Inexpensive speakers - Options [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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04-26-2008, 04:53 PM
I recently bought an ONKYO TX-SR505 receiver and i would like to buy a set of inexpensive speakers (less than $200/pair).
Currently i have a set of 5.1 cheap sony speakers.
I am thinking of replacing the 3 front speakers and possibly the subwoofer.
After all I do not care that much about movies.Mainly listening to music (Jazz and rock).
I tried Paradigm Atoms and I was blown by the clear/deep sound they produce.
Problems is the local dealer sells them for $300 a pair. I can not find them online.
I also went to best buy and listened the Insignias that are praised in many forums, but I can not say that I liked them much. The Paradigms are in a different league IMHO.

How are the polk r150 and Monitor 30? i can find them online pretty cheap.
I would not mind buying used as long as they are relatively new. Looked at the local craigslist and found several Klipsch.

What other options do I have?

Also which passive subwoofer, and center speaker should I get? (Do not wish to spend more than 200$ for both).

Any suggestions?

04-26-2008, 06:31 PM
At $200.00 for your mains, you won't get much quality with new units. You heard it for yourself with the Insignia's. Those are mass market cheap speakers. You may want to browse for a pair of higher end used bookshelfs at One of the best selections on the net. I just saw some Celestion British bookshelfs in your price range there. You will also see small monitors used as surround sound speakers in the $200.00/pr area but they won't produce much bass or soundstage for your L&R mains. For just $279.00/pr, you can buy a brand new pair of PSB Alpha 1B's which have rec'd great reviews as small bookshelfs for the money. You may have to put out just a bit more cash. Also, it is recommended by the profs that all of your speakers for a surround sound system be of the same manufacturer and series. You'll get the best results in overall balanced sound. Some of the non-mass marketed better brands out there are B&W, PSB, NHT, Paradigm, Focal, Mordaunt-Short, Energy, etc. I believe all manufacture bookshelf models.

Jim Clark
04-26-2008, 06:48 PM
I'm not sure I got this straight, maybe I "misunderstood"?

You want a set of main speakers, cc speaker, and a passive subwoofer for 400.00?

That's a very tall order and I'm not even sure it can be done. The Hsu research has a package deal for 540.00. At least the Sub should be relatively decent.

Audiogon has some Paradigm products like the Atom and Titans showing up from time to time. If you're dilegent and lucky and willing to wait to buy them all, you may be able to get the speakers you're looking for at the price you want. Audiogon also has some subs priced less then 200 but I don't think you're going to get a 1/2 way decent sub and a 1/2 decent CC speaker for 200 for the two together.

Good luck.


04-27-2008, 10:12 AM
Consider the PSB alpha B's or the Monitor Audio B2 and S1 series speakers. Both are onsale at Also consider the Infinity beta 20's and the Infinity primus 162's from The PSB Alpha B's are nice but very thin on bass compared to these other speakers. The Infinity primus are a great deal at $200 pr. but the new models have ugly grills and if you dont mind taking them off you will be pleased with the sound. Read the review on them in budget components from

I'm assuming you want to spend less than $300 for a pair of speakers.

04-27-2008, 01:02 PM
Well, here is your sub. It is an absolute STEAL at $99.99! Recommend you stay with an active powered sub and not a passive sub. You don't want that Onkyo receiver having to drive a sub as well as the front speakers.

Here is your center channel for $99.99 which is voice matched (very important) to the left and right speakers listed below.

Here is the left and right speaker for $99.99 each.

Both Energy and Athena are highly respected Canadian speaker companies that offer high performance speakers in small packages. Their sound is usually very clean and neutral with natural sounding mids. These prices are outstanding bargains in my opinion. These 4 speakers and the sub listed for $920 and are priced here at $400! This is an absolute no brainer of a deal! I owned the Energy Take Five system with their 8" sub which was great for music. The Athena brand has an excellent reputaiton for great sound for the buck.


PS: For an extra $176 you can get a pair of Athena LS-50 surround speakers that voice match the LS-100 and LSC-100 and you would have a very nice 5.1 system.

04-27-2008, 01:39 PM
Here is a second choice for a sub for $149.99.

Here's another great deal or put together your own system at B&H or using JBL Venue Series speakers at great prices.


04-27-2008, 08:09 PM
First of all thanks for the input.
The athena system seems pretty tempting, but I could not find any reviews.
On the contrary I found raving reviews for the infinty Primus P162. Although more expensive the reviewer states that it is better than the paradigm Atom.
Any experiences with the Athena LS series, 87db seems kind of low though?
Based only on prices the P162 are similar to the Athena LS-300.
Any thoughts?

04-27-2008, 09:48 PM
Here is a listing of the PSB Alpha B1, C1 package I have for sale. PM me if you are interested. The package is 340.00 to your front door with all original packaging and manuals. The system is less than 2 months old and in pristine condition.

04-27-2008, 11:30 PM
Sorry I missed the Athena LS-300 at $99. It is a step down from the LS-500. It has the same tweeter as the LS-500 and LS-100. I can not find a review but from info it sounds like this is an excellent speaker, note the angled sides and quality drivers. Athena has been bought out by Klipsch and the Athena line is now discontinued. That doesn't make these any less of a bargain. I think they are probably a significant step up in sound from the Primus which I feel is very simliar to the JBL Venue line, both which are very good indeed. 87-90dB's is about average sensitivity for medium bookshelf to small floor speakers


04-28-2008, 08:56 AM
I bought a pair of the infinity Primus 160's, last years model for my daughter and was pleasently suprised by the sound. They have a neutral sound with good treble and decent bass with good detail. They have a quality feel about them. I prefer the sound of the beta's which have a warmer sound though.

04-28-2008, 11:03 AM
I looked at the PSB Alpha B1 you have for sale, and to be honest aesthetically they are not that great.
I just do not like speakers with metallic grilles.

04-28-2008, 11:59 AM
Then you wont like the infinity Beta's, they have metal grills. Take a close look at the Primus 162's. They have a new funky grill. They look much better with the grill off.
You should also look at wharfedale speakers.

04-29-2008, 06:04 AM
8 posts and a total of about 10 words on this entire forum. You don't say much do you movetom? :rolleyes:

04-29-2008, 06:16 PM
First of all thanks for all the advice.
Ok I was finally thinking to build a 5.1 system since the LS-50 are so cheap.
But I tried to look at the offerings from energy since it is considered better than Athena (correct me if wrong).
I saw on ebay the act6 system for $400 and I am thinking if it would be better to get the act6 vs make my own 5.1 with Athena speakers 2 front x LS100 ($100), 2 rear x LS50 ($65) and the energy ACT6 sub ($100) and the LSC100 ($100). I assume that the larger speakers will reproduce better the low frequencies but what about mids and highs?
Total price would be the same but will the sound from the LS system be better than the energy?
The reviews for the ACT6 system in several websites are simply excellent, even for music.
I am really confused and since I can not audition them any advice would be appreciated.
I am not so much interested in bass since I will be using the system for jazz music mainly.
Also the small size of the ACT6 is attractive (after all the system will be in our living room).

04-29-2008, 09:17 PM
The ACT6 got good reviews from and I guess if you have a $400 budget its a good buy, especially if your main use is HT. Personally, I would consider just buying a pair of front channels, a sub and center channel for now and add the rear speakers later when you have some extra cash. You could get a pair of the infinity primus 162's and infinity center with a sub or go with the PSB Alpha B's and a sub and the PSB Alpha C center for around $400 if you shop around. Read the review on the PSB Alpha B's at under budget components.

04-29-2008, 09:47 PM
The ACT 6 system is very similar to the two Energy Take 5 systems I used to own. They are excellent systems in this size with very nice mids (very natural voice reproduction) and highs. This 8" Energy sub will be very nice, musical and tight for accoustic jazz. The critical part is the crossover from the small 3.5" driver in the satelites to the sub. These small drivers do not go very low. I would recommend setting the crossover on your Onkyo at about 120 or possibly 100 Hz (the auto set-up might try to set them at 150-200 but over 150Hz is too high). Some people get a slight frequency response dip in this area with these small systems. They were luckily very flat in my room. Room accoustics have a huge effect on how speakers sound. I sold both sets to friends and they are very pleased. If small size is really important then the ACT6 should be a good choice. They are very flexible for mounting on stands or the wall. In the Act6 make sure the sub is at the front of the room.

The Athena speakers will play louder and probably be easier to match in the main/sub crossover area. I would crossover on the Onkyo at 80Hz or possibly 100Hz (not at 60). I think they will have a slightly more refined sound and smooth mid and high end. The small Energy's can occassionaly get just a tad strident sounding in the highs. Another option on the Athena's is to go with the LS100 for the surrounds for a perfect surround envelopement. The sub should be at or fairly close to the front of the room. Not exactly in the corner and several inches away from the wall should give you nice tight bass.

Important for either system would be to set ALL the 5 speakers in the set-up procedures to "small" (do not use large). I highly recommend you do a "manual set-up as the auto set-up sometimes makes significant mistakes. An analog (not digital) sound level meter that you can find at Radio Shack (about $40) is a must to set the relative volume levels precisely in the set-up procedure. It really makes an audible difference to do this with a meter and not by ear (the RS meter is much more exact than your ears).

Some prefer just stereo for music. However, if you have a 5.1 system and correctly set it up with all five speakers voice matched (the exact same tweeter from the same brand and series) and have the sound level set within .5dB's of each other you will love 5.1 music on many sources. It adds an ambience that 2 or 3 channels just can't replicate. Adding cheap or mismatched surround speakers is a formula for poor surround sound especially on music. Note that the surround speakers in most cases should go on the side and not the rear walls. If there is an impedence switch on your Onkyo leave it set to 8 ohms (do not set it to 6 or 4 ohms....too long to explain here).

Axiom Audio speakers are a little out of your price range but they have some good tutorials linked below which should help you.


04-29-2008, 10:34 PM
Again thank you very much for the advice, I do appreciate it.
I made an offer for the ACT6 for $320 not expecting that it would fly but was accepted!!!
This is for a brand new system including shipping.
I guess the price is remarkably low. Most places sell it for close to $500.

I was ready to buy the Athena LS speakers but I could not find the LS50 in a good price (most places were sold out). I did not have space for four large speakers (LS100) in my living room.
Plus, I am sure my wife would be happier with the aesthetics of the ACT6.

The ACT6 is supposed to be an improved version of the Take 5, quite similar to the take 5.2 from what I read.
I just hope it is as good as critics say:
Hopefully I would be happy with what I got.

I am moving to Europe soon and I wanted to get my sound system before my move.
Electronics are ridiculously expensive over there. Of course the different voltage is of some concern but I already have three huge transformers (3kW each). Hopefully the 50Hz will not affect the receiver.

One last question: If I use a regular DVD player like toe OPPO 970HD would it be ok or a dedicated cd player would be significantly better for music?

04-29-2008, 11:39 PM
The OPPO 970 is a great bang for the buck unit and just fine for CD playback. Much more important is the production quality of the source CD disc itself.

What makes a significant difference in sound are the speakers themselves, the receiver's speaker set-up procedures, how and where you place them in the room, the room acoustics and the sound source. Don't get caught up in sound differences in your budget range in different receivers, CD players, speaker wire and cables because the differences are negligible if any.


04-30-2008, 09:54 AM
Check out the prices of the Cambridge audio line of CDP's when your in Europe. They are a compamy based in England and i believe that they are cheaper over there. Look into the Cambridge audio 640c and 740c.

You should also consider buying another oppo. The 980 or 983 both have much better audio than the 970c.