Can recommend some non-fatigue SMALL bookshelf for near-field listening?

Hi guys,

I have been searching for a pair of small passive speakers for near-field listening for a long long time. Ideally, something with <27 cm depth would be a great fit. A relaxed/non-fatigue/good bass sound would be preferred. 

I tried these.

B&W 607s2 -- currently using -- can be aggressive/bright quite often

Dynaudio Evoke 10 --- pronounced at 2-5 kHz, sounds thin to me.

LS 50 meta ---- bass a bit tide... need some volume to sound good.


Can you guys recommend some other speakers that can do the job? What about Mission QX1 MkII or Wharfedale Denton 80? My amp is Nad c275bee with a Schiit freya+ preamp.  Thanks a lot guys!






To maximize value, I would consider something a bit more off the mainstream. E.g. from Ascend acoustics:

Or perhaps from Fritz:

Both are very easy to deal with and would allow you an in-home trial.

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My favorite nearfield speakers have been Harbeth P3ESR.  If you want "relaxed", check out Vienna Acoustics Haydn Grand.  They are a little too relaxed for me, but may be just what you're looking for.  Also consider adding a small subwoofer to your setup.

What is the source? Nearfield it's easier to EQ to taste than chase speakers. 

How about the bass. I saw the P3ESR reaches 75 Hz which is a bit higher than the 50Hz from most of the other speakers at this size?

I have never tried any near field setups, mainly due to always had larger full range systems. What is an approx starting point distance wise for a "near field" small monitor setup? 5’ equilateral triangle? I am thinking of doing a small monitor for a 2nd system in smaller room.

-Sound Artist makes a LS 3/5a Knockoff  $600 

-Elac unified reference $1,200 

-Dali Minuet -beautiful in looks and sound. $1,600

-Some Fritz models use a Beryllium tweeter so that may not be the nearfield

 experience you want. $3,300.

That said I am buying a pair for my my main listening room. Extreme value.



How about the bass. I saw the P3ESR reaches 75 Hz which is a bit higher than the 50Hz from most of the other speakers at this size?

I would recommend a subwoofer.

If a subwoofer is not an option, consider some pre-owned Canton Reference 9.2 DC speakers.  They do bass well for speakers of that size and are pretty neutral.  There's a pair listed on USAM now.  No affiliation on my part.

Thanks all, I just checked a bit re the recommendations. Adding a subwoofer is not an option at this moment. Specifically, a pair that can go down towards sub 50 Hz would be ideal. The 6-inch ones are just too big (typically >30 cm depth). 

BTW: my source is PC --> t+a dac, indeed I am using DSP rolling off from  1k - 20k ( -3db -- - 5db). 607s do not sound fatigue that much, but  I have no clue at what cost. .....  

On the lower end of the cost spectrum you might check out a used pair of Monitor Audio Bronze 2 speakers, Generation 5.  They just barely fit your depth requirement, have a 6.5 inch woofer and are front ported so you can place against a wall, although in my room they sound better 6 inches off the back wall. I have them placed on 8" stands on my desk. The Bronze 2 specs claim a frequency response of 42Hz - 30KHz. 

I find these easy to listen to for hours at reasonable volume.

These replaced a set of KEF 100's that were way too bright in a nearfield situation.

using DSP rolling off from  1k - 20k ( -3db -- - 5db)

After looking at an FR plot on those B&W try   1khz - 20khz  at -15db  the tweeter is way to hot on those. 


Kef r300.  

same point source awesome nearfield imaging as ls50’s but ghe r300’s are warmer / have more bass.  I had ls50’s and r300’s.  I think you like the r300’s!  Oh and you can snag em for around $400

Focal Micro Utopia is THE hot ticket, and just a wonderful little speaker; it would be best to use a tube amp with this or a speaker cable having the character of say Cardas's Golden Reference cable that "rounds" off the treble a bit.  That tweeter if paired with something dry and fast like a Constellation amp or something along that line, that would be a bit too much high energy fizz.  

I have the Harbeth p3 40th anniversary that I use with a sub however I have used them without a sub and in a small room and the bass is surprising pretty deep. Great for near field listening 

   I have had  good experience with NAD  amps used with PSB speakers. Very good combination. They once were, or maybe still are, sister companies. I used the PSB Imagine B speakers with a NAD C375BEE integrated. Not sure how your combo would work with your preamp. The Imagine B may be out of production now but some of other PSB bookshelves may fit your taste. As always....audition the speakers with your setup if you can.


Two options not yet mentioned (1) the ATC SCM 7 v3. Great, neutral small monitor that provides bass to about 60 Hz. Clean, clear, highly resolving but not tiring. Perfect for near field use. I’ve auditioned them and they’re on my list to replace an old pair of ADS CM5s, compact monitors in my study

(2) Totem Acoustics Sky bookshelf speakers with same drivers as my small Sky towers in a smaller cabinet. Larger than the ATC. Bass down below 50 Hz and even though ported the speaker can sit 6” from the wall without being “boomy”. They provide a plug for the rear port if needed for placement closer to rear wall on a bookshelf for example. Much bigger sound than the ATC speaker, but as several reviews note, great at low volumes unlike many speakers. 

Happy listening!


Elac 2.0/6.2b

they are so good but need some power it’s a 6ohm speaker

80-100 watts of power will do

zero fatigue 

excellent Andrew Jones design 

Depends on budget, so lets try of this mentioned:

Elac 2.0/6.2b

Kef LS 50

Vienna Acoustics Hayden

Harbeth (any you can afford).

Others Wharfedale and Monitor Audio, all too dull.

Focal, Klipsch, B+W all too bright.

I have three pairs of Audio Physic small floor standers in a 12x16 room all sound excellent.

The Focal Aria 906 dimensions are 153/8 x 87/8 x 11" (390x225x280mm). I use them for moderate-low to low volume - very good sound.

I think if the Wharfedale Denton 80 is where you're setting the budget, and fatigue is the number one thing you're trying to fix, you might really like them. I also fatigue very easily, and finally got my system fatigue free with the Monitor Audio Gold series standmounts and Audioquest DBS cables throughout. The Monitor Audio Silver 6th Generation speaker line is on clearance at Audio Advisor right now putting it almost in line with your budget. I had some Silver 100's for a long time and loved them.

op there are many many to choose from, it would be helpful if you specified a budget and also whether you will run with or w/o sub

couple points on others’ comments thus far

- buchardt s400 -- nice speaker, but no, not for nearfield... waveguide tweeter and rear passive radiator on that speaker require it to be played at some distance for it to be heard as mads designed it

- ’best harbeth you can afford’ - i agree with this very much

I love my p3esr for nearfield with freya plus and aegir. Replaced Denton 80s and did not look back. Small enough to fit on my desk. I do use them with REL TZero x 2, but I think they sound good without the subs. It does help to have some eq. 

After a long and arduous journey, my end-game nearfield desktop setup is:

Harbeth P3ESR XD-------->Hegel H120 Amp----->RME ADI-2 DAC fs----->Bricasti M5 Streamer


Maybe a nice bookshelf to try is the maggie mini. Supposed to sound like their big floor standing 3.7. 

I don’t know if these will fit size wise, but from a SQ standpoint with their ribbon tweeter and 6.5 mid/woofer, the Monitor Audio Gold 100 would be great for you.

Hi, my budget is < 2000 Euro and I am living in Europe. 

A 6-inch woofer might be too big. In that case, I may end up with a Kef r3 or r300 but they are just too big, the same as the fantastic Gold 100.   ;-) 

My P3ESRXD sounds pretty good without a subwoofer however much better with a sub or two. I use my REL T/7i subs with all of my speakers.

If you’re expecting only around 10 inches deep, probably not going to find any serious amount of bass extension. However, some small form speakers these days are pretty amazing relative to size. But if you’re expecting more oomph than what you’ve already encountered in what you’ve already tried you might need a sub hidden somewhere. Just the same…

I was thinking Totem Mites or Silverline Minuets. Both can be found used a a very reasonable price at even just a few years old, but do not extend very deep. Tonally speaking, definite +1 for Harbeth!

I’ve also seen Revel speakers come up in these types of discussions as well. Outstanding designs, most are very linear but expressive. Some of the Focals? Q-Acoustics? Wharfedale Denton 85th’s?


+1 for the ATC SCM7- I have theV.2. I have never felt the need for subwoofers for these in my bedroom system. Very non- fatiguing sound. I drive them with a Schiit Saga and Adcom GFA 535, so very much a budget system. Great, great speakers.

Maybe active monitors,  Focal Shape 65 or Alpha 80. You'll get better low end and free up some space.

WHARFEDALE Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers

I have them in my bedroom system.  Very relaxed and warm with good bass.  Music Direct has them marked down.

ATC scm7 v3

Quad s2

Proac DB1

Fyne F301

All designed / engineered in UK

Pairing with a subwoofer and listening at night at low volume is a wonderful treat.  SW creates ambience and depth with reverberation and fills in the lost low end due to volume volume.

Gallo Acoustics Strada 2. Crossoverless, 90db efficient, 20k-68hz, available with desktop stands. Smooth, transparent, detailed. I think about $2k US. I have no affiliation other than having owned the Reference 3.1's, which my son-in-law is now enjoying. 



I would have suggested the Evoke 10s :)

Monitor Audio is a great choice, but not much base either.