I would put my Micca MB42x ($90) + SMSL SA-50 ($70) up against any sub-$400 active monitors. They get very loud without distortion and have great imaging / resolution. When I was first shopping for desktop speakers, I went to a pro audio store early in the morning so that I would be the only one in the active monitor booth. The only ones that genuinely sounded good were the yamaha HS line, but they were too much for me at the time. I believe my Miccas sound just as good or better (especially in the highs/mids) even though the bass is lacking compared to monitors with 5"+ drivers.