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Bookshelfs vs Floorstanders for about 1000 to 1500 for great imaging and soundstage in a 17x20 room

swiftaccord

New member
Oct 21, 2016
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All, I'm a newbie attempting to put together a system for our home. Here are some details about what I'm looking for:

Music I listen to: Classic Rock (Dire Straits, Floyd, REM ), a good bit of folk (Fairport Convention, Dylan, Joan Baez etc.) and occasionally Jazz and a little Classical (vocal and instrumental).

Room dimensions: I plan to play these records in a living room that is about 16 x 20 x 10 ft with wooden laminate flooring with a small area rug with leather sofas and 2 windows along 1 side (usually left shut). There is drywall and a fireplace but very little fabric other than the area rug currently in the room.

Budget: Am looking to spend about $1000-1500 on speakers and another $1000 on amps

My sources: Typically CDs (off an Onkyo player), a bunch of vinyl records (off a Project Carbon Debut) and flac files out of a Logitech Squeezebox.

Speaker characteristics I'm looking for: My preference is for speakers that have a wide soundstage and precise imaging at lower to moderate listening levels. I play most of my music at relatively moderate levels and am not much of a bass head either - as long as the bass is relatively tight and refined, I'd care more about the details in the mid to upper ranges.

Given these preferences, my research led me initially toward Planar speakers (such as the Magnepan .7) but the WAF is just too low to pass muster at home :) and the placement requirements for them also just kill the deal. So, now, I'm trying to determine how stand mounts (such as say used ProAc Tablettes or KEF LS50s or B&W CM5s) would compare with floorstanders like (Tannoy XT6F or MA Silver 6 or B&W 683s) and which would be a better fit given my musical preferences, my desire for a great soundstage and imaging and my room size?

Also, what amps would I look for to pair with the above for about 1000-1500? Would something like a Rega Brio-R or a NAD 375 work ? I'm open to considering used amps such as the Naim Nait 5i or the Peachtree Nova..

Have been unable to find if any dealers in my area where I can audition all or even a couple of these brands in 1 place (let alone in-home!!) and so am looking for inputs and advice from folks here!

Thanks!
 

thewinelake.

New member
Jan 22, 2016
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...but I am going to waste everyone's time by suggesting you look at Active speakers for that kind of money. I know you'll not be interested, but in all conscience I have to recommend them! I'll perhaps at least try to avoid telling you the make and model that I would recommend ;-)
 
Feb 18, 2015
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OK.what winelake was trying to recommend (and correct me if I'm wrong)was probably a pair of avi dm 10's.I've not heard them nor will you until you buy them,but they're meant to be very good.I'll recommend a pair of pmc twenty 21's and a second hand naim nait xs but that's me being very biased.seriously though the little pmc's should be on your to dem list but with a smooth sounding amp.oh and I've previously owned the cm5's,pretty OK speakers but the higher frequencies are a tad sharp for my liking and if placed close to the wall will give no end of grief with bass boom.
 

thewinelake.

New member
Jan 22, 2016
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Ha! Kind of rumbled there. But actually, it depends on whether the OP really wants to spend that much, because my guess is that ADM9rs is nearly as good as DM10, but can be had for around £600 used (in good condition).

However, my main point is that (although they seem to be an offense to the religion of HiFi, active speakers can be excellent and easily comparable to passive systems in that price bracket) I am sure that other active speakers may well be in the same league - I've just not heard them, but DaveDotCo seems to be familiar with hundreds of the blighters!
 

Rethep

Well-known member
May 2, 2011
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18,520
I would turn it around: spend 1500 on a (2nd hand) valve-amp (Cayin A55T or some Prima Luna) and 1000 on speakers, e.g. some 2nd hand Epos M12i or M12.2 or Tannoy DC 6's or DC 8's! Forget about floorstanders in combination with a (relatively cheap) valve-amp. A good standmount gives you the necessary pace and rythm!

Good luck!
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
Looking all the recommendations people have just given advice on their own preference or system. But if am to place my self within own preference of own system I too would go with the IPL Acoustics S2TLK speakers. From my experience of listening to lots of speakers you may need to spend 4K & above to better them. I once owned the original Floor standing Sonus Faber Cremona's & these better them in every way possible.

Only dwn side, you may have to wait six weeks to get them.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
369
138
19,070
Hi. The Abrahamsen V2.0UP is geting rave reviews all over the place, so it really is an option you should consider. Arcam A29 and Naim amps should also be on your list. These should pair well with Focal Aria 926, which sound superb imo.

If you live in the US (since your specified budget is in $), Rogue Audio Sphinx is worth very serious consideration (if it falls within your budget), and so do Martin Logan Motion 20 (or 40, but these might be overkill for a room that size) and, maybe, PMC speakers.

But, most importantly, make a shortlist and try to audition for yourself. NOTHING beats that (preferably, audition in your own room), as reviews can sometimes be misleading (not on purpose, but what sounds "just right" to you, might be "bright" to me, so on and so forth).
 

seemorebtts

Well-known member
Feb 2, 2013
66
0
18,540
Rega elex r £850
Dynaudio emit20 £600 or atc 11 £1200
Some good stands£100-£200
Chord clear away speaker cable
Chord sherline audio connector£180
Clearer audio chopper line power cable£175
And sit back and enjoy but atc need to be a little louder to enjoy
 

tino

Well-known member
Sep 29, 2011
135
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18,595
Are you based in the UK? Some of the recommendations here may not be easily available where you are (if not UK)
 

swiftaccord

New member
Oct 21, 2016
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Thank everyone! These have been quite helpful. Yes, I'm based in the US so some of these recommendations may not work for me. I'm ready to switch the budget around and spend more on the amp than on the speaker. Since I'm looking in the used market, I've kept my options open. I do have the Dynaudios on my list to audition so will be checking them out likely next weekend!
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
299
95
18,970
My suggestion, given your musical tastes and your similar approach to me (not being a bass head, and liking a wide soundstage), would be to investigate Quad for both the amp and speakers. The Quad Vena is a super amp with a good range of digital and analogue inputs and a very natural, involving sound.

For speakers I would suggest hearing the Quad S-2. Their even approach across the frequency range, and the spacious sound provided by the excellent ribbon tweeter, should give you what you seem to be seeking. It would also be worthwhile trying to hear the Wharfedale Reva 2, which take some of the developments and ideas from the Diamond series to a higher price level where there are less compromises. Given that the Diamond 220s themselves are pretty special speakers, the Reva 2 could prove to be wonderful, and they certainly got a good review in HFW recently.

All you will need to add then is an external phono stage. For that, I'd suggest Pro-ject, Rega, or NAD's excellent PP-2e.
 

avole

New member
Jul 15, 2016
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Since you're in the US, and at the prices over there, I'd go for Revel. On my hearing at a show a couple of years back they're comfortably better than some of the suggestions here, plus you should be able to audition them really easily.
 

bluedroog

New member
Mar 4, 2010
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avole said:
Since you're in the US, and at the prices over there, I'd go for Revel. On my hearing at a show a couple of years back they're comfortably better than some of the suggestions here, plus you should be able to audition them really easily.
Great suggestion. If you can find a used pair the Revel Ultima Gems would suit you down to the ground, they'd deserve a decent amp.

I used Event Opals which are also actives, a little industrial looking but they look quite understated compared to pictures in the flesh, they're superb.
 

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