Please recommend speakers

I’m just starting my audiophile journey and want to make sure I pair the right equipment before going too far down the rabbit hole. I am coming into this as a complete newbie. I listen pretty much to everything but mostly pop, classical and jazz in a fairly large-ish lower level living room (maybe 20 x 20 feet square) and speakers sitting on bookshelves. I know they should be on stands or floor-mounted, but that doesn’t really work for me right now space-wise. So far I have Jamo 803 bookshelf speakers with newly purchased SMSL DA-9 amp and matching SMSL SU-9 DAC (previously was using an old NAD D 3020 V1 integrated amp with direct connection from iPad to internal DAC). Now I stream directly from an old iPhone/iPad via a USB camera adapter to the DAC which has balanced connections to the DA-9 amp. I pretty much stream music exclusively (currently on free trials with Tidal and Amazon HD). No other sources. No library to speak of. No headphones. The Jamos sound great to me, but I feel like I need something better to pair with the mid-fi DAC and AMP. So I’m looking for upgrade the Jamo 803s which were purchased on sale for $130. Looking to spend up to maybe $800 for a pair. Recommendations? Thanks in advance!


Edit:  Here's what I'm considering so far.  KEF350, Polk R200s, Audio Monitor Bronze.  Thoughts on pros and cons?  Anything else?

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If you buy used or demos you  could probably find Monitor Silver or Revel M106. You can get more for your money that way.  Having them on shelves you might look at studio monitor isolation desktop pads or stands. Try to get the front of the speaker to stick out a little beyond the shelf as well. 

Lol, I knew I should have left that part out.  I have a feeling I will end up getting stands also, but it's a process...  

Mini Lore monitors.

Tekton are the high value choice. These are 95dB. What that means is they will sound good and play quite loud even with a fairly low power 20wpc amp. It is kind of pointless trying to fill a large room with bookshelf speakers. Much better to max out on what you can, which with these and a nice little tube amp you can get quite good sound when sitting near, and positively passable sound everywhere in the room all other times. 

That old amp will probably be next on your list to upgrade. Buying high sensitivity speakers now will make amp selection later a whole lot easier. You could for example get a little Decware 6w amp and be happy as a clam with sound like you probably never heard before. System building. Way to go.

I’m definitely more value oriented when purchasing things so the demo/used route makes more sense. Browsing through the ads here I’m seeing a set of KEF LS50s for $800.

Will look at the paradigm S2s and Revel M106s also. I am finding I do prefer more detail (hence the purchase of the DAC).

Getting stands also seems to make more sense if I purchase used.

I found that even with a pair of subs bookshelves couldn't move enough air to make it sound right in my space which is smaller than yours @ 12x24. I wasn't satisfied until I moved into some floorstanders. Save some time and money and find a way. Hopefully your room isn't truly a square.

Some Online website is offering the normally $1200/pair Elac Unifi Ref  speakers

for $899. Not TMR but that's as much help as I can be. I saw this promo in the last

7 days so you should find it.

I use a pair of KEF LS50 is an un-ideal "IKEA bookshelf". It is my kid’s playroom. It sounds really good given the placement issues. They sound even better on stands in a smaller room. I have very high ceilings, so you need to consider room volume too. Your room maybe too big though.

Living Room System | Virtual Listening Room (

These speakers are now 9 years old, and I still like them a lot. All the gear in the photo was sold in the last 2 days, except the speakers. I will be putting a $9.5K KRELL integrated amp on this tonight. The KEF’s sound better with good gear. I only sold the gear listed because I have the same amp upstairs and wanted to use the KRELL.

You do not need warm gear, like my KRELL, with the LS50s. I actually prefer neutral gear (like what I sold).


From my experience using a lot of amps on the LS50s, they could use about 100 watts @ 8 Ohms of power.


I was just thinking why does such a small speaker sound relatively good in my high-volume room. It must be the high ceilings, over 25 feet.

Thanks for the recommendation everyone.  I am intrigued by the Tekton Design Mini Lore, and will be keeping an eye on the ads for paradigm S2, revel M106, audio monitor bronze, LS50s and anything else that pops up in my price range.   I think a high efficiency speaker will be important as I suspect a small tube amp will be next on my upgrade list for this system.  As others have noted, this small system will not fill out the large room.  I do have a home theater system set up in the same space with floor standing, ceiling and surround speakers, which I occasionally use for listening to music.  It can definitely fill up the space with sound.  I know this smaller bookshelf system is not going to fill up the room, but I'm just looking to build something I can also use for detailed listening at a relatively short distance.  Thanks again for the recs!

I see the amp is rated at 50 wpc.@8ohms. The way they post the spec makesme believe that 50wpc is questionable.  I would not look at any speaker with less than 90-91 db sensitivity. 93+ even better. So far, none of the speakers except the Tektons are a decent choice for your amp. There are other mfg’s who make high sensitivity speakers but I can’t think of any right now. You will have to look at the sensitivity rating. Anything below 91-92 db is not going to be very good. Don’t look at the speaker mfgs rating on "Recommended Amplifier Power" Sure you can get some sound from an 87db. But your amp will be near distortion (clipping) when playing

BTW, Here is an example of the specs I was speaking about. Look at the Recommended Amplifier Power" and you will get some understanding of what I am speaking about

M106 Look at the specs. 87db

Thanks for looking up the specs on the DA-9 amp.  I will keep that in mind for sure.  Perhaps I should also consider the Klipsch 600M (sensitivity of 96db).  I don't really listen at very high volumes, but I do want to be able to get the best out of the amp/speaker pairing.   

Seems like a bit out of my league here after reading the other thread about speaker recommendations for $130k!  But I very much appreciate all the time people have taken to respond.  It does seem like the advice I'm getting here is a bit different than what I have been gathering from popular audiophile review sites and YouTube channels.  Maybe I shouldn't trust those reviews so much...

Dear God … despite recent events you still relentlessly * Push* your nefarious relationship product agendas … before listens to this individual I recommend respondents read the last few pages of this thread


I’m definitely more value oriented when purchasing things so the demo/used route makes more sense. Browsing through the ads here I’m seeing a set of KEF LS50s for $800.

Yes this is the way a lot of audiophiles start out thinking. The Binford 2000 speaker sold new for $18k I can get one used for only $800 WHAT A DEAL!!! Years later after flipping one "deal" after another it dawns on them they never were a deal, the things that look like deals are really just the stuff other people don't want. The real value is in sound quality, period. 

Fortunately you don't have to learn by the school of hard knocks. Look around, the lessons are everywhere. Tekton Moab and other Tekton almost never come up for sale. Certainly not compared to the large numbers sold. This is the market telling you they are high value. This is true for a lot of things, I just like using Tekton as an example because while I live rent free in others heads this is how I pay the rent. But the same is true of Decware, Herron, Townshend, Raven, Origin Live, and I could go on. 

An extreme example, the worst system I ever heard was this guy who was so proud to have bought one killer deal after another. And yes based on what he paid vs what they sold for new he got himself quite the deal. Most if not all of what he had was Stereophile Class A components too. Only thing, like I said, worst sound I ever heard. He came over one time and his wife sneaked up to me and whispered, "I could listen to this all night!" As opposed to what they had at home, which no one could stand for even a minute.

You're seeing a lot of KEF LS50s. For a reason. Think about it.

You're seeing zero Mini-Lore. For a reason. Think about that.


Kef will sell more LS50 in a year than Tekton has sold since inception. KEF are real engineers w ears who also know how to measure a speaker for sensitivity vs the hype of others.  I know a guy, he is sort of famous….has a stack of platinum records, he has a nice coaxial two way bookshelf on his mixing board ( no stands ). Of course, he is lore and legend, and they aren’t… Tekton. Go out and listen….you have lots of choice. Good for you reading the $130 k thread, once ya get by the sour grapes and jealousy there are some clues there… great bespoke drivers, inert cabinet, super high quality crossovers, believable specs, long lasting firms w parts, warranty and support, dealers where you can hear them…etc. The speaker I mentioned comes from just such a company….You can find a used pair every now and then..for a grand.

Enjoy the music and the journey ;-)


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Perhaps I should also consider the Klipsch 600M (sensitivity of 96db)

Yes, Klipsch is another high efficiency speaker mfg. While looking up the ones you mentioned, I ran across these. Supposedly the are a discontinued model but are the same as the 625FA which sell for $599 apiece. They are towers if you have the room they should have a better freq range They are 8ohm & 97db sensitivity.


Klipsch R 26FA

“Tekton Moab and other Tekton almost never come up for sale”

I am genuinely beginning to Feel the mearest spark of Pity for You 😶


Errrrr on reflection Not 

Among other speakers, I’ve owned both the KEf LS50s and the Tekton M Lore (towers). I even had them in the same system for a bit and liked them both for different reasons. IMHO, your room is too big for the LS50s if you want to push any volume or play complex music and sit anywhere other than near field.

I strongly advise you to get towers for that room size. M Lores won’t be the the last word in detail or refinement but they are fun to listen to and fit your budget. If you go used there are many other speakers would fit the bill too...Vandersteen 2c comes to mind.

Geez Guys. Look at his amp. Then look at the Vandy's 86db for a questionable inexpensive amp that is rated 50 wpc? Youi can't just call out speakers because they are good. The Vandy's are as are many others. But the amp won't drive them properly.

@artemus_5, great point. I didn’t realize we were using a small chip amp here. Depending upon the psu used, they are typically good for half their published output. A high sensitivity speaker is likely the better choice. Klipsch, Zu, et al.

Edit, have personally heard a number of examples from both brands. Lean towards Zu, but some models can be too forward so demo for sure to see of you like them.

That is correct, but imo you also should not recommend gear ya have not heard just because it is high efficiency! The Vandy 2C suggested power is 100 wpc. I have very successfully run them in large rooms w a SS MC250 but it has…output transformers… They are beefy floorstanders w 250 k sold since 1977 and a later variant still in production. I would never recommend them with a marginal amplifier, the acoustic coupler plays quite low but requires and amp with some grunt. In the bookshelf size in a Vandy try the older model VLR without the more expensive carbon tweeter. Of course, i have heard them…..right atop…a mixing board…

Best to all.


I drive my Vandersteen Treo's with a quality 65 watt per channel integrated and get clean clear and LOUD sound with no problems. Friend of mine drove his Treo's with a 40 watt Naim integrated, and it too could go loud and clean. Vandersteens are a easy load for most amps.

kinda related…but i am not sure it was a good idea to abandon the NAD….i know it’s the D3020… but…. 

I have a 35 year old 3020 A running in the garage…. like an ugly brown…swiss watch…

Hi Tim ;-) The LiL NAIM mulekicker is a beast…i dont think the OP amp has same muscle….. Treo are lovely. See ya soon brother.


Kef will sell more LS50 in a year than Tekton has sold since inception. 


Words of wisdom. KEF has a pedigree that Tekton can not even dream of. 
The have built some of the best drivers in the world. There’s a reason the LS50s are some of the most celebrated small speakers in the world. 


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@tsushima1 Eric and Tekton are living rent free in your head. Hope your blood pressure is ok. “

Quite the contrary … merely a singularity transient moment of my day that affords me no little amusement to observe … akin to the popular 18th century pastime of

visiting Bedlam hospital and poking a stick through the bars at AGon’s self appointed Low Fi  Napoleon

119/66 this morning thank you for enquiring

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I would consider ‘ Sartorially well dressed ‘ rather than obsessed to be more accurate …. My hand made cuff and timepiece apparel of earlier in the week

119/68 this morning thank you for enquiring 





What do you have for amp ? If enough power the small maggi $700

then get a Svs 2000 pro sub later $495 with a great app.

Well, as noted, you can only get "so much" from bookshelf speakers - and frankly i dont know which ones are good.  But if you can place speakers in free space on stands - consider used Vandersteen 2s (any vintage that hits your pricepoint) or Spica TC-50s with significant money lef over to get a decent active subwoofer.  ELACs too.

The SMSL DAC is pretty decent, but hardly better than the $99 Schiit, and not as good as an ALLO revolution (with a very good external power supply) IMO. A buddy of mine slowly stepped up through he DAC hierarchy not long ago, beginning with a bluesound  (yawn) to the Schiit (surprisingly good) the SMSL (meh) and the ALLO. 


True bookshelf speakers are tuned to deal with some of the compromises, but read carefully about setup. and you cannot fight the laws of physics re: imaging. or much else :-)


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Unlike some Narcissistic personalities of your acquaintance I am not in the habit of photographing myself wearing my 2716  on New Year’s Eve … merely an illustration of my apparels on the day …you actually thought that was a real time image .. how very desperate to go a googling



Just for you sweet heart ….

Little ol me wearing another Breguet my 1475 … you may find it on The Watch Sub section of a HiFi forum far across the great water …


You mentioned you have a home theater setup in the same room? Why just replacement the floor standers with a nicer full range speaker? Wharfedale can be a great choice. 

Quad S2. $1,100 new and around $600 used. Tell your wife they are bookshelf speakers, then move them onto side tables and let her discover they sound better that way, and finally put them on stands.

@tomic: I’m keeping the NAD D3020, but the analog input doesn’t work anymore for some reason.  Only the digital input works.  So I was using my iPad connected directly to the USB port which fed into the internal DAC of the NAD integrated amp.  I was happy with that set up for a while, but then I wanted to try a better DAC.  I ended up getting the SMSL SU-9 DAC which seemed to be a good value for what was offered.  But then I needed a new amp because the NAD didn’t accept analog input.  I kind of randomly chose the SMSL DA-9 amp because it stacks nicely with the SU-9 DAC.  But the DA-9 amp is not that powerful.  50wpc at 8 ohms, 90wpc at 4 ohms.  Prob should have spent more time looking for a better amp. But ce la vie.

@audioman58: the amp is SMSL DA9.  50wpc@8 ohms, 90wpc@4.

@leemaze: I’ve considered combining the two but I prefer a separate system for just listening to music.  The home theater set up is in kind of a side nook for lower light due to a projection screen.   If I ever move to a larger house where I can have a dedicated AV room for music and movies, I would love to get the Wharfedale Elysian 4 though.  

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Awww .. thats awfully nice of you Honey… I hadn’t the slightest interest in opening your little Linkie … buzz along now there’s a good familiar 

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