Passive speakers for desktop

I haven't found any good articles or experiences online about having passive speakers on a desktop. Currently that's my space where I can kind of go crazy when it comes to audio gear without having to get wife approval. However, being on a desk means there's obviously limitations. 

So far I've used cheap stuff like logitech, bose, creative, audioengine, etc. Then I got some Paradigm Atoms and Onix Ref 1's back in college. Next upgrade was the Dynaudio Focus 110's which were pretty great when it comes to the sound that came out of that small speaker. I currently own the SB Acoustic ARA which bring everything up a notch. I'm borrowing my friend's BMRs and the presentation is very different. It throws a wide soundstage with a little softer imaging compared to the ARA but it could be due to the width limitation between the speakers.

Does anyone have any recommendations for what I can upgrade to? It seems like having passive speakers on a desk is quite niche. Most people who go deeper into a desk setup tend to go active but I'd like to stay passive.

Current setup - Audiobyte Hydra Z - PS Audio DSD - Bel Canto Pre3 - AVA DVA M225 - SB Acoustic ARA

Some options I came across were the Qln Prestige One and Borresson Z1. I'm hoping to stay under the $10k range for my last pair of speakers in this setup.


Try to audition a pair of ATC SCM7 monitors. Use an inexpensive set of Iso Acoustic Iso-Puck minis to isolate them from the desktop.

I have some iso-acoustic stands that prop my current speakers off the desk already. I'd probably use those again.

I'm currently considering the voxativ hagen monitors. Not a lot of talk about them in particular but I believe the drivers are well liked. Those seem like they would do well on a desk compared to most other bookshelf speakers. 

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. I really appreciate it!

My current desktop setup and my main listening station. It’s a pair of Cabasse Riga paired with Santorin 21 setup. It is definitely within your budget and driven by my Lab12 Dac1 Reference with Sony TA-A1ES the synergy is frighteningly good. The only thing I would change is perhaps a nicer sub and a more premium class A amp like Esoteric F-03A. 

I’ve heard Borresen Z1 Cryo paired with Aavik I-280, and I think my setup is no difference in quality and enjoyment to that.

Closer Acoustics Ogy. 

- under $2k

- Anything will drive them, even the cheapest 10W class D mini amp on the market.

- Fullrange drivers in near field make a lot of sense. The imaging is excellent in that application. A lot of speakers need to be pushed loud to sound best, the Ogy are low volume champs. 

- Build quality is amazing. The cabinet is a plywood transmission line finished in Corian. 

- Only negatives: not built for a really large room, might be too deep (30cm depth).

In case anyone is following, I'm still on the lookout for an upgrade to my Ara. I've kind of narrowed it down to a few. Qln Prestige, Totem Acoustics Element Fire V2, Dynaudio Heritage specials, and Dali Epicon 2. Currently the Totem is in the lead but I haven't heard any totem speakers before so it's based on just how many glowing reviews there are of that speaker.

My chain has changed a little. Upgraded to MK2 for the directstream and bought a benchmark LA4 for my preamp. I've also added some bass panels behind and an acoustic panel to the right for the first reflection. Basically my speakers are left unless I want to spend 2-3x more on the components.