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Thread: Audio Equipment

  1. #151
    Hairy Aussie timwhit's Avatar
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    After doing some research and talking to a bunch of different people at audio stores, I decided that HDMI switching is pointless to spend money on, especially since I don't have any HDMI devices currently. I also heard good things about Denon receivers from a lot of audio stores, even if they didn't sell Denon.

    I wasn't planning on buying anything this quickly, but my 9 year old Sony crapped out on me while I was watching a movie, so I decided to pull the trigger.

    I went with the Denon AVR-1907. Got it for less than $350 2-day shipped, so I feel like I got a pretty good deal.

  2. #152
    Hairy Aussie timwhit's Avatar
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    A friend of mine recently purchased a very lightly used pair of Rega R5 loudspeakers for ~$700 (Retail is ~$1250). They are a very impressive set of speakers.

    I went with him to a number of audio stores throughout Chicago listening to speakers, and these really were a notch above anything in the $1000 range.

  3. #153
    What is this storage? Wavemaker's Avatar
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    This US$179 ~ $199 USB Turntable could be a convenient tool for certain people...

    http://www.zzounds.com/item--IONITTUSB10




    Making waves... again

  4. #154
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    Spent the afternoon auditioning components and speakers for a potential new 2 channel audio setup. Looked at the following:

    Amps

    NAD c372
    Roksan Kandy L.III
    Cambridge Audio 540R
    Parasound Halo P3 + A23 pre/power combo

    CD Players

    NAD c542
    Roksan Kandy CD
    Cambridge Audio 840c up-sampling
    Parasound D3 CD/SACD/DVD-A/DVD-V

    Speakers

    Totem Arro
    Totem Sttaf
    psb T45
    Monitor Audio RS6 Silver

    Didn't get a chance to listen to the Cambridge Audio 640a.

    For those of you who don't know, NAD and Cambridge Audio are two of the leaders in the mid-priced audio segment along with Arcam and Rotel.

    Comments on the electronics

    * Roksan Kandy combo: quick, clear, dynamic, detailed, analytical, bass weight and warmth not as good as NAD, cool and a little bright

    * NAD c372 & c542 combo: powerful, authoritative amp, nice bass weight and power, good warmth, not as quick and clear as Roksan combo

    * Parasound P3 + A23 + D3 combo: powerful, dynamic, quick, authoritative bass, clean and clear from the bass through the mids and treble, maybe a little too bright with the MA speakers, nice big 3D soundstage, sexy design

    * Cambridge Audio 540R + 840c / 640c combo: not as quick and clear as the Roksan or Parasound combos, about the same or slightly better than NAD... bass weight and power okay, but not as good as Parasound and NAD, soundstaging wasn't as big and 3D as Parasound... 640c not as refined, detailed, or smooth as 840c

    Comments on the speakers

    * Totem Arro: a little bass shy, not enough weight and warmth

    * psb T45: nice image focus, but the soundstage was not very big... could be poor positioning and ancilliary equipment

    * Totem Sttaf: nice speaker... dynamic, quick, natural sound, a little bright, good imaging / soundstaging, but expensive

    * Monitor Audio RS6: Wow. Dynamic, quick, natural sound, a little bright, good imaging / soundstaging, very nice design, but not as expensive

    After all the auditions, I pretty much settled on the Monitor Audio RS6 over the Totem Sttaf as my speaker choice. I was also leaning towards the Cambridge Audio 640a + 640c combo for electronics... but the Parasound Halo combo wouldn't let me forget it.

    Being quite a bit more expensive, I was forced to reconsider things. Since the Cambridge Audio, NAD, and Roksan CD players weren't any better than the Music Hall player I have at home, I decided against buying a CDP and will use the Music Hall I have dedicated to my headphone system.

    Now I can afford the Parasound pre/power combo and the MA RS6 speakers.
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  5. #155
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    Mid-priced. Right.

    I assume that means anything short of insanity?

    I'm still enjoying my cheap Onkyo system.
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  6. #156
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    Well, mid-priced meaning under $1,000 per component usually, which is still within the realm of reasonable. You can get a very nice 2 channel audio system for $3,000, or a very nice home theatre system for $6,000, the big TV, A/V receiver, and 5.1 speaker system representing the bulk of the extra $.

    Anyways, I think Merc and company have already alluded to the insanity associated with audiophiles and this kind of stuff. I used to consider myself an audiophile who successfully kicked the habit... maybe I'm just recovering, and suffering a temporary setback
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  7. #157
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    Why don't you go budget on an integrated amp? http://www.emotiva.com/bpa1.html

  8. #158
    Hairy Aussie timwhit's Avatar
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    I auditioned the RS6 also a few weeks ago when my friend was looking at speakers. I found them to be kind of weak on bass. So, unless you are planning on adding a sub-woofer, they might disappoint you. Personally, I don't want to have to have a sub on when listening to music.

  9. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by timwhit View Post
    I auditioned the RS6 also a few weeks ago when my friend was looking at speakers. I found them to be kind of weak on bass. So, unless you are planning on adding a sub-woofer, they might disappoint you. Personally, I don't want to have to have a sub on when listening to music.
    I know what you mean... I thought I could have used a bit more bass myself, I don't feel that I would need a sub or that it is lacking in bass... in fact, I find it to be pretty neutral and accurate in its frequency response. A tad brighter spectral balance than I usually prefer, but the overall freq resp is very flat. Certainly much better bass than the NHT 1.3A's I used in the past.

    It also depends on the listening environment and equipment used at the time. The auditioning room may be bigger than a typical living room and the electronics may have been voiced to be clear and bright and lack bass (e.g., tried the Totem Sttaf with the Roksan Kandy and NAD systems... they seemed too light in the bass with the Roksan, but had noticeably more and heavier bass with the NAD).

    To add some fuel to the fire here, some of the professional reviewers feel that the bass is a strength of the RS6, and at one point, perhaps even a little excessive:

    Quote Originally Posted by [url=http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/monitor_audio_silver_rs6.htm]Philip Beaudette of GoodSound.com [/url]

    At first, I thought the Monitor Silver RS6 sounded too aggressive, with far too much emphasis in the bass. Although it sounded big and the highs were crystal clear, the bass was muddled, and the presentation lacked depth. As usual, I experimented with placement and found that in order to eliminate the overpowering bass and hear convincing three-dimensional sound, I needed to position the speakers farther from the room boundaries.
    Quote Originally Posted by [url=http://stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/306monitor/]Robert J Reina of Stereophile[/url]

    The RS6 presented the least colored replication of the lower range of the double bass that I've heard from a speaker at this price point. [...]

    I was able to hear each individual vocalist in the choir as a three-dimensional being surrounded by airóbut I was most impressed with the realism of the organ-pedal notes. I eagerly await JA's measurements to see how low the unassuming RS6's bass actually extends. [...]

    Of all the wonders this loudspeaker produced in my living room, which impressed me the most? First was the bass. I was impressed by the dynamics and the bass extension of which the small-footprint RS6 was capable.
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  10. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    Why don't you go budget on an integrated amp? http://www.emotiva.com/bpa1.html
    Wow, that looks like quite the deal! I'll keep that in mind for other applications (it would be perfect to hook up to a PC to drive real speakers instead of PC speakers), or for friends / family recommendations.

    Basically, I fell in love with the sound of the Parasound P3/A23 + MA RS6 + modded Music Hall CD25 combo. I don't think you could change my mind now unless you put some Krell monoblocks or a Cary tube amp in front of me.
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  11. #161
    Hairy Aussie timwhit's Avatar
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    Well, they certainly didn't have anywhere near the amount of bass as my NHT 2.5i. Or the speakers that my friend ended up getting, the Rega R5.

    This might sound strange, but the RS6 almost sounded too tight, like it would give me a headache after listening to it for too long.

  12. #162
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    In the $1000-1500 price range I would definitely be considering some of the internet direct brands.

  13. #163
    Hairy Aussie timwhit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    In the $1000-1500 price range I would definitely be considering some of the internet direct brands.
    Where can I audition internet direct speakers?

  14. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by timwhit View Post
    Where can I audition internet direct speakers?
    At an owners house who lives nearby? Some brands also offer free return shipping if you're not satisfied.

  15. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by timwhit View Post
    Well, they certainly didn't have anywhere near the amount of bass as my NHT 2.5i. Or the speakers that my friend ended up getting, the Rega R5.

    This might sound strange, but the RS6 almost sounded too tight, like it would give me a headache after listening to it for too long.
    Well, the NHT 2.5 has what amounts to its own internal sub. No question it would have an abundance of bass. Unfortunately, it would be too big (15.5" deep) for my room.

    Now the Rega seems interesting. A bit like a junior version of the NHT side-firing sub layout but a more manageable 13.5" of depth and 8.6" wide.

    I was drawn to speakers like the Totem Sttaf and the MA RS6 because they are compact towers and I have space restrictions to work with. The RS6 is only 9.8" deep and 7.3" wide (the Sttaf is even smaller than that). Also, being in a condo, neighbours really don't like it when the bass permeates through the walls and sends reverbations that into their units.

    I wish I had listened to the R5 in my auditions, as it might be barely doable in terms of size, but come to think of it, I don't know any dealers that carry Rega speakers in my area. In any event, the RS6 is on its way. If the bass performance is underwhelming, I will look around to see if I can audition the Regas.

    I know what you mean about the sound. It is definitely very clear, quick, crisp, detailed and open. Not warm, mellow, or smooth. I can see how it could give you a headache after a while, especially if you use it with the wrong components
    (e.g., a mediocre CD player). The modded Music Hall I currently use has a custom clock circuit and an all discrete analog stage (no op-amps) that is not as shrill as some of its competition. It makes a big difference.

    I was thinking of going with a tube buffered front end at some point (like an outboard Scott Nixon Tube DAC or Shanling T100 tube CD player) which could add just enough weight and warmth and be just the ticket to round out the sound.
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  16. #166
    Hairy Aussie timwhit's Avatar
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    I'm in a fairly small condo myself, around 500 SF. We have thick floors and walls though, so I haven't gotten any complaints yet, and I have been here for close to 2 years. I've had my NHT's for about 7 years now and I am still pretty happy with them. I wonder how long they will last before they start to degrade in sound quality.

  17. #167
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timwhit View Post
    I wonder how long they will last before they start to degrade in sound quality.
    For me that is never the issue. Long before then I "need" something better.
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  18. #168
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    Well my previous neighbour was quite annoying with his setup. He must have had a sub along the adjoining wall, 'cause the bass went right through. I think he might have been a DJ or just into electronic keyboards / bass, etc. as he tended to play the same passages over and over again, as if he was practising or trying to loop samples or something. He left after about a year, possibly because of resident complaints. It wasn't so much that the music was too loud sometimes; it was more that his music was too loud at 1-2 AM on weekdays at least once a week every week.

    The NHT's should last for quite a while (20 years wouldn't be too much of a stretch). I think the points of failure would be the driver surrounds and the caps in the crossover circuit. Don't know what the driver surrounds are made of in the 2.5's, but the 1.3A used butyl rubber type surrounds that would take a long time to dry out and crack.

    Usually, the old foam surrounds would rot or disintegrate, and some of the inferior rubber surrounds would dry out and crack. You would think they try to use the good rubber in NHT's.

    The caps, well, you can always replace those with even better quality ones if they die (assuming they don't fry your tweeters or your amp first).
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  19. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by e_dawg View Post
    In any event, the RS6 is on its way. If the bass performance is underwhelming, I will look around to see if I can audition the Regas.
    Hooked up the system on Friday and played it virtually continuously all weekend to break it in. Listened to it and found that there was more than enough bass. Actually, too much bass overall, although could use a touch more extension in the lowest octave. Also found the tweeter a little bright as well. Overall, this speaker could use a bit more energy in the lower midrange... between 200-800 Hz or so. Kinda like the opposite of the B&W DM600 series.
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  20. #170
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    Sounds like you "need" a different speaker.

  21. #171
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    It's possible, although every speaker that sounds fine with good recordings (Sheffield, Chesky, Mo-Fi, etc.) sounds bright with mainstream rock/pop/jazz from the major labels. I audition speakers with the best recordings I have, but there is so much more music in my collection that I listen to at home.

    I have yet to find a great speaker that is forgiving with crappily produced music. Bose was good for that sort of thing, but when I wanted to "go hi-fi", it wouldn't cut it.
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  22. #172
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    A stereo for the office. Looking for a 2-speaker system with Amp. No need for multiple audio sources, no size restrictions. Specifically looking for something that doesn't need a subwoofer to fill in the low/mid range and sounds good at very low volume.

    If nothing will work better than a $400 Onkyo HT setup, then I'll get that, but something simpler would be nice.
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  23. #173
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    Something is wrong with my center channel speaker, it simply isn't putting out the volume that it should. It is much quieter than the other channels no matter what I do. Perhaps I blew it out?

    Anyway, in the market for a new one. The other speakers in the setup are the cheap ones that came with the Onkyo HTIB, but the receiver is a new Onkyo TX-SR507.

    Going a step or two up would be nice, but I don't want to overspend (I know, I know).

    I know nothing about this, so any advice would be appreciated.
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  24. #174
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    I'd try swapping one of your front L or R speakers with the center before you conclude that the speaker is bad.

  25. #175
    Storage Is My Life MaxBurn's Avatar
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    Hopefully you just changed something on the receiver like center level or a different sound shape to reduce the center.

    About 10-15 years ago I got polk speakers, decent ones near top of the line then and they have never let me down and still sound great. Would not hesitate to go top of the line polk again, like their new stuff too.

  26. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddrueding View Post
    Going a step or two up would be nice, but I don't want to overspend (I know, I know).
    I hope your current speakers are fine. But if you're still looking for an upgrade you might want to take a look at Axiom Audio or Aperion. They both make pretty inexpensive speakers that usually gets good reviews.

  27. #177
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    I've been using paradigm cinema speakers and have been impressed with the sound for the money.

  28. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddrueding View Post
    Perhaps I blew it out?
    I've never seen a speaker blow anything outside of the cone. And actually that should be the only part you might not be able to replace (though you might be able to buy a replacement whole speaker for the box).

    Anyway, if it was the cone that blew you should still get volume but it would be buzzy and unclear at medium to high volumes.

  29. #179
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    It does seem like it is a configuration issue and not the speaker. Playing BR movies works fine, but DVDs lose huge amounts of dialog. It is a complex setup, so I'll investigate further and likely open a new thread. Thank you for the replies, I'll look into a new center channel anyway
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  30. #180
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    Have you bought a center speaker yet? If not - a used Linn Trikan might be worth a look.

  31. #181
    Storage Is My Life MaxBurn's Avatar
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    Hmm, bi-amped center speaker without the big drivers, now that is something I haven't seen before.

  32. #182
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    Turned out to be a configuration issue. Though I'm now tentatively looking at a complete 5.1 speaker setup. I'll probably start with the fronts and the sub if I don't get them all at once.
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  33. #183
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    Steer clear of AV123.

  34. #184
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    Steer clear of AV123.
    Will do. Not sure where to look at the moment, nor how much I should be considering spending.
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  35. #185
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    I would find some local audio stores and just start listening to different speakers. Figure out what you'll use the system mostly for and bring some audio samples you know with you to listen to (movies, CDs, DVD-A).

  36. #186
    Hairy Aussie timwhit's Avatar
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    If you already have an idea of what you want, check out Audiogon. There's lots of nice stuff on there.

    My fronts are NHT 2.5i, I bought them in 2000 and I still love them. I believe I paid around $800 for the pair, they originally MSRPed for $1300 for the pair.

    I heard the Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers a while back at a high end store, they blew me away. If I was looking to drop serious money I would definitely consider them.

  37. #187
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Handruin View Post
    I would find some local audio stores and just start listening to different speakers. Figure out what you'll use the system mostly for and bring some audio samples you know with you to listen to (movies, CDs, DVD-A).
    That will definitely be the route to take if it turns out I'll be spending any significant amount of money. The speakers I have now are the ones that came with my $300 Onkyo HTiB kit a few years ago(1). To be honest, these speakers are just fine for my needs, but need to be allocated elsewhere(2). Buying the same as I have now seems silly, so I am interested in taking one, maybe two steps up. I'm sure Stereodude and Merc will gag, but can $750-$1000 get me 5.1 worth of decent speakers?

    (1)I've since upgraded the receiver to one that supports HDMI (and may be upgrading again to one that can actually convert Composite/S-Video to HDMI, but that is another topic).

    (2)Unfortunately, my parents are in need of something better than what they have now (my 1997 Cambridge Soundworks 5.1 cubes). They get my leftovers, and they need new speakers, so I need to get new speakers.
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  38. #188
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    I guess that's depends on your definition of "decent".

    Are you really trying to get a subwoofer along with 5 speakers for $750-$1k? The 7 speakers I want for my basement HT are $13.5k (excluding subwoofers).

  39. #189
    Hairy Aussie timwhit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddrueding View Post
    I'm sure Stereodude and Merc will gag, but can $750-$1000 get me 5.1 worth of decent speakers?
    I think you would be much better off just buying some decent front towers and a center. Skip the sub and the rears until you have more money to spend.

    I would also look to buy something used that cost multiple times more when new. Yes, speakers can be damaged and can wear out, but most people that buy high end gear take good care of it.

  40. #190
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    I guess that's depends on your definition of "decent".

    Are you really trying to get a subwoofer along with 5 speakers for $750-$1k? The 7 speakers I want for my basement HT are $13.5k (excluding subwoofers).
    Yup. 5 speakers and a sub for under a grand. Decent in this case refers to something appreciably better than what I have. The set I have now needs to go somewhere else, so I can't just upgrade some of them. I am not opposed to buying used, but know nothing about speakers or where to get them.
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  41. #191
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    Everyone is going to have their take on what good sounding speakers are. To answer your question, yes, you can get a decent sounding setup for under $1000. I know I'll get snubbed for having Cambridge SoundWorks, but they sound fine. I have a pair of the Model 6 speakers on stands for my sides and a CS Center Stage for the mid. I have a powered (75W) 10" BaseCube 10. My rear speakers are a pair of boston acoustic bookshelf speakers. All are powered by my Yamaha DD 5.1 receiver. The model 6 are about 15 years old, the Boston acoustics are about 18 years old, the Center Stage is about 8 years old and the BaseCube 10 is about 6 years old.

  42. #192
    Hairy Aussie timwhit's Avatar
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    A used system like this would work for you, if you insist on the full 5.1. Just look around at that site, I'm sure you can find something very decent within your budget.

  43. #193
    Storage? I am Storage! Howell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddrueding View Post
    Will do. Not sure where to look at the moment, nor how much I should be considering spending.
    No more than $100. That and your normal order of magnitude budget error should keep you pretty safe. : )

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBurn View Post
    Hmm, bi-amped center speaker without the big drivers, now that is something I haven't seen before.
    You can run almost all Linn speakers in single/bi-wired/bi-amped or active configurations, on the pretty new ones like the Trikan you just change to another link board around the terminals and you're set.

    My home cinema dream (within a reasonable budget) is actually the Trikan with Ninkas as fronts and Katans as rear channels and one used Linn 5125 amplifier... And perhaps one Polk DSW 500 as sub - they are supposed to be very good for the price.

  45. #195
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    My wife has voiced her...concern...over the size and appearance of some of the speakers I'm looking at. What are people's thoughts on in-wall/in-ceiling speakers/subs? This (compromising with her) is one of the ways I can grow my budget.
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  46. #196
    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    Yeah, just filled a Crutchfield cart with $3300 worth of Artison stuff...that isn't going to fly, ever.
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  47. #197
    Storage Is My Life MaxBurn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fb View Post
    You can run almost all Linn speakers in single/bi-wired/bi-amped or active configurations, on the pretty new ones like the Trikan you just change to another link board around the terminals and you're set.

    My home cinema dream (within a reasonable budget) is actually the Trikan with Ninkas as fronts and Katans as rear channels and one used Linn 5125 amplifier... And perhaps one Polk DSW 500 as sub - they are supposed to be very good for the price.
    Yeah but I thought the whole point was to separate out the bass frequencies from dirtying up the treble like is very common now in the main speakers now. I guess this is just taking that a step further and I shouldn't be surprised, just the first I have seen it.

    ddrueding, check into some vintage stuff people are upgrading all the time and selling the old stuff. I am still using some polk studio monitor 12 series 2 mains and love them. Paired them up with a CS245 and four RT25 and a PSW450 for home theater use. I can't imagine they are worth much if I were to sell them.

  48. #198
    Not really a Hairy Aussie
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddrueding View Post
    My wife has voiced her...concern...over the size and appearance of some of the speakers I'm looking at. What are people's thoughts on in-wall/in-ceiling speakers/subs? This (compromising with her) is one of the ways I can grow my budget.
    Put on the pants and get what you want.

    The short version is that In wall speakers basically suck unless you spend a lot of money on high end (read expensive / well out of your budget) in wall speakers. Here's an example of a decent in walls.

  49. #199
    Fatwah on Western Digital Fixture Mercutio's Avatar
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    You probably can get decent speakers for $750 if you're willing to buy used ones off ebay, ddrueding. That requires a bit of a leap of faith that the person who owned them didn't abuse them, but even at that, expensive speakers can be repaired.

    I'm slowly working on getting a set of non-reference Kef speakers for my bedroom set. So far I've managed to buy a big center channel (iq60c) and two of the four iq30s I need, and I've only spent about $380 including all the shipping, which is maybe 1/3 of the retail price.

  50. #200
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    "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission"

    No, but seriously, I agree with MaxBurn, getting vintage stuff is probably the best solution.

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