I had a very small pair of Sonus Fabers Electors. Not only are they exceptional looking in Walnut but you wont beleive the sound they put out. New they were 3500 but Ihave seen used pairs for $1500. I boghut these not because of the size but because of the quality. I thought they were better then anything else in the price range regardless of size. You wont be dissapointed.
I am also looking for good almost full range small book shelf type speakers. The two that have stood out so far are the Totem Signature 1 and the B & W 504. Both speakers are in the $2000 range and need good clean power to perform. Good luck and let everyone know what you decide on. Cory
You wont need the SUB, according to the room dimensions you gave...!
I second Perfectimage. I own a pair of Sonus Faber Signum. It is great, and probably one of the best for classical, vocal, sort of music in the class. There is a terrific dealer on Audiogon. Lookup Paolo_Italy. I don't have SUB but I don't have any complaint about their bass.
I am using JM Reynaud Twin Mk2's that are very musical and good with all types of music. They are rated at 55hz but go much deeper, though with drop off. I have also noticed that there are many floor standing tower designs by PSB, Linn, Castle, etc., that take up about the same amount of space as my mini monitors do with the stands included in the equation. I went with stand mounted speakers because of our cats, but could have just as easily plopped towers in their place for added LF response. Due to the slim front baffle and beveled cabinetry, some of the towers disperse the sound in a wide manner very much like a mini monitor.
Are those the demensions of the speakers? Dimensions are in inches. Almost any bookshelf speaker is smaller. For $450 new a pair of B&W DM601 S2 are great. For even less, even the B&W DM302 for $250 new (Stereophile recommended) are a steal.
Coincident Triumph Signatures - easy to drive, wonderful cabinetry, super sound...
I also auditioned the Triumph Sigs and agree with RGB. It was a toss up between them and the Reynauds. The Triumphs champed in the detail dept. plus have a very smooth impedence curve and the less expensive Twins were softer and a little more musical.
Ya gotta toss in the Neat Petite and Royd Albions into your shortlist for audition.
can the speakers be out in the room or must they be against a wall? all the speakers above will not do well against the wall - it's not so much size, as placement - proper stand-mounted small speakers take up the same room as many floorstanders. if ya need 'em against the wall, consider linn, or a couple of models by psb & thiel, specifically made for this application. i'm sure there are others...


As a usual disclaimer, it may depend on your budget, preference of music, current system, upgrade path you have in mind, etc. I would say Superzeros and a matching sub would do the job around 1K. As someone noted, B&W DM601 2S plus a Monitor Audio sub can give you something close to full range around 1.1K. But, what I like is B&W CDM1 or Vienna Acoustics Haydn and a sub although I do not believe you will need a sub with those speakers for a small to mid size room. With those speakers, timbre matching problem may be more prominent, so need to be more careful in selecting a sub (though I think a monitor Audio would do the job without breaking your bank). The aforementioned speakers are popular, so it may sound cliche. Neverthelss, they perform reasonably well with various systems ranging from entry level to mid end (or well enough with the insanely expensive) such that you may have more flexibility in your upgrade in electronics and front ends (up to a certain level). Although I love the exquisite sound of Vienna Acoustics, B$W offers more flexibility unlike other small hi end manufacturers since it is not too difficult to build a reasonable HT system around CDM1 with other B&W's. In other words, a safe bet they are. If you are willing to spend more than 3K, no need to seek a second opinion -- it will be a matter of your preference in entirety in that price range. :) My opinion is based on an assumption that you listen to Classical. I can appreciate hard rock or metal without extended bass, but I just can't fully enjoy Classical without exquisite details, tonal balance, presentation, etc..
Try the ProAc Response 1scs. Many are available and they have a good resale value. I have a pair matched with an Aleph 3 and in our rather small living room they sound incredable. Totem 1s are also very good, and currently own a pair, but in my view the ProAc sounds better and of the two would be my first choice. Don't know much about the Sanus Fabers yet but they are worth researching. Keep in mind good stands are a must, Atlantis Reference or Target, sand or shot filled. Happy hunting.
NHT zeros and sub. These sound great with proper placement.
I don't know about the best, but for the price it's hard to beat a pair of NHT Super Ones (sorry guys I have a pair for sale on this site) and a sub. Legacy Audio makes a very good small speakes, their studio speaker thats worth a listen!
Bsm: The guys who mentioned Sonus Faber are right on track. I own a pair of the Electa Amatours (originals). They are truly awesome & as full range as you can get for a monitor along with being fairly efficient too (88db 1 watt @1 meter, 8 ohms, nominal 6-1/2 ohms). These have become a classic of which many use as a standard to compare monitors. Do get the orignals, not the II's. The originals have the famous esotar 330 silk dome tweeters. Extremely musical yet detailed & deserve the very best of electronics.
ProAc Tablette 50 Signatures (6.5W x 7D x 11L) work extremely well in a small listening room.
i think 'ya got you're room dimensions screwed up, but maybe not. do you really have 19' ceilings in a 10'x20' room? if so, wow! i envy you. IAE, i highly recommend the avalon symbols. they've just been introduced in the u.s. (they will be shown at ces in the muse electronics room in a 6-channel configuration, including a center and sub. the subs are powered by muse amps and, like the symbols, will be sold separately or as 5.1 or 6 channel systems). i've spent a considerable amount of time listening to the symbols as 2-channel speaks diven by both analog and digital frontends. they are fabulous, and, for your application, sound spectacular even in the near field. i wouldn't even think about buying another monitor-sized speaker pair in the $3k range without auditioning the symbol. FWIW, my older son has already purchased a pair for delivery as soon as they are available. -- Voce Divina Soprano.
I have heard the Audio Physic Step and thought that it was a great sounding small speaker. It is limited by the fact that the woofer is very small and can handle only so much power before bottoming out. If you do not listen to loud music it may be an excellent choice. If you do listen to loud music the ProAc Response speakers are great musical speakers. You may be able to fit the 1.5 in that space. They are expensive, but they would enable you to have full range sound in your narrow room.
Coincident Triumphs are a good choice.
Castle "Isis" (discontinued) continue to be the favorite of a local Castle dealer. I don't know if you'll ever find a used pair of Verity Audio Encore "Monitor" satellites (these are the top 1/2 of the Encores), but they have the best midrange of ANYTHING I've heard, and actually roll off smoother in the upper bass than when mated to their woofer basses! They list for an unfortunate $5600, but if you can find a pair of demos/used in the $3k range give them a VERY serious listen! I'm continually stunned that a 5" piston midrange can sound that quick 'n natural! Sonus Faber is a good bet; B&W CDM1 or Pro-Ac Tablet 50 for lower rez. Good Luck, and happiest holidays.
"Best" is always subjective and depends heavily on the price range you are looking at. If price is no object you should try to find a pair of B&W JB Silver Signatures to audition. They are the best "small" speakers I have ever heard, and they have good bass extension (for their size) and interesting looks. Getting hard to find these days though; I've seen a couple of used pairs selling for around $5k over the past year or two. If your budget is more limited, B&W makes several cheaper though still fine sounding small speakers at various price breaks. For $2k (pair), you might also want to check out the Dunlavy SM-1; I have used this speaker for the past year and found it to have good sound (fast & detailed) and satisfying bass for its price and size, but it might be a little bigger than you are looking for. For the price, Paradigm Refs sounded pretty damn good to me too. Finally, if you want to go very small and very cheap, I think the NHT Super Zeros (and One's) give the best bang for the buck. The larger NHT 1.5's also make a nice bookshelf. Happy shopping
I nominate Tannoy System 10 DMT, System 10 DMT II, or System 1000. Only the last of these is a current model, though they're all close to identical. Sold only in pro audio shops (they're professional studio monitors). Dual concentric drivers, around 93 dB sensitivity with high power handling, 42 Hz-25 kHz freq. response; approximately the dimensions you indicated; unforgivingly neutral sound; exceptional dynamics. I use the System 12 DMT (2 x 1 x 1 ft., so too big for your purposes), and am saving up for the System 15 DMT II, but unlike many smaller speakers, the 10-in. are of equal quality to the 12" and 15". Good with solid state or tubes.
B&W 805 and matching sub - matrix 800 series if you are looking for used or Nautilus if new (both sound excellent). They aren't cheap but will give you what you are looking for.
For the money, you can't beat Coincident Triumph Signatures! Give them a listen.
My current fave is the Dynaudio Countour 1.3MK.II. Punchy as all hell, with as uncolored a midrange as you'll find. Same mr/bass driver as the Totem 1 Signature, a well reputed speaker I haven't heard. Inefficient and pricey, though. Thiel CS.5 also a good choice at $1500. Two more very good ones--the new Proac Tablette 2000 and 2000 Sig. models--just use heavy stands. Thanks
Without a doubt, Acoustic Energy AE-1 Signatures. They will soundstage and image with some of the best speakers money can buy. Give them a fast high current amp and yours toes will be tapping.
I'm using a pair of Paradigm ref. active 20's and love them - excellent bass to 38hz and for the price (@ $850 used) , you cant go wrong - only need a source and a preamp - the amps are included.
In Decenber issue if TAS, John Marks nominated "SuperElf" by Shahinian Audio ($750 factory direct) for the Golden Ear Award and for the good reason best MUSICALLY sound pair of small speaker I heard. if you can afford Compass ($1,500) you will have extended bass as well
Consider Snell Qbx 20's. Price around $800. These have been out about a year and half now - not widely distributed nor reviewed -- but a very good speaker. All the usual superlatives apply. Find a pair and listen for yourself!
The Castle Richmond's are nice little speakers. Not very pricey, not very big but quite full bodied and smooth. You could do a LOT worse for a LOT more money. Sean >
Proac Tablette 50 signatures. Very nice.
Castle Richmonds are an excellent choice. I picked up a lightly used demo pair in a real wood veneer for $320. I use them with my Linn Classik. We "blind tested" them against a pair of Linn Katans @ $900 a pair and they sounded every bit as rich.
Merlin TSM. Let me know what color you got.
The Sonus Fabers are nice. I own a pair of Extremas, although the line has been discontinued. The Totem Mani 2 is in the same class. Many people rave about the JM Labs Micro Utopia. The Dynaudio Confidence 3 (or the more budget minded Contour 1.3 MKII) is certainly one of the best. None of these are cheap, all costing thousands of dollars. If you'd rather buy something instead of dream PSB Alphas are still a great buy and sound excellent.
The English have a culture which necessitates small monitors and an aesthetic whic promotes musicality. They don't always lsiten very loud , but you might try the Spendor S-1s which have more dynamic punch and bass than some others. I am running a pair right now.