam surrounds. That's not a problem. I've done 7 Bose 802 4" surrounds and as long as you take your time it's not difficult. I could probably buy 2 pairs for $100 + the cost of surrounds and then get a subwoofer. I'd be fine rebuilding a X'over or doing other mods if it allowed me to move up the ladder with some of my labor.
I'm also curious about the KEF Q300 if I can find a deal on a used pair.
I've also seen a good deal on new Focal Chorus 706.
Also any Klipsch I should be looking at? KG4? Although maybe a bit large?
Anything small and I'll need to get a sub so I'm wondering (no darts please LOL) if anyone has listened to Econowave modded Large Advent speakers?
Thanks for the advice so far….you've kept me reading a LOT.
I can't comment on the Large Advents out of personal experience, but that is the type of speaker I would get. I just went out to my local CL and saw some Advents, Polk Monitor 10, Energy 3.1e, Snell type K-III, and some Sansui speakers. Don't worry about getting the "perfect" set right away. Get something inexpensive that you can live with temporarily, then scour CL and the audio sites. Before long, something perfect or close to it will pop up.
my vote goes to ads l710's. yes they are vintage but they are easy to drive, will work well in your situation and sound fantastic with better build quality than most modern speakers in that price range