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Can you recommend a speaker for <$700 that doesn't sound terrible?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm in a position where I'm rebuilding my system basically from scratch. I'm also in a HUGE room now, which I've never had to deal with before. In the long run, I'm going to buy some large high-end floorstanders but I won't have the money to do so for quite a while. In the meantime, I need something to play music on that isn't terrible but also doesn't cost so much that it is hard to afford immediately. I'm setting a hard, can't-exceed price limit for $700 for a pair of speakers. My qualifications for "doesn't sound terrible" are that it is reasonably clear and articulate, doesn't EVER sound bright or harsh, and has enough body and extension to avoid sounding thin/hollow/weak. Laid back, mellow, and musical are where it's at for me. I don't need to hit huge SPLs and I don't really care if it's the last word in all the various audiophile categories; after all, this is just a "for now" speaker. I just want something I can listen to for a year and not hate the whole time.

I've listened to everything in Paradigm's lineup and I can't stand any of them. Way too bright and trebly.

I've listened to the B&W 68x series and the CM series and, by the time I get to a speaker I could live with, they're too expensive to make the "for now" thing work.

I'm interested in the Dali Zensor 1 and Zensor 3, but there's no dealer for them in my state so I don't know what they sound like.

Any other suggestions?
post #2 of 10
I like Ascend Acoustics speakers for their neutral response. They are an Internet direct brand.
post #3 of 10

Do you have an amplifier already? If not, what's your amplifier budget?

Especially since it's a temporary speaker, you should look into vintage high-end systems in your area. You can listen to them before you buy and with a bit of patience you can find amazing sounding stuff in your budget.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I already have one of everything, I just don't like some of them. So, yes, I already have an amp that'll work until it can be upgraded.
post #5 of 10

considering you "couldn't live" with any of the speaker you listened to, you're going to struggle to find one within your budget that you can.


buying used could be a solution to get more bang for your buck (maybe it's the only solution), but it has its risks.


if you're in the US, keep an eye on Audiogon - there are a few used speakers listed in the $500 - 700 range.

Edited by Lenni - 4/7/14 at 1:20pm
post #6 of 10

I don't know what kind of amp you have, but if it is powerful, your best bet may be a pair of vintage Infinity speakers.  You want a pair that was made while Arnie Nudell still had a hand in the design, i.e. before the company was sold to Harman-Kardon.  I used to own a pair of these, purchased in 1989, and it took me a long time and a lot more money to find something that was better.  (For example, Polk Audio speakers, which have a lot of fans, are nowhere near as good as vintage Infinity speakers.)  Paul McGowan, the CEO of PS Audio, recently bought a pair of vintage Infinity IRS speakers for his main listening room, a testament to how good those speakers are.


You could probably land a pair of Infinity Kappas 8s for $700.  The only issue with the Kappas is that you need a very powerful amp to drive them well.

post #7 of 10

Perhaps a pair of used Vandersteens 2Ci.

post #8 of 10
klipsch rf-52ii
post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by kernel8888 View Post

klipsch rf-52ii

Those probably won't work for the OP. He said, "doesn't EVER sound bright or harsh." Many people find the Klipsch to be fatiguing.
post #10 of 10
their lower end "icon" and "synergy" lines can sound harsh and tinny, but my experience is the reference line is warm and quite smooth in the treble. But I would obviously recomment audiitoning first.
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