Best for Classic/Progressive Rock and Blues

Hello all, looking for thoughts and recommendations for some “as close to audiophile as you can get for $1,000”  used or new speakers that would be driven by my NAD C375BEE.  I will be streaming only, at least for now.  I have some Thiel 1.6’s and they just don’t seem to fit the music I play most often. The setup will be in a 20x15’ living area with a vaulted ceiling; along the 20’ wall.  Any input is appreciated. 


Altec Stonehenge I or II will easily fill that space using the NAD 375 amp. I have the Stonehenge I's.

you are correct, the thiel 1.6 cannot do what you need, and especially in that size space.

In your budget, you need to buy used, and close enough to avoid shipping, close enough to meet the seller half-way, or you go and audition them, yay or nay ...

where do you live?

Audiophile respect? probably not, I’ve never heard them, but check out reviews of these. I am a BIG fan of level controls to adjust them for your space, and these drivers are large enough for your space.


yamaha ns1000


review just popped up

another one

list for sale certainly shows some respect for them

hifishark, sorted high to low price

Might be a bit more cash , but the current model JBL L100 CLASSICs ( pre-owned) are tailor- made for your music genre.

the original models released in the early 70’s were recording studio monitors with a pronounced bumped-up frequency curve to best reproduce the classic rock of that golden era .

a walk down memory lane ….

Yep …. Back in the Jurassic Age of this crazy hobby (the early 70’s …), there were two polar opposite “signature sounds ” being produced in the USA by the major leading speaker manufacturers .

NEW ENGLAND SOUND : (East Coast );

Think ACOUSTIC RESEARCH ( “AR”); Acoustic Research was a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company that manufactured high-end audio equipment. The brand is now owned by VOXX. Acoustic Research was known for the AR-3 series of speaker systems, which used the 12 in (300 mm) acoustic suspension woofer of the AR-1 with newly designed dome mid-range speaker and high-frequency drivers. AR’s line of acoustic suspension speakers were the first loudspeakers with relatively flat response, extended bass, wide dispersion, small size, and reasonable cost.

The AR-3 was widely regarded as the most accurate loudspeaker available at any cost in its time , and was used in many professional installations, recording studios, and concert halls. Many professional musicians used AR-3 loudspeakers as monitors because of their excellent sound reproduction.

These were faves for the classical, jazz, easy listening fans. Their main shortcoming was
- they were comparatively quite inefficient and thus harder for a home audio receiver to drive them
- they were anything but exciting for rock and pop. Frankly, they were comparatively boring in this segment. With the explosion of students in university clamouring for punchy speakers, they had a limited new fan base.


Think JBL-L100’s) ( I had back in my uni dorm) …. Driven by a MARANTZ 2245 receiver / ELAC MIRACORD TT with a SHURE V15 cartridge …. They were the cat’s ass for 60’s pop and 70’s rock popular genre music taking over the airwaves ….
In 1970, JBL released the iconic L100 Loudspeaker. Over the years, the L100 became the bestselling loudspeaker in JBL’s history.
The “California sound “ is a popular music aesthetic that originated with American pop and rock recording artists from Southern California in the 1960s and 70’s. Later, the sound was expanded outside its initial geography and subject matter and was developed to be more sophisticated, often featuring studio experimentations below.

These were everywhere in the early 1970s and onward, because they sounded great, thet were small compared to other speakers that sounded this good, and they played very loud without needing much power. (a perfect recipe for the college cohort budgets now buying the new gear)

The L100 was designed for rock & roll, efficiency, power handling, sine waves frequency responses (…heavy boosted treble, another peak in mids, AND a big boost in bass ) and sharp musical transients.

Think surf pop, British Invasion pop, 1967 Summer of Love pop, …then hard rock …Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Moody Blues, CCR, Jethro Tull, and reproducing the solid fundamentals of Genesis’ Taurus bass pedals, old & new Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd and everything deep and punchy.

KEY POINT. They were renowned as THE studio monitors in that era springing up in the west USA studios BECAUSE they dramatized / emphasized the recording industry engineers approach back then capitalizing on the prevailing music genre and purposely punching up the top, middle and bottom with peaks and valleys. Your favorite classic rock acts were probably recorded with JBL monitors, when L100s ruled the world.

Their easily identified sound, the so-called West Coast sound, was once a highly touted marketing feature.
- JBL speakers identified immediately as having a very pronounced treble peak
- JBL speakers as having a somewhat ragged and peaky midrange that could put the vocalist in your lap,
- booming bold bass
- Ad copy claimed that musicians and recording engineers were buying or stealing the original model 4310 (a professional studio monitor that preceded the L-100s) for home use.
- JBL did succeed in installing these monitors in most large recording studios in the 1970s, including Angel, Capitol, Deutsche Grammophon, Elektra, EMI, London/Decca, MGM, RCA, Reprise, Vanguard, and Warner Bros.
- Although they may have been responsible for some bad studio mixes from the ’70s and ’80s, even by today’s standards, they do amazingly well for a 3-way speaker with only 2 crossover components. Their relatively high sensitivity generates an incredible attack giving music an energy and presence that few other speakers could reproduce back then …
- They were sine curve frequency response party speakers that boogied AND PLAYED ROCK LOUD …full stop ..and anything but a flat response AR-3 above for classical and smoky basement venue jazz.


While 1970s L100s are awesome rock speakers and were often used as monitors in the studios where our favorite classic rock was recorded, they never sounded that great for serious classical music or jazz , or EZ listening. They always sounded like the music was coming out of a box from paper drivers, which these are.

These JBL speakers holds a nostalgic good vibe in my memories, and although I later upgraded into more linear and restrained flat response speakers paired with much superior electronics as I moved into “high end” audio, I’ve never forgotten the fond memories of the JBLs because of the foggy nostalgia of a mixed smell of beer, wafting wisps of Maui Wowee, and pizza in the dorm.

Would I rank them as performance peers to what I now have, or even consider to go back to them now, after ascending to a $50K 2-channel system with my HARBETH M30.2 XD’s with their exalted top-class midrange?

No …. My HARBETHs and a ATC subwoofer smoke the JBL’s and many others , but the L100’s were fun in their time as nostalgia pieces .


I had the NAD C370 as a predecessor model to your amp, so I know its signature sound very well. With its dark properties and rolled-off top end, the enhanced treble in the L100’s will be a welcome compensatory offset to better flesh out your music satisfaction IMO.



@jasonbourne71 thanks, will check them out!


@elliottbnewcombjr I am in the Scottsdale area and appreciate the input. Thanks for the info and links, will look them up. There is a pair of clean NS500M’s for sale locally within my budget and will research to see how they compare to the 1000’s. Thank you!

@akg_ca  wow, that is a ton of great info, thank you!  I was a teenager in the 70’s and totally into music, like I am today.  But I was never the kid with the great stereo, I had the Panasonic “all in one” system but being a dopey kid was reasonably happy. In the last several years I have been collecting vintage gear so I am familiar with AR (have an XA tt). I also know of the L100’s but have never heard them. Will look into them and see what’s available in the area. Thanks again! 

Vintage JBLs like 4311, 4312, and many in the L series can be found for $6-800. If they're all original and in good condition,they will fulfill your wishes. 

seems the 500 is similar 3 way, 12", level controls: except the 1000 have beryllium tweet/mid. replacing berylilium drivers could be hard and expensive, the ns-500m with conventional materials might be the better choice.

1000 is 8 ohms, sensitivity 90 db.

500 is 6 ohms, sensitivity 91 db

yamaha ns-500m spec sheet

no joke, they weigh 51 lbs

Not easy to find but if you spot a pair of used Ohm Walsh speakers in your price range, those are the ticket.

I listen to the same type of music you do.JBLs would be great also Zu DW6 is worth checking out.

Just a hair over your budget at $1200 used ($5000) new. This is a local pickup only so might not work but the Revel 208 is great for rock. It is super smooth and a touch rolled off room. For what it is worth I owned the Revel 228be and Thiel 2.4 at the same time and thought the Revel was much better for rock with the thiel being just a bit too bright. 

measurements here.


Sticking with the vintage theme of L100 and the 4311 JBLs, another option is to redo the XO for them.  I believe Troels Gravesen had worked one up to offer.  I had the 4311s but alas elected to go modern.  No regrets but I hated to part with them.  Bought with first summer job money before college days. Rocked alot of Yes, Rush etc.  Big sound.  Can't say they had good staging but prob never set them up properly.  

I’m going to throw in a hard to find but wonderful candidate. The Cerwin Vega R211 or R212 in the walnut laminate cabinets are the ultimate in my opinion. The Hard Rocker Series in real laminated wood are the most fulfilling speakers for the money, if you can find a pair.

I’d like to find another pair for myself that have been taken care of.

The McIntosh  box speakers were fantastic. I would make sure the cones have been redone. The weather and tear with time.  I had my my xrt 20 speakers redone at the factory 

Thanks everyone for the great information. I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

@elliottbnewcombjr are you in the AZAVClub ? We are are doing a DAC it Out event on the 27th of April. Whether you are or not, please attend if you have the time.

details here 10am - 4pm




thanks for the invite. 

I cannot come, I live in New Jersey, and know absolutely nothing about streaming except YouTube via my PC


The original xover is part of the magic of those models. They are not designed for inductors like the Gravesen design. The way the drivers overlap in frequency ranges above 1500hz is key to their powerful sound. I still enjoy mine. 

@mashif Wrote:


The original xover is part of the magic of those models. They are not designed for inductors like the Gravesen design. The way the drivers overlap in frequency ranges above 1500hz is key to their powerful sound. I still enjoy mine. 

! agree +1 See L100/4310 here!


It would be the same speaker that is best on classical, jazz and any other form of music that you did not mention. 


The JBL line is different. The woofers are descendants of the original D130 woofer used in the early JBL HiFi speakers in the 1950s. This speaker, and its many variations, also became the dominant speakers in electric guitar amps in the 60s that created the rock guitar sound. This led JBL to use similar drivers in their early studio monitors like the 4310 and 4311 that were designed for the higher SPL demanded by rock artists and producers. So those monitors and the consumer versions that followed all use woofers that reproduce electric guitars particularly well.  

That being said, JBL speakers are also great for classical, jazz, and any other form of music, as in your original premise. Audiophiles tend to avoid them because of their association with rock, to their detriment. I've seen all the "Junk But Loud" jokes but I smile because it keeps the price down on resales. 

I dont think the JBL line is any different! One speaker driver creates sound and the other reproduces. I just bought a pair of L100s and a pair of 65 Jubals with the intent to sell. JBLs do not appeal to my sonic palate. They did play loud I will give them this. 


For me, the $1,000 a pair is just not going to give you what you are looking for.....without having to add more money (surrounds, caps, drivers, blemishes). $1,400 to $1,500 might very well get that for you, and the JBL L100s, Yamaha NS1000s might be found in good enough condition.

Here are a couple of new recommendations KLH Model 5, Zu Audio DWX (large standmount) or DW6 floorstander (new these are under $2,000)....and use the same drivers. Even used these would be relatively new, and you shouldn't have to put any money into them. Great for rock and roll, not so much for Bach

Your Thiels need way more juice than your NAD can dish out. In fact, you can damage either, since the Thiels do dip to 1.6 ohms.


Get a pair of old Advents and be done.

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Give a listen to JBL L112  ESS MONITOR  ACOUSTIC RESEARCH  you might have to spend a bit more like $1500 . these speakers sound great with prog and rock , if you can't spend that much check out some PIONEER CS 903 OR 905 .GOOD LUCK

@johnnotkathi, I couldn't find the specs on your C735, but if it's got a little power the Canton Ergo 900dc @elliottbnewcombjr recommended should be awesome speakers. I have the 1002dc and love them in a room about your size. When I first got them I drove them with a 100 W Rotel Rx-1052 and they seemed very happy with that power. Worth an audition if you are near by. If you do, find out about those protrusions as Elliot mentioned.



such a great link to speaker choices

you can sort various ways, I start by sorting sensitivity

reduce power needs, and easiest way to try tubes. saves cost/weight/heat; increases competition, availability and placement options (remote signals)

speaker choices sort by sensitivity, highest at top