Bookshelf speakers for Arcam A85

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Bumrah

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2012
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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)?
PSB Imagine Mini's get my vote. They are discontinued but do pop up. Seriously do not be put off by their size, they have plenty of low end and have a very nice sound. They did RRP at £600 originally. I replaced some floorstanders for these and they have even more oomph, trust me. Very neat size too. I currently have some right up against a wall pretty much.
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
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PSB Imagine Mini's get my vote. They are discontinued but do pop up. Seriously do not be put off by their size, they have plenty of low end and have a very nice sound. They did RRP at £600 originally. I replaced some floorstanders for these and they have even more oomph, trust me. Very neat size too. I currently have some right up against a wall pretty much.
They'll have to go on my list for when I decide the 3020i's don't quite cut it...

Thanks for the recommendation - do look interesting
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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Well - they're here! Actually arrived Monday - but I was away working till late Tuesday, so only plugged them in this morning. (The joy of banana plugs) So I've set them up without the port bungs, and slightly angled, so they've got at least 6-7cm of space behind them - oh well - best I can manage.

And they sound great. Vocals great, lot more clarity and articulation. Music sounds more cohesive, the AEs could sound a bit thin. OK, they've not got massive amounts of bass, but they're well balanced and clear, and for their size and the size of the room, the bass is fine. Listening to Easter by Marillion just now and sounds great.
 
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scene

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UPDATE: The more I listen to these speakers, the more I'm liking them. Given their poor positioning (sitting on a Billy bookcase, shoved in the corners of the shelves (and the room!) they're working great. I've toed them in a bit (as I said) and I've still got them un-bunged and the grilles off. (Did I say, they look gorgeous - I got the walnut finish, btw). The soundstage is great, plenty enough bass and really clear sound. I'm looking forward to working in my study, as I'm enjoying them so much. I think the rubber feet on the speakers help things and these are surprisingly weighty speakers for their size - 5kg odd, and really well built. I'm impressed, these look and feel like they're way more expensive than the £189 they cost. Currently listening to Thin Lizzy...
 

amormusic

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2016
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Regarding your Billy bookcase comment....

If you haven't already, buy yourself some Auralex Mopads... I cannot recommend these highly enough!! It's a MASSIVE improvement to sound quality if they are not on dedicated stands, which sounds like it is the case. Mopads are not expensive on ebay and can be picked up 2nd hand too.

Trust me it's worth it...

@scene
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
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Regarding your Billy bookcase comment....

If you haven't already, buy yourself some Auralex Mopads... I cannot recommend these highly enough!! It's a MASSIVE improvement to sound quality if they are not on dedicated stands, which sounds like it is the case. Mopads are not expensive on ebay and can be picked up 2nd hand too.

Trust me it's worth it...

@scene
Thanks for that. I need to think about this, a putting the mopads under the speakers would increase their height on the shelf and require moving shelves around. And as this is my study/office shelf space is at a premium...
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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Try VT feet they are under half an inch in height (10mm)


 

amormusic

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2016
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Scene. If space is very limited then you could also buy deflex polipods (sorbethane feet) which go under them.

Definitely get them isolated as best as pos from the shelves, the difference is remarkable.

I've previously used both polipods and also mopads. Knowing what I know, my choice would be to lift a shelf slightly as the mopads are far superior.

If you cant do this though grab yourself some polipods.

It's well worth it...
 

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