Sound Advice: Several potential successors for Insignia speakers


Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

Question: It appears that Best Buy doesn't carry the Insignia NS-B2111 bookshelf speakers anymore. Do you have any replacement recommendations?

TOM DEMARCO

Pittsburgh

Answer: Though the NS-B2111 has been discontinued for more than a year now, I still get asked this question a great deal. Unfortunately, I am still looking for a great-sounding bookshelf speaker for under $100 and I hope the NS-B2111 doesn't turn out to be a once-in-a-lifetime product.

Speakers are the most important part of a sound system and are worthy of a significant investment. A high-quality pair of speakers will last 20 years or more, making them a better long-term investment than any computer, television or digital camera. The sweet spot for high-quality bookshelf speakers is around $250 to $350, so I will start at the rock bottom and go up to there. The direct sales brands all have money-back guarantees.

Monoprice: This speaker is a conditional recommendation meant for those on a very serious budget. Monoprice sells bookshelf speakers with 6-inch and 8-inch woofers for $28.03 and $54.33 per pair, respectively. I heard them at the Consumer Electronics Show last year and they sounded a bit shrill at high volumes, but some treble adjustment could tame that a bit. For less than $30, you can get sound in your garage or utility room or background music in an office or bedroom -- www.monoprice.com

Pioneer: The SP-BS41LR is the closest thing to an Insignia successor I have yet to find. These Pioneer bookshelf speakers sound a bit better than the Insignia NS-B2111 and can play at louder volumes, so I would rate their performance as superior though I preferred the looks of the Insignias. The SP-BS41LR list for $179 per pair but can be found online for under $115 if you shop around. The Pioneer SP-FS51LR towers are an even better buy at $199, and you won't need stands -- www.pioneerelectronics.com

Arx from The Audio Insider: If you want to get a taste of the GoldenEar Technology Aon 3 speakers I have raved about in the past (and now own) but you don't want to spend $1,000, check out the $299 Arx A1b speakers from The Audio Insider. Arx speakers use exotic driver technology for the woofers and the planar magnetic tweeters and yield a very detailed, natural sound with just the right touch of warmth. They do not produce the bass impact or incredible, airy detail of the class-leading GoldenEar speakers, but when you hear them and know you only spent $299 you will feel like you got away with something -- www.theaudioinsider.com.

Axiom Audio: The $328 M2v3 from Axiom Audio is the latest update of one of my favorite bookshelf speakers. Axiom devotes a lot of engineering resources into its products, and you can tell by the very precise, accurate sound of their speakers and the perfectly-formed notes they produce. Axiom's custom finish shop allows you to create your own look from dozens of possibilities -- www.axiomaudio.com.

Wharfedale: This storied British manufacturer has a new focus on the North American market, spearheaded with its acclaimed Diamond 10 series. I recently tested the Diamond 10.1 ($350) and loved the looks; warm, very British sound; and solid bass impact from a very compact speaker -- www.soundimport.com.

interact

Read product reviews by Don Lindich at soundadviceblog.com.


Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here