HELP!!! Looking for advice on cost of speakers vs. receiver...

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by STLMIKE, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    Fellow members,

    I'm looking for some opinions and/or common sense advice on how much one should invest in speakers if they're going to buy a mid/high end receiver (in this case a Sony 7ES)?

    A hopelessly upgradeitis-bitten friend of mine has in his living room a 5.1 Sony 1ES paired w/a mixed-matched 5.1 set of cheap Sony speakers from Best Buy, and is now bleeding from the eyes to drop $1000+ for a 7ES since they're being discontinued and are dropping in price.

    To be fair, his plan is to eventually put the 7ES in the basement in a dedicated HT room -- however this room would have to be built first, and is realistically over a year away from completion.

    I've told him that right now using his 1ES w/the speakers he has, it's like putting bicycle tires on a Mustang -- going to a 7ES would be like putting them on a 911. Am I offbase in advising him that these cheap speakers will negate any benefit of upgrading the receiver?

    To compare: I've got an HK 525 and a fully matched 6.1 set of Infinity Interludes including the 500W sub, and I still feel like I'm shortchanging what the receiver will put out. I mean if you're going to spend $1-2K on a receiver, your speakers should cost more than $150 for a pair of towers w/a $75 sub and an old center and surrounds that came w/an old Pro-Logic system 10 years ago...?

    Also, there's no way w/the way his living room is arranged that he could do anything but 5.1 -- further negating the need for the 7.1 capable 7ES. (OH -- and this is without even bringing up the whole factor of the wife that even w/o kids in the house FREAKS out if the volume in the living room is turned up louder than what an RPTV can put out from its built-in speakers.)

    I freely admit that this is really none of my business, and that like all of us, I've been bitten many times by the upgradeitis bug...but wouldn't the $1000+ be better spent on upgrading the living room speakers or even more wisely on finishing out the basement room?

    Maybe I'm wrong, but aren't speakers much more stable in price than other HT components that seem to keep getting cheaper and cheaper or else keep getting additional features for the same money?

    Thanks for any advice -- Mike
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Maybe he's got a long range, albeit a scattered plan and he's being opportunistic taking advantage of what he perceives to be a must have deal. But yes, it's always the speakers.
     
  3. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    No, I don't think he has a plan, that's what I keep trying to get him to do.

    The problem as I see it is that the kinds of components he wants to buy first are the ones that are rapidly dropping in price and/or are rapidly adding features for the same price. He wants to get the most gadget-oriented components first (i.e. receiver, projector) and spend as much as possible on them -- and then skimp on the speakers.

    Maybe I'm totally off base w/this, but a year ago when I was evaluating speakers for my current HT, I was considering JBL N & S series; Infinity Entras and Alphas, and Klipsch Synergys. When I found my current set of Infinity Interludes (which are essentially comparable to the Alphas, but the previous generation), the reviews and opinions I read showed that while the speakers were similar, they cut some corners on the Alphas to maintain that price level. As the Interludes were "last year's model" at the time, they were deeply discounted -- and since I was able to get a matched set, I bought them.

    I realize this is a limited example of the lower end of just one brand, but I would assume that speakers by their very nature are less volatile -- maybe some additional power handling, maybe some new materials or configurations, but there's not often a revolutionary new technology that comes along and outdates them.

    I realize that w/any of this stuff, the sky's the limit, but that's why I was trying to get some ideas on if there is any kind of consensus as to how much one should minimally spend on speakers for a given receiver.

    MH
     
  4. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    For starters -- yes, speakers first!

    Sounds like your friend shops strictly by pricing / sales / discounts... as many people do.

    But there should be some kind of plan to all this... for less experienced friends, I usually suggest spending twice as much on speakers as electronics (receiver + dvd)... once a budget is established, then investigate and audition components in the general budget range.

    By all means keep an eye on sales or discontinued models, but that's only part of the equation... your friend needs to experience the variety of speakers out there... re: speaker technologies - yes, they're relatively stable compared to receivers or pre-pros... but sometimes newer speaker models are not necessarily an improvement on their predecessors... auditioning is a must.
     
  5. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    Does anyone know what speaker lines would be especially compatible w/Sony ES receivers (whether it's the lower end 1ES or a high end 7ES)?

    For instance, my understanding is that HK receivers are more on the "warm" side, where Klipsch speakers are more on the "bright" side.

    Kind of looking for a starting point for recommendations.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I don't get it...he's a year or more away from having his room built the size of which is unknown, hasn't expressed an interest in speakers, no idea if he wants a small footprint or something more substantial in size, no idea on a budget, show's a propensity for buying on sale with no apparent plan in mind, etc.

    So what is the point of all this? Find out what loads the receiver is rated for and then find out what brands of speakers are sold in your local area and then look up their impedance and go from there.
     
  7. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    The points are:

    1.) even though the 1ES receiver he currently has in his living room far outmatches the speakers, he wants to go out and drop a grand plus on a discontinued 7ES that will overwhelm them even more.

    AND

    2.) the basement room may never even happen, and even if it does it is quite a ways out.

    SO

    3.) I'm trying to convince him that if any additional money is to be spent now, that it be spent on upgrading the living room speakers -- whether it's the $1000 he was going to spend on the 7, or even more than that -- it will be better than what's there now.

    LAST BUT NOT LEAST

    4.) since I really don't know what you're talking about re: loads/rating/impedance, etc. -- much less advise him -- I'm trying to get some recommendations on speakers (preferably that won't break the bank) that fellow members have found sound better w/ES receivers than others.

    Mike
     
  8. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw the Axiom banner ad at the top of the page, and used the HT Wizard on their site. Their Epic line preconfig systems seem reasonably priced and look good (at least on the web).

    I've never heard of them before. Anyone have any experience w/this brand and this particular line?

    Thanks, Mike
     

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