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post #1 of 45 Old 07-04-2012, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm new to writing in these forums but have found them helpful through other people's threads and always seem to find myself here after a quick Google search.

So here's the deal: I've got about $2,500 to spend on setting up an audio system. The room it will be going in will be quite large, but may differ to a smaller sized room in the future. They will be connected to my computer and record player, and will be mainly used to play music (including records), games, and the occasional movie. My musical tastes cover every genre, from blues and free-form jazz to punk rock and even the occasional rap album.

I'd like to be able to play said music at reasonably high volume levels (probably around 90 - 100dB maximum), without worrying about loss of quality. That being said, I highly doubt that my house will turn into a dingy suburban nightclub anytime soon.

Note that the $2,500 budget must include the amplifier (Integrated, I'd assume. I don't think you can get a power/pre amp combo under $1,500?), but I'd like the brunt of the budget to be spent on the speakers.

I'd also like your opinions on the Cerwin Vega XLS-215 speakers. I've seen a few negative opinions, but they were easily swamped by positive ones. At about $1,800 for the pair and an amp, they're a serious consideration. I'd like to hear what you have to say.

Thanks for your time. Any extra information you need can be provided.
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post #2 of 45 Old 07-05-2012, 01:48 PM
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For the amp, I'd recommend the Outlaw RR2150. I've had mine for two years and it has been the cornerstone of my system:

http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/rr2150.html

Or you could get Emotiva gear:

http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/processors


Speakers are pretty subjective. I have five pairs and they all do something well. These are great:

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/psb-synchrony-two-b-bookshelf-speaker

A really great option, these have built in subs and I just bought a pair - they are built at cost by a speaker designer and bring value well beyond their $1300 price:

http://soundfieldaudio.net/Products.html
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post #3 of 45 Old 07-07-2012, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting, I'll keep those speakers in mind. As I will with the Outlaw RR2150.

Anyone else?
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post #4 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 10:40 AM
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Speakers are indeed subjective.

I'm a fan of horns.

I'd say investigate some used Klipsch LaScalas. If you can live with their size and asthetics, you can sometimes find them for a nice price (usually with some dings on them but, that doesn't necessarily effect their sound which to me, is the important part)

Buy them used over time as you piece the parts together, add a sub to them and you will have dynamics out the wazoo.

I once obtained an empty LaScala cabinet for free and just a week ago, someone on ebay had a pair of beater LaScalas that sold for several hundred. Perhaps not common but it happens.

If you want furniture looks or have the WAF issue then you can probably forget 110% of what I've said.

wink.gif
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post #5 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 12:02 PM
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The best speakers I know of for under $2500/pair are the ones I am using, which are the Gallo Acoustics CL-3. I could go on all day about how absolutely wonderful they are, but it would probably be a lot more helpful and easier if you can get the article about them in the current (July/August) issue of The Absolute Sound. Even though they are not very large (31" tall), they put out powerful bass down to 32 Hz and put out incredibly good and powerful sound. They will go well above 100db with no hint of overload or distortion. I am driving them with an Audio Research preamp and Bryston 150W power amp, but they could easily be driven by a 40W amp.

Suffice it to say that I have two homes, and these sound almost as good as the Vandersteen 3A speakers that I have at my other house (they cost nearly $5000 and give out heavenly sound). My listening BTW, is mainly classical and jazz with a little of bluegrass, blues, pop, and other stuff to boot, plus movies too.

You can get them direct from Gallo by ordering online for $1595 (which is $800 less than the dealer price quoted in the TAS article), and they give a full refund and pay return shipping for 60 days; hard to lose on that. I think that they are very confident that you won't want to send them back...lol. These things compete well with speakers in the $3000 range...really!

They replaced a set of PSB Image T6 speakers, which run $1300 and are also excellent speakers for the money. I had them for two years, and the sound was very good.

The best integrated amplifier I know of for under $900 is the Music Hall A15.2, which Music Direct is selling for the incredible low price of only $499. There are a couple of Cambridge Audio and NAD amps that sell for $800 that are fairly good, but this one is better-sounding and less money; a nice combination for sure. It also has a pretty good phono preamp built in to it, which saves spending $100-200 for a separate one.

The Musical Fidelity M3i is a great integrated amplifier, but it is $1500 and does not have a phono preamp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by br00mmmm View Post

I'm new to writing in these forums but have found them helpful through other people's threads and always seem to find myself here after a quick Google search.
So here's the deal: I've got about $2,500 to spend on setting up an audio system. The room it will be going in will be quite large, but may differ to a smaller sized room in the future. They will be connected to my computer and record player, and will be mainly used to play music (including records), games, and the occasional movie. My musical tastes cover every genre, from blues and free-form jazz to punk rock and even the occasional rap album.
I'd like to be able to play said music at reasonably high volume levels (probably around 90 - 100dB maximum), without worrying about loss of quality. That being said, I highly doubt that my house will turn into a dingy suburban nightclub anytime soon.
Note that the $2,500 budget must include the amplifier (Integrated, I'd assume. I don't think you can get a power/pre amp combo under $1,500?), but I'd like the brunt of the budget to be spent on the speakers.
.
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post #6 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 12:59 PM
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Another member here just bought a 5.0 KEF system for $2,200 delivered from Vanns. This includes a pair of Q900, one Q600 center, and a pair of Q800 surrounds. So perhaps getting the Q900 + Q200 center & Q100 surrounds will be much less. Ask Vanns if they can sell you a Denon 3312 for $550 delivered (along with the KEF system). Amazon was selling the Denon 3312 for $550 a few weeks ago. If not, perhaps Electronics Expo will.

Ask Vanns if they can also give you a sweet price on a KEF subwoofer too. If you buy the entire system from Vanns (or Electronics Expo), they might surprise you. biggrin.gif
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post #7 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 01:41 PM
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I wouldnt bother spending more on the receiver then something like a HK 3490

http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-HK-3490-Receiver/dp/B00198F89A/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1341779927&sr=1-2&keywords=hk+3390

That leaves $2k for speakers. These JBL 590's are definitely capable of delivering high output, low distortion, and full solid bass

http://www.onecall.com/Product/JBL/Studio-590-Black-Ea/Speaker/_/R-113543?PMNID=5291
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post #8 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coytee View Post

Speakers are indeed subjective.
I'm a fan of horns.
I'd say investigate some used Klipsch LaScalas. If you can live with their size and asthetics, you can sometimes find them for a nice price (usually with some dings on them but, that doesn't necessarily effect their sound which to me, is the important part)
Buy them used over time as you piece the parts together, add a sub to them and you will have dynamics out the wazoo.
I once obtained an empty LaScala cabinet for free and just a week ago, someone on ebay had a pair of beater LaScalas that sold for several hundred. Perhaps not common but it happens.
If you want furniture looks or have the WAF issue then you can probably forget 110% of what I've said.
wink.gif

Damn, they look like good speakers. Albeit out of my price range. (http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-La-Scala-Horn-Loaded-Loudspeaker/dp/B000EI3TZ6) frown.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The best speakers I know of for under $2500/pair are the ones I am using, which are the Gallo Acoustics CL-3. I could go on all day about how absolutely wonderful they are, but it would probably be a lot more helpful and easier if you can get the article about them in the current (July/August) issue of The Absolute Sound. Even though they are not very large (31" tall), they put out powerful bass down to 32 Hz and put out incredibly good and powerful sound. They will go well above 100db with no hint of overload or distortion. I am driving them with an Audio Research preamp and Bryston 150W power amp, but they could easily be driven by a 40W amp.
Suffice it to say that I have two homes, and these sound almost as good as the Vandersteen 3A speakers that I have at my other house (they cost nearly $5000 and give out heavenly sound). My listening BTW, is mainly classical and jazz with a little of bluegrass, blues, pop, and other stuff to boot, plus movies too.
You can get them direct from Gallo by ordering online for $1595 (which is $800 less than the dealer price quoted in the TAS article), and they give a full refund and pay return shipping for 60 days; hard to lose on that. I think that they are very confident that you won't want to send them back...lol. These things compete well with speakers in the $3000 range...really!
They replaced a set of PSB Image T6 speakers, which run $1300 and are also excellent speakers for the money. I had them for two years, and the sound was very good.
The best integrated amplifier I know of for under $900 is the Music Hall A15.2, which Music Direct is selling for the incredible low price of only $499. There are a couple of Cambridge Audio and NAD amps that sell for $800 that are fairly good, but this one is better-sounding and less money; a nice combination for sure. It also has a pretty good phono preamp built in to it, which saves spending $100-200 for a separate one.
The Musical Fidelity M3i is a great integrated amplifier, but it is $1500 and does not have a phono preamp.

Would you buy the Vandersteen 2Ce Signature II or the Gallo CL-3? Regardless of price?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

Another member here just bought a 5.0 KEF system for $2,200 delivered from Vanns. This includes a pair of Q900, one Q600 center, and a pair of Q900 surrounds. So perhaps getting the Q900 + Q200 center & Q100 surrounds will be much less. Ask Vanns if they can sell you a Denon 3312 for $550 delivered (along with the KEF system). Amazon was selling the Denon 3312 for $550 a few weeks ago. If not, perhaps Electronics Expo will.
Ask Vanns if they can also give you a sweet price on a KEF subwoofer too. If you buy the entire system from Vanns (or Electronics Expo), they might surprise you. biggrin.gif

I'll definitely keep an eye out for some cheap KEFs, they sound like good value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

I wouldnt bother spending more on the receiver then something like a HK 3490
http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-HK-3490-Receiver/dp/B00198F89A/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1341779927&sr=1-2&keywords=hk+3390
That leaves $2k for speakers. These JBL 590's are definitely capable of delivering high output, low distortion, and full solid bass
http://www.onecall.com/Product/JBL/Studio-590-Black-Ea/Speaker/_/R-113543?PMNID=5291


I was leaning towards a HK 3490 for the amp as well, have you had any experience with them?


It looks as if there are a lot of decent speakers under my budget that would suffice to my needs. It's so hard to choose.
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post #9 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

Another member here just bought a 5.0 KEF system for $2,200 delivered from Vanns. This includes a pair of Q900, one Q600 center, and a pair of Q900 surrounds. So perhaps getting the Q900 + Q200 center & Q100 surrounds will be much less. Ask Vanns if they can sell you a Denon 3312 for $550 delivered (along with the KEF system). Amazon was selling the Denon 3312 for $550 a few weeks ago. If not, perhaps Electronics Expo will.
Ask Vanns if they can also give you a sweet price on a KEF subwoofer too. If you buy the entire system from Vanns (or Electronics Expo), they might surprise you. biggrin.gif

I second the KEF recommendation. Great value for the money. Not to hard to drive either.
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post #10 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by br00mmmm View Post

I was leaning towards a HK 3490 for the amp as well, have you had any experience with them?

I have the HK 3390, the 80 watt/channel version without the digital inputs (no DAC). Sounds very good. There are some other regulars on AVS with the 3490, and they've reported liking it very much.

Ascend Acoustic Sierra-1 Towers and Salk Songtowers are two of the more popular recommendations here for music in your budget range. Search in this forum and you should find plenty of discussion.

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post #11 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 06:58 PM
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If you are mainly just going for straight music, I have to recc the B&W 683's. I had them (and then sold them) and they were marvelous for music, and movies as well. Quite breathtaking the first time I heard them. They are usually $750 per speaker, but you can probably get them cheaper. Now, this is also assuming you only want a stereo system and not 5.1 If you did get the B&W's, that be about $1500 gone, which would leave you $1000 to play with. A Denon 2311 from A4L is $350, and now you've got $650 for a sub, if you wanted one. The B&W's can definitely hold their own for most music, but you may also want something else for the down low. You can get an Epik Legend for $500 (not including shipping, which will probably be $90 or less, depending on your zip code).
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post #12 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting...

What are our thoughts on B&W 683s?
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post #13 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 08:53 PM
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You know what is funny about this thread? That aside from one poster all everyone did was recommend the speakers they own without considering anything the OP requested, which is a speaker that plays LOUD. In order to achieve this, he needs an efficient speaker like the Klipsch that were recommended.

Kef, Gallo, Sierra or any of the other inefficient speakers recommended are not efficient speakers.

OP, you have to look at companies like:

JTR
Seaton Sound
Klipsch
JBL
Chase

Or any other speaker above 93db sensitivity.
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post #14 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fanaticalism View Post

You know what is funny about this thread? That aside from one poster all everyone did was recommend the speakers they own without considering anything the OP requested, which is a speaker that plays LOUD. In order to achieve this, he needs an efficient speaker like the Klipsch that were recommended.
Kef, Gallo, Sierra or any of the other inefficient speakers recommended are not efficient speakers.
OP, you have to look at companies like:
JTR
Seaton Sound
Klipsch
JBL
Chase

Or any other speaker above 93db sensitivity.

Quite right, I missed the 100db in a large room with no loss of quality.. Klipsch or Chase would be in budget.
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post #15 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 10:05 PM
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Sensitivity is certainly not a bad thing and will make achieving his goal easier. But still, if you're sitting 10ft away from a pair of 90db efficient speakers that are relatively close to a wall, you'll only need about 25W to reach 100dB.
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post #16 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fanaticalism View Post

You know what is funny about this thread? That aside from one poster all everyone did was recommend the speakers they own without considering anything the OP requested, which is a speaker that plays LOUD. In order to achieve this, he needs an efficient speaker like the Klipsch that were recommended.
Kef, Gallo, Sierra or any of the other inefficient speakers recommended are not efficient speakers.
OP, you have to look at companies like:
JTR
Seaton Sound
Klipsch
JBL
Chase

Or any other speaker above 93db sensitivity.

One poster? OP stated 90-100 db max. What I recommended will hit over 100 db at 4 meters.
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post #17 of 45 Old 07-08-2012, 11:53 PM
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well because you are talking about the Cerwin Vega XLS-215, I think you are more inclined to a DJ or PA type of speakers.

if not the JBL ,klipsh ect will be a good choice.

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post #18 of 45 Old 07-09-2012, 01:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coytee View Post

I'd say investigate some used Klipsch LaScalas
Quote:
Originally Posted by br00mmmm View Post

Damn, they look like good speakers. Albeit out of my price range.

You evidently missed my key word of used and putting them together over time. I know how much they are to buy new however those are the LaScala II's and if you buy them used, you can buy some LaScala I's (not that they're called "ones"), perhaps originals. They've been around for decades. My pair alone, I bought factory new in 1979 and they're going strong today, 33 years later.

Here are what appear to be pretty examples on ebay http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_sacat=0&_nkw=klipsch+la+scala&_nkwusc=kllipsch+lascala&_rdc=1

If one can live with something less pretty (did I just call those pretty? wink.gif) they can be had for less.

Be it as it may... doesn't mean they'd be your cup of tea, not everyone likes them or they'd be in every home.

They will however, provide you with dynamics out the wazoo. They are somewhere around 103/104 db / watt. Low end is limited which is why I also suggested mating them with a good sub.
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post #19 of 45 Old 07-09-2012, 01:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fanaticalism View Post

You know what is funny about this thread? That aside from one poster all everyone did was recommend the speakers they own without considering anything the OP requested, which is a speaker that plays LOUD. In order to achieve this, he needs an efficient speaker like the Klipsch that were recommended.
Kef, Gallo, Sierra or any of the other inefficient speakers recommended are not efficient speakers.
OP, you have to look at companies like:
JTR
Seaton Sound
Klipsch
JBL
Chase

Or any other speaker above 93db sensitivity.

Actually, as an owner of LaScalas for over 30 years, I'm gulity as well.... biggrin.gif
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post #20 of 45 Old 07-09-2012, 11:52 AM
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I had the HK 3490 and the Outlaw RR2150 both at home for demo for about a week. HK has the look but this hobby is primarily about performance. I had to give it to the Outlaw. I totally love this piece.

I went through the in-home battle between these two receivers and went for Outlaw:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1283717/outlaw-rr2150-hk-435
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post #21 of 45 Old 07-09-2012, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelkingdom View Post

I had the HK 3490 and the Outlaw RR2150 both at home for demo for about a week. HK has the look but this hobby is primarily about performance. I had to give it to the Outlaw. I totally love this piece.
I went through the in-home battle between these two receivers and went for Outlaw:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1283717/outlaw-rr2150-hk-435

I enjoyed the read smile.gif One thing in favor of the Outlaw is the built in high pass crossover. For anyone wanting to run a sub with 2 channel audio, it's nice to be able to pick a different crossover point other than the natural roll off of the speakers. It really surprises me that more home audio 2 channel stereo units aren't building that feature in. Can't cost that much to add an analog crossover switch like the RR2150 has.

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post #22 of 45 Old 07-09-2012, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Just to clear something up: I don't want speakers primarily focused on achieving loud volumes such as PA or DJ speakers, but speakers that can go loud if the need arises. My room isn't "large", only about 35 square metres. It may be quite big, but not big enough to warrant DJ speakers, and considering that they will (most likely) be move into a smaller room, we should refocus our replies on the best and not necessarily loudest speakers that would suit my needs.

The suggestions on brands are good, but I need specific speakers; links to websites. Some speakers from certain companies might be junk whilst others are easily better.

I'll give that thread a read, Michael. smile.gif

Thanks for the help so far.
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post #23 of 45 Old 07-09-2012, 06:01 PM
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The outlaw R2250 receiver is, or was, a Stereophile class C pick. Very good for two channel. Emotiva has excellent equipment in your range. Excellent amp and preamp for $500-600. Their second in line tower speakers just got a very good review in the August Stereophile.
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post #24 of 45 Old 07-09-2012, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

well because you are talking about the Cerwin Vega XLS-215, I think you are more inclined to a DJ or PA type of speakers.
if not the JBL ,klipsh ect will be a good choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by br00mmmm View Post

Just to clear something up: I don't want speakers primarily focused on achieving loud volumes such as PA or DJ speakers, but speakers that can go loud if the need arises. My room isn't "large", only about 35 square metres. It may be quite big, but not big enough to warrant DJ speakers, and considering that they will (most likely) be move into a smaller room, we should refocus our replies on the best and not necessarily loudest speakers that would suit my needs.
The suggestions on brands are good, but I need specific speakers; links to websites. Some speakers from certain companies might be junk whilst others are easily better.
I'll give that thread a read, Michael. smile.gif
Thanks for the help so far.


I made my comment base on your first choice, The Cerwin Vega XLS-215 is kind of a PA or DJ speakers and there is nothing about quality on those speakers ,they are huge speakers so Im not sure what you really want.

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post #25 of 45 Old 07-09-2012, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

I made my comment base on your first choice, The Cerwin Vega XLS-215 is kind of a PA or DJ speakers and there is nothing about quality on those speakers ,they are huge speakers so Im not sure what you really want.

I thought the same thing, but after reading these reviews I'm confused.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/cerwin-vega-xls-215-1

http://www.avrev.com/home-theater-loudspeakers/speaker-systems/cerwin-vega-xls-215-floorstanding-loudspeaker-review.html

http://www.amazon.com/Cerwin-Vega-Xls-215-15-Inch-Series-Speaker/dp/B002JGXNHU
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post #26 of 45 Old 07-10-2012, 05:54 AM
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Cerwin Vega has a historical following among those that are looking for loud, dynamic speakers. Most likely those reviews are coming from those who were seeking exactly that. There are plenty of other speaker options in your budget range that will be better for overall sound quality.

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post #27 of 45 Old 07-10-2012, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fanaticalism View Post

Kef, Gallo, Sierra or any of the other inefficient speakers recommended are not efficient speakers.

But they will play loud, as loud as the OP needs without noticable distortion or compression provided he's powering them with enough juice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by br00mmmm View Post

Just to clear something up: I don't want speakers primarily focused on achieving loud volumes such as PA or DJ speakers, but speakers that can go loud if the need arises. My room isn't "large", only about 35 square metres. It may be quite big, but not big enough to warrant DJ speakers, and considering that they will (most likely) be move into a smaller room, we should refocus our replies on the best and not necessarily loudest speakers that would suit my needs.
The suggestions on brands are good, but I need specific speakers; links to websites. Some speakers from certain companies might be junk whilst others are easily better.
I'll give that thread a read, Michael. smile.gif
Thanks for the help so far.

In that case check out Salk Sound, Kef and Revel. If you need to start with a really good 2.0 system first go for it. An amazing 2.0 or 2.1 system will trump an average 5.1 system every time. Start with a great pair of fronts and a good sub or matching center channel and then add the rears down the road when money permits.

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post #28 of 45 Old 07-10-2012, 02:49 PM
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I still stand by my recommendation.
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post #29 of 45 Old 07-10-2012, 04:45 PM
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Just have to chime in here again about the Outlaw RR2150. It has a very nice USB DAC, Phono, subcrossover and is very flexible for the audio tinkerer. Right now I am using it as a preamp as well out to some Behringer amps. I really love the piece.
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post #30 of 45 Old 07-10-2012, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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So many brands... so many speakers... so confused...

From all the replies I'm gathering that purchasing speakers is fairly subjective?
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