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A constrained speaker selection problem

kevinsullivan

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I'm helping my older women friends upgrade from a 1980 "college" stereo system to recently accessible near-audiophile quality equipment. Their new set-up is a new Wiim Pro streamer then to a SMSL higher-end DAC, then to their legacy 80W NAD amp (fine for now), and finally into cheap, old Kef "C-series" speakers.

The speakers are the prime candidates now for replacement. I brought over a pair of recently $1500 Polk LSim 703s 3-way speakers to let them hear some much better speakers. Even the friend who'd said she wouldn't be able to tell a difference confessed to being impressed at that *greatly* improved sound.

Alas, those speakers didn't quite work. They *must* fit on their bookshelves. The 14-1/2" deep Polks were 2+" too deep for the shelves, even pushed all the way back.

So what I'm hoping to find are suggestions for alternative speaker solutions. Here are some of the main parameters. 12" deep is about it. I'm open to sealed, rear-ported with plugs, front ported, or whatever. There's no room for a sub, so the main speakers will have to get down into the 50s or preferably even 40s @ -3db. The Polks were good that way. And the room isn't small--basically a family room 12' or so wide, open into a dining/kitchen room maybe 20+' deep. Sonically diminutive speakers are out. The Polks played plenty loud enough. The shelves are adjustable up and down. Budget dictates that we stay within the range of speakers that might have recently listed for $1500-$2500/pr. Sound is the goal, finishes are irrelevant.

These are people who know and love the sound of real orchestras and operas and jazz thingies but who are not even 1% of the way to accommodating speakers on stands or anything like that. The room wins, but given that, what's the best they can do?

Thank you!
 
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NTK

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9 in deep. Review here.
 

Zapper

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I would pick the biggest Genelec 80x0 that would fit in the shelf and budget. Probably the 8040b (or its twin, the G Four): < 9" deep, ± 2 dB (48 Hz - 20 kHz), self amplified so they can toss the amp.
 
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dfuller

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Genelec is a prime candidate here, I agree. Neumann could also work, KH120s are cheap as chips right now and they're very small and very good.
 

TimW

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Genelec is a prime candidate here, I agree. Neumann could also work, KH120s are cheap as chips right now and they're very small and very good.
Out of curiosity, where are you seeing a good deal on the KH120?
 

JustJones

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Surprised noone has mentioned the Elac DBR 62

  • 1" cloth dome tweeter with newly designed waveguide for smooth, accurate highs and extended high-frequency response
  • 6-1/2" aramid fiber woofer with cast chassis for tight, clean bass and midrange
  • frequency response: 44-35,000 Hz
  • sensitivity: 86 dB
  • impedance: 6 ohms
  • recommended amplifier power: up to 120 watts
  • custom multi-element crossover with high-grade components to ensure smooth transition between drivers
  • 5-way binding post speaker terminals
  • bass-reflex (ported) cabinet with front-firing port for flexible placement against a wall or bookshelf
    • slotted vent design reduces port noise and improves bass extension compared to traditional port designs
  • cabinet walls are internally braced for reduced resonance and improved stability
  • walnut vinyl finish with black baffle
  • removable magnetic cloth grille
  • 8-1/4"W x 14-1/4"H x 10-7/8"D
  • weight: 18.1 lbs. (each)
  • warranty: 3 years
 

Zapper

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Ascend Sierra LX or EX V2
Thanks for the tip. I didn't know much about Ascend but I'm impressed after visiting their website. Any speaker designer who owns a Klippel NFS and isn't afraid to post the measurements is grade A+ to me. Ascend joins KEF, Revel, Genelec, and Neuman in my list of science-based speaker designers.
 

dfuller

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Out of curiosity, where are you seeing a good deal on the KH120?
I had seen them a hundred bucks off on sweetwater, but it seems that's gone away.
 
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kevinsullivan

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Thanks, again, everyone. I got in line for a used pair of some of the speakers above. The ones that came up first were JBL 4309. Having moved from the 1970s to Wiim -> good DAC -> decent 80W NAD amp -> these speakers, my older lady friends are completely delighted. Classical, jazz, jazz vocals, and more. Really appreciate the advice. It was good. Those monitors sounds beyond great enough for my friends.
 
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