Second pair of speakers for pop and rock

£4.5k almost exactly a year ago, from a small-time dealer who advertised on HiFi for Sale marketing site, located by having a standing search set up on Hifi Shark. My search had been in place for a long time (several years), and never before seen as low as that! I responded fast: hifi Shark email came overnight, I saw at about 7am, emailed seller, received phone response about 9:00 and agreed my visit for later that day to hear (and buy). I was very fortunate in being only about 100 miles away at the time, with a large enough vehicle, on the way back from a campervan holiday in France.


Wow - that’s a great deal.

Yep - too good to miss, and my wife took no persuading at all! The best I’d offer I’d had before that were ex-dem, at about double the price, and I had regretted not going for them!

In the USA, this was known as the “West Coast” vs “East Coast” sound. West Coast sound was considered Rock (JBL, Cerwin Vega, etc) while East Coast sound (AR, Advent, EPI, etc) was considered Jazz/Classical.
Certainly some validity to the distinction (back then), not sure how it holds up with todays speakers (BBC Sound excepted).

And do peoples tastes split geographically like that?! (What do those in the middle listen to?)

Country - doesn’t matter what speaker you use for that!


Why did I expect that?!

I was in my dealer’s last weekend and they had the L100 Classic Mk2 hooked up to a McIntosh integrated amp (a brand I strongly dislike) but I have to admit the smooth jazz they were reproducing was mesmerising. It was refined and had serious presence and depth of image.

Well it was new music and really good music. Just well recorded. Those pmc are far too big and expensive.

In a word - no. It might help a little, giving a bit more grip and drive, but the Harbeth’s are what they are. Getting a single pair of speakers that suits all your needs is by far your best option IMO. Most people seem to manage it OK!

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Maybe you could take a listen to the PMC twenty5.22i. It’s the larger of their domestic twenty5 series. I have the smaller 21i and they are very good with all the music I listen to; from solo classical, through jazz, world, folk etc to my beloved 80s indie stuff. Being transmission line they have a tight, fast and deep bass. The 22 is a bigger sound and should match well with your excellent 222/250.

I’d try some NEAT Acoustics speakers. IME they are great all-rounders, suit Naim gear well and look the ‘dogs’.

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Thanks. I thought the 5.24i could possibly work. I prefer a small floorstander to a bookshelf. How does it compare to 5.22i? Although my friend had the old 5.22 and found the tweeter edgy and aggressive. I think 5.26i perhaps may overload the room.

In terms of Neat, the orkestra seems to be getting good reviews but not sure if there is too much bass response.

To be more specific about the room, it’s actually 10mx4.3m, but the Hifi area is long wall to long wall at the end of the room, so there is a big open space to the left of the couch. The shl5 plus bass doesn’t overload it by any means, and it could probably even handle a touc more bass.

Spendor is another option, but the d7.2 gets a lot of mixed forum feedback, with some preferring the a7.


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I think you are at the stage now when you just need to demo some of the speakers at home and see what works for you - you have a good shortlist!


Deleted, please remove.

Your room is large, so hardly.

Possibly better fire the speakers ‘down’ the room, but not right in corners, couch across with open space behind you - no early reflections, L-R symmetrical. If couch there unnacceptable you could reverse, soeaker backs to the open space, but keep the couch out from the end wall.

Thanks, that’s useful. All the speakers you list should work well with your 222/250.

I have personal experience with two on your list: Kudos C20 and ATC SCM40 (mine are active). I struggled with the C20s: too much bass and treble for me in a smaller room, but theybmight just give you the sound you’re after. A lot of folk like them. The ATCs are very different. They major on neutrality. If you want to emphasise certain aspects of the music, I wouldn’t recommend them. But if you want to faithfully reproduce what is being fed to them, they’re hard to beat at the price, to my ears. If you do go for a single set of genre-agnostic speakers as others have suggested, I’d definitely recommend an audition.



…listening to some early noughties Depeche Mode at the moment through my ATC SCM 40s. Really dense mix but the mid range driver cuts through and makes absolute sense of the music. I think they are magic…

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The single speaker idea is starting to appeal due to space, practicality and family reasons…

Has anyone compared the Neat Majistra to Orkestra? Reviews seem to suggest it’s a step up on ekstra and ministra, and not just in bass output. Just working out which to demo. Elite classic seems highly regarded too.

I should also mention the speakers have to work well at low volumes when the family is asleep late at night. The shl5 plus does this very well. A sealed box design is typically not the way to go for this use case.


The one critical thing I would say is that every speaker sounds very different from every other, save for ‘family’ resemblance, and whatever anyone else likes or recommends is no indication that you would like. Auditioning as many as possible is advisable.

Personally I have yet to hear a domestic suitable speaker better to my ears than transmission lines, IMF originally, and more recently PMC’s upper ranges (beyond the Twentyxxxx). That said I have not heard ATC’s hifi speakers, though I am very familiar with, and love their 3" dome midrange unit, featured in the 40 and upwards. (Based on spec, the 50 is the lowest I’d audition, expecting nothing below the 100 or even 150 to satisfy me.)