Favourite speakers under INR 20k

DB1989

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Though not my favourite speakers under 20K as the title suggests (the mantle still belongs to the Boston Acoustics A26), i recently acquired a pair of PSB Alpha P5s for exactly that sum brand new and i was pleasantly surprised at what this diminutive pair could do.

In the changed landscape of increased prices with next to no bookshelves having a 6.5 inch driver available under the said budget, the PSB Alpha P5s do offer up a taste of hi fi sound at a budget with a very balanced presentation that cannot be faulted with. As one of my friends quite astutely observed, they sound like a smaller version of the KEF Q350s. And if the KEFs have proved to be anything, it would be the one size fits all universal favourite for those who've lent them a ear (to clarify, in my setup).

Another attribute worthy of note is the bass they produce. For roughly the size equivalent of a single Klipch RP600M and despite being much smaller than a single Wharfedale Evo 4.2 for the pair of the P5s, their bass quantity is anything but half of the aforementioned speakers, something i found rather remarkable. However, this does come at the expense of Port chuffing at loud volumes which can be heard distinctly near the speaker.

While remarkable, the bass simply does not dig as deep as a 6.5 incher such as my BA A26 or have the same quantity. And that added depth and quantity that a 6.5 inch driver makes, at least in speakers at this budget when compared to their smaller brethren, makes that stretch to get them worth all the hunger pangs one needs to endure.

If size is absolutely a concern, these fit the bill perfectly. However, to my mind and in my experience, you need to place them on stands to extract the maximum from these (they sounded terrible when placed on the center console, even after using acoustic foam risers) which entirely negates their size advantage compared to other bookshelves.

Build quality wise, they're pretty solid though the black wood finish on mine makes them look a bit too generic. Compared to the P5s, the Boston Acoustics A26 have much better perceived quality and presence owing to their gloss black finish though actual fit and finish are better on the P5s when viewed closely. The grills are another stand out being magnetic and made of metal which offers real protection compared to fabric ones.

So who are these speakers for then? For somebody who absolutely cannot make that stretch to the likes of the Mission QX2 or the Q Acoustics 3030i, does not intend to get a party started with these in a large room, does not intend to place them on stands and is pairing them with a subwoofer, it's a perfect fit.

At 28K which most online stores are selling it for, there are better options available in my experience.
Revisiting this Post as there is another attribute worthy of note about these mini marvels i.e. the sensitivity. The P5s have a stellar sensitivity rating of 89db for not being a horn loaded speaker and for a driver that is only 5.25". I may be mistaken but i do not think there is any other speaker with this high a sensitivity rating with a 5.25" driver which is not horn loaded.

And to my mind, sensitivity is an important point to consider while shopping entry level speakers since budget amps, such as the SMSL DA8S and the FX Audio D502 that i tried the P5s with, struggle to drive my lower sensitivity speakers such as the KEF Q350 and the Boston Acoustics A26.

While a number of manufacturers exaggerate their sensitivity figures, notably Klipsch insofar as the RP 600M is concerned (they are closer to 91db sensitivity as a comparison between my Quad S5s and the Klipsch RP600Ms by playing pink noise with the volume knob at the same level yielded the same decibel reading on my Umik-1. Since Hifinews had already done measurements on the Quad S5 and found its sensitivity to be 91db, I assume so is the RP600M based on the aforementioned test), PSB seems to be spot on with their specs.

Ergo, being 89db, the aforementioned budget Class D amps managed to drive the P5s to reasonably loud volumes whilst running out of steam with much bigger speakers with larger 6.5" drivers such as the KEF Q350 and BA A26.

Now, when someone on a tight budget factors in the amp into the price, suddenly the P5s do make a lot of sense. The entire budget of my bedroom setup was 20K for the PSB Alpha P5s+ 13K for the SMSL DA8S = 33K. However, for my budget pick i.e. the Boston Acoustics A26 which i purchased for approx 15K, one would need a Marantz PM6006 (27-30K) or at the very least, the PM5005 (21K-25K, but adding digital connectivity will again cost extra) which increases the cost substantially and may be the difference maker. Again, the BA A26 is no longer available so there aren't many options left below 20K, if any, for speakers with a driver larger than 5.25".

And to my mind, it'll be really difficult to extract more performance through any other combination of speaker and amp on this date at a price point of 30K.
 
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SanVJ

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I'm too looking for a bookshelf speakers around 20k price point. It's for desktop setup, so looking for a small size speakers.

Amp : Fosi BT20A

Which one should I choose
1. Micca RB42
2. Fyne Audio F300
3. Q Acoustics 3010i
4. PSB Alpha P3

And please let me know if there are any other options at this price point.
 

SanVJ

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I'm too looking for a bookshelf speakers around 20k price point. It's for desktop setup, so looking for a small size speakers.

Amp : Fosi BT20A

Which one should I choose
1. Micca RB42
2. Fyne Audio F300
3. Q Acoustics 3010i
4. PSB Alpha P3

And please let me know if there are any other options at this price point.
Moderators, could you please move this to a new thread?
 

irv

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I'm too looking for a bookshelf speakers around 20k price point. It's for desktop setup, so looking for a small size speakers.

Amp : Fosi BT20A

Which one should I choose
1. Micca RB42
2. Fyne Audio F300
3. Q Acoustics 3010i
4. PSB Alpha P3

And please let me know if there are any other options at this price point.
I have a pair of Wharfedale D 220s if you are interested.
 

SanVJ

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I think they are similar size

I think they are similar in size to the ones you mentioned and suitable for desktop use as they are bottom ported.
I'll consider it brother, thanks.

As it is my first ever set-up I'm looking for new speakers.
 

DB1989

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I'm too looking for a bookshelf speakers around 20k price point. It's for desktop setup, so looking for a small size speakers.

Amp : Fosi BT20A

Which one should I choose
1. Micca RB42
Haven't heard them but from what I've read about them, they're decent if you can get them for a bargain basement price. Users I've spoken to aren't per se happy with these

2. Fyne Audio F300
Never heard them. Coaxial drivers should image well though I've seen a lot of people find it's presentation polarizing. Try listening before taking the plunge with the these.
3. Q Acoustics 3010i
A very safe choice. They don't do anything particularly wrong. However, they're more or less the same size as the Wharfedale D220 so they'll be a bit too big for your desk.
4. PSB Alpha P3
I have the P5 and one thing they do right is sensitivity - they're at 89db and are driven by my SMSL DA8S to loud volumes without much ado. However, i do find it lacking just a bit in the bass department compared to my 6.5 inch bookshelfs. 4 inch on the P3s along with their limited size gives me cause for concern - not only the P3 but all speakers on your list unless you plan to use them with a subwoofer.
 
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DB1989

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I'll consider it brother, thanks.

As it is my first ever set-up I'm looking for new speakers.
All the more reason to go pre-loved. You get much better speakers at the same price as new speakers and If you don't like them, you can flip it for more or less the same price as that acquired, something that is simply not possible with new speakers. And don't worry about warranty and the like, passive speakers are very very hardy and last forever unless unreasonably abused. Active speakers are a different story.
 
A beautiful, well-constructed speaker with class-leading soundstage, imaging and bass that is fast, deep, and precise.
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