Receiver to speaker price ratio

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Gibson, Oct 3, 2002.

  1. Brian Gibson

    Brian Gibson Auditioning

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    This is a general question regarding how much a person should spend on speakers. I talked to a dealer, he said I should match a receiver with speakers twice the cost of the receiver. So a 2-to-1 price ratio. However, I've noticed some users spending closer to 1-to-1 or less, at which point other users have questioned that choice. What I'd like to know is whether or not that 2-to-1 ratio is arbitrary and just a means to upsell speakers, or if there's in fact a valid reason for matching speakers that are twice the cost of the receiver. Any answers from industry spokesmen would be appreciated if they can provide inside information.
     
  2. JohnVB

    JohnVB Stunt Coordinator

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    I would say the price ratio is not the best figure to go by. Pricing in a lot of ways is arbitrary. The manufacture sets the price as high as they think they can get away with and still sell a ton of units. In other words, price doesn't equal real world quality.

    My opinion though, is that speakers do make a bigger difference in the sound, than the receiver. So what I did was focus more on getting good quality speakers, and then get a reasonably decent receiver to go with them. I ended up spending about $1700 for speakers and only $700 for the receiver,leaving me plenty of room in my budget ($3000) to get cables, an spl meter, Avia DVD and such. So for me, I ended up with more than a 2:1 ratio (speakers: receiver).

    Just my opinion,

    - bones
     
  3. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    It all depends on where your priorities are... control centre, speakers, video. For me video is the number one priroity followed by speakers but my ratio would be way out of whack compared to the norm ..... Here are my ratios not including dvd & other equipment/cabling [​IMG]
    video - 82.5%
    speakers - 13%
    receiver - 4.5%
     
  4. Brian Gibson

    Brian Gibson Auditioning

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    I've already invested $2000 in the video department. That left me with $1000 max for receiver and speakers. I've already decided on the Denon AVR-1803 which will be $400-500 depending on where I buy it. Leaving me with $500-600 to invest in speakers. Luckily there are quality 5.1 speaker packages out there at that price point, yet I've heard some very nice $1000+ setups. I wonder if this is an early sign of upgraditis. [​IMG]
     
  5. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    I've read that the 1:1 ratio is preferred, but that assumes only a stereo pair of speakers, and it makes sense to me. Why spend $1500 for mains if you plan to keep your $400 receiver? Cheap amplification will not bring out the best in good speakers, and vice-versa.
    However, since speaker technology is relatively stable (compared to the next "new thing" in sound processing) it may be a good idea to invest in good speakers that you plan to keep, and worry about improving the amplification later as you rebuild your savings [​IMG]
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    It really depends, as Neil points out what one's priorities are. Myself, if it's strictly a sound issue, I'd put as much as possible into speakers. Good amplification is available in a wide price range and used is always a possiblity. To that end, it's good to take one's time when selecting speakers for nothing is more tragic, to me, to buy say 40's and then a year later the person is selling them, at a loss to be sure, and moving to 80's.
     
  7. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Room acoustics, speaker placement, and speaker selection will have the largest affect on the perceived sound. Placing $10k speakers against the wall in a tiled room will make them sound horrible.

    As mentioned above, don't get caught up in the numbers game. However, the basic premise that the salesperson presented is correct. I'd rather have a $500 receiver and $2500 speakers vs. a $2500 receiver and $500 receiver any day of the week. Some people choose to invest in a nice receiver with the intention of upgrading the speakers down the road. Another solution is to get nice mains and slowly add the rest of the speakers as budget permits.
     
  8. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    For me, I ended up with:

    Receiver - $500
    Amps (sub and mains) - $700
    Speakers - $850
    Sub - $480

    All in all I currently have about a 0.9 to 1 ratio (receiver/amps to speakers).

    When I started out it initially was:
    Receiver - $500 (2 receivers, one was used to power the sub)
    Speakers - $850
    Sub - $480

    A 2.7:1 ratio in favor of the speakers.
     
  9. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    The efficiancy of the speakers you choose will have a lot to do with this question.........spend all your money on the speakers that sound best (undoubtably with great amplification) and grow your system into them.....ymmv,,, imho,,,,,..............
     
  10. Haru

    Haru Stunt Coordinator

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    based on MSRP, here is the break up of my system:

    Speakers47.9%
    receiver8.3%
    TV24.1%
    DVD Player4.9%
    CD Player4.8%
    VCR1.0%
    power amp8.9%

    the power amp drives the front L/R speakers, which are part of my 7.2 system. The receiver is all that I could ask for and I do not need anything better than that. I was extremely reluctant to accept anything less than it, and felt no need to get anything better than it.

    The speakers are broken up so:

    L/R36.0%
    subwoofers34.5%
    center12.2%
    rears17.3%

    I may seem to have skimped on the center but its actually the center designed for these mains, and the rears look expensive because there are 4 of them. the subs have a solid portion because there are two of them.


    I do not have any regrets about the way the money's been spread around. I can't think of anything that I wish I'd done differently. Well, except get a 55" instead of a 46".
     
  11. keir

    keir Stunt Coordinator

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    I would definately spend the large portion on speakers. Great speakers will sound great with a decent amp. Decent speakers will still only sound decent with a great amp. If you get inneficient (somewhat less than 88 dB/1watt, say) speakers, then make sure your amp is pretty capable. A $350 receiver from onkyo/denon or some other well amplified brand can probably still push ~86dB/watt speakers to any volume you would normally listen at, however.

    I spent about $1240 on my speakers and subwoofer, and only $180 on my receiver. But i have never felt a need to upgrade the receiver.

    my system:
    $180 kenwood vr-407
    $220 mains: paradigm titan
    $190 surrounds: paradigm atoms
    $200 center: paradigm cc-170
    $600 subwoofer: svs 16-46pci
     
  12. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    How about playing leapfrog? You buy great speakers and a cheap amp, then upgrade to an awesome amp when you can, then upgrade the speakers to realize the potential of that, and then...
     
  13. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    My ratio is the following:

    speakers 40.5%
    reciever 13.5%
    tv 25.9%
    dvd 4.9%
    cd1 5.6%
    cd2 3.9%
    rack, cables, etc.5.6%


    I will be upgrading my speakers and getting an amp next.

    But to answer your question, my speaker to receiver ratio is 3x. I am using my latest equipment and not my starting. My speaker ratio was higher in the beginning.

    Rich
     
  14. JimC_A

    JimC_A Stunt Coordinator

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    RPTV 46%
    Speakers 34%
    Receiver 12%
    DVD player 4%
    Cables 4%


    I can only imagine how much nicer the home theater would be with the entertainment center money being spent on more receiver and speakers.
     
  15. Christopher Collins

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    Home Theater
    Reciever - %15
    Speakers - %25
    Source - %8
    Video - %52
    ------------------
    Total -$6500
    Mobile System
    FrontComponents - %24
    Midbass - %6
    Subs - %14
    Source - %11
    Amplification - %45
    ----------------------
    Total - $4850
    I spent my resources a bit differently in each of these applications due to a few completely subjective variables on my part. For my home theater system I first wanted a RPTV that would give as much visual accuracy as possible and give me room to grow. I saw this as the most important and long-term purchase of all the components so I put more of the budget to that. Second I wanted some great speakers that were musical yet would give awesome HT performance. As for the source and receiver I put less emphasis on this because of the technology changes in their area. I simply couldn’t afford to get the receiver and DVD player I truly wanted so this was my point of compromise. I didn’t break my bank on them and now can upgrade these 2 components in the system without much trouble.
    In fact I have already upgraded the DVD player once and may be doing so again in the near future so I am glad I didn’t run out and buy a $1500-$2500 dvd player that would now be almost worthless.
    In my car a bit of the same thought process from the HT carried over as far as compromise. I will eventually be doing DVD video and XM radio, but for now I simply wanted a head unit with the basic features I know I cant live without. I thought the speakers I wanted were the Focal Utopias UNTIL I heard the Boston Acoustic Z6 component set. The Bostons were we bit more than I had planned for so I used the money I saved from the head unit here.
    I think that in the car audio realm the speakers / amplifiers are the big-ticket items. Like the TV in a HT. You spend more there and you give yourself headroom to grow in other areas because their technology doesn’t change as often.
    For example the car amps (zapco) have balanced audio inputs. The manufacturer also makes signal processors that adapt everything from traditional RCA all the way to Optical into their balanced format. So I can still use the average quality head unit now and I wont have to change my amps or major cabling format later.
    I am a bit of a fanatic though and I stripped my brand new 2003 matrix to the frame and laid down a triple layer of sound dampening, and single to triple layers of 8lb carpet pad. Before running the power and signal wires down opposite sides of the car. I also used butyl rubber in the seams of vibrating dash/trim pieces to kill all noise completely. As someone said previously, environment goes a long way towards getting quality sound reproduction.
    I think the best advice for pretty much any purchase is “don’t listen to the salesman” unless he is giving you hard facts...this receiver has XX THD or XX watts RMS.
    Make yourself a chart. Put down the features you want the most for each item. Decide which ones are "must have" "would like to have" and "don’t care".
    Then put down 2 products that are at the high and low end of what would be acceptable to you. Leave some room in the middle for notes and then check out all the stuff in between for a possible compromise. Spend less on receiver features so that you may get better speakers etc.
    Lastly audition the components that you are interested in together. Don’t let the sales guy audition one receiver on speaker A when you want speaker B. They can and will sound very different. Make the salesman swap the components around. If the sales guy wont do this for you go somewhere else. I like sticking to the smaller specialty shops because more often than not those guys are excited and knowledgeable about the products they have. They may have brands you haven’t heard which could soon become your favorite. I have also found that they are more willing to bring speakers / amps you are interested in to a single listening room.
    The rules for price-to-price ratios for any components in the system should be set by your budget and preferences. To bind your-self into any hard stance on this would be silly because everyone has his or her own priorities. There are folks here who will spend more on their cables than the whole system.
    The only rule you should have is buy what YOU think sounds best.
    That was probably way more input than you wanted but work is slow tonight.
    [​IMG]
     

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