College Set Up

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by SamJ, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. SamJ

    SamJ Auditioning

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    Hi all, first post here.

    Well, I'm a poor college student, and am looking for a decent speaker set-up.

    Because of size constraints, I'm really limited to 2 bookshelf speakers. I'm looking to spend somewhere around 250 on them, but am willing to go up to around 400 if the speakers are good enough. Also, because I am in a dorm, they need to have very good sound at low volume levels. I'll probably be using them equally between TV and music.

    Well, I'm looking for recommendations because my ear is pretty bad. I went and listened to a few speakers in my local best buy, but very few stood out. The only thing I could differentiate was that Kiplisch and Polk have decent speakers. From browsing here, I've heard good things about Paradigms, Axioms, and Ascend's.

    Any recommendations would be helpful.

    Thank you
     
  2. Tim Stumpf

    Tim Stumpf Stunt Coordinator

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    Your ears are probably better than you think. The speakers you mentioned are likely the best that you're going to hear at the big retailers. You may want to check out fluance speakers. I'm not allowed to post the website, but it's easy to figure out. Good bang for the buck, and well regarded by some on these forums. They recently came out with bookshelf speakers. That's where I found out about them, bought some and am happy with them.
     
  3. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    Having had Paradigms and having Ascends. In your price range Ascend and Axiom's offerings are the better choices.
     
  4. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    What is your overall budget? Do you have a receiver already?
     
  5. Jonathan Lofgren

    Jonathan Lofgren Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm a poor college student too. Over Christmas break I built a pair of GR-Research AV-1s and they are fantastic. If you can build speakers yourself, I would definitely do that.

    If you're willing to buy internet direct, you have quite a few good options. We've got some Norh 4.0s at home and those are also quite nice. When I was purchasing my kit, I was also thinking about the Ascends, and also the Axiom M22s.

    Finally, if you want to go to a store and listen locally, I would recommend Paradigm. Before we got the Norhs, I auditioned some Paradims, the Mini-monitors, the Titans and the Atoms, and all three of those are very nice speakers.

    I'm not sure what you're looking for, but I'd be glad to give more specifics on any of the above if you're curious.
     
  6. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    If i were gonna get a low-priced system, i'd check out the Fluances, they seem to have awesome bang for the buck... IIRC, their bookshelves are only $150/pair.

    Did you want strictly stereo, or 5.1? If its stereo, if i were to really cheap out, i'd get a pair of the Fluances, or Paradigm Atoms, and a vintage stereo amp.
     
  7. Rory Buszka

    Rory Buszka Supporting Actor

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    Don't cheap out on your speakers.

    JBL E30: 6.5" woofer, 1" double-layer aluminum/textile dome Northridge tweeter. Impressive bass capability from long-throw woofer, while remaining clean. Still, the extension is only to 50 Hz.

    Klipsch SB2: 6.5" woofer, MicroTractrix horn tweeter. moderate bass, but I personally like the sound of the tweeter. Can't go very far wrong with these. Decent midrange. Bass extension only down to 54 Hz. I see a sub in your future.

    Polk RT16: 6.5" woofer, I have found polk speakers to have good tonal balance. That powerport helps there be some decent bass. They're on sale currently at the Circuit City. Otherwise they are out of your range. They respond down to 40 Hz, which is quite respectable.
     
  8. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    SamJ: If you are living in the typical tiny dorm room, you might want to avoid speakers with rear-facing ports. Since you probably can't place speakers very far from the walls and on stands like most bookshelf models require, you will have to place them on a shelf, very possibly smack dab against the wall & that is a no-no for speakers with rear-facing ports. Usually the bass will become boomy and sloppy sounding (not to mention possibly pissing off your neighbor next door).

    And here's another choice to confuse you [​IMG] :

    Cambridge SoundWorks Newton Series M60

    Don't worry about the 65Hz bass limit--first of all I'm sure like any speaker, there IS bass below its specified flat bass point but just less & less as the frequencies get lower, and 2) based on experiences from owning Advent's "Baby" model (also with a 6.5" woofer, but sealed instead) back in college in the 80s, such a speaker can still easily get you in trouble with your R.A. :b And don't forget: in small rooms such a speaker could sound like a speaker with a 10" woofer in a large room (if in doubt about this relationship, think of what headphones sound like--they only use a 1" to 2" wide diaphragm to generate sound and look at how much bass they can produce in the space they have to work in).

    And if you're not afraid of cone tweeters (there ARE good ones out there) check out this other CSW speaker; they have been selling this one for at least a decade with no changes I can see--so this means someone is buying them! (they get back ordered quite often so be prepared): Model Six. Nope, they ain't real sexy looking but I heard them once back in 1994 & they sounded quite decent. They are very shallow so they should fit on a dorm shelf easily.

    Here is an extensive pro review of the Model Six at SMR (it's only available in solid black now--enclosure and grille).

    This and the original Model Six from the 1960s and 70s was designed by Henry Kloss, a true legend in the audio world. He also designed the original Large Advent, one of the top selling loudspeakers ever.

    Lastly, your low volume/must sound good requirement: for some reason manufacturers have deleted loudness buttons & their associated circuitry from pretty much all receivers, a dumb move IMO. Since it is a fact that the human ear is less sensitive to high treble--and particularly low bass--sounds at low volume levels (look up the phrase "Fletcher-Munson curve" for more info on this subject), loudness circuits were invented to automatically provide a decent boost of these frequencies but as the volume was turned up, they gradually reduced their effect to avoid distorting the music (& frying woofers!). Unfortunately, it looks like most manufacturers caved into either the company's accountants or the audiophile purist's paranoid fears of potential distortion [​IMG] added by these circuits and stopped providing them (just about every receiver in every price range had them until around the early 90s).

    But if you're not paranoid, just use your bass and treble controls on your receiver to compensate for this very real physiological effect--because what good is "pure" sound if you can't hear it??!

    LJ
     
  9. JamesCB

    JamesCB Second Unit

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    Since we're throwing around brands here. I'm going to go out on a ledge and ask if you have any Phase Technology dealers in your area?
    When I was looking for a decent pair of bookshelves 8 years ago, I came aross this brand at a local hi-fi shop. I was blown away by the natural, uncolored, and smooth sound of all their speakers. They tune the cabinets very well which produces a satisfying amount of bass for smaller bookshelves. Needless to say I've been hooked on Phase Tech since.
    The Phase Tech line is kind of a side project of United Speaker Systems, which has produced drivers for well known brands (like Electrovoice, the "Voice of the Theater") since 1954. Bill Hecht, the President of USS, holds the patent for the soft dome tweeter among other revolutionary designs. Their tweeters are the smoothest, most natural I have yet to hear, not including ribbons, of course.
    Since it is not mandatory for them to produce big profits from the Phase Tech sales, they offer a great quality product for a great price.
     
  10. JimIroc

    JimIroc Agent

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    Don't count out the Boston Acoustics CR (Compact Reference) series. I always prefered these to the Polk bookshelf speakers in the same price range. I used to sell both brands, and the CRs were smoother up high and a bit more natural sounding in the vocal ranges. Infinity has some nice speakers too, if you don't mind a somewhat bright sounding speaker.

    Another choice, would be the Parts Express BR-1 kit and a Cerwin Vega powered 10" sub. You'll be under $350 for all of it, and I think overall you'll wind up with a more balanced setup.
     

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