advice: bookshelf spks under $500?
Mar 14, 2006 at 3:36 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26

Graz

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Posts
726
Likes
15
Need help to choose some decent bookshelf speakers to replace the Wharfedale Diamond 8.1's I'm currently using...
Wish list:
Efficient - intend to drive them with a modded sonic t-amp (basically the pc rig shown in my sig)
Decent low end freq response - I'd prefer to not use/purchase a sub
Cost - max budget is $500

Thanks!

Peace,

Graz
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 6:01 AM Post #2 of 26

devwild

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 28, 2004
Posts
1,444
Likes
44
Quote:

Originally Posted by Graz
Decent low end freq response - I'd prefer to not use/purchase a sub
Cost - max budget is $500



I recently began a similar search... and I quickly came to find that there seems to be no good answer at this price range with good low end. I instead decided to go for a sweet deal on some B-Stock bookshelf speakers and a sub that I will be getting later on special order. I won't speak to how well it works out, because they are currently in the hands of UPS.
smily_headphones1.gif


The closest thing I could find would be if you could get a really good deal on some used active studio monitors (no need for an amp, and an easy balanced solution if you are looking at a DAC in your future like the Benchmark or Lavry, which would also serve as your preamp/volume control). In particular, I personally was looking at the Mackie HR824 as a potential future purchase, when I have the money and desire to upgrade my computer setup further.
smily_headphones1.gif


There are cheaper monitors out there, but to get adequate low end response you have to start looking at the $1000 per pair point. Anything else I found just didn't strike me as reputable enough (like only one, obviously planted, review on the net) to take the jump. And that other deal came along....

Good luck to you.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 7:04 AM Post #4 of 26

insomniac

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 12, 2003
Posts
2,997
Likes
21
Hey Graz, I think I'd recommend the Epos ELS-3. Very compact, efficient, and sounds a lot bigger than it has a right to. The low bass is going to be a problem of course, but I'm not sure how much better you're going to get in a bookshelf under $500 without sacrificing something else.

The NHT SB series purportedly has very good bass for its size but they are very inefficient.

Very warm speakers like the Paradigm Titans tend to give the illusion of more bass because of its mid bass bloom.

The active route as suggested by someone else is not a bad idea either.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 7:32 AM Post #5 of 26

majid

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Posts
968
Likes
14
Location
London
Quote:

Originally Posted by Graz
Need help to choose some decent bookshelf speakers to replace the Wharfedale Diamond 8.1's I'm currently using...


The Wharfedales are very highly rated, it is unlikely you will find significant, if any, improvement within that budget. You might want to save those $500 for a later upgrade, or put them to use in an amplifier capable of driving them well, like a Cambridge Audio Azur, or if you want something more compact a Parasound Zamp V3 (I am using one with a pair of B&W CM1).
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 9:52 AM Post #7 of 26

Graz

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Posts
726
Likes
15
Thanks a lot for all the input. Man, there are so many choices & brands...i'm gonna do some auditioning this weekend. The Epos & Monitor Audio's definitely look interesting...the Silver RS1's freq response down to 43Hz seems at least promising.

Quote:

Originally Posted by majid
The Wharfedales are very highly rated, it is unlikely you will find significant, if any, improvement within that budget. You might want to save those $500 for a later upgrade, or put them to use in an amplifier capable of driving them well, like a Cambridge Audio Azur, or if you want something more compact a Parasound Zamp V3 (I am using one with a pair of B&W CM1).


majid, your point is well taken. The Wharfedales actually don't sound bad at all from the high bass on up...maybe my $500 is better spent on a sub to complement them, rather than different speakers altogether.

Peace,

Graz
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 10:19 AM Post #8 of 26

Ticky

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 24, 2003
Posts
1,098
Likes
11
Try checking out the Wharfedale Diamond 9.4 floorstanders. You should get the same Wharfedale "house" sound, plus better bass response. IMO, they have better design, cabinet build quality, and - IMO - better dynamics than the 8 series. The 9.4 should be obtainable for around $500.

Of course, you must have an amp that is capable of driving the larger load.

Oherwise, you're other option - as noted - is to go for an active subwoofer.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 2:33 PM Post #9 of 26

episiarch

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 4, 2003
Posts
2,635
Likes
251
Location
London and California, mainly
I put in some $320 Axiom Audio M3Ti speakers for my in-laws last year. They're very good. I can't compare them to the Epos or Wharfedale sounds, unfortunately, but I was quite pleased with them, and continue to be each time I visit. For $460, the Axiom M22 is supposed to be better still. I have no idea whether a T-amp will drive them well.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 2:38 PM Post #10 of 26

solbergg

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 6, 2003
Posts
392
Likes
0
Check out the PSB B25's. Also, you can do a lot of speaker research on Audio Asylum speaker forum. I hear the Axioms are very good as well.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 2:54 PM Post #11 of 26

Mandea

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 26, 2005
Posts
26
Likes
8
A 500 $ floorstander will never sound as good as a 500 $ bookshelf. Very good floorstanders are very expensive. I have a pair of monitor audio bronze b2 and I am completely satisfied with the bass. It goes deep enough and is very clear. I have also listened to wharfedale 9.3 (very big bookshelvs). I liked more monitor audio because for rock music they are more agressive. Buying a speaker is dependent on what music you listen to. So take a good thought and after that seek your bookshelves.
Ah, and please, please, try listening to them before you buy them.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 3:45 PM Post #12 of 26

Graz

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Posts
726
Likes
15
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mandea
Ah, and please, please, try listening to them before you buy them.


Yup, I've got a bunch of listening to do over the next few weekends.

Peace,

Graz
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 4:16 PM Post #13 of 26

devwild

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 28, 2004
Posts
1,444
Likes
44
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mandea
A 500 $ floorstander will never sound as good as a 500 $ bookshelf.


Yes, but certain $500 floorstanders can outperform most $500 bookshelf/sub combinations, which is often the choice people are forced to make at this budget level. Truly good starter subs are generally priced such that a 2.1 solution in this range isn't as appealing as you might think at first. I find it often the case when people start making suggestions for speakers, they forget how the indivdual items, shipping costs, and accessories, add up and blow most people's budgets out of the water. I felt lucky a couple years back when I only exceded my home theater budget by about $200, and ended up with a setup I am still quite happy with.
smily_headphones1.gif


Since you already have bookshelves you like, I have to agree that spending the money on a sub isn't a half bad thought either. Then next year focus on the bookshelves again. Several companies are focusing on some great new products that should be out this year.
Quote:

Originally Posted by insomniac
The active route as suggested by someone else is not a bad idea either.


Wow, am I really so forgettable that my name gets lost in two posts?
wink.gif
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 4:57 PM Post #14 of 26

Mandea

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 26, 2005
Posts
26
Likes
8
It didn't occur to me the ideea of a sub. I once had a 5.1 system for pc and since then I never wanted to have again a sub. It has nothing to do with music, at least, for me. Especially with rock music. It is useful for hip-hop.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 1:32 AM Post #15 of 26

classicalguy

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 9, 2004
Posts
536
Likes
12
I don't know why someone would say that floor standing speakers have to be very expensive to match the sound of bookshelves. Obviously, building a longer cabinet adds some cost, but not THAT much (drivers are more expensive than particle board!) With bookshelves, you have to buy stands or have to deal with mounting issues. With floorstanding, the designer has more cabinet room for bass response, so I would expect slightly better sound by putting the same drivers in a floor standing box than in a bookshelf - assuming of course optimal design of both.

$500 floorstanding: I'd listen to Vandersteens, PSBs, maybe low-end B&W, NHT, KEF . . . there should be LOTS of choices. You should be able to get a very nice set of floorstanding speakers for $500. I agree that if placement is not an issue, it would be better to get floor standers than bookshelfs and a sub. Subs are hard to integrate right.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top