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  1. #1
    Clueless Koggit's Avatar
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    Affordable floorstanding speakers?

    Hello folks, new to the community here. New to audio in general! I currently just use the factory speakers of my 56" DLP TV, I think they're two 15watt speakers. I have a cheap 2.1 set of computer speakers (~$30), and that's about as high end as my audio gets. I'm fairly tech savvy though, so don't be afraid to explain things to me in technical terms.

    Long story short, I'm looking to upgrade from using the factory speakers to a 2-channel system. I'm a student living in an apartment that has sound regulations, so making the windows shake is far from top priority. I just want a fully, more accurate sound. Of course, quality at higher volumes is always a plus for when I move into my own house somewhere down the road. I can't really see a difference between eBay auctions for $100/pair compared to $2,000/pair. I'd like to get the receiver and pair of speakers for $500 or less, if possible. I like the idea of the floorstanding speakers not needing a subwoofer, but considering my pricerange, are they a reasonable option?

    I know nothing about receivers either. I want to make sure I have enough inputs for my components, which are as follows...

    Playstation 2 - Composite
    Gamecube - Composite
    Xbox 360 - Component
    Motorola DVR/Cable - Component
    Samsung DVD - HDMI

    One thing I was uncertain about is component audio input. E.g., if my receiver has composite audio in, could I send the three component video cables to the TV and the two audio to the receiver, or would I have to go optical?

    Also, how do wattages work? From what I understand, a speaker blows when sent more juice than it can output, right? So, to prevent speakers from blowing, I should make sure the speaker is rated for a higher wattage than the receiver outputs (per channel)?

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    First off, a great big fat hello and welcome!
    Quote Originally Posted by Koggit
    I'd like to get the receiver and pair of speakers for $500 or less, if possible. I like the idea of the floorstanding speakers not needing a subwoofer, but considering my pricerange, are they a reasonable option?
    $500 for a pair of speakers and a receiver is tough, but doable. I'd strongly advise going with used equipment - ebay and audiogon are your friends.

    I know nothing about receivers either. I want to make sure I have enough inputs for my components, which are as follows...

    Playstation 2 - Composite
    Gamecube - Composite
    Xbox 360 - Component
    Motorola DVR/Cable - Component
    Samsung DVD - HDMI
    Wow...that's a lot...you'll probably have to use your TV's inputs and your receiver's inputs to do all this...or get use to switching. I'm not sure there are that many HDMI/Component slots on most receivers in your price-range (or most receivers period).

    One thing I was uncertain about is component audio input. E.g., if my receiver has composite audio in, could I send the three component video cables to the TV and the two audio to the receiver, or would I have to go optical?
    Using the RCA cables (red and white) is fine, but you might want optical down the road for decoding dolby digital and dts if you get a 5.1 system someday.

    Also, how do wattages work? From what I understand, a speaker blows when sent more juice than it can output, right? So, to prevent speakers from blowing, I should make sure the speaker is rated for a higher wattage than the receiver outputs (per channel)?
    Watts are the worst thing that ever happened to audio. Your speakers can blow if fed too much power, but most of the time they'll blow long before the actual wattage does it. Speakers and amps should be purchased according to listening habbits, not wattage numbers which can be (and are) grossly exaggerated.
    I'd say for a receiver, you'd want a minimum or 70 watts X 5 from a company like Denon, Harman Kardon, Yamaha, Onkyo, or even Pioneer. Higher if you can get it, but for driving only 2 speakers, that's plenty in an apartment. Most of the time you're only using 1 watt or less (seriously, 1 watt is pretty loud).

    I'm guessing any speaker you buy will be fine with whatever receiver you get - just remember, if things start to sound bad, turn it back down.

    For speakers, you can consider the likes of Athena, Paradigm, PSB, Infinity, Energy, etc (I'm sure others will make recommendations). I'd budget at least 60% of your budget on speakers...preferably more. That will make the most impact on sound. You can get a pretty decent receiver for under $150, used.

    Buying new, things are gonna get real tough, real fast (though still not impossible).

  3. #3
    Clueless Koggit's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response and welcome.

    I could go a little over $500. I don't have a finite number, but being a student I can't spend $1,000+ on audio... that's almost a quarter's worth of tuition!

    I actually started my pricing research on eBay. The big problem I ran into was simply not knowing what I was looking at. I could find information on the higher end and mid-range stuff (such as the Energy C-9's, which, from reviews, seem to be an amazing value... wish I could afford 'em)... but when I come down to the sets I can actually afford (such as these Divinci DV-1450s for $300 shipped), I can't find any information about them anywhere on the web.

    Here are a couple other speakers with their current prices...

    Acoustic Energy Aegis 3 - $300/pair, shipped
    They mention "bi-wiring", and they explain it as similar to higher end video signals separating color channels to get a more accurate picture. Is this a gimmick, or are these as good as he claims? They seem awfully cheap for what the seller claims.

    Yamaha NS-555 - $139/pair + shipping
    These got great reviews from users on AudioReview.com. It lists the MSRP as only $200. I don't understand why they're so cheap if they don't suck. The only big complaint seems to be toward the lows, which I don't need anyway (deep bass will only make the neigbors complain!)

    MORDAUNT-SHORT MS906 - $308/pair shipped
    Google results only return Europeon sites, but the cheapest from an online retailer is 339, which is $650 USD. What caught me with this pair was just the aesthetic design, they look really nice.


    EDIT: On the Onkyo site, I found this receiver. Looks promising, at $199 for a refurb. TX-LR552: http://www.shoponkyo.com/detail.cfm?...il=1&ext_war=1

    It has two component in, two optical in, a coax, even component video out.. quite sleek, as well. I don't know anything about the audio side of it, the specs and features don't make any sense to me. It's all moon-man gibberish. Onkyo seems pretty popular though.
    Last edited by Koggit; 05-30-2006 at 03:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    For the price, these are hard hard hard to beat:

    http://audioadvisor.com/store/produc...0Black,%20Pair

  5. #5
    Clueless Koggit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    For the price, these are hard hard hard to beat:

    http://audioadvisor.com/store/produc...0Black,%20Pair
    I'd need the stand also, so with the stand it'd add $140 to the pair, making the speaker+stands $310/pair. I could definitely do that, but considering the price of the stands are they still a good option when compared to floor standing speakers?

  6. #6
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    I've said it before, and I'll say it again ('cause they can't shut me up) money goes a lot farther with bookshelf speakers than with floorstanders, that is, dollar for dollar, you'll end up with better speaker buying bookshelves than floorstanders and just fill in the low in gap with a quality sub when budget allows.

  7. #7
    Clueless Koggit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_pci
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again ('cause they can't shut me up) money goes a lot farther with bookshelf speakers than with floorstanders, that is, dollar for dollar, you'll end up with better speaker buying bookshelves than floorstanders and just fill in the low in gap with a quality sub when budget allows.
    So taking into consideration the price of the stand, it's still likely to give as good or better sound than a $310/pair floor standing speakers? It's just shocking that the stands more than double the price, although it's nice to have the option to upgrade later using the same stands.

  8. #8
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Normally I'd agree bookshelf speakers offer better value. When someone is only planning on buying 2 speakers though, it blurs the lines a bit here. I think you'd get more satisfaction out of towers than bookshelfs, especially since they're not much more money at this price point on the used market. Though I do agree a quality sub well integrated into a system would be better, just not sure of the budget and long-term goals here.
    If you're planning on building this a piece at a time, bookshelfs could make more sense (though it still wouldn't exclude towers).
    Give them a listen and choose for yourself if you can.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    You can always shop around for a different and less expensive stands, but yes, some can be head-scratchingly expensive. Try www.racksandstands.com and see if there's anything that would fit the bill, as it were.

    While, technically, floorstanders will produce a "fuller" sound, cheap floorstanders usually come at quite a sonic compromise. Of course, audition as much as you can those models that are in your budget and you can judge for yourself in general and in comparing specific models.

  10. #10
    AUTOBOT BRANDONH's Avatar
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    Tower Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Koggit
    Hello folks, new to the community here. New to audio in general! I currently just use the factory speakers of my 56" DLP TV, I think they're two 15watt speakers. I have a cheap 2.1 set of computer speakers (~$30), and that's about as high end as my audio gets. I'm fairly tech savvy though, so don't be afraid to explain things to me in technical terms.

    Long story short, I'm looking to upgrade from using the factory speakers to a 2-channel system. I'm a student living in an apartment that has sound regulations, so making the windows shake is far from top priority. I just want a fully, more accurate sound. Of course, quality at higher volumes is always a plus for when I move into my own house somewhere down the road. I can't really see a difference between eBay auctions for $100/pair compared to $2,000/pair. I'd like to get the receiver and pair of speakers for $500 or less, if possible. I like the idea of the floorstanding speakers not needing a subwoofer, but considering my pricerange, are they a reasonable option?

    I know nothing about receivers either. I want to make sure I have enough inputs for my components, which are as follows...

    Playstation 2 - Composite
    Gamecube - Composite
    Xbox 360 - Component
    Motorola DVR/Cable - Component
    Samsung DVD - HDMI

    One thing I was uncertain about is component audio input. E.g., if my receiver has composite audio in, could I send the three component video cables to the TV and the two audio to the receiver, or would I have to go optical?

    Also, how do wattages work? From what I understand, a speaker blows when sent more juice than it can output, right? So, to prevent speakers from blowing, I should make sure the speaker is rated for a higher wattage than the receiver outputs (per channel)?




    The Monitor 600i is a power-packed tower that can drive any high performance system. Engineered from the ground up for accurate sound and exceptional imaging in real world situations, the Monitor 600i is in line with the high standards of performance expected from MTX. The 600i is a superior sounding floor standing speaker designed with the highest quality materials. It features two 6.5" polypropylene woofers with rubber surrounds and a 19mm PEI dome tweeter in a D'appolito array to perform with reliability and accurate reproduction. This arrangement reduces the unwanted reflective sound from floors and ceilings with a controlled vertical dispersion. This use of offset drivers, crossover frequency, and slope provides better imaging and more realistic sound. Plus, with the dual woofers in a common, vented enclosure, the Monitor 600i has lower extension, higher power handling, and higher efficiency than a single woofer speaker. Sold individually.

    Specifications: *Woofer: (2) 6-1/2" Poly *Tweeter: 19mm PEI dome *Frequency response: 33Hz-20kHz *Power handling: 150W RMS *Sensitivity: (2.83v/1m) 92dB
    *Dimensions: 35 5/8" H x 9" W x 11 7/8" D.

    Price: $149.87 EA

    http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=302-016
    my system
    Technics SL-1210M5G
    OC9/MLII
    Marantz AV8003
    Oppo BD-83
    Yamaha C-70
    Crown MA-12000i
    Emotiva XPA-5

  11. #11
    Clueless Koggit's Avatar
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    I found those pretty cheap here at "HHGregg" with free shipping, $233.08 for the pair to my door. Quite tempting. I can't find much information on them though, only three online retailers stock them and they all have the same information as the MTX site. I'd be okay with a blind purchase since my ears are far from spoiled, I'm sure nearly anything I get will sound great to me, having upgraded for the first time from the stock speakers.

  12. #12
    AUTOBOT BRANDONH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koggit
    I found those pretty cheap here at "HHGregg" with free shipping, $233.08 for the pair to my door. Quite tempting. I can't find much information on them though, only three online retailers stock them and they all have the same information as the MTX site. I'd be okay with a blind purchase since my ears are far from spoiled, I'm sure nearly anything I get will sound great to me, having upgraded for the first time from the stock speakers.
    Now that is a good deal!
    What would we do without the internet?
    I think you will like the way these sound and hey they look good too.
    Let us know what you decide and if you get them tell us how you like them.

    Here is a link to the manual:
    http://www.partsexpress.com/pdf/302-016m.pdf
    my system
    Technics SL-1210M5G
    OC9/MLII
    Marantz AV8003
    Oppo BD-83
    Yamaha C-70
    Crown MA-12000i
    Emotiva XPA-5

  13. #13
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Man, I dunno about those MTX thingies. Granted, I haven't heard them but I've never been particularly impressed with their car subs, the arena where they cut their teeth. I'd probably lean more towards something from Athena or Polk if floorstanders were a must. Otherwise, I'd go for some bookshelfs from Epos, Athena, Paradigm, or Energy and add a sub as funds become available. Hey, you'll have a summer job anyway, right?

  14. #14
    Clueless Koggit's Avatar
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    It seems like everyone is split! Just as many people are saying bookshelves are a better value as there are users saying floorstanders are the best way to go. I understand that, for the price of the speakers, bookshelves give a better value... but what about when stands are taken into consideration?

    In my price range a huge portion of the cash goes toward the stands. If I allocate $350 to speakers and I have to spend $150 on stands, the bookshelves can only be $100 a piece, as opposed to $175 floorstanders. Will $100 bookshelves typically perform as good or better than $175 floorstanders?

  15. #15
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Sorry I didn't see you were looking for only floorstanders.

    If you are NOT going to add a sub, floorstanders will probably be better for you.

    If you're adding a sub, go with bookshelves on stands. Those MTX speakers should be okay for you, although I'm also not an MTX fan just based on their car audio stuff. But at the price they should perform just fine, and when it comes time to upgrade you can get most of your money back out of them.

  16. #16
    Clueless Koggit's Avatar
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    Cool, so I'm just going to go with the MTX and hope for the best. If they're completely awful, oh well, I'm only out $200 and can probably get most of it back through eBay... but honestly, I think I'd be okay with nearly anything, so I'm sure I'll be satisfied. Even a $100 home theatre in a box would probably sound better than what I currently have.

    I also just bought a Logitech Harmony remote (the Xbox 360 version).

    Now all I need is a receiver and cables.

    I'm thinking this receiver... http://shoponkyo.com/detail.cfm?prod..._id=1&detail=3




    $199

    What type of cable/wire do I need for those plugs, though? I've only used the spring-loaded type before (which I have on my amp and sub in my car). Are these what people refer to as banana clips? Do they need special wire? I plan to get the wires/cables from eBay, definitely.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    No, you use the same old speaker wire; you can insert the bare wire (often a pain in the ass) or you can terminate with banana plugs, which many find convenient.

  18. #18
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Man, do I have a complaint. Alot of us are so anal about the placements of power cables and speaker wires. I act mental crossing them at 90 degree angles. Then why are power cables on receivers located sooooooo close to speaker terminals. Does it have to do with with designing receivers with shortest distance between This and That?

  19. #19
    AUTOBOT BRANDONH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koggit
    Cool, so I'm just going to go with the MTX and hope for the best. If they're completely awful, oh well, I'm only out $200 and can probably get most of it back through eBay... but honestly, I think I'd be okay with nearly anything, so I'm sure I'll be satisfied. Even a $100 home theatre in a box would probably sound better than what I currently have.

    I also just bought a Logitech Harmony remote (the Xbox 360 version).

    Now all I need is a receiver and cables.

    I'm thinking this receiver... http://shoponkyo.com/detail.cfm?prod..._id=1&detail=3




    $199

    What type of cable/wire do I need for those plugs, though? I've only used the spring-loaded type before (which I have on my amp and sub in my car). Are these what people refer to as banana clips? Do they need special wire? I plan to get the wires/cables from eBay, definitely.
    Speakers: 233.08
    receiver: 199.95

    You did it and stayed within the 500.00 budget.
    Well done.
    Please post us on the results
    my system
    Technics SL-1210M5G
    OC9/MLII
    Marantz AV8003
    Oppo BD-83
    Yamaha C-70
    Crown MA-12000i
    Emotiva XPA-5

  20. #20
    Forum Regular BadAssJazz's Avatar
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    A little late for this, but if it were me, I would have chosen this combination for just over $500.


    One of these speaker sets (with the Acoustic Research being my only hesitation. I owned a pair in my first stereo setup back in college, but there are better speaker manufacturers out there):

    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1153715733

    or these
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1152460236

    or these
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1154645271

    or these
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....oni&1154545933

    or these
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1153792077

    or these
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1154204247

    or these
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1154103642

    or these
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1152460236


    And one of these receivers...

    http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Yamah...iver,__7731095

    or this one
    http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Pione...ver,__17979525

    or this one
    http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Onkyo...lack,__8611937

    or this one
    http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Pione...ces,__18823415
    *Panasonic 60" Plasma HDTV
    *Marantz AV7005
    *Marantz MM7055
    *Oppo Digital BDP-95
    *Silverline Audio Sonatina MK II
    *Silverline Center Stage
    *Silverline Audio SR11
    *SVS SB12

    http://www.panasonic.com
    http://www.marantz.com
    http://www.oppodigital.com
    http://www.silverlineaudio.com
    http://www.svsound.com

  21. #21
    Clueless Koggit's Avatar
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    Finally got my receiver in today, it had been backordered from Onkyo for a while (12 days to ship!), but everything's up now. I'm really happy with the clarity at the levels I've been able to achieve, especially through my DVD player, but I can't get high volumes. Every time I reach volume level 35-ish, the receiver resets. It's strange. The circuit's not tripping or anything, only the receiver goes off, and it only resets, doesn't turn off for long. I tried taking it off my surge protector and going directly to an outlet, but no difference. I cranked it to 35 and it stayed for a little while... 45 seconds or so... then reset again. When I get around 40, it goes off immediately. I've had it on 30 for a while now (15 minutes or so) with no problems.

    Any advice?

    I'll let you guys know more about the speakers' quality as I get some more time with them. So far, they seem to have great mids, decent highs, but a really shallow low end. I really need to get the receiver to feed them a bit more before I'm able to really determine whether they were a good purchase or not, though.

    Edit: Up and running, and so far so good. I listened so a little Ben Folds, and am actually really impressed with the highs.
    Last edited by Koggit; 06-15-2006 at 07:54 PM.

  22. #22
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    One of two things appears to be happening:
    1) A protection circuit is tripping
    2) The AVR is faulty

    Chances are it's #1. Is the AVR hot when it shuts down? If so, it's likely a protection circuit. Make sure it's located where it can get a fair amount of air, not in a closed cabinet. I don't recall the spec's of the speakers, but it they are 4 ohm nominal, the AVR simply may not be able to push them at high output. It happens.

  23. #23
    Clueless Koggit's Avatar
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    Their impedance is actually listed as 8 ohm on the back of the speakers. Regardlessly, it's working now. I'm not terribly sure what the problem was, but after I cut new wire and hooked everything back up I was golden.

  24. #24
    AUTOBOT BRANDONH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koggit
    Their impedance is actually listed as 8 ohm on the back of the speakers. Regardlessly, it's working now. I'm not terribly sure what the problem was, but after I cut new wire and hooked everything back up I was golden.
    So now that you have had the speakers for a while how do they sound?
    I noticed that you mentioned that they lacked low end are thet still lacking in low end now?
    Although that size of speaker would not be able to produce heavy lows so a sub may still be needed.
    my system
    Technics SL-1210M5G
    OC9/MLII
    Marantz AV8003
    Oppo BD-83
    Yamaha C-70
    Crown MA-12000i
    Emotiva XPA-5

  25. #25
    Clueless Koggit's Avatar
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    Yeah, still lacking in the lows, mids are great, highs can be a little too harsh at times but are definitely acceptable.

    I'll probably get a sub somewhere down the road, but no time soon. I'd have to keep the sub channel pretty low not to disturb neighbors anyway, so I don't see the point in sinking the money at the moment. When I move into a house I'll definitely want a sub.

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