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post #1 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
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2.0 for under 1k

The home theater is down in the basement, but I need to get music into the rest of the house, so I need a system for the living room. There is no TV, so I just need stereo sound and I don't think I want to add a sub yet. For the speakers I am thinking about either

Fluance XL7F
BIC Venturi 8in

Which hopefully will provide enough low end for music without a sub.

The original plan was to upgrade the HT receiver and move the old one (HK 630) upstairs to drive the new speakers. Unfortunately, that receiver is essentially dead (it likes to randomly jump to full volume as I'm turning the knob, and the problem is rapidly getting worse). So I'm looking at some stereo receivers.

HK 3770
Onkyo TX-8050
Yamaha R-N500

I was leaning toward the HK at first, but the connectivity is behind the other two and it isn't rated for 4 ohm so it wouldn't work with the Fluance. The Onkyo has a lot of reviews saying it is buggy, and the Yamaha seems like the best (albeit most expensive) choice. All these receivers have network connectivity, which is very nice since I stream a lot. But, with digital sources as my primary input, these systems might be considerable overkill. There is a big price range here. If I decide the digital music doesn't warrant much in the way of hardware I could get by with the Venturi and the Onkyo for under $600. But, part of me wants to splurge on the Fluance and Yammy for just over a grand.

Comments? Suggestions?
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post #2 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 10:15 AM
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H/K has been getting progressively worse in quality over the years. I would skip it. I would be looking at surround sound receivers, yes, even for stereo systems. As for speakers, I don't know about the Fluance, but I would skip the BIC. I would be looking at something like these Focal Chorus speakers.
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post #3 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 01:33 PM
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Have a look at these.
Very promissing from a reputable company.
Also it look like you have a choice of finish.

http://www.svsound.com/speakers/prim...es/prime-tower

$1000 and might get away with a sub or adding on in the future.

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post #4 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darthray View Post
Have a look at these.
Very promissing from a reputable company.

http://www.svsound.com/speakers/prim...es/prime-tower

$1000 and might get away with a sub or adding on in the future.

Ray
Whoa, $1k has got to include the amp! Thanks for the suggestion, though.
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBigJ View Post
Whoa, $1k has got to include the amp! Thanks for the suggestion, though.
Then what about these
http://emptek.com/towers.php

Personaly never heard them but got recomandation quite often.
That would leave $300 for a Receiver, and now a day you can get something pretty descent for that price.
But I got no recommandtion in that department.

Anyhow let us know of your progress and what you decide to go at the end.
We like to help and also know the end result.

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post #6 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by darthray View Post
Then what about these
http://emptek.com/towers.php

Personaly never heard them but got recomandation quite often.
That would leave $300 for a Receiver, and now a day you can get something pretty descent for that price.
But I got no recommandtion in that department.

Anyhow let us know of your progress and what you decide to go at the end.
We like to help and also know the end result.

Ray
Yeah, I considered those EMP towers too. I've been working from the Audioholics recommended stereo system. 1st choice was a pair of speakers from Boston Acoustics and the alternatives were the EMP and the Fluance. My preference was the Fluance because they were quite a bit cheaper than the other two and they have more bass (again, I'm trying to skip the sub for now).

I'm really curious what can be found for $300 for an amp. The ones I looked at in that price range scared me off.
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 02:27 PM
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My choice on a tight budget for some high quality speakers, is the
Boston RS334 speakers - and the bass will go to 40 hz.

Sold each with a real good price - leaves room for a nice receiver
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...specifications

I would also keep Focal on a short list.

Your call

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Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #8 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBigJ View Post
Whoa, $1k has got to include the amp! Thanks for the suggestion, though.
Denon refurbished E300 AVR: http://www.accessories4less.com/make...airplay/1.html

Cost = $200 (includes free shipping)

Instead of towers, you might consider bookshelf speakers with a small sub.

Philharmonic Audio: http://philharmonicaudio.com/aa.html

Cost = $165 / pair (does not include free shipping) and would require a subwoofer and stands.

or

Philharmonic Audio: Philharmonic Audio: http://philharmonicaudio.com/philharmonitor.html

Cost = $850 / pair (includes shipping) Note: this speaker goes lower than the towers you listed (42 Hz), but puts you $50 over budget not including stands. Subwoofer wouldn't be required.

or

E5Bi Bookshelf: http://emptek.com/e5bi.php
Andrew Robinson review: http://hometheaterreview.com/emp-tek...aker-reviewed/

Cost = $225 / pair (includes free shipping) and would require a subwoofer plus stands.

Subwoofer:

SVS PB-1000: http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/pb-1000 (free shipping both ways).

Cost = $500

So ….

$ 865 for Philharmonic AA monitors, SVS sub and Denon AVR

$ 925 for EMP Tek E5Bi's, SVS sub and Denon AVR

$1050 for Philharmonitor and Denon AVR.
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post #9 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 05:42 PM
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Lots of good option for your budget.

Personally, I would spend the balk of your budget on the speakers.
Either towers or bookshelf match with a sub.

The difference in electronics between a couple of hundred buck to let say 300 and would be minimal at best!

When I moved from my previous pre-amp to my present one ($2000 to $4000).
was it there a difference, yes!

Was it a big difference, no!
A little, for someone like me yes, some others, no!

The biggest difference is always, Speakers.

Ray

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post #10 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 05:54 PM
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I would check these out http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid1pkg.html the 2.1 system is 700$ leaving you 300 for a AVR. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...0&linkCode=as2

Last edited by Billy Boden; 10-12-2014 at 05:58 PM.
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post #11 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmmm. I'm liking some of these bookshelf+sub options being tossed around. That solves a lot of problems like needing a beefy amp to drive 4 ohm towers. It also gives me the excuse I need to upgrade the HT sub (the existing sub would move upstairs). To seal the deal, I just checked the WAF and she prefers the 2.1 with bookshelves over towers. If only I had grabbed the deal on the SVS tube sub a couple of days ago...
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post #12 of 21 Old 10-12-2014, 09:24 PM
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post #14 of 21 Old 10-13-2014, 03:48 AM
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I would NOT consider an AV Receiver for Stereo duties. You are spreading you money very thin over many amps and lots of processing that you don't need.

The Yamaha R-N500 has 80w/ch, Computer Networking, DAC with Optical/Coaxial/USB-media inputs, Phono, Sub Out. Currently prices on this amp have come down.

But do you need Network Streaming of Audio. If so, then there are only a few amps to choose from. If you don't, then there are many amps to choose from.

Harman Kardon represent High Value amps, meaning you get a lot of amp for your money. The HK-3770 has 120w/ch, Bluetooth, Network Streaming, Digital Inputs with HiRez 24b/192k DACs, Phono Input, Pre-Amp outs, etc.... Priced at $449.


The Yamaha RN500 is priced at $549.

The Onkyo TX-8050 is priced at $299. I suspect the amps are fine, but it is the control software App that you put into a Smart Phone that is not the most refined. Also, note that the TX-8050 has been around a bit longer than the others.

I've spoken with people (on-line) that have the RN500 and are satisfied with the operation of the amp and with the control App.

The Harman are very new and just hit the market. The previous version were very well liked by those who had them.

So, not focus on the features you want. Yamaha has a new replacement for the AS300 and the AS500. The new AS301 and the AS501 (these are amps not receivers) have 60w/ch and 85w/ch repectively and the new models have internal DAC with Optical and Coaxial inputs. That would allow you to connect to TV to the Amp should that become necessary. If you don't need to connect to a TV and you don't need to connect to Network Audio Streaming, then a straight forward amps or Receiver will save you a significant amount of money.

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS30....html?tp=34948

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS50....html?tp=34948

The 50w/ch Yamaha RS300 is $279. The 75w/ch RS500 is $349.

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RS30....html?tp=47041

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RS50....html?tp=47041

So, given that you don't have a TV, it gets down to whether or not all your music is stored on a Computer, or if you have physical media (CD, Vinyl, etc...). If it is stored on a Computer, then you probably want Network Streaming. If it is physical media, then Streaming is not as important.

Though Network Streaming will give you access to Internet Radio. The Yamaha RN500 Network Receiver has Spotify and other Streaming Services built in. The RN500 also streams by either Apple Airplay or by DLNA, the two most dominant formats for Streaming of Audio.

Though I don't know if you need it, but for very little money you can add Bluetooth Streaming from any Bluetooth enabled device like a Smart Phone or other Smart Device. The RN500 also has a USB-Media input for connecting USB hard drives, USB Thumb drives, or direct USB connect to Smart Device like Smart Phones. But not directly to a computer.

I'm not necessarily selling the Yamaha RN500, it just happens to be the Receiver that I am most familiar with. Mostly from discussion in other forums. I can provide links if you would like ... assuming I can find them.

Again, decide on the features you really want and need. If you don't need Streaming then there are other amps and receiver to choose from. If you do want Streaming, if for no other reason than Internet Radio and Streaming Services like Spotify and Pandora.

http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio...reo-receivers/

http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio..._u/?mode=model

http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio..._w/?mode=model

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard

Last edited by bluewizard; 10-14-2014 at 03:56 PM.
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post #15 of 21 Old 10-13-2014, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I would NOT consider an AV Receiver for Stereo duties. You are spreading you money very thing over many amps and lots of processing that you don't need.
Thanks for the detailed post. Streaming is important. It is crucial that this upstairs receiver is easy for my wife to switch on and use with Pandora or Airplay. The Onkyo unit seems like everything I need at a very good price, but the reviews complaining about buggy connectivity and poor software are scaring me off (the biggest complaint is the wifi, but I'll run a network cable so that isn't an issue). That leaves the Yamaha R-N500 as the only other stereo receiver with Airplay, and it seems perfect except the price is about $200 too high. Maybe I can find a Black Friday deal on it? There are a lot more options if I open up to 5.1 or 7.1 receivers (the Denon posted above looked good), but since this won't be hooked up to a TV, setting it up might be hard (although hopefully a one-time problem).
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post #16 of 21 Old 10-13-2014, 10:16 AM
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I use a surround receiver for stereo music - and it does not subtract or rob me of real good stereo sound.
And, the speakers still sound real good - It works all around good, in stereo and surround sound period.

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Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30

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post #17 of 21 Old 10-13-2014, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBigJ View Post
...That leaves the Yamaha R-N500 as the only other stereo receiver with Airplay, and it seems perfect except the price is about $200 too high. ...There are a lot more options if I open up to 5.1 or 7.1 receivers ..., but since this won't be hooked up to a TV, setting it up might be hard (although hopefully a one-time problem).
In my view you don't get into good sounding AV Receivers until you get up around $1500 and above. I heard some Focal 836 on a $2200 Sony, they sounded as good as I could have ever hoped for.

The real problem is that you are buy and paying for a lot of things you don't need. Though you can't fairly break an amp down to price per channel, it does lend some perspective to how thinly you are spreading your money.

A $500 Stereo amps is worth $250 per channel. A $500 AV Receiver, if we count the additional electronics is close to a 8 channel amp. That means each channel is worth about $62. Based on common sense and common logic, which do you imagine sounds better, a $250 amp or a $62 amp? Again, it is more complex than that, but that does illustrate the point I'm trying to make.

Further a 700w (total) AV Receiver will have a 500w power supply. There is some sense to that, but the fact remains, it is under powered. A 200w (total) Stereo amp will likely have a 300w power supply, it is over powered.

My philosophy is - If you want a Music system, buy a Music system; meaning a Stereo. My stereo, which is a bit unusual, does a stunning job for movies. It bring both the Thunder and the Lightening to movie sound tracks.

Now, you can do what you want. No skin off me. But my advice is, if you want a music system, and you want to maximize your money, then buy a stereo system.

Others are free to disagree, but they will never change my mind on this issue.

Conversely, if you want Surround Sound, you absolutely must buy a AV Receiver, and a Subwoofer. For the record, I do not have a Subwoofer and I still get thunderous bass.

While the Yamaha is a bit high, the Harmon HK3770 is about $100 cheaper (from memory). Tons of power, lots of features. I've never had any Harmon Amps, but I use a Harman DVD-49 Universal DVD Player for CD Playback, and I use a Harman BDP-1 Universal BluRay Player for DVD and BluRay playback. Both have great quality and reliable playback.

The previous amps, the ones that these current amps replaced, were very well like for those seeking maximum value for their money. I've not really heard of any reliability issues with the previous version of these amps. The Harman HK990, the flagship model, was and is highly praised for its sound quality and its feature set. I'm not overjoyed by the appearance, but then I favor silver brushed metal fronts.

Again, I can't make the decision for you. All I can say is that the Harmon are very high value, and the previous version were very well liked by those who have them.

My previous amp was a Yamaha RX-797 (100w/ch), a very nice warm amp at a very attractive price. Today, it would be similar to the Yamaha R-S700.

Yamaha R-S700 -

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RS70....html?tp=47041

Again, in every system, in every room, we are compromising something in favor of something else.

Right now, the price seem pretty consistent on the Yamaha R-N500 -

https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...d=0CPIDEPMCMAA

There is some fluctuation in the price of the Harman Kardon HK 3770; from $310 up to about $600, with $349 to $449 being the most common -

https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...d=0CIAEEPMCMAE

For what it is worth.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #18 of 21 Old 10-13-2014, 11:59 AM
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As to speakers, here are a couple to consider -

Klipsch RF-62-II at $399 each -

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_714RF62...ry.html?tp=185

Klipsch RF-82-II at $599 each -

https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...d=0CPMDEPMCMAA

Polk Audio RTi-A7 at $499 each -

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107RTIA...ry.html?tp=185

Polk Audio TSx-550 at $499 each -

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107RTIA...ry.html?tp=185

It should be noted that the Polk RTi are a HIGHER model line that the Polk TSx. $499 each for the RTi-A7 is something of a bargain.

There are more obscure brands that offer very high value, but others will have to help you with those.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #19 of 21 Old 10-13-2014, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
As to speakers, here are a couple to consider -
Thanks, Steve. Your posts have been incredibly helpful. I'm not in any huge rush to pull the trigger, so I'll probably take all this info and keep an eye on prices over the next month or so. Hopefully, there's a Black Friday deal or two to help me out.
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post #20 of 21 Old 10-13-2014, 12:29 PM
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Thanks for the detailed post. Streaming is important. It is crucial that this upstairs receiver is easy for my wife to switch on and use with Pandora or Airplay.
This receiver has Pandora and Airplay built in - and you can set up bass management with the subwoofer.
Once set-up, it will be easy for your wife to use.
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_033AVRE..._e400&skipvs=T

Refurbish here
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...airplay/1.html

I have played bookshelf speakers ranging from $200 to $2000 retail, on Denon and other receivers - There is
no need to fear surround receivers, and they are nice/good options.

The biggest difference comes in the quality of your speakers

Your call

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30

Last edited by zieglj01; 10-13-2014 at 01:57 PM.
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post #21 of 21 Old 10-14-2014, 04:21 PM
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I took your SPEAKER budget to be $1000. If your system budget is only $1000 then the amps stay the same, but the speakers change.

If we assume $350 (HK3700) to $550 (RN500), then that leaves us with $450 to $650/pair for speakers. That is lean, but there are still some good options.

According to other people in the forums the Infinity Primus sound very good for the money, and Infinity has a pretty high reputation as a speaker maker. These are the largest Primus models -

Infinity Primus P363 Floor-Standing $199 each -

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_108P363...63.html?tp=185

The new Polk Audio TSx300 are probably pretty good for the money -

Polk Audio TSx330 at $249 each -

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107TX33...ry.html?tp=185

Pushing your budget to the limit, the Poke Audio TSx440 are worth a look -

Polk Audio TSx440
at $349 each -

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107TX44...ry.html?tp=185

Polk Audio has its own EBay site and your can frequently find bargain there -

http://www.ebay.com/sch/Home-Speaker...kaudio&_sop=15

Here are some speakers that I found to be exceptional bargains -

Polk Audio RTi-10 at $245 each -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Polk-Audio-R...item5b063446dc

These are the equivalent of the current RTi-A7.

Polk Audio TSx440
at $249 each -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Polk-Audio-T...item5b057c435c

In an older Polk Audio Line, consider the Monitor series speakers -

Polk Audio Monitor 70
at $379 per PAIR -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Polk-Audio-M...item35de226d00

That is exceptionally cheap considering the Retail on these speakers was close to $1000/pr (from memory).

Here is an exceptional bargain on the previous TSi series -

Polk Audio TSi-500 at $414 per PAIR -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Polk-Audio-T...item540c5bffee

Another exceptional bargain, the Polk RTi-10 in Cherry in pairs -

Polk Audio RTi-10 Cherry at $659 per PAIR -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Polk-Audio-R...item5b039e2e35

In you can lift your budget a bit, here is an exceptional bargain on the Polk RTi-12 speakers -

Polk Audio RTi-12
Cherry at $799 per PAIR -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Polk-Audio-R...item35d3412e36

Very large speakers with very deep bass, comparable to the current Polk Rti-A9.

These are not all the speakers listed, just the ones that seemed most appealing. There are some EXCEPTIONAL bargains in this list.

Steve/bluewizard

Last edited by bluewizard; 10-14-2014 at 04:25 PM.
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