Speakers that punch way above their price point

MWalt

Active Member
So, I am surfing on Amazon a few months ago and spot these NHT Super Zero 2.0 speakers for $62.00 a piece shipped. I am thinking that these are seriously Taco Bell cheap, so why not!? Nothing to lose but $125 if they totally suck. Being a sucker for cheap stand mounts, I bought them. I got them a couple days later and ended up putting them on a shelf in the basement and got busy and forgot about them. Finally got around to unboxing them and setting them up to play expecting to be disappointed.

The verdict: These diminutive little things absolutely and positively sound great! In all fairness, they are designed to used as a mid/high speaker that have to be mated up with a subwoofer. I used a Rythmik F12 servo sub. The upstream gear is nothing special, but I believe I have something good going on here. My listening room is small (11x12) so the speakers are set up in a nearfield configuration. Took me a while to get the sub dialed in, but I think I am at 95% despite lack of electronic room correction. The NHT's provide a huge soundstage and image like a boss!

The gear:
Prima Luna Prologue Classic
Chord Chordette Qute HD DAC
Music Hall MMF 2.2 TT
Lounge LCR Phono stage
Morrow Audio cabling

Is anyone familiar at all with these speakers? Maybe a stretch, but I honestly believe I would have to spend Harbeth type money to better these in my small office/listening room.
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
NHT's seem to be giant killers in general. I have a pair of super zeros doing basement duty and fixed up some model 1s and gave them to a friend, also sound great for their size. they easily beat a pair of missions that i had also gifted the same pal.
 

Olson_jr

Active Member
I believe that was a Ken Kantor designed speaker.

 

MWalt

Active Member
A couple of notes about these little guys; they are solid and heavy for their size, have a decent piano black finish, are sealed, and make no bass before 85hz. They sound decent as a stand alone, but carry no weight without a decent sub. But, add a sub and they literally disappear. I am probably going to add a second sub (an REL most likely) to enhance things even more. I like the fact that they don't try to make bass like most stand mounts do. No bass hump or boomy ported bass. Just mids and highs.
 

Ilusndweller

Junior Member
I picked up a pair of NHT 1.5 a few months ago. I am very impressed and prefer the tweeters to those in my B&W CDM-1SE speakers. Soundstage is excellent/big with a nice airy feel and they can handle power and play clean loud (150 W max). They are very easy to listen to/musical. Bass/low end needs help imho and is noticeably less than my B&Ws even though the NHT are rated to 48 Hz and the B&W to 58 Hz. I prefer them with a sub and paired them with an NHT SW2Si (SW2 sub/SA-2 amp combo). This combo blends seemlessly as does the SW2Si with everything Ive tried it with. Great musical sub combination as long as listening levels arent too loud. The SW2 (200W) does even better with more powerful amps than the SA-2 (125W). The 1.5 are from the same time period as my B&W (about 20 years ago) and were slightly more than half the price ($1100/$600) so I would definitely consider them to punch above their price point. It is possible these could dethrone my B&Ws in my main system but I havent fiddled around with them enough. Mostly I want to try a high pass @ 50 and 75 Hz to them paired with a couple subs.
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
My first speakers that I ever bought with my own money just out of college were SuperZeros. I used them first with a Klipsch sub then later one from Velodyne. The klipsch actually mated better but it died.

To be totally honest I never liked them and eventually replaced them with PSB Alphas that I preferred (after having a full NHT surround setup for a bit). The PSBs are another speaker that hits well above it’s price point. But like most things in this hobby what we like is dictated by a lot of different things, often totally subjective. As an owner of Harbeths though I’ll say I don’t think you need to spend Harbeth money to better them, but at their current as-new price they’re a bargain. They were much more expensive in their original iteration in the ‘90s.
 

MWalt

Active Member
Yes I was definitely exaggerating a bit about Harbeth money to better them;). I didn't like them at first either. I first tried them with a NAD 356bee and no sub. Didn't like them too much. Then I tried a small AVR 123 sub-better but not a match. Took that sub out and tried a cheap sealed Emotiva-it was not very good. It wasn't until I inserted the much better and higher quality Rythmik F12 and the Prima Luna and spent some real time dialing it in that I found the sweet spot. I like the sound so much I am buying a second REL sub to complete the effort. I have a SE EL 34 tube amp that I may try at a later date just to see if that works better than the Prima Luna. As for now, I am smitten.
 

Ilusndweller

Junior Member
Whoever said you could find anything on the internet was wrong. Where’s the video of “well Ill be a fig newton” that the hottie says in response to Kevin Costner? ;);):jump:Bow:Bow
 

Ilusndweller

Junior Member
My first speakers that I ever bought with my own money just out of college were SuperZeros. I used them first with a Klipsch sub then later one from Velodyne. The klipsch actually mated better but it died.

To be totally honest I never liked them and eventually replaced them with PSB Alphas that I preferred (after having a full NHT surround setup for a bit). The PSBs are another speaker that hits well above it’s price point. But like most things in this hobby what we like is dictated by a lot of different things, often totally subjective. As an owner of Harbeths though I’ll say I don’t think you need to spend Harbeth money to better them, but at their current as-new price they’re a bargain. They were much more expensive in their original iteration in the ‘90s.

Alphas were my first speakers, mated with Adcom 535 and Creek OBH12 passive pre (later added Velodyne sub). Though I owned the alphas from about 95-97 and got the 1.5 this year (22 year span of memory :smoke) I feel the NHT are “next level” compared to the alphas. Just goes to show how true sentence #6 is.

// I forgot, I originally powered them with a Sony 900ES. Junk (but the earlier stuff was good).
 
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MWalt

Active Member
Been thinking about what JohnVF said. Thought provoking. The part about not having to pay Harbeth prices for an improvement in fidelity. I think I am more happy about the revelation of cracking the proverbial small room code than I am about the NHT's themselves. I still think they are exceptional for their cost. But, I can do better I am sure. I have been following StevenZ's thread- Harbeth P3ESR Vs. ProAc Tablette 10 Vs. The World Some very good speakers mentioned in this thread.

Maybe instead of parting with cash for a new REL subwoofer, I may consider a better monitor. Does anyone have experience with the Graham Audio LS3/5 standmount loudspeaker? How about the Spendor S3/5? How do they compare to the Harbeth P3ESR? These speakers as well as the ProAc Tablette 10 are available used. Anyone?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Been thinking about what JohnVF said. Thought provoking. The part about not having to pay Harbeth prices for an improvement in fidelity. I think I am more happy about the revelation of cracking the proverbial small room code than I am about the NHT's themselves. I still think they are exceptional for their cost. But, I can do better I am sure. I have been following StevenZ's thread- Harbeth P3ESR Vs. ProAc Tablette 10 Vs. The World Some very good speakers mentioned in this thread.

Maybe instead of parting with cash for a new REL subwoofer, I may consider a better monitor. Does anyone have experience with the Graham Audio LS3/5 standmount loudspeaker? How about the Spendor S3/5? How do they compare to the Harbeth P3ESR? These speakers as well as the ProAc Tablette 10 are available used. Anyone?
Well don’t let me talk you out of liking then. They were my gateway drug, I owe them for that. They got me into the hobby. Mine were the original ones, too. Different older speaker. I’m surprised and happy to learn they’re so affordable now. There’s a lot of small monitors out there now. And people seem to absolutely adore any iteration of the LS-3/5a... and you can get basically brand new ones now. They’re a lot more expensive than the NHTs though. There’s so many options. I think there’s at least two threads going here on small monitors.
 

Ilusndweller

Junior Member
The NHT's provide a huge soundstage and image like a boss!

As I think about it, there is more and more of a chance the NHT will dethrone the B&Ws. Originally I had quoted the above and written “this is an excellent 1 sentence summary of them”. But I deleted it. Prelimary (i.e. “listen to the musical play” mode, not critically listen mode) testing shows this to be true, very true(and they were scrunched together in anything but ideal conditions). This thread has me really pumped up for my future first system for my future first house. I might have a very high powered “kinda, but not really, but kinda NHT based” system that provides a very musical sound, and at fairly high volumes too.
 

MWalt

Active Member
Right now I am looking at used speakers specifically; ProAc Tablette 8 Sig, ProAc Tablette 10, and Spendor S3/5 R2. Let's see how much better they are than the Super Zero 2.1. The front runner is the ProAc Tablette 10
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
What price range are we considering for "giant killer" consideration?

We have discussed a number of potential contenders in The Doorway. :)
 
@MWalt
Not sure what you ended up with, but I reckon the smaller (sealed box) ATC speakers are conspicuous by their absence from your list above... You may also like to check out the excellent KLIPSCH RP-160M / RP-600M models, the former (see ours, below...) being offered with heavy discounts just now...

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MWalt

Active Member
@MWalt
Not sure what you ended up with, but I reckon the smaller (sealed box) ATC speakers are conspicuous by their absence from your list above... You may also like to check out the excellent KLIPSCH RP-160M / RP-600M models, the former (see ours, below...) being offered with heavy discounts just now...

View attachment 15755


I ended up with the ProAc Tablette 10's. I feel like I made a good choice here. Those KLIPSCH RP-160M speakers you have are really good sounding speakers. I know because I have a pair! Guess I am a sucker for speakers that punch way above their price point!

Note: The ATC's were not on my list because I have never personally had a chance to audition them. I have read great things about them though.
 
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