Book Shelf Speaker advice - Formerly Book Shelf Dilemma

Hello all. I posted this earlier under the title Book Shelf Dilemma. Thank you to the many who replied with excellent advice and suggestions. Some responders asked about the room dimensions and as I investigated the suggested speakers I concluded that the room dimensions and furniture set up may be important to consider. So, I am reposting with a schematic of the room which shows the Bay Windows and furniture as well as a note that the insulation between my apartment and the unit below is marginal. I make this point with the understanding that a Sub Woofer may be good to include.

Note: I want to position the speakers along the Bay Window facing back into the apartment and dining/kitchen area. Most of my listening is done from this area.

Budget - $1000.00 (with stands would be a bonus)

Amplifier - McCormack DNA 0.5
Pre - McCormack ALD-1
Source - Cambridge 851N - Spotify Premium
Music preferences - fairly eclectic
Jazz (Bony James, Lee Ritenour, Paul Harris, Bob James)
Female Vocals (Eva Cassidy, Duffy, Sarah Jarosz, Nadine Anderson)
1980’s Rock (Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yes, Dave Mason)

Thank you all for your suggestions and advice1



The new LSA Signature 50 may be right up your alley.  There’s a link for member Terry’s glowing review in Stereo Times in the ad page below, and they can be had with stands for $800.  Alternatively you could just buy the speakers for $600 and the Monoprice stands (link below) for about $90 and save around $110.  Best of luck.



Your living a living room. You are not setup for a listening room as far as I can tell. 

Yes, that is my biggest challenge. I understand I need to lower my expectations of listening enjoyment due to the room. Still seeking any thoughts that may result in the best outcome possible with budget and room dynamics. 

Thank you. 

Soix-Thank you for noting the LSA’s. I have read very impressive reviews and the price point is very appealing. 

There are plenty of speakers out there under a thousand dollars. You would have to go out and listen to each of them in your own home. I dont see how you could expect any of us to guess which speaker would suit your ears the best. Most audiophiles will buy dozens of speakers over many decades so what does it matter which speaker you buy? Its not going to be your first and last purchase is it? 


Have you considered any of the powered/wireless speakers from Kef or Dynaudio? I believe both manufacturers have something to offer within the price range you’ve stated.

I remember when my wife and I purchased our first place- dinky little townhome with a living area no larger than what you’ve outlined. Since we needed something with a small footprint I stacked a tuner/ SS amp/ CD player and a parametric eq in a cabinet and set two Tannoy studio monitors on top about 6’ apart. For what it was it sounded pretty good.

when someone raves about the LSAs, I feel the urge to add: I had very bad experience with them. But that’s just one confused customer.


The Dynaudio Evoke 10 for sure. (scratch and dent on Crutchfield)

Q Concept


Monitor Audio


and a lot more, that I haven’t heard

"...I understand I need to lower my expectations of listening enjoyment due to the room..."

I just want to understand your criteria. Since a critical listening setup is NOT the goal, I would lean you towards an enjoyable loudspeaker that will fill your space with sound. Right now, I like the Wharfedale Lintons. A bit over your budget but they can be found heavily discounted, and you might be able to get away without a sub, depending on your desire for an extreme low end. 


A pair of the active Paradigm PW600 (on sale $600 for a pair = 50% off)

and a Klipsch R-100SW 10" subwoofer (on sale Amazon $219=50% off)

The speakers come with room correction via ARC and you won’t even need to connect your amp as they are active.

The active speakers have a sub out and can be connected to your pre or source. They can also stream wirelessly.


Configured as a stereo pair, the PW 600s sounded outstanding, easily rivaling separate speakers and electronics costing many times their $1198/pair price.

but the Lintons are gigantic and not a good fit for this space. 

No Magnepan 30.1s are gigantic. Lintins are bookshelf loudspeakers and not as large as some very popular bookshelf speakers. 

Oh well, it’s relative. I remember when I picked them they didn’t fit in my car. I had to take them out  of the boxes. For my room they were gigantic, and sounded boring.

But again, just another confused customer

I remember when I picked them they didn’t fit in my car

That’s weird they fit in my CrewCab F150 with room to spare?

If you don’t plan to have a ton of space behind them, consider front ported speakers. Elac UBR62 might be a pair to consider. I thought them to be very good for the money. They were Andrew Jones’ last speaker designs for ELAC prior to making the speakers he just released for MoFi. 

@blisshifi I have been wondering about Elac for a while, I am considering a subwoofer from them. I have been put off by their unusual "price spacing" couldn't decide where good quality and value begins...

@grislybutter One of my best friends bought a pair of their subs to fill in where his single driver high efficiency speakers were incapable of and seems to be happy with them, but I can’t say he’s experienced with sub integration. He also lives thousands of miles away, so I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to his system since he bought them. 

I would never classify Elac as endgame, but the UBR62 I owned were a lot of fun for bookshelves. I especially liked the larger woofer and how the midrange and tweeter were a dual concentric design. I appreciated the tonal balance of the speaker more than anything. It was easy to feel engaged by them, and they dug quite low in the bass considering their small footprint. I replaced them with Scansonic MB-1B as I became a Scansonic dealer. The Scansonic’s tweeter enables the speaker to deliver much more clarity than the Elac ever did, but they don’t have the density or lower tonal center the Elac did. I’d say the UBR62 are good for their money, but they’re not giant killers, and I have a feeling the same could be said for most of the Elac line. 

@blisshifi thank you! You have a beautiful system. I will definitely take a listen to Elac speakers.

Restored pair of Allison CD8s on either side of the cabinet. Or as mentioned an active pair of Dynaudio (not heard the PW600 but may even be better) or even a used Ascend Acoustics Sierra (RAAL) on top of cabinet. 

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@grislybutter Thank you for the compliment. FWIW the Elac was used in my home office, not the one shown in my virtual system.

Used Ref 3A de Capos are a pretty nice monitor with good sound


used black piano finish can be found under 1K

I was going thru similar avenue seeking for speakers for my 1st and 2nd systems. I must agree with @kenjit that there are too many choices and you need to do your homework yourself first. Read reviews and shorten your list down to 3-5 speakers. Home auditioning is the key. I do not intend to abuse the favorable return policy but rather take a due advantage of it. Fortunately, I quickly settle with Wharfdale Lintons for my first system after auditioning two other floorstanders within my short list. I still enjoy the Linton each time I listen the music with them.

For my 2nd system in the bedroom, it is a much longer ongoing process primarily because of the restricted bass extension of the bookshelf or standmount speakers I was looking for. I was able to identify several that has good to excellent treble/midrange tonal balances, image and soundstage performances and brought them home for auditioning, including the most recent Wharfedale Evo 4.2. However, the lack of low end weight and agility just left a room to be desired. Right now, I was using with the vintage NHT SB3 bookshelf which gives me the low end satisfaction but I want more 3D soundstage performance with the room partially treated. Right now I raise my budget to $2k and, with the extended budget, more speakers with low end extended to 30-40 hz become available:

Canton Reference R9, Philharmonic BMR monitor, PMC Twenty 22 and Buchardt P300


on the contrary, I think there are many ways to narrow the choices for the OP  

Yes, agreed, the OP does have plenty of choices under his budget as mentioned if he/she does not desire for low end extended to 30-40 hz range.  For example, I would get raved Evoke 10 as you have suggested (or even Evoke 20 by stretching the budget) home for auditioning.  Crutchfiled that I bought my Linton from does have good return policy.

I bought Evoke 10s from Crutchfield and I think in my room they would sound better with a sub than the Evoke 20s I ended up with. I just gave into the more base argument.

You did, @grislybutter.  In the past almost a year, I tried to integrate my 25 year old AR SW30 sub, SVS SB 1000 and SB 2000 with my 2-channel system using (1) speaker level input (2) line level input as well as (3) line-level input with HPF (fixed at 80 hz as provided in both SB models).  I do not have fancy DSP / eq to assist me taming down the sound fields but I have exhausted the sub placements to find that sweet spot.  With all these efforts, I was not able to achieve seamless integration (at least to my ears) primarily because of the disparities of the speed and texture  between the sub and main speaker drivers.  Admittedly, as mentioned in other posts, maybe the servo controlled sub will do a better job but I have deep doubts to proceed with experiment.  All I did just confirms what Sandy Grove was saying "It is almost impossible to integrate sub ..."  That is why all the higher end Golden Ear speakers has built-in sub.  Correct Mr. Grove if he was biased...


that sucks, my SVS SB 1000 is arriving tomorrow and I want to try out the ELAC - 3000.

I suspect it will just be boomy and chaotic.

@grislybutter I think you might be pleasantly surprised by the SB1000.  Did you get the Pro version with integration software?  Owners seem to really like being able to integrate their sub with their phone from the listening chair.  Please share your impressions if you could.  

@soix I didn't but maybe I should. I don't have a fancy cross-over control amp, so that would give me access from my phone. That's the Elac 3000's benefit too.

I just wish they made "weaker" subs, I don't need the 100+Watts. Unless I want help moving the sofa.

@grislybutter Don’t get me wrong. My reservation and decision not to add sub(s) as part of system is in a general term, not related to a sepecific model/brand of sub. As @soix mentioned, SVS is a good brand and SB1000 is a fine sub. But, a 12" woofer controlled by a separate (especially non-servo controlled) amp being slower than most of the bookshelf or standmount speakers with 5"-6" woofer is a law of physics. When there are busy bass notes, a sub lack of control (ability to "stop" the note reverb) will spin out a series of bass notes reverberating over preceding notes. That is the reason I avoid the sub. I would imagine though the smaller woofer drivers such as SVS 3000 micro that uses dual opposing 8" driver will render more speedy bass but digs deep as SB1000.

I would imagine though the smaller woofer drivers such as SVS 3000 micro that uses dual opposing 8" driver will render more speedy bass but digs deep as SB1000.

No, it just doesn’t. In subwoofers and physics, size matters and the 3000 Micro with its 8” drivers and smaller cabinet simply can’t move nearly as much air despite the clever design techniques employed in its design. And those 8” drivers will have to work much harder and by necessity exhibit much more excursion than one larger driver. I was recently involved in a thread where a buyer of a 3000 Micro found it just couldn’t deliver the goods and switched to an SB1000 Pro and was much happier. Plus, for $300 more than the 3000 Micro you can get TWO SB1000 Pro subs that if space allows — game, set, match. And, at the end of the day the SB1000 Pro ain’t all that much bigger than the 3000 Micro and gets you down to an honest 20Hz versus 23Hz for the Micro. FWIW, and best of luck.

well, that makes sense @lanx0003 and @soix’s note too, I will soon find out if I have the right size to avoid a sonic mess.

and to add to the complexity, my MF A3.2 will send signals to my bookshelf speakers via speaker cables and from the amp’s pre-amp to the sub’s amp via RCA cables and then at some point in time (probably at different times) they will all move the air for overlapping frequencies, and finally it will reach my ears, bounce back from the walls... I somehow see it as not my smartest upgrade :)

I find so many similarities in this thread about my room and system I felt compelled to jump in.

I am moving up a level in my current apt building and am using the bay windowed living room as my listening room. Dims are smaller at 13.5'W x 15.5'L x 9.5'H and will similarly set up speakers in the bay and fire back to a listening position. One concern is setting rear firing ports too close to the short wall of the bay. I'm hoping the total depth of 4' will help with boom boom.

In 2019 I bought new Evoke 20's to replace 20 year old Wharfedale floor standers (maybe ~1500 for the pair back then) due to their failing iron on plastic finish, although they still sounded great, just couldn't look at them any more. The new speakers were fun but no grunt to them. Someone suggested I buy a sub and I stared back correlating a car driving by with bass so loud the screws for the rear quarter panels were backing out. I told this person I was not big on subs.

Off to the local HiFi store after seeing an ad for a pair of floor model Elac Adante AF61's at a deep discount (love sales slogans). Bargain shopping at its best and purchased on the spot. The grunt was back! Happy right? Well hold on.

COVID hits and I am sent home to start working remotely. No! I'm an outdoor dog and don't like being indoor all day for what turned out to be months. Ahh, there is an upside, online shopping and I need new gear for the speakers. Buy! Buy! Buy! Oh Boy!

Then I found this site and dug in reading all about HiFi. Out of that I learned subs aren't so bad and bought a Dyn Sub 3 to fill in the lows. Better if I buy 2 or more was the insight picked up here. Buy!

An Andrew Jones interview I heard back then said this about DSP. I paraphrase, "The best DSP is another pair of speakers". I connected mono blocks to the Elac's and sent a RCA pair to an old amp not being used to connected the Evoke 20's and another set of RCA's to the subs and I'm in 6 speaker stereo bliss. Seriously try it. My friend sat in my listening chair and teared up. I have a well treated room because, why not? You can learn a lot here.

Now I'm selling the Elac Floor standers because out of this craziness I've learned subs are good in pairs and the Evoke 20 and Dyn sub 3 is after all where I should have stopped. Although I did sign up for an invite only we are selling floor stock at 70% off this Friday. Looking for replacement monitors in the 10k range. I've been good and saving money since last year at this time.

I do this for the pleasure of listening to music.

Just want to mention that between now and Christmas, many speakers are on "special" if you look. For instance, Crutchfield has the Wharfedale EVO4.2 on sale for $999 now (no stands, you'd need to budget for some, perhaps Monoprice for now.

You just missed the ELAC Halloween sale - RATS. Polk was running a good deal on their Reference series (the R200 would have been a contender) but now they are pushing their older, more expensive Legend series (the L200 are $1200).  

Good luck! For your room, as someone noted, front ported (if ported at all) speakers might be best.

@manogolf At $10,000 for monitors I’d highly suggest seeking out the Joseph Audio Pulsar ll that should offer significant improvements across the board. Since you seem to appreciate a good bargain I’ll mention these original Pulsars (sans Graphene driver) in good condition and that are still a fantastic-sounding speaker for only $3000 ($7000 retail). I could see you being thrilled with these along with the thousands of extra $$$ in the bank. If they somehow don’t absolutely knock you out with their sound you can always turn around and sell them for little/no loss given the very attractive price of these speakers. Hope this helps, and best of luck in your search.

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I would suggest looking at used speakers but going that route with speakers you haven't listened to in your environment can be returns.

About a year or so ago I was in a similar situation as you in terms of budget. After auditioning the usual US budget speakers from the likes of Polk, Elac, Kef I easily decided on the Polk Reserve 200's. A very neutral and balanced sounding speaker to my ear. Sale price around $600 which leaves room for stands. Able to handle lots of watts with no resonance or tinny or fatiguing sound that plaques most cheaper priced speakers. Pretty solid enclosure as well..around 20lbs a piece I believe. 

I would suggest an in home listen of the Polks to anyone looking for speakers in your price range...Good luck! 

Find a pair of KEF  100 or 300. Paired with my Rotel, or Marantz. They had enough warmth and low end for a 12 x 15 room.  Also a used pair of Nola Boxers, and you can check out the focal line. 

I second Wharfedale EVO 4.2. I’ve been enjoying them this past year and they are on sale now. Very full range to my ear. 

If you aren’t in a hurry, I would wait for a used pair of Vandersteen VLR’s (non-CT).

They are really quite a sleeper, and will work well with your McCormack equipment.


Ascend Acoustics Sierra2.

Laminated bamboo cabinets, Seas woofer/mid, and RAAL ribbon tweeter used for around $800. Hard to beat.

Sonus Faber Lumina 1. Amazing speaker!

Just as an FYI, all the music you listed as 80's rock are actually 70's rock, I know because I saw all 3 of the mentioned bands/artist when I was in high school - which was 1969-1972. So yeah, not 80's.

I'm seriously impressed with the Dynaudio XEO 10.

They're active. They're compact. They have real bass. They sound fantastic. The XEO 10 are unquestionably fullrange. 

Most other passive bookshelf speakers don't have as much bass.