It’s back! Another installment in this occasional series, “The Speaker Spotter”, picking out the most interesting speakers available on my local Craigslist. Today’s Speaker Spotter focuses on bookshelf speakers for the best sound possible in a small package. As always, I’m not affiliated with any of these sellers, and if the ad is gone then it’s likely the speaker sold already.
Here’s what’s interesting this week!
Bose® Direct/Reflecting Speakers – Model 201 Series II
$40 in Lakewood, WA
Bose doesn’t get a lot of love in audiophile circles, but I’m a pretty big fan myself, and these 201 Series II speakers are back from the era where they devoted a bit more to quality engineering than many of their products do today. I’ve heard various sets of 201s myself, and they provide a great room-filling sound with pleasant tone characteristics, as long as you don’t expect too much volume or earth-shattering bass.
Boston Acoustics CR-8 Speakers
$100 in Port Townsend, WA
Boston Acoustics is a venerable audiophile speaker brand, and these little 2-way bookshelf speakers designed for 15-125W of power can deliver a pretty great 90 dB efficiency and should give a great, detailed sound. Some people find them to be a little bright, though – I prefer a bright sound signature personally, so that sounds right up my alley!
Pioneer CS-33a Vintage Speakers
$149 in South Everett, WA
Pioneer vintage speakers are nicely well regarded, and these feature those beautiful latticework grilles they’re known for. Great looking shape for a speaker that was built in 1971! They’re very efficient but only accept up to 35W of output power, so proper amp pairing is a must with these.
Tannoy Revolution R1 Bookshelf Speakers
$150 in Shoreline, WA
Tannoy is a well-known British hi-fi brand, and their speakers are top notch, from their flagship Westminster GR on down. These little speakers support bi-amplification and deliver 87 dB sensitivity at 8 Ohms, and I expect will sound fantastically accurate for any music source. Nice under-stated design and cherry finish, too!
KEF 101/3 Reference Speakers
$199 in Lynnwood, WA
KEF is another UK speaker brand, with a very interesting time-aligned coaxial driver system to help these speakers present as more of a point-source, which can reduce certain kinds of phasing distortion you’d get from separately positioned drivers. This gives them a cool, monolithic design – although they, too, support bi-amplification just like most higher end speakers. They’re 6 ohms nominal, but that’s not a problem for many amplifiers these days, and they’re middle of the road efficient at 87 dB 1W*1m.
Heco Phon 3 SF Speakers
$200 on Snoqualmie Ridge
These vintage German hi-fi speakers are a bit of a mystery. They look to have an interesting 3-way design, and the labeling indicates they’re 4 Ohm impedance speakers for 60-100W of power handling. Beyond that, they’re a bit of a mystery! Looks like this could be an interesting addition to any speaker collection.
Polk Audio RTi A1 Bookshelf Speakers
$205 in Seattle’s Crown Hill neighborhood
Polk Audio’s offerings go down pretty far into the economy side of the spectrum, but their higher end offerings are quite good, and these RTi speakers are a respectable offering. They’re 89 dB efficient and offer extended treble frequency response to 27 kHz. Looks fantastic in the beautiful cherry finish, too! These routinely sell for around $300, so this is a pretty solid deal.
ERA Design SAT 5 Bookshelf Speakers
$350 in Kirkland, WA
These are interesting little high-end bookshelf speakers. Nominally 6 Ohms ant 87 dB efficient with a long-throw 4″ woofer and horn-loaded 1″ dome tweeter, I expect they sound extremely crisp and efficient, and with that woofer design punch above their weight in the bass department – and High Fidelity Review agrees! Looks great in piano-black, too.
JBL L-96 Bookshelf Monitors
$500 in Kirkland, WA
Anyone familiar with vintage speakers knows JBL and knows how great they sound. Recently re-foamed, these should be in good shape for decades to come. They’re pretty efficient at 89 dB, and the titanium dome tweeter provides incredible clarity and detail in the upper ranges. So much so, in fact, that people often turn the treble down a bit. A great addition to your collection if you’ve got the room and the cash!
Like what you see? Click through to the ad and contact the seller!