Looking for audiophile quality bookshelf speakers for master bedroom system

I have some extra gear, enough to set up a full stereo system in a smallish master bedroom of about 13’x15’, but I need some speakers to go with. Amplifier is a just refurbed Pioneer SX-950 which I will use with an Audio Alchemy DDP-1 DAC and an Audio Alchemy DMP-1 Media Streamer to stream Roon and I listen mostly to opera and classical music.
Just listened to a great review of Harbeth P3esr’s but then the reviewer said they are great as long as you’re sitting right next to them. I’ll be 5-6’ away. So I need to find something besides that Harbeth model.

I would disagree with the reviewer. I use my Harbeth P3s for a desktop system, but I initially heard them at a HiFi show from a distance of over 12’ and thought they were the best sounding small speakers I had ever heard, hence the purchase. Like all small passive speakers they are less effective for low bass so, even though I listen almost exclusively to chamber music, I complement them with a sub. I would be happy with this combination in any small to medium room. The do not have the power-handling to fill a large room.

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I agree with Chris, you don’t have to glue your ears to P3s.

I had P3ESR without a sub. I now have Raidho X1 with a sub. The Raidho are useless below about 90Hz, but have a miles better tweeter. I listen to plenty of opera, but only in opera houses. The Raidho are better for choral music as they image better.

In my case its as much to do with colour schemes.

Or just get a pair of Wilson Tune Tots. Problem solved.

Let me preface this by saying I’ve never heard the Harbeth P3 speakers. I did, however, hear the KEF LS50 a number of years ago at the NY Audio Show and was very impressed. And as far as I can tell at $1,500 they’re half the price if that’s a factor.


Welcome to the forum, there is a lot of experience and knowledge here from good people.

I’ve listened to P3s and was impressed with them, but then in the same listening room I was played the same tracks with the same amps with a pair of Watkin’s Stereo Gen 4s. The Gen 4s were so much fuller with low bass and crystal clear highs, I think the same price as the P3s.

The P3s are still in his show room for at least 2 years now, he can’t sell them after people hear his Gen 4 speaker.

I have a pair in my bedroom system.

While I have not heard the Watkins (which appear to get universal high praise), I have heard most of the usual suspects in the small speaker category, including the Harbeth. I’m partial to the Falcon LS3/5A. To my ears they sound more like music that the Harbeth. I do wish to be able to hear the Watkins, though.

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Happy Anniversary @tony22!!

I’m fortunate to live about 40 mins away from Watkins Stereo located in Kingsport, TN. When I bought my pair, Mr Watkins took me down into his manufacturing area and we picked out a pair of speakers from his inventory.


Agree with Chris and Steven on the P3ESR’s. :+1:

I love having audio in my main bedroom as well (about 13x18).

I’ve played around with putting otherwise-unused components in there, but I could never come up with anything that sounded as good as nice powered speakers. (Plus, for as loud as I would ever play music in this room, and as “critical” my listening would ever be, I just couldn’t see having a bulky assortment HI-FI components on top of my dresser.) Your decorating scheme – and gear placement – might be completely different, though!

I have something as simple (and inexpensive) as a pair of Polk Hampden powered speakers. Insanely cheap (less than $200 on ebay these days) and they really sound nice. Hide a chromecast audio dongle ($50) behind your dresser and you can stream just about anything. (I do have a tiny Topping D50 DAC that the Chromecast plays into using an optical cable, then analog out to the speakers from the DAC, but even that’s a bit of overkill. The DAC is to the right of the clock.)

I keep thinking I might upgrade to KEF LSX (or even LS50 Wireless II) but it would only be because of upgrade-itis.

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Hey, thanks!

Great to have you here @tony22 !

Many thanks for lots of great advice. I will look into the various suggestions (Kef, Raidho, Watkins, Kef, Falcon) with great interest. I think the reply that really got to me was the one about putting so much gear atop my bedroom dresser. Honestly, I really don’t like the idea much at all, especially the huge Pioneer. My dresser is a much longer affair than the one pictured. There is enough room for everything, but nothing else. I’ll especially miss my jewelry stash and the lamp. My original idea was to buy powered speakers like Audio Engine to go with the trio of Audio Alchemy gear. But then what will I do with my extra Pioneer SX-950? I’ll have to put it in my closet. :weary::see_no_evil:.

The KEF LS50 is an excellent small speaker. Had I been on a budget I might well have chosen them, but I did think the P3ESR sounded better.

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Maybe this will only complicate things, but I do have a pair of Spendor S3/5 speakers at my computer. Anyone know how they would compare to the suggestions made? I don’t use my computer much anymore so I could buy something for my computer and put the Spendors in for my bedroom system.

The spendors will be same size as the P3ESRs, so you could certainly try it to see if you’re ok with components/cables on the dresser. :+1:

I’d say another vote for powered speakers would be remote control, but if you’re listening to roon you’re probably using a phone or tablet to control tracks/volume, etc…

But I will say, as cool as the lights on the pioneer might look, it might be nice not to have to get up to turn the receiver off as you drift off to sleep listening to your music. :slight_smile:

I also have a couple of Devialet Reactors. One in the kitchen and my wife has one in her studio. Very neat and tidy, perfectly good sound and amazing dispersion, so you can put it anywhere. Roon Ready or just use Airplay or other services it hosts.

We also have a Naim MuSo Qb2. Another brilliant device.

I just set up a pair of Dynaudio Xeo 10’s with a Bluesound Node 2i on the garage workbench and I’m beyond thrilled. Simple, clean little system.

Here is a deal on the Harbeth P3

KEF LS50 Wireless or KEF LS50 Wireless II.

Trust me.

Second hand with 3 previous owners!