Looking for a solid pair of bookshelf speakers
Jul 31, 2008 at 4:31 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9


New Head-Fier
Jan 31, 2008
Alright, so I'm looking to final complete the system in my room: the speakers. So far, the system is a B&O record player, a vintage (but solid) sony CD player, yamaha reciever and my macbook pro running through an airport express.

The room itself isn't overly large, so raw loudness isn't much of a concern. They'll primarily be used for my vinyls and my digital library, although they will also be used for some producing/mastering. Overall, I'm looking for a set of bookshelf that perform well all around, i.e. pound hard enough for daft punk or the knife, but also expressive and warm enough for the old satie and mahler vinyls.

Basically, I'm looking for a tight, compact-ish speaker that has solid, consistent response. Also, being still happy with sound and aesthetics in 5 - 10 years when I'm not in a college house would be great.

I'm trying to limit an upperbound of around $1000 CAD (pretty much par on USD right now...) and so far, I've been recommended the Totem Rainmakers, Paradigm Monitor Series, and the Bowers & Wilikins CM1 / lower end 600 or 700 series. I've been able to get a listening session in with the CM1's, and I definitely wouldn't be upset if they ended up in my room, but I don't want to rush the decision. Lastly, availability and such is a slight concern, I'll have to buy them in or around Kingston, ON (halfway between Toronto and Ottawa).

How does the head-fi crowd feel about the speakers I've been recommended? Are there any other speakers in that range I should try to get a listen to?
Aug 1, 2008 at 5:57 AM Post #3 of 9


Feb 16, 2008
I replaced my B&W 685 with Totem Hawks. I also had a set of Paradigm Atom monitors in my office I replaces with Usher S520.

I think the totem have a much more refined sound than the lower end B&W. I've done swapping and they sound muddy in comparison. This is driven by the same integrated (BAT VK-300xSE). The little users are really class leaders in my opinion in the $400 range.

They are all good speakers, my advise is to listen and choose what you like best. I like the CM1, just the bass extension is poor w/o a sub.
Aug 1, 2008 at 2:17 PM Post #4 of 9

Golden Ears

100+ Head-Fier
Feb 6, 2005
I have heard the entire Totem line, Paradigm line, and B &W's.

I used to work for B & O too.

The Totems lack low end response. the Model 1 does vocals well. The Mani 2 is muddy- ok bass for its size.

I would not bother with Paradigm in a $1000 CDN range they are great Sub $600 speakers... but not very involving. B & W's are worth considering ONLY if your speaker placement is not going to be good- as they are not affected by placement as much as others- but IMHO that is their only strong point.

You might... USED.. be able to find a pair of ProAc Response 1SC speakers for $1000 CDN.

This would be your best value. They do have Amazing low end response... best I have heard for a bookshelf model under $10,000.

They do vocals exceptionally well if paired with reasonably good tube amps like Quicksilver. They will blow you away if you use Audio research VT100MK2 or better. totally holographic imaging...though in heavy metal thrash and huge classical symphonys they can sound compressed like virtually any other bookshelf speaker. The bass response in terms of depth and clarity is amazing for such a small speaker- they can't rock the house like a good 12" woofer, but they still do a remarkably good job- certainly better than everyone else's 6.5 " woofer and better than many 10" woofers.

There are many choices in audio at $1000 CDN but very few good choices relative to the number of models.

Try to avoid a new subwoofer in this price range. No sub sat combo doesn't sound like crap in this price range.

If you want a great sounding system I have a used Acoustic Energy AEGO 5 system for sale, it is the best bargain I ever found for Home theater and audio dual use for under $1500. The subwoofer is actually totally listenable with these tiny speakers- but you have to spend some time fiddling with the sub woofer controls- very tiny adjustments, but anyone can do it if told what to listen for.

I am replacing it with Ultrasone Edition 9's....lol..
Aug 1, 2008 at 5:22 PM Post #5 of 9


100+ Head-Fier
Mar 5, 2008
Don't overlook PSB speakers. They are a Canadian company known for providing very good value in speakers. They have several lines that fall within your budget. You can look for a local dealer on their web site.


Users who are viewing this thread