Bookshelf speakers for Arcam A85

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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As I've mentioned on the Are you happy with your system? thread, I've got my much loved Arcam A85 paired with some AE Compact 1 speakers. Now, don't get me wrong, these are great little speakers and with the A85 sound great, but...

They are small and lacking in oomph, especially in the low end. The bass is a bit lacking.

I'm looking to replace them, but I'm a bit constrained on budget and space. When I say "bookshelf", I mean that. The speakers will have to sit on some Billy bookshelves in my study, there's nowhere else for them to go. I was thinking of the Monitor Audio Bronze 2s, which I think would be great with the Arcam, and I'm a big fan of MAs. However, a lot of reviews talk about them "needing space" and given that these are going to be on a bookshelf, near a wall, that's something they're not going to get.

Anyone got any suggestions, given the size/positioning restrictions and a budget of about £280 (i.e. the cost of the MAs)?
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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MA Bronze 2 will sound horrendously bright on the end of A85. Had both although not at the same time (I believe). Also they're not the smallest. How small are we talking?
 

scene

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I would have thought that, considering where they are going, you'd really need a closed-box (infinite baffle) design but these are rarely small.
Yes, that's something that's crossed my mind as well. I was hoping that as the MAs were front ported that would help, as I've not seen many small infinite baffle speakers...
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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MA Bronze 2 will sound horrendously bright on the end of A85. Had both although not at the same time (I believe). Also they're not the smallest. How small are we talking?
Thanks for the heads up on the brightness i9, that's definitely something I wouldn't have guessed.

As for size. Yes, the MAs are about as large as I could go. My study's about 3.4m x 2.75m, with the speakers firing down the long axis. As I want to get a bit more low end, I was assuming I'd need to go a little bigger than the AEs which are quite small
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
As I've mentioned on the Are you happy with your system? thread, I've got my much loved Arcam A85 paired with some AE Compact 1 speakers. Now, don't get me wrong, these are great little speakers and with the A85 sound great, but...

They are small and lacking in oomph, especially in the low end. The bass is a bit lacking.

I'm looking to replace them, but I'm a bit constrained on budget and space. When I say "bookshelf", I mean that. The speakers will have to sit on some Billy bookshelves in my study, there's nowhere else for them to go. I was thinking of the Monitor Audio Bronze 2s, which I think would be great with the Arcam, and I'm a big fan of MAs. However, a lot of reviews talk about them "needing space" and given that these are going to be on a bookshelf, near a wall, that's something they're not going to get.

Anyone got any suggestions, given the size/positioning restrictions and a budget of about £280 (i.e. the cost of the MAs)?
Hi Scene. Two words: Totem Dreamcatchers.

They are very dinky and punchy and sound great with Arcam. Years ago heard the Arros with Arcam A32 and they sounded impressive.
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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Hi Scene. Two words: Totem Dreamcatchers.

They are very dinky and punchy and sound great with Arcam. Years ago heard the Arros with Arcam A32 and they sounded impressive.
Hi pp - how're you doing?

The Dreamcatchers do look great - but they're discontinued, and quite hard to find these days... So, will keep them on the list, and see if any turn up...

Given their rarity, would like to find something that's a little easier to get hold of...
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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I had an A85 a few years ago paired with Dali Zensor 3's which sounded v good indeed for not a lot of outlay
Thanks for that! I did have a look at the Spektor 2s, and thought they might be quite fun, but might not quite do the A85 justice.

Definitely going to put the Zensors on the list. One thing: on the Dali website they say they can be shelf or stand, but recommend 5-30cm from the wall. Given these are going to end up literally on a bookcase, do you think that will give them enough room to breathe?
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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Dalis should help A85 boogie more. I'd be tempted to go with some older B&W if size permits.
Thanks insider, I was wondering about some b&w, I did think about the 686s2 - but wasn't sure whether they'd work with the arcam, but not sure I can fit 685s2. And then got to find some for sale...
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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KEF 100s or the newer Q150 could work well. They are a nicely balanced speaker and work well with Arcam. They are also less likely to boom in the bookshelf than some, though they won't be impervious to this positioning.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Hi pp - how're you doing?

The Dreamcatchers do look great - but they're discontinued, and quite hard to find these days... So, will keep them on the list, and see if any turn up...

Given their rarity, would like to find something that's a little easier to get hold of...
TBH, scene they're not as rare as you might think. You are a little hamstrung by your budget and where they are located. If you had more room the old PMC DB1is would be superb.
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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TBH, scene they're not as rare as you might think. You are a little hamstrung by your budget and where they are located. If you had more room the old PMC DB1is would be superb.
Hi pp - I'm going to keep a lookout fro the Dreamcatchers, and see what comes up...
As for the PMCs - they do sound great and I reckon I could fit them on my shelves - they're under 30cm tall, which works for me.
Fanthorpes have the PMC DB1 Gold for sale (new) at £1149 - which is slightly beyond my budget. There's a pair on eBay, and they were up to £330 in one day, with 6 days to go - so I'll keep watching them, but I think they're going to go out of budget. They're DB1 Golds, like new, so I'm not surprised. The going price seems to be £4-500 - I'll have a search and keep some watches out...
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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KEF 100s or the newer Q150 could work well. They are a nicely balanced speaker and work well with Arcam. They are also less likely to boom in the bookshelf than some, though they won't be impervious to this positioning.
Hi Matthew - yes I've heard the Kef Q series and like the sound (and back in the day I had a KEF 2005.2 hooked up to an Arcam AVR250)
And yes, positioning on an actual bookshelf is a bit of killer for speaker placement, but no real choice, unless I went for speakers right by the desk - which I'm not so keen on,,,
I'm assuming you're thinking of the Q100s, not the R100s? I've heard the Q150, but may need to look at the Q100 to see what they're like...
 
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matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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Hi Matthew - yes I've heard the Kef Q series and like the sound (and back in the day I had a KEF 2005.2 hooked up to an Arcam AVR250)
And yes, positioning on an actual bookshelf is a bit of killer for speaker placement, but no real choice, unless I went for speakers right by the desk - which I'm not so keen on,,,
I'm assuming you're thinking of the Q100s, not the R100s? I've heard the Q150, but may need to look at the Q100 to see what they're like...
Hi, yes I meant the Q100 - the predecessor of the 150.
Also, have you heard Q Acoustics 3020i? Don't be put off by the relatively low price. They're a bit special...
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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Hi, yes I meant the Q100 - the predecessor of the 150.
Also, have you heard Q Acoustics 3020i? Don't be put off by the relatively low price. They're a bit special...
Thanks for the clarification on the Q100 :)
And yes - I'm getting that feeling about the Q3020i - my only slight concern is that their rear ported... I know I can use the supplied bungs, but just a little twitchy about how they'll react to being boxed in on the bookshelf.
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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Thanks for the clarification on the Q100 :)
And yes - I'm getting that feeling about the Q3020i - my only slight concern is that their rear ported... I know I can use the supplied bungs, but just a little twitchy about how they'll react to being boxed in on the bookshelf.
And I could get some ex-demo / open box ones at £179 - which makes them all the more tempting...
 

Samd

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QA's own blurb on the 3020i includes the fact that "recessed cut-out reduces cabinet noise and allows them to be used near to rear wall".
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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QA's own blurb on the 3020i includes the fact that "recessed cut-out reduces cabinet noise and allows them to be used near to rear wall".
Thanks, that's a good point. I may be worrying much.

It's just that they're not just going to be near a wall but pretty enclosed by the bookcase,..
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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Mission QX2 they have okay high sensitive and lots of bass,warm sound
Yes the QX2 do look really good, but they are £400, which is outside my budget (unless I can pick up a bargain ex-demo / secondhand) and again they're rear ported, which could be an issue in the shelves.

Now I did read some reviews and it looks as though that rear port may have some foam inside to help offset being near to a back wall, so may work on the shelves, but most reviews have them 40+ cm off the wall
 

gasolin

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