Help with high end bookshelf speakers

I need help please. Past few years I'm gone through a myriad of speakers and now my wife is relegating me to a third bedroom for a dedicated listing space. I'm trying to figure out what kind of bookshelf speakers I can use with a Hegel 390, Auralic, Denafrips DAC in an 11x12 room. Trying to decide if I need to change my whole system or find something that works with what I have.

Thanks everyone


Have you set up current speakers in new room yet?   What qualities did your previous speakers lack that you are looking for ?   

Best/only real way to know is to try to get a dealer to let you audition them in your home. Otherwise it will always be a guessing game to some extent, depending on how much you pay attention to measurements. 

Fritz makes excellent high end sounding speakers that are super easy to drive.

I’ll echo others — what speakers do you have now, what sound characteristics are you looking for, what’s your budget, and are you looking for new or used? Need more to go on here.  Also, is divorce an option?  That could potentially solve all your problems.  Heh heh.

I'm so in love with Fritz's Carbon 7 Mk2 SE that's what I'd try to make work, but it really depends on your tastes.

@ OP -- If you are looking for the realistic natural sound and the speaker that reproduces the original music, check below information.

Say "hello" repeat with below spkrs sounds and try hear your voice and speaker sound together.

When you listen a audio system at the show and people talk a lot and you want to say "please shut off. Let me listen to the music." Right. Human can’t listen to a human voice (natural sound) and audio music (electronic sound = un-natural sound) together.

People go to a live band cafe and enjoy the live music and hear friend’s voice together without any problem.

Now say "Hello" repeat with below spkr sound and try hear your voice and speaker sound together.

This speaker sounds like a real human voice and you should look for the speaker sounds like this. Alex/WTA

Humm, hadn't thought of divorce as an option but think it might be a tad more expensive.

after the divorce you will be free to do whatever you wish with the money you won't have (the lawyers will spend it)

Humm, hadn't thought of divorce as an option but think it might be a tad more expensive.

A long time ago Howard Stern, who had gone through a divorce himself, was interviewing Chuck Norris about his pricey divorce and gave him this advice — “You know why divorce is so expensive?  Because it’s worth it!”  

Audition Vivid S12.   Best bookshelf I have heard.  Clear, neutral timbre, fast, dynamic, easy to place, decent bass for a bookshelf.  Google and read pro reviews.  

Best bookshelves I’ve owned and heard out of many are the Tyler Acoustics Taylo Ref monitors. They use the same Seas drivers as the non-graphene Joseph Audio speakers, along with top shelf crossovers. Tyler no longer lists them on his website but I don’t see why he couldn’t make a custom order pair since all the required parts remain available.

Thank you everyone for all the great references. Each one has its intriguing aspects, sound signature, size, timber, price point, etc. The small speaker world is completely new for me, just wish there was some way to actually listen to one. Perhaps I'll try an audio show soon. 

@soix in every thread you respond to, you are always helpful in trying to bring out more info from the OP in order to give better advice. But, man, you have a great sense of humor and had me rolling on the floor with your divorce humor in this particular thread. 😂

Humm, hadn't thought of divorce as an option but think it might be a tad more expensive.


I think you answered your question.  TAD EVOLUTION. 


OP, beware.... ;)

Robin Williams: 'Divorce is like ripping a man’s genitals out through his wallet’

...another view, from her side:

An older couple being interviewed about their long marriage, and how they got through the typical trials of such....

"Did either of you consider divorce at any time when the going 'got rough'?

He clammed up....She got thoughtful for a moment.....

"  Murder....Yes"

Assuming divorce and murder are non-starters, may I suggest Harbeth 30.2 XDs.

-They are known to pair well with Hegel (I believe Harbeth shows their speakers with Hegel)

-I've compared them in my home (a large open plan space) next to my 40.3 XDs and it is really hard to wrap your head around how rich these speakers sound for their size (and comparative price, you could pick up a used pair in the US right now for around $4K)

-as advertised, they are easy to drive despite sensitivity of 86dB

-ignore the 50Hz bottom end, in a room they go way lower

-great near-field and not fatiguing  (6 ft apart and a couple of feet from side and back walls should be fine) 


-they do need proper stands IMO (Ton Trager or Resonant Woods)

-if loud classic or hard rock is your main genre look elsewhere; they excel with vocals (obviously), jazz, acoustic music and anything by Tom Petty (classified as rock I think but IMO his own genre and usually very high production values)    

You guys are all really encouraging, for 45 years I'm pretty much stuck. I'll just get a lock for the door to the dedicated listening space. In all seriousness, I'm curious why I didn't get the usual suspects when I asked about a high-end bookshelf speaker i.e. Sonus Faber, Dynaudio & Revel. Makes me wonder...

Audionote, the smaller less expensive 2 ways, I think K's. I had same issue. You can put them on a set of iso acoustic mini pucks on a cradenza or bookshelf against wall, vertical or horizontal and sit 6-7 feet away. Or, of course, stands. That makes best use of room.

@OP - Do you need to put the speakers on an actual bookshelf? The room isn't that small so unless there is no floorspace, you could look at floorstanders too.

@renosteve I think @macg19 makes a good point, not only about Harbeth, but other bass-capable stand-mount, or bookshelf speakers, their in-room response betters their specs, and the Harbeths are easy to drive— a desirable quality. 
​​​​​​@yoyoyaya Mentions floor-standers, which I favor, and which also don’t take up any more floor space than stand-mounts, and supposedly deliver better bass response than stand-mounts; the argument for stand-mounts is that they offer greater flexibility in managing room modes generated by the long standing waves of bass notes. With stand-mounts and a sub or two, you are much better able to tune the room. You have something in the toolbox the floorstander can’t duplicate. 
Another argument for stand-mounts is that they are reported to image well. 

Were I given the opportunity to start over in a room you describe, which closely resembles the temporary home of my system, I would go with stand-mounts and a relatively high-end sub (or two) that allowed for infinite phase adjustment. 

Final Note: In support of the stand-mount for the space, in my nearly square, five-doored, room with a large beam / ductwork splitting the ceiling reflections up, I find that a capable full-range floor-stander (B&W 801M Series 2; front-ported, 12” woofer, separate mid/tweeter enclosure) is a little ‘big’ for the space; compared to a vintage full-range ‘bookshelf’ (Warfedale W70E; 15” woofer, 5” mid, Mylar tweeter) in the same space. The B&W has a fuller, meatier tone (or timbre), but feels a bit constrained and not ‘good.’ I think more space would allow them to open up. The Warfedales image wonderfully, and the 15” woofer digs just a bit deeper than the B&W but lacks the B&W’s ‘slam.’

Motion Audio 100 bookshelfs have a wide frequency and can go deep without the need of a sub.

If you are looking at true high end, look no further than the Sonus Faber Guarneri. They are the best sounding bookshelves I've ever heard. I shopped extensively when I bought my end game speakers. Sonus Faber should be at the top of everyone's list. I ended up with a pair of Serafinos. Outstanding engineering and the most beautiful speakers available at any price point.



What’s your budget? What speakers do you currently have?

The PS Audio FR-5’s are fairly inexpensive and the Borreson M1’s are not. Help us give better advice.

If you want to try an excellent sounding bookshelf speaker that can be had used for under $500 a pair, I would recommend the KEF Reference Series 101. It's very well made and similar in design to an early Rogers LS3/5A. It even uses the same drivers but with a different crossover. If you don’t like them you could probably sell them for what you paid.

You Mentioned reflections. I like the idea of the Revel M126 with matching stands. They are really good with reflection due to the tweeter 5th gen wave guide, they have some very nice finishes, and they sound good with the Hegel series. 
Another option is the KEF R3 or R3 meta with a Nordost Heimdall speaker cable. It good for reflection, great for off axis, and it comes in nice finishes. 
last would be the Dali Minuet SE. it can be mounted on the wall, put on a shelf, or on a stand because it was designed to be within 8” off the wall do to the 45 degree angle port design. It only comes in burned walnut. It basically a Dali Micro KORE. I would use a speaker cable without silver. I would even try the $40 Micca speaker cables on Amazon. Yes I own/ use them on my second system. 
I know these are common brands but I have actually had experience with these combos. I hope his helped out today. 

I'm curious why I didn't get the usual suspects when I asked about a high-end bookshelf speaker i.e. Sonus Faber, Dynaudio & Revel. Makes me wonder...

Because for some reason, and despite being asked repeatedly by several others, you’re providing no info on budget, what speakers you’re using now, what specific improvements/sound characteristics you’re looking for, or if your looking for new or used.  Stop wondering and just share this basic and critical info and you’ll get much better and more specific/targeted recommendations here.  Sheesh.  Help us help you.

In the past I have enjoyed great sound from BW 805 d4 in a bookshelf set up. 

Full disclosure:  I also have a pair of Brand New - with warranty- of white BW 808d4 available here for $6500. This is below the price for an open box pair.


I'm a composer, pianist, and audiophile, and if you would like to seek great quality with great value, I recommend the following professional near field monitoring systems:

1.  More expensive, but great relative value for what you get (my current audio recording editing monitor system):  Genelec 8341A monitors (larger models are 8351 and 8361);  these can be -- but don't have to be -- combined with one or two related subwoofers (model 7350A or there are larger model options) -- I have two of these subwoofers that I purchased used.  I output my piano recordings from my MacBook Pro via USB through a MUTEC MC-3+ USB master clock/reclocker;  I've also purchased a new USB connection controller by Genelec for this system (model 9320A), but haven't received it yet.  All of the cabling is by DH Labs (, which was very reasonable.  What prompted me to investigate this system (including the MUTEC unit) were (a) Audio Science Review's Master Audio Review Index (these Genelec monitors were at the top of the rankings), and (b) a review on of the Genelec 8341A monitors, by an audiophile and pianist -- his comments were not only correct, but I went further and added the subwoofers, which substantially improved the system:  "Not a pro, just an audiophile; incredible sound for the price.  I'm not a sound engineer, just a software engineer and piano performance major with a long time love of audiophile systems that can reproduce natural, you-are-there sound. I bought these for my office workstation system, to provide "good enough" background playback of hi-rez streams from Qobuz and Tidal. I was flabbergasted to find that the 8341's driven by a bare bones Roon Macbook USB -> Mutec 3 front end could almost match the main listening system I've spent 15 years optimizing component by component at 20X the price point. Not to mention 10X the physical space requirement. FYI, I've tried plenty of 'bargain' hi-fi options as well over the years, from JBL to Paradigm to PSB to Focal and B&W mid level, so this isn't simply a case of a a stupid audiophile being unaware of what less expensive equipment with good base specs can do.  There is some material, such as 60's through 80's classic rock that I actually prefer on these over the main system."

2.  Much less expensive, but great (my prior audio editing monitors, which I still use for recreational listening):  Dynaudio BM6A MKII active monitors (which should be readily available used, or you could get the current model);  Dynaudio made (and perhaps continues to make) a subwoofer designed to supplement these.  

P.S.  I would also add, importantly, that having two source/headphone systems of similar total cost to the Genelec system, and after listening to vastly more expensive large systems, I think the best value audiophile solution -- if you want to optimize sound quality and listening alone -- are near-field monitors -- the audiophile sweet spot in driver size, in my opinion, because: (a) they minimize the room acoustic issues (since you sit close to them -- the drivers on my Genelec system are two feet from my ears) that are often costly major problems for large systems, while (b) providing large enough drivers to provide the physical acoustic bass/low mid-range that headphones can struggle to replicate because their drivers are necessarily small.  

Wow, this is kind of overwhelming, it all sounds great. 


@oldrooney seems to have similar room issues, think I'll try integrating a good sub in before I bail on the living room. I have a meager 5K budget so I need to appropriate the where the dollars go.

In the event I can get this room to play decently would digital room correction such as a mini-DSP have any value? Probably overthinking things again, just wondering.

Great input from all, thanks again.



I have a 390 so I know how capable it is. As such, it should be paired with an equally capable pair of speakers.  All can be found preowned at well below retail. 


perlisten r5m or s5m. 

borrsen x1

Dynaudio contour 20i or heritage specials 


42 posts in, and we finally have your budget.....of course you've gotten recommendations all over the place because no one knew your price constraints.

No need to replace any of your electronics, they are all very good. Some options to consider for a relatively small space such as your new room: Buchardt Audio S400 MKIIs $2,500, Fritz Carbon 7s $2,800, Borreson X1 $5,500, Philharmonic BMR $2,200, used Joseph Audio Pulsar Graphene $6,500, used Vivid Kaya S12s $4,800

$1800 (TMR)

Fosi V3 w/ 32 volts SMPS - $72 (Amazon)

Wiim ultra - $330 Crutchfield

Micca 14 AWG speaker cable $26 (Amazon)

Mogami 2964 RCA cable - $27

Total = $2255 + contribution to Uncle Sam

This inconspicuous system will fit the bill for a small room like yours.

@renosteve -- you've been asked repeatedly about your current system -- particularly the speakers -- and you've given several replies without ever answering the question.  Why?  Keeping things a secret makes it harder to give suggestions that will work for you (assuming, of course, that you happen to like your current system.)


Misstl questions WHY I ask about speakers, its due to change of location and terrible room acoustics. When moving I kept the core system but sold speakers thinking I would purchase some that fit best in the new house. Purchased a set of KRF R3 meta to test how the room reacted, it's very discouraging. Resolved myself to g  dedicated listening space in nearfield just trying to decide if I want to sell out to surround sound or a basic background system for the living room. Unfortunately like everything else with this move, including my wife is a challenge. I'd like to build a TT system up again once I get the core set. Since I am a old wannabe audiophile I'm trying to avoid to doing to do the same thing over and over again. What's the definition of crazy?


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