"Super-Budget" 2.0 speaker upgrade - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 57 Old 02-02-2012, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all. I was looking for a sound upgrade for my TV (TH-42PZ80U). Obviously, the built-in speakers aren't the best quality, and they don't allow me to experience the audio quality bump from BD discs.

Unfortunately, I don't have space for surround sound or a receiver. This really is not negotiable. It is a very small space.

After much consideration, here is a budget solution that I thought of, with the help from members of another forum.

My BD player, the BDT-210, outputs HDMI audio and analog 2.0 audio at the same time (with "high clarity" off). This means that I can connect the player to speakers via analog 2.0.

Here's what I was thinking.
1. Lepai TA2020, to amp the speakers.
http://www.amazon.com/Lepai-Tripath-...dp/B0049P6OTI/

2. Pioneer SP-BS21-LR
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Pioneer+...=1218224799780

I have heard very good things about the Pioneers, and for my budget, I think it is probably the best I can do. Since I have a giftcard from BB, my out of pocket costs will only be about $30-40, which is easier for me to swallow.

3. Cables from monoprice.

I am a student, so I don't have much to spend on HT equipment. I think this would be a decent upgrade, given the budget. Budget= ~$100-150

One question: Would I be able to take advantage of the higher bitrate DTS-MA and DD-True HD tracks, or will the player "downgrade" it to the lower bitrate tracks? I don't really care that I'm not getting surround sound, but I really did want to take advantage of the higher quality tracks.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 57 Old 02-02-2012, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbird3216 View Post

Hi all. I was looking for a sound upgrade for my TV (TH-42PZ80U). Obviously, the built-in speakers aren't the best quality, and they don't allow me to experience the audio quality bump from BD discs.

Unfortunately, I don't have space for surround sound or a receiver. This really is not negotiable. It is a very small space.

After much consideration, here is a budget solution that I thought of, with the help from members of another forum.

My BD player, the BDT-210, outputs HDMI audio and analog 2.0 audio at the same time (with "high clarity" off). This means that I can connect the player to speakers via analog 2.0.

Here's what I was thinking.
1. Lepai TA2020, to amp the speakers.
http://www.amazon.com/Lepai-Tripath-...dp/B0049P6OTI/

2. Pioneer SP-BS21-LR
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Pioneer+...=1218224799780

I have heard very good things about the Pioneers, and for my budget, I think it is probably the best I can do. Since I have a giftcard from BB, my out of pocket costs will only be about $30-40, which is easier for me to swallow.

3. Cables from monoprice.

I am a student, so I don't have much to spend on HT equipment. I think this would be a decent upgrade, given the budget. Budget= ~$100-150

One question: Would I be able to take advantage of the higher bitrate DTS-MA and DD-True HD tracks, or will the player "downgrade" it to the lower bitrate tracks? I don't really care that I'm not getting surround sound, but I really did want to take advantage of the higher quality tracks.

Thanks!

For speakers spend an extra $10 on these Bic dv62si http://www.amazon.com/BIC-America-DV.../dp/B00006JPDI these are a lot better and superior to the Pioneers

You need to spend at least $200 alone on AVR/Amp to take advantage of HD audio codecs
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post #3 of 57 Old 02-04-2012, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion on the BICs.

Is that true about the HD codecs? So the way I understand it, it is almost like a RAW file with an embedded JPEG. Only RAW editors can access the uncompressed image files, but other programs can still access the embedded lossy JPEG.

Is this a correct analogy?
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post #4 of 57 Old 02-04-2012, 09:40 AM
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The little 20-watt amplifier would be adequate If you get high-sensitivity speakers. Unfortunately, those Pioneer speakers are completely incompatible with it. You DO NOT want them!!!!

They have a sensitivity of only 84db per watt, which is absolutely horrible!

They would need a MINIUMUM of 60 watts per channel to drive them properly.

You need speakers that have a sensitivity rating of 88db per watt or higher. Each 3db drop in sensitivity means you have to DOUBLE the amplifier power to get the same sound. This means that those Pioneer speakers take 100 watts of power to give the same sound as a 90db per watt speaker with 1 watt of power!!!

The Sony SSB-3000 speakers would be a much better choice (or the SSF-5000) to use with that amplifier. The SSB-3000 are true 3-way speakers with 8" woofers and are only $75 per pair on Amazon. they should be perfect for your application.




.
Here's what I was thinking.
1. Lepai TA2020, to amp the speakers.
http://www.amazon.com/Lepai-Tripath-...dp/B0049P6OTI/

2. Pioneer SP-BS21-LR
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Pioneer+...=1218224799780

I have heard very good things about the Pioneers, and for my budget, I think it is probably the best I can do. Since I have a giftcard from BB, my out of pocket costs will only be about $30-40, which is easier for me to swallow.

3. Cables from monoprice.

I am a student, so I don't have much to spend on HT equipment. I think this would be a decent upgrade, given the budget. Budget= ~$100-150


Thanks![/quote]
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post #5 of 57 Old 02-04-2012, 09:51 AM
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I do not believe that the Bic is superior, to the Pioneer speakers.
However, due to the low sensitivity of the Pioneer speakers, I do
believe the Bic is a nice option for you.

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post #6 of 57 Old 02-04-2012, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbird3216 View Post

Thanks for the suggestion on the BICs.

Is that true about the HD codecs? So the way I understand it, it is almost like a RAW file with an embedded JPEG. Only RAW editors can access the uncompressed image files, but other programs can still access the embedded lossy JPEG.

Is this a correct analogy?

Basically, the bandwidth required to handle HD audio cannot be passed through the standard rca cables. HDMI or a receiver with 6 channel analog inputs is required. The HD audio will be downgraded to 2 channel stereo with rca outs. If using optical via toslink, you will get the "core" audio but it maxes out at 1.5 megs/sec. Most bluray discs with HD audio codecs average 5-8 megs/sec.

That amp doesn't have the inputs or processing power to handle HD. All you will get is 2 ch stereo.

Just a suggestion:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-650

Parts express also sells the lepai amp as well. There are some various articles about those speakers and are supposedly quite good for the price.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-20005175-47.html

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post #7 of 57 Old 02-04-2012, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The little 20-watt amplifier would be adequate If you get high-sensitivity speakers. Unfortunately, those Pioneer speakers are completely incompatible with it. You DO NOT want them!!!!

They have a sensitivity of only 84db per watt, which is absolutely horrible!

They would need a MINIUMUM of 60 watts per channel to drive them properly.

You need speakers that have a sensitivity rating of 88db per watt or higher. Each 3db drop in sensitivity means you have to DOUBLE the amplifier power to get the same sound. This means that those Pioneer speakers take 100 watts of power to give the same sound as a 90db per watt speaker with 1 watt of power!!!

The Sony SSB-3000 speakers would be a much better choice (or the SSF-5000) to use with that amplifier. The SSB-3000 are true 3-way speakers with 8" woofers and are only $75 per pair on Amazon. they should be perfect for your application.




.
Here's what I was thinking.
1. Lepai TA2020, to amp the speakers.
http://www.amazon.com/Lepai-Tripath-...dp/B0049P6OTI/

2. Pioneer SP-BS21-LR
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Pioneer+...=1218224799780

I have heard very good things about the Pioneers, and for my budget, I think it is probably the best I can do. Since I have a giftcard from BB, my out of pocket costs will only be about $30-40, which is easier for me to swallow.

3. Cables from monoprice.

I am a student, so I don't have much to spend on HT equipment. I think this would be a decent upgrade, given the budget. Budget= ~$100-150


Thanks!

[/quote]

I think you are wrong about 100 w of power for 84db speaker than is needed to achieve the same spl level as 90db speaker with 1w.. I kinda suspect this releationship might hold true for very high SPL levels (far above the level my wife would tolerate), but definitely wrong with regard to 90 db

in fact, (IMO) even for a low sensitivity speaker, 15-20 w of power would be (might be) enough to watch movies in a typical condo with neighbours on all sides

I am not sure though on the amp that is specified above..
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post #8 of 57 Old 02-04-2012, 11:55 AM
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I have that same amp powering my BS41's as computer speakers. They work just fine for it in that regard, and get plenty loud.
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post #9 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the feedback.

It seems that the current options are:
1. Pioneer BS21
2. Sony SSB-3000
3. Dayton 652

I am leaning toward not buying the Dayton's, since I would like to have something that lasts longer, not in product durability, but in how long I will be using it before an upgrade. Of course, I expect that I want to upgrade the amp someday, but I want the speakers to be at least usable in a less demanding role.

I am having difficulty understanding the resistance/sensitivity of speakers. I had studied this in physics, but I forgot most of it. The way I remember it, the higher the impedance, the harder it is for the amp to drive it. But I'm not sure about sensitivity.

Ancedotedly, it seems that the Lepai amp is capable of driving the Pioneer speakers. Can someone else confirm this?

Also, regarding the HD codecs, I thought analog can handle HD as well? I mean, sure it will not be surround sound, but wouldn't I be able to take advantage of the high bitrate soundtrack in 2-channel? I guess it all depends on the DAC in the BDT210.
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post #10 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 01:41 PM
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These:

http://www.amazon.com/AudioSource-AM.../dp/B00026BQJ6

are nice li'l amps for the money and I can testify to their longevity.

¿lɐɯɹou ǝq ʎɥʍ

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post #11 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 01:48 PM
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Go to the peak spl calculator. Put in numbers. You need figure out how loud you'll play. If you want to play half as perceived loudness as a commercial cinema, you need to handle 95 db peaks. That's -10db down. How many watts and sensitivity is hat for you? Or half again, at 85db peaks?
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post #12 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 02:07 PM
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I got the ssb3000 for my father in law and they sounded pretty good last week

Main System
Fronts RB 81 II BLK
Cener RC 52 II BLK
Rears RB 61 II CHERRY (going to be replaced with a black set)
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post #13 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, I just realized that the BS21's are now $49.99 + Free Shipping at Newegg. That is a GREAT deal. Since the offer expires on Thur. I still have some time to think about it (given it doesn't sell out).

Now the greatest issue is the amp. I did a peak spi calculator, and it said that I could get 99db SPL, with a 20 watt amp. Given that I will sit between 5-8 feet away from the speakers, I think that will be plenty loud.
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post #14 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 02:43 PM
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You are in New York? You should be able to find a used receiver in Craigslist for $50 if you just watch, such as this Denon.

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post #15 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

You are in New York? You should be able to find a used receiver in Craigslist for $50 if you just watch, such as this Denon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbird3216 View Post

Unfortunately, I don't have space for surround sound or a receiver. This really is not negotiable. It is a very small space.


Dude says he hasn't room.

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post #16 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by citizen arcane View Post

Dude says he hasn't room.

Oppss. Missed that

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post #17 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbird3216 View Post

Now the greatest issue is the amp. I did a peak spi calculator, and it said that I could get 99db SPL, with a 20 watt amp. Given that I will sit between 5-8 feet away from the speakers, I think that will be plenty loud.

If you can work it out - then look at this Audiosource Amp
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=302-654

Maybe cheaper from someone here
http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CEEQ8wIwAQ#

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Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #18 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbird3216 View Post

Now the greatest issue is the amp. I did a peak spi calculator, and it said that I could get 99db SPL, with a 20 watt amp. Given that I will sit between 5-8 feet away from the speakers, I think that will be plenty loud.

I calculate 95 from one of those speakers in a corner at 8 feet.

I agree with getting the 60 watt amp, so you're less likely to clip.
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post #19 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyleron View Post

I agree with getting the 60 watt amp, so you're less likely to clip.

You mean as opposed to the 40 watt Lepai for over 3 times the money? I have a Lepai, and it gets plenty loud. And as bhazard already noted, it is loud enough for the Pioneer BS41s, which are only 85db. It would be better to spend that money on more sensitive speakers, or just go with the BS21s. What do you get for 50% more wattage? An extra 1.5db of volume?

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post #20 of 57 Old 02-05-2012, 10:54 PM
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The Pioneers will own all those BIC or Sony craps suggested by people who haven't even listened to any Pioneers! And don't waste time with weak T-amps. I have the Trends TA10.1, which is a good amp but just don't have the power. Go for Audiosource AMP 100, solid 50wpc.
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post #21 of 57 Old 02-06-2012, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


You mean as opposed to the 40 watt Lepai for over 3 times the money? I have a Lepai, and it gets plenty loud. And as bhazard already noted, it is loud enough for the Pioneer BS41s, which are only 85db. It would be better to spend that money on more sensitive speakers, or just go with the BS21s. What do you get for 50% more wattage? An extra 1.5db of volume?

Sorry don't know where I saw 60 watts. I meant the Audiosource 100: 50 watts.

Going from 20 to 50 watts is 4 db. I read that one can even have good results with speakers down to 85 db sensitivity with the 20 watt t-amps. The Pioneer is even lower at 84. The T-amps also have a pretty harsh clip and it's recommended to stay within 60% of volume, so I suggest more power, since people tend to turn it up higher than they think they will.
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post #22 of 57 Old 02-06-2012, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbird3216 View Post

Thanks for the suggestion on the BICs.

Is that true about the HD codecs? So the way I understand it, it is almost like a RAW file with an embedded JPEG. Only RAW editors can access the uncompressed image files, but other programs can still access the embedded lossy JPEG.

Is this a correct analogy?

You need to have a receiver/avr that can receive decoded HD codecs or does the decoding itself. HD codecs can only be transferred through HDMI cables(can be through surround pre-outs to surround inputs but it's rare receivers have them these days as the switch to HDMI occurred)

So RCA cables won't do the trick

The HD audio codecs you are originally referring to apply to surround sound only
------------------------------------------------------------------
I have heard the Pioneers, Bic's and Sony b3000

My choice is the Bic dv62, Sony than Pioneer.

Pioneer were weak on all fronts, sony's had the most bass, Pioneers were just a very weak muffled sound with poor imaging IMHO

Bic dv62si shined in all categories
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post #23 of 57 Old 02-06-2012, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyleron View Post

Sorry don't know where I saw 60 watts. I meant the Audiosource 100: 50 watts.

Going from 20 to 50 watts is 4 db. I read that one can even have good results with speakers down to 85 db sensitivity with the 20 watt t-amps. The Pioneer is even lower at 84. The T-amps also have a pretty harsh clip and it's recommended to stay within 60% of volume, so I suggest more power, since people tend to turn it up higher than they think they will.

Yeah, I don't run my much beyond 12 o'clock on the dial.

But I know that $65 more is a lot to many college students, and that's a lot of that budget just for a few more db. Might have more fun by spending $80 more and getting the Pioneer SW-8 that is on sale for $80 off, assuming that the TV has adjustable output levels.

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post #24 of 57 Old 02-06-2012, 08:05 AM
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One other thing. An extra 3 or 4db in volume may sound like a lot. However, it takes 10db more output for a perceived double increase in volume. So you would hear a difference with an extra 3 or 4db, but it's probably not as significant as you might think.

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post #25 of 57 Old 02-06-2012, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbird3216 View Post


I have heard very good things about the Pioneers, and for my budget, I think it is probably the best I can do. Since I have a giftcard from BB, my out of pocket costs will only be about $30-40, which is easier for me to swallow.

If you can get the Pioneer at that price - then this Amp is attractive,
with the free shipping.
http://www.jr.com/audio-source/pe/ASO_AMP100/

I will tell you that, I have had Pioneer in a bigger room than yours -
and a good clean 20 watts will drive them.

__________________________________________
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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PA-R200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #26 of 57 Old 02-06-2012, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

One other thing. An extra 3 or 4db in volume may sound like a lot. However, it takes 10db more output for a perceived double increase in volume. So you would hear a difference with an extra 3 or 4db, but it's probably not as significant as you might think.

Well, it's as much of a difference as what people get when they go from a 78 wpc receiver to something like the Emotiva XPA-3, @ 200 wpc. YMMV on whether that sort of upgrade is noticeable or significant.

Personally, I'm about 3-5dB shy of where I wish I could turn my volume to. Compression and distortion skyrocket at that higher level, audibly as harshness and as measured in REW, because speakers and receiver are stressed.
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post #27 of 57 Old 02-06-2012, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyleron View Post

Well, it's as much of a difference as what people get when they go from a 78 wpc receiver to something like the Emotiva XPA-3, @ 200 wpc. YMMV on whether that sort of upgrade is noticeable or significant.

Personally, I'm about 3-5dB shy of where I wish I could turn my volume to. Compression and distortion skyrocket at that higher level, audibly as harshness and as measured in REW, because speakers and receiver are stressed.

I think the XPA-3 example is a little more complex than that since the extra wattage is going to the front speakers where a majority of the sounds is coming from during HT. And we are talking about a budget $100-$150 setup, which is a different class of electronics with an OP for whom the difference in money is probably much more an issue than it is to most people on this forum.

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post #28 of 57 Old 02-06-2012, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiok View Post

The Pioneers will own all those BIC or Sony craps suggested by people who haven't even listened to any Pioneers! And don't waste time with weak T-amps.

Is Pioneer giving you some kind of kick back? I like my BICs but I really don't care what other people buy. It's no biggie to me. I'm not trying to persuade anybody to my way of thinking. It's not a religion or political thing or some kind of contest. I only care that when I turn on my amp I hear a realistic presentation and that I attained it by the least amount of money.

I have heard the Pioneers and think they have muffled sound and are very inefficient. On the plus side I thought they were nicely warm and probably easy to listen to. The Pioneers may be OK with proper EQ. Not sure how the clarity and soundstage would be.
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post #29 of 57 Old 02-06-2012, 09:34 AM
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I have the SS-B300 speakers and they are pretty good.....if you are upgrading from tv speakers.

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post #30 of 57 Old 02-06-2012, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I think the XPA-3 example is a little more complex than that since the extra wattage is going to the front speakers where a majority of the sounds is coming from during HT. And we are talking about a budget $100-$150 setup, which is a different class of electronics with an OP for whom the difference in money is probably much more an issue than it is to most people on this forum.

Fair enough.

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Originally Posted by NuSoardGraphite View Post

I have the SS-B300 speakers and they are pretty good.....if you are upgrading from tv speakers.

I can't tell if this is an endorsement or not?
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