Small bookshelf speaker recommendations?


Userlevel 2
Hello. This is my first post and I just bought a 150 bundle which is on its way to me. I am currently using a pair of powered Audioengine 5 speakers in my kitchen, which I will hook up to the ZP90. I am going to use the ZP120 in my living room, and am looking for a pair of very high quality but pretty small bookshelf speakers that will fit on my tv cabinet. Something the size of the Audioengines would be great (they are about 7 inches wide, 7.8 inches deep and 10 inches high).

I was looking at something like the NHT Classic 3, but they are a bit too big unless I get stands for them. Maybe a smaller NHT. My budget is around $600 a pair.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am even considering selling the ZP120 when I get it and getting a ZP90 instead to use with another pair of Audioengines.

Thanks,

Peter

23 replies

Hi and welcome to the forum! Have you considered the classic two's? Better yet, try and listen to a pair of Paradigm Atom Monitors. They sound excellent with the ZP120. What are your maximum dimensions? If you can handle 12"-13" tall, try Monitor Audio RS1 bookshelves or Paradigm Mini Monitors. Either of these speakers paired with a 120 will outperform the AE5's

If you are going to be setting these close to a CRT or Plasma, (within 4" of the screen), you'll want to ensure that whatever speakers you choose are magnetically shielded or they will cause interference with the screen. This is not an issue with LCD. If you require magnetic shielding you may also want to consider a pair of satellite's and a small sub.

Let us know what you end up going with!
Userlevel 2
Thanks! I found a great deal on the NHT Classic 3, so I went with that and will put them on stands next to my entertainment center.

I think I am going to go with Audioengine 2 speakers for my bedroom.

Can't wait to get the Sonos and set up Pandora...

Peter
Userlevel 2
Mirage speakers with their omnipolar system are, IMO, ideal for use with Sonos, as they have a very wide "soundstage." From a practical standpoint, that means you get excellent sound even as you move around, and do not have to be seated only in the "sweet spot" to get great sound like some speakers.

They sound great all over the room, and many models are very small. Good WAF.
Mirage speakers with their omnipolar system are, IMO, ideal for use with Sonos, as they have a very wide "soundstage." From a practical standpoint, that means you get excellent sound even as you move around, and do not have to be seated only in the "sweet spot" to get great sound like some speakers.

They sound great all over the room, and many models are very small. Good WAF.


can you let us know which ones you have personally used? I know they have smaller ones that are mainly marketed for package use like a 5.1 setting, and they have larger ones as well. I have been curious about these speakers but never picked any up. How do they sound without a sub for example?
Userlevel 2
I have just bought Dali Lektors and can recommend them. Great sound and very small.
Userlevel 2
I'm a fan of Epos speakers, I think the ELS3's should do the trick. I use a ZP120 and the ELS3's on my work desk and they are very enjoyable. If you can wait a few weeks the ELS8's are coming soon. I saw them at CES and have a pair on order.

I think the ELS8's are going to be ~$600/pr
I think the ELS3's are ~$400/pr
Userlevel 1
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For my bedroom set, I am using Monitor Audio Radius 90. For the size (about 6 or 7") tall, they're great. Very big and detailed sound. They are available in a few different finishes. Depending on where you shop, the prices vary. I picked mine up locally for around 370 (USD).

When I went into the store to buy them, my wife picked them out on looks alone, then after listening to a few others (that they carried), I too was sold.

For your price range, there may be much better out there. Definitely give them a listen though.
Userlevel 3
Badge +6
Orb audio is also worth a look. I've been using their speakers for almost a year now and I'm loving them. They are very small and very attractive as well.
Mebby, which set up of Orbs do you have? I have always been a fan of larger speakers in full boxes as it adds the amount of bass i want without needing a sub (the only sub i have is in my home theatre). I have stayed away from bose for this same reason. I have thought about orbs for a bedroom or kitchen placement without the sub but from a purely "what range can they cover" aspect (i have not heard them live) it doesn't seem like I will enjoy them sans-sub. Thoughts?
Userlevel 2
For my bedroom set, I am using Monitor Audio Radius 90.

+1 on the Monitor Audio. We have them in our bedroom and compared them with Gallo Speakers. You do need a sub, though.
Userlevel 2
can you let us know which ones you have personally used? I know they have smaller ones that are mainly marketed for package use like a 5.1 setting, and they have larger ones as well. I have been curious about these speakers but never picked any up. How do they sound without a sub for example?
My apologies for not seeing this question you asked me much earlier.

I am using a couple of different Mirage speakers in different rooms. In my living room, I'm using the rosewood OMD-5s, which are the largest of the bookshelf speakers. These sound wonderful, even without a sub. They would certainly sound better with a sub, but in the living room the WAF priority prevailed.

In our kitchen, I went one model smaller - to the v2 - again mainly for the WAF. Smaller than the OMD-5 and, more importantly, they were available in silver, which made my wife very happy. Definitely no sub allowed in her kitchen! These also sound very nice, although in a kitchen set up the acoustics are less than ideal but she is thrilled to be able to enjoy a very nice quality of sound in there, even if it isn't what some might consider reference category.

I won't go into the speakers I use in our family room, since they are old floor-standers from the dark ages, driven by an old amp, attached to a ZP 80, but I do also use OMD-5s as my main L/R in my basement home theater (along with an omdc-1 as a center and V2s for surrounds, FWIW). There I called the shots and function/sound trumped WAF so I also have a decent sub, and that certainly helps. Although the OMD-5s do an admiral job on their own so long as you're not looking for audiophile sound.

Finally, I would add that this OMD and the OSV2 lines that I have have been discontinued so are getting harder to find, although they are still out there if you really look. They are clearly going more towards the smaller, cheaper speakers as those must sell better. It's too bad, IMHO, because after auditioning some of the newer nanosats and even smaller microsats in the store, I think there is a real noticeable difference in sound quality compared to the V2s and especially the OMD-5s.

Their towers/floor standers are also good and following a similar trend smaller/cheaper, but I won't make an already long post even longer by talking about speakers that are not the topic of this thread - small bookshelfs.

Hope that belatedly answered your question about Mirage speakers.
Userlevel 2
I read in both Wired and Uncrate about the AUX Classic combined with the Sonos for great results. Even Bob Lefsetz and Eric Greedy agree.
Userlevel 2
I read in both Wired and Uncrate about the AUX Classic combined with the Sonos for great results. Even Bob Lefsetz and Eric Greedy agree.
Presumably we are really out of it if we have no idea who either Bob Lefsetz or Eric Greedy are?

Wouldn't be the first time for me. 😉
Userlevel 2
Don' know what your idea of "small" is, but I use this set (white body with grey speaker covers of course, perfect match with the SONOS design):

http://nubert.de/webshop/pd1850482208.htm?defaultVariants=search0_EQ_Schleiflack%20Schwarz_AND_search1_EQ_Schwarz_AND_search2_EQ_Schleiflack%20Silber_AND_{EOL}&categoryId=4

They may be small, but they sound BIG. Nubert is a small German speaker factory with direct distribution only (no dealer margins etc.), they have built quite a good reputation here.
Userlevel 2
You can consider the ELAC 305 CE as well. It's a very nice peace of German innovation. I've it's more expensive brother - the 310 CE - and its bass is extraordinary given the size.
Userlevel 2
Energy RC-10's

Nuf said.
+1 on the Monitor Audio. We have them in our bedroom and compared them with Gallo Speakers. You do need a sub, though.

+2 now have three pairs, forget the sub just good speaker cable will make a big improvement. Or just unzip cheap bell-wire for a free upgrade.
Userlevel 2
I have a pair of B&W CM1 on top of my kitchen cabinets for my Kitchen Zone. They are attached to a ZP120 though, no amp in the kitchen.

I love them. Not as much as my Thiels in the other rooms, but for a compact bookshelf speaker they have some good soundstage.

Cheers,
--jans
Userlevel 2
Strangely, I was also planning to use B&W CM1 on top of kitchen cabinets. Perhaps a bit overkill considering location, but I tend to redeploy alot of equipment and want these speakers in the arsenal.

Question is how well does the ZP120 deal with the low sensitivity CM1 at 84db? We do have a large kitchen and sometimes play at somewhat higher volume... don't want to drive the ZP120 into serious distortion/clipping.

Thanks,
-Dan
globed,

I is hard for us to know what "loud" means to you. If you want gut thumping bass, CM1's are not the correct approach. I think that you will be fine.
Userlevel 2
I just picked up some Paradigm Titan Monitors to use with my ZP120 outdoors (mostly in my Garage but can easily move them anywhere) They are still breaking in but sound very good for the size.
Gary
Badge
Hello. This is my first post and I just bought a 150 bundle which is on its way to me. I am currently using a pair of powered Audioengine 5 speakers in my kitchen, which I will hook up to the ZP90. I am going to use the ZP120 in my living room, and am looking for a pair of very high quality but pretty small bookshelf speakers that will fit on my tv cabinet. Something the size of the Audioengines would be great (they are about 7 inches wide, 7.8 inches deep and 10 inches high).

I was looking at something like the NHT Classic 3, but they are a bit too big unless I get stands for them. Maybe a smaller NHT. My budget is around $600 a pair.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am even considering selling the ZP120 when I get it and getting a ZP90 instead to use with another pair of Audioengines.

Thanks,

Peter


How do the NHT 3's sound w/ the ZP 120? I wouldn't think very good, but again, I am curious to hear your first hand review.

I love my Classic 3's.
I've been very happy with Aperion Audio speakers. Excellent quality for the price. I love my Intimus 4B speakers. They're sealed enclosures, and very accurate. If you want more bass, the 5B or Verus Grand Bookshelf are also nice options (although they're ported - I've always preferred sealed enclosures).

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