Do you just want deep bass or are you looking to play lod too? I suppose if it is deep AND loud you ave to consider the trade off between doing those thins well and also doing the more subtle things well too, I guess being more Hi-Fi. For the Dance Hall stuff I'd actually be looking at something like Cerwin Vega but I can't see Opera sounding too hot with them.
If you want more of an all rounder then B&W do good things in the bass department forrelatvley modest money.
If they're available in your country, the Q Acoustics 2050i would be my pick. Massive speaker for the money but not without finesse, yet with a huge dynamic sound. Pair it with a beefy amp, sit back, and let the likes of the Duke Reid Group stomp away to their hearts' content.
Scroll down in the link below for some info - they're already well reviewed and have won an award in the WHF Awards this year. Don't be put off by the price either; they'll punch well above their weight too.
Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy Revolution DC4 (bi-amped)
AVI Laboratory Series CD Player
@ Bluedroog: of course ideally I would love both good sound and loud sound. If I can't get both, I'd however concentrate on good sound at low to mid volume, and I can buy some cheap 200w club speaker for when craziness settles in.
@ Record spot: thanks a lot for the advice, I did check them out and they do look fantastic. Also read the reward article. They are not very common in France and Belgium, only saw them on one specialized website that doesn't do the credit facility, but I might go over the edge and get some anyway. I'll try to listen to them first though, if I don't go for the web credit anyway. What reasonably priced amp do you reckon would go with them? Thanks!
And by the way, a new addition to the amps I'm looking at: Creek Evo 50A, looks quite neat and well reviewed on paper. Quite more expensive than the PM6004 I was initially looking at, but that's inevitable in Hi-Fi I guess, never sticking to the initial budget? No pain, no gain...
So i went to a shop and listened to
Marantz MCR603 (mini system)
The 603 didn't convince me with any spaker. It sounds ok, but in my opinion not good enough to justify the overcost from some A5s in example. All 3 speakers sounded MUCH (no possible comparison) with real amps such as the 326 and the 6004.
All 3 spakers sounded nice, but very different from another. The B&W had a very nice overall sound but I found it somehow "wrapped into something", particularly the vocals that didn't come as clear as on the Kefs or on the RX2s.
The Kefs were very nice, extremely defined, very hifi, almost clinical. I probably would have gone for those if I were mostly listening to classical or vocal based music, but I mostly listen to reggae and "rounder" music that require more warmth and base.
The RX2 were just spot on for what I was looking for. Very good base, different but as good in my opinion as the 685. The vocals and trebles were much clearer than on the B&Ws, but less forward, and to my warm ears more balanced with the heavy base I need than the Kefs. That was the good choice for me!
On reggae, I preferred them with the NAD, a really nice amp, with a warm sound on reggae, and that can probably get nicely dark on related sounds like hip hop etc... However, as the RX2s are already colored speakers, I went for the 6004 which will be more polyvalent when listening to other kinds of music.
I coupled those with a Micromega Mydac, can't say enough how am I satisfied and in love with my system. The speakers already opened up (I bought the ones used for testing in the shop since a couple of months in order to get a nice price) and tested the setup with everything from reggae to ACDC, Rage against the Machine, Koffi Olomide (Congolese music), JayZ, Maria Callas, samba... the sound raises hair on my arms each time!
To my ears and budget, the winner set therefore is:
amp: Marantz PM6004
Speakers: Monitori Audio RX2
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