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advice on buying speakers

Old 02-13-06, 01:26 PM
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advice on buying speakers

Looking to be led in right direction on some brands to look at for home theatre speakers. I know almost nothing about the brands out there and pricing but I'm looking to add a solid mid-level set to my room. So I'm trying to avoid entry-level speakers but at same time avoid advanced set. Here's my set up so far:

- basement - 20 L, 10 W, 8 H
- TV - sony HDTV tube (xbr 960)
- receiver - Onkyo TX-SR603X (reads as 7.1 @ 90 watts per)

I hope I'm off to a good start with the set up so far. Majority of time would be for DVD and TV watching...very little on music listening.

I've just started to skim through old threads and seeing the names pop up (Polk, Infinity, Bose, etc.) but know little about the brands. I don't want to spend alot of time (unless I have to) going to the stores to audition the speaker, but will spend a little time and I was at least able to know where to start. Not knowing a lot about prices, I guess I'm looking to spend a ballpark $250-450 for the speakers.

I'm confortable with refurbs and open-box as well. Is that an option for speakers? Is there a site that often has refurbs? At end of day, looking for nice sound (avoiding the paper/thin/hollow sounds I read about sometimes on this board) at a decent price. As usual, thanks for the advice.
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Old 02-13-06, 01:42 PM
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First off, cross Bose off of your list. Unless you want to spend a lot of money for terrible sound

Is your budget for all the speakers or for each? $250-$450 isn't going to go very far if it's for all 5 speakers plus a sub. The only thing I can reccomend in that price range are the Paradigm Titans (~$225 a pair). I believe you can get a single speaker. That would be a bit over budget at ~$575.

Are you open to the idea of building the system over time? If so, I would reccomend spending all of the $450 on a good pair of L/R speakers and adding the rest as budget permits.

I am a huge Paradigm fan and think that no other brand offer the same "bang for the buck" that Paradigm does. That being said, other brands that would be affordable and work well for HT include: Klipsch, NHT, Definitive Technolgy, and some others I'm surely forgetting.
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Old 02-13-06, 01:55 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I would be very open to building over time. I'm not in a rush and at the end of the day just want to have a quality set that I can be proud of (at same time not looking to spend on a cadillac or tiffany's). There's no superbowl game or event coming up where I need to have everything in place by next week so I have time to build.

What would be a reasonable budget for the 5 piece quality set?

In what order should I buy the pieces? [Fronts, center, surround, woofer]. Can I buy the surrounds first and use the TV speaker for the front/center for now, or does that not make any sense? Thanks again!
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Old 02-13-06, 02:04 PM
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I think that $1000 will buy you a great setup. If you build it in stages, buy the front L/R first (using the TV's speakers will yield poor results and probably won't be possible), then the surrounds, then the center, and finally a sub.

I think that the Paradigm Titans would be a really great HT setup. I have a pair of Titans in my bedroom system and they sound great. You could get 2 pairs now for ~$450 (probably less, MSRP is $229, but most Paradigm dealers will knock a few bucks off - my local dealer takes 12% off list price). Use the Titans as your front L/R and surround speakers. You receiver will have a "virtual" center channel mode that routes the center channel information (mostly dialogue) to the L/R speakers. You could then add a center later for ~$200 and a sub later down the road.
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Old 02-13-06, 03:04 PM
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I know almost nothing about the brands out there
Good, you have no preconcieved notions.

I don't want to spend alot of time (unless I have to) going to the stores to audition the speaker
Bad, IMHO a person must audition speakers. Everyone hears differently and only you can decide what you like. I agree with Bob's advice but what will you do when someone tells you that BOSE is the best? Have you listened to them?

At end of day, looking for nice sound (avoiding the paper/thin/hollow sounds I read about sometimes on this board) at a decent price.
Good attitude but the bottom line is that you must listen to them to satisfy what you are looking for.

My advice is take some cds/dvds to a local mid/high end store and spend a Saturday or Sunday listening!

Good luck!
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Old 02-13-06, 03:12 PM
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Brian makes some excellent points. He is 100% correct that, at whatever store you go to, someone is going to tell you that a particular speaker is the "best." We can give you some guidance in that area (e.g. anyone who tells you Bose is the best is stupid, lying, or looking for a sales commission), but you have to make the call yourself. Check out a decent mid-fi store like Tweeter or a local store if you have one. Even if you listen to speakers out of your price range, you will get an idea of what sounds good and what sounds bad.
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Old 02-13-06, 05:08 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I will definitely allocate time for the audition. Along with Paradigm, what would be the 4 or 5 brands I should keep an eye out for in the $1000 total range? I will keep an open mind as you guys say, but it would help if I knew what the reputable brands were. I hear Polk and Infinity (and JBL) brought up quite a bit.
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Old 02-13-06, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bilal
Thanks for the advice. I will definitely allocate time for the audition. Along with Paradigm, what would be the 4 or 5 brands I should keep an eye out for in the $1000 total range? I will keep an open mind as you guys say, but it would help if I knew what the reputable brands were. I hear Polk and Infinity (and JBL) brought up quite a bit.
JBL are very bottom heavy speakers. I have Cerwin Vegas, because *I* like full midrange tones. People like Polks because of their crisp highs. I wouldn't go with Infinity, not because they aren't good speakers, but because I think their price point does not match their performance.

I would recommend NHT Superzeros, BIC, Klipsh, Mission and if you decide to go down a spending level, Yamaha (who I think sound great for the price and make excellent starter speakers).

And keep in mind what Bob said about Bose, because here's what was the clincher for me - do you want to buy speakers from a company that spends more on advertising than they do on R&D? I certainly don't.
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Old 02-13-06, 06:27 PM
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I have the Athena Micra 6 system coming sometime this week. I didn't audition them but for the price and what I was upgrading from I figured I'd be in for an improvement. I hope it doesn't turn out to be a bad move.
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Old 02-13-06, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Timber
I have the Athena Micra 6 system coming sometime this week. I didn't audition them but for the price and what I was upgrading from I figured I'd be in for an improvement. I hope it doesn't turn out to be a bad move.
I've heard good things about the Athenas - let us know how they are - they could be a good option for the OP.

I would add Klipsch and NHT (SuperOne and SuperZero) to the list as Josh suggested. At this price point, I think value is the top priority. As I've said many times before, I think Paradigm is very hard to beat for dollar vs. performance in this price range, but you will have to listen for yourself. I don't care for Polk or Infinity, but I know some people do. My advice is to stay away from places like Circuit City and best buy. The stuff they carry in your price range sucks and the decent stuff they have is way too expensive.
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Old 02-13-06, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bilal
Thanks for the advice. I will definitely allocate time for the audition. Along with Paradigm, what would be the 4 or 5 brands I should keep an eye out for in the $1000 total range? I will keep an open mind as you guys say, but it would help if I knew what the reputable brands were. I hear Polk and Infinity (and JBL) brought up quite a bit.
There has already been some very good advice above. I've now had my entire setup for about 4 years, but here's what I did...

I decided to piece things together a little at a time, as I had a newborn at the time I started shopping. I started with the receiver, which is sounds like you've already got covered.

Next I started to look and listen a little bit. I was impressed with JBL at Best Buy, and then I really like Polk at Circuit City. I started reading around online (back in the day of newsgroups, before forums had really popped up yet). The think that I started to read was to give stereo shops a chance, and I read the Paradigm name a lot. I decided to drop into a Paradigm dealer, and I fell in love...

It has been quite a while since I priced the speakers, but I believe you could get the Cinama or Reference series for right around $1000. In my case, I demo'd several speakers, and fell in love the the Monitor line. Although it was more than I really had planned on spending, I decided since I was going to piece it together anyway, I'd spend a little more each step of the way, and be REALLY happy at the end.

I was upgrading from a cheap bookshelf system with an upgraded pair of Kenwood floorstanding speakers. You'll read different opinions on what to buy first, and here is what I chose to do:

1. I bought the center (cc370) first. This meant having a mis-matched center, but considering I didn't have one at all, I decided that I'd rather add the new experience of a center, and deal with the mis-matched timbre for a while. This definitely made a big difference to the movie watching experience.

2. I bought the sub next (ps1000). If I had it to do over, I'd probably buy an SVS instead. Not because I have any complaints about my Paradigm, but because I've read so many GREAT things about SVS. My choice of the sub next in line was similar to buying the center - I did not have a sub, so was adding another new experience to my viewing. If you listen to a fair amount of music also, you might move the sub ahead of the center, so you can get use out of it for both.

3. Next I bought fronts (Mini-Monitors). I was going to buy surrounds, using my previous logic of "don't have it yet". But I decided to get the fronts in order to match with my center, then moved my old fronts to surrounds for the time being. I improved my front sound greatly, and also got to experience surround sound for the first time.

4. I bought the "true" surround speakers (adp370) to finish off the set. You'll read arguments about direct vs. multi-directional. What I noticed after I got my ADPs that I hadn't noticed before (because I'd never had surround before) is that the sound was not nearly as directional (duh!). Let me explain... I had not realized with my old speakers that you could really hear the sound coming from the direction of the speakers themselves behind the listening location. Once I got the ADPs, the sound was just behind me, not so much "from the left rear corner of the room". I happen to prefer the sound of the multi-directional, but opinions differ. You'll also pay more.

5. I upgraded my fronts. This might be a great option for you if your dealer offers it - you can improve your system by getting some great new speakers, and upgrade them later. My Paradigm dealer gives your full purchase price back if you upgrade within 1 year. So I traded in my Mini-monitors for Monitor 7s. I really had no major complaints about the Mini's, but having speakers on stands made me nervous with a 2 year old (at the time). I have no regrets, but would certainly be happy if I still had the Mini's. The Mini's are amazing sounding speakers when paired with a sub - I was amazed when I auditioned them.

There's no right or wrong answer. I am very happy with my choices, and don't regret any of the purchases a bit. I would do everything in the same order, outside of maybe getting a sub before the center - I don't think there's a clear-cut winner between either as the "first" choice.

As many have already stated, decide with your ears, not with your web browser. Don't take anyone's word for it. Get some good ideas online, then go out and decide for yourself. Take some music/movies along that you listen to. Don't make a decision based on jazz demos if you listen to heavy metal. You are the one that has to be happy - both with the sound and the check(s) you write. I would highly recommend Paradigm, but realize that the sound and/or price are not for everyone.

Get out to some actual stereo shops instead of limiting yourself to the box stores. You'll be surprised that you don't have to spend more to buy there (although you certainly can if you want). I got a system that will destroy anything at Best Buy/CC/etc for less than some of their "top" systems. And best of all, the salesmen actually know what they're talking about!

Good luck, and have fun in making your decision!
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Old 02-14-06, 07:05 AM
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What Brian Shannon said. Also, I would not rule out internet direct companies. I was going to recommend VMPS Audio's QSO 626 series, but was unable to check the prices. The US site was not available but the European site was. www.vmpsaudio.com
I also can recommend Norh's speakers, www.norh.com
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Old 02-14-06, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by bilal
Not knowing a lot about prices, I guess I'm looking to spend a ballpark $250-450 for the speakers.
Originally Posted by bilal
Thanks for the advice. I will definitely allocate time for the audition. Along with Paradigm, what would be the 4 or 5 brands I should keep an eye out for in the $1000 total range? I will keep an open mind as you guys say, but it would help if I knew what the reputable brands were. I hear Polk and Infinity (and JBL) brought up quite a bit.
I'd say decide on your budget, which can be hard. There's a world of difference between $250-$450 and $1k.

You said you're ok with refurb stuff, check out harmanaudio on ebay (Harman/JBL). You could get an entire system from them, or just the receiver. I have absolutely no experience with them, I'm just letting you know they're there. My first 5.1 receiver was a Pioneer refurb on eBay, they also sell direct (pioneerelectronics). It looked brand new to me, for $100 I was happy!

I'd also check out reviews on epinions and pricegrabber, and google "model number" and "model number" + "review". I've pulled up huge threads on random forums from actual users that way.
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Old 02-14-06, 09:58 AM
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I'm going to contradict my friends. As a Klipsch enthusiast (seven Reference Series 3 speakers at my house) I would say take Klipsch off the list at this price point, unless you want to buy one speaker at a time. Their Synergy line is very harsh, IMO. I prefer speaker sets from Boston Acoustics, Paradigm, and definitely NHT in this price range. I'm guessing the new SVS bookshelf set is excellent, too.
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Old 02-14-06, 10:18 AM
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Thanks for all the great advice! I was hoping someone could help me understand how the specs correlate between the receiver and speakers, particularly since I already have my receiver. I'd be concerned about having speakers that get blown out by the receiver and am not quite sure how wattage and speaker sensitivity work. Perhaps you could help me using the following example, using my receiver plus the Athena Micra 6 speaker set mentioned a few times on this thread:

>> Receiver: Onkyo 603XB - indicates 90 watts X 6 (doesn't say RMS or not)

>> Athena Micra 6 set (5 satellites + subwoofer)
impedance: 8 ohms
efficiency 89 dB
Recommended power (each satellite): 20-100 watts

Subwoofer: 75 watts RMS; 225 max watts

Would this theoretical system fit together, without blowing out the receivers? Does the 20-100 w range mean it can handle the 90 wpc from the Onkyo? Would the 75 subwoofer RMS watts be too low? How does the 89 dB efficiency impact what's going on?

If this doesn't work, what minimum speaker specs should I be looking for to accomodate my receiver? By the way, system would be in a 200 sq. ft. room if that's at all relevant.

Again, sorry for the basic questions. Thanks again for your continued assistance.

Last edited by bilal; 02-14-06 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 02-14-06, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by bilal
Thanks for all the great advice! I was hoping someone could help me understand how the specs correlate between the receiver and speakers, particularly since I already have my receiver. I'd be concerned about having speakers that get blown out by the receiver and am not quite sure how wattage and speaker sensitivity work. Perhaps you could help me using the following example, using my receiver plus the Athena Micra 6 speaker set mentioned a few times on this thread:

>> Receiver: Onkyo 603XB - indicates 90 watts X 6 (doesn't say RMS or not)

>> Athena Micra 6 set (5 satellites + subwoofer)
impedance: 8 ohms
efficiency 89 dB
Recommended power (each satellite): 20-100 watts

Subwoofer: 75 watts RMS; 225 max watts

Would this theoretical system fit together, without blowing out the receivers? Does the 20-100 w range mean it can handle the 90 wpc from the Onkyo? Would the 75 subwoofer RMS watts be too low? How does the 89 dB efficiency impact what's going on?

If this doesn't work, what minimum speaker specs should I be looking for to accomodate my receiver? By the way, system would be in a 200 sq. ft. room if that's at all relevant.

Again, sorry for the basic questions. Thanks again for your continued assistance.
Having too much power is almost always a good thing. Speaker damage occurs when a receiver or amp runs out of power (or "clips"). You could safely use a 400 watt/ch amp with speakers rated for 20-100 watts and be fine. In fact, the results would likely be better than using a lower powered amp of similar quality. One thing to keep in mind is that receiver power ratings often mean little. My old amp was rated at 225 watts per channel. Now it was no slouch (it was an Anthem MCA-20), but it didn't have nearly as much power as my new amp, which is rated at 125 watts per channel (a Krell). Your receiver should be able to power any of the speakers suggested here.

The sub has it's own built-in amp, so it doesn't have to match the power rating of the receiver. Again, this is a speaker you will have to listen to and decide if you like the amount and quality of the bass it produces.

Sensitivity (expressed in dbs) can be very important. If a speaker has a sensitivity of 89db, it means that it will produce sound at a volume of 89db with 1 watt of power at a distance of 1 foot (or is it meter, I forget). Anyways, to increase the sound level by a factor of 3db (what I call the "honey, turn it up a tad" level - in other words, a difference that you can easily hear) you need to double the watts going in. What does this mean for you? It means that a higher sensitivity speaker will play louder and easier than a lower sensitivity speaker. Wherever you audition your speakers, they should be able to hook up a similar receiver to the speakers so you can get an idea of the system as a whole.
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Old 02-14-06, 10:33 AM
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The speaker's wattage range is almost meaningless. Short answer: Yes, those match up just fine. Real ratings for that receiver (as I described in the earlier thread) are probably 25-30wpc with all 6 channels going. Now, that may sound low, but it really isn't that bad. The efficiency is one of the more important stats for speakers, with ohms being the most important usually. The ohms match, you're fine.

The efficiency rating of the speakers typically means the volume the speaker will put out with 1 watt of power supplied at a listening/measuring distance of 1 meter. So, the speaker can do 89db at 1m. To get another 3db, you must double the power. So:

1w: 89db
2w: 92db
4w: 95db

And so on. Now, you probably will sit 2-3m from the speaker, not 1. So, your actual rating might be around (wildly guessing):

1w: 80db
2w: 83db
...
32w: 95db

Now, that's each speaker. It will be a bit louder with 5 or 6 running at once. So you can probably play that receiver/speaker combination loud enough for most people to enjoy it. Without worrying about damage to the equipment.
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Old 02-14-06, 10:36 AM
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Hey, Bob beat me to it.

You can see between our posts why the speaker's wattage rating is kinda pointless. Even a 5000 watt amp is likely to be used for less than 100 watts in your house, based on the efficiency of the speakers and how high you crank it up. And normal TV sitcom listening is probably around .8 watts. So the rating of 20-100 watts says....not much.
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Old 02-14-06, 12:01 PM
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Yea, listen to what Spiky and BobDole said about the "specs". Mainly that it won't matter much if at all.

Now, what you've really got to do is find a set of speakers that you like. And that means you should listen to them. You can't tell a thing about a speaker based on specs.

So, given that, and the fact that you don't want to spend eternity auditioning speakers (I spent about 2 years auditioning before I bought a set), I would suggest listening to the following. I picked these because they will give a decent sampling of what various designs will ultimately sound like:
  • Klipsch
    Some people hate 'em, some people love 'em. I would try a floorstanding model for fronts/rears and then try smaller ones too. Like the Synergy or Synergry III series for example try SF- 1, F1, or F2.

    The good thing is, these can be found at Best Buy and they range from between $300-$600 per pair.

    The reason I suggest these is because Klipsch uses horns in their speakers (very few other speakers do) and this gives them a different sound. They sound very much like the speakers found in a theater because a lot of theaters use horn loaded speakers due to their high efficiency/sensitivity (i.e. they get real damn loud on just a few watts). This is why they're also suited for rock music, but sound OK for other types of music, too. Bring a CD and a DVD you're familiar with and you'll see what I mean.
  • Vandersteen
    You'll have to find these in a better audio store. They're out of your budget, but I still think you should listen to them (if possible). The reason is they are ultra clear sounding speakers. This is due to their "boxless" design (look at the pics). They are very nice speakers. The models I'd suggest listening to are the 1C and/or the 2Ce.

    The 1C's retail at $850/pair and the 2Ce's retail at $1680/pair. Those are MSRP so they'll be cheaper, but still high for your budget.

    I recommend listening anyway because the "boxless" design does give them their own sound. You'll have something to compare other products to.
  • Martin Logan or Magnepan
    These are planar speakers. The Logans are electrostatic while the Magnepans use magnet ribbon drivers to produce ultra thin "panel" speakers. These are probably out of budget, too, but well worth listening to because no speaker in the world sounds like a planar speaker. This is due to the design having no crossover circuitry or different sized drivers for mid/high frequencies (one driver does it all). If you listen, you'll understand. No other speaker can sound like a planar speaker.

    You can find Logans in Tweeter stores or another mid-high end audio store and you can probably find Magnepans there too. It will be well worth your time, trust me.

    The entry level Magnepan is the MMG and they MSRP at $550/pair.

    The Martin Logans are well out of the $250-$400 price range. However, they may be worth listening to (if convenient) because they are quite a different speaker design. The driver is a clear, conductive mylar diaphragm sandwiched between to conductive panels called Stators. The diaphragm (which reproduces the sound between about 250Hz - 22kHz) is essentially massless (I think it weighs about as much as a cubic inch of air-- you can actually see through the speaker). This "massless" driver allows the speaker to trace a sonic event with great speed meaning there is no lag time which can distort music/sound. In practical terms, this means these are very clear and have very good detail to sound. For example, you can hear strings being plucked and other details you had not noticed before.

    The other huge advantage of planars is that they are inherently dipolar meaning sound comes out of the front and back simultaneously. This makes a much more "open" sound -- not like the sound is coming from a box on the wall.

    They may (Logans in particular) require a bit better receiver to drive them.
  • Bose
    After all of this, listen to any pair of Bose speakers and you'll understand why Bose is bashed so much. They are actually in the same price range as some of the Martin Logans, the Magnepans and the Vandersteens which is a real crime.

So, in summary, those are 3 or 4 different brands you can listen to and really tell a difference in what the speaker tries to accomplish. You've got horn loaded tweeters (Klipsch), Boxless design (Vandersteen), planars (Logans and Magnepan) and overpriced marketing hype (Bose). I think this is a good sampling.

Now, my final advice is this: If you find a speaker you like, try to get those and skimp on the electronics/cables as much as possible. You can upgrade those later. You should try as hard as possible to build your system around the speaker you like.

Last edited by awmurray; 02-14-06 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 02-14-06, 12:10 PM
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awmurray - that is an excellent range of different speaker types. I'm not sure if auditioning those speakers is the best route for the OP though. He said that he doesn't want to spend too much time auditioning speakers. Also, those speakers are way out of his budget. His original budget was $250-$450 for everything. A Vandy or ML setup will cost at least 5 times that, plus amplification. His receiver will not drive the MLs (they have a very low nominal impendence and dip down to 2 ohms at times) and will not do justice to the Vandys. Although I agree that starting with good speakers and upgrading the receiver/preamp/amp over time is a good way to go, I don't get the impression that the OP is looking to spend that kind of money.

The reason I suggested Paradigm (and others have chimed in with NHT and other good budget speakers) is that those speakers will sound good with his receiver and are well within his budget. He could get a great all paradigm or NHT setup for around $1000, which is still double the high end of his original budget.

I'm not knocking your advice - I think it's right on. But, in the OP's case, I'm not sure that he would benefit from spending time he doesn't want to spend listening to speakers that are way out of his budget. I try to stay away from gear that I love but can't afford because I know I will be tempted to forgo things like food to afford an upgrade. I'm just lucky there is no EMM dealer in boston
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Old 02-14-06, 12:40 PM
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A few extra points. I'm a big Klipsch guy myself, but like Spiky said, I'm not sure I'd recommend anything from the Synergy line. The entry level Reference line stuff isn't all that expensive, and you'll definitely get good performance out of it. Klispch use Horn's which give a wider (and louder) soundscape so everyone in a large room (theater!) can hear things just fine.

Magnepan's (and flat planer speakers in general) are great, but for optimal listening you need to place them about two feet from the wall (or the MMGs mount on the wall) and they aren't the prettiest things you've ever seen. Plus they're pretty directional so you'll have a smaller "sweet spot" than normal, but it will sound great. Probably not the best thing for Super Bowl parties and the like though.

As for speaker efficiency, Bob and Spiky are correct with their Wattage doubling rule but they neglected one important note. Any speaker with a efficiency rating in the 87-91dB range should be considered average loudness. A speaker rated <85dB would be considered quiet (Magnepan's are often in the 82dB area) while anything over 93dB is considered loud (Klipsch speakers almost always fall into this range). Soft and Loud are of course subjective, but a soft speaker will require your receiver to be turned up more while a loud one might require care to avoid hurting your ears.
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Old 02-14-06, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mordred
A few extra points. I'm a big Klipsch guy myself, but like Spiky said, I'm not sure I'd recommend anything from the Synergy line. The entry level Reference line stuff isn't all that expensive, and you'll definitely get good performance out of it.
Yea, I was just trying to point out a Klipsch that is somewhat affordable. I figured if he liked the Klipsch sound, they are in a "reasonable" price range. And maybe the budget could be expanded if he really, really liked something.

Originally Posted by Mordred
Magnepan's (and flat planer speakers in general) are great, but for optimal listening you need to place them about two feet from the wall (or the MMGs mount on the wall) and they aren't the prettiest things you've ever seen. Plus they're pretty directional so you'll have a smaller "sweet spot" than normal, but it will sound great. Probably not the best thing for Super Bowl parties and the like though.
In my experience the "sweet spot"/directional attributes for planar speakers are greatly exaggerated. Yes, there is a definite "sweet spot" between the front speakers where imaging is amazing and the speakers seem to disappear, but they still have the unmatched clarity and detail everywhere in the room.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, I'd rather be outside the "sweet spot" of the planars than in the "sweet spot" of any other type of speaker.

And all of this matters only for critical listening, really. Any speaker is quite adequate for the Super Bowl party.

All of this is, of course, in my opinion.
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Old 02-14-06, 01:40 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by BobDole42
I try to stay away from gear that I love but can't afford because I know I will be tempted to forgo things like food to afford an upgrade. I'm just lucky there is no EMM dealer in boston
You say that like its a bad thing.

That is exactly what happened to me. My budget was somewhere around $2,000-$3,000 and I just happened to stumble upon a room with Martin Logans. When I found out that they were $6,000 for the pair I was really let down.

I was forced to try to find a setup that sounded like the MLs, but were within my range.... I couldn't find anything that I liked more or sounded like I wanted. I spent close to 2 years researching and listening to different speakers (some were in home auditions) until I finally found 2 used SL3s ($1,500 shipped) and 2 used Aerius Is ($1,200 shipped) and used the balance on an ATI-1505 ($1,500) with a Parasound 1500THX ($1,100) preamp.

I really had to stretch to get it ($5,300), but it was worth it. And they sound the same as the really expensive $6,000 logans did-- all larger MLs sound very similar despite the bigger price tags. I did without a center channel for a couple more years until I could afford to pick up a ML Theater center channel for $2,500-- couldn't find one used. One day, I'm going to pick up a ML Descent sub (I've got a cheap Kenwood until then).

What's really amazing about it is after about 7 years or so, those speakers are still worth what I paid for them (not that I'd every sell them). I've never had any other piece of electronics hold value like that.

EDIT: The thing that I remember really "selling" them to me was the opening of Space Jam. The scene at the beginning with the kid shooting baskets into the hoop with the chain netting. The detail was incredible when the ball hit those chains-- little things like that really stand out with MLs. Extremely natural sounding. And, of course, they blow the room away when the movie starts (great dynamic range-- super quiet to super loud). I listened to other material, of course, but that one stands out.

Last edited by awmurray; 02-14-06 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 02-14-06, 01:47 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by awmurray
You say that like its a bad thing.
haha - I know exactly what you mean. I hope you didn't think I was critcizing your advice. Maybe the OP is just about to start down the same road we all stumbled on.

I am trying my hardest not to upgrade again until I buy a condo and can get a decent room and get it treated with accoustic panels and bass traps. We will see if that works
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Old 02-14-06, 02:15 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by BobDole42
haha - I know exactly what you mean. I hope you didn't think I was critcizing your advice.
Nope. Anyone who's trying to offend me is going to have to try really hard to do it.

I realized that the advice may not completey suit the OPs situation, but I figured someone else may also find this thread (either now or later) and read it, too. So, its more of a general roadmap.

Those lists of speakers and types would have been pretty helpful to me when I started looking into home theater speakers...
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