Parts Express Speaker System Questions

julezberg

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I'm looking to upgrade my HT speaker system
Current setup: http://www.jbl.com/estore/jbl/us/products/SCS-145.5/SCS145.5_JBL_US
To be honest im not very satisfied with the sound of the system (it was a gift a few years ago) so my question is: Could i assemble something on parts express in the $400 range and have it be a noticeable upgrade?
I am also interested in the speaker kits on the site, although it would be more than a $400 investment for a complete setup, it does seem like it would be a fun project.
 

gene c

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First off:
What don't you like about the JBL's? Too small? Thin sounding? Not much bass from the sub?
Do you want smaller satellites like the JBL's? Small bookshelves? Towers?
Does the $400 include the subwoofer or are you O.K. with the JBL (you probably shouldn't be. Doesn't look that great on paper)?.
Do you have something from PE already in mind? http://www.parts-express.com/project-gallery/index.cfm
How are your carpentry skills? Do you want to put together a speaker or build the cabinets yourself?
The cabinets are usually the most expensive part of a speaker. DIY speakers are a great way to save money but building a quality 5 piece speaker set for $400 might be tough to do.
The easiest way to up-grade would be getting two pair of Polk Monitor 30's (or 40's) and a CS1 center from Newegg.com http://www.newegg.com
/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290210
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290210
and a 10 Dayton sub from PE (the 12" model is on sale for the same price)
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-628
or the Pioneer speakers from Newegg (huury, it looks like they're finally running out them) http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100008225%2050001167&IsNodeId=1&name=Pioneer
or scour Craigslist for a good used set of speakers.
These for $160 a pair are pretty good but there isn't a matching center (you could buy two 4 ohm Dayton Classic 6" drivers and a single tweeter, copy the crossover from the kit and build a cabinet but that's a lotof work :) ). And the total would be over budget and leave you wanting for a better sub. http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-640
These are also supposed to be real good but I haven't heard them. http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-706 But again, no matching center. You would have to get creative. But the individual parts are all available from PE except the cabinet.
The hardest part about building your own speakers is the crossover and the cabinet. The cabinet has to be the correct size to get the best bass from the woofer and while there are pre-built crossovers available one designed strickly for the woofer, tweeter and cabinet size is much better. Madisound.com (PE's competitor) will design a crossover for your drivers for $30+ a piece.
Bottom line is, if you really want to build a kit you need to do a lot of research as there are many places to get kits from, like GR Research, but they are usually way over your stated budget. I just want to make sure you don't get in over your head either financially or execution.
 

julezberg

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What don't you like about the JBL's? Too small? Thin sounding? Not much bass from the sub?
Yes, thin sounding sounds like the right term to describe them. It just seems like there are sounds im not hearing as clearly as id like, mainly in the mid-range. I want a richer sound. And yes, the sub is weak, kind of "boomy."
I dont want satellites but i know they are the cheapest. I want bookshelves and maybe even towers in the front. And i definitely want a better sub but i know they can get pricey for a decent one. I am open to slowly upgrading the system one or two things at a time as well.
How are your carpentry skills? Do you want to put together a speaker or build the cabinets yourself?
If i build a speaker i will probably just order one of the kits with the cabinets already done as this would be my first attempt at speaker building.
These for $160 a pair are pretty good but there isn't a matching center (you could buy two 4 ohm Dayton Classic 6" drivers and a single tweeter, copy the crossover from the kit and build a cabinet but that's a lotof work ). And the total would be over budget and leave you wanting for a better sub. http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-640
These are also supposed to be real good but I haven't heard them. http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-706 But again, no matching center. You would have to get creative. But the individual parts are all available from PE except the cabinet.
I was actually looking at both of these kits. I know they are out of my price range, but if i were to go that route, do you think they would be significantly better than the jbl's? I know you probably haven't herd the jbl's so that might be hard question to answer but believe me they're nothing special.
I just want to make sure you don't get in over your head either financially or execution.
Believe me, that's my concern too! Those speaker kits seem simple enough for even me to put together tho.
I might try to increase my budget a little bit so that i can do those overnight sensations and that Dayton 12" sub. You think that would be a decent setup?
 

gene c

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The problem is the Overnight Sensations are very effecient either (83 db) and are out-of-stock. But apparently they are pretty good for a diy speaker kit.
But two pair of these:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-702
or these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117406
and this center
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117404
would be pretty good too. And you can't beat the price.
 

julezberg

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Well I'll have to think about it.
I really appreciate the help Gene. Thanks for the recommendations!
 

Robert_J

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The Dayton BR-1 is similar to the DII that I run in my home theater. Awesome speaker for the money.
The cabinet is the most expensive part of these kits. If you can't do it, do you have a friend with power tools? I've been known to build a box or 2 for friends in exchange for pizza and beer. I do put the power tools up before drinking though.
 

schan1269

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Robert_J said:
The Dayton BR-1 is similar to the DII that I run in my home theater. Awesome speaker for the money.
The cabinet is the most expensive part of these kits. If you can't do it, do you have a friend with power tools? I've been known to build a box or 2 for friends in exchange for pizza and beer. I do put the power tools up before drinking though.
Beer and power tools...depends what you are doing(sorta...)...
I built a 4x8x6 cattery(can't call it a cathouse...) while imbibing on Leine...
That was with "safe tools" like properly guarded power mitre saw, table saw, a really "shielded" circular saw(there were some cuts where the wood was too big for the mitre or table) and a band saw. Now the band saw....no drinking and use of that bad boy...at all. Ever.
 

julezberg

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The cabinet is the most expensive part of these kits. If you can't do it, do you have a friend with power tools? I've been known to build a box or 2 for friends in exchange for pizza and beer. I do put the power tools up before drinking though.
I did talk to a buddy of mine who has the tools for the job and he said he'd be willing to give it a shot, so i might try it.
 

Robert_J

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It's a box with one or more round holes. I started building them when I was a teen and the only "training" I had was a semester of shop class. But that is back when schools offered shop class.
 

schan1269

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Robert_J said:
It's a box with one or more round holes. I started building them when I was a teen and the only "training" I had was a semester of shop class. But that is back when schools offered shop class.
When did they drop shop class? (sarcasm)
I always took "shop" as an easy A. I went to a HS that still had many rural students...so even though we were "in" Indianapolis...lots of the township was corn. My grandfather and to a lesser extent, my father, built houses in Monroe County(Bloomington) in the 40s-60s. I came out of the womb swinging a hammer*...
*Speaking of "womb and hammer"...has that been done in some "Spawn of Chucky" type movie???
 

gene c

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The BR-1 comes with the cabinet pre-assembled. I bought a pair of the cabinets by themselves off ebay a while ago and they're pretty decent. Nothing fancy but pretty well built.
Wood shop, auto shop, music...these classes aren't offered in some schools these days. Too many cut-backs :( .
I remember going to my local community college and having their wood shop build a few things for me. I supplied the parts, they did the build. They were always looking for woodworking projects to do. But that was quite a few yesterdays ago. And also remember, I don't think you can just build a box and stick a woofer in it. You need to calculate the correct interior volume for the specific driver. And then there's a sealed enclosure or a ported one. This is why complete speaker kits are better for the true begginer. But the guys at PE can probably help you out with that stuff and Robert certainly has experience calculating interior volume when given the proper specs. I sure don't.
 

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