Bookshelf speaker upgrade

Hey guys, new Stellar GCD and S300 owner here. Currently running them with Elac UB5’s, but looking to upgrade. I can probably sell some old equipment and come up with about 2 grand.

Looking for a warmish, but still detailed pair of bookshelf’s with enough bass to get me by. May add a sub later. I listen to mostly decently well recorded 70’s progressive rock, classic rock and some well recorded modern rock/folk/prog.

Any recommendations on brands i should check out? Would prefer new, but used is definately not off the table.



If you are looking for monitors not necessarily to sit on a bookshelf I have been very impressed with Buchardt S 400. I am currently driving them with Stellar M700. Wide soundstage not at all fatiguing.


Thanks, those and the S300’s are definitely on my radar, but I’d prefer to audition if possible first. Also, I’ve got sand filled 24" Target stands these will go on, not a literal bookshelf lol

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KEF R300, Buchardt as mentioned, Dynaudio x38, I know is not a bookshelf, but very compact form factor. Or Dynaudio Emit 20, a bargain.

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Thanks guys! Keep them coming

Harbeth P3ESR, obviously.

I’m also intrigued by the Buchardt S400. Do they need some space for the rear passive radiator?

Noy heard KEF LS50, but they seem very popular, and Mrs McGowan has some.

Check out the Dynaudio bookshelves with their soft dome tweeters. They might give you the warmth and bass (sans subwoofer) you are looking for.

Those are exactly the reasons why I got mine. :slight_smile:


As I’ve upgraded everything else in my system but the Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2 have stayed with me and have risen to each upgrade occasion.

Dave Fabrikant only releases new models when he they truly outdo the last model.

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Which ones?

Thanks. I’ve heard very good things about these speakers. Another pair I can’t demo though, ugh…

Why can’t you demo them. They are direct only. I think speakers must be demo’d in my house. I see little point in listening in a shop or someone else’s space.

I don’t think shipping was much, the weigh 40lbs. total. You only pay return shipping.

I meant in a brick and mortar type place with maybe a home loan. How would you characterize the sound sig of the Sierra’s? Are the ribbon tweeters beamy?

Not at all. They are very broad in their cast horizontally, essentially no change up to 45 deg. Vertically, the change beyond 15 deg but that’s really not an issue with them on stands at ear height.

They also play very respectably to 40Hz before rolling off. I quite enjoy them without subs but I do have dual Rhythmic L12 to go with them.

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I personally own the Special 40s but any of their bookshelves should sound similar since all of them use some variation of their soft dome tweeter. It will just be a matter of finding one that fits your budget, space, and aesthetic needs :slight_smile:

Their Evoke line is brand new and was just release a few months ago.


I really like my ProAc Tablette 10 speakers. They mate well with my NAIM electronics plus they work well close to the back wall which I needed. They run about $2K. They also rank high in WAF, if that matters to you.

Here’s Darko’s review:


I am in love with the Focal Aria line. Their largest bookshelf is $1,500 MSRP.

I’ve never been a fan of Focal, always considering them a tad bright, hard and forward but these Aria speakers are so smooth and the tweeter is fast, extended but so buttery. A nice big sweet spot which some would say is a negative but not me.

Terrible descriptors but I feel like these speakers should sell for more.

I really want to hear the Buchardt S 400!!!


Heard Dynaudio Excite 14’s ($1000 MSRP) and Excite 18’s ($1500 MSRP) last Saturday at a dealer. 14’s sound small, 18’s were a big step up, more balanced, impressive bass from a monitor.

But am also a long time Ascend Acoustics fan, having owned the original CBM-170’s for roughly 18 years. Those particular speakers put the money into the guts, certainly not the veneer and have an old time sound, rich tone, incredible imaging, good dynamics, non-fatiguing, not hyper detailed. Note that I’ve never heard the Sierra.




Here’s my S 400
I use them in my cottage together with a Sprout 100

Here’s my S300

Next demo of the S 400 Speaker - we are seen

More love from Denmark

Note there is a slave base on the back of the speaker:sunglasses ::kissing_heart::smile:


ANY of these speakers would list for 3 to 5 times more if mass produced and sold through dealers. They are made to order and SOMETIMES come up for resale. My own personal opinion is that any of these would have you grinning like a cheshire cat. And, NO, I am not affiliated in any financial way just an extremely happy customer.

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Lots of brilliant recommendations so far. I’ll throw my hat in the ring for Dynaudio - I think they check the boxes you’re looking for. The soft dome tweeter they use is warm but detailed, and they go surprisingly deep for a bookshelf. Plus you can usually find a local dealer who carries them.

I’ve also seen a couple recommendations for Buchardt. I haven’t heard them yet, though I’ve heard enough people I trust recommend them that I’m intrigued to hear them for sure.