• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Small bookshelf speakers for valve amp

crumbs

Standard Member
I'm looking for a set of small bookshelf speakers and my requirements are as follows:

1. Driven by a valve-amp (eg. Roth Cocoon MC4 or Fatboy i-Tube)

2. Source: Apple iPod

3. Placement: bookshelf

4. I'm looking for a laid-back, rich sound. Something that is controlled and not harsh. Not too boomy or bass-rich. Good spatial imaging and lots of detail and clarity. Something that will produce music that is very easy to listen to all day long.

5. Budget: up to £150 max

I've narrowed it down to three speakers:

- Roth Audio OLi1 (£99)
- Tannoy Mercury F1 Custom (£110)
- Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (£150)

Does anyone have any experience of these speakers and can recommend one of those (or even a set that isn't on my shortlist) that will match a valve-amp and produce the sound quality that i'm after?
 

MR. APPLEHEAD

Established Member
I know that the Tannoy's and the 9.1's sound good for their price and size. But I wouldnt know which is better. Have a look on What Hifi. Their reviews are trustworthy and you will easily find what your looking for.:thumbsup:
 

eaglemmoomin

Prominent Member
Tbh I'd actually give What Hifi a miss for reviews. Its an entertaining read and all but they tend to be a bit latest whatever is the greatest. I tend to feel:)rolleyes:) they are all subjectivity and no analysis. I'd actually edge more towards HiFi Choice or something like that as they seem to be more consistent in their views and opinions.
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
I'm looking for a set of small bookshelf speakers and my requirements are as follows:

1. Driven by a valve-amp (eg. Roth Cocoon MC4 or Fatboy i-Tube)

2. Source: Apple iPod

3. Placement: bookshelf

4. I'm looking for a laid-back, rich sound. Something that is controlled and not harsh. Not too boomy or bass-rich. Good spatial imaging and lots of detail and clarity. Something that will produce music that is very easy to listen to all day long.

5. Budget: up to £150 max

I've narrowed it down to three speakers:

- Roth Audio OLi1 (£99)
- Tannoy Mercury F1 Custom (£110)
- Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (£150)

Does anyone have any experience of these speakers and can recommend one of those (or even a set that isn't on my shortlist) that will match a valve-amp and produce the sound quality that i'm after?

For either of the above amps,you will need something relatively efficient,and easy to drive in terms of load.

The Wharfedales would be a good choice,and the tannoys are also an easy load.
You may also be able to find used Quad 11s around which would offer better overal quality and may help stretch your budget a bit.

Please do not be swayed by magazine reviews other than as a list of speakers to try.....choice is very subjective,and advice offered by persons with no experience of the speakers concerned should also be treated with caution.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Any of the three speakers listed will probably do a good job for the original poster. Since you are using a low power Valve Amp, the only thing you might need to consider is the minimum power requirement for the speakers. Usually power is rated as something like this - 25w to 120w, meaning the manufacturer feels that you need an amp of at least 25w to properly drive the speakers. This is not etched in stone, but it is a pretty good guideline to consider.

That said, the power you get from a valve amp is rock solid. If it says 25 watts then you can be reasonably sure that is is a solid unyielding 25 watts.

So, you need to consider the minimum power rating, but you don't necessarily have to follow it to a tee. If the minimum power rating is something like 50 watts that's probably not a good candidate for a low power tube amp. But if it is closer to 15w to 25 watts, you are probably going to be OK. Keep in mind that the average amp at moderately high volume is still only averaging something like 2 watts.

It would certainly be best to test the speakers with the amp before you buy to make sure though.

All of the speakers you have selected are well rated and highly regarded. Though the Tannoy and Diamonds have a very long and proven history behind them. The Ross are newer but again, so far, have been generally well received.

Ultimately, you need to at least see the speakers in person and make sure they physically fit in your space. If at all possible listen to them as well.

But, I think the quality and reputation of all these speakers is enough that you can trust any one of them to deliver good quality sound for the money.

I'm not sure about the Ross, but you can get the Diamond 9.1's delivered in the UK for £129, and the Tannoy Mercury F1 Customs can be had for £89. Check out SuperFi.co.uk for prices.

The Tannoy has a fairly larger woofer, and a good low end response (130mm, 5", 55hz). The Diamond 9.1 also has a 5", 130mm, woofer with a low end of 50hz. Minimum suggested power on the Tannoy is 10 watts. The minimum suggested power on the Wharfedale is 20 watts. I don't have detailed information of the Ross.

The Fatman I-Tube is rated at 2x 13 watts.

If you search Superfi.co.uk for 'Fatman' you will see that they have two package systems where the amp is already combined with speakers. One is £269 for the package and the other is £399. It is not clear who makes the speakers though.

Also, if the only reason you are buying the Fatman is to get the iPod dock, keep in mind you can get an iPod dock for just about any amp. The Fatman is about £179, for that you can get a very nice solid state Pioneer, NAD, or Onkyo 40w to 55 watt amp. (see also Superfi.co.uk ) At RicherSouns.com you can get a Cambridge Audio 40 watt amp for £169, and for £249 you can get an 80watt/[email protected] Denon DRA700 AM/FM/DAB Reciever.

There is a sound quality advantage to Tube amps, but it is usually not enough to justify the high price except for purests. I'm not trying to talk you out of a tube amp, just trying to make sure you have the full perspective.


Steve/bluewizard
 
Last edited:

The latest video from AVForums

SVS Prime Wireless Pro Powered Speakers - Review Coming Soon
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom