Most audiophiles' first "serious" speaker is a small, two-way monitor, so whenever I come across a little one that strikes my fancy I share it with my readers. The Teac LS-H265 is such a speaker, and priced at $199 a pair, it's definitely in the affordable price range.
The LS-H265 measures just 7.1x11.5x10.2 inches and weighs 9.7 pounds. It has a 1-inch dome tweeter and a 5-inch woofer. I can't get over how gorgeous the piano-black finish is; the LS-H265 looks better than a lot of $600 and $700 speakers! The speaker has a bass port on its back side, so don't plan on cramming these babies in a cabinet or closer than six inches from a wall (more breathing room can't hurt). The rear also houses a set of binding posts that accept bare wires, banana jacks, or wires terminated with spades. The LS-H265 is also available in a Walnut finish. I listened to them at home with my 30-year-oldintegrated amp that I bought on eBay a couple of years ago for $66.
The little speakers throw a big soundstage with excellent depth, width, and height. Clarity levels are outstanding, even compared with mymonitors, they're close to the same size as the LS-H265s. The Alpha Bs sound more laid-back and richer, the LS-H265s more immediate and present, with tighter, better-defined bass. They're both good speakers, but I'd give the nod to the LS-H265s.
They were credible rockers with Grizzly Bear's "Veckatimest" CD, but the little guys can't muster the oomph of a tower speaker, or even the $650/pair Monitor AudioI covered last week. That doesn't take anything away from the LS-H265; it sells for $199 a pair, and for that kind of money it's pretty awesome. Then again, if you have the room for tower speakers and can invest $260, I'd recommend stepping up to the towers.
I also used the LS-H265s in my stereo home theater, sans subwoofer, and was more than satisfied with the sound. As I've said before, stereo home theater is ato sound bars, and ideal for folks who listen to more music than watch movies at home.
The Teac LS-H265 is available on Amazon.