Budget friendly towers - Infinity, Polk, Fluance, etc. Opinions wanted. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 10-27-2012, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello all. I'm hoping to get some opinions. First some background. I'm 35 and audio has always been a big hobby of mine, despite being put on the back burner many, MANY times. I worked in the car audio industry a few years back and had a car system that would rival many true home audiophile systems, consisting of Eclipse, JL Audio, Phoenix Gold, Soundstream, MB Quart, Boston, etc. This was many years ago though, when only a small handful of people had heard of most of these companies. When they were very respectable companies offering very high quality products before going "mainstream" and being sold in the big "blue and yellow" store.

Well, it's been many years since I've owned a brand new pair of speakers, due to divorce, lack of employment opportunities, bills, moving, etc. It's time for some new ones, but I'm on a very limited budget these days (aren't we all?). But after doing my homework for quite a few days, I've narrowed my choices down and would like some opinions.

My absolute budget is $300 for a pair. They will be 90% music, 10% movies. I prefer a "warmer" sound over "bright", smooth with some decent dynamic range, if that helps any. So here's my choices. any, and all, opinions are welcome.
Infinity P362 / 363 (whichever is cheaper at time of purchase)
Pioneer SP-FS52
Fluance AVFR
BIC Venturi DV64
Polk Monitor 60

There's two other possible candidates, if I can get them on sale a little cheaper -
Polk Monitor 70
Premier Acoustic PA-6F

But if I can't find those two cheaper....
Please let me add that bookshelfs and a sub are not optional.
Thanks!
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post #2 of 18 Old 10-28-2012, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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So I'm hearing that the lower priced Fluance are rather bad and the Infinity and polks are kinda bright, with the Polks being brighter. Don't want bright. Would like to find some reviews on the Premier's, but there just aren't really any.

I'm kinda leaning towards the Pioneer or BIC. This would leave some money left over to buy a new 12" driver for an old Radio Shack passive sub I have collecting dust.


Bueller? Bueller?

**EDIT**
I'm removing Polk, Fluance and Premier Acoustic from my choices. This leaves me with the Pioneer, Infinity and BIC DV's. These choices will also leave me a few dollars to use towards a new 12" driver for an old Radio Shack sub I have that's been collecting dust for a few years.
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post #3 of 18 Old 10-28-2012, 07:20 PM
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If you can go out and listen to the Pioneers or Infinity it would be worth it. I would describe the Infinity 363s as fairly neutral and FS52s as laid back (highs are a bit rolled off) but that's just my opinion. Both are great budget speakers.

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post #4 of 18 Old 10-28-2012, 08:52 PM
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Here is a subjective review, of the Infinity and Pioneer FS52
http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/913866-post51.html

I also have the FS52 in-house, and I do not consider their highs rolled-off.
The smooth sounding and detailed tweeter, is one of the things that does
stand out to me. The Pioneers are good with music, with a nice midrange,
and no harsh or edgy sound. I also agree that the bass is tight, articulate,
and good with music. Thay also throw a nice soundstage.

Good Luck with your choice.

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #5 of 18 Old 10-29-2012, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks you two, I appreciate the input. Thanks for that review Z. Really gave me some in depth info I've been trying to find. Tough choice between the Pioneers and Infinity's. I think I've got it down to these two since I can't find a good review on the BIC's. I like my low end in my music, but articulation is just as important to me. A trip to BB might be in store to check out the Pioneers since I'm leaning a little more towards those. And being a few $$ cheaper, I could upgrade my crappy Optimus sub. Found a suitable driver (Rockford Fosgate R2D4-12), but need to get a new x-over for it since it's current one is at 250Hz. Hardly acceptable for a sub.

If anyone has any input on these BIC's, or more on the Pioneer or Infinity's, your welcome to chime in.
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post #6 of 18 Old 10-30-2012, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Uh oh...found another set. Boston Acoustics HS450's for under $300 a pair. Anyone heard these?
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post #7 of 18 Old 10-30-2012, 08:55 PM
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I own Revel Performa F52s and Infinity P363s. I'd have to say the Infinities are about 65% - 70% the performance of the Revels at less than less than 1/20th the cost if we're talking strictly MSRP. The price difference is much higher is you take actual street and sale prices. The Infinity is not at all bright sounding. Frequency response is exceptionally flat for any speaker let alone one that can be had for $100 each on sale. Their off axis response is also quite good. I think they have to be the best kept secret of the budget speaker world. I've had a chance to audition the first generation Pioneers and must say they were good, but not as good as the Infinity. The Infinity digs deeper and had a little more clarity across the entire frequency range. I don't have any experience with the second generation Pioneers so I can't really compare the two.
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post #8 of 18 Old 10-30-2012, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zagnutty View Post

Uh oh...found another set. Boston Acoustics HS450's for under $300 a pair. Anyone heard these?

They would be nice, the decision is yours to make.

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post #9 of 18 Old 10-30-2012, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zagnutty View Post

So I'm hearing that the lower priced Fluance are rather bad and the Infinity and polks are kinda bright, with the Polks being brighter. Don't want bright. Would like to find some reviews on the Premier's, but there just aren't really any.
I'm kinda leaning towards the Pioneer or BIC. This would leave some money left over to buy a new 12" driver for an old Radio Shack passive sub I have collecting dust.
Bueller? Bueller?
**EDIT**
I'm removing Polk, Fluance and Premier Acoustic from my choices. This leaves me with the Pioneer, Infinity and BIC DV's. These choices will also leave me a few dollars to use towards a new 12" driver for an old Radio Shack sub I have that's been collecting dust for a few years.
Actually there is an Official Premier Acoustic PA-8F Thread here. The PA-8F is similar to the PA-6F in design and appearance, but bigger with 8" woofers instead of 6". Both are good solid budget speakers with no frills. Contrary to some of the posts over there, the cabinets are finished in simulated wood grain vinyl, not veneer. I don't own their towers, but for my Energy speaker system the Energy subwoofers were overpriced wimps. I bought two PA-120 subs. I still have them and they really kick arse as a pair. They are massive, heavy 2.5 cu ft cabinets with internal bracing. They are ported with f3 at 30 Hz.. Above that they are amazingly flat and neutral sounding. They don't have any bass boom. I found they are excellent for music too not just movies. I would recommend these subs or the PA-150 over anything Rat Shack sells. I have never heard the PA-6F towers. But I would say they are neither bright nor laid back based on what I recall reading about the PA-8F.

If I were looking for a good budget speaker, I would get Infinity over the others in your list. Premier Acoustic would likely be next. If you like warm sounding speakers not on a budget, you'd like my Energy speakers. Paradigm is another good choice but they aren't budget either.
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post #10 of 18 Old 10-30-2012, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duc135 View Post

I own Revel Performa F52s and Infinity P363s. I'd have to say the Infinities are about 65% - 70% the performance of the Revels at less than less than 1/20th the cost if we're talking strictly MSRP. The price difference is much higher is you take actual street and sale prices. The Infinity is not at all bright sounding. Frequency response is exceptionally flat for any speaker let alone one that can be had for $100 each on sale. Their off axis response is also quite good. I think they have to be the best kept secret of the budget speaker world. I've had a chance to audition the first generation Pioneers and must say they were good, but not as good as the Infinity. The Infinity digs deeper and had a little more clarity across the entire frequency range. I don't have any experience with the second generation Pioneers so I can't really compare the two.
Thanks for your input. I really appreciate your opinion, as it's contradictory to other things I've heard. I've read that the Pioneers go lower, but aren't as articulate, as the P363's and that the P363's are somewhat "bright". I definitely need to take a trip and listen to the Pioneers, and the Infinity's if I can find a store that carry's them. I've pretty much narrowed it down to these two and you just made the decision more difficult...thanks, lol. Really am having a tough time deciding between these two. But I really do appreciate your opinion. So thanks again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star Hawk View Post

Actually there is an Official Premier Acoustic PA-8F Thread here. The PA-8F is similar to the PA-6F in design and appearance, but bigger with 8" woofers instead of 6". Both are good solid budget speakers with no frills. Contrary to some of the posts over there, the cabinets are finished in simulated wood grain vinyl, not veneer. I don't own their towers, but for my Energy speaker system the Energy subwoofers were overpriced wimps. I bought two PA-120 subs. I still have them and they really kick arse as a pair. They are massive, heavy 2.5 cu ft cabinets with internal bracing. They are ported with f3 at 30 Hz.. Above that they are amazingly flat and neutral sounding. They don't have any bass boom. I found they are excellent for music too not just movies. I would recommend these subs or the PA-150 over anything Rat Shack sells. I have never heard the PA-6F towers. But I would say they are neither bright nor laid back based on what I recall reading about the PA-8F.
If I were looking for a good budget speaker, I would get Infinity over the others in your list. Premier Acoustic would likely be next. If you like warm sounding speakers not on a budget, you'd like my Energy speakers. Paradigm is another good choice but they aren't budget either.
Thank you as well Hawk. The 6F's are out of the equation unless they go on sale and have free shipping. Absolute budget is $300. You must've seen my other thread concerning my passive Rat Shack sub. Any kind of powered sub is out of the question. The budget just doesn't permit for anything of any kind of acceptable quality here though. IF I go with the Pioneers, then I can use the remaining budget to buy a new 12" driver and an active crossover to split between my amps. If I go with the Infinity's, no sub upgrade. For mostly music use, I don't need a sub, but it would be nice. The main reason I'm leaning so heavily towards the Pioneers is that they can be had locally. After reading a gazillion reviews about towers damaged in transit during shipping, I'm somewhat concerned about ordering online. If budget allowed, or should I say my other half allowed, I'd consider some Energys or Definitive Technology in a heartbeat. I'm actually considering scouring the classifieds to see if I can find some used DCM's in good shape as well. Friend had some a few years back and I loved them. I almost scored some used Mission towers for $30(working and in good shape I might add!) a few days ago off craigslist. Someone beat me to them by only about an hour.
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post #11 of 18 Old 11-01-2012, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I may have the opportunity to get my hands on a pair of Athena AS-F1.2' s for under $200 in mint condition.

So...for mostly music.... Athena's, Pioneers, or Infinity P362/363?

And I listen to anything and everything, except country, with no sub, moderate volume, about 1300ft2 room.
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post #12 of 18 Old 11-01-2012, 06:59 PM
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If you are after dynamic range (that's usually a comment of volume) look for the highest efficiency.

If you mean frequency range: then carry on (I'm only personally familiar with the Primus from that list).
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post #13 of 18 Old 11-01-2012, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zagnutty View Post

I may have the opportunity to get my hands on a pair of Athena AS-F1.2' s for under $200 in mint condition.
So...for mostly music.... Athena's, Pioneers, or Infinity P362/363?
And I listen to anything and everything, except country, with no sub, moderate volume, about 1300ft2 room.
Those Athenas are good speakers, I had a pair of the orginal F1's for about 5-6 years. The tweeter can be a little bright so if possible see if you can get a demo before buying, especially since you said you like a warmer sounding speaker.

What about these Pioneer speakers? Perfect if you're budget conscious.
http://flint.craigslist.org/ele/3261337007.html

Afro GT
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post #14 of 18 Old 11-02-2012, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Jerry, frequency is more important than shear volume. This old Kenwood amp I've got will have no problem providing juice if I want things to be neighbor maddening loud.
Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

Those Athenas are good speakers, I had a pair of the orginal F1's for about 5-6 years. The tweeter can be a little bright so if possible see if you can get a demo before buying, especially since you said you like a warmer sounding speaker.
What about these Pioneer speakers? Perfect if you're budget conscious.
http://flint.craigslist.org/ele/3261337007.html
I can always eq the highs down a little if something is a tad bright. I Can live with something slightly on the bright side. Would prefer not to, but given size and budget constraints, compromises will have to be made. Thanks for that link. I really need a narrow tower though, as floor space is at a minimum. I'm still looking on Craigslist and ebay for some cheap alternatives that are decent.

On a side note, my listening area is NOT 1300ft2. My math was so buggard yesterday. I have no idea where I got 1300ft2 from. There's an extra 1 in there that shouldn't be. It's more like 300ft2. 7 foot ceiling. Listening room in my basement.

For humor purposes, somehow I wound up with 28 when I added 10+10+18. I did it three times. In reference to component width and two speakers. Yeah, yesterday was a rough day mentally I'd say. lmao.
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post #15 of 18 Old 11-03-2012, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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An update, looks like the Athenas have been sold. The same guy offered to sell me his Paradigm 7SE's and stands, but I can't have something on stands due to cats and a 3 year old. BUT...I got a lead on some Infinity IL-40's now that I need to check into! If something used locally doesn't come through, I've set my mind on the Pioneers.


**EDIT**
Crap, got some JBL N38II's to look into too.
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post #16 of 18 Old 11-03-2012, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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JBL's out of the question, they're damaged. IL-40's are in mint condition and $175. Guy also has IL-50's, but I think those may be too big. Really looking at these IL-40s...might pull the trigger tomorrow.
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post #17 of 18 Old 11-03-2012, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Pulled the trigger. Meeting on Monday for the IL40's. biggrin.gif
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post #18 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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OMG! eek.gif My last "good" speakers were back in the 90's, a pair of JBL J900MV's and Cerwin Vega DX-3's. (Ex-wife got them both in divorce. Didn't want the equipment, just the speakers. mad.gif) At that time, I was only about 19. I thought the JBL's sounded great for the cost of them. But after listening to these Infinity IL-40's...wow! I took 3 test tracks in lossless - Dave Brubeck "Take Five" (I know it like the back of my hand), Alex Clare "Too Close" acoustic (Fantastic sounding version! Ripped from the hi-def version of this - http://youtu.be/OuvdzBt64RQ ) and a dubstep track I know goes quite low, Bassnectar "Timestep". Fantastic sounding speaker! I take delivery next Wednesday.smile.gif

On a side note, he's selling some IL-50's. Man those things are ginormous.
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