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-old NAD 3020 integrated 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 my PSB Alpha B monitors, 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 Audio RX1 bookshelf speakers I 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 Pioneer SP-FS52 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 a viable alternative to sound bars, and ideal for folks who listen to more music than watch movies at home.
The Teac LS-H265 is available on Amazon.