Cheap 5 speaker package?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Josh Haugo, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. Josh Haugo

    Josh Haugo Extra

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    Hey, I'm looking at spending no more than $300 shipped for a set of 5 speakers. I know it isn't much, but it's all that I can spend. I don't know what I'm gonna power them with yet, probaby a Denon 1706 or Yammie 559. These are for a frat house so they're gonna get run pretty hard but they still need to sound pretty good for movies and limited music. I will probably make a sub for it sometime, but it would be nice to have speakers that can sound decent without one. Right now, I'm thinking of the athena point 5 or the Fluance sx-htb(which I currently own and like). Are there any other systems I should be considering or is that kinda the best in the price range.
     
  2. Jason Hammerly

    Jason Hammerly Supporting Actor

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    Where are you located. I'm downgrading my speakers and have the Athena as-f1 for fronts, as-c1 center and a pair of as-b1 for rears that could probably be in that range if you are interested and close.
     
  3. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    ....and this narrows them even more.

    I hate to add to Cerwin Vega's (partially true) reputation, but theirs and MTX's are the only speakers I know of that can sort of meet all 3 requirements.

    J&R music sells them:

    VE Series VE8 floorstanders w/8" woofer = $200/pair (for front mains)
    VE Series 5M bookshelfs w/5" woofer, 1 pair = $70 (surround channels)
    * no center channel - run receiver in phantom center mode

    Adding the shipping for these heavy speakers will add about $90. [​IMG]

    You could buy two pairs of those bookshelfs + a center for $200 but there would be practically no bass.


    Another loudspeaker company's speakers might work too:

    MTX Monitor 60i bookshelf w/dual 6.5" woofers = $200/pair
    MTX Monitor 5i w/5.25" woofers = $60/pair
    * no center
     
  4. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    And then there's these, just stereo though they definitely get LOUD and sound pretty decent too for what they are (I've heard them with my own music):

    MTX DJ Speaker TP112

    Lastly: if you like the smell of sawdust and like saving lots of money:

    Magna Cum Laude DIY *high* quality house party speakers
     
  5. Josh Haugo

    Josh Haugo Extra

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    We have a second set of "party speakers" but I just want something that will stand up well. They won't be abused much, but they will be used a lot. People are always watching movies and or TV. I'm wouldn't mind a decent 5 speaker sat set that I could add a sub to later. Shoot, I think I have enough stuff laying around to build them a decent one. And these will be primarily be HT speakers and they don't have to do a whole lot of music.
     
  6. MaxL

    MaxL Supporting Actor

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    of course now that i look, there aren't any on ebay at the moment, but there usually are. that's the cambridge soundworks model six's. when on ebay (bstock) can be had for $90 a pair plus shipping (normally $150 pair). could get three pair for $270 for a nice 6 channel surround. don't use if they're gonna be less than 2 feet from the tv as they're not sheilded. they have more bass than most bookshelves. also, as they're sealed, the bass will not be really boomy.
     
  7. Josh Haugo

    Josh Haugo Extra

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    I live in Ames Iowa.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    You can pick up the Athena Micra 6 package at Best Buy (online) for $269, including the sub here
     
  9. Jason Hammerly

    Jason Hammerly Supporting Actor

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    Crazy ... I send you a PM Josh. I live just down the road in Ankeny. I could give you a deal on the Athena set.
     
  10. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    $300 can buy you just 1 pair of "decent" sounding B&W DM303's. for a set of 5 speakers that sound "decent", i'm sorry, that's impossible... unless you get lucky on ebay.

    you're basically looking at HT in a box, which is terrible compared to 5 *real* speakers. why not build in piecemeal? start with a pair in stereo, then slowly buy ea. additional speaker as you save up for it.

    trust us, don't expect a $300 system to sound remotely close to $20,000+ audio systems that cinemas have or even $1,000 speaker packages that a lot of HT enthusiasts on this board started out with. just telling you facts. this is one case where the idiom, "you get what you paid for", really comes true.
     
  11. Jason Hammerly

    Jason Hammerly Supporting Actor

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    I don't completely agree with this statement. If you buy used, ie Athena, or JBL, I feel like you can get a decent set for $300-$400. I've owned Paradigm Monitors, B&W's, Energy's, and many other speakers. I've been very pleased with my Athena setup as well as a JBL setup I had years ago. I can't say that the vastly more expensive Paradigm's were all that much better. It all depends on what you are pushing the speakers with and the acoustics of the room. That being said, I don't believe a person needs to spend $1000 on speakers or more to enjoy the experience. Just my $.02 in the last 10 years I've bought and sold HT speakers and equipment.

    Jason
     
  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    It is best to put most of the budget into the front three, but I agree with Jason that used can be an EXCELLENT way to go. I've bought many used speakers and had great results while saving quite a bit of $$.

    If I were you Josh, I'd jump all over Jason's Athenas.
     
  13. Josh Haugo

    Josh Haugo Extra

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    John, I'm working with Jason on the Athena package but I don't have the authority to write the check. It's a great deal and now it's just to get through the red tape.
     
  14. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Josh said
    [​IMG]

    I think those Micras sound very good as long as the user doesn't need high volume levels.

    Speaker design is full of compromises, particularly at lower price points like these ("good" and "high" in the following illustration are just being used to make a point - I'm not giving them any specific values):

    * you can get good sound or

    * you can have high volume levels or

    * you can have pretty good sound AND pretty high volume levels

    .......but you can't have equal amounts of both "good" and "high".

    As far as "good" goes that's an EXTREMELY opinionated issue, so you really really need to go listen to these various speakers to decide for yourself.

    I've heard the latest B&W Nautilus 800Ds that go for $20,000/pair, paired with Classe amplification with my own music and while they did sound great, I've heard speakers that cost "only" $4K/pair that IMO also sounded just as good (sorry Yi Feng!). Maybe if i had used an audiophile CD instead of my Stereolab Dots And Loops album (one of the best sounding CDs in my collection) maybe I could have heard more of what those B&Ws suppsoedly were capable of........but I don't listen to audiophile CDs for pleasure so why bother? That's like basing a car buying decision on whether a particular model can comfortably handle 150mph on Germany's autobahn when I'm only using it on Texas' numerous flat & straight-for-miles [​IMG] 75mph limit highways - I would be wasting lots of money doing this. >>> When I came to this realization back in the 80s, this was one of several issues that severely reduced my interest in hi-end equipment. So later, instead of the entry-level B&W 6.5" bookshelfs I was considering, I went with a pair of Baby Advents instead and have never looked back. The Pretenders and Yes' 90125 sounded pretty damn good on those little guys!
     
  15. Jason Hammerly

    Jason Hammerly Supporting Actor

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    Good points Lance. It's all relative to your equipment and your budget. [​IMG] I had a set of those baby Advents. Nice little speakers. Think I sold them at a grage sale for $45 bucks about 10 years ago. Wish I still had them!
     
  16. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    lance,

    i don't think i was comparing $4k to $20k speakers. while those quality differences are debatable using marginal benefit discussion, i really think $300 5.1 speaker packages just don't hold a candle to $1,000+ speaker packages. there is a fairly real and cognitive difference if one just calms their mind and really listen to both packages.

    i'm not sayin to the guy to go all out and spend $20k, i was just sayin' if you want to have a system that RESEMBLES anything remotely to a decent a/v home cinema presentation, $300 won't buy you that. it can get you closer than 2 speakers... but not as much as $1,000 will buy you. this is all assuming new equipment. ebay always takes that equation to a very relative position.

    that's why i recommend building that "decent" speaker package in piecemeal.
     
  17. Josh Haugo

    Josh Haugo Extra

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    Comparing $300 to $1k is quite a difference. It's like saying a 6 cylinder mustang is a crappy car because it get's it's ass kicked in every regard by a corvette that is 3x more expensive. The corvette is a better car, but not everybody can afford(or want to spend their money) a corvette.

    I've already established a budget so coming in here telling me I can't buy anything worth a shit with $300 is pretty ignorant. I'm not expecting to buy the best or even mid range. We're looking for something cheap that gets the job done. The life span will probably be pretty short and odds are they will be abused.

    Jason, too bad you sold those speakers already. The insignias look like they should work well and I'll just build a sub.
     
  18. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Oh I know that - I just that think 300 bucks will still buy some speakers that don't sound BAD. What I'm getting at is what the magazines call "sin of commission/sin of omission".

    To clarify the first half of that phrase: that means a speaker that includes irritating qualities that cause the listener to quickly grow tired of listening to them in other words sharp/sizzly high frequencies, boomy or one-note bass, etc.

    The 2nd part means a speaker that is missing something the user desires i.e. silky detailed highs or clean/powerful bass. BUT......while the speaker may not be reproducing something the user enjoys, at least the speaker is not actively doing something that drives him crazy.

    This would be comparable to having a college dorm roomate that doesn't like to go out to clubs with you and instead just sits & watches TV and reads novels in his spare time. Unexciting.....but at least he doesn't bother you. The sin of commission roommate would be the roommate that belches constantly, leaves his dirty underwear in the middle of the floor and uses your deodorant when you're not looking.

    There are ways to take cheaper materials and apply various inexpensive coatings to them or use special shapes to lessen their negative qualities; or use certain crossover designs or a combination of these to make a cheaper speaker sound inoffensive (unfortunately these can also end up taking away the better sounding parts too, but that can be the reality in the lower price ranges).

    A good example of this is the KLH 9250B 12" 3-way Best Buy sells (in the stores at least - couldn't find them on their site). A tad boomy while playing my 311 Transistor CD (receiver bass/treble at "0", loudness off) in their carpeted/ceiling tiled speaker room for 15 minutes, but surprisingly good highs and mids for a $175/pair of large speakers, and the rest of the bass had a nice kick to it.

    Josh: check out my post (#22) about some special Sony 6.5" bookshelf speakers you might like that Circuit City is blowing out for $60/pair instead of their former price of (IIRC) $200. As the message says they are not typical Sonys.
     
  19. Tom Donaghue

    Tom Donaghue Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Josh;
    Another poster on a different forum recently asked a similar question, although they wanted a 6 speaker system (5.1) for a $300-400 budget. Here was my response to them, hopefully this can help you in your search:

    "For a full 5.1 setup, this is a fairly tight budget for a new setup. You likely would get more out of buying used or refurbished, but I'm not sure how you feel about as some folks are a bit squeamish about spending any money on something that's not brand new. Just so you know, in my main system, all of my speakers are either used or refurbished. In addition to that, so is my HDTV, receiver and external amplifier. This all saved me over $2,500 if I wanted to buy this equipment new when they were purchased so as you can see, you can save a whole lot of money on used, refurbished or even clearance items.

    Having said that, my suggestions for a new 5.1 speaker system that would give you the best bang for your buck would likely be, as much as I hate to suggest it, a HTIB (Home Theater In A Box) speaker solution. While two of these don't exactly fall under the HTIB category, they're the closest to a good set that I could find in your price range. Here are my suggestions from top to bottom:

    Cambridge Soundworks offers some pretty solid speakers at a very good price. Here is a 6 piece system that cost $350 with shipping free:

    Cambridge SoundWorks MovieWorks 108 Home Theater Speaker System (Slate)

    I've personally used their speakers and for someone looking for decent sound for the money, these are a very good solution. This is for an open box set. Fortunately, they offer a 45 day satisfaction guarantee, so if you're not satisfied, they'll refund you the full amount for the speakers (shipping will likely not be refunded).

    The Athena Technologies Micra 6 system has also garnered some pretty decent feedback from folks in the HT forums I frequent for a decent entry level speaker system. Best Buy is offering this online for $270:

    Athena Technologies Micra 6 System

    Here's also one from Harman Kardon that people seem to be pleased with based on their ratings at Amazon:

    Harman Kardon HKTS 14 6-Piece Loudspeaker System

    This will land you a 5.1 speaker setup for just about $370 w/Amazon's free shipping option. This would be my last suggestion of these three as I believe the other two systems will perform better for you, but if aesthetics are important, this may be a consideration.

    My first inclination would be to suggest a good 2.1 setup (to mains and a sub) and then build on that when money allows, but unless you're willing to consider that, these are the best deals I could find for a full 5.1 set. I would still consider used and can suggest some places to look, but it's up to you."


    I know the CSW and Harman set are over your $300 budget, but these due include a sub, albeit not an earth shattering monster, but I think that's to be expected.

    Hope this helps a bit... -TD
     
  20. suresh*

    suresh* Auditioning

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