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  1. #1
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    Insignia KEF knock-off's on sale today..

    $39.99/pair at Best Buy. For 40 bucks the best near-field monitors on the planet. They're also a good inttrduction to how good the real thing is - KEF. They don't come close in audio quality but they're a good introduction to how good a coax design can be in bringing coherency and smoothness to playback.

  2. #2
    nightflier
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    Id' recommend just buying the KEFs. Considering all the other mass-market crap that flies out of BB's doors, I doubt these are worth even a mention on this board. And if price really is an issue, buy a pair of used Polk RT bookshelves on eBay. They'll sound a lot better.

  3. #3
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Actually, they sound surprisingly good for $50 speakers. Don't knock 'em 'til you've heard 'em.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  4. #4
    nightflier
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    I'll go and give them a listen, but honestly, for $40, they can't possibly be passable.

  5. #5
    rockin' the mid-fi audio_dude's Avatar
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    nightflier, have you not read the reviews of these things? the new uBer budget champion!
    _________________________________________________
    Jeeze... people still use sigs?!

  6. #6
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    On the contrary, Mr. Nightflier, I use them with a Sonic Impact T-amp and a portable cd player w/line out for a completely battery operated system. I had this system out on my deck 2 weeks ago while grilling and my wife commented on how good it sounds. I stopped between turning steaks and listened with a big smile on my face. I picked up the Insignias several months back when they were on sale for $34.99 a pair. They have a nice glossy black finish, tapered box, and metal grill pins that won't break as easy as the plastic ones on more expensive speakers. The only thing I've noted is the high-mid/treble response can be a little grainy, but the smoothness of the t-amp lessens this problem. I like'em for my uses. They have decent bass response for their size. Unfortunatley, it's turned cold here so I probably won't be carrying them outside much 'til spring. My battery powered system is a nice break from my main system where I sometimes sit and wonder what I'm hearing or not hearing and I got it all for about $110 - much better than any mini-system, portable system or boombox I've heard. If you have a specific use in mind, they're worth the sale price at least.

  7. #7
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I'll go and give them a listen, but honestly, for $40, they can't possibly be passable.
    No, that's exactly what they are. Really, you're going to be eating crow when you hear these...or at least your own words. They image. You should stop sticking your foot in your mouth.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  8. #8
    nightflier
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    Dusty, are you still upset that opted for AKG's instead of Beyers?

    Fine, I'll check them out. If they are good, I'll admit it. No biggie...

  9. #9
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    No, it just really bothers me when someone trashes something without having heard it for themselves. It strikes me as na´ve and ignorant, especially in this hobby.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  10. #10
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Me thinks the quality/enjoyment we hear is greatly based on our system expectation

    I agree with Dusty on his last post. I honestly dont think Sony AV receivers are that bad, and their audio gears are bashed like BOSE. I'll never say their speakers are great, but for the price of their 3way(one of my friends got them) they are not bad at all. Like this JVC mini comp system with wooden woofers that I've recently talked about. They are the most incredible things I've heard in my life, considering the size and the fact it is mini comp. They are highly capable of producing outstanding sound. But I strongly believe total accumilation and combination of quality gears greatly enhance music in the end. Is it worth it? Me says yes

  11. #11
    nightflier
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    Dust,

    I suppose my initial post might have been a bit harsh, but let's not start lecturing people about making opinions w/o actually owning something. I thought that was part of the reason we have these discussions in the first place. Input from people who may not own something may not necessarily be useless. There are many people here who don't have Dynaudio speakers for example, but if they have Totems, their input is still of interest. Likewise, input from knowledgeable people, engineers, sound techs, etc. is also of interest for those who are looking to make a purchase.

    In the end, I'm just left wondering how a $40 speaker can be compared with $200, $500, $2000 monitors with earnest. I seriously doubt they will be giant-killers, or at the very least, KEF-killers. Smaller manufacturers just don't have the research and experience that the larger manufacturers have, unless they copied it, which is reprehensible.

    Given the price, if you add up what it costs to design, manufacture, assemble, ship, and promote a pair of speakers, it's just not likely this can be done at the $40 price-point. Polk is one of the best values in bookshelf speakers I've come across, but they have been doing this for a long time. I just can't believe that Insignia has that same track record. Somewhere a corner must have been cut.

    So I'll go out and buy a pair of these speakers and put them up against some of my bookshelves. If they really are that good, I'll admit it, I'm no hypocrite. But if I find something that doesn't add up, I'll mention that too. And for the record, even if they sound fantastic, there is still the possibility they are cutting the budget elsewhere like tech support, packaging, or using slave labor, whatever. I won't be able to determine all these things, but if anyone has any input on that, I'd appreciate a quick note.

    P.S. jrhymeammo, the reasons people bash Bose, and to a lesser extend Sony is not just because of quality, it's also because of anti-competitive marketing practices, misleading specs, and borderline illegality like the notorious rootkit fiasco. If you're happy with a Sony/Bose combo, great for you. That is only one example, there are plenty of less glamorous examples to read about out there.

  12. #12
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    That's just it...

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Dust,

    I suppose my initial post might have been a bit harsh, but let's not start lecturing people about making opinions w/o actually owning something. I thought that was part of the reason we have these discussions in the first place. Input from people who may not own something may not necessarily be useless. There are many people here who don't have Dynaudio speakers for example, but if they have Totems, their input is still of interest. Likewise, input from knowledgeable people, engineers, sound techs, etc. is also of interest for those who are looking to make a purchase.

    In the end, I'm just left wondering how a $40 speaker can be compared with $200, $500, $2000 monitors with earnest. I seriously doubt they will be giant-killers, or at the very least, KEF-killers. Smaller manufacturers just don't have the research and experience that the larger manufacturers have, unless they copied it, which is reprehensible.

    Given the price, if you add up what it costs to design, manufacture, assemble, ship, and promote a pair of speakers, it's just not likely this can be done at the $40 price-point. Polk is one of the best values in bookshelf speakers I've come across, but they have been doing this for a long time. I just can't believe that Insignia has that same track record. Somewhere a corner must have been cut.

    So I'll go out and buy a pair of these speakers and put them up against some of my bookshelves. If they really are that good, I'll admit it, I'm no hypocrite. But if I find something that doesn't add up, I'll mention that too. And for the record, even if they sound fantastic, there is still the possibility they are cutting the budget elsewhere like tech support, packaging, or using slave labor, whatever. I won't be able to determine all these things, but if anyone has any input on that, I'd appreciate a quick note.

    P.S. jrhymeammo, the reasons people bash Bose, and to a lesser extend Sony is not just because of quality, it's also because of anti-competitive marketing practices, misleading specs, and borderline illegality like the notorious rootkit fiasco. If you're happy with a Sony/Bose combo, great for you. That is only one example, there are plenty of less glamorous examples to read about out there.
    ... what you CAN get for $35.

    You're right - they're not giant-killers, but you do get a palatable soft-dome tweeter, nicely finished front facia, and real binding posts. I just put them back in my bedroom stereo, and no, they are nowhere near as good as the $200 Onix. I think the Insig's biggest drawback would be the fair amount of "hollowness". Pretty bad. Maybe that can be tamed a bit with some extra stuffing, not sure.

    I use them in the garage and they are fine for background music on the cheap. The highs aren't too grating (nor are they very resolving), bass is OK, and the speakers throw a decent size stage.

    Definitely not for critical listening, but a good value if money is tight.

  13. #13
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I think the Insig's biggest drawback would be the fair amount of "hollowness".
    You might want to try stuffing too, but have you r considered spraying outershell with Dupli-Color Undersoat spray with sound eliminator? This stuff worked great under my turntable platter.

  14. #14
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    No, haven't really...

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    You might want to try stuffing too, but have you r considered spraying outershell with Dupli-Color Undersoat spray with sound eliminator? This stuff worked great under my turntable platter.
    ...investigated many options, but thanks for another idea.

    They don't see too much use, but it might be fun to play around with 'em.

    Winter is coming... they REALLY won't get too much playing time :^(

  15. #15
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    NF - if you bring them home and compare them to your main speakers, you'll only confirm what you already believe. I think their strengths are that they're easy to drive and can be mated with less than stellar amps/receivers. If you have an old receiver in storage or have something like the T-amp and you want music in your garage, workshop, play room or whatever (in my case, "whatever" includes listening outdoors, without power, etc.), they're up to the task. I didn't have them in my main system for very long, but they have served duty with an old Sansui integrated and the T-amp and in those setups they've been fun.

    I tend to agree with Jimmy C on the "hollowness" which I attribute to a midrange "suckout" or recess. I could be wrong though.

    Nevertheless, it would be interesting to read your take on them after you compare them to your bookshelf speakers. Just be sure to hang onto your receipt.

  16. #16
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    Well, of course you agree...

    "I tend to agree with Jimmy C on the "hollowness" which I attribute to a midrange "suckout" or recess. I could be wrong though."

    ...with me, I'm always right! :*)

    Seriously, I was just thinking the the exact same thing - the mids are definitely recessed, not the most balanced transducer. However, I think the enclosure is to blame for the hollowness - just put your hand on it while playing. I'm sure this is adding to the effect.

  17. #17
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Alot of people buy them just to tweak it out. That might be fun, but once you start messing with it, that's when people basically stop listening to music. I guess that's one of the biggest problem that I have. It's hard for me sometimes.

    -JRA

  18. #18
    nightflier
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    The other factors

    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    NF - if you bring them home and compare them to your main speakers, you'll only confirm what you already believe. I think their strengths are that they're easy to drive and can be mated with less than stellar amps/receivers. If you have an old receiver in storage or have something like the T-amp and you want music in your garage, workshop, play room or whatever (in my case, "whatever" includes listening outdoors, without power, etc.), they're up to the task. I didn't have them in my main system for very long, but they have served duty with an old Sansui integrated and the T-amp and in those setups they've been fun. I tend to agree with Jimmy C on the "hollowness" which I attribute to a midrange "suckout" or recess. I could be wrong though. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to read your take on them after you compare them to your bookshelf speakers. Just be sure to hang onto your receipt.
    Well for just some easy to drive speakers, I still get plenty of mileage out of my Klipsch RB5's. A little bigger & heavier to be sure, but I bought them used for a pittance.

    If the sound of the Insignia's can be agreed on here as lacking somewhat, then I'll see what I can figure out about the other factors (construction, marketing, shipping, origin, etc.). Again, I'm trying to figure out how they build a speaker for $40.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Dust,

    In the end, I'm just left wondering how a $40 speaker can be compared with $200, $500, $2000 monitors with earnest. I seriously doubt they will be giant-killers, or at the very least, KEF-killers. Smaller manufacturers just don't have the research and experience that the larger manufacturers have, unless they copied it, which is reprehensible.

    Given the price, if you add up what it costs to design, manufacture, assemble, ship, and promote a pair of speakers, it's just not likely this can be done at the $40 price-point. Polk is one of the best values in bookshelf speakers I've come across, but they have been doing this for a long time. I just can't believe that Insignia has that same track record. Somewhere a corner must have been cut.
    The Insignia's design is clearly a rip off of the KEF IQ3. The IQ3 is slightly different in appearance but in a way that would likely make it more expensive to copy. The Insignia's keep the driver inside the face of the box and with a port that occupies it's own space. The odds of the two looking so much alike is remote. The sloped box, protruding banana plugs and coax driver scream reverse engineering. The fact that KEF is now under Chinese ownership makes it easier to believe that the design made it's way to one of the many slave wage facilities in China. Even at 40 bucks/pair, they're probably making a decent profit.

  20. #20
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    I've heard that these were designed by a firm which employs a lot of the people who worked for the old-school giants like KEF, B&W, and the like.

    Of course, this is likely just a rumor.

    I'm buying mine used, if only to assuage my slave-labor guilt. (Also, a $17 pricetag is hard to beat.) At least this way, the damage has already been done - and speakers I buy used mean one less pair of speakers I buy new.

    As a side note, fixing the resonance is not too hard, from what I've read. Some bondo and fiberglass insulation will sitiffen the frame and damp some of the reverberation. Also, there are tutorials for improving the crossover, which can be done cheaply if you can scrounge the parts out of something else.

    As a side note, I'm likely going to build a 41hz.com amp3 into mine - it's essentially a double-power T-amp with better-quality parts all around. They should make for some nice portable speakers.

  21. #21
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    Worth the money pretty much.

  22. #22
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    Ah, here is the company that designed them
    http://www.radiient.com/

    It is the 'Europa' model, minus supertweeter.

    Supplier is listed as "First Audio Mfg"
    http://www.fidek.com.hk/html/eng/index.html

  23. #23
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I suppose my initial post might have been a bit harsh, but let's not start lecturing people about making opinions w/o actually owning something.
    I will when they're wrong.
    In the end, I'm just left wondering how a $40 speaker can be compared with $200, $500, $2000 monitors with earnest. I seriously doubt they will be giant-killers, or at the very least, KEF-killers.
    That's not what was said. What was said was "passable". Don't go changing the story mid-stream.
    Given the price, if you add up what it costs to design, manufacture, assemble, ship, and promote a pair of speakers, it's just not likely this can be done at the $40 price-point.
    These are an unlikely pair of speakers. I have to admit -- it's a mystery how these can be so cheap.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  24. #24
    nightflier
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    I went to BB this weekend (I know, not the best weekend to browse, since they were out of them), but they carry two Insignia models, which ones are we talking about here?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I went to BB this weekend (I know, not the best weekend to browse, since they were out of them), but they carry two Insignia models, which ones are we talking about here?
    Best Buy's website lists the sku as 7705307 and the model as NS-B2111. They're currently on sale for 47 and change. Looks like the days of sub 40 dollar sale prices might be over.
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