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post #1 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I would like to have better sound in my living room and my primary purpose is to listen to music (progressive house mostly) through my laptop/mp3 player and a little television. I am not interested in a 5 or 7 speaker setup, and do not plan on using a subwoofer (probably inviting a lot of complaints in my apartment building anyway). I have a very limited budget, but have found some options that I would like to ask someone knowledgeable.

1) If I go for a small amp such as http://www.amazon.com/LP-2020A-Lepai-Tripath-Class-T-Amplifier/dp/B0049P6OTI/ref=cm_cmu_pg__header , will it run any of the bookshelf speakers listed below at a good volume level? Also, between the ones listed below, any recommendations and why?
- Pioneer SP-BS41
- Polk Audio Monitor30 Series II 2 way bookshelf speakers
- Polk Audio Monitor40 Series II 2 way bookshelf speakers

Total cost of setup above is $25+[$85 - $150] = $110 - $175

2) In terms of sound, will there be a big difference if I instead decide to go with
- Energy EF-500
- Pioneer SP-FS51
- Polk Audio Monitor50 Series II Floorstanding Loudspeaker
Which do you recommend and why?
Will these speakers need a more powerful amp/receiver than the one I posted from amazon? If yes, how about something basic like a Pioneer VSX-521-K? I have found a used one for less than $100 on craigslist.

Total cost of setup above is $75+[$100-$160] = $175 - $235

Thanks for your time:)
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post #2 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 10:04 AM
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Yes there will be a big difference if you go with the option number 2 with a fuller sound and larger sound stage.

Ignore the Energy EF-500 they are overpriced rebadged Jamo speakers. The Polk or Poineers would be a better bet with the nod going to the Pioneers.

For just powering those pair of towers the VSX-521 will have plenty of power
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post #3 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post

Yes there will be a big difference if you go with the option number 2 with a fuller sound and larger sound stage.
Ignore the Energy EF-500 they are overpriced rebadged Jamo speakers. The Polk or Poineers would be a better bet with the nod going to the Pioneers.
For just powering those pair of towers the VSX-521 will have plenty of power
How much difference will I hear if I try to run the Pioneer SP-FS51 through the amazon linked amp (Lepai Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier with Power Supply) instead of a Pioneer vsx521? For reference, my living room is about 18 x 11.

Random question: Any opinion on a used pair of Polk Audio RTA 8T (15-20 years old) for $150 instead of the Pioneer FS51 or Polk Monitor 50?
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post #4 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slique12 View Post

How much difference will I hear if I try to run the Pioneer SP-FS51 through the amazon linked amp (Lepai Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier with Power Supply) instead of a Pioneer vsx521? For reference, my living room is about 18 x 11.
Random question: Any opinion on a used pair of Polk Audio RTA 8T (15-20 years old) for $150 instead of the Pioneer FS51 or Polk Monitor 50?
Yes you will notice a differance between the amps. the Lepai is only meant for for smaller speakers, efficient speakers. The Poineers are not that efficient and take to get decent sound

If you can have the Polk RTA's demo'd for you and the rubber surrounds around the speaker seem to be intact and they sound good go for them. Older speakers tended to be built well. (But I have a thing for older speakers with my Sony TL-6/TL-5's)

Here is some info on the older Polk Speakers http://www.polksda.com/rta8t.shtml
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post #5 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post

Yes you will notice a differance between the amps. the Lepai is only meant for for smaller speakers, efficient speakers. The Poineers are not that efficient and take to get decent sound
If you can have the Polk RTA's demo'd for you and the rubber surrounds around the speaker seem to be intact and they sound good go for them. Older speakers tended to be built well. (But I have a thing for older speakers with my Sony TL-6/TL-5's)
Here is some info on the older Polk Speakers http://www.polksda.com/rta8t.shtml
Thanks for the reply. I doubt I will have the expertise to judge on the quality of the older Polk speakers, so its perhaps better I stick to new. The trouble is, if I get the floor standing speakers from Polk or Pioneer, I dont think I can figure out which cheap receiver would fit the bill so that the speakers sound good and the receiver doesnt get too hot. The Pioneer vsx 521 I found on craigslist is sold.

IF I go for the smaller amp from amazon, which one of the smaller speaker setups from the list I posted do you recommend?
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post #6 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 11:08 AM
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Look at the Sherwood 4105 receiver - it will drive the speakers
http://www.jr.com/sherwood/pe/SHE_RX4105/

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #7 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Look at the Sherwood 4105 receiver - it will drive the speakers
http://www.jr.com/sherwood/pe/SHE_RX4105/
x2
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post #8 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 11:42 AM
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Or just get some active monitors and be done. cool.gif
http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-High-Resolution-Reference-Monitor-Speaker/dp/B002GHBZ3Q/ref=pd_sim_sbs_MI_5/188-2199036-5715304

For laptop speakers I use a set of these that I picked up cheap:
http://www.amazon.com/Ion-Powered-Conversion-Speakers-Pair/dp/B001BN35DO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349722092&sr=8-1&keywords=Ion+Desk+Rocker

The larger behringer truth monitors would be a better choice though.
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post #9 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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No comments on which bookshelf is best? I am moving from laptop speakers (ugh, i know) to a new setup, so thought PERHAPS just a bookshelf style pair and the cheaper Lepai Tripath could be enough? Any comments? I hear that the Pioneer BS41's are a really good option in that category, currently selling for $85.
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post #10 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nograveconcern View Post

Or just get some active monitors and be done. cool.gif
http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-High-Resolution-Reference-Monitor-Speaker/dp/B002GHBZ3Q/ref=pd_sim_sbs_MI_5/188-2199036-5715304
For laptop speakers I use a set of these that I picked up cheap:
http://www.amazon.com/Ion-Powered-Conversion-Speakers-Pair/dp/B001BN35DO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349722092&sr=8-1&keywords=Ion+Desk+Rocker
The larger behringer truth monitors would be a better choice though.
Thanks for showing some alternatives, but the first link takes me to a speaker setup that is at least $250 for both speakers, so a bit out of my budget.
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post #11 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 01:25 PM
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Get the used Pioneer receiver since you want to hook up both a laptop and a TV.

Another consideration. The Polk M50s or the Pioneer SP-FS51s would be nice if you don't already have speaker stands or a shelf to set the bookshelves on. No stands needed smile.gif

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post #12 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Get the used Pioneer receiver since you want to hook up both a laptop and a TV.
Another consideration. The Polk M50s or the Pioneer SP-FS51s would be nice if you don't already have speaker stands or a shelf to set the bookshelves on. No stands needed smile.gif

Post #5
"The Pioneer vsx 521 I found on craigslist is sold."

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Who and Where - is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PA-R200, Pioneer VSX-30
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Post #5
"The Pioneer vsx 521 I found on craigslist is sold."

I'm slow today. LOL frown.gif

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post #14 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I'm slow today. LOL frown.gif

As the world turns.smile.gif

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Receiver > Tascam PA-R200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #15 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks like I will buy either the Pioneer FS51 or the Polk Monitor 50's today since the newegg deal expires tonight. While they are shipped, look for a cheap deal on a good beginner receiver?
Seems like this has been the unanimous suggestion when comparing the floor standing speakers with the book shelf ones from the lists I have provided.
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post #16 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Get the used Pioneer receiver since you want to hook up both a laptop and a TV.
Another consideration. The Polk M50s or the Pioneer SP-FS51s would be nice if you don't already have speaker stands or a shelf to set the bookshelves on. No stands needed smile.gif
You raise a good point, I hadnt thought about how I will place my speakers. I dont have any stands, or for that matter, any shelving around the tv area for bookshelf speakers. Keeping them on the floor will probably negatively impact their performance? If so, should look into the floor standing speakers..
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post #17 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slique12 View Post

You raise a good point, I hadnt thought about how I will place my speakers. I dont have any stands, or for that matter, any shelving around the tv area for bookshelf speakers. Keeping them on the floor will probably negatively impact their performance? If so, should look into the floor standing speakers..

Sure. smile.gif

There may not be that much difference between the Monitor40 and Monitor50, but certainly the SP-FS51 is better than the BS21.

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post #18 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Sure. smile.gif
There may not be that much difference between the Monitor40 and Monitor50, but certainly the SP-FS51 is better than the BS21.
What about the BS41's?
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post #19 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Ordered the Pioneer SP-FS51 for $120 shipped:) Below are the specs:
Power Rating
130 W (Max.)
Frequency Response
45 Hz-20 kHz
Nominal Impedance
6 Ohms
Sensitivity
87 dB (2.83 V)

When looking at ANY receiver to pair with these for a 2.0 setup, what are the minimum specs I should be looking into to get good output from these speakers? The only other thing to note is that I would like to connect my TV to these speakers as well.

Thanks
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post #20 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slique12 View Post

Ordered the Pioneer SP-FS51 for $120 shipped:) When looking at ANY receiver to pair with these for a 2.0 setup, what are the minimum specs I should be looking into to get good output from these speakers? The only other thing to note is that I would like to connect my TV to these speakers as well.

Good choice

What is the receiver budget?

Look at Denon 1612
http://www.jr.com/denon/pe/DNN_AVR1612_hy_RB/

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Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PA-R200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #21 of 35 Old 10-08-2012, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Good choice
What is the receiver budget?
Look at Denon 1612
http://www.jr.com/denon/pe/DNN_AVR1612_hy_RB/
Honestly, as low as possible? Looking into refurbished and used receivers (craigslist).

Wanted to know minimum specs so that I can automatically exclude a few that I find. I have no brand preference, as long as it provides good power to the Pioneers so that they perform as intended. Also, would want something that I can use for a TV hookup (hdmi would be nice?) with perhaps an xbox as well.

Would like to stay under $250 total, so that leaves only $130 for the receiver. I realize this isnt a lot, but I did find a Pioneer vsx 521 from last year for $75 (now sold), so hoping there are other good deals to be had. Any particular models I can focus on in the refurbished or used market?
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post #22 of 35 Old 10-09-2012, 03:37 AM
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fwiw, accessories4less has refurb. denon avr1612 for $180 free ship. which has audyssey to help placement of speakers for best sound.but if your looking for something to just power your speakers and easy tv hookup via hdmi they also have some entry level receivers the denon avr1312 $120 or the onkyo ht-rc330 $100

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #23 of 35 Old 10-09-2012, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slique12 View Post

Thanks for showing some alternatives, but the first link takes me to a speaker setup that is at least $250 for both speakers, so a bit out of my budget.

Oooops, missed the each thing. I think you will like the pioneers though. I like my 52's.
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post #24 of 35 Old 10-09-2012, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
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As I previously mentioned, I recently bought a pair of Pioneer SP-FS51 floor speakers. I would like to create a 2.0 setup without a woofer, mostly for music (progressive house), some television and a little xbox gaming. I do use a mac/ipod touch so airplay is in consideration, but since my understanding of airplay is that it only works through itunes, I'm not sure how much value I will receive from it. Overall, I would like to purchase a receiver that can provide good, clean power to these speakers.

My receiver budget is simply "the lower, the better", so am posting my research below for suggestions. I definitely would NOT like to spend $300 on this, but wanted to post all my research here.

If possible, please recommend the best under $150, the best under $200 and the best under $250 with the highlight of each best pick over the other top pick that falls under the cheaper category. This way, I will be able to exactly see what value I will receive by spending more.

Lastly, all refurbs carry a 1 year manufacturer warranty.

  • LP-2020A+ Lepai Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier - $25
  • Onkyo HT-RC330 refurb - $110
  • Onkyo TX-SR309 refurb - $129
  • Denon AVR-391 refurb - $131
  • Denon AVR-1312 refurb - $140
  • Denon AVR-1513 refurb - $169
  • Onkyo TX-SR313 refurb - $170
  • Denon AVR-1612 refurb - $175
  • Pioneer VSX-522-K - $180
  • Yamaha RX-V371BL - $190
  • Onkyo HT-R590 refurb - $190
  • Onkyo TX-SR313 - $195
  • Onkyo HT-RC430 - $198
  • Denon AVR-1312 - $200
  • Onkyo TX-SR309 - $200
  • Onkyo TX-NR509 refurb - $210
  • Onkyo HT-RC260 refurb - $240
  • Onkyo TX-NR414 refurb - $240
  • Onkyo HT-RC360 refurb - $250
  • Denon AVR-1613 refurb - $250
  • Denon AVR-791 refurb - $250
  • Denon AVR-1513 - $250
  • Yamaha RX-V373 - $250
  • Marantz Sr4003 refurb - $260
  • Marantz NR1402 Slimline refurb - $260
  • Onkyo TX-NR509 - $260
  • Onkyo TX-NR515 refurb - $260
  • Denon AVR-1712 refurb - $260
  • Harman Kardon AVR 1565 - $265
  • Marantz Sr5002 refurb - $270
  • Onkyo TX-SR608 refurb - $270
  • Onkyo TX-NR414 - $270
  • Denon AVR-1713 refurb - $280
  • Yamaha RX-V571BL - $297
  • Onkyo HT-RC360 - $298
  • Pioneer VSX-1022-K - $279
  • Harman Kardon AVR 700 - $300
  • Denon AVR-1912 refurb - $306
  • Denon AVR-1613 - $320

Thank you for your time and feedback!
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Here's a quick suggestion. I like the Denon 1612. It got an excellent review for a budget receiver from hometheater.com: http://www.hometheater.com/content/denon-avr-1612-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures.
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post #26 of 35 Old 10-09-2012, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Here's a quick suggestion. I like the Denon 1612. It got an excellent review for a budget receiver from hometheater.com: http://www.hometheater.com/content/denon-avr-1612-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures.
Thanks for your reply.

I was basically trying to see if there were any options under $150 to which someone said "that would be really good for my needs". Such as Onkyo HT-RC330, Onkyo TX-SR309, Denon AVR-391 or Denon AVR-1312.

If I do end up spending between $150 and $200, then the Denon 1612 is definitely one of the top 2-3 picks. Because I have not heard any of the models I have listed, I was hoping someone could sort of break down the list by price ranges, and kind of give a run down of what to expect in each price range so I could make an educated decision.

This is way more confusing than I had anticipated.
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post #27 of 35 Old 10-10-2012, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Bump.
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post #28 of 35 Old 10-10-2012, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so what do I need for a pair of Pioneer FS51 speakers and a receiver such as a Denon 1612?

8 banana plugs? How are the ones below?
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10401&cs_id=1040115&p_id=2801&seq=1&format=2

Wire? What gauge? 16? The minimum length I find is 50 feet. Is this good?
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023903&p_id=2749&seq=1&format=2
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post #29 of 35 Old 10-10-2012, 05:06 PM
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You don't need banana plugs. They are for convenience only. If you uncrew the caps on the speaker connectors on the receiver and speakers (you don't have to unscrew it all the way), you can hook in bare wire.

There is a chart on this page (scroll down) that most people recommend for determining what gauge speaker wire you need. The Pioneers are 6 ohms, so then you just need to know how far you will run it.

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post #30 of 35 Old 10-10-2012, 06:20 PM
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I would personally at least get 4 banana plugs for the connections to the receiver. As you will soon find out it is a hassle to get back there and feed wire under the caps with very little clearance. The Denon 1612 is a great entry level receiver, and I recently heard the Pioneers and they are a great deal.

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