"Bookshelf" speakers designed to be placed near the wall behind them?

I'm giving up my beloved (14-year love affair) Sonus Faber Cremonas in order to reclaim valuable floor space in the living room.  Currently they are placed on the floor in front of the fireplace & hearth - our new home has pretty much everything we wanted, *except* an audio-friendly layout in the living room.

My plan is to put a pair of smaller speakers up on the hearth on either side of the fireplace.  Probably will need custom stands to get the tweeters near ear level.  The hearth is 13.5" above the floor and is about 19" deep.

My first candidate was the Wilson Audio Duettes, a speaker explicitly designed for placement in close proximity to the wall behind them, *until* I saw their price - $22k.  I'm sure they're spectacular speakers, but that's well above my retired-guy budget.  I'd like to stay at $5k or under.  So I started looking at bookshelf speakers that are either sealed-box or front-ported ...

And I came across the Aerial 5T - a $4k speaker with a 1" woven ring-dome tweeter, a 6.7" papyrus-blend woofer and a front slot-shaped port.  *And* it's specifically designed to be placed from 2" to 24" from walls.  So that's my current front-runner.

But I'd be interested to hear others' recommendations - I certainly haven't looked at all the possibilities that are out there.  So let me know your thoughts!

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xmbo
Has anybody heard the Zu Audio Omen Bookshelf speakers?  10" "full-range" driver (concentric tweeter, I believe) in a sealed box enclosure, reasonably priced, sold direct online only as far as I can tell.  Looks interesting!
FYI, the Zu Cubes have the concentric tweeters, not the Omen Bookshelf. There are a few folks on here who run Cubes if you search the forum.

I haven't heard Omen bookshelf but I do have Omen DW's which I love.  I would imagine the bookshelf version gives a very big sound like the full size Omens minus the bass extension that the Zu Griewe cabinet loading gives.
My Zu DefHeads are also sealed cabinets rated down to 50hz just like Omen bookshelf.  They sound huge and I don't ever feel the need for a subwoofer for them.
@mbo what did you end up with? My similar experience in this area has given me very enjoyable time with the extremely distinct sounding Silverline Minuet Grand (rear-ported but benefit from boundary reinforcement), Studio Electric M4 (acoustic suspension), and Ryan S610 (front-ported, laminar), all within budget. Choice of amp and taste would be determining factors; as you are a past Sonus Faber Cremona owner, I believe the Studio Electrics might be closest to your preferences.

Oops!  I seem to have totally dropped the ball on this thread - sorry!

I finally found a pair of ATC SCM-11's locally, and they knock me out!  They're smaller than the SCM19's, which allows me to move one easily out of the way when my wife wants to enjoy the fireplace.  But the 11's have such an amazing bass response i'm thinking the 19's might have been too much for this room actually.

So i'm pretty happy with the system now.  Adding a REL T7/x soon, hoping that a little subtle touch of deep bass will bring back some of that immersive feeling i used to have with the Cremonas ...

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions, i'll probably find an excuse to go speaker shopping again some day!


Congratulations. ATC speakers don't get much respect in the US....until folks actually audition a pair.