Relatively Cheap Speakers and Sub?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BrandonCB, Dec 12, 2002.

  1. BrandonCB

    BrandonCB Extra

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hello,
    I'm in college and on a budget, but I want to setup a relatively cheap but not bad theater system. I have the TV and am getting a Pioneer 354 DVD player, and plan to buy one of the Pioneer recievers with DTS, DD, and Pro Logic, but I don't know what to do about speakers. As I said, I'm on a budget, so I don't need to get the best ones right now, but I still want something decent. I looked through the forum and saw that the JBLs were recommended, but they're around $200-$250 plus additionally for a sub, is there anything that is cheaper but still not too bad?

    Also, which recievers would you recommend? I know this is the wrong forum, but I just thought I'd ask so I wouldn't have to make a new post. I'm looking at the Pioneer ones right now, but not sure which one to get. As I said, I'm on a budget, but I don't want to get something that I will need to replace in the next few years, Thanks.

    ~Brandon
     
  2. Phuong

    Phuong Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If you're absolutely can't spare the extra hundreds of dollars, then buy a pair of JBL N24's for $120 (from bhphoto.com or jandr.com) and a Sony SA-WM40 (no more than $200). Go to a fabric store and buy some polyfill and stutt the inside of the Sony box (except the inside bottom) and you're set. The Sony sub is ok for the price, but nowhere near killer quality. Only goes down to 30 Hz and the bass is very "muddy." Every bass note sounds the same. I know. I used to own one.

    Personally, I'd suggest you save for a better sub. Get a decent pair of speakers that'll give you good bass response. That'll allow you to hold out longer before getting a really good sub. I own NHT SuperOnes and a Hsu Research VTF-2 for my tiny college-owned apartment and it fits just fine in my room. The acoustic suspension design of the NHT's allows me to place them close to the wall without overemphasizing the sound in the midbass (80-160) Hz region. If you have speakers with rear ports, you can't place them closer than 8 inches ot the wall. NHT SuperZeroes are good ($75 ea. from onecall.com, but no bass, so i'll be harder to hold out). But let me be straight up with you since you're on a budget and you can't afford to anticipate upgrading your 6-month old $2000 receiver like others can. When I went to Hsu Research the other day, the good Dr. Hsu tested all his equipment using a Pioneer 509s receiver (no more than $200 on ebay these days) and some Ascend Acoustics HTM-200 speakers and it sounded absolutely awesome. Which is to say $2000 receivers are useless. It just points to one of the realities of sound quality that no dealer or manufacturer wants to admit: Once you add a high quality subwoofer to your system, the perceived sound quality differences between one speaker brand and the next become pretty much negligible. Unless you have an electronic crossover or computerized testing equipment, you can't tell the real difference between speakers except the speaker with more bass sounds flatter, less bright. Would they sound that different if they were both crossed over at 80 Hz, 100 Hz, whatever? Doubt it. A great subwoofer is a great equalizer and it will remove all doubts you had about choosing a particular speaker brand. But at the same time, don't skimp on speakers. Good sub does not mean good speakers don't matter. It just means the difference between $2000 speakers and $300 speakers is not as significant as we'd like to believe, except in the appearance department.

    Back to your question. I'd recommend you get JBL N24's or some Paradigm Titans or NHT's if you have to place speakers close to the wall and save up for a Hsu VTF-2 or similar sub. As for receivers, the Pioneers are fine, but I don't like the 100 Hz crossover. I prefer something lower. For your budget, why not get an Onkyo TX-SR500 (less than $300 from onecall.com and jandr.com). It has a variable crossover, provides great sound for small-room and it's VERY USER FRIENDLY. No need to collect equipment you'll want to get rid of in a couple of years. Think long term and you'll be happier with yourself for buying gear that stands the test of time.

    Peace and happy listening.
     
  3. Nick L

    Nick L Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2001
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    With all the talk lately about the DLS 10" sub from Parts Express, I think you should get that sub in place of the sony. I a recent review by one of our members it outguns the sony. Here is a link to the whole thread, the actual comparison in on page 2. As for speakers the JBL's would probably treat you well. I would definetely give the NHT's a listen, they sound very good. Paradigm and PSB also have some good inexpensive speakers. I have PSB Image 1b's and they sound great for only $200. Listen to as many as you can before you buy, its the only way to be certain your getting what you want.
     
  4. CaseyLS

    CaseyLS Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2002
    Messages:
    370
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Check out the Onkyo system at Circuit city($250). I have that setup but just upgraded to an SVS 25-31 Pci. In fact it arrived less than 2 hours ago.

    The setup is nice and will definately keep you relatively happy. Just make sure you dont have a lot of stuff that vibrates in your dorm.
     
  5. BrandonCB

    BrandonCB Extra

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Where would I be able to listen to all the different sets though? I don't think the Circuit Cities, Best Buys, etc. have all those brands on display (maybe I'm mistaken?). There is a home audio and video store in my home town though, I'll check them out over the holiday break I guess. Unfortunately I do think I'm going to have the speakers pretty close to walls, obviously my room is not very big, probably 12x12 maybe, 10x10, something like that.

    As for the reciever, I have heard good things about the Onkyo, I'll look into it and see what sort of features it has compared to the Pioneer.
     
  6. BrandonCB

    BrandonCB Extra

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Also, what's so bad about the 100Hz crossover? The Onkyo only allows 80, 100, and 120, and since I'm never going to have an extremely high quality sub, 100Hz seems like it'd work just fine, but maybe I'm mistaken?
     
  7. Phuong

    Phuong Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You don't want your sub to give away its location. That's why you want a lower crossover point. Plus, if a sub has to produce higher frequencies, it compromises on distortion. If you keep the crossover point under 100 Hz, you're pretty much guaranteed of being able to hide it most anywhere without being to localize it. As for locating speakers near walls, your best bets are acoustic suspension speakers from the likes of NHT or you can get the JBL N24 (whose ports are located in the front). The plastic NHT SuperOnes sound great, too. Plus, their plastic design makes scratches a non-issue. Rear-ported speakers are definitely a no-no in your situation. I paid $385 for my Hsu VTF-2---I've paid more for subs---and this is easily the best subwoofer I've ever owned. It's worth it to hold out. The $200 you spend on another sub could've been saved towards the VTF-2.
     
  8. Hoffman_P

    Hoffman_P Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    BrandonCB, I just bought my new HT. I bought harman kardon avr 320 for the receiver and polk audio rm6000 ( sub already included), for the spekaers. Actually, I want to spent more for the speakers, but my budget it too tight. So I decided to get a good receiver now and upgrade for a better speakers later. The other reason why I got rm 6000 is because it fits with my small studio apartment.
    I bought the speakers RM6000 from the crutcthfield.com. They have it on sale for only $299.99 + free sanus speakers stand + $20 off from my friend refferal code + $3 shipping. I think thats a good deal even you couldn't get that speakers with the speaker stand for that amount of money in ebay. If you are located in east areas, you can get this polk audio spekaer for even cheaper price, $199.99 w/o the speaker stand. See details in jandr.com. They have restriction on shipping polk audio products. As for the receiver I got it from jandr.com for $399.88 + shipping $28 dollar. This is the best deal you could get from any internet sites.
    AS for quality, harman kardon is one of the best receiver out there. And for the polk audio rm 6000, I think this speakers should be enough for small room. You could listen for both system in most circuit city store. For everything, I ended up less than $700 shipped. If this still doesn't fits your budget, I think you could go for less money on receiver.
    Anyway that my new system and I am pretty happy with it. Here is the refferal code for crutchfield:p7j37-uup62-ts3ge , if you never bought anything from cructhfield you can use this code to get $20 off and you got another $20 credit for you next purchases. [​IMG]
     
  9. BrandonCB

    BrandonCB Extra

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey,
    Yeah, I live in the MidWest (Cincinnati, go to school in Urbana). How much are the stands worth? I'm not sure how I'm going to be mounting all the speakers, was going to go with wall-mounts but if the stands will work better I could always do that.

    Are there any other opinions on the Rm6000s? Thanks,

    ~Brandon
     
  10. BrandonCB

    BrandonCB Extra

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Anyone?
     
  11. Rick_FL

    Rick_FL Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    circuit city has subs. can you go listen to some? they have some pretty inexpensive ones, like MTX. it's a decent sub for the price. MTX is known for their car subwoofers, but they make some nice HT subs as well.
     
  12. Phuong

    Phuong Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I used to own smaller satellite speakers (with response down to 140 Hz) and I will never do it again. The sound from tiny speakers isn't bad, but spending the extra time, space, and money for speakers that fill in that gap between 80-140 Hz makes a big deal. Plus, it allow for a better blend with subwoofers, which should be crossed over below 100 Hz. I'm not particularly picky about speaker brands and models. As long as they provide good midrange and treble and extend to below 100 Hz, they'll work fine. Then get yourself a really good sub because it'll make you feel a lot better about buying budget satellites.
    With that said, the Polk RM6000 is mighty affordable and if sounds like a good bargain, but it represents a choice I had made in college. I could've saved up money and built up my system one piece at a time by purchasing a pair of NHT SuperOnes and a surround sound receiver. I instead opted for Cambridge Soundworks cubes and a Pioneer receiver. The Pioneer receiver works fine, though its limited feature set is showing its age. The Cambridge speakers, though, are too small to provide a good midrange sound on their own. They sound best when their is a midwoofer between them and the subwoofer. Not convenient and not necessary. Just buy yourself larger speakers. The absolute smallest speakers you can get away with is the NHT SuperZero. Something larger like the SuperOne or the JBL N24 will work for you. The photo superstore www.bhphoto.com sells the JBL 5-speaker package for $279, including shipping. They should work great, plus they have plastic enclosures, so they're nice and lightweight and more tolerant of scratches than other finishes are. I finally own the NHT SuperOnes, but I would've been much happier if I had bought them way back in 1996 instead of several years later. Then save money for a good sub, with a frequency response down to 28 Hz or so. My VTF-2 can play down to 24 Hz with authority and has usable bass even at 20 Hz. I don't know of any sub for $385 that can perform at that level. Not even the hightly-touted Sony sub can go below 30 Hz. I should know. I used to own it. And besides, the Hsu runs circles around the Sony. But the girlfriend will still be happy with a free Sony subwoofer. But if you're going to pay, save and build up slowly. It'll be worth it. More fun to add components than to upgrade everything all the time. Just my two cents.
    Peace and happy listening
     
  13. Hoffman_P

    Hoffman_P Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Phuong,

    Thats a good advice. I am still in college and money is a big issue. Just to gather money takes time for me. Home theater is the last thing in my list.

    Other than money, my apartment is one of my consideration to get smaller speaker. What a big speaker would do if you can't even turn it up?

    Those are my considerations. But if I had money and apartement is not an issue, I would definitely get a bigger sub and better speakers.
     
  14. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2000
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'll probably get bashed for this but...Best Buy has the KLH 911B 2 way bookshelf speakers with tweeter and 5 1/4" speaker on sale for half price at 14.99 each. I find them to be as good and most times better than speakers that come with the home theater in a box units and they also make very good surround speakers. I run a total of 4 with good results on one of my systems. These are good speakers, especially if you're low on funds.

    BTW I think today is the last day for the sale.
     
  15. BrandonCB

    BrandonCB Extra

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So the consensus is the Pioneer's 100Hz crossover isn't low enough?

    As for the KLH's, are they going to be able to handle bass by themselves while I save up for a sub, or will I need a sub right away?
     
  16. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2000
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You'll need a sub, and the 10" DLS for 99.99 from www.partsexpress.com as of late seems to be considered the best budget sub. Replacing the 12" 120 watt Sony.
     
  17. VinhT

    VinhT Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Home Theater Direct Level One set seems like a very nice package and fits your budget. Perfect for a college student (I'm in college too, but went the DIY route).
     
  18. BrandonCB

    BrandonCB Extra

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The KLH 911Bs don't look on sale to me? Just say $30 and nothing about a sale...
    What frequency responses should I be looking for in Satellites? Also there's a KLH 6-piece kit for $80, http://www.bestbuy.com/detail.asp?&b...cat=15&scat=23 I know it isn't good, but I'm going with a few hundred reciever and don't want to spend a ton of my speakers and sub right now.
    The JBLs look really good but I'm not sure if I'm ready to spend the $250-300 on those and then more on a sub, what about getting the cheaper KLH speakers and then getting the DLS sub, would that be a decent setup?
     
  19. Eric Hargrove

    Eric Hargrove Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2001
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    For the money you have to spend, the Polk RM6000 is a grat value. There is nothing wrong with a 100Hz crossover on the Pioneer receiver. In fact, with this type of setup you really wouldn't want it any lower.
     
  20. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2000
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Today was the last day of the sale on the KLH 911B even though the website states different. Call your local Best Buy they'll tell you the price is 14.99 each.
     

Share This Page