looking for some inexpensive stereo speakers

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by chris_jh_moses, Nov 11, 2003.

  1. chris_jh_moses

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    Hey all,
    been looking around and not turning much up. I'm looking for some inexpensive stereo speakers. Me mums loves her music (really not an audiophile so no worries here) and I was thinking of getting her some inexpensive, but decent stereo speakers that she can listen to her cd's through and possibly hook up her tv/dvd player to (again, no need for surround sound here). Wondering what people would recommend, note, these won't be connected to a sub so that is something to take into account as well. Thanks for any and all input!
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    How inexpensive?

    That can mean like 50 bucks, or 500. (or more).

    My classic budget speakers are the paradigm atom, or the titan, at 189, and 220 respectively (per pair), and they work fine on any decent reciever, which I assume you have. They sound wonderful, and are easily found in the states.
     
  3. chris_jh_moses

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    thanks for the mention on the paradigm's but they might be a little more then want I'm looking for as I also need to pick up an inexpensive receiver. If it comes down to it, I'd love to find a "decent" pair of bookshelf speakers that could hold their own w/o a seperate sub for under $100 if that's even remotely possible (I know, I saw the thread for bookshelf speakers for under $100 but that is in reference to ones that will be paired with a seperate sub). Thanks much for all input!
     
  4. Keith*D

    Keith*D Agent

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    Sony makes some bookshelves that are $25 each. They don't sound great but they are going to sound great to anyone that usually listens to TV speakers and they don't look like $25 speakers. If you want bass it is going to cost you and you will have to trade overall quality.

    Keith
     
  5. Rory Buszka

    Rory Buszka Supporting Actor

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    Look at Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble stereo sub/sat systems. They have passive subs, but the sub is not there to deliver earth-shattering home theater but balanced bass sound instead. Prices are decent. The Ensemble 56 ($150) has satellites with a 3.5" full-range driver (with the enclosures containing an equalization and contouring network to help tame the response for balanced sound) and a passive subwoofer (not separately amplified) which has a 6.5" woofer in a bandpass cabinet with a down-firing passive radiator. Try and find a reciever with a bass and treble adjustment, so you can take full advantage of the sub's ability to add punch, extension, and energy to the music. I bought a smaller set of Cambridge Soundworks speakers off of eBay that I have not yet had a chance to listen to, as I had them shipped to my parents' house where I spend weekends away from this college campus. However, Cambridge Soundworks has a good reputation of not claiming to be more than they are (at least, not more so than any audio company). I think that this set will have the right amount of bass to add the energy to the music and then it will also have the balanced frequency response to make them very listenable. Your mom will like how the sub can be hidden away behind a piece of furniture (quite compact) and the satellites are small. Here is a link to the product page: http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/s...item=k1pkm18zz
    I think that you will agree that these will make a great gift for your mother.

    Oh, and yeah, if you are really big on keeping the price really small, take a look at the auctions that they have on eBay. Cambridge Soundworks sells some of its own stuff on eBay, often for a good deal less in cost than their website. If you search eBay you might find an Ensemble 56 for less than $150.

    You said you don't yet have a reciever. In that case, you might look into the Cambridge Soundworks MusicWorks micro stereos that pair their remarkably capable amplified computer speaker systems (most designed by the legendary Henry Kloss) with a FM/AM tuner/CD player/preamplfier "center section". Your mother might like something along the lines of the MusicWorks 200 ($179) which has everything your mom would need to start enjoying music. The center section is paired with the "Soundworks" speaker set (one of the ones designed by Henry Kloss of Acoustic Research, KLH, and Advent fame, back when they made stellar products). The "Soundworks" speaker set is kind of like a small Bose Acoustimass system in form, but it has more balanced sound, with tighter, better-defined bass. I had the pleasure of having a subwoofer from a "Soundworks" system. I found it at Goodwill (separated from the other parts of the system), and I found it to be remarkably capable for filling the room, even though it only has a 4.5" woofer. I didn't have the original power supply, so I powered it with a RadioShack power brick. I think I damaged the amplifier with clipping because the RadioShack power brick could not supply enough current. I had the same happen with another set of computer speakers with the same power brick, so I am pretty sure that is what happened. Once it was broken, I disassembled it and found what has to be the most robust 4.5" woofer I have ever seen. I still have it. It has a big-roll rubber surround and a massive magnet system with a bumped back plate. Definitely high-qulity components. There is even real polyfill inside, not just a piece over the end of the port to prevent port noise. You may find that the MusicWorks 200 is just what you are looking for. For the price of the smallest Paradigms listed above, you can have a complete music system.
     
  6. chris_jh_moses

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    hmnn rory, sounds intriguing, wonder if anyone else has had experience with these? In a perfect world, I'd like to have something that could be hooked up to the tv/dvd player (currently her's only uses the tv speakers) but that looks like a potentially viable option. (also, any recommendations on a !very inexpensive receiver would be great). Thanks much.
     
  7. Rory Buszka

    Rory Buszka Supporting Actor

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    If these are going to be used for movies, then you may want the bigger Ensemble 56 set and a reciever, because the satellites and subwoofer are more robust. Generally, Cambridge Soundworks is known for their great build and parts quality at the price point, and very decent sound quality, period. This newer Ensemble line is quite recent, and I don't think there are that many people who have the Ensemble 56 as for the purposes of most of the people on this forum it is too small to be of any consequence. However, it should be just the right size for you and your mom. It has more bass extension (down to 45 Hz) than a Bose Acoustimass 3 (generally only good down to 50 Hz), only for a lot cheaper, with better bass definition and high frequency extension, and without the annoying midrange hole. CSW solves the midrange hole that the Bose suffer from by using a larger 3.5" driver instead of a 2.5" driver, and by replacing the usual ceramic magnet structure with a new, more powerful neodymium magnet structure so as to not sacrifice any high frequency extension. The satellties also have more attention given to cabinet design and shape to prevent the buildup of standing waves, which ruin the sound. That was a major complaint with the Bose cubes. These should be a great value for bigger sound from smaller speakers.

    As far as a reciever, a simple stereo job will suffice unless you decide your mom will soon want to go 5.1. Looking at the Circuit City website, I see a Sony STR-DE185 which has a bass boost (Loudness) button, to add extra EQ'd kick to the low range. The Ensemble 56 should be perfectly capable of delivering at all but the loudest levels. There is also a Sherwood reciever there for $99 but all of its reviews say it lacks bass power, which is not a good thing when you have a passive subwoofer. The Sony has the extra power you need. The only thing I would be careful of is that I don't know how many watts the Ensemble 56 can handle. I'm sure it's reasonable, at least 60 watts per channel, but I don't know if it would be possible to blow the Ensembles with 100 watts per channel. You should be good, unless you have a toddler who likes to always turn the knob as far up as it will go and see how loud things get. You're talking about $300 for a system that is not appreciably larger than the Bose Acoustimass 3 but eclipses it in every meaningful performance area (bass quality and extension (there is a proper crossover at 150 Hz, not 200 like the Bose AM3), overall frequency response (45-16kHz +/-3dB as compared to the 50-13kHz response of the AM3 which itself retials for $300), smoothness of frequency response and midbass presence (no midbass hole between 280Hz and 200Hz for fully-intelligible dialogue), and size (the satellites are only very slightly larger in order to avoid the compromises that smaller satellites require).
     
  8. chris_jh_moses

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    Rory,
    thanks for all the info, I've been leaning towards the Omage AV21-O http://tinyurl.com/vdmo
    as I've read quite a bit of good press on them. I'm still trying to find a dirt cheap receiver. I looked at the sherwood one on circuitcity.com, but I'd love to find something even less then that if possible (that or perhaps some comparable but cheaper bookshelf speakers). I might still be considering the cambridge stuff you mentioned, but the omages strike me as a bit better (could be off in my assumption here as well).
     

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