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  1. #1
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    Question Doing the Impossible - Complete Madness

    I need some serious guidance from you gurus.

    I'm a college student with a limited budget, and I want some great speakers for my dorm room. I can spend $500-$750 all-in (speakers, amp, wires, soundcard, etc.) My room is 12'x12' with a 9' ceiling, and I'll be hooking this system up to my computer. I listen to classical and rock, and I watch DVDs and TV on my computer. I have an integrated soundcard (not as bad as it sounds) as well as a Creative Extigy USB card. Currently, I'm listening to Cambridge Soundworks 215d's, and I'm sick to death of them. Thumping bass, weak mids, hiss (even with the digial input) and I have to crank up the volume to get any kind of clarity. So, it's time to move on to bigger and better.

    I don't have the space for floor standing speakers, and I'll spend myself to the poorhouse before I get another cubed sub/sat system. So, basically, I'm looking for a bookshelf speaker, one that can sit on my desk and fill my little room with sound. I've looked at (in no particular order) Klipsch, B&W, Infinity, Polk, Aperion, Axiom, Epos, Tannoy, NHT, RBH, Cambridge Soundworks, Bose, JBL, and some I can't even remember. There are some good options, but I'd like an expert opinion. The entry level market is so crowded that I'm sure I'm missing something stellar, and I don't want to be kicking myself after this purchase.

    Here's the part that I think is really impossible: I want transparent speakers. I want clear, neutral sound. I listen to music at low and moderate volumes; I rarely rock out at full blast. Accuracy is my biggest concern. I'd prefer a speaker that doesn't necessarily need a sub. It'd be nice if it looks good too. And - oh, what the hell - let's give it a good warranty too.

    So what's out there for a guy like me? I could be convinced to go for a 4 speaker setup or a 5.1 system, but I think I've narrowed it down to 2/2.1. I'm open to powered speakers, but I think I'm going to end up getting an amp. What amp should I get for the speakers?

    I know that the sound I'm looking for can only really be found in $4500 towers, but there has to be something close.

    What's the little $500 pair of speakers that, when you heard them, you said, "Wow, what an amazing sound."?

  2. #2
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    http://www.klipsch.com/product/product.aspx?cid=922

    Don't underestimate them...I use these in my office (about the same dimensions as your dorm).

  3. #3
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    You just don't want me to waste a good set of speakers on a computer in a dorm room!

    That being said, I'll give them a listen. But I am underestimating them. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. #4
    RGA
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    The Audio Note AX Two is the speaker I would personally buy under $1k US. I can recommend others but I start with this because it would be what I would actually outlay money on and enjoy listening to over the long term

    My review (Note this is more for casual information -- good reviews you can find about everything which make their value less useful...I review lots of stuff well that I would not want to buy and reviewers review stuff well so that they can continue to get advertsing dollars...you need to listen for yourself) I post this one a lot because the company is lesser known in many areas.

    RGA Reviews <$2000.00 Page 2, Epos, Audio Note, Paradigm, B&W etc.

    Aniother forumer's view with pictures http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/sho...threadid=16130

  5. #5
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    My main system includes a $1900 integrated, $500 CD-only player, and $800 mini-monitors.

    ..Don't underestimate them! If you save some money it wouldn't be so terrible.

  6. #6
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    That's more what I had in mind, RGA (not that I won't check out the Klipsch, Nick!)

    I've just decided to re-arrange my room to accommodate larger speakers, so I think I could go as big as the AX Two. I wouldn't really want anything bigger than 10"x"10x16" (LxWxH).

    I don't see any way to audition the Audio Notes without a 4hr roadtrip (based on their site) but I'll look around; I'm sure they don't have a complete list.

    You said you could suggest others - what are they? Also, I have an old Sony reciever, but I imagine I'll want a decent amp instead to power the speakers. I haven't even dipped my toe into that ocean...

  7. #7
    Forum Regular DaHaq's Avatar
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    The audioreview DIY bookshelf speaker might be an option. Great sound and cheaper than going name brand.

    http://www.audioreview.com/PRD_125043_1594crx.aspx

    If you don't want to build it yourself, you can buy them pre-assembled

    http://www.speakercity.com/sc_kits.shtml

  8. #8
    It's just a hobby
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    Of the passive designs, take a look at the Kef Q1 and the Kef Compact in that price range if neutrality and good tonality are your goals. Clear, neutral and accurate sound and big bass incompatible features in a cheap box because of cabinet limitations. It's a straight choice between neutrality and big bass, the Kefs fall on the neutrality side. Considering your budget, I will personally recommend you take a look at active speakers such as the Genelec 8030, these are likely to rings round equivalent passive/amplifier combinations on the VFM stakes and deliver clear and neutral sound that will be very pleasing on the long term..

  9. #9
    Forum Regular psonic's Avatar
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    option 1) For under $750 you will have to stay used (for at least some of it) if you want a decent quality system. Speakers come first and I see Dynaudio Audience 50 at $350 on audiogon.com, that is a steal. Now you will need a clean 50wpc (or more) high current amp (they are 4ohm speaks), there's an NAD C320BEE there for $250 and probably other amps from Rotel, Cambridge, Arcam and the like. Your receiver is inept for music playback, do something else with it. Now assuming you have cables, from here you can spend as little as $60 on a Toshiba 3960 DVD (raved about online for CD sound) and be done or you can buy a used CD player such as NAD, etc for more. If you shop smart used you can accomplish your goal. I bought my entire system this way. Oh and the best part, if you don't like the used gear, sell it and get your money right back or more.

    option 2) If you can get a set of really efficient speakers (say 92db +), you can pick up a Sonic Impact digital T-Amp for around $50 with the wall adaptor. It is a dual mono, no negative feedback design with an output signal comparable to linear (SET tube) amps. Yup, it might be the most outragous budget stereo component out there. It only outputs 10wpc but sounds very musical and involving. Like you would expect an good inexpensive tube amp to sound. It is impressive. I own it, it is too cheap and good not too. This will give you more speaker money also, only problem being I'm not sure if there are many efficient standmounts out there. Here's the review.

    http://www.sixmoons.com/audioreviews...mpact/t_3.html
    Last edited by psonic; 03-14-2005 at 07:16 AM.
    Dynaudio Audience 60
    Audio Refinement Complete Integrated
    Sony DVP-NC685V CD/SACD/DVD
    Audioquest Viper Interconnect
    14AWG OFC Speaker cable

    "hey dreaming it up accounts for half the fun - and time"

  10. #10
    AUTOBOT BRANDONH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by integrale
    You just don't want me to waste a good set of speakers on a computer in a dorm room!

    That being said, I'll give them a listen. But I am underestimating them. Thanks for the suggestion.
    Your will love the Klipsh. A friend of mine has those. Big speaker sound.
    my system
    Technics SL-1210M5G
    OC9/MLII
    Marantz AV8003
    Oppo BD-83
    Yamaha C-70
    Crown MA-12000i
    Emotiva XPA-5

  11. #11
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by integrale
    I need some serious guidance from you gurus.

    I'm a college student with a limited budget, and I want some great speakers for my dorm room. I can spend $500-$750 all-in (speakers, amp, wires, soundcard, etc.) My room is 12'x12' with a 9' ceiling, and I'll be hooking this system up to my computer. I listen to classical and rock, and I watch DVDs and TV on my computer. I have an integrated soundcard (not as bad as it sounds) as well as a Creative Extigy USB card. Currently, I'm listening to Cambridge Soundworks 215d's, and I'm sick to death of them. Thumping bass, weak mids, hiss (even with the digial input) and I have to crank up the volume to get any kind of clarity. So, it's time to move on to bigger and better.

    I don't have the space for floor standing speakers, and I'll spend myself to the poorhouse before I get another cubed sub/sat system. So, basically, I'm looking for a bookshelf speaker, one that can sit on my desk and fill my little room with sound. I've looked at (in no particular order) Klipsch, B&W, Infinity, Polk, Aperion, Axiom, Epos, Tannoy, NHT, RBH, Cambridge Soundworks, Bose, JBL, and some I can't even remember. There are some good options, but I'd like an expert opinion. The entry level market is so crowded that I'm sure I'm missing something stellar, and I don't want to be kicking myself after this purchase.

    Here's the part that I think is really impossible: I want transparent speakers. I want clear, neutral sound. I listen to music at low and moderate volumes; I rarely rock out at full blast. Accuracy is my biggest concern. I'd prefer a speaker that doesn't necessarily need a sub. It'd be nice if it looks good too. And - oh, what the hell - let's give it a good warranty too.

    So what's out there for a guy like me? I could be convinced to go for a 4 speaker setup or a 5.1 system, but I think I've narrowed it down to 2/2.1. I'm open to powered speakers, but I think I'm going to end up getting an amp. What amp should I get for the speakers?

    I know that the sound I'm looking for can only really be found in $4500 towers, but there has to be something close.

    What's the little $500 pair of speakers that, when you heard them, you said, "Wow, what an amazing sound."?
    Look at this unit from sharp,with sub out...
    http://www.buy.com/retail/product.as...6&loc=111&sp=1
    For speakers check these out,and dont be worried about them sold at best buy.IMO they offer one of the best bang for the buck in speakers I have come across...
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1051806301325
    This is another pair IMO offers one of the best Bang for the buck speakers..
    http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=300-642
    Now you have enough to put 400 plus into a sub..Look at Adire,SVS,HSU,and even the kits at Parts Express...Have fun. This would be a fine system IMO...

  12. #12
    VAB
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    Under $500 speakers

    If you don't want used, I can suggest the B&W DM601 s3. They can be purchased new for $400 - $450 per pair. I use this speaker in a small system in my bedroom and am supprised by the sound. I'm using an old Creek CAS4040 (30 w/ch) int. amp and a Pioneer 578A universal player. Have a Sonic Impact T-amp on order to try out, to see what all the fuss is about.

  13. #13
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    Those Kef speakers sure do look nice...though I can't find any reviews of them or anywhere to buy them. Strange.

    I've had the Dynaudio Bookshelfs mentioned more than once, so I'll definitely check them out.

    That little amp is crazy. 10wpc isn't much, but if the speakers are efficient it could work. Do they have a $60 model or something? These people sure don't take the time to put together good websites.

  14. #14
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    You have some great suggestions to look at.
    For your budget, I think the Axiom M22ti fit the bill perfectly, or maybe even the Axiom M3.

  15. #15
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    Headphones

    Look into getting some audiophile grade headphones and a dedicated headphone amp.

    Look at the Sennheiser HD650 and a headroom amp. Should be a very very nice setup for your price range.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by integrale
    Those Kef speakers sure do look nice...though I can't find any reviews of them or anywhere to buy them. Strange.

    I've had the Dynaudio Bookshelfs mentioned more than once, so I'll definitely check them out.

    That little amp is crazy. 10wpc isn't much, but if the speakers are efficient it could work. Do they have a $60 model or something? These people sure don't take the time to put together good websites.
    The sharp unit I posted is a 1 bit 2.8 MHz Sampling digital amp that can put out 80wpc into a 4 ohm load..I bought 2 of the Sharp ex-111s and hooked them up to a pair of studio 100s with exelent results..the 111 puts out about 20wpc...I also have 2 t-amps on backorder. I here great things from them..Ill post after I get them...

  17. #17
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    If you're looking for <$500 for the complete package, I'm guessing in the $300's for speakers. I'm a fan of the Paradigm Minimonitors. I'm not sure what they're currently going for, but I'd guess somewhere around $350 new. They are substantial bookshelf speakers; another one for your list. I like the sound.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by integrale
    Those Kef speakers sure do look nice...though I can't find any reviews of them or anywhere to buy them. Strange.
    Try ecoustics for reviews, I am not sure of where you located so I cannot recommend a dealer.

  19. #19
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    Smile

    Check these out.

    BIC America Venturi DV62si Bookshelf Speakers (Pair, Black) $128.24

    at Amazon.com, including shipping. You can add a subwoofer (BIC H100 or Sony WX700 for clean cheap bass on any kind of music)

    Cheers



    Quote Originally Posted by integrale
    I need some serious guidance from you gurus.

    I'm a college student with a limited budget, and I want some great speakers for my dorm room. I can spend $500-$750 all-in (speakers, amp, wires, soundcard, etc.) My room is 12'x12' with a 9' ceiling, and I'll be hooking this system up to my computer. I listen to classical and rock, and I watch DVDs and TV on my computer. I have an integrated soundcard (not as bad as it sounds) as well as a Creative Extigy USB card. Currently, I'm listening to Cambridge Soundworks 215d's, and I'm sick to death of them. Thumping bass, weak mids, hiss (even with the digial input) and I have to crank up the volume to get any kind of clarity. So, it's time to move on to bigger and better.

    I don't have the space for floor standing speakers, and I'll spend myself to the poorhouse before I get another cubed sub/sat system. So, basically, I'm looking for a bookshelf speaker, one that can sit on my desk and fill my little room with sound. I've looked at (in no particular order) Klipsch, B&W, Infinity, Polk, Aperion, Axiom, Epos, Tannoy, NHT, RBH, Cambridge Soundworks, Bose, JBL, and some I can't even remember. There are some good options, but I'd like an expert opinion. The entry level market is so crowded that I'm sure I'm missing something stellar, and I don't want to be kicking myself after this purchase.

    Here's the part that I think is really impossible: I want transparent speakers. I want clear, neutral sound. I listen to music at low and moderate volumes; I rarely rock out at full blast. Accuracy is my biggest concern. I'd prefer a speaker that doesn't necessarily need a sub. It'd be nice if it looks good too. And - oh, what the hell - let's give it a good warranty too.

    So what's out there for a guy like me? I could be convinced to go for a 4 speaker setup or a 5.1 system, but I think I've narrowed it down to 2/2.1. I'm open to powered speakers, but I think I'm going to end up getting an amp. What amp should I get for the speakers?

    I know that the sound I'm looking for can only really be found in $4500 towers, but there has to be something close.

    What's the little $500 pair of speakers that, when you heard them, you said, "Wow, what an amazing sound."?
    Stu-r

  20. #20
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    Have you thought about a nice pair of headphones with a tube headphone amp?

    It may not be exactly what you had in mind. But it may be a good option for some excellent tunes in a dorm


    have fun!

    dan
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    enjoy the music!

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