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Need advise - quality speakers for narrow book shelf

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
2,556
2
0
Hi all,

This is my first post so please bear with me... I need some purchasing advise. Having recently moved and redecorated our new flat, we are planning to position our living room speakers on shelves either side of the fireplace breast. This means they will be close if not flush to the wall behind, and to complicate things further, the shelf is only 24cm deep... I discovered this a little too late, when the builders had already hidden away the speaker cables through clever boxing and conduits (this being a medium to long-term strategy, I bought Chord Carnival silver screen specifically for the purpose). Bother.

My current setup is an Arcam Alpha 3 amp, Micromega Junior CD, and Monitor Audio bookshelf speakers which are too deep to fit on the shelf. I don't know the exact model number as they are still in storage, but I bought them back in 1997.

I am looking for new speakers that will sit on the (narrow) shelf and I am prepared to pay up to £500 if needed. I would also consider upgrading my amp if that would help things along.

I have done my Internet research and come up with a couple of alternatives:

- Q Acoustics 1010i (only 20cm deep)

- Tannoy Mercury F1 Custom (only 22cm deep but I've read comments about them best being placed some distance from the wall)

- Whaferdale Diamond 9.0

- B&W 686 (mixed reviews)

- Dali Lektor 1 (great reviews)

- Epos ELS3 or M12.2

- Kef iQ1 or iQ10

- Monitor Audio Bronze BR2 or Silver RS1 (BR2 allegedly isn't fussed about being put against a wall?)

- AE Aegis Neo 1 

 

So that's quite a list... Here are my considerations:

a) the room is fairly large (nearly 20m2)

b) shelf 24cm deep as mentioned 

c) I primarily listen to guitar (Foo Fighters, Kent), jazz (E.S.T, Keith Jarret Standards Trio) and soft electronic (Zero 7) 

d) I'm aware of the difficulties of producing deep bass from small speaker cabinets; still, I'd like speakers that can produce as much kick as possible given the physical constraints

e) 'd like to avoid a subwoofer if possible

f) I love the treble response of my current Monitor Audio bookshelf speakers but have always felt that they lack bass, and furthermore, they are incredibly fussy about placement... And they are too deep for the shelf anyway.

 

As mentioned I'm prepared to pay up to £500 for the speakers. What would be your recommendations, against the list above, or generally? Would appreciate any help or advise I can get.

Thanks, Svante

 

PS. I haven't actually listened to any of the above-mentioned speakers yet.. 
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Put a new shelf up, or make room for floorstanders, I am sorry to say that most speakers are around 24cm in depth and most do need to be at least 8 inches from the wall to sound at their best.
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
68
2
18,545
I'd say you'll ideally need something front ported or sealed box, I'd be tempted to recommend our AE22's as they come in under budget, are sealed and have an 8" bass driver so can do the business with the low frequencies. They are designed to work best on a mixing desk so the shelf will go some way to balancing their sound, may be a little lean in the lower mids without a reflective surface in front of them though. My only reservation is that they may just be too deep - I can't remember exactly and I'm not in the office today! The only other issue is that they aren't the prettiest speakers around and have no grilles...

As "newbie" said though, you'll have a hard time finding speakers that fit well and work well in that space :(
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
8" drive unit on a bookshelf?

I would get something clean without hyped bass such as Dali Lektor or AVI Neutron. Anything more would be wasted considering the compromised positioning.
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
68
2
18,545
Eddie Pound:
8" drive unit on a bookshelf?

I would get something clean without hyped bass - such as Dali Lektor or AVI Neutron - anything more would be wasted considering the compromised positioning.

If anything the AE22's err on the lean side, they're certainly not warm or overblown and they are designed to work near boundaries, unlike most Hi-Fi speakers which will boom in such locations.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
309
111
19,070
I would be looking at something with studio monitor characteristics that is designed to operate near room boundaries. AEJim's advice seems to make a lot of sense - its just unfortunate that the dimensions aren't suitable.

The other option would be if you were planning to go down the 5.1 or 7.1 route eventually. One of the best speaker set-ups I've seen and heard working near room boundaries were the (now discontinued) Sony SA-VE835 Pascals - small, sealed and stylish satellites with a powerful active subwoofer. Looking at a fairly musical package such as one by KEF or Tannoy could be your answer, and you could start by using the two front speakers and subwoofer, later adding a HT amp with pre-outs so that you can integrate hi-fi and home cinema whilst retaining your hi-fi amp for the front channels and maintaining your hi-fi sound. Alternatively investing in something like a Sony STR-DA2500es or one of the Onkyo HT receivers might well be good enough to completely replace your ageing Alpha 3.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Depending on the budget, see if you can clap hands on a pair of AVI Neutron's (an older pair to keep costs down) - maybe the III or IV. Alternatively, the Quadral Pico (£650 a year or so back) were reckoned to be the closest thing to a challenger to the AVI pair.

Given the size of your room and preference for small speakers, this is about the only time I'd recommend a subwoofer! Aim for something good (the speakers probably demand it to be fair) - REL or the like. The sound from the small boxes will be astonishingly good - better than you might expect in fact given their size.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
309
111
19,070
the record spot:Depending on the budget, see if you can clap hands on a pair of AVI Neutron's (an older pair to keep costs down) - maybe the III or IV. Alternatively, the Quadral Pico (£650 a year or so back) were reckoned to be the closest thing to a challenger to the AVI pair.

Given the size of your room and preference for small speakers, this is about the only time I'd recommend a subwoofer! Aim for something good (the speakers probably demand it to be fair) - REL or the like. The sound from the small boxes will be astonishingly good - better than you might expect in fact given their size.

More excellent suggestions but an amp upgrade would definitely be needed with such speakers. The Alpha 3 isn't good enough.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Ah, yep, missed that. Some independent dealers have a nice line in cheap but good condition used amps - warranty thrown in sometimes (usually 3 or 6 months but sometimes as much as a year). If those speakers are pushing the boat out too much, then maybe some bookshelf and sub one-make possibilities further down the ladder?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks guys, I'm getting some really great advise here.

Allowing a few cm at the back for cables, I guess I could still afford 24cm deep speakers if I have them hang over the edge a few cm... I noticed Monitor Audio Silver RS1 are exactly 24cm deep and they get great reviews -- anybody know what they would be like right against the wall?

I'll do some searching on the Sony's and the AVI Neutron mentioned above. And it sounds like I should consider upgrading the amp too. And start selling the idea of a bulky subwoofer to my dear wife... That will meet resistance though.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
You can always try out the speakers on their own first; if you find you like the sound, then go with it. I've managed to get by without a subwoofer to date, but depending on your room layout and the resulting sound, you might find it's something you could consider if you feel the bass is lacking. Good thing is the sub can be put out of the way without negatively impacting on the sound.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I have MA RS1 great speakers - can confirm 24cm but need to allow 1cm for cable connection need more if you're using plugs. Rear ported but if too close to the wall and too boomy they do come will foam bungs specifically for the purpose.

To quote an old WHF mag - 5* "Throroughly likeable and enjoyable - they're laid back about room position too".
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I listened to MA RS1 vs B&W 686 vs Dali Lektor 2 at Sevenoaks. In my opinion the B&W managed the lower frequencies better but they lack the refinement and precision of both MA and the Lektors and also didn't work well against the wall. The Lektors were my overall favorite with very convincing midrange and superb precision in the higher frequencies -- but I'll very much need to consider that subwoofer to go with them...

As for the AVI's, I've found companies that sell them online but haven't yet managed to find a stockist in London so that I can listen to them!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
We have a set of Arcam Muso speakers on the fireplace mantlepiece.

They are exactly 14 cm deep and according to the Arcam Manual they are designed to be 10cm to 30cm from the wall.

Our Fireplace is 24cm deep. If you move them closer to the wall the bass increases noticeably, though at 10cm out from the wall the bass is substantial.

The room they are in is 18ft x 14ft, and they perform well.

They are very nicely made with a solid aluminium case which looks cold in the pictures, but in reality is very tactile like an iPod.

This is the first bit of higher scale hifi we have bought, so I don't know iif your amp is too powerful. We are using an Arcam Solo.

Overall, they are fantastic, and I have been blown away by the sound quality. We are not using a subwoofer.

Review (but you can buy them seperatly) http://whathifi.com/Review/Arcam-MusoLogo/
 

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