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View Full Version : Best bookshelf speakers in the $500 range?


BoxerEngine08
09-16-2009, 07:13 AM
I mostly listen to current and old guitar-based rock, some electronic, some alternative. No fine jazz or classical, usually. I'm familiar with Mission, NHT, Paradigm, Polk. Is there anyone out there in this range doing exceptional things?

Bald1
09-16-2009, 10:08 AM
BE08,

Of all the components, speakers are the most personal as each individual hears differently and has different "tastes." The key is to go out and audition as many as possible and hopefully get an opportunity to hear your top choices in your home before buying. Sadly many of us do not live in big metro areas to avail ourselves of such schemes. It then becomes an issue of recommendations, reputations, and perhaps return rights.

What have you owned before that you liked and /or what among what your friends have do you like?

TMK
09-16-2009, 10:32 AM
I own Polk towers...like Bob said this is the most personal of all preferences...I was down to Kilpsch and Polk and went with Polk which just sounded a bit better to me.

BoxerEngine08
09-16-2009, 10:52 AM
While in college, I worked in commission audio sales for a few years, and liked a couple brands we had - Mission for music and NHT for home theater. I still have some nice sounding, albeit small Missions and an NHT sub kicking around. The hope was get a set of mains that could stand alone for music, and work with the sub and a center for movies. A local shop has the B&W 800 series. They're amazing - but not in my range right now.

Bald1
09-16-2009, 12:09 PM
BE08,

Citing Mission, NHT, and B&W opens up a tremendous number of possibilities as these have a lot in common with many other brands differing only in price construction quality, and sound "color", unlike say if you had cited Magneplanar (which I have and love) for which there really aren't many similar bi-polar planar designs.

An example for me are Klipsch which Ted mentioned. I like the old corner loaded horns but many of the newer designed models have a high end that grates on my ears. Others find the high end great. You really need to hear things for yourself.

Oh, from my knothole distinguishing speakers as "good" for music but not home theater or visa versa is a huge fallacy. Speakers either accurately reproduce audio signals or they don't period. Frankly I think that whole business is a marketing ploy targeting the MP3 generation. The real issue is 2 channel or multi-channel systems. With both, the mains are the biggies (although with HT one must also factor the "voicing" of the center as well).



I also see Western NY as your location. Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, etc. all have a lot of brick 'n mortar stores where you could audition different brands. Granted some places don't have things set up very well for auditioning, but still.... That should be your first move :)

Slugo
09-16-2009, 12:55 PM
Pold Audio for my money. Just about perfect for all generas especially acoustical jazz...

BoxerEngine08
09-16-2009, 01:39 PM
Thanks. There are a few stores around here, and Best Buy seems to have Klipsch and Polk. I'll have to grab some of my CDs and do a little listening.

+10 on the Mageneplanars. Hard to beat those. What amp are you using?

Bald1
09-16-2009, 03:37 PM
Thanks. There are a few stores around here, and Best Buy seems to have Klipsch and Polk. I'll have to grab some of my CDs and do a little listening.

+10 on the Mageneplanars. Hard to beat those. What amp are you using?


Ouch.... Best Buy is one of the poorest places to audition speakers. At least from my experience.

As for the Maggies.... mine are modified MGIIIAs. I'm running them bi-amped and augmented by a custom 18" subwoofer. Amps are from Odyssey Audio (monoblocks) and Parasound.

http://rap.midco.net/bald1/glow_1.JPG

http://rap.midco.net/bald1/system_rack.jpg

I've just upgraded my speakers in my home theater room. I went with Definitive Technology BP8B / CLR2002 for the front mains/center coupled to an Outlaw (Hsu designed) active subwoofer. The DefTech's are bi-polar designs.

BoxerEngine08
09-16-2009, 04:05 PM
Wow! That's a true hardcore setup! Reel to reel, turntable, bi-amplification, sub, etc. Bet that sounds amazing. Are those some tubes 2 shelves under the turntable?

Bald1
09-16-2009, 04:31 PM
Are those some tubes 2 shelves under the turntable?

No, that's an Eastsound CD-E5 CD player with an outboard dAck! v2.0 (Kusunoki style filterless) DAC sitting on the top right of it. Here's a complete run down of what I'm running Audio Asylum Inmate System Description (http://cgi.audioasylum.com/systems/320.html)

BoxerEngine08
09-17-2009, 08:26 AM
Thanks. Quite a dream system, to say the least! Judging by the broad range and vintage of your gear, it It looks like you very carefully chose and configured each component, and have continued to do so. What's your next acquisition?

Bald1
09-17-2009, 01:39 PM
Thanks. Quite a dream system, to say the least! Judging by the broad range and vintage of your gear, it It looks like you very carefully chose and configured each component, and have continued to do so. What's your next acquisition?

Thank you. You're one of the few that has picked up on both my working to optimize performance for the dollar and my taking care of equipment such that relevant vintage items are still performing exceptionally well. BTW I originally hail from the central NY - Syracuse area :)

As for new acquisitions, I had hoped to have all my "toys" bought before I retired. By and large I've met that goal. Only when items wear out or have been significantly eclipsed technologically will I move to replace them. The 34 year old speakers I had been using in my HT system is the most recent example with the DefTechs replacing them.

peli
09-17-2009, 02:42 PM
I can get PSB, Atlantic Tech, Polk, Martin Logan and a few others.

I really like what PSB has to offer. Check out the Imagine B and the G-Design GB1.

Let me know if you are interested and I can see what dealer cost is on them.


Dave

///Mike
09-17-2009, 03:22 PM
Martin Logan, eh? Cool. They've been a customer of mine for 12 years!

BoxerEngine08
09-17-2009, 03:29 PM
I can get PSB, Atlantic Tech, Polk, Martin Logan and a few others.

I really like what PSB has to offer. Check out the Imagine B and the G-Design GB1.

Let me know if you are interested and I can see what dealer cost is on them.


Dave

Thanks! Much appreciated. I'll take a look.

BoxerEngine08
09-17-2009, 03:52 PM
Thank you. You're one of the few that has picked up on both my working to optimize performance for the dollar and my taking care of equipment such that relevant vintage items are still performing exceptionally well. BTW I originally hail from the central NY - Syracuse area :)

As for new acquisitions, I had hoped to have all my "toys" bought before I retired. By and large I've met that goal. Only when items wear out or have been significantly eclipsed technologically will I move to replace them. The 34 year old speakers I had been using in my HT system is the most recent example with the DefTechs replacing them.

No kidding. I'm from Rochester.

I like your approach. Very disciplined. Some audio people can get a bit out of control at times. (myself included, back in the day) I don't see any leftover, well cared for components from an 80's era Sony rack system, though :D

Thanks for the advice. I'll do some shopping. Turns out there are a few more decent shops around here than I knew about.

Bald1
09-17-2009, 05:45 PM
No kidding. I'm from Rochester.

Good luck with your auditions :) I'm sure you'll find something that floats your boat!

As for Rochester, I lived there from about 1950 to 1953 :D in the Highland Park area when it was yet to be developed and the arboretum was quite an attraction. I seem to recall a prison being built close by about the time we moved back to the Syracuse area.