Hello and bookshelf questions

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  • Jr. Member
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Hello and bookshelf questions
« on: 16 May 2020, 12:21 am »
Hi Everyone,

I am wondering what Salk bookshelf speakers you would suggest.  My system:

Pass Xa25 power amp
Aric Audio Unlimited preamp
EAT C-major turntable
Black Cube phono amp
Metrum Onyx Dac
B&W 705s2 speakers
B&W subwoofer
NUC with Audiolinux/HQPlayer

The B&W's are very good speakers, but I am looking to upgrade.  I have to stick with bookshelf, as my "listening room" is my garage.  It's a shop, garage, office, etc.  The grandkids, dog, cat, dust, cold and heat are there. 

I listen to classical, chamber music, baroque, blues, jazz, rock.  While the B&W's are very good, I would like more something more revealing and fast, without losing mid-bass or presence.




Phil A

Re: Hello and bookshelf questions
« Reply #1 on: 16 May 2020, 04:13 am »
Welcome!  There's a used pair for sale too - https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=169197.0

Wind Chaser

Re: Hello and bookshelf questions
« Reply #2 on: 16 May 2020, 05:17 am »
Welcome to Audio Circle.  :D


Re: Hello and bookshelf questions
« Reply #3 on: 16 May 2020, 12:09 pm »
I've never heard a Salk product but from my reading not a bad choice whatsoever.  Are you parked on just this one vendor?  There are tons of other great bookshelves on the market.  ATC, Dali, Proac, Harbeth PMC etal.  List goes on.


  • Full Member
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  • The elephant normally IS the room
Re: Hello and bookshelf questions
« Reply #4 on: 16 May 2020, 02:37 pm »
Welcome Jim!

Have you heard Salk's?  What's your budget?  That must be a very nice garage.  Most garages with concrete floors are very acoustically "alive" (lots of echo).  Our 3 car garage sounds like a church when I occasionally sing while feeding my wife's show rabbits (she currently has 32), they don't seem to mind.

Another good vendor is Fritz Heiler.  Great guy, sells only 2-way great sounding monitors using first order amp friendly purist crossovers.  Heard a pair 11 years ago at a show and was impressed (hard for me to be impressed at a show).  Note that Jim Salk is a great guy too.  His designs are by committee.  He picks the drivers, Dennis Murphy designs the crossover, and Paul Kittinger does the cabinets.  His monitors are all ported 2 and 3 ways.  But what he's best known for is excellent veneering work (way too nice for any garage I've seen). 

For your stated wants I'd target 7 inch high-end woofer, beryllium or ribbon tweeter, and efficiency over 90 dB/2.83 volts/meter.  Among the Salk offerings that leaves you with the $3800/pair 2-way SS 6M and $6300/pair 2-way Exotica R monitors.  Among Fritz's offerings the closest match to this criteria is the $3500/pair rear vented Carrera (efficiency is only 87 dB/2.83 volts/meter).


Re: Hello and bookshelf questions
« Reply #5 on: 16 May 2020, 02:57 pm »
Welcome aboard, Jim.

I assume Jim Salk still sells them...the Ellis 1801B.  We ran an extensive $2,000 monitor shootout a few years ago, and these topped the testing and listening scores.  Great speakers.  And I'll echo others...I wish I had a garage worthy of some good speakers.



  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 15
Re: Hello and bookshelf questions
« Reply #6 on: 16 May 2020, 04:59 pm »
Thanks for the warm welcomes!

I don't think the garage is an optimal listening space, it just happens to be my listening space.  As many of you, I'm sure, do, I listen mostly while doing other things.  Working, building, crafting, fixing, grandkids, like the sunshine, etc.  So my garage is my choices of spaces.  It is a garage at times, a workshop, an office weekdays (computer guy working from home), etc.  it's a garage in pretty much every sense.  But I do take care of my equipment.  Keep it protected and clean.  There's foam in the garage doors,  wood racks on the wall, particle board with insulation covers 3 walls, tools and pegboard, mats to stand on, etc.  It's not just an empty box.  But I know it could be improved on.

One of the reasons I am looking at Salk speakers is dynamics.  I recently bought a pair of Omega Super Alnico Monitors.  Wonderful top end, very revealing and fast.  Listening to Art Blakey drum is amazing.  But I miss the mid bass and the fullness that I feel the vocals should have.

You are correct JLM, the veneer is not high on my priorities.  Although nice looking speakers are ..., well, nice!  But fast, revealing with a good midbass presence.  To get that I probably have to spend.  I have not heard much and not Salk.  I live in a high-end audio deprived area.  I have looked at Fritz, Devore 3xl (small mid driver though), Tannoy Eaton (a little large?), Harbeth (do I have to pay a middleman?  And I have British speakers that I plan on keeping).  My wife thinks I'm crazy, as she loves B&W.  At one time I had planned on upgrading to the 805d3, but now with the Pass Xa25 (which I plan on being buried with :) ), I need more efficient speakers.  Hence my quest.

But please, keep the info coming!  Many advisors is good.  Oh, $6000 is tops.


  • Jr. Member
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Re: Hello and bookshelf questions
« Reply #7 on: 16 May 2020, 05:54 pm »
Your other gear seams worthy, so why not?




  • Jr. Member
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Re: Hello and bookshelf questions
« Reply #8 on: 17 May 2020, 04:39 pm »
I have a pair of the Exotica monitors with the ribbon tweeter. The high sensitivity and RAAL makes for a really fast and luxurious sound. The bass is full but not extended, they do have the lower midrange that is so hard to get right. I use a subwoofer with them with the crossover point at it's lowest setting. The thing I really like about them is that they sound good anywhere in the room, which is not the case with most speakers. They are not small monitors by any stretch of the imagination but you really can't get the bass in a smaller cabinet.


  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 15
Re: Hello and bookshelf questions
« Reply #9 on: 17 May 2020, 04:57 pm »
Thanks, Hydro.  Good to hear from someone who has them!  I like what you said about them.

Big Red Machine

Re: Hello and bookshelf questions
« Reply #10 on: 17 May 2020, 07:36 pm »
You can't go wrong with any of the Salk monitors. You have to decide if a domed or ribbon tweeter is to your liking and if you have a preference on woofers. They are a custom speaker company so if you want a different combo, and they say they might be good matches, you can go that route as well.