New the B&W DM303 at $300 hard to beat. European loudspeaker of the year award winner, and many other magazine best buys and editor's choice awards. Also used is the earlier B&W 302 which was $250 new and is about $175+ used. It was even Stereophile recommended for many years and won their Editor's choice award in 1997. Both are easily the benchmark at this price level.
I own the SuperZeros which I've modified. Great little speaker. The SuperOnes in their original box configuration are great with an excellent voicing. Very open and dynamic. I don't like the SuperOnes in the rounded plastic cabinets.
More expensive and worth looking at are the Triangle Titus.
If you can get your speakers at least 18" away from the walls I suggest the Sound Dynamics RTS-3. At $200 new, it's a steal!
The Kef Q-15.2 is worth a listen.
I think I saw a pair of Epos M12 for sale on Audiogon ... if you're into imaging and transparency these would be a good bet. One of the most highly regarded monitors in England. I've never understood the B&W thing, I have found their cheaper speakers 602, 603 to be very in-your-face and very fatiguing.
Where will you place the speakers (on stands out from the wall a bit, or on a shelf)? If they are to be mounted on a shelf (close to the wall) then this narrows your "good" choices considerably, but there are still some nice picks. Also, how large is the room?
I have never heard these speakers but I have read a lot about Axiom M3Ti and the reviews are are pretty good. You can try them for 30 days without any obligation.
Check out these reviews:
The speakers are on my desk ones is up against a room divider the other is on the other corner of my desk . The room has a 20 ft high ceiling . The room measures 20 x 20 . The room is big so the super zeros are a little small for my evening Get the Led out sessions!
In your price range, I like the Tannoy Mercury mx 1 ($270) or mx2 ($370), the Tannoy Revolution 1 ($500), the Triangle Titus ($500). Try to find a dealer and take a listen. I have NHT Super Zero's in my kitchen (space limitation issue) and like them, but these others are MUCH better.
Consider the Swan Diva 2.1 ($399)and the norH 4.0 ($300). Unfortunately, I haven't heard them myself but they've been well-received by many folks at another message board (harmony discord).
You can look here:
for a comparison.
I do not feel that you are going to significantly improve the sound (due to speaker placement) with different speakers (the Zero's work quite well in the near field). You might instead look into upgrading your source (whether it be a stand alone player, sound card, etc.).
Try a pair of KEF Q60s and you will be baffled with the sound these puppies produce. If you go to audioreview.com you can get an idea of what other people have to say about this little know giant! Smooth, spectacular soundstage, imaging, detail, and clarity without having to empty out your bank account!
I picked up the ProAc tablette 2000 speakers and they are a huge improvement ! Thanks!
Linn Kan 4's are great little speakers.
Linn Kans mated with a decent sub is the best small speaker I've listened to. It also works magic as a hometheater front.
B&W DM 601 series 3. More life than Paradigm (which had some of the bigger dynamics), Mission and Wharfdale sounded flat and lifeless by comparision. Needed NAD or Cambridge because got too fatiguing with Teac/ Rotel stuff. They were so good I don't even think I'll bother auditioning Axiom M22ti