Finally upgrading my 12 year old NAD receiver system (with B&W v202s) and want some simple advice on bookshelf speakers under $400. i am going to buy simple but quality receiver, no surround sound necessary and just want great sound, don't need bells and whistles.
Room is 14 x 22 - and I like a bass sound. any advice for someone who doesn't know a ton about equipment?
$400 will not get you quality bass especially not from a pair of bookshelves.
Better idea would be to get a cheap sub (Dayton 10" for $150 shipped from partsexpress.com) and pair it with the best bookshelves your remaining $250 can buy---maybe a pair of Infinity Primus 160s? Paradigm Atoms or Titans? Athenas?
I recently purchased a pair of new Mirage OMNI 60s on ebay for $325 (they retail usually at 600) and am very impressed with the performance. I think they have great bass for a bookshelf; Actually, I think they sound great in general.
I am fairly certain they are still available at that price, but if nt the OMNI 50s retail at $400. They a have a smaller driver (5 1/2 vs 6 1/2) which will probably effect the bass some.
Agree with Arthur about the Mini Monitors; best $400 speakers I've heard. Also agree with Edster922; as good as the Mini Monitors are, they'll likely not give you the amount of bass you want. Audition as many speakers as you can.
I have an older NAD amp, too, and I'm quite fond of Ascend Acoustics CBM-170s. They're a bit bass shy, but otherwise deliver breathtaking sound.
I side with Edster: $400 is a price point that manufacturers cannot hit without some sort of compromise. You might also consider HNT SB-1 with an inexpensive sub, or the NHT SB-2, sans sub.
Yah, audition all that you can. Not to make your selection process more difficult, but when it comes to inexpensive speakes, you can always add bass at a later date, but you cannot get a mulligan on crummy speakers.
I personally would rather have a quality bookshelf speaker with good bass down to 40-45hz, than a little satelite (not speaking of the Ascends) with good bass to only 80-100hz and a cheap sub with no good bass at any hz. The 20-40hz range is about the most difficult and costly per cycle to reproduce, and to me nothing is worse than a cheap sub that reproduces bloated inaccurate bass. I guess it's ok if you want to reproduce a low fi home theater sound that provides the requisite seat shaking experience, but for music, for me, it just won't do.
For a much lower price point, one can obtain a pair of CSW Model Sixes which will produce fairly good bass down to 40Hz given proper placement close to a wall. I recognize CSW isnt some peoples idea of hi-fi, but these speakers arent bad, especially for 100 bucks a pair. Plus it leaves room open for a pretty good HSU sub.
take a look at the Paradigm Focus bookshelf. They are roughly $300, and sound fabulous.
If you have room for a pair of small towers that hit that 40Hz mark GREAT then take a look at the Paradigm Esprit. They are only a shade over $400, They both sound outstanding, and will give you some of the best possible sound for your money.
Having recently owned the Esprit's I would have to concur with Gavin. Both the Focus and Esprit sound very good. If you buy the Focus you still may have to buy stands, with the Esprit's you do not. The Mini's however really do sound better than either of the aforementinoned Paradigm Performance series speakers, but with stands you're looking at $500.
I agree with Arthur, the mini monitors are probably the best sound you're going to get from a bookshelf at that price range. I think you'll probably have to still add a sub to get the bass you desire, especially if the paradigm minis are all you will be using. They sound a-MAZ-ing on the high end, but they don't hit much below 50-60hz.
honestly, for sound to die for in the $550 price range there is the Magnepan MMG ( I also use) But they can be nasty to place and drive. The sound truly is in another world IMHO, and is well worth the troubles.
Caution with the MMG's however. To enjoy Magnepan's with anything but chamber or folk music you will need a good subwoofer. HSU, SVS, Paradigm won't do. They can't keep up with Maggie's. It woill require a REL, Vandersteen, or the new Era Sub 10 designed by Michael Kelley of Aerial to compete with REL. Plus you will need to come with an amp with serious grunt. At least 150 watts into 8 ohms or 275 into 4. I had both the MMG's and the MG12's. For me they did not work but for you they may just be the ticket.
I beg to differ that HSU and Paradigm (servo serie$$) cant keep up with maggies. Butl I listen to mine with a sub, and find the bass response to be quite satisfying. I listen to jazz, acousticly driven music, quality pop (james taylor, carole king, sade, sarah brightman, etc, etc..), and had never had a problem with the bass integration in the least.
It's just my opinion and I have heard the HSU with Maggie's and I still believe that there is a discrepency in speed between the two. That's why so many Maggie owners spend $1300 and beyond on REL and Vandersteen subs. Admittedly the HSU does better than many others but I felt that it still was not timing out right. I listen to a lot of acoustic music and that is where I heard the greatest discrepency. The good folks at Magnepan who I used to talk to with great regularity suggest a sub with no more than a 10 inch driver and 8 inch if at all possible, and they say that the more power the sub has the better. They also suggest that you use a high current amp that doubles it's power into 4 ohms. Maggie's do have their magic though.
what about pinnacle subs like the baby boomer? or maybe velodyne's SPL II series? i guess ive wanted MMGs for a while now but am afraid of the sub pairing problem. i would love to get a high end sub like MLs grotto, that thing looks mean. but of course money is an issue. any suggestions?
well everything has trade offs. the main trade off of planar speakers is their speed and lack of boc resonance makes it hard to mate subwoofers. i do know that many audio enthusiasts dream of having planar speakers and the MMG is a way of letting people get into that dream at a bargain considering most planars start at $1000.
that is not true, the MMG will sound great without a sub. it is all personal taste. I LOVE the bass it produces all on its own. Very, very tight and musical, but not really deep. However, it is as deep as most mini monitors. keep that in mind. If you can listen to a decent mini (paradigm studio 20) without a sub, than the MMG will also be fine without one.
BTW... baby boomer should mate with MMG well. there are a few users at audioasylum that do this.
I agree with you Peter, but I don't manufacture Magnepan products. I just believe that it is important that folks be informed when buying products like Maggie's. It is definately a good product but it has trade-offs. For MMG's to sound good on a variety of music you need an amp with a whole lotta power and a lightning fast sub. High current amps and fast subs are expensive.
Damned thread hijackers and their $550 a pair speakers and $1000 subs on a thread about <$400 speakers. Ascends look interesting for the price. Paradigm and Klipsch among many other manufacturers make great speakers at this price point without having to look at Maggies and the like. With an old NAD I would think Klipsch Reference bookshelves would pair nicely IMHO.
The absolute bottom end is similar, a little lower with the Studio 20. But for me that is not the point. It is the musicality between 40-45hz and 200hz and that is where the MMG falls down for me. The MG12 was better but not enough to make my funk cd's dance with joy. Also Maggie's lack detail. The first thing I noticed when I switched from Studio 40 v2's to Maggies was that I was missing many of the little details in music that I had come accustomed to. At first I felt that it was a fair trade. The "there in the room" presence of the Maggies for the detail in the Paradigms. Also the loss of a wide sweet spot which I told myself was ok as I sit down to listen to music anyway....yea, unless I'm up shakin' a leg to some of dat funk. In the end I decided to go back to dynamic loudspeakers for good. But there are times when I still miss my Maggie's.