Small, inexpensive speakers
February 25, 2007 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Help me replace my big ugly speakers with smaller, out-of-the-way ones.

I have a pair of ancient Pioneer speakers connected to my stereo that are no longer worth the space they're taking up. I'd like to replace them with some relatively inexpensive bookshelf style speakers that are powerful enough to fill the room with sound, and that I can mount from the ceiling. Since I'm not really an audiophile, I think I will be just fine without the high-end stuff. Any suggestions on names or places to shop? How much can I expect to pay?
posted by Gilbert to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My brother just bought a pair of Orb Audio speakers that're nice and small, but they're probably more money than you want to pay ($229/pr). According to one of his friends, though, they last forever and are very durable. They sound great too, so they seem to be worth the price.

I Googled a bit, and it doesn't seem like a lot of the decent ones go much below $200, but I might be looking in the wrong places. Good luck in your search :)
posted by Verdandi at 8:48 AM on February 25, 2007

You may want to start at Tweeter. They're a little pricey, but they have most of their inventory set up so you can demo it in a soundproof room. If you like what you find, you can always look online for a cheaper price.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:08 AM on February 25, 2007

Bose Virtually Invisible or Acoustimas speakers, but like the Orb Audio's likely more than you want to pay.

Lower cost alternatives -- Cambridge SoundWorks Newton Series speakers.
posted by ericb at 9:51 AM on February 25, 2007

They're not super small, but I'm very happy with my Infinity Primus 150s. I picked up four of them (two in the living room, two in the office), and they sound great. They've totally replaced my big 3-ways (i.e. 12" woofer, 5" mid) and take up a lot less space.
posted by knave at 10:18 AM on February 25, 2007

Klipsch has several smallish bookshelf speakers in the sub-$200 range which you'd probably find very satisfying. Klipsch doesn't have the same cache that they used too particularly since they started selling in Best Buy, but if you click around (check the Klipsch store on eBay) you may find a good deal on what are reasonably good sounding speakers.
posted by wfrgms at 10:43 AM on February 25, 2007

Mission makes some great bookshelf speakers, but they are getting hard to find in the US anymore. Here is a great deal on a used pair. I have the M71s and they are great budget speakers. That pair of M72is should be a slight step up. Speakers don't really wear out so buying used is a great way to save a lot of money.
posted by caddis at 1:22 PM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Stay away from Bose. They're overpriced for what they are. They're basically just a story of successful marketing, kinda like Harley Davidson, iPod, and many other products that are underpowered or crippled in some way, but have a distinctive selling point (small size, "brotherhood", scroll wheel). You'll get much more bang for the buck by doing your research first.

There are many, many options in great mid-size and smaller bookshelf speakers. I prefer the sound of the Paradigm brand from Canada. They made their name by putting audiophile sound in affordable speakers. You'll be amazed at the sound from the lowly Paradigm Titan, and completely blown away by the Mini Monitor. If you want to step up to unbelievable sound in a small package, the Studio 20 fits the bill.

I run Paradigm Studio 40's (larger than what you want) as mains, with a matched center, and Axiom rears (Axiom was purchased by Paradigm in the past few years, but their voices were similar even when they were separate companies). When I build a dedicated theater room in my next house, I plan to use Studio 20's as rears.

Your best bet is go to a home theater store, tell them your budget, and listen to things in that price range.
posted by Bradley at 1:53 PM on February 25, 2007

I also second Canadian speakers. Paradigm is a good brand, and so is Axiom Audio. Axiom has a 30-day try in your house satisfaction guarantee because they do not sell or demo in showrooms. Paradigm must have a local reseller in your neighbourhood.
posted by hariya at 2:41 PM on February 25, 2007

Stay away from Bose.

Agreed, much more hype than quality. Plus they tune them to sound good in the showroom, not in your home.
posted by caddis at 4:01 PM on February 25, 2007

Paradigm Atom
posted by hortense at 6:25 PM on February 25, 2007

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