Newbie, Which Fronts for ~$400? Appreciate help!

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Mike2099, Oct 7, 2006.

  1. Mike2099

    Mike2099 Auditioning

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    Hi everyone,

    For the past few years I've used a Kenwood HtiB, but now I have enough money to start upgrading, starting with the fronts. I'm willing to pay about $400 for the pair (but of course cheaper would be better if the sound is still great).

    I can't claim to be a huge audiophile, but I've spent the last few days reading, and have come up with the following list of possibilities, though you can feel free to add others (I realize many of the MSRPs are well above $400, but I'm going by the prices I've been able to find on eBay and Froogle):

    Aperion Intimus 532-LR Bookshelf
    Ascend HTM-200
    Ascend CBM-170 SE
    Axiom M3 v2
    Boston Acoustics VR2
    Boston Acoustics VR-M50
    Energy RC-10
    Infinity Primus 360
    Infinity Beta 20
    Klipsch RB-61
    Klipsch RF-10
    M&K K-15
    NHT Classic Two
    Orb Audio Mod2
    Polk R50
    Polk RTI 6

    I'm living in a dorm room, so it's not very big, somewhere around 11x10 feet. I'll be out of here in a year, though, so my next room should be a little bigger, though I don't imagine I'll have enough money to get anything too much larger for a while.

    I currently have a Kenwood VR-407, but I'll be upgrading my receiver a little while after I get my new speakers (I'll probably spend $300-400 on the receiver too).

    I'll be using these speakers for something like 85% music (alternative, pop, easy listening, rock, electronica), and a little movies and games. Also, although I often like listening to music quite loud, it's important that they sound good and clear at low volumes for late night listening.

    By the way, the only speakers on that list I've been able to audition are the Orbs, and they sounded incredible to me. But I have no idea if any of the others are better (I would assume so, since they're all significantly physically larger), since so much of the terminology used by speaker manufacturers is confusing to me.

    As you can see, I've put both bookshelfs and floor-standing speakers on my list. Bookshelfs are probably easier, but I guess I'll go with floor-standing ones if they're a lot better, and they'll probably be easier when I move into a new room since I won't have to get speaker stands.

    Currently, on my room's long wall, I have my desk pressed up against the wall in the left corner, then my computer, then my TV immediately to the right. There's definitely room for a floor-standing speaker to the right of the TV, but for the left I'd have to move my desk over to create space.

    Thus, the left floor speaker would kind of be crammed between the wall on one side and the desk on the other, which probably isn't great for sound, but I could try to move it out so it's almost poking out the end. I currently have my left bookshelf on the desk.

    By the way, as you might have surmised, the left speaker will be almost right in front of me, while the right will be on the other side of the room, if that makes any difference.

    I'd really appreciate any help and advice you guys can give in my selection process.

    Thanks very much!

    -Michael
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Mike: I'll let the speaker-expert-guys here weigh in with their opinions on what's good and not. But I thought I'd point out THIS THREAD over in "Coupons and Bargains" where, as recently as a couple of months ago it was noted you could pick up a pair of Polk R50s for $140 to $160 bucks.

    If these were speakers you were really interested in you might be able to afford another part of your upgrade sooner than you originally thought! [​IMG]

    I can tell you (as you would see in that very thread) that I have a pair of R30s for my fronts and a pair of R15s for my rears and feel blessed to have such good quality for the low price.
     
  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I just added to that thread that the R15s are back on sale (for $39.98 a pair!)...but no R30s or R50s are to be found as of right now. But, if you do a simple search on Polk at outpost.com you'll find all sorts of speakers...including some of the RTI series.
     
  4. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    The best budget speakers are going to be the Ascends, Axioms, and Asperian. The more expensive Energy and NHT would likely offer you better sound, IMO. It just depends on how you would like to spend your money, and if you can find great deals on the Energy or NHT go with those, the Energy particularly. It is one of the heaviest though so it will likely cost more to ship if you don't have a dealer in your area. Just do some math, read reviews and I am sure you will not be dissapointed.
     
  5. Mike2099

    Mike2099 Auditioning

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    Thanks for the replies!

    Mike, that's a great deal on the R50s - too bad it's not on anymore, but I'll keep my eyes open!

    Seth, there's actually an Energy dealer pretty nearby, so I'll try out the RC-10s.

    I've added a few more speakers, so my final list of possibilities is:

    Aperion Intimus 532-LR Bookshelf
    Ascend CBM-170 SE
    Axiom M3 v2
    Boston Acoustics VR2
    Boston Acoustics VR-M50
    Energy RC-10
    Infinity Primus 360
    Infinity Beta 20
    JBL E90
    JBL Stadium
    JBL Arena
    Klipsch RB-61
    Klipsch RF-10
    M&K K-15
    NHT Classic Two
    Onix X-LS
    Orb Audio Mod2
    Polk R50
    Polk RTI 6
    Swan 2.1 Monitor
    Usher S-520

    I've noticed that it seems to be difficult to find more than one or two of these together at any one store, so to audition them all I'd have to visit many different places.

    Does anyone know of any big speaker stores in LA that might carry a large number of these?

    Or, I'd be willing to just order one to audition at home if I could get a consensus on which is the best one on my list.

    Thanks again!
     
  6. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    I'd audition the Ascend 170SE and the Usher 520 off your list with that 85% music use.
     
  7. hdtvman

    hdtvman Auditioning

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    If space is a problem, Vanns has the Sony SAVF700ED for $299 no tax and free shipping. There is a 5 yr warranty. I bought 2 sets so far. It's the perfect gift for someone who doesn't have a lot of room. They dont make them anymore. Circuity City has infinitys on sale for a good price - most of the time. That's if you dont mind getting a step or two down from the Betas. I was there a little bit ago and saw they dont have the floor standings anymore on sale.
     
  8. Mike2099

    Mike2099 Auditioning

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    Thanks!

    Chris, I'd love to audition the Ascends, but I don't think they're in any store, and it's $20 shipping.
     
  9. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Ascends are an internet brand exclusive I believe, and they likely will have a return policy so you could audition them in your home for a while. I am not sure if they cover shipping charges on a return though.
     

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