What is under $5k speaker with best bass slam?

Let's forget everything else. The bass should not necessarily go deep down to whale's voice territory.

Simply, what speaker <$5k has best bass slam?
Define bass slam? I don't know. Something I can feel with my body. Thump, slam, shockwave, etc.

Accompanied electronics? I don't know. Let's just talk about the speaker's potential.


Try some of the Legacy Audio models. (Sig III, Focus)
Pick up a Blank Firing Impact Grenade (they are reusable) and forget about the music.
If your question also assumes used speakers, the Vienna Acoustic Mahlers, which can be found for as little as $4k/pair used.
>>Pick up a Blank Firing Impact Grenade (they are reusable) and forget about the music.

Dekay, you just described bass slam. Now which speaker can produce impact grenade? ;)
Raquel, I have been lurking on to find local sales of Mahlers. Thanks
PSB platnum T-6 very good bass and can be found for $3000
Used Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III HSE. About half your budget.
Hi Doug:

The Paradigm 100 v2's might meet your needs. But they favor a lot of good amp power to deliver the transient snap you are seeking.

As for the wise guy comments to a fair question... let the little lad return to his school desk... hands clasped together, plaid shorts and knickers. Maybe he will learn that good sound is actually available below 55hz.
Define bass slam? I don't know. Something I can feel with my body. Thump, slam, shockwave, etc

If you are looking for high impact shockwave rather than resonant or warm muddy or dull but impressive bass - i.e. you want short duration but something that hits very hard so you feel rather than only hear it - then look at "critically damped designs" with pro woofers of 8" or more.

JBL's. Tannoys. ATC etc.

For example a pair of Genelec 8050A new (including built in amps) will set you back about $4500...and give plenty of SLAM in a medium sized space. I would say 8" is a minimum as few six inchers have much slam and two six inch woofers rarely equals an single 8 inch. Also be wary of ported designs if the port is designed to give the speaker bass extension...good luck!

I think you may find the Mahlers will be in the warm but impressive direction rather than pure "slam" or tight bass. Of course, I may have misinterpreted your meaning of "slam"...
Define bass slam? I don't know. Something I can feel with my body. Thump, slam, shockwave, etc.

A good massage chair might fit the bill. :)
I owned Mahlers for six years, have owned other large speakers and have heard a lot of large speakers - "slam" is the Mahler's forte. In each speaker, you have two 10" woofers, two ports, and two 7" mid/bass drivers. The 7" mid/bass drivers are the same 7" driver used in the WattPuppy and Maxx II's, they are normally used as bass drivers, and are, due to first-order crossovers, down only 6 db. at 35 Hz. (and that's just the mid/bass drivers). Largely as a result of the foregoing, the speakers are tipped up in the midbass and move a lot of air -- they'll pin you up against a wall.
The Klipsch K-Horns always impressed the hell out of anyone who heard them for the first time. And the fact that a 25W/ch. amp could play them loud enough to make your ears bleed was the icing on the cake.

We dubbed them the "Ultimate Lease Breakers" back in the day...[g]

Harmonic Precision Caravelle's. I have only heard one small speaker that sounded as good but they cost a lot more. Von Schweikert speakers suck!



Thanks for all the inputs. I mostly listen to music as backgrounds at a low level. My system is Ayre AX-7e, Harbeth HL Compact 7es2, computer digital output converted by Benchmark DAC1. I use apple lossless files. Their synergy is unbelievable and I am 99% satisfied.

The only thing I sometimes miss is "bass slam". I don't care too much for lowest frequency. But since I love drum sound and occasionally play drums, Harbeth C7 is not enough.

Like Shadorne's advice, I also thought about using pro speakers. But I wonder if there's any good looking pro speakers that will not ruin the indoor scene of my house.

Listen to Gallo 3.1 with or without the amp that you can hook up or leave out. 2,495-3,295 range for the speakers.
Hi Dh4kim

Asking for the "best" of anything will generate multiple impressions. For slam, a driver/drivers with a large radiating surface is necessary. Slim towers with multiple 6 or 8-inch drivers won't do. At least 10-inch driver(s) are needed. The amount of slam is also room dependant. A pair of speakers with 12-inch woofers in a small to medium room can provide slam, but in a large living room their slam will be lost. The aforementioned JBL, Klipsch, Tannoys, ATC, and maybe the Von Schweikert speakers will all give you slam. I will add B&W 801s to the list. But you can't get away from large speakers if you really want slam.

04-04-08: Dh4kim
Thanks for all the inputs. I mostly listen to music as backgrounds at a low level.
Bass slam is usually a function of volume. Low volume listening does not lend itself to bass slam, IMO.

The Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III HSE would definitely not be good for you. They require volume for the bass slam to kick in. When I had mine driven by a Moscode 401HR, drums sounded live in my room. I have a close friend who is a professional motion picture sound recorder, and he commented that my system sounded more real than many Hollywood sound studios he had visited.
I am sorry I forgot to say that I'm going to setup a new system for bass slam. Although I am currently happy with my Ayre-Harbeth setup, I'm going to setup a dedicated bass slam system in 400 sq ft space.
If I was creating a new system, I'd look into the Emerald Physics speakers. About $3500 new, and they can be auditioned in your home. Lots of buzz about how real they sound.
if its a viseral thing that you're fishing for...that live music has...drum kicks, etc......ohms, shahinian, castle, gradients and other loudspeakers that are multi directional, do this incredibly
Your advice gives me a hint that I might have to set up my "slam" system in a smaller space? What do you think? Will a 12" woofer speaker in, say, 12'x12' room do some slam?
Get some used Vandersteen quatro speakers...they slam all day long and are tunable to your room with 11 band Bass EQ, also powered woofers to let your amp sail along with a nice easy load...Stereophile Class B speaker.
I really like my Emerald Physics CS-2's..Man can they do bass!! I wont get "too" carried away here..just go hear them..The buzz is true. Watch out for these! I hear rumblings from dealers about guys selling their $20K Vandy 5's.. 13K Merlins, and Quad 2905's to get these..I dont know for sure, but from what I hear in my system..I could see that happening.
Hsu STF-1 subwoofer, $299. Add speaker of choice.


In my experience, studio monitors are not going to do that, they are not intended for nor desired to create punchy bass. Just accurate. And typically only to around 40-50 Hz.

Granted there are obviously some speakers better than others in every price category but forget everything else? No component is an island and the speaker is perhaps more affected by every other element of a system than any other component.

How can anyone possibly tell a speakers' true capability without serious attention given to the electronics, room acoustics, speaker placement, cables, line conditioning, the amount of juice coming from the wall, and vibration management applied to the speakers and to all the other components?

Fall short in any one or two of these categories and you could end up with some of the sloppiest, rolling earthquake-like, ill-defined bass you'd never care to hear unless your cruisin' in your low-rider.

Get all of these elements right and you're in a whole 'nother league and you may find that it matters a little less which speaker you chose. Assuming it's a full-range speaker of course.

All that taken into consideration the tightest, most well-defined, and most realistic bass I've ever heard by far came from a pair of used $4K (new $8700) Aerial Acoustic Model 10T speakers mated to a pair of Nuforce SE Class D amps. Never heard anything even close to it. At least until recently.

Case-in-point, there are plenty of people who will claim the Aerial Model 10T's bass was some of the worst they've ever heard.

Question for Raquel. I know you owned both Salons and Mahlers. Would you say that the Mahlers were more dynamic and/or played louder than the Salons? Thanks.
Like Shadorne's advice, I also thought about using pro speakers. But I wonder if there's any good looking pro speakers that will not ruin the indoor scene of my house.

Not that I can think of. They all have an industrial look. The Genelec's in White look pretty cool though...
I'm on the same page a Bill - of course I suspect this is because we share the same concept of slam. Short transients that pressure the room/ears - it is almost more of a feeling than "sound" as it is so transient. This is completely different from tremendous impressive bass - my speakers with 12" woofers have very little heavy bass response - on most music it is nearly all transient effects at the low end that you perceive..... except, of course on double bass and organ if you get my meaning.

To get the full impact you also need to buy the right music - try Keb 'Mo "Slowdown" album - it has a very nice dynamic recording of drums - and use this to audition speakers. You also may need to buy acoustic treatments and use a bass management system to get a reasonably flat in room response....room modes can mess up slam too. Perception of Slam is also related to the way the 3 to 5 KHz region behaves ....many audiophile designs are deliberately rolled off in the upper mid range region (for that more polite laid back enjoyable sound) and this will reduce the perception of slam ....which is why I suggested giving pro speakers an audition.

I suspect the Genelec's may be a wee bit small in a 20 by 20 foot room but if you don't listen loud it may be worth a try.
I have a pair of speakers w/ sep. bases. (SAP Quattros) They have side fireing woofers.The woofers are supposed to face each other. When I reverse the lowers and have them fire to the sides I get the feeling I may do foundation damage---and--- with not that much volume. Sealed/no vent bass cabinets./mid 90's sensitive.
A pair of used Legacy Focus, with (3) 12" woofers in each speaker cabinet, and bass down -3db @ 16hz should rattle your windows.

Hi Dh4kim

Will 12" drivers produce slam in a 12 by 12 room? I think that they will, but this is very subjective. How much slam do you want? I think that slam is probably a sort of coloration, but for me it is a euphonic coloration. I like to feel the thump in my gut, the visceral impact along with the aural impact. If in this case "best" is "most", then bigger is pretty much always better.

Salk HT-3's have deep tight bass with good slam and, an all around excellent speaker.
You should just go ahead any buy that used pair of Piega P-10s on the Gon. I love mine and they have the most articulate and satisfying bass of any speakers I have owned to date.

The thing with Legacy is my father owned them and tho you would think they slam they dont, as I mentioned earlier the Vandersteen Quatro is a speaker I would look into...my dad purchased the wood version and they make the Focus sound like a sloppy limited LF speaker. My father was happy with his Legacy speakers for years but didnt know what he was missing til he found it.

I dont know about the slam being coloration, I think most take slam to be quick fast, tight and that impact you can feel that makes you smile....thats Vandersteen's bass.

The Salons use 4th order crossovers, which ultimately allow them to go louder than the 1st-order slope Mahlers, assuming you have massive amplification to drive them (Salons are only 86 db. efficient, while Mahlers are +/- 90 db. efficient).

The Mahlers are a very different type of speaker, being intentionally colored to sound good with large-scale symphonic (i.e., rolled off a bit in the presence region, well-damped cone materials, fabric-dome tweeter, fat in the midbass, all designed to take the bite out of what digital does to string sections and to give body to wood-body instruments -- he didn't name it "Mahler" by accident). Having a peaky midbass, they are particularly exciting with rock/pop (... the WattPuppy formula).

The Salons are more linear and more extended, lower distortion, and often times, a lot less satisfying because of the nature of many recordings (not made for high-end equipment).

The real problem with Salons is that they require high-powered amps, and given that most high-powered amps sound like shit, well, ... .
Raquel, thanks. I've been tossing around the idea of picking up one of these 2 for some time. I don't have the room right now, but one of these days....
What is your CD player? A player with an undernourished output stage wont get the slam to the speakers. The Marantz SA14 v.2 was best I've heard in the low-mid priced category, though I have a turntable now.
I can't resist chiming in in favor of Mahlers. Indeed they can exhibit definite 'bass slam'. Furthermore, unless they are set up properly, they are driven with a great deal of power and a stout damping factor, they can in fact exhibit an excess in the mid to upper bass and some undue warming in the midrange. I have now used Mahlers for 6 months and have driven them with legacy Rowland 7Ms, Nuforce Ref 9 SE2 and Rowland 312. The only configuration where I may have detected some traces of unwanted stereotypical behavior is with the old 7M monos. With the Rowland 312 and Nuforce there is no bloat anywhere and bass is strong and instantaneous, if perhaps slightly more musical and pitched with the JRDG 312. It is worth pointing out that in rooms that tend to suffer of runaway bass, configuring the Mahlers with the subwoofers firing inward may yield a tighter -- if perhaps less expansive -- bass response. Lastly, my Mahlers started to sing only after a 500 hrs breakin followed by a professional 'Master Set' performed by Soundings of Denver (Co). The Mahlers have been just updated with a new tweeter configuration and are now on version V1.5 which has unfortunately gone up in price. Used Mahlers on the Gon are therefore an absolute steal!
Powered Sub (JL Audio) if you want to be able to feel bass slam at low volume, and you can adjust the slam as feel the need!
Try the MFSL OML-2.
You might want to look at the Ariels, maybe a used 10T.
And aren't NHT speakers known for bass 'slam?'
I agree with most of these, especially the Gallo Ref 3.1 (with the bass amp), and especially the Klipsch K-horns. Those are, to me the be-all, end-all in Rock speakers. Additionally, for "slam" the Definitive Technology SC 7000 are pretty awe inspiring. One last vote, the best slam I that I have ever heard, was a buudy's Joseph Audio Monitors with a Talon sub. The sub definitely helped.
The Focus Line LS-6 from AV123 will outclass all others listed so far in terms of bass slam IMHO. Nothing that I know of can best these speakers in terms of bass slam at their price point. (They have 16 woofers total!). The MSRP of a pair of LS-6 are around $4400.
Like I said, letting those Piegas get away would be very foolish......

count me down with the quality sub addition. hz. range can be tailored to whatever program you play and volume as well. it's practical in size, purpose and cost. otherwise you are getting into the hearing range of music that is extremly a personal thing. want SLAM? get a sub!
you may seriously want to consider Proac Studio 140
I do not claim to be an expert in these matters, but dude....I tried my best to replace my kef 107's, but at the end of the day I just couldn't do it. Those two 10inch woofers gives me that DEEP bass that I love. I looked at revel salons and b&w N801 and decided to stay with my kef's. At least until I can find those at the absolute right price. Try to get your hands on a pair...you won't regret it!!
Von Schweikert speakers
That's easy, get a pair of original Energy 22 Reference Connoisseurs....they easily go down to 25hz and more like 20 without breaking a sweat.