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Starting w a Good Foundation (1 Viewer)

Strong Lead

Oct 27, 2015
Real Name
Sometimes, we live without something for so long that we forget we have this gaping hole in our lives. For me, it was music. I had a wonderful set of in-ear monitors that got left behind on a trip. Years later, my cousin found them in his basement and returned them. Viola! I had music in my life again!

I just found some money from uncashed checks that the state is holding, and I want to get some home theater and stereo music again. Before anything, I had to get a "sufficient" receiver. We were using a Techniques receiver that had no digital inputs and could not be remote controlled. I just got a Denon AVR-1707 (minus mic) so I can run optical inputs from the HDTV and the WDTV Plus. The WDTV gives me access to hundreds of GB of music files on an old NAS.

The Techniques receiver will go to an old Bose Acoustimass 6 system in the family room. When I outgrow the 1707, it will replace the Techniques receiver, which will find a new use, even if it's powering an alternate zone that has pre-amp only outputs or a PC output.

My "project room" is the living room, which puts me under the constraints to please the women in the house:
  • They must look good
  • If the speakers are tall, the sound must be so good that the women don't mind rearranging the furniture, and they better have a fairly small footprint
  • The speakers must forgive placement because they will get moved around over time as room configuration changes.
  • Surrounds will never have optimal placement. To me, this means we pretty much need fronts that will have compatible dipole speakers available
My governing principle is to maximize "bang for the buck" by purchasing used (or vintage) speakers locally through Craigslist with ebay as a secondary source. Living in the SF Bay Area, we have a large population that has had a lot of disposable income for a long time, leaving a fantastic market for used stereo equipment! I'd rather start with a great foundation and forego surrounds (or go real cheap on surrounds) for awhile than compromise on the entire system from the get go. Hence, the title about a good foundation.

If I have to assign 10 points for a total of music and HT, I'd go 7.0 to 7.5 for music and 2.5 to 3.0 for HT.

I'm having a hard time coming up with budget because I don't know the marginal gain based on price point for various options. "Market price" for used products can be difficult to determine at any given time. I see a lot of great deals for under $200 so I expect to spend less than $350 $350-450 for my 2 fronts and center.

When looking at an engineering project, costs increase by at least an order of magnitude at each step in the process from concept through design, prototyping, manufacturing, and deployment. If I'm missing something in my approach, now is the time to correct my thoughts.

Out of familiarity and a huge used product market, I lean towards the Polk RT55i (or Monitor 7) for my fronts with matching middle. In this area, both run ~ $150 a pair. Just out of pure coolness factor I like the RT55i, but I haven't been able to find any good thread comparing it to the Monitor 7. Were I to "pull the trigger tomorrow without any input, I would go with the following all-Polk system:
I can pull it all together for $450!

As I mentioned, the SF Bay Area has a huge market for used stereo equipment. While AV receivers depreciate quickly as electronics change, speakers retain their actual (if not perceived) value much better because fundamental sound technology changes pretty darned slowly. We have so much product available from so many great manufacturers that I'm in complete information overload. I would like to get some help filtering through the overload. Rather than getting lost in the weeds, I hope some one can glance through the list and say, "Stop the presses! At that price those speakers are a great value. I think they'll give you a better experience than your configuration because ________."

There are a LOT of offerings listed. All I hope for is a quick scan down the page, looking for products you recognize to see if there are any gems I missed. I'll italicize some offerings that I think might be compelling upgrades. Please do not spend too much time looking into details. Just look for gems. If you don't recognize a model number, please just skip it.

A couple of stand-outs that may fit that category are the Polk LSi15 towers for $350 or the Vandersteen Model 1C's for $200 and several of the Boston Acoustic offerings.

Believe it or not, almost all of these offerings are within 1-1/2 hours drive (one way, no traffic):


KEF: (I'm a bit leery of KEF because of the reported harsh highs. I get migraines.)

Q-Series System: Q50 Tower, Q10 surround, Model 90 center-- $300 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ele/5276014243.html)--if the Q10 isn't good for a surround but is a decent stand-alone, I can use it as zone 2 in kitchen
Q-Series System: 2-Q7, 2-Q1, 1-Q9c -- $600 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5283538744.html) -- a bit over budget

Speaker Pairs

Q100 -- $225 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5290254136.html)
Corelli SP-1051 -- $250(https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/ele/5244832428.html)
IQ10 -- $150 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5285936165.html)
C30 -- $160 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5270159738.html)
C7 Floor Standing -- $300 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5294673515.html)
C55 -- $200 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ele/5281125653.html) -- rated 150W @ 4 ohm, which may be a bit much for the AVR-1707
K-160 -- $200 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/ele/5267330910.html)
C75 -- $220 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/ele/5290463080.html)
Uni-q Q50 -- $160 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5287112739.html)--project speakers: missing grills, need tweeter replacements and refoaming



Primus System: P362 F, P162 S, PC350, PS-8 sub -- $500 obo (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/ele/5255682174.html)
Primus Set: P363 fronts + PC351 -- $350 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ele/5277908434.html)
RS5 fronts & CC-3 center -- $220 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5280951642.html)

Speaker Pairs

RS5 -- $275 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5289286785.html)--obviously, he didn't see the other ad
SM122 -- $100 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/ele/5268569774.html)
Studio Monitor 120 -- $305 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/ele/5288649452.html)
ES200 -- $250 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5263450177.html)
Kappa 6 -- $360 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/ele/5286810347.html)--a bit out of budget and about a 3-hour drive, but the picture is spectacular!
2500 -- $160 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5270151532.html)--these aren't going anywhere visible without refinishing; unless they're great sounding speakers, they're not worth the bother
Reference EL -- $80 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5270160016.html)--they look cheap-but-nice
QE w/ Emit Tweeters -- $200 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/ele/5294748745.html)
IL-30 -- $100 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/ele/5259966409.html)
S005 Sterling -- $100 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/ele/5292124633.html)
"Infinity Monitor Speakers 18x11x11" -- $200 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5290432267.html)--Is that enough information to even make it work asking follow-up questions?
RS 2.5 -- $80 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ele/5284135506.html)



Model 2Ce -- $650 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/ele/5284938487.html) -- completely blows my budget for the whole project, and then some, but a guy's gotta dream.
Model 1C w/ consecutive S/Ns -- $350 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ele/5291947497.html)
Model 1C -- $200 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5282392115.html)--The reviews on this are amazing! This is a strong contender for the RT55i, but I have no idea how to match it.



Mini Monitor V6 -- $300 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5273679636.html)
Mini Monitor V2 -- $200 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ele/5285547277.html)--beautiful rosewood


Boston Acoustic: (I really like the looks of their product, and they have very loyal users. Unfortunately, their user base seems concentrated primarily in the NE USA, making their SF Bay Area offerings a bit lean).

VR965 Tower w/ powered subs -- $375 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Museum-Condition-BOSTON-ACOUSTICS-VR965-Powered-Speakers-w-Lynnfield-Tweeters-/121716227167?hash=item1c56da3c5f:g:1RIAAOSwu4BVoIWC)--these look very cool and get rid of the need for a separate sub
VR-M50 fronts + VR-MC -- $450 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Boston-Acoustics-VR-M50-2-VR-MC-1-home-theater-speaker-system-surround-sound-/131641986108?hash=item1ea6794c3c:g:01EAAOSwsB9V~blt)--great reviews and feedback. Strong contender for the RT55i + center combo @ about the same price point.
VR-1 -- $140 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5285460570.html)--I suspect these are a step down from my baseline RT55i
VR-20 -- $75 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5284729950.html)
VR-30 -- $200 (https://sacramento.craigslist.org/ele/5255915316.html)--gorgeous cherry towers
VR-30 -- $150 (https://sacramento.craigslist.org/ele/5241477383.html)--This is another strong contender for the RT55i. Has anybody seen a good comparison between the VR-30 & the VR-M50? The 50 is certainly more flexible.
VR960 w/ powered subs -- $375 (https://sacramento.craigslist.org/ele/5250748566.html)--have not been able to figure out the difference between the VR960 & VR965



RB3 maple -- $200 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ele/5260261521.html)



DM303 -- $200 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/ele/5287877840.html)--caught a bad case of Ugly and will need new grills as a minimum
686 -- $425 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5285486019.html)--beautiful!
BM220 -- $100 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5283650650.html)--project speakers that need new grills and some (supposedly) cosmetic repair--not interested unless it's an outrageously good price.
V-201 -- $225 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5283575320.html)



3ea Evolution M5 speakers + 2 stands -- $500 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5262076769.html)--3rd speaker works as center
Model 1.1 -- $185 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/ele/5264209534.html) Point Reyes is a LONG but beautiful drive--figure all day there and back


Tannoy: (never heard of these guys, but they had some cool looking products)

609 (dual concentric) w/ stands -- $500 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/ele/5251266826.html)
609 no stands -- $350 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5288610918.html) Needs new tweeters
SBM Monitors w Hafler P3000 amp -- $200 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ele/5294048202.html)


Alternate Polk Offerings:

LSi15 -- $350 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5294480578.html) cherry & black; yeah, they'll mean cutting some components, but they'll be top of the line sound. How much better will they sound, though?
SDA-2B + CS100 -- $500 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5280783112.html)--I know this is one of the greatest speakers ever made at an affordable price point, but they're so damned ugly!
Monitor 7 -- $130 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/ele/5277426510.html) no picture available so they probably look pretty bad
Monitor 30 -- $65 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5286638884.html) frees up money for elsewhere, but I suspect they're too much of a downgrade from the RT55i
RT800i -- $250 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/ele/5270049992.html)
RTA-11T -- $150 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5285611686.html)--will need some polishing and new grills
RTi70 -- $250 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5264397085.html)
RTA-8T -- $260 (


Center Channels (not as much of a priority as my fronts)

Infinity Classia CC225CH -- $75 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/ele/5294026278.html)
Infinity CC-2 (center) -- $100 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5269994457.html)
Infinity IL36 (maple) -- $150 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/ele/5291715709.html)
Paradign CC-170-v3 + Atom v3 (surr) -- $160 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5272294199.html)
Paradigm Reference CC-370 -- $250 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5294168317.html)
B&W CC6 -- $200 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ele/5260261521.html)
B&W CDMC Special Edition -- $225 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/ele/5271964981.html)
Klipsch RC-52 -- $200 (https://sacramento.craigslist.org/ele/5279472996.html)
Boston Acoustics VR-920 -- $275 (https://sacramento.craigslist.org/ele/5255915316.html)
Boston Acoustics VR-10 -- $130 (https://sacramento.craigslist.org/ele/5255915316.html)
Tannoy mC/BEye -- $75 (https://sacramento.craigslist.org/ele/5289476597.html)

Subs: (not as important as fronts)

Infinity PS210 -- $250 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5269965617.html)
Paradigm PDR-12 -- $175 (http://Paradigm PDR-12)
Klipsch Reference Series RW-10D -- $280 (https://sacramento.craigslist.org/ele/5285320019.html)
Polk PSWi225 -- $150 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/ele/5252540241.html)--great coolness factor with 2.5 GHz wireless interface (which my receiver doesn't support) and the J-shaped porting configuration
Polk PSW303b -- $100 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/5292370472.html)

Surrounds: (least important of all right now)

Paradigm Cinema 90 v. 3 -- $75 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/ele/5294563899.html)
B&W Rock Solid (made in Japan) -- $70 (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/5289967747.html)
Boston Acoustic VRS Micro -- $75 (https://sacramento.craigslist.org/ele/5279472482.html)

After looking at all the local + ebay offerings, is it feasible that I can assemble a better used combination of fronts + center than for under $450 than:

Vandersteen 1C + ~ $400?? (The speakers are $200, but I have no idea how to match the center or it if even needs one.)

Polk RT55i (or Monitor 7) + ~ $300

Will this need a sub to have equivalent sound to the Vandersteen? Believe it or not, I found a Velodyne V-1012B for $50!

If anybody knows Boston Acoustic--particularly compared to the Polk sound--, I found a LOT of offerings buried in the "spoiler" section that may yield some better solutions.

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