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post #1 of 32 Old 08-26-2013, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi. I just joined up in order to post, and am fairly ignorant in many aspects of hi-fi stereo equipment, so bear with me.

I'd like some suggestions for starting out. My main objective is to listen to albums (CD), and have it sound awesome.

I currently have a Philips DFR 1500 CD/DVD/Surround Sound Receiver, and some small RCA speakers (a 5.1 set); this was all given to me by a friend, which is awesome, because it does sound better then the computer speakers I was using. However, it doesn't sound that good when listening to music. The subwoofer seems decent, and electronic/rap/stoner metal can sound pretty good. But Jazz, or any rock with higher melody sounds flat/washed out. (In addition, the built in CD player doesn't work, neither does the remote, or the 2 rear channels on the receiver).

I'd like to upgrade.

My speaker budget is $100, so I'm starting by looking for some decent used speakers (thrifting or craigslist), but I have no idea what I should really be looking for. Are there certain brands to look for that are more likely to turn up used?

The stereo is in a room (kitchen/living area) that's about 16'x20', what size speakers are needed to sound good?

Should I also look for a different receiver? All I really want is Left-Right-(sub), and that seems to work on my current receiver. Maybe I could get away with dropping $200 on a receiver and speakers...

Any advice?

Thanks,
Conan
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post #2 of 32 Old 08-26-2013, 08:34 PM
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Welcome to AVS.
"Cheap" and "excellent sound quality" will never be had together. Most people here have more than $100 in their remote control. Your best bet would be Craigslist imo. You wont be able to afford any decent towers so look for bookshelf speakers.

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post #3 of 32 Old 08-26-2013, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bond 007 View Post

Welcome to AVS.
"Cheap" and "excellent sound quality" will never be had together. Most people here have more than $100 in their remote control. Your best bet would be Craigslist imo. You wont be able to afford any decent towers so look for bookshelf speakers.

Thanks. Yeah, I realize from browsing the forums that you guys are in a different league than me.

Should I aim for a certain size woofer in order to pump up the jams in my living room? Any brands in wide circulation that are a pretty safe bet when buying used?
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post #4 of 32 Old 08-26-2013, 09:03 PM
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I honestly dont know. For that kind of money its going to be really slim pickings. Klipsch, Polk, Pioneer, Bic are all good brands. If you have a sub I wouldnt worry about woofer size. Just try to get quality speakers.

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post #5 of 32 Old 08-26-2013, 09:04 PM
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Since you won't have a sub, 5" to 6.5" woofers are the best bet. They go low enough.

You might find JBL, Klipsch, NHT, Polk - and depending on the model could be a good deal. Really, I think use luck of the draw is where you are at. Goodwill/salvation army stores sometimes you can get lucky at as well. I would avoid the big no-name towers that you sometimes find there.
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post #6 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PipCount View Post

Hi. I just joined up in order to post, and am fairly ignorant in many aspects of hi-fi stereo equipment, so bear with me.

I'd like some suggestions for starting out. My main objective is to listen to albums (CD), and have it sound awesome.

I currently have a Philips DFR 1500 CD/DVD/Surround Sound Receiver, and some small RCA speakers (a 5.1 set); this was all given to me by a friend, which is awesome, because it does sound better then the computer speakers I was using. However, it doesn't sound that good when listening to music. The subwoofer seems decent, and electronic/rap/stoner metal can sound pretty good. But Jazz, or any rock with higher melody sounds flat/washed out. (In addition, the built in CD player doesn't work, neither does the remote, or the 2 rear channels on the receiver).

I'd like to upgrade.

My speaker budget is $100, so I'm starting by looking for some decent used speakers (thrifting or craigslist), but I have no idea what I should really be looking for. Are there certain brands to look for that are more likely to turn up used?

The stereo is in a room (kitchen/living area) that's about 16'x20', what size speakers are needed to sound good?

Should I also look for a different receiver? All I really want is Left-Right-(sub), and that seems to work on my current receiver. Maybe I could get away with dropping $200 on a receiver and speakers...

Any advice?

Try looking at the "Famous designer" speakers from Pioneer:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57490890-47/mission-impossible-design-great-sounding-affordable-speakers/

More specifically:

http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS22-LR-Designed-Bookshelf-Loudspeakers/dp/B008NCD2LG

$80 a pair!

Another alternative:

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-652
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post #7 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 03:48 AM
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fwiw, if you live near a fry's electronics store the pioneer bs-22's go on sale quite often for $77 a pair or you can take a look at another good bargain in the infinity p163's which are on sale now for $99 .if you like to listen to music loud the infinity's are more efficient and will play louder.
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post #8 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smasher50 View Post

fwiw, if you live near a fry's electronics store the pioneer bs-22's go on sale quite often for $77 a pair or you can take a look at another good bargain in the infinity p163's which are on sale now for $99 .if you like to listen to music loud the infinity's are more efficient and will play louder.

Thank you! The BS-22s have some glowing reviews! I do like louder music on occasion, and the p163s are on sale for $90 at Crutchfield; I just may pull the trigger. How can I tell if speakers will work with my receiver?
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post #9 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 11:03 AM
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Any speakers will work with your receiver, but one issue with the excellent-sounding Pioneer speakers is their low sensitivity.

This can mean that a lower-powered receiver will not have enough power for them for higher volume levels.
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post #10 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 12:13 PM
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You might find something nice in thrift store. I recently donated two speaker systems locally to the Goodwill store. One was a 90's vintage Boston Acoustics Sub/Sat 6 system that sounded pretty good for what it was. The other was a pair of Vifa driven MTM type systems with a pair of 8" woofers surrounding a 1" tweeter. They weighed in at 70 lbs each and my wife made me get rid of them. They sounded great but didn't meet the basic eye appeal requirements of my better half. Whoever bought those certainly got bargains. The Pioneer bookshelves that ArnyK recommended above have good reviews.
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post #11 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Any speakers will work with your receiver, but one issue with the excellent-sounding Pioneer speakers is their low sensitivity.

This can mean that a lower-powered receiver will not have enough power for them for higher volume levels.

The Philips DFR 1500 is so old and limited that the user's manual doesn't even list the power ratings. However, based on the heatsink and the UL power rating on the back panel, I'd guess maybe 100 wpc.





It shouldn't be in trouble with the little Pioneer speakers.
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post #12 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Ordered the P163s. Seemed like a good deal at $90, and didn't know how long the sale would last.

Appreciate the input from everybody; and I'm still armed with more knowledge in case I do stumble on some good thrift store speakers.
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post #13 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 01:16 PM
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Hope you understand the $90 is for one speaker, not a pair.
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post #14 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 01:53 PM
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Hope you understand the $90 is for one speaker, not a pair.
lol Seriously?
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post #15 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 02:05 PM
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Can the mods please move this post to the 1 Channel Audio forum?
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post #16 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 03:09 PM
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nturchin doesn't always post on AVS, but when he does, he prefers to drink Dos Equis while doing it. tongue.gif

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post #17 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 03:11 PM
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If you can double your budget to $200 per speaker, and are handy with making your own speakers, you could have two of these:

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits/other/bwaslo-15-kit.html

Their sound quality is on par with B&W 802's, I'm not joking.

www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/1205bw‎

That's what I run. (I actually run 7 of them... It's a work-in-progress.)




The black theater paint I put on my walls was: $500, the carpet that my speakers are sitting on is: $2000. My subwoofers cost me $13000.

It sure can add up quick.
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post #18 of 32 Old 08-27-2013, 05:56 PM
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post #19 of 32 Old 08-28-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Hope you understand the $90 is for one speaker, not a pair.

Seriously! I'll keep it polite and not type what I'm really thinking. And I just got an update that the order already shipped!

Who ever heard of selling a single bookshelf speaker? Though it clearly says 89.99 each, and I missed it!

Looks like it's $10 to return to Crutchfield. So now my budget is $90...

Maybe I'll try selling the small RCA surround speakers and some boardgames to get another $90 and order the other p163. Though a pair of BS-22s is $50 cheaper.

As for playing loudly: will the BS-22s (paired with my sub) handle loud volumes. I don't play music obnoxiously loud, but on occasion I'll have it loud enough where you'd have trouble having a conversation in the same room as the speakers.

And my receiver puts out 70W per channel, enough for BS-22s.
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post #20 of 32 Old 08-28-2013, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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And my receiver puts out 70W per channel, enough for BS-22s?

Meant that as a question, is 70w enough for BS22s thanks?
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post #21 of 32 Old 08-28-2013, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
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And my receiver puts out 70W per channel, enough for BS-22s?

Meant that as a question, is 70w enough for BS22s thanks?

Yes.
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post #22 of 32 Old 08-28-2013, 02:20 PM
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Yes.
Agreed

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post #23 of 32 Old 08-28-2013, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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So, a local Craigslist went up with a pair of Polk RT55s, unnamed pair of Definitive bookshelf speakers, a polk subwoofer, and an Onkyo TX SR506 receiver.

I can't find many newer posts about RT55 speakers, but the ones from a decade ago make them out to be good speakers. It seems that I could come close to breaking even if the RT55s work out by re-selling the Definitives and my current 5.1 system (keeping the better subwoofer). Or, more likely, I'll be out ~$50 for a pair of RT55s and an upgrade to my receiver.

Does anyone have experience with RT55s? Do they compare to the aforementioned speakers? Am I better off getting something newer?

Thanks for all the help thus far.
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post #24 of 32 Old 08-28-2013, 09:55 PM
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The good thing is you're not spoiled like us so you probably don't even know what excellent sounds like. My 8 year old nephew thinks Ryans steakhouse its the greatest did ever created. I wish sometimes I was in your position. Buy some decentd condition used gear and you will likely be thrilled. Don't spend a lot on cables. Won't make a bit of difference.
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post #25 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 03:25 AM
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Sorry to have been the bearer of bad news. I think if you can get the funds for the second speaker you will enjoy them.
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post #26 of 32 Old 08-30-2013, 11:34 AM
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Since everybody buys speakers for 5.1 or 7.1 these days, and the "5" and "7" are odd numbers, it's often necessary to buy single speakers to complete a surround setup. It's a surround thing, I wouldn't understand, being a 2-channel kinda guy...

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post #27 of 32 Old 08-30-2013, 11:38 AM
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If you can double your budget to $200 per speaker, and are handy with making your own speakers, you could have two of these:

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits/other/bwaslo-15-kit.html

Their sound quality is on par with B&W 802's, I'm not joking.

Seriously? Wow.

Thanks for the comparison, since I'm well acquainted with the sound of B&W 801, 802, etc.

I've been on a quest to find good sounding high-sensitivity speakers for my little weenie tube amp. I've been trying to put together a 10" plus horn tweeter setup that competes with my Snell Type C's. I find the horns sound more forward, maybe not as 'sweet' as the old Snells. But maybe those SEOS based speakers are smoother sounding in the upper mids? Maybe...

Hopelessly addicted to this stuff, but on a strict budget.

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Homebrew DC-coupled, push-pull, 2A3 amp
Homebrew RIAA phono preamp (simplifed ver. of Arthur Loesch design, help from diyAudio crew)
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post #28 of 32 Old 08-30-2013, 11:53 AM
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Oh, by the way... Re: the OP, if you know what you're looking for, craigslist can be a good source of decent gear for cheap. They're not my cup of tea, but there are a lot of Polk and Klipsch speakers out there that go for low prices. If you have the room for a pair of floorstanding Klipsch from the KG series, these don't fetch much money. They are big. They sound pretty good, though, and will go crazy loud with any power at all. Sometimes you can find older Klipsch Reference series speakers for low money (RF or RB models). Those are better, imo.

Good luck. I got into tube gear back in the early 1980s because that stuff gave me good sound for little money (back then, not now!). There are always audio bargains to be had. The problem is finding what is undervalued at the moment.

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post #29 of 32 Old 09-02-2013, 05:31 AM
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post #30 of 32 Old 09-02-2013, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again everyone.

I returned the P163 to Crutchfield (big kudos to them, no questions asked, flat $10 fee for return postage), and this weekend picked up some speakers on Craigslist: a pristine pair of Polk RT55s (with stands) and a 303b sub. They sound awesome!

Also form that craigslist deal were a pair of Definitve Bi-Polar 1 bookshelf speakers and a Paradigm CC-150. Hopefully I can re-sell these (I listed them $50 for the BP-1s, $30 for the center channel), and I'll have upgraded my speakers "for a song."
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