Updating my stereo after many years, and I'm out of touch. Basically, looking for audio only receiver or tuner/amp, cd player and speakers for two rooms. Mostly listen to CDs and ipod, jazz and classical. Need bookshelf speakers--pretty small. Currently have NHT speakers and sub-woofer, but can't find a good place to keep it, so looking to upgrade but speakers only. Also another set of speakers for adjacent room. Neither room is that big-- app 20x25x11. Looking around, have seen Rotel RX 1052, and was shown Arcam A-90 Amp w/tuner for more $$. Basic budget for setup is in 2500-3500 range. Also, may be a stupid question, but can I put bookshelf speakers on their side in a shelf?
some bookshelves are designed to go sideways like a few JBL and NHT models; with conventional ones they may sound a little different sideways.
I'd look into the NAD c162 pre-amp with the NAD c272 two-channel amp, $1300 from yawaonline.com Of course you could also spend a lot less and get decent quality with the Harman Kardon 3480, $300 shipped from jandr.com
For a small bookshelf that excels at the type of music you listen to, check out the Ascend CBM-170s from ascendacoustics.com at $340/pair shipped---incredible quality for the price, Google them up for all the reviews. Their only drawback is less than stunning looks, but the sound is gorgeous.
If you're having placement headaches with your NHT sub, you may want to look into a down-firing sub like the Hsu STF-3. You can bundle that with the Ascends to save on the shipping; for that matter you can also order the HK receiver from Ascend too if you want it to all come on the same bill.
I've never heard the SB3s, but I've usually found bookshelf speakers in that price and size range that can go down to 39Hz (assuming that's an honest spec) do so at the expense of quality midrange and treble.
Instead of $600 for a pair of those, I'd bet money that you'd get much results with a $400 Hsu or SVS sub coupled with say a $200-300 pair of smaller bookshelves running off the low pass filter of your receiver or amp.
I've recently purchased a pair of the NHT SB3s and I'm quite pleased. One of the reasons I chose these speakers was because I did not want to add a subwoofer but still wanted some sonic presence in the low end. For bookshelf speakers, they do this quite well, IMHO.
Joseph you mentioned using iPod, I assume you have a lot of MP3 or equivalent music. You may want to look into recievers that have an Ethernet connection. Just hook them up to your router and you can not only play your music from your computer, but also get stations from the Internet. There are high end Marantz, Onkyo and Denon units with the Ethernet connections out there