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 Post subject: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:43 am
Posts: 44
Location: Scotland
Hi all,

I am considering spending some cash on stereo speakers + amp. I was hoping the nice folks in these parts might have some balanced advice, without being too 'audiophilic' about it.

I will be buying in europe, budget of about 300-400 eurodollars. This is not totally fixed, if I can hit some sort of value for money point by going a little higher then fair enough. Usage will be... everything! Wide selection of music, movies and a wee bit of gaming. Just a quality stereo amp will probably be fine. A full A/V recevier would be nice, I am also considering a projector, but I get the feeling I might end up sacrificing sound quality for features I don't really need and raising the price.

I have absolutely no idea about the merits of floorstanders vs standmounted vs bookshelf speakers or whatever, but I guess quality bookshelf speakers are what I am after in terms of size (this will be a bedroom system) and budget.

I also don't know much about brands for speakers or amps, or about 'matching' the two. So any guidance would be great before I go to my nearest electronics shop and get up-sold a bunch of BS.

TIA,

vB


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:59 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Canada
You could consider a combination like this one:

Amplifier - NAD C315BEE:
http://nadelectronics.com/products/hifi ... -Amplifier

Speakers - PSB Image B5:
http://www.psbspeakers.com/products/Ima ... -Bookshelf

They should match very well as the two are sister companies!


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:34 am 
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Posts: 1721
Location: Switzerland
The trouble with speakers is that there's no substitute for listening to the stuff for yourself unless you know exactly what you want, technically speaking. At the same time people are spectacularly bad at evaluating audio gear in a pinch. People are too easily misled by uncontrolled variables. Beware salepersons who'll try to take advantage of this. There's no easy way out of this unfortunately.

You can usually get decent audio advice at the hydrogenaudio forum.

The amplifier is a detail. Get something of decent quality that's appropriate for your speakers but building a decent amp is not rocket science and does not require very expensive parts. So don't waste much of your budget on it. NAD amps tend to be pointlessly expensive for instance. Beware of voodoo "matching" and the like.
Some crappy speakers come with integrated amps... as do some good speakers so don't discount this type.

What matters more to the sound you're getting is:
-speakers (and subwoofer)
-room
-EQ

You should decide if you want a subwoofer first. That could restrict your choices and complicate matters.

I assume you're not interested in room "treatments" but that doesn't mean the room is a fixed variable in your setup. The type of speakers matters.
If you get desktop speakers or nearfield monitors, that is small speakers intended mainly for one listener sitting close to the speakers in a predetermined position, you'll get rid of most of your room's issues so you can get a better sound more easily and cheaply that way. The trouble is that you won't get the same sound elsewhere in the room. And small speakers have issues with low frequencies. In general, the closer the speakers are to your ears, the better. And the bigger the speakers, the better. Having the speakers close to the listened can compensate for small size up to a point (and vice versa).
Don't waste your money if your room has issues and you're not going to pay attention to speaker positioning. Fancy speakers can not perform miracles.

Don't discount EQ. You can fix a lot of problems and get something close to the sound you want that way. It's the only way you can hope to get decent sound if you place speakers wherever in a random room, no matter how good the speakers are in ideal conditions. Some patience and/or a fairly sophisticated setup is required for good EQ however.


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:45 am 
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Components have to work together, please you, and not fatigue you.

Recommendations under these circumstances are iffy at best, and I can tell you what to avoid while others will tell you those products are great.

The mere fact Bose is still in business is an example the huge disparity in what's acceptable, or even downright pleasant, to what should have been left at the drawing board.

Stay away from chain stores, you may have a chance.

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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:06 pm 
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Location: Canada
HFat wrote:
The trouble with speakers is that there's no substitute for listening to the stuff for yourself unless you know exactly what you want, technically speaking.

aristide1 wrote:
Stay away from chain stores, you may have a chance.

If you follow the advice of these two quotes you'll be in good shape. Personally I like the sound of Paradigm speakers paired with Arcam electronics.


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:16 pm 
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Posts: 398
Location: Los Angeles
I should make a bog called the skinflint audiophile. ;)

1: Unless you have special requirements, if all you need is basic sound reproduction, amplifiers are pretty much the same. All you should care about is basically the power transformer and how much current the thing can handle. It's a pretty good way to rule out adequate versus no good without really getting into specific models. All you really care about is one spec beyond the "how heavy is it" test - and that's how many watts into 6 ohms. Ignore any amp new or used that can't drive a pair at 6 ohms, as the best speakers are actually going to be in the 6 ohm range, and it's also a good way to rule out cheap junk as well.

But truth to be told, an amplifier is just a piece of equipment. Don't get too invested in this part of the equation, as as long as they are working properly, and aren't being driven too hard, they will all work pretty much the same.

2: Stick to two speakers at first. Add more later. The least expensive surround system that is any good here (actual good speakers and not flimsy consumer grade junk you'd find and a department store) in the U.S. is a whopping $800 including amplifier and 5 speakers. That's way outside of your budget, since we don't have shipping/import fees or VAT to deal with. A good amplifier and 2 speakers is better.

3: The big deal is the speakers. Sound differences here are immense. If you spent 300 Euros on speakers and 100 on a used amplifier(which would be my recommendation), you'd do far better. In a typical system, in fact, you should spend most of your money on speakers if you can, since upgrading the amplifier is easy compared to the money you lose on upgrading your speakers later on.

This leads to the following scenario:
- Get a used 2 channel old-school 1980s or 1990s era amplifier. You can pick up a used Kenwood or Pioneer amplifier with Dolby Digital, for instance(this is outdated and useless surround technology) for probably as little as 50 Euros in working condition. Most of these are rated for 4 or 6 ohm operation into only 2 speakers, but that's just fine. Dolby Digital is nice as everyone is getting rid of these for nothing or even giving them away as DTS is the new standard. Almost any 5 channel AV amplifier will be easily able to handle almost any 2 speakers that you chose.

This leaves pretty much the entire budget for two good speakers.

- Speakers... You can build them yourself with a kit. This gives you the best results for your limited budget.
If you have to buy speakers, my #1 recommendation is to get a pair of towers as they have good bass response. But some large bookshelf speakers also work.

My favorite used speakers: JBL PRO 4400 series, Tannoy Saturn, and B&W. And one I'll talk about later...

The B&W 602 is the best of the smaller bookshelf speakers, IMO. It's what I would consider a minimum standard for decent range speakers that will fill your room with fairly decent sound. But the tower 603s are better, of course. If you see a pair for 300 euros, buy it immediately.

Next up is the JBL Pro series. This is older and larger, but they are studio monitors and can shake your house as well. This is serious old-school sound and is great for rock. But they are large. I suggest 4410As. Thanks to the 10 inch speakers don't need a subwoofer in the system at all. This is a $400-$500 savings, and is why your main speakers should be towers or large bookshelfs(these aren't tower speakers, but are the same volume - think guitar amp sized "bookshelf" - heh ) The only issue here though is that the foam on the surrounds typically goes bad - pass on any speaker with any sort of tear or problem no matter how small in the material between the speaker driver and the outside rim.

Lastly, is my favorite. The Saturn was Tannoy's least expensive speaker with their high-end pro driver in it. The S8 and S10 were towers that are... Let's see - if you have ever heard a pair of Grado headphones or high-end Sennheisers ($200+), the sound is nearly identical. It's clean, spot-on, and sounds perfect. They make a newer replacement (Eyris IIRC), but the older ones can be had for less money. The killer deal though is that they also made surround speakers. The S8 is JBL huge. But it sounds so good and is so loud that nothing else really compares. Originally the tower versions cost $1200-$1500 a pair, so used they might still be out of your budget. But the bookshelf speakers sold for $800 or so a pair.

The S8L/R are the best deal nobody knows about or paid attention to. Since the surround material on the speakers is rubber, it should be fine - if it looks good and sounds good, given that only audiophiles typically bought them, you're good to go. JBLs are trickier as a lot have had a hard life. B&W are boutique speakers, so they should be fairly easy to shop used without any real issues.

http://cgi.ebay.com/PAIR-B-W-DM602-S3-S ... 0444447143
Good pair of 602 bookshelf speakers.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Bowers-Wilkins-B-W- ... 0593855875
603s - awesome sound for not a lot of money. New, these cost close to $1500 a pair. Used and a generation old, a steal.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/PIONEER-5-1-DOLBY ... 0747048853
This is a typical "I want to get rid of it as it's not usable for blu-ray" ad. This is retail, so expect half this price used.

EDIT
I did mention one other speaker option. This is the cheap*** alternative.
Get a 8-10 inch bass amplifier with a tweeter in it. I have a couple of old Ibanez Soundwave 65s that I picked up for $100 each. These sound great and have an EQ in the amp. Good bass and nice tweeter. And it has a presence effect as well which if you dial in about 5%, it makes it sound like a live concert if you play Guitar Hero or Rock Band through it. Complete win-win scenario as this also makes the amplifier a moot point - or basically any old POS will work as the amplification is being handled by the bass amp.

Any bass amp will work but it does need to have a speaker that is no larger than 10 inches as well as a tweeter. You want it to have a decent mid-range and a 12inch+ woofer just won't have that. Note, a 2x10 and a 4x10 will also work great - as long as it has a tweeter in it. But the smaller ones usually have an amplifier built in, which makes it useful for guitar or bass, stereo, computer, tv, vocals, or whatever else you want.


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:23 am 
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I really like Paradigm speakers. Made in Canada by skilled craftsmen.

With a budget of 300-400 euro though, I'm not sure you could or even should get paradigm. I'm not sure what kind of options are out there for a small, elegant, 2 channel reciever, but would be interested to find out.

The above posters seem to have some good advice. I'd stay away from BOSE and chain stores, if they have such a thing in Scotland.

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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:01 pm 
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djkest wrote:
I really like Paradigm speakers. Made in Canada by skilled craftsmen.

Are you sure they are still made in CA? I recently bought some rather expensive PSB speakers that at one time were also made in Canada, but now made in China. The design, of course, is still from CA.


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:10 pm 
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Location: maine
I learned it by ohms, and material of the cones...
it is all so primitive otherwise.
and what is cooling the preamps, and how.
the post with 4 or 6 ohms.. that seems a car radio.
8 ohms beyond is living rooms and bigger...

on the other hand headphones stump me. I just bought 24ohm... I guess they do that for filtering right next to the ear...and only uses the 4ohm radio, or pc hookup.

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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:17 pm 
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Only inferior equipment has trouble with 4 ohm loads. Most speakers, regardless of impedance rating, dip lower than the number publicized at some frequencies. Better sounding speakers typically ask more of amplifiers as well.

True "Professional" headphones are 600 ohms and are meant to be driven by equipment designed to that standard. Professional does not mean high fidelity, it means it's capable of living through a large amount of abuse and still function. Home headphone impedances are all over the place, just pray your preamp or other device takes the headphone jack seriously. This would be an example of a device that takes headphones seriously.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6829271004
There are also preamps that the manufacturer refers to as a headphone amp. That would also fall into this category.


I will not make any futher comments on this topic. I've had enough arguments for one day, and it's been a very lousy day.

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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:51 pm 
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Location: Canada
m0002a wrote:
djkest wrote:
I really like Paradigm speakers. Made in Canada by skilled craftsmen.

Are you sure they are still made in CA? I recently bought some rather expensive PSB speakers that at one time were also made in Canada, but now made in China. The design, of course, is still from CA.
They are, for the most part. All cabinets and drivers for non-Reference series speakers and made in Canada. All drivers for Reference series speakers are made in Canada. All cabinets for the Studio/Signature range are made in China, then inspected in Canada. I'm not sure about their new SE series, although I suspect the drivers are Canadian made while the cabinets are outsourced.

I've been to Paradigm's head office/factory before (it's 10 minutes from my house), and it's very large and quite nice. Their outsourced cabinets seem to have the same high standards as high end gear manufactured locally. I did run into some minor issues with my Studio series speakers though, some small imperfections in the veneer and a missing screw on one of the terminal plates! In all fairness the missing screw was the only real problem, the imperfections were very slight and could only be seen from certain angles under direct light. The speakers were quite expensive and I'm a perfectionist.. so that's why I made a fuss about it.


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:12 pm 
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Location: USA
Falkon wrote:
They are, for the most part. All cabinets and drivers for non-Reference series speakers and made in Canada. All drivers for Reference series speakers are made in Canada. All cabinets for the Studio/Signature range are made in China, then inspected in Canada. I'm not sure about their new SE series, although I suspect the drivers are Canadian made while the cabinets are outsourced.

I've been to Paradigm's head office/factory before (it's 10 minutes from my house), and it's very large and quite nice. Their outsourced cabinets seem to have the same high standards as high end gear manufactured locally. I did run into some minor issues with my Studio series speakers though, some small imperfections in the veneer and a missing screw on one of the terminal plates! In all fairness the missing screw was the only real problem, the imperfections were very slight and could only be seen from certain angles under direct light. The speakers were quite expensive and I'm a perfectionist.. so that's why I made a fuss about it.

I don't know where the PSB drivers and crossovers are manufactured, but my fairly expensive Synchrony Two cabinets were made in China. The finish is impeccable.


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:30 am 
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Cabinets are MDF - who cares where they are from as long as the glue holds together. It's the drivers and design that matters. That said, of the budget speakers, entry level Paradigm are good. They are virtually identical to the less expensive Tannoy models in sound and price (the MX/MXM series) which can be had for almost nothing used. While they aren't half as good as the Saturns, they are both pretty much the yardstick by which all other speakers should be judged. If they don't sound better, just pass on them. (and to be honest, almost everything at your typical electronics store will sound worse than these two)

Note - Athena speakers are the owned by the same company as Paradigm. Just more boutique-ish.
Note 2 - Energy Speakers are also made by them. Other than the finish and the top-end models, the mainstream speakers are the same thing but for less money.

http://www.energy-speakers.com/na-en/pr ... -overview/
Same sound as Paradigm, but less money. The downside is they only come in a more basic black and a cheaper cabinet.(plain MDF vs cherry or glossy)

http://www.energy-speakers.com/na-en/pr ... -overview/
This is essentially clone of the same size B&W speaker.(older 601 model) But I found it lacking compared to the 602. I'd still get a used 602 instead. The Kevlar drivers in both, though, mean that it's nearly impossible for normal use to destroy or damage them, so used examples tend to still work as well as new.


As for headphones, just get a pair of Grado SR60s The SR60s are $79 and are the best audio value on the planet currently. The only difference between it and the higher models are the foam pads and a bit of marketing - until you hit the $250 or so range, then they are noticeably better.

In comparison to a pair of $50 Sony headphones, it's like comparing a Civic to Nascar. Words cannot describe how vast a difference there is - you have to hear it. The only other headphones that I have ever heard in my life that sounded as good for the money were the old Koss HV/1A. Huge 1 inch drivers and 10 octave response.

http://www.koss.com/koss/kossweb.nsf/p?openform&pc^fs^PRO4AAT
This is the current up to date offering of the technology by Koss. I like the Grado a bit more, since tehy are open-air design, but these are also fine. That said, the Grado can be heard across the room and aren't wife-friendly late at night like the Koss are.


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:42 am 
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Location: Scotland
Ha, I should have known this thread would have kicked off. Some great conflicting advice - buy NAD-don't buy NAD; matching matters-matching doesn't matter...

So coming back to the Original Topic I am concluding the following,

* Amp is not so important, budget should be split about 3:1 or 2:1 in favour of speakers
* Concrete recommendations are B&W 602, Tannoy Saturns, JBL PRO 4400 and Paradigm, but these really need to be bought second hand to fit in my budget.
* Avoid chain stores (my standard MO anyways)

Specific follow-up questions

* How high should I got for these bad boys?
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... K:MEWAX:IT
(shipping is £36)
* Is there any merits in stuff like Mission MX1, Wharfdale Diamonds, etc which are easily available new? Or is this exactly the sort of stuff to avoid from chain stores?

Also I am realising that since I have a blu-ray drive and I want to buy projector and my electronics world is slowly becoming more HDMI-based, maybe I should go for an AV receiver and consider selecting bookshelf speakers right now with a mind to using them as rear speakers later. This does kind of make sense because right now I have a small room and absolutely no hifi, something small but expandable does make sense. Could this work? If so can anyone make any further recommendations? I guess the bookshelves above would still be good choices to be used as rear speakers eventually?

Thanks for all the discussions, except for the thread hijacking about headphones ;-).


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:28 am 
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Plekto wrote:
Note - Athena speakers are the owned by the same company as Paradigm. Just more boutique-ish.
Note 2 - Energy Speakers are also made by them. Other than the finish and the top-end models, the mainstream speakers are the same thing but for less money.
Neither of those companies are affiliated with Paradigm. Paradigm doesn't have any other speaker companies associated with them. They have one sister company that produces a/v electronics, and that is Anthem.

Both Energy and Athena are owned by the Klipsch group, which is now owned by Audiovox. Other companies that fall under that umbrella are Jamo and Mirage.
http://www.audioholics.com/news/industry-news/audiovox-buys-klipsch-mirage
Plekto wrote:
http://www.energy-speakers.com/na-en/products/cf-30-overview/
Same sound as Paradigm, but less money. The downside is they only come in a more basic black and a cheaper cabinet.(plain MDF vs cherry or glossy).
I would have to heartily disagree with that statement. I used to work at a chain store and had the opportunity to buy Energy RCs at a very deep discount, but passed up on them. I found their sound to be lacking overall. The bass wasn't/isn't powerful or refined, the midrange was recessed and flat, and the high end was harsh and lacking detail.
vonbosch wrote:
* Amp is not so important, budget should be split about 3:1 or 2:1 in favour of speakers
* Concrete recommendations are B&W 602, Tannoy Saturns, JBL PRO 4400 and Paradigm, but these really need to be bought second hand to fit in my budget.
* Avoid chain stores (my standard MO anyways).
All good conclusions. I would recommend 2:1 for the budget ratio between speakers and electronics. You may be shocked at the difference between electronic products once you test them out in a home setting. Also, don't forget to budget for a quality CD player and analog interconnects if applicable!


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:59 am 
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It really comes down to what sounds good to you. For some, good enough = 64kbps MP3's and a pair of Apple earbuds they get for free. For others, it's FLAC and an endless quest/money for hardware. Where do you lie on this continuum other than wanting to spend 300-400 euros?

Also, is a PC your primary audio source? That affects the decisions as well.

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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:39 am 
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Ah - my old brain was confused. I was thinking about Mirage. Replace what I said about Paradigm with Mirage.
But, yes, Paradigm are great as well. As for Energy, I did mention that they were what I'd consider a bare minimum standard, along with the Mercury series by Tannoy. Anything less capable is just wasting your money. The Tannoy Mercury series can be had for stupidly low prices in Europe as well. But if you have more than 50 Euros, get something better than Energy or the Mercury series.

The JBL 4400s, are pretty much a U.S. only item, though. You'll never find a good condition pair. Plus the fact that JBL's presence in Europe is a fraction of that other brands like Genelec are as these were almost 100% sold to recording studios. If you stumble across a mint condition set, go for it, but don't waste time looking, either, as your kids will be grown up by then... :lol:

As for the 602 S3 models, for that sort of price, just get them. They're solid bookshelf speakers and what I'd consider to be "adequate" entry-level sound for serious listening. ie - you could put them up against 3/4 of the "audiophile" bookshelf speakers and it'd be a matter of preference as to which was better. IMO, they're not as good as the Saturns (modern version of the Saturn is the Eyris, btw - but these tend to be pricey, even used), but are reasonably close to the smaller S6 surrounds that they made.

The S2 are good as well because they squeak by with 7 inch drivers, which is the minimum for good bass response, IMO. 6 inchers just don't generally cut it unless they are in a tower design(larger interior volume helps with bass some). A 50hz +/- 3db low end is reasonable. Most bookshelf speakers are closer to 80-90hz at +/-3db if you look at the specs(their listed lowest frequency is usually the lowest sound they can make at all - ouch). That's going to require a sub to handle normal rock music. Low E on a bass is roughly 41hz. If you wonder why bass is weak on most systems, it's because virtually no speakers under 8 inches can cleanly produce 41hz. All good speakers, IMO, are also front-ported so that the bass has proper impact. Most bookshelf speakers are not and are meant to be used as surrounds - so they can't really double as main speakers.

B&W, JBL, Tannoy and more respected higher-end firms don't play marketing games and their designs will do what they say they will do. Kevlar is also nice as it can be driven a *little* harder without distorting, so turning up the bass a bit on the amplifier to compensate for the low end is fairly easy. It's passable as a full-range bookself speaker.

Also, the B&W and Tannoys and similar speakers are 6ohms. Pretty much anything good is rated at 6 or even 4 ohms. In reality, they aren't much different, but the higher-end speaker makers are more conservative with their analysis of the speakers and suggest 6ohms rather than 8. Most 6-8 inch drivers dip down to 3-4 ohms at lower frequencies for brief periods of time, so companies rating them at 8 ohms are expecting you to use them at lower volumes and this is why so many cheap amplifiers get toasted*. Most guitar and bass amps, even the smaller ones, are 4ohms as they expect them to be driven harder and hit 4 ohms more often. The actual physical specs on single coil speakers of the same dimensions aren't that much different.

*The speakers rarely die first - they are just a load on the amplifier. The sound waves tell the speaker what to do and the amplifier supplies the current to try to keep up(this works kind of in reverse of what logic tells you, as the speakers drive the amp). Heavy bass or loud music gets the amplifier really hot if it's not designed for this sort of use. Everything built in the 60s, 70s, and most of the 80s was built with this in mind. But then they got cheap. Most makers of surround amplifiers figure that you'll be using a sub for the bass and as a result, some are barely better than the type of junk you'd find in a cheap car stereo head unit. That said, it's generally safe to run virtually any multi-channel amplifier with only 2 speakers.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul02/a ... m602s3.asp
A nice review of them. Note -the new price was £300 each.


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:34 pm 
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Good advice in here. I have definitely not kept up with the audio reproduction world in about a decade. But some things don't change. As noted earlier, impedance varies with frequency. This is why loudspeaker are rated in nominal impedance. The closer an electrical load gets to zero (lower impedance), the more current is needed. High-current amps need to be seriously beefy (x-formers, rects, output devices & cooling) to operate in spec at low impedance loads because they are approaching what amounts to an electrical short.

Nothing has a larger affect on sound reproduction than your speakers. I would put ALL of your funds toward speakers. In your price range, marginal increases in speaker price can have massive affect on quality. Scrounge/borrow a used amp until you can afford what you want.

I made the "mistake" of buying Magnepans in college (thanks student loans!), and now find everything else inferior. I like the "Maggie sound"; some don't. The mistake was not realizing that I'd need a dedicated listening room wherever I lived for the rest of my life. Dipole's are only as good as the rooms they're in, and Maggies need lots of room. I realize that they are not readily available outside North America, and since you're getting into HT, dipoles probably don't interest you (for mains, at least). This is just where I'm coming from.

My stereo audio chain: squeezebox -> Acurus RL-11 preamp -> Acurus A250 amplifier -> Magnepans. The pre and power amps were bought used through Audiogon (I think), again while I was in college. Acurus were part of Mondial (see Aragon) but did not survive Klipsch's buyout.

I liked the power and integrated amps NAD were making 10 years ago; maybe they've changed. They paid attention and built in high current output stages. I have a NAD cd player that's been collecting dust since discovering the squeezebox (thanks to SPCR and Mike C!).

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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:21 pm 
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Location: Los Angeles
Magnepan does make good speakers, but finding them in Europe is really tough. They also are one of the few brands that should pretty much not be bought used, as they are extremely prone to damage. They also require a good amplifier. That said, they are stunning. The best arrangement is to mount them on a piano hinge and then swing them more or less edge-on towards you.

http://www.magnepan.com/model_MMG
You will need a very fast 8-10 inch subwoofer (actual dual-coil in a sealed cabinet) to go with these for bass. But it's the most cost-effective solution, IME. Sunfire makes great subwoofers that work well with this.(The SDS-10 is good) You will need a separate filter circuit on the main speakers to though to act as a filter for low frequencies (something like -20db on the 60hz and below bands on an equalizer would suffice) Roll in the sub to match and you're done.


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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:13 am 
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
Plekto wrote:
as they are extremely prone to damage.

Funny story about that. I had two roommates in college, and my stereo w/the magnepans was our main living room system. Both of my roommates shared my audio addiction, and were respectful of my gear. But in typical college male style, the rest of our apartment was a dump. We lived there for 2 year and maybe cleaned the kitchen twice. Consequently, we had an ant infestation one summer. We called the manager who called an exterminator, who arrived while I was at work. My roommates were home and let him in. He was a very large guy (described to me as roughly John Goodman-sized), with a pesticide backpack spray system. At some point he apparently tripped and fell into one of the Magnepans, knocking it over and pushing it into a wall. Amazingly there was zero damage to the speaker, cosmetic or otherwise. Knowing that I'd completely freak out, neither roommate told me about any of this until the day we moved out!

Which brings me to another cool thing: before moving I called Magnepan to ask if I could buy new shipping packaging for my speakers. I had either lost or tossed the original boxes. The sent them to me FOR FREE. That's terrific customer service.

I have the MMG models. I've listened to a old pair of MG20's extensively (a family member's), and thought they were fantastic. A little out of my budget, though. Thus the MMG's.

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 Post subject: Re: speaker recommendation
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:03 pm 
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I'll add my standard $0.02 here for speaker reccomendations:

go listen in person first!

seriously. Leave your checkbook/Credit Card/Cash at home. Grab your 1-2 of your favorite CDs and go visit a high end audio store. Listen to your music on their $50,000 system. Can you tell a difference from your own? if not, go home, visit wall-mart, get the $50 home theater in a box and be happy.

If you can hear a difference, check out other setups. Bookshelf vs floorstander vs 2channel and such. Look at what components sound good to you, ask questions and go from there.

My personal preference is for Focal and the B&W 800stuff (wen I win the lottery, i'll get some).

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