Home Speaker Asylum

General speaker questions for audio and home theater.

Help narrow it down

There are tons of options. I think you need to narrow it down a bit. Some decisions that may help:
1. Are you willing to consider used?
2. How loud do you listen?
3. Are you will to buy a sub (on top of the cost of the speakers)?

I would not choose the Harbeth P3ESR for rock and blues.

I love Dynaudio speakers and the Contour S1.4 LE is a great standmount for rock, blues, or any music that needs some weight and force behind it. It is especially strong in the bass so I doubt you would want a sub. But it works best with a strong amp and the top end isn't that open. The Dynaudio C1 is an all around fantastic speaker, more tube friendly than the Contour S1.4 and better in every respect except the S1.4 has slightly stronger low bass. The C1 is $9k new, but used models go for $4-5k depending on age, if you're willing to stretch your budget.

Another good Dynaudio is the Focus 160, which you can get used for under $2k. Also consider the Focus 260, which is a floorstander but it's the same height, depth, and footprint as the Focus 160. It has all the good aspects of a small stand-mounted monitor but with deeper bass extension. The Focus models have a more open, airy top end than the Contour and don't need as much power.

ProAc Tablette Anniversary are great speakers for a small room. They are especially good at imaging and detail. They have a bit of a mid-bass bump which makes them sound bigger than they appear, but but I think they will need a sub for your kind of music. They are also borderline too bright with poor recordings.

Another speaker that is supposedly perfect for small rooms is the Trenner & Friedl Art. They are on my list to hear. They don't come up for sale on the used market very often, and disappear quickly. But I have seen two on Audiogon within the last few months.

I also think the Kef LS50 is a great speaker for a small room, but they will need a sub.

Penaudio is another brand to look out for. I auditioned the Cenya and was impressed. It would be in your price range used if you can find one. The top end is a little tipped up, but it didn't sound harsh and it produced a huge, open, airy soundstage. It does need an amp that is a bit on the warm & full side of neutral. It was great with a Unison hybrid, but didn't pair well with the Simaudio amp I brought along for the audition.

Finally, I used to own Focus Audio 688s and they were lovely. I regret selling them. If I ever see them used, or the Focus Audio 68 SE, I might have to buy them again. They are rare as hens teeth though because Asian audiophiles have been snapping them up.


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  • Help narrow it down - Dave_K 05:58:23 02/22/17 (0)

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