I live in a town that doesn't have Polk LSI9's on display anywhere around, but have heard/read great things. Got to hear a Paradigm Ref series Studio 40 today and was very impressed. My budget is around $1,000, give or take a couple hundred. Musical taste is modern/pop/rock. Looking for clear, warm sound with a great image. My receiver is a Sony ES3000. Need a speaker less than 23" tall to lay on a bookshelf. Anyone out there that has heard the two side by side that can offer an opinion? Thank you in advance.
Well, Tim, I have heard both speakers - though not side-by-side. Frankly, I prefer the sound of the Paradigm studio 20s to the 40s. Just seems to be more solid - just my opinion.
I'm also interested in the Polk LSi9s - I just heard them again in a showroom two days ago. For me, they sound great - but then, I listen to classical and jazz - not pop/rock. Frankly, I think the Paradigms might be the better choice, but I still think you need to audition the studio 20s before you decide! Good hunting. . .
What other speakers have you auditioned? For a 1000 bucks you can certainly do better than Polk or Paradigm...
Anonymous: what other speakers in the $1-K price range would YOU recommend? And why might they be "better" than those listed above? IMHO
These are only half of your budget but I'd suggest giving the Ascend CMT-340s a try, they're 21" tall so they'll fit just fine on a bookshelf. Very transparent sound, and ideal if you have subwoofer to provide the low end. Plus the 30 day return policy is nice.
I haven't heard the Paradigm Ref series yet but did hear the Polks and thought they were a little overrated for their price range.
Ascend, Axiom and Aperion all offer a lot for the money. The fact that they are all sold direct cuts about 30% off the cost that one would pay in a retail store. They also offer a 30 day - money back-guarantee. All have received critical acclaim for their sound, not just the value they represent. The Axiom m22ti will give you about 90% of the sound quality of what the Paradigm Studio 40 can provide (but only 50% of the bass-good bass costs money- but that is overcome with a good sub) for about 1/3 the cost of the 40's.
On the other hand, the Paradigm studio 40 is a beautiful looking and sounding speaker. Pay more and get more, although diminishing returns start to set in at some point.
1000 dollars is starter Sonus Faber territory, which will provide greater detail than anything Paradigm and Polk offer. Also it would be prudent to audition more than just two brands no matter what when there are so many to choose from. Monitor Audio, B&W, KEF, Vienna Acoustics just for starters also offer products in this range which are at a minimum comparable to the offerings of Polk and Paradigm. Its shameful that so few people on this board don't offer other suggestions (beyond the usual Paradigm and Axiom) in an attempt to help people, especially when we are talking about a budget range where you can start getting into TRUE hi-fi equipment.
Thanks, Thats just what I'm looking for. I have stashed some "rat hole money" (cash that is free of spousal knowledge), and could go upwards of $1,500 without much problem. I'm 43, have always wanted the best sound possible, and would rather do it right one time, than wrong twice! Just need some direction. Thanks again.
Anon et al - thanks for the replies. Have heard the Monitor Audio "silver" bookshelf speakers, and liked them, but not better than the Polks. The B&W 600 series sounds good - but that vinyl covering sorta takes away the "ambiance." No place around here to hear the Kefs, or Sonus Fabers. Sigh. Such is life in a smaller town!
I'll look around for Ascend - never heard of them before. The Boston Acoustics VR-M60s I heard are REALLY fine! But again - the area stores have stopped selling them, so further listening tests for me are hopeless. Very hard. . .
Oh, Tim - as you have about $1,500 - may I beg you to find somewhere a pair of B & W 705s? I've auditioned those, and at least for "my" kind of music - classical and jazz - they are simply mind-blowing.
Oh, I know some people have found them "reticent" whatever that means - but do yourself a favor and see if you can find some. Look them up on the Internet - they are BOFFO! IMHO, of course! (grin)
Audition at least a few more of the speakers. You may well like the Polk or Paradigm better than those brands. The reason I say no to Paradigm and Polk is because their best values are at a much lower price point. Things like the Paradigm Titan are excellent speakers, but as you go up the range, you are more and more just getting what you pay for with little added value. With something like Sonus Faber, the Concertino Home for 1000 bucks (or much less if you look around) is the beginning of their value segment, and is competitive with speakers costing much more.
Tiim: - OOPS - re-read your first post. DO NOT even think of laying those B&Ws on a bookshelf! Or for that matter, many of the other speakers listed above. PUt them on stands - please! You won't be sorry!
What will laying them on their side do? I assume it'll screw with the image. I note that Polk calls the Lsi-9's "mirror imaged" or something like that.
It's kind of a tight room (12X15 finished basement with low ceilings ). The built-in bookshelves have horizontal shelves on top L&R that are covered with speaker cloth, that would be optimal to lay them down within. I could also jigger with the adjustable shelving on both sides though, to stand them upright on either side of the TV. Unfortunately, I don't think anywhere other than within the built in bookshelves would work though. Thanks for the comment.
Tim: It's not so much the looks that I worry about, but the sound. Putting speakers within bookshelves - though they are called that - seldom produces quality sound. But you might luck out.
Also, remember the depth of the speakers - probably about 15 inches front to back. Will they be on 12-inch shelves? 14-inch? If they have too much of a "hang-over" they just look sloppy and wives tend to get pissed about that.
Matter of fact, I'm in a current argument with my wife about "looks." She loves the "looks" of the Polk LSi9s - and I love the "looks" of the Boston Acoustics M60s. Which she says look industrial. Sigh. Soooooo - stay tuned! (grin)
Tim: The more I think about it the more you might like the sound of the Boston Acoustics speakers. The VR-M60s are a grand for the pair - they are SMALL - and would do very well as true bookshelf speakers. Access www.bostonacoustics.com and see what you think.
An acoustic suspension speaker or front ported bass reflex design should sound alright on a bookshelf; rear ported stuff won't do so hot.
Again though, the Sonus Faber Concertino Home meets these requirements. 10 3/4" deep and only 12 3/4" tall so its pretty compact.
The KEF Q1 is also fairly good compact design to think of it.
Is these will be the only two speakers it would be much preferable to have them set-up on either side of the TV. What kind of space is there? There are floorstanding speakers with ultra thin profiles which would sound excellent, and the sound would be much better than having speakers trying to image from on top of a shelf in the corners or directly beside your listening position.
I'm basically starting from scratch. Whatever pair I get, I'll also get the matching center within a couple of months. I have some lower level Atlantic Tech dipole rears that were put in by the prior owner of the house, (and the Sony ES3000.)
The bookshelves are are 24" deep. Plenty of room to lay anything on its side. "Bookshelves" is probably a misnomer, all are covered by speaker cloth and there are hinged doors on the sides for easy access to the components. They are actually opened and accessible from the rear via the unfinished side of the basement, only covered by a curtain of black felt, All you really see from the front is the TV.
I will dig into all the ones mentioned, thanks for the thoughts. Depth isn't really an issue. I'm kind of looking for the best I can get to fit into a 23" X 24" by 11" high shelf. Thank you.
Tim, The Polk Lsi9 is one heck of a bookshelf speaker. Don't let some of these "audio" snobs sacare you with phrases such as "east coast sound." I'll bet the majority of posters who vote against the Polk Lsi series have never even heard them since they are only available in a few select stores. Polk's low/mid end speakers that you find at Circuit City are just that "low/mid end." You get what you pay for. Bottom line is that Polk makes a very good product for each of its price points (sound and build quality) and the Lsi series is outstading. Can you find a better sounding bookshelf? Of course, that's a no brainer. But Remembre the 10/10 rule. Best of luck!
It doesnt seem that "east coast sound" was mentioned on this thread until you brought it up Blazer. Polk makes a fine product, but at 1000 dollars there are many more options. If you find the Polk to your liking better than others, then there is nothing wrong with that. But brands such as Sonus Faber are widely respected in the audio community, and are worth a look as well.
Have to agree with Anonymous. I've heard the Lsi at Fry's. They are very nice, but obviously are marked up considerably more compared to other speakers of equal and better quality.
What about Revel in this price range and less than 23"?
Also, does anyone know if the Vifa ring radiator tweeter in the Plok Lsi-9 as big a deal as they say it is? I'm wondering, if it makes for truely outstanding mid and high's as they say - that an excellent subW added later could provide the bass and round out a great system.