View Full Version : Opinions: What is the best small inexpensive bookshelf speaker that you have heard ?


mrappe
01-16-2012, 10:31 AM
Something that would fit in a small room that could sit on a bookshelf etc.

dc270
01-16-2012, 10:34 AM
I think the Smaller Advent has a lot going for it! "Book Shelf" conjures a lot of size variables to me- you have a size in mind?
DC

NealinNevada
01-16-2012, 10:37 AM
I had a set of AR-2ax's when they first came out and owned another set a year ago or so and the imaging was absolutely incredible. Oh and they really are "bookshelf size" and work well in a small room (hell, I had them in the sleeper of my truck for a number of years :D).

Wigwam Jones
01-16-2012, 10:41 AM
I think you have to specify what you mean by small bookshelf. It was very common in the past for manufacturers to refer to speakers with 12 inch woofers and weighing up to 50 pounds as 'bookshelf' speakers.

If you mean the more modern definition of 'bookshelf' as in 'very small form factor', then my answer would be the Boston Acoustics HD5. I am sure there are better speakers out there in that form factor, but not in my price range. In terms of bang for the buck, I've never owned better.

Tom Brennan
01-16-2012, 10:54 AM
I like my Monitor Audio R90HDs. Very small. Excellent clarity and extended highs. They do the big soudstage trick; wide and deep with lots of air, very spacious. Bass depth is limited however and the tonal balance lacks some robustness. Wood veneer, no vinyl here. About $450 a pair.

MY opinions you understand.


http://i254.photobucket.com/albums/hh92/Irishtom29/hi%20fi/again003.jpg

Hoho
01-16-2012, 11:13 AM
A DefTech sub-sat system. I don't know the model number.

Runner up: JBL HLS610

tnmike1
01-16-2012, 11:17 AM
B&W 601 About 8' wide, 8" deep and 12 1/2" wide. Good bookshelf size and decent performance

Anubis
01-16-2012, 11:21 AM
I have not heard a lot of inexpensive small bookshelf speakers, but to date, I'd have to say the Dahlquist PDQ-19.

sxty8goats
01-16-2012, 11:30 AM
If you are looking to stay Cheep.. I have and love a set of Mission 50 somethings that came with a Denon mini system years ago. Still use both today. The speakers show up on the bay all the time and seem to sell for somewhere between $40 and $80. They move a surprising amount of air for a speaker so small.

No affiliation, just posting as an example. I see them pop up under different part numbers.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mission-8VET-Bookshelf-Speakers-Great-Condition-Sound-Wonderful-/110808819245?pt=Speakers_Subwoofers&hash=item19ccb8662d

reggaenaut
01-16-2012, 11:43 AM
however and the tonal balance lacks some robustness


Could you expand, ventilate. Thanks!


My fav: The Canadian Sound Dynamis RT3. There is no part of the frequency which annoys.

icenine
01-16-2012, 11:48 AM
+1 on the Mission 50s, which are also re-branded Denon SC-M5K....so if u see small Denon speakers at the thrift check them out to see if they are indeed Missions.

The EPI-M50 is another really nice small speaker I am lucky to have. These are definitely bookshelf friendly.

Boto
01-16-2012, 11:50 AM
I'd vote for the EPI 100 or its cousin, the Genesis 1. Great sound for their size.

MatthewT
01-16-2012, 11:52 AM
Hard to beat a lot of the small PSB and Paradigm offerings too.

Jenkster
01-16-2012, 11:58 AM
The PSB Alpha B1, great sounding little speaker. The JBL L1 from the early 90's can be had pretty cheap, another great choice.

JohnVF
01-16-2012, 12:00 PM
Inexpensive would lead me to something like an Epicure 100/Genesis 1. I think there are better small speakers but they come with a price, and I really thought my Genesis 1s were a more versatile speaker than the PSB Alphas I had (which were nice) and the NHT SuperONes....which were also nice but needed an inordinate amount of quality power to really shine.

Khodabear
01-16-2012, 12:01 PM
Recently I was looking at Bookshelf speakers as well.
I liked the B&W but they were around $650/pr.
I liked the Wharfedale 10.1 and 10.2 as much as the B&W - they run $300 / 400 per pair.
These might not meet the inexpensive criteria...but that's one person's opinion regarding quality.

Khodabear
01-16-2012, 12:04 PM
If you are looking to stay Cheep.. I have and love a set of Mission 50 somethings that came with a Denon mini system years ago. Still use both today. The speakers show up on the bay all the time and seem to sell for somewhere between $40 and $80. They move a surprising amount of air for a speaker so small.

]

Those seem to be 6 ohm. Is that an issue when you only have either 4 or 8 ohm output?

jameselmer66
01-16-2012, 12:06 PM
I always thought the small Polk bookshelves are nice sounding. Something like the RT35's or the LSi 7 or 9's. I know there is a pretty big fan base for the RS Minimus 7's, IMO the Minimus 11 or 12's sounded better with a cone tweeter that didn't sound as brash and a fuller sound.

uxwbill
01-16-2012, 12:06 PM
Sony SS-B1000 or Realistic/Optimus Minimus-7.

The Sony speakers are a pretty good deal at less than $50 (or even $40!) for a set.

mrjbq
01-16-2012, 12:29 PM
Boston VR-M50

bluesky
01-16-2012, 12:34 PM
1970 Sansui AS-100 hands down. Even has Alnico magnets. A 'big box sound' in a 23 inch high box. It's something else.

Got mine for $9.98 at the Goodwill. It sounds so fine that I bought a single speaker off of eBay for $33, which included shipping, just for the spare parts if ever needed.

Amazing sound, like KLHs or ARs. That good. One super sensitive tweet and a woofer per cab.

They 'pop-up' on eBay every now-and-then. They rarely ever sell for over $50, usually around $35-40, but you will pay $40+ for shipping. They are 'very heavy' and have a very solid construction, you know, back then, when they 'really made quality stuff to last'.

Big Box sound. They will fill the room up with music.

Fisherdude
01-16-2012, 12:41 PM
You didn't say what you consider inexpensive, and you didn't say whether you were interested in new or used, so I'm going with this:

http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-TSi100-Bookshelf-Speakers/dp/B00192KEY0/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1326735595&sr=1-2

mildbill
01-16-2012, 01:09 PM
minimus 7 maybe. It is small and inexpensive.

sxty8goats
01-16-2012, 01:11 PM
Those seem to be 6 ohm. Is that an issue when you only have either 4 or 8 ohm output?

na, I've run them on 8 ohm only amps with no issue, they are currently on an older 8 ohm Luxman, don't' remember the model but it is of the 'newer' post glory days amps. And if the amp is 4 ohm stable, 6 ohm is safe.

AR4x
01-16-2012, 01:18 PM
If you are looking to stay Cheep.. I have and love a set of Mission 50 somethings that came with a Denon mini system years ago. Still use both today. The speakers show up on the bay all the time and seem to sell for somewhere between $40 and $80. They move a surprising amount of air for a speaker so small.

No affiliation, just posting as an example. I see them pop up under different part numbers.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mission-8VET-Bookshelf-Speakers-Great-Condition-Sound-Wonderful-/110808819245?pt=Speakers_Subwoofers&hash=item19ccb8662d


I had these before, hooked up with the Denon DFA 100 system, I guess. Very nice for small room, but I put those Missions away since I got my pair of 4x, hooked up to the same Denon :D

juniorJBL
01-16-2012, 01:18 PM
JBL 20T 18Ti L3 4406 if you want used.

J English
01-16-2012, 01:19 PM
Mine, in descending order of love: KEF Coda 7, Polk Audio Monitor 5jr, Polk Audio Monitor 4jr, PSB R30, Paradigm Titan, Infinity RS225, Advent Baby II.

I am very impressed with the Coda 7s, which I bought used for about $60 on the 'bay.

mrappe
01-16-2012, 01:24 PM
As far as size, I know that in the past some very large boxes have be labeled "bookshelf speakers" (ie large Advents, Infinity Qa, etc) but i was thinking about a true bookshelf size along the size of my Cizak 727s which I don't have the dimentions at this time but certainly no larger than the EPI 100s. The smaller EPI models would be a good size. I am partial to the speakers from the 70s - 90s since i know more about them than any current models and that is why I ask. I think that it is more affordable to fing vintage speakers sometimes and refoam/recap them but i would kike to see what people think are good current models that I don't know about. I don't like the sub+sattellite speakers like the Bose and the current trend in surround systems. IMHO that those systems are not really Hi Fi but that is just me.

Sandbar92
01-16-2012, 01:30 PM
Anyone have any thoughts/experiences with Cambridge Soundworks version of the Model 17 bookshelf speakers?

cnh2
01-16-2012, 01:37 PM
No, but the Model Sixes, which are "bigger", are a great value speaker when on sale!

However at 18" tall and fairly wide...I "would" not call them a small bookshelf.

A speaker I own, which I like quite a bit, but is a little picky about placement, is the Energy RC-10 (12 lbs. A bit taller than 12"...a two way with a 5.5" or so kevlar? and a metal dome. 50-23,000hz, 88 dbs efficiency. Narrow footprint. 13" x 6 11/16" x 10 1/2" depth.

And now available at a discount of less than 260 a pair (original MSRP over 500).

Take a listen and see what you think!

Lots of good choices above. I'm intrigued by Tom B.'s smallish but very "elegant" looking bookies!

cnh2

markw300d
01-16-2012, 02:07 PM
Well, at the time they were not really that inexpensive for my income bracket but they were certainly affordable for most folks so I'd have to say my B&W DM602s3's were a very nice bookshelf speaker for the money.

My personal "bang for the buck" pair has been my BIC FH-65B's which appear similar to the Klipsch Reference Series. The horn loaded neo-tweeter is very clear without being harsh at all and the 6" aluminum woofer delivers a tight and surprising amount of bass for a speaker of this size. It's a pretty balanced and dynamic bookshelf overall. They aren't as sensitive as they are rated but at $165 to my door for a pair on sale, they were a great value.

kirk57
01-16-2012, 02:10 PM
not sure what you mean by 'small' or 'inexpensive', but I have the following smallish speakers:

EPI 100
Polk Monitor 5
ADS L400
ADS L420
ADS L300
Boston Acoustics A40
Dynaco A25
AR 4x
JBL 2500
KLH model 17

to my ears, the ADS L400 or 420 are the best of the lot.

cnh2
01-16-2012, 02:12 PM
I'd agree with kirk57.

ADS, probably!

cnh2

rgk5
01-16-2012, 02:17 PM
PSB B4 at $359.

js1138
01-16-2012, 02:18 PM
Dcm cx-17.

rustycat
01-16-2012, 02:19 PM
If size and price are an issue, I recommend the Boston Acoustics A40. Got mine for $1.00 at a yard sale, refoamed and they're good to go. Sound pretty nice for a small speaker, and if you want to recap, it's real easy.

Craigslist might be a good source.

Good luck!

jt45
01-16-2012, 02:26 PM
Something that would fit in a small room that could sit on a bookshelf etc.

Define your opinion of Inexpensive, new or used ok? Best bookshelf speakers I have listened to are the Monitor Audio GR10s, wich I bought used for 150

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-6UxBng-4WJQ/Tr397Lj-ESI/AAAAAAAADLE/gcryT_HIEPY/s640/IMG_1842.JPG

Best new Bookshelf speaker I have are the Mirage OMD5s wich I picked up on sale for 119 each. They are excellent, but need a sub to fill out the bottom end.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-6-eB8LXLjEk/Tp-AKlj4t9I/AAAAAAAADCM/zFH-Id5jfVk/s640/IMG_1778.JPG

I also think the Infinity Primus 162s/163s are excellent budget Bookshelf speakers. Look for high end USED , you never know what might pop up for cheap.

AnalogDigit
01-16-2012, 02:30 PM
I really like the KEF C10's that I got at a thrift for $20. Very clean midrange and highs. Bass is not too shabby neither for it's size.

Dave1027
01-16-2012, 02:38 PM
Something that would fit in a small room that could sit on a bookshelf etc.
If you are asking about new speakers and not the lucky day Craigs List stuff, the Bang for the buck winner by far is the BIC DV62si @ $110 shipped per pair. They sound great in stock form. Mine are heavily modded for beyond belief performance/$.
http://www.parts-express.com/images/item_large_xtra/303-402_lii.jpg

rnorton
01-16-2012, 02:38 PM
Something that would fit in a small room that could sit on a bookshelf etc.

The B&W DM303 (discontinued). Fantastically good imaging and soundstage for the price.

Brian
01-16-2012, 03:06 PM
Well, there are a set AR LSTs for sale in NE so I'd give them a vote as the least expensive highest quality spesker.

I'm not into small speakers and few bookshelf speakers but, I'm not sure where the upper limit for a bookshelf is sizewise. Some definite bookshelf sized speakers that I've liked are the Wharfedale Diamond series, really enjoyed the 9s, ADS L3xx and L4xx series, the smaller L200 that is still in production last time I looked but, do not know how good the new ones are. I also like The Smaller Advents and KLH 6 but I think the ADS series are better though the Advents and KLH are less expensive.

One, many will not have heard is the JansZen HP410, a hybrid e'stat with 10" woofer. It uses the later Type II panels and the 10" woofer mates very good with them. In some ways the better JansZen hybrids after Neshimany discontinued production.

titanstats
01-16-2012, 03:11 PM
On the smaller side, I still have a set of Dynaco A-10s somewhere in storage -- liked them enough that they just had to stay with me. :)

Texun1
01-16-2012, 03:32 PM
I have a set fo Energy RC-10's that sound mighty fine. Real wood vener, bi-ampable, $299.00

Dave1027
01-16-2012, 03:54 PM
I have a set fo Energy RC-10's that sound mighty fine. Real wood vener, bi-ampable, $299.00

I have a friend who has a set of Energy RC-10s and a set of BIC DV62si's. He prefers the sound of the BICs without even taking into account the BICs are 1/3 the price. I have not heard the Energy's. It may simply be his personal taste.

MWalt
01-16-2012, 03:59 PM
I really like the Rega RS-1 as a small bookshelf or monitor. Sweet sounding, simplistic, and great looking.

mhardy6647
01-16-2012, 04:25 PM
If the emphasis is on "inexpensive", probably the AR-18.
If the emphasis is on "small", probably the ads L-300
If the emphasis is on "best", probably the LS3/5A BBC nearfield monitor spec speakers (made by Rogers, Chartwell, etc.)

sanford12
01-16-2012, 04:54 PM
I always thought the small Polk bookshelves are nice sounding. Something like the RT35's or the LSi 7 or 9's. I know there is a pretty big fan base for the RS Minimus 7's, IMO the Minimus 11 or 12's sounded better with a cone tweeter that didn't sound as brash and a fuller sound.
+1 I use the Lsi-7's for the fronts on a HT setup and they do well and they're no slouch on music.

SixCats!
01-16-2012, 08:10 PM
Hi all,

Timely thread. Just for fun, I dug out of storage a pair ADS Sat 5's speakers
(wood cabinets) I snagged at a Goodwill last year (before Goodwill got wise) for about eight dollars the pair! Sweeet! I hooked em up to my circa 1960's REALISTIC SAF 40B (7189) Tube Receiver and the results is nothing short of stunning! I couldn't find much info on the SAT5's (10"H x 6"W x 7"D) two way 5" Woofer & one inch Dome Tweeter. I do not have the Sat 5's Subwoofer. I suspect this system was rather expensive in it's day. At any rate, after hearing what the A/D/S speakers can do, yea, I too gotta vote A/D/S/. While half the size, I do believe I like the A/D/S/ better than my KEF 102's.

Regards,
SixCats!

nissan guy
01-16-2012, 10:20 PM
Not in any specific order:

spica tc-50
kef c25
ar-4x
klh 17
klh 24
smaller advent
baby advent
epi 100
jbl l1
jbl l20t
paradigm atom, titan, mini monitor, Atom v6's seem to be available fairly cheap right now.

SA-708
01-16-2012, 10:42 PM
I've been enjoying a pair of Pioneer SP-BS41's in my office system. I got my pair for $105 with shipping, brand new.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/ephox/StaticFiles/PUSA/Files/SP-BS41-LR.pdf

Brian
01-16-2012, 11:17 PM
Why do I suspect before this thread dies, we'll name about every small speaker out there from the beginning of audio until today.

AR4x
01-16-2012, 11:34 PM
Dynavo a25
Ar 2,4,5,6,7 :D

nissan guy
01-16-2012, 11:44 PM
Why do I suspect before this thread dies, we'll name about every small speaker out there from the beginning of audio until today.

Lol, no we will just cover the good ones that are fairly inexpensive. Mostly anyway.

Wigwam Jones
01-16-2012, 11:51 PM
Why do I suspect before this thread dies, we'll name about every small speaker out there from the beginning of audio until today.

Why do I get the feeling that no one reads the other posts, just regurgitates their favorite and moves on to the next thread (including me), and that the OP actually isn't going to read this either?

CygnusDen
01-17-2012, 12:20 AM
+1 on the Mission 50s, which are also re-branded Denon SC-M5K....so if u see small Denon speakers at the thrift check them out to see if they are indeed Missions.

I agree that Denon-branded Mission speakers are real gems and sleepers. Last year, I picked up a pair of Denon SC-U51 speakers NIB at Goodwill for $20 just because they looked too nice to pass up (and how often does anything NIB show up at a thrift?!). They ended up sounding much better than expected. The genuine cherry veneer, quality binding posts, high WAF, etc. are icing on the cake. A brochure for the speakers and associated mini system can be found here:

www.abt.com/documents/26610/denon_Specs.pdf

It looks like at least one online source is selling these discontinued speakers for $27/pair. In the realm of "new" bookshelf speakers, they are easily worth 2-3 times that amount (and the aforementioned M50 versions are another cut above this model). They don't quite compete with my much larger JBL L20T3s, but they lay waste to Minimus 7s and don't take up much more space on a shelf or desktop. Highly recommended if you come across some at a good price.

mrappe
01-17-2012, 05:56 AM
Why do I get the feeling that no one reads the other posts, just regurgitates their favorite and moves on to the next thread (including me), and that the OP actually isn't going to read this either?

I am reading them but there is a lot to digest. Many of which I am not familiar with so I have to do some searching for them online to find a reference. Thank you for the replies.

2ndtimelucky
01-17-2012, 06:10 AM
At the moment, the best I'v heard are the JVC UXT-55 (or 550 for the different wood vinyl) originally from a micro system. These have been up against allsorts in my A/V setup but nothing has knocked them off top spot yet. Little 3" full range driver, front ported, and with 5 running as satelites in the cinema system, no need for a sub. Supreme bass and dynamics for a shoebox size :D

mhardy6647
01-17-2012, 06:53 AM
Why do I suspect before this thread dies, we'll name about every small speaker out there from the beginning of audio until today.

I am guessing we might not see some of those smaller Infinity "SM" speakers, Brian :-)

KingBubba
01-17-2012, 07:09 AM
Another vote for the DCM CX-17. They are without a doubt the best small speaker I have heard. There is a lack of coloration. They can take a good bit of power and come out smelling like a rose. I picked up my pair for around $20 from the Flea Market. I have seen them on Ebay for $50 or so. They are a great set of speakers with a lot of the attributes of the DCM Timeframes.

Brian
01-17-2012, 07:10 AM
Not familiar with the Infinity lineup but, let's throw into the mix the bookshelf McIntosh ML10Cs, Bozak 401 (well, compared to the CG) that we used to place on our shelves. Also had a client who built into his wall a half dozen AR3a before the advent of the LST. Does that count? Empire had a lineup of bookshelf speakers about the time it had those end table models but, can not remember the modle numbers. When set up, the Empires were quite decent.

mhardy6647
01-17-2012, 07:32 AM
The AR-3 was no doubt marketed as a "bookshelf" speaker! :-)

tensleep
01-17-2012, 08:43 AM
So the OP likes '70s - '90s bookshelves. I have two pair at home that have made the keeper list. My EV Sentry 100A monitors (true monitors) are fantastic and very ugly. I have them mated to a very nice Rotel integrated amplifier. My son uses them in his bedroom - they sound fantastic for a small to medium sized space. The silk superdomes are maybe my favorite tweeters - I go back and forth between them and my JBL 035tia tweeters. If you find a pair, make sure they have the foam lens for the tweeter. If that is missing, you should make a concerted effort to find and replace that lens. These are two-way speakers with a high frequency attenuator, in a tuned port enclosure. I have seen these speakers, infrequently, on CL and ebay, usually for less than $150.

I also have a pair of Frazier Monte Carlo A. These two-way speakers have a piezo tweeter, a Frazier designed woofer and a cabinet with a helmholts slot resonator. The cabinet is heavy and solid, with beautiful veneer. The tweeter and the woofer are matched in such a way that no crossover whatsoever is utilized. The speakers naturally roll off and crossover in a seamless fashion - no midrange hole. The resonator helps to reenforce the low frequencies. I suppliment them sometimes with a subwoofer, just for fun. The front badge on these speakers is usually lost. I have one complete pair in decent cabinets and another pair sans woofers in fantastic cabinets with new binding posts. I only have one pair of badges, though. If you have a chance to check out the Fraziers, you can probably pick up a pair for under $150.

The most surprising bookshelves that I have owned were a pair of small Advents - a two-way acoustic enclosure that put out a rediculous amound of sound for such a small package. The woofer was easy to overpower, however, and would make the most disconcerting noice when the voice coil would bottom out. I wasn't using them, so I sold them to someone putting together a small vintage shelf system. I think I gave $15 for them, used.

BMWCCA
01-17-2012, 01:41 PM
I've been enjoying a pair of Pioneer SP-BS41's in my office system. I got my pair for $105 with shipping, brand new.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/ephox/StaticFiles/PUSA/Files/SP-BS41-LR.pdf

I was waiting for these to pop-up. I've read the hype but it's all just ads. I've watched the price drop to the point that even Pioneer themselves will ship you a pair for less than $100. I even walked into my local Best Buy to audition them but they weren't hooked up to their speaker selector. So I asked the sales droid to hook them up. He was unable to find a working right channel so I played only one speaker. I wasn't expecting TAD performance, but it was somewhat less than impressive. I couldn't tell if they have output controls on their switch-box to balance the levels but if not, then these aren't very efficient.

I was ready to be impressed and hoping to find something disposable I could send to my daughter for her apartment. I have JBLs that cost less but I'm kind of partial to them. I even thought about "buying" the Pioneers at BB, taking them home and comparing them with the JBL L20T, LX22, and L1s just for fun. If they don't work out, BB'll take 'em back for 30-days.

Anyone else had these and compared them to some known quantity as a baseline?

js1138
01-17-2012, 01:46 PM
The defining characteristic of a bookshelf speaker is not size, but whether it can be placed against the rear wall and sound good.

As opposed to speakers that require some distance from the real wall. Obviously, no rear-ported speaker, regardless of size, can be a bookshelf speaker.

RS Steve
01-17-2012, 01:54 PM
I had some MC 1000s by Realistic for my very first stereo at age 15 or 16, my brother bought them for my birthday. They put out a great powerful sound for the size. I have only had floor speakers since, so I don't have many to compare them to. I liked their sound and they held up well, I upgraded and they were sold to a friend. I know they were pretty low priced at the time.

Tom Brennan
01-17-2012, 01:59 PM
The defining characteristic of a bookshelf speaker is not size, but whether it can be placed against the rear wall and sound good.
.

Is that so? And according to whom?

Obviously, no rear-ported speaker, regardless of size, can be a bookshelf speaker.

It's not obvious at all. Bookshelves are often deeper than small speakers and allow a few inches between a rear port and the rear wall. That's all that's needed IMO&E.

Dave1027
01-17-2012, 02:04 PM
The defining characteristic of a bookshelf speaker is not size, but whether it can be placed against the rear wall and sound good.

As opposed to speakers that require some distance from the real wall. Obviously, no rear-ported speaker, regardless of size, can be a bookshelf speaker.

I disagree. It's self descriptive. A bookshelf speaker is one that can reside on a bookshelf so it must be smaller in size and not too heavy. There is no requirement to be placed against a wall.

TAlieLama
01-17-2012, 02:10 PM
Radio Shack Minimus 7...Stuck right on dee wall. What? $40 a pair. Beat it.

js1138
01-17-2012, 02:18 PM
I disagree. It's self descriptive. A bookshelf speaker is one that can reside on a bookshelf so it must be smaller in size and not too heavy. There is no requirement to be placed against a wall.

I have bookshelves that could hold AR3s.

“Bookshelf” is a broad category that includes any speakers or systems whose principle components will simply sit on a flat surface.

http://www.definitivetech.com/products/Bookshelf/default.aspx


As such, the AR-1 set new standards of low-frequency performance and low distortion that were unsurpassed for many years; in fact, some of the best loudspeakers available fifty-two years later continue to use the acoustic suspension principle for highest quality, low distortion bass reproduction. The small size of the high performance AR-1 (permitted by the acoustic suspension design) was a dividend that helped usher in the age of stereophonic sound reproduction. Two bookshelf-sized loudspeakers were far more acceptable in a living room than the two refrigerator-sized boxes previously necessary to reproduce low frequency bass notes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_Research

kconnor
01-17-2012, 02:22 PM
I picked up a pair of Polk S4 for $40 off of eBay. I think they were $139 each new. It’s a great sounding speaker in stock form and can be bought used for very little money.
I modded it by lining the interior with good quality acoustic foam, swapped out all the electrolytic caps with Dayton polypropylene, added a rear facing tweeter, Dayton ND20FB-4 crossed over at 10kHz/ 12db. I also replaced the stock plastic dome tweeter with Polk’s SL6001 trilaminate.
Sounds so good that they replaced my JBL L20T and Pinnacle PN8+.

KrisM
01-17-2012, 02:26 PM
Radio Shack Minimus 7...Stuck right on dee wall. What? $40 a pair. Beat it.

Mordaunt-Short MS100 Golds, ~$10, jammed up against the wall in my garage. I also own a pair of 7s, running in a bookshelf in my kid's playroom. It is not really close, to be honest. I also have a pair of PSB Alphas on a shelf in the office. They can be had for $40, more or less, and they are better than the 7s, as well. Even with the rear-firing port. I like Minimus 7s myself, but they aren't the last word in affordable small speakers.

If I needed a pair of quality small speakers and I was looking used, I would be on the hunt for a pair of PSB Stratus Minis.

Dave1027
01-17-2012, 02:51 PM
“Bookshelf” is a broad category that includes any speakers or systems whose principle components will simply sit on a flat surface.

These sit on a flat surface.
http://www.anello.de/Images/IRS_5.jpg

See this bookcase in the pic on the left? Bookshelf speakers can sit in it.

sKiZo
01-17-2012, 03:44 PM
Any Grundig diggers out there?

These lil guys put out a whole lotta bang for their size. Solid elements, and a neutral composite box ... just in case BOSE thought they were the first in that department. Very warm sounding with real decent bass.

http://www.brainfartz.com/images/Stereo%20Stuff/grundig-microbox320.jpg

http://www.brainfartz.com/images/Stereo%20Stuff/grundig-microbox320-drivers.jpg

http://www.brainfartz.com/images/Stereo%20Stuff/grundig-microbox320-label.jpg

The web is unusally quiet about these, but I did see a pair go for $180 on fleabay a while back. Then again, them fleabayers is big time crazy sometimes.

Vor Feuchtigkeit Schützen !

Earschplitten Loüdenboomer !!

Fahrvergnügen !!

js1138
01-17-2012, 03:56 PM
These sit on a flat surface.

They're also refrigerator sized.

My point was that The original AR1 and AR3 were considered bookshelf speakers.

The other part of my definition was that they have to work correctly when placed against the back wall. That rules out my DCM CX-17s and my Klipsch Kg2s, which are smaller than AR3s, but can't be placed against the back wall or on a shelf, because they have a rear port or radiator.

I go to lots of estate sales and find lots of speakers of all sizes placed in or on bookshelves. I've seen KEF 105.3s in a bookcase, and they're rather large. But they are ported to the front.

The original acoustic suspension speakers had a bass rolloff that made them work well when placed in the corner of a room, against the back and side walls.

cary
01-17-2012, 04:04 PM
KLH 22, Paradigm Atom, ADS L300, ADS L400, EPI 100.

Dave1027
01-17-2012, 04:13 PM
.

They're also refrigerator sized.

My point was that The original AR1 and AR3 were considered bookshelf speakers.

The other part of my definition was that they have to work correctly when placed against the back wall. That rules out my DCM CX-17s and my Klipsch Kg2s, which are smaller than AR3s, but can't be placed against the back wall or on a shelf, because they have a rear port or radiator.

I go to lots of estate sales and find lots of speakers of all sizes placed in or on bookshelves. I've seen KEF 105.3s in a bookcase, and they're rather large. But they are ported to the front.

The original acoustic suspension speakers had a bass rolloff that made them work well when placed in the corner of a room, against the back and side walls.
No problem. I understand where you are coming from. But remember that if a speaker is small enough a rear port is not a factor. My little BICs are rear ported but they will sit in any bookshelf easily with plenty of room for the rear port.

67 grad
01-17-2012, 04:38 PM
I have a pair of Pinnacle PN5+ speakers that a neighbor (goood neighbor!) gave me.
I haven't listened to them extensively by themselves, but their reviews are all very good (eg: http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speakers/floorstanding-speakers/pinnacle/pn5/prd_120394_1594crx.aspx ). (Floorstanding here is a misnomer.)

I currently have them atop my Goodwill (Gooodwill!) Polk RT-400s to give the Polks a little more height to help with soundstage. The Pinnacles and the Polks are both rear-ported, so I thought they'd work well together.
*#@% - just realized I don't have a pic with the Pinnacles in it, but I'll put one up in another post.

67 grad
01-17-2012, 05:08 PM
Here's the Pinnacle PN5+ on top of the Polk RT-400.
As I mentioned, they're both rear-ported, so they're out from the wall a bit. They both have the same grille cloth, and the Pinnacles add a touch of wood to the woodless Polks. Other speakers shown are KLH Model 5 and Dynaco A40XL.

SA-708
01-17-2012, 07:38 PM
I was waiting for these to pop-up. I've read the hype but it's all just ads. I've watched the price drop to the point that even Pioneer themselves will ship you a pair for less than $100. I even walked into my local Best Buy to audition them but they weren't hooked up to their speaker selector. So I asked the sales droid to hook them up. He was unable to find a working right channel so I played only one speaker. I wasn't expecting TAD performance, but it was somewhat less than impressive. I couldn't tell if they have output controls on their switch-box to balance the levels but if not, then these aren't very efficient.

I was ready to be impressed and hoping to find something disposable I could send to my daughter for her apartment. I have JBLs that cost less but I'm kind of partial to them. I even thought about "buying" the Pioneers at BB, taking them home and comparing them with the JBL L20T, LX22, and L1s just for fun. If they don't work out, BB'll take 'em back for 30-days.

Anyone else had these and compared them to some known quantity as a baseline?

You did not listen to Pioneer SP-BS41 speakers at Best Buy. BB chose to carry the rest of the line, but skipped on this model. In something I read online, it was insinuated that they would have been directly competing with one of BB's store brand models. You were probably listening to the smaller SP-BS21s, which do retail for $100 and are not as well regarded as their bigger brothers. I think the SP-BS41s have only been available from online retailers; I bought mine from Woot! after spending several hours reading about them online.

I replaced a pair of Altec Lansing Atlantics with mine, which they trounced, sound wise. That probably says more about the poor sound and excessive brightness from the Atlantics than the quality of the Pioneers. They are not terribly efficient, but they have paired up well with the Pioneer SA-608 (aka SA-6800) integrated I have at work. They are rear ported, for anyone who cares, but I use them on a console table instead of an actual bookshelf, so there's plenty of room behind them.

In the Stereophile review, they compared favorably against Paradigm Atom v.5 and were found a touch lacking vs. Wharfedale Diamond 10.1.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/pioneer-sp-bs41-lr-loudspeaker-page-2

70WR
01-17-2012, 08:45 PM
My most used bookshelves are Polks RT55i and Klipsch KG-3.2s (I know, I'm using em as bookshelves). Cutting size down, my smallest in use in one of the rooms is JVC 20LTs.
But my bookshelves don't get have the use as my floor pairs.

lico
01-17-2012, 09:38 PM
I also listened to Pioneers at Best Buy. The Pioneer speakers I heard at Best Buy did not impress - but I didn't realize they were not the same as the ones Stereophile recommended.

That said - I can't believe the Pioneers are that much better than the countless other black vinyl veneered speakers at the low end price point that have been put out for the last 20 years, regardless of the designer name put on them.

I like my Infinity Primus 150s - and recently came across a set of Infinity Reference 1s from the early 90s that were decent when I did a direct compare. They sound nearly as good, but neither sound great anymore in my small setup.

Wharfedale gets a lot of recommendations - I haven't heard the 10.1s but my experience with larger model floorstanders from the Diamond line says I ain't buying anything from Wharfedale again. I'd try Quad bookshelves too - but they are the same manufacturer group as Wharfedale, so am wary. Polk LSI has a lot of fanboys, but not my cup of tea either when I tried them, no air - too laid back.

The little MA Radius are cool speakers, I heard them a few years ago looking at surrounds for my HT setup, regret not getting them. Build quality, plus the same tweets they put in their upper end models. I need more bass in a 2 channel setup - rolloff at 80 Hz won't cut it. Monitor Audio (Bronze or Silver) is what I'll be trying on the my next purchase.

In the meantime I'm sticking with some old B&W DM110s - may not fit on a lot of bookshelves, but they are best sounding 8 inch 2 way I've ever heard. Found them cheap and was surprised. Excellent speakers.

BMWCCA
01-17-2012, 09:51 PM
You did not listen to Pioneer SP-BS41 speakers at Best Buy. BB chose to carry the rest of the line, but skipped on this model. In something I read online, it was insinuated that they would have been directly competing with one of BB's store brand models. You were probably listening to the smaller SP-BS21s, which do retail for $100 and are not as well regarded as their bigger brothers. I think the SP-BS41s have only been available from online retailers; I bought mine from Woot! after spending several hours reading about them online.

You're right. Does that mean for only fifty-percent more I can get some that actually sound like something? Same price if I catch that Woot again!

The confusing part is the BS21s had that same TAD designer signature stuff written all over the back:

http://images.bestbuy.com/BestBuy_US/images/products/1148/1148218_ba.jpg

bigaltx24
01-18-2012, 07:24 AM
The best inexpensive bookshelf I've heard is the Radiient Europa. They are a very similar in design to the BB Insignias but built with much higher quality components. They started off selling for $199/pair, when I bought mine they were down to $79/pair. After break in I listened to them side by side against the BB Insignias and Paradigm Titans, the Europas beat both very handily. If you ever see a pair for sale, snag them, I sure will, I was dumb enough that I sold my pair.
Right now I am running a pair of KLH Model 32s that I have less than $30 total in even after recapping. I really love these things, nice bass, gorgeous mids, the highs may be a tad rolled off but at my age I can't tell. I tune in the classic rock station on the Sansui 881 and let them rock all day long.

jt45
01-18-2012, 07:52 AM
.

They're also refrigerator sized.

My point was that The original AR1 and AR3 were considered bookshelf speakers.

The other part of my definition was that they have to work correctly when placed against the back wall. That rules out my DCM CX-17s and my Klipsch Kg2s, which are smaller than AR3s, but can't be placed against the back wall or on a shelf, because they have a rear port or radiator.

I go to lots of estate sales and find lots of speakers of all sizes placed in or on bookshelves. I've seen KEF 105.3s in a bookcase, and they're rather large. But they are ported to the front.

The original acoustic suspension speakers had a bass rolloff that made them work well when placed in the corner of a room, against the back and side walls.

I get your point but most if not all brands market their speakers according to size these days, just look at the dozens of variations on small wall mountable speakers that are listed as Bookshelf speakers but have rear ports, like those that come with a hanger bracket on them. I never understood why ports were placed on the rear when that bracket obviously puts the port against the wall.

RPMz
04-08-2012, 12:32 AM
Dynaco A25's plays well above their price point

musichal
04-08-2012, 01:10 AM
Small, inexpensive, best-sounding of those would be the Paradigm 3se Mini, which became the Mini Mark, then the Mini Monitor. The original were true budget designs and sounsed great. I have heard better-sounding small speakers, but they weren't the budget-lover's delight.

charles 1973
04-08-2012, 03:09 AM
At about 13" H x 7" w x 9" d Energy C1 bookshelves are fairly small, and $400 new in 2005 fairly cheap. Mounted on their matching stands and driven with my 70 wpc AVR these speakers sound much bigger than their size would suggest and look good too, In the 23' living room of my old house making near full range very detailed sound. Energy likes to promote bass and as such go plenty deep for their size, but not that clean, so I stuffed some more insulation in them so now in a small to med size room (much smaller than my living room) they sound very good without the need for a SUB. At first I overstuffed them and pretty much sucked up all the bass...not good. Their front ports allow them to be placed very near to the wall on a bookshelf and still sound good. I'd recomend Energy's Larger C3 Bookshelf, which is closer to mid size, like some of the speakers mentioned previously here, as a fine stand alone mid-fi speaker in a midsize room and with the same front port that allows them to be placed near the wall too.

For really Small speakers (as in palm size), my 2 pair of Realistic Minimus 7's do a great job, when played with Realistic's matching "System Seven" Reciever. With an EQ specifically callibrated for these speakers, and a bone rattling 10 wpc these speakers closely aproach the Energy C1's I discribed above in a small room, but don't go nearly as loud, even with a bigger amp because it's woofers have run out of Excursion room to make bass at more than moderate volumes in a small room. Operated flat, the Energy C1's with their much bigger cabinets and woofer of course sound much better. Keep in mind the Minimus 7's are designed to be used with their matching reciever with the proper Equlization or at least with the Bass turned up, and the treble down on my AVR to sound decent.

mayidunk
04-08-2012, 03:29 AM
Cerwin Vega VE-5M (http://www.amazon.com/Cerwin-VE-5M-2-Way-Bookshelf-Speaker/dp/B000LSG09Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1333869693&sr=1-1)

I have them, and they sound excellent! Check 'em out, you won't be disappointed.

:D

Van_Isle
04-09-2012, 06:40 PM
I've had Paradigm Titans ($40) and have Paradigm 3SE Minis ($10) - both were good solid speakers.

I think I like the Energy ESM-4's I'm running now in my office system better - they replaced the Titans. The ESM-4's cost me $20 from the original owner, are front-ported with vifa tweeter and are mirror-imaged.

Also the B&W DM-600i's ($12) I set up for my daughter in her bedroom sound very nice, especially on her NAD.

One nice thing about used 'bookshelf' speakers is it seems they are cheap enough (still) that you can try out a few models till you find something you really like / gells with your system.

bryblob
04-09-2012, 06:47 PM
I haven't heard many small bookshelf speakers, but the yamaha ns-a7.2 speakers were the best I heard. They use a 6 1/2 woofer and dome tweeter, I was surprised how nice they were for 10 dollars used thrift buy.

Poultrygeist
04-09-2012, 07:29 PM
These bookshelf Tektons with full range Fostex drivers are hard to beat for $300. Sometimes you can find them used on A'gon for half that.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=2070&pictureid=13936

HLauer
04-12-2012, 07:42 AM
Great sound and very clean. maybe a tad bright. Harry

pw5599
04-12-2012, 01:03 PM
Minimus 7. Small, cheap, can be hidden away, and are always of interest to us audio nuts

JBL62. I only say that because I now own a set, and paid $25. I really dont know how well they sound, I have them as my rear surrounds but when I do hear noises from them, it sounds pretty good! And they look nice.

scuba
04-16-2012, 10:23 AM
Mordaunt Short Carnival 2's. Been listening to them for about three years and have yet to find anything to complain about. Retail 300 to 350 (canadian) depending on where you look. Front ported with floating kevlar cones

Retro Stereo
04-16-2012, 10:37 AM
Get yourself a good used pair of full-range Design Acoustics PS-10's and enjoy! I paid $65 for mine and they are great sounding small bookshelf speakers.

http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/364/dscn0223t.jpg




Retro

wingzam
04-16-2012, 12:55 PM
I had a small pair of Protons that were really amazing.Can't remember the model..about a foot tall,2 way..I think all the smaller Protons were highly rated.

GeorgeT
09-28-2014, 03:23 AM
Is that so? And according to whom?



It's not obvious at all. Bookshelves are often deeper than small speakers and allow a few inches between a rear port and the rear wall. That's all that's needed IMO&E.

I agree..2" space works with a ported design. I drop by every 24 months and get banished for just hyping the old Pinnacle...the facts are the facts..and I am still running the little Pinnacles. Once I had a pair in a den where the couch was under some shelves. So... you lay on the couch and the PN5+ were 24" apart and about 5 1/2? feet from my ears( I am 6-2), on the book shelf. Incredible close field listening!!! I am sorry... I cannot remember what amp drove them. The pre amp was likely an ADCOM SLC505 passive. I digress.... I'm not going to look up Hirsch labs report again. The PN5+ website says 50-21000HZ (+-3 I think )but they sound more like 40HZ. I have my pair running 8 ft from me as I write this. I am streaming KTCZ via iHeart-iPhone5 (at 1AM the good stuff gets played and my Toshiba DX900 is recording tonight) . with the help of a Luxman R361. No room for Magnepans anymore. I'll switch to Youtube Sarah Brightman before I go to bed maybe.. although I discovered Phil Collins Paris good bye tour the other day. Good listening to you. I arguably say... no small speaker will perform as well on a shelf nor will go as low as the PN5+ I had a producer tell me he used the PN5+ as a studio monitor instead of a $2000 pair of JBL's .

Brian
09-28-2014, 10:06 AM
I disagree. It's self descriptive. A bookshelf speaker is one that can reside on a bookshelf so it must be smaller in size and not too heavy. There is no requirement to be placed against a wall.

I generally agree but suggestions that it's weight is such that it can be sustained by the shelf it is to sit on and a size the shelf will accommodate.

When acoustic suspension speakers arrived they were so much smaller than most speakers of the time they were rightfully advertised as suitable for bookshelves. While this may have been more marketing than reality as we apply standards now, back in the '50s bookshelves were not as most today have in their home. For instance the Barzilay company advertised many of its cabinets as suitable for curios, books, and other items needing a strong and good looking bookshelf system. AR had not problem designing what may be its best speaker of all time as specifically for bookshelf mounting, the LST and for those with smaller rooms or bookshelf systems not quite up to the task there was the LST-2.

Today, these are not even in the running in the bookshelf category and even baby speakers of the time such as The Smaller Advents Loudspeaker that were bookshelf speakers of these bookshelf speakers today is seldom thought about.

Bkphoto
09-28-2014, 10:34 AM
Advent Baby II's...

cheap, refurb them and that is that...

fendaaudio
09-29-2014, 08:01 AM
Harbeth P3ESR - Bookshelf loudspeaker - Cherry:thmbsp:

ms_enj
09-29-2014, 09:41 AM
Fostex Kanspeas.

Mine are the upgraded model with the FF105WK and also the Zobel network modification (http://www.cheapaudiophile.com/2014/05/13/fostex-kanspea-speaker-kit-review/) using Jantzen parts.

Running them off a 4.5WPC SET tube amp, paired with a cheap 10" active subwoofer.

I've posted about these before - They're now up to about 100 hours of listening time, and are aging like a fine wine. Close your eyes, and they just disappear.

http://i.imgur.com/ShKubLnl.jpg
(Tipped on spikes because nearfield desk positioning)

Speakers this cheap have no right to sound this good...

frommerstop
09-29-2014, 09:48 AM
There are several, but Mission 70s and Spica TC-50s are probably my two favorite small speakers that don't cost much.

Poultrygeist
09-29-2014, 06:52 PM
Fostex Kanspeas.

Mine are the upgraded model with the FF105WK and also the Zobel network modification (http://www.cheapaudiophile.com/2014/05/13/fostex-kanspea-speaker-kit-review/) using Jantzen parts.

Running them off a 4.5WPC SET tube amp, paired with a cheap 10" active subwoofer.

I've posted about these before - They're now up to about 100 hours of listening time, and are aging like a fine wine. Close your eyes, and they just disappear.

http://i.imgur.com/ShKubLnl.jpg
(Tipped on spikes because nearfield desk positioning)

Speakers this cheap have no right to sound this good...

As a Fostex fan I can relate. :thmbsp:

richamor
09-29-2014, 09:16 PM
JBL Northridge. You could get those for less than a hundred bucks and they rock!!

And I wouldn't call the Harbeth's inexpensive:-)

davidro
09-29-2014, 09:23 PM
Fostex Kanspeas.

Mine are the upgraded model with the FF105WK and also the Zobel network modification (http://www.cheapaudiophile.com/2014/05/13/fostex-kanspea-speaker-kit-review/) using Jantzen parts.

Running them off a 4.5WPC SET tube amp, paired with a cheap 10" active subwoofer.

I've posted about these before - They're now up to about 100 hours of listening time, and are aging like a fine wine. Close your eyes, and they just disappear.

http://i.imgur.com/ShKubLnl.jpg
(Tipped on spikes because nearfield desk positioning)

Speakers this cheap have no right to sound this good...

Wish I can have P1000 locally.

My nomination is Celestion SL series speakers.

Onegizmobob
09-29-2014, 09:46 PM
My first choice would be KEF C20's. My second choice would be Dynaco A25's.

enginedr
09-29-2014, 10:06 PM
Found a pair of ROR / C s @ SA I like the way they sound .

zombie1210
09-29-2014, 10:13 PM
"Smaller" Advents are about as big as I classify "bookshelf" and they are great. The spitwad woofer puts out some nice lows. But they are a bit power hungry if you want to make them sing.