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  1. #1
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    Speaker for mp3 player

    I am very new for audio, so please forgive me if I say something stupid.

    My wife has an ipod and I have a sandisk e280. So I cannot go for the dock. Currently I am playing them with a 3.5mm-RCA cable in a $100 Phillips shelf system's "AUX". I am thinking to get a better sound (I mostly listen classical). I am a graduate student living in an apartment, which is pretty sound-inproof. So I do not need a super loud one. And my budget is less $200 (I know it is small, but that is what I have for this.)

    I guess I have to use the headphone jack because I want to use both players. So is the 3.5mm-RCA the only way. There seems two options for me.

    1. A receiver +2 shelf speakers ($100+100)
    2. A all-in-one PC speaker system. ($100-$150)

    Which one will serve me better? And any recommend model? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    A few thoughts..

    If I've learned anything over the years, it's patience when buying audio gear. In other words, resist the temptation to buy something now with 200 or wait a little longer and buy something you'll be happy with for years for a few more bucks. That said, here's what I'd look at at the 200 price point, new product only.

    AudioEngine A2 self powered speakers. They list for 200 and are the little brother to the amazing A5's. They use the same tweeter as the A5 but smaller woofer. I haven't listened the the A2's but they're supposed to be very similar to the A5's with a little less room filling capability.

    Logitech Z2300. I have the previous Z2200 which continue to amaze me in terms of output and clean sound. For the price, the most bang for the buck in any speaker I've owned. They don't have the 'breath' that the best speakers do but for the price, you can't go wrong.

    Insignia KEF knock offs. They go on sale frequently from Best Buy. When they first hit the market, they listed for about 35-40 bucks a pair. They became a cult favorite quickly and since have been increased to around 70 bucks per pair. Team this with a t-amp and you're good to go. The Insignia's are a little weak at the high end and sound warm. They're not suitable for filling a big room with realistic sound but in the near field they sound lush and reproduce vocals very well. I've been using these for about a year with a pc system. The warm sound is a negative in a large room but in the near field can be listened to for hours without fatigue.

    All are solid choices if you have to have something new now but I'd also look used. You'll be able to improve on what I listed above pretty dramatically for the same money. Or I'd wait until you have some more cash and get what you really like.

  3. #3
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    We do the same thing with a 3.5mm to RCA plug adapter cable for our Sansa's. Whatever you wind up with, as long as it has an "aux" input, you're good to go.

    There's a little Sherwood stereo receiver (4105?) that's avaiable at Circuit City and all over the web for $100 or less that sounds far. far better than the price would suggest and, yes, it has that "aux" input you need. Also, it has an FM tuner and will serve as the focal point for a future "real" stereo system as well.

    Just decide on what speakers you want to go for. For $100 you can do wuite well if you shop around.

  4. #4
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    Thanks

    Thanks. I inclined for receiver+speaker. Couple of more questions.

    Is Insignia KEF knock offs just this NS-B2111? With this speaker, do I need to get a subwoof or I can skip it and wait for late?

    The sherwood receiver seems discontinued in circuitcity. Any other suggestion for receiver? They have quite a few 5.1/6.1/7.1 receiver in the $100 range. I know these are mostly for home theater. Are they just not good for the music, or they are also capable to play music with the main channel?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by zggame; 04-10-2008 at 07:32 AM.

  5. #5
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    As my chineese Federal Taxes teacher once said, ...

    "There's more than one way to skin a cat", which was surprising since he was also part owner of several restaurants in the area.

    http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.proc...eed.SHE+RX4105

    J & R is a very reputable conpany as well.

    Yes, you could use a 5.1 (or 6.1 or 7.1) receiver to dplay back your MP3 players through two channels and if you ever anticipate going the MC route, then it's something to consider. But, you will get better performance out of a two channel unit running two channels than you will out of a multi-channel unit running two channels. But, you'll never be able to grow it to more than that.

    What you're experience is called "Scope Creep", which is a gradual change in intent from the original question. Time to pick a direction.

  6. #6
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    right - the NS-B2111's..

    Here's a link: http://tinyurl.com/zmkqr

    Now that they're 70+ per pair they aren't the bargain they used to be but they still sound great in the near field. Near field is where these do well. They aren't a speaker for a even a medium sized room in my opinion. They're easy to drive though and would do well with a t-amp: http://tinyurl.com/5sg2qj

    I use mine with a sub but you can get by without one without much of sacrifice as long as - again - you're using these in the near field.

  7. #7
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    Thank you. My current plan is the insignia NS-R2000 receiver, a rebadged sherwood 4109 according to some reviewers, and a pair of insignia B2111 speakers from Bestbuy. I will try to visit there this weekend. Hopefully, they will let me have a listen before purchase.

  8. #8
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    I got them with 20ft Monster cable from Bestbuy last night for $180. I set it up this morning. I have no experience with any good sound system. Comparing to my cheap PC speaker, it is much more detailed and richer.

    One interesting point, in the store both my wife and I feel that the $50 Sony (Sony - 5-1/4, SSB1000) sounds nicer. The Insignia sounds not as smooth. Also, Sony sounds louder. It is a 87dB while Insignia is 90dB. In the Bestbuy, there is this small switch that you can change to different speakers. I expected Insignia should be twice as loud. Why did I find the opposite?

  9. #9
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zggame
    I got them with 20ft Monster cable from Bestbuy last night for $180. I set it up this morning. I have no experience with any good sound system. Comparing to my cheap PC speaker, it is much more detailed and richer.
    You overpaid for the Monster cable (you can get just as good at Home Depot) but otherwise I don't know what you bought. You paid 180 for what?

    Quote Originally Posted by zggame
    IOne interesting point, in the store both my wife and I feel that the $50 Sony (Sony - 5-1/4, SSB1000) sounds nicer. The Insignia sounds not as smooth. Also, Sony sounds louder. It is a 87dB while Insignia is 90dB. In the Bestbuy, there is this small switch that you can change to different speakers. I expected Insignia should be twice as loud. Why did I find the opposite?
    Again, you're going to have to be a bit more specific here. What are you comparing? "Not as smooth" as what?

    That "twice as loud" is a common misconception. Twice the power is NOT twice as loud. Three decibles is not "twice as loud". If anything, it's barely noticible.

    http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/how...eloudness.html

    Speakers all sound different. That's why there are so many different ones out there. Not every one suits everyone's tastes. Some like bright ones, some like less bright ones. Some like lots of bass. Others like less bass. Most people prefer somewhere in the middle and finding htat perfect combo may take some time.

  10. #10
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    Sorry. I mean the Insignia NS-R2000 receiver($87) and the B2111 Speaker ($74) the cable ($10) +tax.

    The Sony speaker is louder and seems to have enhancement in the bass and midrange, that is what I feel.

    My wife complain about not enough bass for our combination after the setup although I feel it is just fine.

  11. #11
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Well, I can't say $10 for a cable is outrageous.

    But, as for the speakers, go by your gut feelings. As I said before, they all sound different and you can't judge how a speaker will sound by the specs,

    Go listen (both of you) to what's available and find what you like.

    With that receiver you've got enough power to handle quite a wide selection of speakers. While there are quite a few in your price range, you might even want up your budget a little.

    As for the differences with the wife, well, that's a little beyond the scope of this forum.

  12. #12
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    Keep the Insignia

    A quick update:
    My wife and I returned Bestbuy this weekend. After some listening, we found that the Sony has better sound for normal vocal song, while the Insignia is much better when there is no vocal. The $399 Klipsch/Bose sounds good in both cases, but that is way out of the range. After some deliberation, we decided to keep the Insignia.



    Thanks for all your help and I am doing the more important things now:

    Enjoy the music.

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