Best Bookshelf speakers under $300/pair

Discussion in 'Loudspeakers' started by vinisol, May 23, 2011.

  1. vinisol Enthusiast

    vinisol
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    I'm going to buy a pair of bookshelf speakers to my home theater. Are there any other any other speakers I should consider at this price range?

    Which speaker is the best for music and movie?

    In my list I have:

    Infinity Primus P153
    Infinity Primus P163
    Jamo C601
    Jamo C603
    JBL ES20
    JBL ES30
    Klipsch B-20
    Klipsch Reference RB-41 II
    PSB Alpha B1
    PSB Image B4
    Polk Audio RTi A1
    Polk Audio TSi100
    Polk Audio TSi200
    Polk Audio Blackstone™ TL2
    Polk Audio Blackstone™ TL3
    Mirage Nanosat Prestige
    Mirage MX
    Yamaha NS-333
  2. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    The Hsu Research HB-1 mk2 are on sale right now, they are a terrific bookshelf speaker, and 300 will get you a pair shipped. The Behringer 2030p is pretty highly regarded, and they can be had for much less than 300 shipped. You can also get it's big brother for 300, the 2031p, if you want something with more bass capability. If you can handle their 4 ohm load, larger size, and heavier weight, they make for a great bookshelf speaker. If you want some real bang for your buck and don't mind doing a little work, check out the speaker kits they have at parts-express.com, they are easy to build and look like they would sound real nice.
  3. zieglj01 Audioholic Spartan

    zieglj01
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  4. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    The NHT Absolute Zero is $175 each, so $350/pr, but they are among the best IMO.

    I've own the NHT SuperZero, which is $100 each, and they are already great sounding speakers.

    Check out the Home Theater Magazine review:

    The Absolute Zero’s listening-window response (a five-point average of axial and +/–15-degree horizontal and vertical responses) measures +0.94/–0.82 decibels from 200 hertz to 10 kilohertz.

    http://www.hometheater.com/content/nht-absolute-zero-speaker-system-ht-labs-measures

    http://www.amazon.com/NHT-N-AZB-Abs...1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1306205281&sr=8-1
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  5. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  6. vinisol Enthusiast

    vinisol
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    What about Axiom M2 v3? I've read it is a very good speaker.
  7. sholling Audioholic Ninja

    sholling
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    Boost your budget $6.24 for a pair of b-stock Ascend CBM-170SE. They aren't pretty but they sure sound good.
  8. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    If those KEF IQ speakers sound anything like the KEF 201/2s, I would definitely pick them over all the rest.:D
  9. zieglj01 Audioholic Spartan

    zieglj01
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    Off the OP list, I would only keep the PSB Image in mind - However,
    I would put the KEF on top of the list.
  10. its phillip Audioholic Ninja

    its phillip
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    What about your cambridge s30s? :D
  11. zieglj01 Audioholic Spartan

    zieglj01
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    That would be on top of my list - I was holding it in reserve. A lot
    of people will look at it, and shake their head. However, it is now
    starting to catch on, a little bit. At least there seems to be, a few
    people out there - who do not believe that I am crazy.
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  12. its phillip Audioholic Ninja

    its phillip
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    I definitely want to check out a pair when I get a chance. $219 isn't that much money, but I'm trying (and failing) to save for a subwoofer.
  13. vinisol Enthusiast

    vinisol
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    So, beween the options below, which is te best?

    JBL ES20
    NHT Absolute Zero
    KEF iQ10
    Axiom M2 v3
    Ascend CBM-170SE
    Cambridge s30s
  14. 3db Audioholic Overlord

    3db
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    The PSB Image series you listed earlier. Don't know hwy that's not on your short list. :confused:
    3db,
  15. zieglj01 Audioholic Spartan

    zieglj01
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    That is like putting 6 people in a room, and asking them
    which is their favorite - all six, will not pick the same one.

    I have my favorite and I know what it can do - that is a
    a decent list, except JBL (they can, and have done better)
    The journey can be interesting - good luck.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Warlord

    BoredSysAdmin
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    I'd throw in EmpTek - Value brand spin-off of hi-end maker - RBH Audio
    http://www.emptek.com/e5bi.php

    Try to minimize the list further based on your speaker placement, if intend to be placed right against the wall or other hard surface - take out all rear-ported ones

    btw: If you find really good hi-end CENTER speaker on sale for about $150 with free shipping - it could also work as good bookshelf then placed vertically, granted a taller bookshelf - like this one:
    http://www.aperionaudio.com/product/Intimus-4C-Center-Channel-Speaker,114,90,263.aspx

    Also be sure to check return and shipping policies. Few places still offer free 30 days home trials and (sometimes) free both ways shipping...
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  17. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    If this were a multiple-choice test this morning, I would narrow the answers down to KEF, NHT, PSB.:D

    I bet if you add a subwoofer, you won't be able to tell the difference among these 3.

    But just pick the KEF. :D

    Amazing discount; awesome company heritage, reputation, and recognition; great looks (I prefer the wood veneers over the black).
  18. zieglj01 Audioholic Spartan

    zieglj01
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    Well why not - since I want to take a break from my Blast from the Past,
    speaker shoot out.

    1. Cambridge S30
    2. KEF IQ10
    3. NHT Absolute Zero

    Honourable mention - PSB Image B4
  19. sholling Audioholic Ninja

    sholling
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    Speaker selection is very subjective and IMO you've narrowed it to the point that the final decision is more personal taste than an absolute certainty that one is better than the next - at least without a side by side comparison. Since I respect the opinion of everyone that's joined in the discussion all I can say is good luck! :D

    I do wish Audioholics would do a shootout between these one of these days because it's a price point where things start getting good.
  20. zieglj01 Audioholic Spartan

    zieglj01
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    I wish reviewers - whoever and whereever, would do more at this
    level - since times are a little rough. Also, for the most part - no
    night and day differences with these speakers - it comes down to
    what the critical ear can pick up, and enjoys the most. Also, I will
    not listen, with measurements floating around in my brain.
    Last edited: May 24, 2011

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