Speakers under $750.00...Preposterous Notion?

Sometimes an audiophile lives on a $100.00 a week salary (theater wages). When you try to get a serious answer from those who know, they say, "save and get such and such..." Well, my wife disagrees, and for good reason. One must "settle" for products which can be realistically obtained. I think, though that there will be some of you out there who are interested in helping others get truly affordable high-quality gear.
My theory is this: take two hypothetical speaker companies. One starts its entry level model at $1k and proceeds to a flagship going for $50k or more. The other speaker company produces only speakers costing less than $3k. Wouldn't the latter company invest more of its energy into producing true quality at the lower prices (provided it is a relatively good company)?
I'm looking for high-sensitivity (90db or more), wide dynamic range (@35hz-20khz or better), and strong, clear bass. Is all of this too much to ask? Well, here's another request: it would be nice if they're floorstanders since my listening room is about 16'x26'x11'.
I found some speakers @$600.00 in a discount magazine, Athena Technologies Audition AS-F2.2, wonder if they're any good....(must rely on forums...no car to audition speakers in the city with...need water...help....please....)
Klipsch my friend... Lots of great choices used for 500 to 800 per pair.. even shipped. Look at the reference Series with the Copper colored woofers. Or Heritage series, such as the chorus models, Cornwalls, Hersey models.. All well over 95 db efficient.. some will get you down to 35 ~ 32 Hz an will lose no more value used normally if you decide to move on.
why not DIY? madisounds BK16 kits not so bad too build.and you will learn something cant beat that http://www.madisound.com
Klipsch Cornwalls
I would strongly suggest that you buy used speakers, which can be had for pennies on the dollar. Just in the past few years I’ve nabbed Soundwaves (retail $2,600/pr) for $260, Shahinian Diapasons (retail $14,000/pr) for $2,200, a complete Def Tech HT setup ( retail $2,300/pr) for $300, and a Sunfire True sub (retail $1,200) for $195. Some of these were nabbed on the net, and some locally at estate sales. The prices I paid included the shipping, where applicable.

You need to be patient and do a little research, but you can get truly GREAT sound for decent amounts if you’re careful.
Vintage klipsch speakers like Heresy and Forte might work for you, could even have $$$ left over for a Chinese Tube integrated.
I had the Athenas and enjoyed the immensly. Upgraded to Magnepans for more detail. If that's all the money your budget will allow, its a no brainer. They sounded great with tubes too!
There are many great second hand speakers at this price...you have to go a little old that is all.

For example a second hand pair of Energy Pro 22 can probably be found for $200 and would fit your needs. Every now and then a speaker company comes out with a speaker that sounds way to good for its price point. Generally these get phased out as it really messes up the tiering in a manufacturers line up....so just look for some classics that were "best buys" at their time but have since been phased out.
I'd seriously look into used Triangles for the budget you mention. The Zerius or Comete would give you everything your looking for in the used market they can be had for $600 or less.
I guess DIY is a good option, there are a lot of things you can do with 750 diy.

I would guess the company that produces only 3k and lower speakers wont even look twice at expensive components, remember with dealer discount the 3k speaker cost should be around $750. I want to believe that a company making a 50k speaker knows about good components, and sometimes use some of those on cheaper models, some trickle down technology would help also.
Not preposterious at all! Your hypothetical is interesting. I think that at a given price point..It matters not what company of the two you would buy from. Both, despite the different product lines and price ranges, still have to build a worthy speaker to a price point.( that is..if they each are to be competive and are worth their salt)

Anyway, I can't help thinking that you may be well served by finding a used pair of Vandersteem 2Ce at your price. Its so hard to fault this speaker for how much performance you get for the $$$. Vandy's may not be the 90db..(cant remember that..but its close) also Usher line like the 6311 is very good...Ken
Personally, I feel that companies that make very expensive products tend to make better less expensive products than a company that only makes less expensive products. My reasoning is that the high dollar products are such because of research and development costs. This R&D can then trickle down into their less expensive offerings after a while and make those products class leaders. The less-expensive company however doesn't get this advantage, nor do they get the high profit that allows for buying nice test equipment and anechoic chambers. So I tell people on a budget that they are better off with the least expensive of a great brand for the highest value. Of course there are exceptions but in my experience, this has held true.

For your situation, the Vandy 2ce are a good idea, maybe some Eminent Technology LFT8 if you can find a great deal (they need power but are very interesting), or Focal/JM Lab Chorus 826S, or a pair of NHT monitors with one of their subwoofers may fill your large room even better. Older Paradigm Reference speakers also would be excellent, like the 80v2. I am not familiar with the Athena but there are plenty of good well known speakers to choose from.

Used Klipsch Forte or Forte II. Right in your wheel house.
Magnepan MMG's factory direct for $550 is a bargain! Plus you get a 1 year full refund if you upgrade in the magnepan line! They even have a 60 satisfaction guarentee
Get a good 200watt solid state amp and you will be amazed. A used pair of MG12's is another option..

Add a sub (DYI) later..
Buy used, use the zip code search at Audiogon, then you can go listen... Why pay shipping, plus damage risk? Lots of good advice above....Vandersteem 2Ce is a good one.

Watch "Craigslist" like a hawk (mostly junk, but with a few gems)....I grabbed a pair of Apogee MiniGrands, delivered to my home....($650) not long ago. I can't even begin to tell you how nice these sound....you can see them at my system link if you click it.

I am very happy with the BW DM602 s3 i bought used for $400. I'm using them with my PrimaLuna PL2 and it sounds great with tubes. I think it sounds very nice, no fatigue with a solid range of sound.
Maybe you can consider selling your amp and using the money plus your budget and buying a used active speaker. You also save on speaker cable.
Quadruple the Vandersteen suggestion. I also heard a pair of Silverline speakers at the NY Stereo show, a smallish two-way foor stander, that sounded fantastic and listed for $600. Do not judge them by either their size or price, they were something special.
Sorry, I did not mean to say floor standing, it is a bookshelf monitor. You can read about it at http://www.silverlineaudio.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=91
It was very impressive with bass that kep me looking for a sub, others around me had a very similar reaction, wondering how that smallish speaker could sound so full.
Buy the Dahlquest 32i's that are for sale now on Agon for $750 obo or make an offer on the Alon Vs that are also for sale on Agon now. These will provide you with an open, dynamic sound that you would have to spend a ton more money on to get with other speakers.

Happy Listening.
Not at all preposterous.

While I have a fairly pricey main system by most standards, I have set up a second system (bed room), third system (beach house) and fourth system (Dad) all for total budget of less than $2K -- in some cases less than $1500 -- that all are quite pleasing to the ear and the challenge was fun. The key is to buy used (at least for some of the system) here on Audiogon, and do your research carefully (start with professional reviews and questions about specific models here).

There are lots of speakers that I could be happy with in that price range (both used and new), in fact it is hard to choose, which is why I'm not offering specific suggestions. Based on availability, aesthetics, room, etc. I ended up with different speakers for each of the above mentioned system and they all sound nice.

Good luck.

There are many great below a grand speakers. I know, I have soooo many great speakers sitting around in your range. I just gotta get off my butt (no time) and list here. Acoustat 3's, Dahlquist DQ-10's, Dq-28's, and on and on.

The Acoustat's are amazing for FULL reproduction of all frequencies at the right levels. The Dahlquist's have a much better soundstage though. And there's other's out there too.

If for nothing else, you're in the right place!
p.s. The Gon is VERY addicting.
Vintage Snell E-III's I believe are rated down to 39Hz +/- 1.5dB. 91dB 1w. 6 ohm. I own a mint pair and they are worth seeking out. Another great floorstanding spks. if you are able to find are Paradigm Phatom V4's. (Rated down to 47hz. I believe, but I think this number is very convervative.) They are being discontinued and replaced by the newer Monitor line. If you're able to find a dealer whom has remaining new stock, do not hesitate to buy a pair. ( I bought mine for around $480 New. Worth every penny.) Bill.
mr stain...there are a pair of large advents for sale on audiogon in near mint condition for $350. even today, they nail all the things that most music lovers and even jaded audiophiles covet. the best part is, that in 20 years this legendary speaker will still be prized. A big part of an entire generation found music through the large advent or the jbl century 100.....
Not the leat bit preposterours, especially if you're willing to consider used. Most folks here have a LOT more listening experience than I do (brands, model lines, etc.) but I would add a second to the B&W dm602 s3 recommendation. I had them along with the matching sub, and was very pleased. I think their rarity here speaks to how pleased people tend to be with them.
Buying new avoids other peoples problems,like or blown or replaced speakers,worn parts nicks and dings.Usher S-520's $400.00 probobly the best deal of the bunch,Kirksaeter Prisma 55's $585.00 another great deal with better bass,Omega Super 3's $750.00 great for tubes.Now pick a Jolida amplifier of your choice and a CD player like a Jolida JD100.It's all in pride of ownership.Thanks !!!! Rick at Audio Force www.audioforce.biz

06-23-07: Audioforce
Buying new avoids other peoples problems,like or blown or replaced speakers,worn parts nicks and dings.
Not always. I recently bought new speakers, and I have issues with that require new drivers. Oh yes, the first pair arrived with dings and dents.
I purchased a pair of PSB Image floorstanders for a second systemn and they are very nice for the money - google DMC Electronics - I am not affliated in any way other than purchased from them - they have deals on PSB speakers that supposedly have minor blemish (still looking for the blemish on mine)
Mr. Stain, I agree. Go with the Magnepans, they're a great speaker. Search Audiogon for some used 1.6 model. I have them myself and never tire of listening to all types of music. They have a great sound stage, are tight and crisp, and have base down to 40 cycles. Later, you could add a subwoofer. I've seen them on Audiogon for around $900, so take a look.

And have good time.

Nice to see subjects on beer budgets levels (compared to the norm) for a change with good, solid responses also. Perhaps there should be a section on Audiogon for the more budget conscious?
Madisound has a kit called "LOKI". It retails for $450. Outstanding sound that I think will compete with many speakers priced below and maybe above 2K.

You should also check out single driver speakers of various sorts like those made by the Horn Shoppe.
I would recommend vintage Polk Model 10Bs off of ebay.
I just picked up a new pair of Infinity Primus 362 speakers on eBay and really like them; they are very neutral and fast with an incredible midrange. Also they are 93db efficient and extremely easy to drive; tube amps work nicely with them. I've been listening to and enjoying the Primus 362s more than my other two larger, more expensive speakers.
I would get some DCM TFE200's and have them Modified....look at my thread on Modified DCM TFE200's. These are one of the best sounding speakers that I have ever heard after you have them modified!! I think of these now open baffle DCM's as my MaggieVandy speakers now........