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Bookshelf speaker in £500 range

tag

Member
Jan 18, 2021
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0
20
Hi all, I would like recommendations on the best choice of bookshelf speaker in the £500 ish price range for near-field listening on my home office desk (the speakers will be on Atacama gel isolation pads!).

Current set up are Sony SCD-XA3000ES SACD player, Sony TA-FB940R QS Amplifier (although I may upgrade in future to a Yamaha R-N803D or similar), I plan to get an S.M.S.L SU-9 DAC for hi-res MQA decoding of Tidal streams and for CD playback. I use QED Reference 40 interconnects , Linn K20 speaker cable, and Soundstyle rack. Currently listening using old Tannoy Mercury V1 bookshelf speakers which sound fine but I wish to upgrade to something more in keeping with the level of the rest of my equipment and to make best use of hi-res streaming and SACDs and that could cope with future upgrades in the long term. I'm open to suggestions if my budget should be pushed to make best use of my planned system. I listen to mostly classical, Scottish folk and 80s synth pop. I particularly want to make sure that I'm not lacking bass compared to floorstanders and that that the treble isn't too harsh (I listened to some Focal Aria bookshelf speakers in the past and found them far too harsh).

I was thinking mainly along the lines of the DALI Oberon 3 or Elac Debut Reference DBR-62 or B&W 606 S2. But also on my radar were KEF Q350, Elac Unifi 2 UB52, Definitive Technology Demand D9, Monitor Audio Silver 2 (on end of line sale) or Silver 50, Silver 100 is pushing the budget, similarly DALI Opticon 2 Mk 1 on end of line sale whilst Opticon 2 Mk 2 looks expensive to me, and finally Wharfedale Evo 4.1 or 4.2. It's obviously difficult to audition at the moment so I have been relying on on-line reviews, but all the suggestions get a good review on one site and a bad review on another!

Many thanks.
 

myrrhman

Well-known member
Apr 24, 2020
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70
If you want speakers optimised for near-field listening at your desk, wouldn't some studio monitors suit you better? Perhaps active speakers, then you could replace the amp with a DAC / preamp, although this I believe would preclude use of the SMSL as it doesn't appear to have variable output.
The problem with most if not all of the speakers on your list will be the fact they'll be optimised for a listening 'sweet spot' a couple of metres away.
 
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millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
662
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11,270
Hi all, I would like recommendations on the best choice of bookshelf speaker in the £500 ish price range for near-field listening on my home office desk (the speakers will be on Atacama gel isolation pads!).

Current set up are Sony SCD-XA3000ES SACD player, Sony TA-FB940R QS Amplifier (although I may upgrade in future to a Yamaha R-N803D or similar), I plan to get an S.M.S.L SU-9 DAC for hi-res MQA decoding of Tidal streams and for CD playback. I use QED Reference 40 interconnects , Linn K20 speaker cable, and Soundstyle rack. Currently listening using old Tannoy Mercury V1 bookshelf speakers which sound fine but I wish to upgrade to something more in keeping with the level of the rest of my equipment and to make best use of hi-res streaming and SACDs and that could cope with future upgrades in the long term. I'm open to suggestions if my budget should be pushed to make best use of my planned system. I listen to mostly classical, Scottish folk and 80s synth pop. I particularly want to make sure that I'm not lacking bass compared to floorstanders and that that the treble isn't too harsh (I listened to some Focal Aria bookshelf speakers in the past and found them far too harsh).

I was thinking mainly along the lines of the DALI Oberon 3 or Elac Debut Reference DBR-62 or B&W 606 S2. But also on my radar were KEF Q350, Elac Unifi 2 UB52, Definitive Technology Demand D9, Monitor Audio Silver 2 (on end of line sale) or Silver 50, Silver 100 is pushing the budget, similarly DALI Opticon 2 Mk 1 on end of line sale whilst Opticon 2 Mk 2 looks expensive to me, and finally Wharfedale Evo 4.1 or 4.2. It's obviously difficult to audition at the moment so I have been relying on on-line reviews, but all the suggestions get a good review on one site and a bad review on another!

Many thanks.

I d say pretty much all the speakers you have listed pretty big for a desk

Do you have all that gear on your desk? or do you have it on the desk and listen further away?

If you listen at your desk and I think if that was me (it's not) i'd be looking to consolidate all that into a pair active speakers as mentioned, Ie sell off what you have and put the cash toward some Kef SLX, Genelec, Phantom reactors (loads of punch)

heck, even some Sonos play 5's might fit the bill.

Though I see you still listen to CD's so it might not be such a good fit
 
Last edited:

tag

Member
Jan 18, 2021
4
0
20
Thanks for the replies and suggestions, perhaps I over-egged the nearfield a bit, it is a large home office corner suite and so the speakers will be at least 1.5 metres apart as the crow flies. I'm happy making room for large bookshelf passive speaker so that I can have the flexibility to recycle them amongst my hifi kit in the future. I wondered if anyone had heard the Dali Oberon 3, Opticon 2 Mk 1 and Opticon Mk 2 so have any feedback on whether the higher models really are worth the increased costs (since the Mk 1 Opticon 2 are now about £150 off on end of line sale making the £900 Opticon 2 Mk 2 seem quite expensive at £900). Thanks.
 

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