I'm overwhelmed. Need advice general questions [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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11-26-2006, 09:13 AM

Been years since I set up a system and I'm quite overwhelmed by the plethora of equipment! Here is what I am trying to do. I'm a casual listener but a lover of music so when I listen I want it to sound reasonably well. The configuration I am planning is as follows:

a pair of Bose 201 speakers inside (A),
a pair Bose 251 outside (B),
an iPod connected to an amp via a docking station,
a multi-disk CD player (that can also play MP3 onto burned disks)

My main question (and the only one for now) is the amp. I think 100-150w per channel is sufficient. I want to concentrate on only well known brands with a good reputation. I am trying to stay in the $300-600 range. Would someone please suggest the 5 or so of the top name brand amplifers or intregrated (FM) amps that I should concentrate on (so I don't get overwhelmed)?

I would greatly appreciate any help.

Thank you

11-26-2006, 10:20 AM
Onkyo, Harman Kardon, Yamaha, Denon, Marantz make good high current receivers. There are others as well, of course. And let me say it before anyone else, Change your speakers. B-etter O-ff with S-omething E-lse. We're all a bunch of Bose haters here!

11-26-2006, 10:25 AM
I would definitely consider change from Bose speakers as I haven't bought them yet. Any suggestions for speakers? The application calls for one pair to be bookshelf size in a spacious inside location and nomal size in a medium size outside screen in enclosure (porch lanai)

Thanks for the help on the amplifiers!!


Mr Peabody
11-26-2006, 10:58 AM
Bose may still be a good choice for outside depending on location. I'll have to look at the 251. Typically Bose tends to make their speakers to where the music dissperses around an area, the sound is not as localized as most speakers. This is bad for sitting between them and trying to enjoy a good sound stage but could be the ticket for outdoors where optimum placement is rarely found.

I have never seen a "high current" Yamaha. They may be dependable but are not in the same league of Onkyo or HK in the power amp section. Every Yamaha I've heard has lacked bass definition and warm which I think would be a bad match with Bose. I had a Yamaha integrated amp at one point that sold for around $699.00 and even it lacked bass definition. The mids and highs were nice but that mushy bass I'm afraid is Yamaha's trait. Yamaha is not above reproach either, this amp had big ugly lights on the front and when one burned out the amp would not work. What kind of crap is that to put in an amp that expensive? But I digress......

11-26-2006, 11:02 AM
There are of course many speakers out there that would meet your needs. It basically comes down to balancing sound, price and size. Some respected brands would include Infinity, Polk, Kef, Boston Acoustic, Energy, and the list goes on. I'm sure you've seen the ads for Axiom on this site, they have some pretty good reviews but are internet sales only. My personal favorite speakers are Totem Acoustic. My best advice is to get out there and listen to a few speakers at the local stores. Buy what moves you, music is all about emotion.

I always thought Yamaha was high current, but I guess I never really looked at one either. Sorry about that.

Some Mirage Omni-sats might work well outside, They have a wide dispersion pattern and sound pretty decent for a sat speaker.

Mike Anderson
11-26-2006, 11:33 AM
How did you settle on Bose as your speaker choice? If you listened to a bunch of different speakers, and you liked the Bose sound best, then fine. But if you just picked them because you think they're good speakers based on their reputation, you're probably making a big mistake. Bose speakers seriously color the sound, so the only reason to get them is if you really prefer that coloration.

So if you haven't listened to a lot of other speakers, definitely do so. Speakers are the component that affect the sound most dramatically. So pick your speakers first, then choose an amp based on the requirements of those speakers.

JoeE SP9
11-26-2006, 01:50 PM
Wallymon, what you should do is go to several retailers and listen to a sampling of the available speakers. You will probably be exposed to higher quality speakers at an audio/video store but even the big box places like Best Buy and Circuit City should have something you like in your price range. If after listening you still want "Blose" speakers that is your choice and someone here will try to help you in your selection process. However, I have a very strong feeling that you will find "Blose" speakers to be very inadequate. As far as electronics go I think what you are looking for is a receiver. If so there are many knowledgeable people here who will be able to advise you in selecting one. I've never owned a receiver so I have no expertise in that area.
Above all, give some speakers a listen and I'm certain you will not want any "Blose" speakers after hearing products from other manufacturers.
Contrary to what Paul Harvey and Herbie Hancock say (paid for saying), "Blose" speakers are truly awful! The rest of their products aren't quite as bad they're just way overpriced.:idea:

11-26-2006, 04:53 PM
check out paradigm atoms (http://www.audioreview.com/mfr/floorstanding-speakers/PRD_120342_1594crx.aspx), they can be found for ~$200 a pair, and imo sound a lot better than the bose 201's...
if you want to go up in price, focal jm lab has some nice bookshelfs for <$500 as does paradigm...
as for amps, thoes stated will work for what you want... you may want to check the used market on ebay or audiogon to save some money...
may be able to get a NAD, ADCOM, Rotel, B&K, Anthem, or someother brand in your pricerange...
fyi, I got an anthem pva2 amp and a b&k PT3 s2 preamp on ebay for $500 shipped and it's worlds better than my $700 denon receiver...

11-26-2006, 06:18 PM
Well, time for me to start yakking.

I'm personally very partial to old Cambridge stuff - for under $200, you can pick up the Cambridge Ensemble 1 set. I own one myself, and I can describe them most simply as "what bose SHOULD have been, at about a quarter the price."

If you want excellent sound quality indoors, a pair of Magnepan MMGs ($500) with a good subwoofer (Hsu Research has some good ones starting at about $300, or so I'm told) is hard to beat. You need a good-sized room (magnepans + corners = nasty sound), but the coolness factor is hard to beat.

If you want your speakers in the corners, it depends on the size of the room. A small room can get away with a pair of small satellites (Atoms, or perhaps the unusually good "50$ wonders" - the Insignia B2111s) and a small subwoofer, but for a bigger room, you're better off with some proper tower speakers or the Ensemble set, which actually works more like a 3-way speaker than a sub/sat combo. (And they're cheap - so long as you can find some.)