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Entry level Bookshelf speakers for newbie?

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29 replies to this topic

#1 of 30 OFFLINE   jerry davis

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Posted October 31 2002 - 12:42 AM

I need bookshelf speakers for my home theater setup. I have a cheap box set now, but am replacing each piece as I can afford it. I have a 65inch Toshiba HDTV 65H81 and have already replace the subwoofer in the box set with the Sony SA-WM40. My TV room is 20ft x 20 ft and the TV is across one wall with cabinets on each side. I want five speakers with 100 watt each rating and in a price range under $400. I looked at JBL and they look too plastic to me. I like more traditional looking speakers. Any suggestion would be appreciated.

#2 of 30 OFFLINE   Jason Hammerly

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Posted October 31 2002 - 01:06 AM

You might try the home theater direct level 2 set. THey have a free in home trial on your first order. If you don't like them, you can send them back and get reimbursed completely for all shipping and product. No brainer if you ask me.

#3 of 30 OFFLINE   Stephen Hopkins

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Posted October 31 2002 - 01:56 AM

You should definatly look at the JBL NSP-1 package. It's one of the best packages out there, and can easily be found under $300. I'm currently using an NSP-1 package as the surrounds/rear surrounds and center along with some JBL N28 mains. If you have $400, you may want to also look at 2 pairs of N28s and an N Center. Hope this helps.

#4 of 30 OFFLINE   Martin H

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Posted October 31 2002 - 04:17 AM

You might be happier in the long run if you use your $400 now to get new mains and a center, and continue using some from your old set as surrounds, then replace those later, when the wallet cools off. $400 for mains and a center would likely give you more options and you might be able to stave off the upgrade bug longer. Good luck.

#5 of 30 OFFLINE   AlanZ



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Posted October 31 2002 - 04:27 AM

I agree with Martin. If you think you'll be pretty set on bookshelves for a while, I'd put the $400 into a good quality pair of those and add a center. Having a solid front stage and no surrounds (for the time being) would probably be more satisfying that a weaker system all the way around. A couple years ago when I started getting back into HT, I started with a pair of Paradigm Atoms ($189), their least expensive center channel ($149), and a PDR-10 sub ($319). We (my wife and I) were pretty impressed with this little system. You already have a sub, so you could find a nice pair of bookshevles and a center and be pretty happy until you can upgrade the rears.
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#6 of 30 OFFLINE   jerry davis

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Posted October 31 2002 - 05:54 AM

You guys sure are helpful on this forum. I will look at some of these. Anyone else want to add other suggestions, it would be appreciated.

#7 of 30 OFFLINE   KyleGS


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Posted October 31 2002 - 05:59 AM

I agree with Stephen. I was nervous about the JBL's too. I did a nice stealth install for my mom's new house with an HK receiver and I am blown away. I used the NSP-1 pkg with a KSW12 sub. The sound is amazing. The N-Series from JBL should be seriously considered for budget bookshelves. I don't think you would be disappointed with the nsp1 set.

#8 of 30 OFFLINE   Shion_ca


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Posted October 31 2002 - 06:19 AM

Hey Jerry, In your position I'd put my money on a pair of front speakers, I got a pair of S38 Mk 2's from best buy (opening day sale) for 399 Cnd. This would leave you with $235 US to buy a center. Take your current front left and right and use them for rears. This is what I'd do YMMV (your mileage may vary).

#9 of 30 OFFLINE   Valerie Brown

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Posted October 31 2002 - 06:31 AM


The JBL N28 (2-Way/8" Woofer) is a bookshelf size speaker. I own them (as well as an NSP1 and set of N38s) and am very pleased with them (all). Most people agree that JBLs are very good speakers for the money.

If you are just going to use them for HT, the NSP1 (4: N24s/1: N-Center) w/ a subwoofer would most likely work fine. May wish to invest in some bigger speakers for music use.

If your intersted in getting an N-Center, I would advise getting an NSP1 instead. From what I have seen, the deals are far better on the NSP1, than on the N-Centers alone.

Good places to research prices/reviews:


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#10 of 30 OFFLINE   george king

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Posted October 31 2002 - 08:01 AM

Check these out.


The M-1s seem to fit the bill.

#11 of 30 OFFLINE   SkiingNinja


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Posted October 31 2002 - 11:46 AM

Just to add, maybe forget the center as well for now. Do you have a lot of off-axis listeners for movie night? If not, you can run a phantom center for now with good results and get the best mains you can afford. Sean
Owner, Skiing Ninja

#12 of 30 OFFLINE   ben_fowler



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Posted October 31 2002 - 12:22 PM

Hi Jerry. These are all great suggestions and I agree. You know, a lot of our customers get their speakers piecemeal style too. There are a lot of great speakers for under $400 - you'll be happier in the long run sound and performance-wise. But if you do need a complete set of speakers for under $400, you might check these out. Polk RM6700 Onkyo SKS-HT500 Cheers, Ben.fowler@aperionaudio.com
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#13 of 30 OFFLINE   Ben_wood


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Posted October 31 2002 - 12:54 PM

Jerry, check out Ascend Acoustics at www.ascendacoustics.com I have a 5.1 system consisting of 4 CBM-170s on the corners, an HTM-200 center, and a Hsu VTF-2 sub. I've been extremely pleased with this setup for both movies and music.

#14 of 30 OFFLINE   Luis Cruz

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Posted October 31 2002 - 03:44 PM

You might also consider getting a pair of the JBL S-26 Series 1 speakers for the front. You can get them over at www.bestpriceaudiovideo.com for 175 shipped. You can then get the S-Center Series 2 for 160 shipped and that would take care of the front soundstage. I have the S-Center and it's a pretty awesome center. I'm hoping to save some money to get the S-26's for mains. So for 335 bucks you get a pretty solid front soundstage.
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#15 of 30 OFFLINE   jerry davis

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Posted November 01 2002 - 05:13 AM

I appreciate all the input from everyone. It seems like the JBL NSP1 are really popular for economical speakers. I found them on the net for around $209 or on eBay around $200. That is not bad for five speakers. The N-Center speaker is $199 at BB for it alone. But, I still do not like the style of them. I am going to look around at just front speakers and maybe a center for my money. Thanks all.

#16 of 30 OFFLINE   george king

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Posted November 01 2002 - 05:25 AM

Then, definitely check out the site http://www.rutledgeaudiodesign.com/

Brian is a great guy (I have not yet bought anything from him but I probably will).

This way you get the performance benefits of DIY without having to do the work. The speakers are based on the SCH kits, which seem to be popular budget speaker kits.

Hope this helps.

#17 of 30 OFFLINE   JeremySpoke



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Posted November 03 2002 - 04:45 AM

If you want a prettier speaker, i suggest you check out Wharfedale diamond and emerald series. you could get a decent front soundstage for $400 in real wood of your choice.

#18 of 30 OFFLINE   Jeff Braddock

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Posted November 03 2002 - 10:50 AM

Look at Boston Accoustics. their cr series is compact and sound pretty nice (from what i've listened to in the shop)

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#19 of 30 OFFLINE   DaleR


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Posted November 03 2002 - 11:09 AM

mission 71
I'm so bored with the U.S.A.

#20 of 30 OFFLINE   BrianT



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Posted November 04 2002 - 03:45 AM

I agree with the idea of spending the money on the mains now and upgrading the center and surrounds as $$ allows. PSB, Paradigm and Energy, just to name a few, all offer bookshelf speakers in the price range you are looking. All offer a nice build quality and offer a traditional look that is not plastic-like. I had the original Alpha’s in my original HT set-up. If you look you can find some great deals on bookshelf speakers from PSB and Paradigm in the used market.

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