What Monitors would you pick for my new office (bookshelf) >>


I just moved to a new office and am piecing together a small system.  I acquired a Grant Fidelity RITA 880 as the amp and running into that from a Bluesound NODE - better DAC on the horizon but using internal for time being.

I need speakers that will sit on built in bookshelf - so size does matter.  18"H and 15"D is about as big as will work.
I am currently running a set of pro-audio monitors that are too clinical, and lacking bass at low-level during the day listening.  Adding a sub is probably out of the question - its a private office but there are others working in adjacent areas. 

Goal:  Looking for something with a little more warmth and depth.  Aesthetics do matter in this situation but a far secondary consideration.

Budget:  ideally in the $2,500 range but could extend that up $3,500.
I have been looking at Harbeth 30.1, Joseph Pulsar 2s -- both pushing the budget (used).  This is turning into a third listening environment, most of the time at lower background levels.  

Welcome thoughts.  Or sell me on what you are selling!

twhitezzz
Please don't buy speakers that have sufficient bass at low level listening, as they'll probably be a bit much at normal levels. You need an old fashioned loudness control or bass adjustment.
Joseph Audio speakers are superb in my book. An excellent used choice and I'd highly recommend buying used whatever speakers for the very best sound/$ spent.
Maybe Sonus Faber models, curious on Golden Ear bookshelves. Good luck with your quest.
I like the Harbeth 30.1 a lot.
For my office I purchased Totem. They come in gorgeous woods, are warm and musical with a good punch. I also got the small matching subwoofer. I runwith an integrated tube amp. You can get tiny (Mite) on up, larger bookshelf size. Highly recommended.
Kef R3 or Elac DBR 62
I’ve used both Harbeth and Totems that way. Totems are a little bit “faster” sounding and a little less bass, the harbeths are a bit warmer. They are also front ported which helps the bass. 
I would seek out a pair of used Proacs.  
I love the ProAc Tablette 10s. Closed cabinet. Stick em anywhere and they sound brilliant.
ProAc Tablette 10s are interesting...don't know much about them...open rabbit hole
Totems are great at low volumes, so is Monitor Audio
Vandersteen VLR, unique coax driver, real bass out of a small box. The signature has the carbon tweeter derived from model 7. Enjoy the journey ;-)
I am loving my Harbeth P3esr XD speakers driven by a Hegel H120 Amp (75W). Mine is a small desktop setup in a oddly shaped spare bedroom/office. I am continually blown away by how great they sound. There is definitely a lot of "magic" coming out of those puppies. They're in your budget new, and come in beautifully finished wood veneers. Definitely end game for me as far as the desktop rig goes. .    
Please put the Fritz Carrera BE speakers on your list. I recently posted a review and a comparison between Carrera and Harbeth M30.1s in the member review section. By the way, Fritz has a generous return policy so you got nothing to lose.
The Harbeth P3ESR would be a nice fit. The Spendor A1 and Classic 4/5 would also go nice in a bookshelf. These speakers ( LS3/5A type) have a sealed woofer.
The Spendors are about a grand less than the Harbeths and are a warmer sounding speaker and I doubt you would go wrong with them.
The Fritz has a rear port and would be problematic in a bookshelf!
For what you described I think the P3ESR might work better.  They are fantastic little speakers.  I have them in a secondary system paired with a Simaudio 600i.  While they don't have the scale of my main system, they equal it in terms of sound quality.  
Great advice - really appreciating this.
The Fritz are moving up the list.  As our the Spendors.

arafiq
great comparison to the 30.1s  really appreciate that!

yogiboy :
Having done some light reading I think the Spendor classic could be a great fit here.  Agree with the rear port on the Fitz...but maybe not a total deal breaker

Any thoughts on fit and finish between the Spendors and the Fritz>
I have never owned a Fritz. I have owned many Spendors and Harbeths and the fit and finish are first class on both. But IMHO, the nod ( by a hair ) would have to go with the Harbeth. The Spendor is a grand less !
Ideally you will sit dead center for excellent imaging.

You want your drivers, especially the tweeters at seated ear level. That often means IN the bookcase, perhaps horizontally, not on top. In either case, no rear ports.

bookshelf size benefit from a sub to add just enough so they don't sound small. adjust so unaware of the sub unless you turn it off.

my small office with wharfedale diamond 225's and an in-expensive sub is posted here, pics 12, 13, 14

https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/9511


Watkins Gen 4. 30 day return. designed and sold by the same Watkins who patented the dual drive woofer for Infinity among other patents. Sound great. Golden ear award 3-4 yrs running. $2500 pair
@artemus_5 those are some good looking speakers. Sound good to assume with your endorsement. Local guy also, like that. 
Watkins Gen 4. 30 day return. designed and sold by the same Watkins who patented the dual drive woofer for Infinity among other patents. Sound great. Golden ear award 3-4 yrs running. $2500 pair


Have you looked at the Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand.  New, at the high end of your stretch budget but that are front ported and well suited to your application.  
I got so intrigued by the Watkins that I just called. What a great guy. Waiting list a mile long and the same supply chain issues as the rest of the world.

Not going to be the immediate answer but will absolutely give them a try when they become available.

So I am leaning Harbeth P3ESR XD (although some deals out there on the older version).

The Vienna Acoustics are great looking - going to check out the specs on these as well. thanks for that recommendation.

Any comments on the sound at lower listening levels?


Look into any of the current flavors of British mini monitors.  Harbeth,Spendor,Graham Chartwell,ProAc.  Any of these would probably do what you need your speakers to do. 
LSA-10 Statement is a great little speaker with a beautiful finish.
What type of music do you listen to? 
Speed metal and hard-core rap mostly.

Just kidding. Wrong thread.

Broad range of rock, some jazz, some jam bands, vocals etc.  At the office classical occasionally but really not the focus.


Appreciate the great input and advice.
Pulled the trigger on the Harbeth P3ESR today - original version not XD.
Considered the Spendor A1 very seriously but were a little harder to find the Classic in the US.
On the waitlist for the Watkins Gen 4 and will see which win out. 
thanks for humoring my decision with your collective knowledge. 
how wonderful, those will be excellent ;-) enjoy them in good health and please do post your impressions of the Watkins when you get them.
Post removed 
Kef LS50 Meta + KC62 Sub Great choice.

Closing this off in the event someone else reads it.

The Harbeth P3ESR were a great choice.  They make me smile.  I find the vocal/midrange exceedling pleasant.  Bass at low-levels is warm - it fills the room  the way I wanted at day time listening levels.  I haven't had a lot of later night cranking it up - but the few moments they hold their own.  If it were my "listening room" I would be chasing a sub.  I find the trebble detailed without being annoying - my pro monitors were annoying me - to harsh.

I am driving them with a Grant Fidelity RITA-880 at 45W per channel.  In a dedicated setup they could proabably handle more input for a bigger room or if you want to shake the walls.  But noting I am comparing them against Dynaudio Evoke 50s driven by a PL EVO 400; not a fair comparison.

Placement in terms of close to the back of the shelf has little impact to me - closed cabinent was a good choice for this application.  Spacing and listenting position do matter - they shine when I can sit in the proper chair and listen.  its nice.

I mean this 110% positively - they are great speakers for background music.  For the size and price surprisingly adequate for more critical listenting.  They are really nice looking - I never liked the looks in pictures but IRL I now get it.

If/when I can try the Watkins these may find their way into my formal living room as I think my audio impaired wife might enjoy the warmth.