• 12-31-2009, 01:16 AM
    le_sacre
    advice, please! speakers under $600, looking for clarity not volume...
    Hi everybody,

    Glad to see people here are so willing to help out newbies like myself. I've been with my Cambridge Soundworks Model Seventeens for six years now (http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speak...9_4290crx.aspx), and though they're an excellent value, I'm finally craving some better sound and ready to step up.

    But the extent of choices is so bewildering! I can spend up to about $600 I think, and in my small apartment can accommodate bookshelf speakers or modest floorstanding ones. Seems like a lot of people are talking about B&Ws, like the 684s or 601s? But for example some have said the 684s only show their best qualities when you punch up the volume. I'm not much into volume (and my very nearby neighbors aren't either)... what I'd like is clarity and presence. The music I care most about is "classical" (from orchestral to chamber music), acoustic, and some electronica, and I'm an audiophile only in the sense of listening deeply and caring about quality, not in being able to tell 256 kbps mp3s from lossless originals.

    There's a craigslist post for some Klipsch KLP 20s for $600 (http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/ele/1529599618.htmlx). Any thoughts about these?

    Can anyone offer some guidance? Many thanks!
  • 12-31-2009, 06:45 AM
    02audionoob
    These JM Lab Cobalt 816S are overpriced in this listing but I wouldn't be surprised if the seller has to settle for significantly less. They are nice speakers that do sound great at lower volume levels:

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/ele/1525600602.html
  • 12-31-2009, 07:36 AM
    poppachubby
    Can you list your amps and sources?
  • 12-31-2009, 09:19 AM
    cjpremierfour
    I am not sure you are aware of it being your first post, but you can hit the Browse Reviews section on this site ( near the top ) and find quite a few reviews on the Klipsch KLP 20s.

    If your looking for a bookshelf or mid size floor stander, I'm not sure that the 41" tall, 16" deep KLP 20 would be something that you would fit in a small apartment. You state you don't care about volume, the klipsch will play "Very" loud. It is rated at 100dbs ( Nothing wrong with that, that means it will play on almost anything and will be an easy load for receivers and amps ) Playing loud without compression or distortion is what Klipsch is known for.
    The Klipsch would be very clear and able to play big dynamic classical music when asked. I would rather have the KLP 20s than most 600 dollar bookshelfs, but that is something that you need to decide for yourself.
    .
    Like Poppachubby said, any information about your system and room size would be helpful.

    If possible, go listen to the KLP 20. I'm not sure that $600 is a bad deal. I hope that some other Klipsch fans will weight in on that price. I only wish they were in a Walnut or Cherry finish.
  • 12-31-2009, 09:51 AM
    JoeE SP9
    How about Magneplanar MMG's. They have a 60 day money back guarantee. They are very placement sensitive but easily movable. Your stated taste in music type and level make them something you should consider.

    Also, welcome to AR.
  • 12-31-2009, 11:08 AM
    dakatabg
    le_sacre what kind of amplifier are you using because even if you get the greatest speakers in the world, if your amplifier is not good or not for the speakers, you will never get the sound you expect or want from them!
  • 12-31-2009, 11:37 AM
    manlystanley
    I have a Klipsch B-2 in my garage and it listed for $250. I got them off of Craigslist for $100. These are great speakers and I'm real pleased. I think Klipsch re great speakers if you need to play them softly. have you checked out the Klipsch site for the current styles being sold. Do a search on them, lots of good deals these days.

    Check out the below link: http://www.cowboom.com/store/product...ntentID=108794

    You can get a used pair for B-2's for $75. Who would not want to brag to their friends that they got used speakers from "cow boom"? (Tongue Firmly In Cheek).

    About the 684's. That was a valid comment at one time (Best played loud), but B&W fixed that. I've been very pleased with mine. Please read the following review that addresses this: http://www.avguide.com/review/hi-fi-...ng-loudspeaker

    But, the 684's are to big for an apartment IMHO.

    Best Regards,
    Stan
  • 12-31-2009, 11:48 AM
    le_sacre
    Thanks for the useful tips already!

    Right now I'm using a Sony STR-DE325 receiver to drive my Model Seventeens, but I'm by no means married to it. I guess it was overly naive of me, but I figured the logical thing would be to pick the speakers first, and then decide what amp to replace my Sony with, if necessary. I've never had the opportunity to try the same set of speakers in multiple amplifiers to know what kind of audible differences we're talking about. Currently I use the standard stereo audio out from my Macbook Pro, but I was also thinking about switching to the optical audio out option (using a toslink cable), especially if I decide to expand into 5.1 surround sound for watching movies. I'm in an approximately 12x14' space, with 17' ceilings (studio loft); currently I have my Cambridge speakers raised up high, but I have a lot of flexibility with the positioning.

    Both the Magneplanar MMG and the Cobalt 816 S are intriguing, though I'm not much of a haggler and it looks like the Cobalts usually go for higher than my price range. Honestly, anything slightly serious will be a vast improvement over my budget setup right now.

    Out of curiosity, if the fit between the amp and the speakers and the space is so finicky, how do you try speakers out? Do you simply have to bring them home and try them in the exact space you plan to use them? Is it worthless listening in a store where the environment and amp are different? As happy as I was with the super cheap purchase of my Model Seventeens, I was definitely unhappy about the shopping experience in the store (especially since the sales guy's method of convincing me the more expensive speakers sounded better was simply to turn up the volume, and then when I brought my defective one right back he didn't believe me that it had a bad tweeter because he couldn't hear any difference). But it doesn't seem practical to bring ten different sets of speakers home with me to try.
  • 12-31-2009, 12:19 PM
    poppachubby
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by le_sacre
    Right now I'm using a Sony STR-DE325 receiver to drive my Model Seventeens, but I'm by no means married to it.

    You could do alot worse than this amp. However, it's an A/V unit. Personally, I would adjust my budget to accomodate a used, budget 2 channel amp. If that's out of the question, it's not the end of the world.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by le_sacre
    I guess it was overly naive of me, but I figured the logical thing would be to pick the speakers first, and then decide what amp to replace my Sony with, if necessary.

    You figured correctly. The majority of people in this hobby believe that you should buy speakers first, then the amp.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by le_sacre
    Currently I use the standard stereo audio out from my Macbook Pro, but I was also thinking about switching to the optical audio out option (using a toslink cable), especially if I decide to expand into 5.1 surround sound for watching movies.

    I don't know anything about Macbook Pro, but you should consider optical. If the Mac has OPT/COAX out, you should be able to send to the Sony's digital input. My Sony has one for CD. You could try that. You may have to go into the comp's settings and tell it the rate you need outputted. For a CD input you would need the Macbook at 16bit/44.1 khz or the amp won't be able to process if it's higher.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by le_sacre
    Both the Magneplanar MMG and the Cobalt 816 S are intriguing, though I'm not much of a haggler and it looks like the Cobalts usually go for higher than my price range. Honestly, anything slightly serious will be a vast improvement over my budget setup right now.

    I agree with Joe. You have the budget for the Mag's. You would be getting one of the audio world's premier loudspeakers. Check their site for any dealers close to you.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by le_sacre
    Out of curiosity, if the fit between the amp and the speakers and the space is so finicky, how do you try speakers out? Do you simply have to bring them home and try them in the exact space you plan to use them? Is it worthless listening in a store where the environment and amp are different? As happy as I was with the super cheap purchase of my Model Seventeens, I was definitely unhappy about the shopping experience in the store (especially since the sales guy's method of convincing me the more expensive speakers sounded better was simply to turn up the volume, and then when I brought my defective one right back he didn't believe me that it had a bad tweeter because he couldn't hear any difference). But it doesn't seem practical to bring ten different sets of speakers home with me to try.

    Usually you need a good relationship with a shop in order to bring gear home. But yes, this would be the ideal scenario. Next would be taking your amp into the shop and audition the speakers that way. If neither can be done, you can try and find a similar product to take it's place.

    It's all trial and error. If you're lucky, less on the error side. You have all the info you need right here to avoid disaster. Ask questions and check the archives for previous discussions.

    With the amp you have, I would consider a nice bookshelf. This can also be integrated into a Home Theatre as your front speakers. Several members have bought these Mordaunt Short and rave about them. Well under your budget too, they run for about $225 USD. Here's a link to Needle Doctor...http://www.needledoctor.com/Mordaunt...&category=-112

    http://www.mordauntshort.com/assets/...02i-header.jpg
  • 12-31-2009, 01:01 PM
    dakatabg
    Man you should really change the amplifier. I used to have similar to your Sony and I wasn't happy with it at all. I have macbook pro and the output is great for music.
  • 12-31-2009, 04:16 PM
    blackraven
    Skip the MMG's, you need to crank them up to moderate volumes to get the best out of them and you will need a better receiver or amp. For $600 I would consider these monitor speakers
    B&W 685's
    NHT Classic 3's-these tend to be on the warmer side with very good bass
    Monitor Audio RS1's http://www.saturdayaudio.com/picture...er_rs_sale.htm
    PSB Image B6's http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PBIMB6
    PSB GB1 which sell for $1k a pair but are on sale for$599pr http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PBSTGB1 these might be my first choice. Audio Advisor has a 30 day money back guarentee so if you don't like then you can return them.

    If you want floor standers-
    PSB Alpha T1's http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PBSTGB1
    PSB Image T45's, T65's http://www.saturdayaudio.com/picture...07-29-2009.htm
  • 01-03-2010, 12:47 AM
    Aaronelvis
    I have Polk RTi-A3s in my bedroom and they are very impressive. They are both warm and transparent - very easy to listen to and well worth auditioning. The bass extension is much greater than the Kef C30s they replaced.
  • 01-03-2010, 06:33 AM
    LeRoy
    Poppachub....great find on Needledoc
    I thought all the 902's were gone but you found a site that has them. I love my 902's and can't recommend them highly enough. Now I need to try to find a site that has the 906's.
  • 01-04-2010, 05:50 PM
    Mark111867
    How about a pair of Wharfedale Diamonds?
    http://www.wildwestelectronics.net/d...-speakers.html
  • 01-05-2010, 05:29 AM
    jjp735i
    Pioneer
    Here is something well under you budget. Mine are in the bedroom and they have a real nice warm sound. More bass then I expected to.

    jjp

    http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...-A4SPT-PM.Kuro
  • 01-05-2010, 04:49 PM
    blackraven
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jjp735i
    Here is something well under you budget. Mine are in the bedroom and they have a real nice warm sound. More bass then I expected to.

    jjp

    http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...-A4SPT-PM.Kuro

    I wonder how well they will go with some Crown Royal on the rocks!
  • 01-05-2010, 06:01 PM
    harley .guy07
    I think there are many different directions you could go. For your money I would stay in the stand mount of bookshelf speaker area if it were me. I have read this post and many of the speakers mentioned for bookshelves would make a good choice but I would look more at what you want your sound to be. And then go out and listen to speakers that the shops around you area have and find out what type and brands of speakers you like. You probably won't be able to listen to every brand but you could at least find out what type of speakers you like before spending any of your money taking a chance. The MMG's sound like a good setup for a floorstander but as well a B&W or Paradigm would make a good bookshelf choice. I think you just need to do some soul searching and find out what kind and brands of speakers really give you the sound you want and go from there.
  • 01-05-2010, 08:47 PM
    RGA
    Another option to consider is going to your local pawn shops. I picked up a set of Tannoys for $60Cad that are pretty much as good as anything I've tried in the $300-$500 price range for standmoutns this size. You'll pay rock bottom prices and often find some pretty nice stuff - a lot of total junk as well but some nice stuff. B&W, PSB Paradigm etc going for about 1/5 or less than what they went for new.

    Speakers are a pretty safe used purchased - they last decades.
  • 01-06-2010, 06:06 AM
    jjp735i
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    I wonder how well they will go with some Crown Royal on the rocks!

    I personally like them with Southern Comfort and Coke, :biggrin5:
  • 01-06-2010, 06:22 AM
    manlystanley
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    How about Magneplanar MMG's. They have a 60 day money back guarantee. They are very placement sensitive but easily movable. Your stated taste in music type and level make them something you should consider.

    Also, welcome to AR.

    I second all that Joe has said. My 1.6's are very detailed even a lower volumes. But, you need a bigger amp to push them.

    Best Regards,
    Stan
  • 01-21-2010, 07:53 AM
    CaseySD
    Monitor Audio Rx2 speakers will impress you. Many people will tell you they are better than B&W and they will save you a few bucks too.

    http://www.audio2vision.be/catalog/i...0audio_rx2.jpg

    Casey

    ... If you are local to San Diego you can audition a pair of speakers in your home, we'll bring them to you.
  • 01-21-2010, 04:19 PM
    blackraven
    I have the older Monitor Audio S1's and they are a nice speaker once they break in. They are well made with solid wood veneers and have a nice warmer sound with good midbass but I would not call them the most detailed speaker in the world but I'm running mine with a 1976 technics integrated amp and a denon 1910 DVD player for a Cd player. I tried them with an 120wpc high current JVC receiver that I picked up for $20 in a garage sale and I preferred the technics amp.

    The RXS1's are supposed to have updated drivers and be more detailed. www.saturdayaudio.com sells Monitor audio and PSB at really good discounts if you catch them just right.

    I just checked their web site and the have last years RS1's onsale for $419 down from $650pr. The RS1's are supposed to be better than the older S1's, I'm not sure what the difference is between the RS1's and RSX1's.