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I have ~$670 to spend on speakers.. help me choose


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#1 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael Clayton

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Posted January 19 2004 - 05:43 PM

Hello folks... I'm building a starter HT and I need your help! I have a budget of roughly $850 to build this HT for an apartment living room that is 12'x12'6". I found a good deal on a refurbished Denon 1603 for $180 at ecost.com, so that leaves me with $670 to spend on speakers.

This HT will be in this apartment for at least a year before I eventually buy a house, so I figured I can just get a pair of front speakers and a sub if needed, and add on when the situation and cash flow calls for it. It'll be used mostly for movies, but also see some music usage (jazz, gospel, and occasional R&B/Hip-Hop). I don't want to shake the walls loose, but I want to have some kinda thump & rumble for my movies when the neighbors are away.

Right now I am considering a pair of Axiom M40ti's for the front speakers. However, I'm also looking at the M22ti's. From what I've read around here, the M22ti's are better for movies and will definitely need a sub to fill in the bottom, but I'm not sure if that's also the case for the 40's. Either setup would leave me with about $200-250 for a sub (gotta got stands if I get the 22's)... given the area that this is for, I'd think that I could get a decent sub to cover it at that price range. Perhaps a Polk PSW202.

So now its question time:

Which pair should I go with for my front speakers? Will I need a sub either way? If so, what would be the best sub for that price range and coverage area? Would you recommend an entirely different speaker set?

Thanks in advance for your input!

#2 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael Clayton

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Posted January 20 2004 - 03:38 AM

Anybody?

I think I've found a better sub option... Velodyne CHT-8 at etronics.com for $229.99.

Would one of the HTD packages (level 2 perhaps) be a better option overall?

#3 of 29 OFFLINE   LaMarcus

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Posted January 20 2004 - 03:59 AM

You can buy the S-26 for $150 for a pair, get front and surround and only be out $300.
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Another $150 and get the S- center to match, and you'll be solid.
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Or get this complete N-26 set for $200, and still have ample dough to get a nice sub.
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I used to have both of these set up's, they both did a great job. The S series more than the N series, but the N series will get the mission accomplished for a temp set up with little money. But the axioms are supposed to be great, I've never heard them myself. But I can't live without surrounds when I'm watching moives, that's why I recommend those JBL's, because you could buy them and still be under budget; and have a 5.1 setup with the N-series, or a 5.0 setup with the S series.

#4 of 29 OFFLINE   Stephen Hopkins

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Posted January 20 2004 - 05:19 AM

I'd say S26 mains and surrounds, S Center, and a DLS 10" or Sony WM500 sub would be your best bet. Since you say it'll be mostly movies you don't wanna skip the surrounds (IMO). The sub will also add alot more to movies than you would initially think, even a lower priced one.

You should be able to find my reccomended components easily under $670 online using www.froogle.com and www.shopping.yahoo.com

Good luck Posted Image

#5 of 29 OFFLINE   Peter_A_M

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Posted January 20 2004 - 12:39 PM

Hi Michael,

Try looking into Rutledge Audio's T1 tower speaker.

http://www.rutledgea...ign.com/t1.html

I have a bookshelf version of this speaker (the SCH K05B50, I believe), and it, when paired to my subwoofer, excels at jazz, gospel, and mostly anything else you can throw at it. I've never heard the Axiom M22ti, but I owned the Axiom M3ti for about a year prior to buying these bookshelves, and prefer their midrange detail and more natural highs to that of the M3ti.

I don't know how accurate the specifications on the page are, but Brian Bunge, the owner of Rutledge Audio, is pretty active on these boards and I'm sure would be glad to answer any questions you might have about the speaker. Its rating down to 26 Hz seems reasonable, and should be satisfactory for most movie and music soundtracks.

Hope this helps,
Peter

#6 of 29 OFFLINE   JeremyR

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Posted January 21 2004 - 06:21 AM

Might I recommend the speakers for you. I'll leave the sub recommendations to these other folks as I've still not decided on a sub to replace my current Kenwood sub. But I have got 2 Paradigm Titans (v.3), 2 Paradigm Atoms (v.3), and a cc-170 for my center for just under $500 plus tax at my local dealer. That included a 15% discount (which you should expect to get from the dealer). I absolutely love these speakers, the Titans by themselves perform beautifully just with music, but of course you'll need some help with the bass from a subwoofer. My dad has a Paradigm 8 inch sub which works very nicely, but I think you can probably do better for your money with a subwoofer than Paradigm.

#7 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael Clayton

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Posted January 21 2004 - 11:18 AM

Quote:
I have got 2 Paradigm Titans (v.3), 2 Paradigm Atoms (v.3), and a cc-170 for my center for just under $500 plus tax at my local dealer. That included a 15% discount (which you should expect to get from the dealer).
Interesting... I had already planned on vising a shop that happened to be a paradigm dealer. I'll keep an eye out for those. Thanks for the suggestion.

#8 of 29 OFFLINE   BobJ

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Posted January 21 2004 - 01:25 PM

Quote:
I don't want to shake the walls loose, but I want to have some kinda thump & rumble for my movies when the neighbors are away.


You might want to reconsider a sub for apartment living unless you don't have many neighbors. LFE can travel in funny ways in buildings. You might have to make sure that quite a few neighbors are not at home. Posted Image

My co-worker had a war with a guy who was on the next floor and one unit over because the guy's LFE was rattling straight into his unit. While it didn't sound that loud, whenever the guy played music or a movie, it vibrated his room and you could very easily feel it.

He tried to explain the situation to the guy (invited him over to feel the vibrations), but sub man said he was "full of $hit" since his unit wasn't directly connected to the guy's unit.

However, the manager could feel it and lowered the boom on sub man.

The bottom line is be very careful with a sub in an apartment building. If you think you're moving to a house in the near future, consider living without the sub for now. Plus, an apartment sized sub may not be the right size for a house.

#9 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael Clayton

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Posted January 21 2004 - 04:41 PM

Well I visited the Paradigm dealer near me briefly. I told the salesman that I had a $700 budget for speakers and would like to hear a 2 tower + sub setup in that range. So what does he do... he puts on a pair of Monitor 7's, 9's, then 11's. All well out of my price range without the sub. Also, he leave on all of the surround and sub channels (he didn't have a sub in my range, and had on one of the more expensive ones). What's the point of that if I'm not buying all of that? I didn't have much time, but I'll go back there again and make him isolate the other stuff so I can hear what I want to buy.

The prices that he gave me seemed to be right from the Paradigm MSRP... nothing close to what you got, Jeremy. Nice enough guy, but maybe I can get someone else next time that can actually pay attention to my budget and perhaps see if he can swing a deal for me on some back-room older/floor model stuff.

Quote:
The bottom line is be very careful with a sub in apartment building...
That's kinda what I was concerned about. The place that I'm moving to is brand new, so I'm hoping that its built well with such things in mind.

So with that in mind, here's a question: If I skip the sub for now and just get a pair of M60's, will I miss the sub or will the 60's provide enough bass coverage?

#10 of 29 OFFLINE   LaMarcus

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Posted January 21 2004 - 10:47 PM

Unless you get a flagship receiver that's pumping out a hellava lot of wattage to the mains, making those woofers dance, it will never replicate the bass response of a sub.

Best response may be at 100 hz may even 70, but where to true bass is, is 60hz and below. Mmmm feel that rumble. Posted Image

#11 of 29 OFFLINE   JeremyR

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Posted January 22 2004 - 01:40 AM

I hate salesmen like that Michael. That's probably be enough to completely tick me off and not go back. Surely a city the size of Austin has more than one Paradigm dealer. You might try a different one, or for sure talk to somebody else. I wouldn't give that guy the benefit of my sale. Actually, I spoke to my dealer about my budget, and he started me on the lower end (with the Cinema series and the Micro) and worked me up to the Titans, Atoms, and CC-170 in the Performance series. That gave me a good idea of how much difference there was between the Cinema's, Micros, and then moving on up for not really spending a whole lot more on the speakers themselves. But if you're not getting a sub at all, you might be better off with some smaller floorstanders. For certain, IMO, the Titans and Atoms provide very formidable, tight bass extention for their size. But they wouldn't make me happy without a sub for movies. For music their fine, but they wouldn't be for movies.

As far as the discount.. I would personally accept nothing less than 15%. The markup on speakers is significant compared to electronics equipment.

#12 of 29 OFFLINE   Peter_A_M

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Posted January 22 2004 - 01:57 AM

Quote:
So with that in mind, here's a question: If I skip the sub for now and just get a pair of M60's, will I miss the sub or will the 60's provide enough bass coverage?

Going by Axiom's listed frequency response for the M60s (37 Hz, -3db) and the NRC's frequency response measurements for the M80 (~40 Hz, -3db), I'd say maybe. Flat response to ~40 Hz is good enough for most music, but you'll want a sub for that extra "oomph" for HT and some gospel and R&B.

For my money, again, look into Rutledge Audio's towers. If the M60ti is at all similar to the M3ti, these T-1 towers will sound better in the midrange and highs, and, based on the listed bass response and Brian's familiarity with getting the best bass response out of a driver, will satisfy you for the most part down low, too. You'll also with $650 have a real oak veneer, and though I've not seen Brian's work personally, the reports from people that have in general speak for themselves.

I'd also try to listen to the $550 Magnepan MMGs. You could add a sub from PE to fill out the low end, but you'll at least get a feel for what the dipole/Magnepan sound is like, something most people never seem to leave once they hear it.

Well, hope this helps again. Best wishes to you in your search!

Peter

#13 of 29 OFFLINE   cabreau

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Posted January 22 2004 - 02:02 AM

Just go with Atoms all the way around, with a CC-170. That was my first system and I swear by it. Movies sounded GREAT. Music was ok, but not as good as if the fronts were towers. Start off with Atoms...most dealers let you trade up to a better speaker within a year. My dealer gave me 100% of what I paid in trade, as long as it was less than a year later. The PDR-8 must be cheap enough. The PDR-10 is about $329...like he said, you can probably get a comparable sub for cheaper.
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#14 of 29 OFFLINE   JeremyR

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Posted January 22 2004 - 02:14 AM

For sure 4 atoms would serve you very well too. But since I listen to some music.. the Titans provided enough more for only an additional $25 bucks (moving from 5.5 to 6.5 inch driver as well as almost twice the volume) that it was worth it to me, and the music was much better in my ears on the titans. Some people, though, swear that the atoms image better, so it's whatever your ears like the best.

#15 of 29 OFFLINE   Evan M.

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Posted January 22 2004 - 02:46 AM

I agree with Jeremy and cabreau. 4 Titans or Atoms sound great. I heard cabreau's system and was pleasently suprised at what those little speakers could do.
Hey cabreau, how did you make that HT site? You gotta show me.

#16 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael Clayton

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Posted January 22 2004 - 03:32 AM

Keep in mind guys, if I get bookshelf speakers I need to factor in the cost of stands. They'd have to be good stands, stable on carpet.

#17 of 29 OFFLINE   JeremyR

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Posted January 22 2004 - 03:39 AM

Ruh-roh.. never thought about that. I actually am using two older Mitsubishi floorstanders as basically stands for my Titans for in front. For the surrounds I just went out and purchased two shelves that were very deep so as to keep teh speaker out from the wall. They do have mounting brackets for those Paradigms to be mounted on the wall and they can be had for about $25 a pair through my dealer (with the discount). They retail at $30 a pair. Manufactured by Premier I believe which I think is a div of Paradigm. My only concern about the brackets was that the Titans and Atoms are both rear-ported speakers, so I didn't want them that close to the wall.

#18 of 29 OFFLINE   JeremyR

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Posted January 22 2004 - 03:44 AM

I was a little concerned about putting them on those shelves, as I have a friend who had a pair of Bose bookshelves he was using as surrounds. One of them fell off the shelf and cracked it's case. According to him he said it still sounds fine (whatever fine might be for a Bose.. lol). My dealer recommended double-stick tape, or even velcro to hold the speaker on the shelf. I used the velcro, though I'm not sure I'm totally thrilled because I actually had to use two strips to level the speaker. The velcro I purchased was pretty thick and it made the speaker not sit level.

#19 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael Clayton

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Posted January 22 2004 - 05:08 AM

I just visited another local shop and auditioned a few sets of B&W bookshelf speakers... wow! The 601's were fantastic and are my best option so far at $225/ea, but dang... the 602's make me wanna stretch my budget something terrible!

#20 of 29 OFFLINE   JeremyR

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Posted January 22 2004 - 05:26 AM

That's alot of dough to put out for bookshelves. Hope they do sound great.


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