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  1. #1
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    Best pair of bookshelfs for ~$150 or less...

    Sorry, I know this has been done before, many times, but I figured why not do another.

    For a bit of background, these will be my first set of new/decent speakers. I am going to be a sophomore in college, and last year I used my sisters old JVC stereo receiver and her old-circa 1992 Bose 301 bookshelfs. They worked OK I guess, but they are hers, and I would rather stop borrowing them and upgrade/get some of my own.

    I am pretty much sure I won't be using a sub with these new speakers, so I guess I am trying to look for a bookshelf that will give me the best bass it can ( i am not a basshead by any means, I just want enough to get by). I would really rather the speaker be more neutral, have more midrange, than anything else. I have been researching possible choices for the past few days and this is what I have come up with.

    Each price listed is for the PAIR.

    Infinity Entra Ones - $100 from Vanns when they get in stock.

    Polk R15s - $100 from Circuit City, can use $25 giftcard, so ~$80 including tax.

    Infinity Primus 150s ~$160 from online vendors.

    Paradigm Titans - up to $150 depending on where they are found, ebay..etc

    Level TWO Bookshelfs - $169 from Home Theater Direct.com

    Athena AS-B2.2s ~$150 from audioadvisor.com

    Now, am I leaving any off? I am sure I am.

    Now, concerning receivers. I only have two to choose from unless I decide to buy one.
    A Dynaco SCA-80 and an older JVC, forgot the model number, we are in the process of moving and it is somewhere in the garage. I wanna say RX-202 or something along that lines, it starts with a lower number (2,3) and is fairly simple. I wish I knew the specs of it.

    Oh, and I can stretch the budge as high as $180 shipped incl tax/everything if I need to.

  2. #2
    Mutant from table 9
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    Your not going to like my advice, but...

    Keep the 301s. They are a pretty good speaker, despite what any naysayers will lead you to believe about Bose. But they really excel as a college speaker. Loud and rocking. That 8 inch woofer can move alot of air.

    I'd concentrate on amplification. I assume your interested in two channel.
    http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/pr...r%20in%20Black

    In college and post grad, speakers always seemed easy to come by, but a good amp was always in demand.
    I'm still a big big fan of these Yamaha two channels, even now over Cambridge, Arcam, Rotel, ect. My 2 channel yamaha in college could power a set of Boston Acoustics and a 4 ohm car box with twin 12s without breaking a sweat. They weren't lying when they said 2 ohm stable.
    http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/r.../RX_series.htm

    Retail pricing on these is out of your range, but you should be able to find plenty in the used market.

    But if your set on the speakers, I had some titans and they were very nice. By brother has the Polks, I like those too. Either get my vote.

  3. #3
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    Well, I understand what you are saying, but the 301s aren't mine. I really would like to get some speakers of my own.

    That amp you listed is out of my pricerange, but I will look at the yamahas.

  4. #4
    RGA
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    there are some speakers on your list that are quite good for the money. However if you are willing to go e-bay what i would try and get are the B&W DM 302s. They were $225.00US new and have been replaced byt the 303 (a speaker I actually think is less listenable.

    The 302 I had for several years and regret getting rid of them...They have solid bass response but what they were great at was not becoming fatiguing. a nice midrange speaker with smooth if not the most extended highs. I personally would take it over event he speakers I like from your list. I felt at that time (1997) that it was the best speaker in its class and i liked it better than the 600 series models overall despite those speakers superior pyrotechnics ability. I still doubt I will find a sub $500.00 speaker I'm going to like as much anytime soon.

    They are not perfect, and are not friendly to really weak receivers and amps. They like good equipment but give it good equipment and the right size stand and these hang in with a lot of much more expensive speakers. http://www.stereophile.com/budgetcomponents/542/

    there is a pair on Ebay right now http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...788376722&rd=1

  5. #5
    RGA
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    Actually if you get real lucky this bid may not go up...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...787912661&rd=1

    For this coin you'd have more to spend on a better beefier amplifier.

  6. #6
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    Thank you so much for the info. Will check them out.

  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Red face

    I'll second the B&W 302's if you can get them for $100 or less...they're a good speaker for the money.

    If you are capable of soldering a few wires, then the Dayton BR-1 speaker kit from Parts Express is just heads and shoulders above anything else you'll find in the price range new or used. I've personally listened to it head to head against a few $400 Paradigms and Boston Acoustic speakers. Well beyond the Paradigm Titans or Polk R15's. Much better build quality.
    Takes about 20 minutes to assemble with instructions, but you'll need to solder like I said. The perfect college speaker.

    Here's the link, scroll to the bottom for the BR-1's...
    http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....id=44&rak=kits

  8. #8
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    My vote is for the only speaker I own. The Primus 150's are wonderful sounding. Built well, doesn't require much power to sound great and they really have a smooth midrange. Not a ton of bass, but more than makes up for it above that range.

    They are front ported so they can be placed against walls to conserve space. Really can't go wrong with these, especially because you can buy a new set.

    I use them for my deck and listened to many speakers that retail $200 and below. None came close. I placed them against an exterior wall and they really shine when pushed with 75 watts.

  9. #9
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    kexodusc - Yes, I forgot about the BR1s. They have been suggested to me a few times. I would have no problem soldering, Ive been doing that since I was 6 years old.

    Tarheel - I have heard really good things about the Primus 150s, they are one of the top ones considering my decision.

  10. #10
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    I haven't heard the B&W's

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel_
    My vote is for the only speaker I own. The Primus 150's are wonderful sounding. Built well, doesn't require much power to sound great and they really have a smooth midrange. Not a ton of bass, but more than makes up for it above that range.

    They are front ported so they can be placed against walls to conserve space. Really can't go wrong with these, especially because you can buy a new set.

    I use them for my deck and listened to many speakers that retail $200 and below. None came close. I placed them against an exterior wall and they really shine when pushed with 75 watts.
    But these Primus 150's sound very good.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  11. #11
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    Just found my other receiver. It is a JVC RX-403, with 5 band equalizer.

    Here are some pics.



    Last edited by Excelsior; 07-12-2005 at 03:54 PM.

  12. #12
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    Amazon.com is having a big electronics sale. I bought a pair of Boston Acoustics CR75s for $179 (about $200 with shipping), and they retail for $300. The CR65s are around $130. If I was going to buy one on your list, I would go for the Polk R15s. Good luck!
    Mark Wellman
    "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

  13. #13
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    O.K., I'll second...

    Quote Originally Posted by Excelsior
    kexodusc - Yes, I forgot about the BR1s. They have been suggested to me a few times. I would have no problem soldering, Ive been doing that since I was 6 years old.

    Tarheel - I have heard really good things about the Primus 150s, they are one of the top ones considering my decision.
    ... the BR1 thing. Bear in mind these are (obviously) not a perfect speaker, but it does, IMO, a few things better than the lower lines of big brands.

    Most importantly, these have a foundation and solidity that other decent, entry-level speakers are lacking. For eg., the NHT Super Zereos, Paradigm Atoms, and tell ya what... even the Totem Arros at $1K seem lightweight in comparison. IMO, you need a certain amount of bass, balls, and drive.

    Well, all is not well in DaytonLand - they are relatively inefficient (big deal... I can still lose my hearing with a 70 WPC Denon receiver), somewhat sloppy bass, a bit of "hootiness", but all of this is nit-picking considering cost. I think you'll be suprised what $139 can buy...

    One of the biggest compliments I can give the speaker it that it's not ultra picky about software - you don't HAVE to listen to the top 5% of your music collection to enjoy them. They are never fatigueing.

    In a way, I agree with "Slump" - the 301s are, IMO, the best Bose value. BUT... the BR1 will definitely be more resolving, articulate, and musical - not as muddy (like the Titans).

    Well, that's my $.02... I honestly can't imagine anyone not liking these, once price is considered!

    Good luck...

  14. #14
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    Mark - The R15s? I heard them at hhgregg, and was..sort of unimpressed, however, I can get them for really cheap considering how much they are CC already, and I have a $25 GC (so I guess rougly $80 incl tax? for a pair.) At that price they are...intriguing..if they were more though, I wouldn't consider them.

    To be honest, my top two choices are the Athena AS-B2s from audiadvisor for $150 (I guess $160 incl shipping) and the Infinity Primus 150s from circuit city (can get them for $147 incl tax).

    I like the fact that the B2s have a 6.5" woofer, and they look fairly decent, and I have heard many good things about Athenas, especially for music, which will be their main purpose.

    I have also heard great things about the Primus 150s.

    So I really don't know what to do.

    Thanks for the great post Jimmy C. The I am still considering the BR1s. I admit though, that for that amount of money, I would still like to have a speaker already built, know what I mean?

  15. #15
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Excelsior
    .

    Thanks for the great post Jimmy C. The I am still considering the BR1s. I admit though, that for that amount of money, I would still like to have a speaker already built, know what I mean?
    Ask yourself if you'd be better served having a speaker that is built well, rather than just built, for that amount of money.
    The black cabinets aren't the flashiest, but those same drivers are sold in speakers costing much, much more than $140.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Ask yourself if you'd be better served having a speaker that is built well, rather than just built, for that amount of money.
    The black cabinets aren't the flashiest, but those same drivers are sold in speakers costing much, much more than $140.
    So, it is a fact, that the BR1s use better components than the other two (athena and infinity)?

    If that is true, then I would not hesitate in ordering the BR1s, because $139 w/ free shipping is a great deal, and after reading the manual in pdf forum, the construction really doesn't look too daunting.

  17. #17
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    "In college and post grad, speakers always seemed easy to come by, but a good amp was always in demand.
    I'm still a big big fan of these Yamaha two channels, even now over Cambridge, Arcam, Rotel, ect. My 2 channel yamaha in college could power a set of Boston Acoustics and a 4 ohm car box with twin 12s without breaking a sweat. They weren't lying when they said 2 ohm stable.
    http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/r.../RX_series.htm"

    I agree about the Yamaha stereo receivers --- I had one before switching over to the multichannel/home theater receiver bug, and, although hooked up through a graphic equalizer, this thing fed by JBL towers tons of power and sounded like a good two channel power amp; nowadays I recommend Onkyo and Denon for surround receivers, but in the two channel STEREO game, I would narrow my looksies to a Yamaha or Onkyo.

    Yamaha stereo receivers I have had some good fortune with; unfortunately, I cannot say the same for some Kenwood integrated amps I have had in the past........

  18. #18
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Excelsior
    So, it is a fact, that the BR1s use better components than the other two (athena and infinity)?

    If that is true, then I would not hesitate in ordering the BR1s, because $139 w/ free shipping is a great deal, and after reading the manual in pdf forum, the construction really doesn't look too daunting.
    Much better...Infinity uses lower end Vifa drivers quite often, every now and then they sell them to DIY stores. Athena uses what looks like your basic generic Chinese brand of speakers, they make excellent budget speakers, but the Athena's are very outclassed by the BR-1's.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Much better...Infinity uses lower end Vifa drivers quite often, every now and then they sell them to DIY stores. Athena uses what looks like your basic generic Chinese brand of speakers, they make excellent budget speakers, but the Athena's are very outclassed by the BR-1's.
    Then I guess it is settled. I will order the BR1s as soon as I move into the new house.

  20. #20
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    You will not be disappointed with the BR-1's from Parts Express. Good quality. Good sound. Free shipping makes the deal soooooooooo sweet.

    jocko

  21. #21
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    Get the Polk R15's. I just recently purchased a pair of them for my surround system to match my other Polk speakers and they sound great! You can't beat their price.

  22. #22
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    Well actually things have changed..I was quite sure about the BR1s until...I talked with a friend who works for Circuit City. Now, I am not quite sure how ethical this is but wow, he gets a nice discount.

    He can get Infinity Primus 160s for $48 each. That is extremely hard for me to pass up on.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Excelsior
    Well actually things have changed..I was quite sure about the BR1s until...I talked with a friend who works for Circuit City. Now, I am not quite sure how ethical this is but wow, he gets a nice discount.

    He can get Infinity Primus 160s for $48 each. That is extremely hard for me to pass up on.
    Get the BR1s and dont look back.In room the BR1s will play down to 40 hz..

  24. #24
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    Argghhh.

  25. #25
    DIY Dude poneal's Avatar
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    Well, if it were me....

    I would jump on that bargain just for the drivers. I would then redo the crossover to my liking. But then again I do have a measuring setup and all.

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