OPINIONS VARY: Small room, “budget priced” speaker advice, please

"Hi,

I recently sold my dearly beloved, old Vandersteen 2C's here on Audiogon (and I hope SgtPeppers is loving them at this moment!) I did this because in our remodeled house, my new listening room (which will double as a guest room) is just too small for the 2C's. The Spousal Acceptance Factor was just too low.

I have a PS Audio Elite-Plus integrated amp for power (around 70 W/Ch) and a soon-to-be-shipped-off-for-a-refurb Sota Sapphire for an analog front end (I have "miles" of vinyl)! I will also get a CD player at some point.

For now, I need to find a pair of best-of-breed, truly "budget" speakers. By "budget," I'm talking upper limit of $850/pair. (Gone are my free-spending, single days... I'm a dad now...)

Listening habits: lots of 60's and 70's folk and rock, some jazz, Donald Fagen/Steely Dan, a little classical. Listening volume: not too loud. Sonic preferences: I value transparency and imaging/soundstage. Bass should be accurate above all, as opposed to chest-pounding powerful.

I've looked at Paradigms, which I know are highly regarded at lower price points. Trouble is, our one, local dealer is primarily a TV/home theater outfit, so you're trying to hear them in a showroom crammed with other stuff... you know the drill. I've also hit a high end shop. Listened to a pair of PSB small towers and disliked them; they sounded muddy and veiled to me. Listened to a pair of the smallest Rega's and liked them quite a bit, but would want to go back to listen again. I even wrote to PS Audio for advice; they recommended the "baby" Epos monitors, but they're out of my price range.

Thanks if you've read this far. Knowing how subjective all this is, I'd still welcome any advice you have to offer about what I should try to audition."

Answers HERE