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  1. #1
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Best Bang for the Buck Speakers?

    Over in the HT forum we're discussing the most "overrated" speakers so why not discuss the most underrated? This can be a thread we can all point newbies to when they ask the oft-posted query: "What is the best speaker for X dollars?"

    Here's the rules:
    1) Price limit $2,000/pair. This seems to be a reasonable ceiling for most.
    2) New only. If we consider used, we'll be here all day. Street price is fine, as long as you can substantiate an over $2K speaker selling for less than $2K. No guessing.
    3) Have fun!

    __________________________________________________ __________________

    My list includes but is not limited to:
    1) Von Schweikert VR1 and VR2 (betcha didn't see that one coming )
    2) Maggie MMG (for $500, how can you really go wrong?)
    3) Paradigm 20v3 (boy, that's a terrific little speaker)
    4) EFE AR.com DIY (never heard it, but I trust Kex's ears and Ed's clearly knows what he's doing)
    5) Epos ELS3 (very accurate although completely lacking in the bottom octaves)

  2. #2
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    Paradigm monitor 7's

    1) Paradigm monitor 7's
    2) Paradigm reference 40's

  3. #3
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    Wharfdale Diamond 9.6, at $700. pair the" looks" alone would make a newbie proud.
    Can we include in-wall/ in-ceiling? Sub/sat ?

  4. #4
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Absolutely...

    Quote Originally Posted by AVMASTER
    Wharfdale Diamond 9.6, at $700. pair the" looks" alone would make a newbie proud.
    Can we include in-wall/ in-ceiling? Sub/sat ?
    Anything that you feel offers exceptional value. Bring it on!

  5. #5
    DIY Dude poneal's Avatar
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    I personally like the one's I built :-)

    http://home.stx.rr.com/poneal/word_docs/AP130ZO.doc

    IMHO, this is the best set I have built to date and while you will need a sub the midrange and treble are just outstanding.

  6. #6
    DIY Dude poneal's Avatar
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    Cost for the above < $200.00

    If you don't mind building some boxes...

  7. #7
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Magneplanar, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Over in the HT forum we're discussing the most "overrated" speakers so why not discuss the most underrated? This can be a thread we can all point newbies to when they ask the oft-posted query: "What is the best speaker for X dollars?"

    Here's the rules:
    1) Price limit $2,000/pair. This seems to be a reasonable ceiling for most.
    2) New only. If we consider used, we'll be here all day. Street price is fine, as long as you can substantiate an over $2K speaker selling for less than $2K. No guessing.
    3) Have fun!
    ...
    OK, sure, I'm bias. And I totally agree that the MMGs are huge bargain; maybe the biggest in hi-fi. They're what got me into Magneplanars.

    But there are several other Magneplanars under $2k/pair. Two are:
    • MG 12, about US$1200
    • MG 1.6, about US$1900. These are what I now own.
    TAS says they are both "best buys" in their price categories, and I'm inclined to agree.

    If your listening room won't accomodate these dipole planars, or if you're a hard rocker, you might need something different. I say that great, widely available speakers are:
    • Paradigm Studio 60 V.3, about (?) $1700.
    • Paradigm Studio 100 V.3, list $2200 roughly, but maybe you could swing a deal.

  8. #8
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Now your talking!

    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Over in the HT forum we're discussing the most "overrated" speakers so why not discuss the most underrated? This can be a thread we can all point newbies to when they ask the oft-posted query: "What is the best speaker for X dollars?"

    Here's the rules:
    1) Price limit $2,000/pair. This seems to be a reasonable ceiling for most.
    2) New only. If we consider used, we'll be here all day. Street price is fine, as long as you can substantiate an over $2K speaker selling for less than $2K. No guessing.
    3) Have fun!
    In the $1000-$2000 range for me has to be the Magnepan 1.6qr. I can't say enough about this speaker; I would have bought it save for making the mistake of auditioning the Magnepan 3.6r.

    $500-$1000 The Magnepan MMG. I know, but I'm not just touting Maggies here! This speaker has audiophile quality sound in everything except bass, and maximum dynamics.

    Under $500. Cambridge Soundworks M80. This speaker brings back the "good old times" for me. I'm a sucker for the New England sound. Give me a large acoustic suspension bookshelf speaker like a vintage KLH or Advent, and I'm a happy guy. The M80 is better than these classics in many ways. It's got a smoother response, a better tweeter, and the 10 year warrantee is pretty darn good too. If your looking at something from BetsyBuy/Circus City I would STOP NOW, and check a pair of these out first.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    ts -

    Good topic! Most of the speakers that I've listened to in recent years have been under $1,000 because that was my price point.

    Right now, I would put the Paradigm Studio 20 up there on the bang for the buck list. Wonderfully versatile and confident sounding speaker with some of the best imaging I've heard outside of planar and stat speakers, and without their other drawbacks. It doesn't do the lower octave, and it doesn't try to, which is a good thing beause it does well with just about everything else. At $800 a pair, it begs for consideration on most people's lists. The v.3 version is a clear step up from the v.2 models that I have in my surround setup.

    I would put the B&W DM602 up there as well. At $600, it's a great all-around speaker with no major faults.

    Even though you and I agree that it's not a personal favorite, I would also add the Vandersteen 2ce to the list. It's not everybody's cup of tea for sure (I don't know of any speaker out there that polarizes people as much as the Vandys do), but it does specific things exceptionally such that I think it's at least worth a listen.

    If the Maggie MMG sounds anything like the big brother model 1.6, then $500 is a steal for those speakers. Again, this is one of those subjective deals where you have to like the type of sound that the Maggies deliver and have enough oomph in the amp to make 'em go.

    Another biased selection here -- I would also add the Adire Rava subwoofer to any list of bang-for-the-buck speakers. This sub costs barely more than the cost of parts for a DIY project, yet it comes fully assembled with a veneered oak cabinet. After rearranging my room, I remeasured and EQ'd the subwoofer last night -- still flat down to 25 Hz and about -3db at 22 Hz. At $400, you can buy a $1,500 speaker, add the sub, and still have change leftover.

    I'll have to get around to trying out the Von Schweikerts because they definitely seem like a great all around value contender.

  10. #10
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Under 2K I would have to say the Ellis 1801Bs at about $1200/pr. would be my pick...

    The driver costs alone for the Ellis ends up being over 50% of the price of the speaker (before adding cabinet and crossover component cost)... I believe the wait list is up to almost a year for these build to order speakers, and based on value, I can see why...

    Others that I would give "honorable mentions" include the Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor at $1600 pair with a similar driver cost % ratio as the 1801Bs, but not quite.

    ...And the Consonance Eric-1s... I don't know what the driver cost % ratio is, but at under 1K these are a steal based on sound!

    ---Dave
    Integra DHC-40.2 Pre/Pro
    Coda 2 X 200 Watt Amp
    Rotel RB-985 5 X 100 Watt Amp
    2 Tyler Acoustics 2 Piece Linbrook Signature System
    1 Tyler Linbrook Signature Center Channel
    3 Tyler Taylo Reference Monitors
    1 ACI Titan II Sub
    Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD
    Panasonic BDT-210 + 350 Blu-ray
    Consonance Droplet CDP-5.0
    Sony 55NX-810 1080p 3D-LED HDTV

    Office:
    Opera Audio Consonance CD-120
    Jolida 1301A 2 X 30 Watt Int. Amp (Sovtek Tubes)
    Opera Audio Consonance Eric-1 Speakers

  11. #11
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Paul,
    Those DIY's are slick! I used to run Morel soft dome mid/tweets in my car back in the day and they were so sweet and smooth I just loved 'em! It sounds like their home speakers carry over that fine tradition.

    Geoff,
    How did I leave off CSW??? I actually meant to put them on the list when the topic first occurred to me but obviously forgot to include them. Thanks for reminding me!

    Wooch,
    Good point w/ the Vandy's. Whether or not we like them, with that rabid of a following, Richard must be doing something right, huh?

    I also like your inclusion of a sub, so let's open up this discussion to sub recommendations as well.

    Terrific recommendations guys, keep 'em coming!

  12. #12
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drseid
    Under 2K I would have to say the Ellis 1801Bs at about $1200/pr. would be my pick...

    The driver costs alone for the Ellis ends up being over 50% of the price of the speaker (before adding cabinet and crossover component cost)... I believe the wait list is up to almost a year for these build to order speakers, and based on value, I can see why...

    Others that I would give "honorable mentions" include the Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor at $1600 pair with a similar driver cost % ratio as the 1801Bs, but not quite.

    ...And the Consonance Eric-1s... I don't know what the driver cost % ratio is, but at under 1K these are a steal based on sound!

    ---Dave
    Dave, outside of the Tyler's I have to admit I've never heard or even heard of the Ellis or Consonance. Do you have links for those of us that are less enlightened?

  13. #13
    RGA
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    Personal choices - my choice within the sub group is bolded. Second Choice is italicized - in order of preference: All I'd recommend though.

    $1k - $2K (SM - Standmount --- FL - Floorstander)

    Audio Note E-kit (Similar to E/D) $1750.00Cdn (SM)
    Audio Note AN K/LX $1,950.00US (SM)
    (PMC TB2 is $1750.00Cdn and the version I heard would make this list -- the new version has a new tweeter which may be better so this is a caveat) (SM)
    Dynaudio A52 ~$1500.00Cdn (SM)
    Gershman Acoustics X1 $1600.00Cdn (SM)
    Energy C9 $1198.00Cdn (FL)
    B&W 604S3 $2000.00Cdn (FL)
    B&W 603S3 $1500.00Cdn (FL)

    $500 - $999.00

    Audio Note AX Two $549.00US (SM)
    Dynaudio A42 $900.00Cdn (SM)
    B&W 602S3 $600.00US (SM)
    Energy C5 $650.00 (FL)
    Totem Rainmaker $950.00 (SM)

    $0 - $499
    TIE

    Athena Technologies AS-F1 $450.00Cdn (FL)
    Klipsch RF-35 $450.00CDn (FL)
    Paradigm Monitor 3 $299Cdn (SM)
    Wharfedale Diamond 8.1 and 8.2 $299 and ~$400Cdn (SM)
    B&W DM 303 $450.00Cdn (SM)
    Paradigm Atom $160.00Cdn (SM)
    Energy C3 $499.00Cdn (SM)
    KEF Q1 ($350.00Cdn) (SM)

    Jamo makes a nice one but I don't recall the model number as does Boston Acoustics.

  14. #14
    DIY Dude poneal's Avatar
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    Ah subs, everyone's favorite....

    I've heard really good things about the Dayton DVC but it costs double the price of the Quattro. This outperformed my Titanic MKII and is an easier load to drive and has a higer SPL. Here ya go.

    http://home.stx.rr.com/poneal/word_docs/Quattro15.doc

    Enjoy....

  15. #15
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    Ditto on the Paradigm Reference Studio 20's. They compete with speakers twice their price. Don't believe me? Visit a dealer who sells both Paradigm and B&W. Their sales people will A/B the Studio 20's against B&W 705's; not against the 602 S3's.

  16. #16
    RGA
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    jasmit

    I am in the camp that thinks the 602 is better than the 705 -- just because something is more expensive does not make it better. Though certainly you are getting a nicer looking speaker in the 705 (Remember the CM series it was a nicer looking more expensive but not as good sounding as the 600 Series). Interestingly, the 600Series is longer in the tooth than all the others and maybe the best speaker per bang per buck they make -- it is their bread and butter line.

    I preferred the B&W 604S3 over the new Studio 100V3 -- the 604 is about 2/3 the price too...also the Energy C9 is a mere $1200.00(Canadian) and this speaker is good in that it hangs in with both speakers(to me no worse) and is about half the price of the B&W and 1/3 the price of the 100V3. The enrgy isn't constructed as well form what I can see though.

    You may not have the same preferences of course but it seems Energy is working to try a bit harder as they have a rung down on the name department.

  17. #17
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    I agree that more expensive doesn't always equal better. That being said, to me the 705 does sound better than the 602.

    In my limited experience with audio equipment, I find that as the gear gets more expensive, you begin to reach a point of diminishing returns. To me, the 705's sounded better than the Studio 20's, but not "twice as better;" only slightly better. To my way of thinking, that made the Studio 20's one hell of a bargain.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    I will add my personals steals here too

    1. Apogee Stage for 900$ (needs real equipment)
    2. Apogee Caliper Signature 600$ (needs real equipment)
    3. Magnepan MMG (does not need high power, but loves current)
    4. Magnepan MG12 (does not need high power, but loves current)
    5. VMPS 626 1600$ + options
    6.Magnepan MG1.6 (does not need high power, but loves current)


    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  19. #19
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Wish i would have thought of this.
    Axiom's M22ti's for under 500 bucks apair are pretty nice for the price. And seeing as it is a speaker,SVS 25-31pci sub for $549.
    Look & Listen

  20. #20
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Dave, outside of the Tyler's I have to admit I've never heard or even heard of the Ellis or Consonance. Do you have links for those of us that are less enlightened?
    Sure thing Top...

    The link to the Ellis speakers is http://www.ellisaudio.com (looks like he raised his price to $1500/pr., but that still is a steal), and the link to Consonance (made by Opera Audio)is http://www.operaudio.com .

    ---Dave
    Integra DHC-40.2 Pre/Pro
    Coda 2 X 200 Watt Amp
    Rotel RB-985 5 X 100 Watt Amp
    2 Tyler Acoustics 2 Piece Linbrook Signature System
    1 Tyler Linbrook Signature Center Channel
    3 Tyler Taylo Reference Monitors
    1 ACI Titan II Sub
    Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD
    Panasonic BDT-210 + 350 Blu-ray
    Consonance Droplet CDP-5.0
    Sony 55NX-810 1080p 3D-LED HDTV

    Office:
    Opera Audio Consonance CD-120
    Jolida 1301A 2 X 30 Watt Int. Amp (Sovtek Tubes)
    Opera Audio Consonance Eric-1 Speakers

  21. #21
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Its starting to look like most of the best bang for your buck are owned my you guys. Odd,so many wise shoppers.
    Look & Listen

  22. #22
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Great list, RGA

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Personal choices - my choice within the sub group is bolded. Second Choice is italicized - in order of preference: All I'd recommend though.....
    Proves once again that you're one of the "equipment listeningest" people around. Wish I had the time.

  23. #23
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    Used Infinity

    You can by a used pair of Infinities for pretty cheap on ebay.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...763498552&rd=1

  24. #24
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    I will add my personals steals here too

    1. Apogee Stage for 900$ (needs real equipment)
    2. Apogee Caliper Signature 600$ (needs real equipment)
    3. Magnepan MMG (does not need high power, but loves current)
    4. Magnepan MG12 (does not need high power, but loves current)
    5. VMPS 626 1600$ + options
    6.Magnepan MG1.6 (does not need high power, but loves current)


    -Flo
    Uhhh...I thought Apogee was out of business? Have they been resurrected?

    Jasmit,
    Most people compare the Studio's with the 700's. FWIW, I agree that that the 20v3 is a better speaker than the 705, but then I don't particularly care for the 700's at all, and I'm a B&W owner!

    Shokhead,
    Of course people are going to include speakers they own. Why would any of us overspend if we didn't have to? That said, the more involved you become with this hobby, the more you become enlightened to brands such as the RGA's AN's or the Opera and Ellis' that Dave speaks so highly of. Note that I didn't include my own B&W CDM 7NT'S on my list. This is not only because they are out of production, but also because I feel the VR2's are far better than the succeeding, but inferior IMO, 704's.

    Beckman,
    Rule #2: No used speakers. Of course, these are also under the $2k limit when new .

  25. #25
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I don't see it that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Its starting to look like most of the best bang for your buck are owned my you guys. Odd,so many wise shoppers.

    While a couple of the speakers that I recommend are from the same company, I don't own ANY of the speakers that I recommended!
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

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