Fall is coming ... this year we are going to test out a lot of budget gear

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Craig Chase, Sep 15, 2017.

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  1. 1 Sep 15, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
    Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru
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    Hi HTF members and guests ... Two years ago, we did six $1000 subwoofers. Last year, we did several $2500ish subwoofers.

    This year, we are looking at budget gear like the Monoprice 50 watt per channel tube amp, Dayton's B652 and B652 Air bookshelf speakers in the $30-$50 per pair range, a Dayton Sub-1000L subwoofer for $148, and a Behringer A500 amp at about $199.

    All the equipment above just arrived, and we will be looking at other budget gear this fall and winter.

    As a tease ... prelim listening to the B652 Air with a decent sub delivers some nice music, and the Monoprice amp's Bluetooth reproduction is quite good.

    Suggestions for other inexpensive gear welcome.

    List of equipment on hand:

    Monoprice 50 WPC Tube Hybrid Integrated Amp
    Bose 301's
    Dayton Audio DTA-120 Class T Mini Amplifier 60 WPC
    Dayton B652
    Dayton B652 Air (ribbon tweeter)
    Dayton Sub 1000L 10 inch low profile subwoofer
    Lepai LP7498E 200W Class D Stereo Amplifier
    SMSL AD13 Stereo Bluetooth 4.0 Amplifier
    SMSL sAp-8 Class-A Headphone Amplifier
    Grado Prestige Series SR80e Headphones
     
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  2. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    Many years ago I owned Fluance speakers. They sounded very good and only cost me a couple hundred bucks. I am curious if they are still sound decent enough to recommend to the budget conscious. I am also very interested in their turntables. I was actually considering getting one so I could play my small record collection once more.

    http://www.fluance.com/
     
  3. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru
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    David - we have both a FI70 and a FI50 Bluetooth system from Fluance. They are both very good. A pair of their bookshelf speakers and maybe the 10 inch sub would be excellent additions. Good suggestion !
     
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  4. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
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    It may also be worthwhile to include some of the dirt-cheap amps from parts-express - they have some really cheap class T offerings.
     
  5. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru
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    The first system is set up and running. It's the Monoprice amp, a pair of Dayton B652 Airs and the Dayton 1000L subwoofer. The total system price is under $500, and it's actually really good. Steely Dan's 2 Against Nature is musical on this little rig, and the bass is tight and tuneful. It plays as loud as I want in a 44 x 14.5 foot room, and while it isn't the Legacy Signature SE's with a 650 WPC amp, it's dynamics are surprising.

    One of the BEST parts - no aching back from lugging things around. Dave can confirm this: the Legacy Signature SE's are not the easiest speaker for a one man carry, so moving small bookshelf speakers is a "non chore".

    I have set up an auditioning area in our basement "man cave high end room". The room is partially divided by stairs, and the Legacies are on the "big side", which is about 25x14.5 feet while the "small side" is about 16 x 14.5 feet. The small side is where all this testing will be done, but the room is actually open to the full 44 feet in length.

    Dave - good idea on some PE/Dayton amps. They have a lot of stuff, time to shop some more !!
     
  6. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru
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    Good morning ... per Dave's suggestion, I ordered a bunch of gear from Parts Express last night. For simplicity, all gear in the test will be found in the first post of the thread. By next week, we will have 4 budget amps, three of which have Bluetooth. The Dayton Class D amp does not, but will work with a Droid with the 3.5 mm output.
     
  7. Craig Chase

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    Over the last week, I have had the chance to listen to a lot of music through the SMSL headphone amp, the Grado Headphones and a 12 year old NAD CD player. Cowboy Junkies "Trinity Session" is a lot of sonic fun with this combo ... Margo's voice is always "inside your head" while the instruments play around you. It's a much different experience than with speakers, with exceptional clarity. For about $200 worth of headphones and headphone amplifier, one gets well in excess of $1000 in music nirvana.

    For example, as much as I enjoy the Axiom M50's ... and even the Legacy Signature SE's ... this little combo brings an intimacy with the music that the speakers - due to the room interaction - miss. They are not a replacement for speakers - for example, they don't image nor have a soundstage like speakers do - but they do bring a different style of listening that is a lot of fun, especially for so little $$$.
     
  8. theJman

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    Oh man, could I ever make a long list of potential choices. :) I'll keep it brief though. Here are a few worth considering, in no particular order...
    The list is eclectic, having choices for both 2 channel and HT (with and without a sub). Hopefully something fits the bill. Let me know if you need more.
     

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