Please help complete noob: Speaker system - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 26 Old 09-12-2012, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
baelfire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hi guys,

I am planning to buy my mother a sound system and am completely clueless to what a good system is. I know that Klipsch is a good brand, but that is about as far as my knowledge goes. She will be using it mainly to listen to music with the occasional movie. I am hoping for a 5.1 system, and was wondering which setup would be best. My budget is $1,000-3,000 dollars. The music she will be mainly listening to is classical music. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
baelfire is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 26 Old 09-12-2012, 02:44 PM
AVS Special Member
 
mcnarus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 260
Do you need just speakers, or do you need a complete system? IOW, does she have a receiver or similar device already, and if so which one?

Also, in what format is her music? CDs, LPs, computer files? And do we have player(s) for those formats already?

Finally, how big a room are we talking about here?

I'm tempted to tell you to just buy a 2.0 or 2.1 system, given that it's mostly for classical music, but answers to the questions above will help everyone give you better answers. And don't worry about being clueless. We'll make sure you don't stay that way for long.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

mcnarus is offline  
post #3 of 26 Old 09-12-2012, 02:49 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Class A's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,230
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked: 36
Nice gesture. Just a few questions. How old is your Mom? Many older people don't like complicated systems. They just want something easy to use w/out much fuss(maybe just cd and DVD). Also does she prefer a small speaker system or something larger. Try to find out w/what she's comfortable with.smile.gif
Class A is offline  
post #4 of 26 Old 09-12-2012, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
baelfire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thank you for your fast responses.

Lets go with a complete system all her systems are OLD as in over a decade old and most probably dont even work anymore. As for what formats, digital (mp3's, etc) and cd's will be the main ones.

Room size would be roughly around 25ft by 25ft with 9 foot ceilings. I will try and get more exact measurements later.

Mom is in her mid 50's. Simpler would be better, but if need be, I can teach her how to use the systems as she learns fairly quickly. As for size, whatever it would take to fill the room, no need to blow out the windows or anything like that.

Thank you again for all your help. I really appreciate it.
baelfire is offline  
post #5 of 26 Old 09-12-2012, 03:16 PM
Senior Member
 
stevef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Kent, WA
Posts: 266
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Fortunately, there are a plethora of good sounding, relatively inexpensive speakers on the market today. PSB (sold them for years, but not anymore), Monitor (sell them now), Def Tech (no affiliation), Axiom Audio (ditto), NHT (Used to sell them years ago, and been using a set of Super One's as my living room / TV speakers for over a decade), HSU (no affiliation), and Energy (sold years ago, no longer). FInd a dealer and audition a set if you can. If you do that, please buy them from that dealer, don't take up their valuable time demoing them and send your money to Amazon.

I'm partial to Marantz and Integra for receivers, but would rather have separates (wouldn't everyone, I guess). At least receivers sound good enough now you can enjoy listening to them, unlike a decade or two ago. I don;t like Marantz's new display system though. Goog sound, but an ergonomic faux pas.
stevef is offline  
post #6 of 26 Old 09-12-2012, 05:22 PM
AVS Special Member
 
mcnarus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 260
Sure, Mom can learn, but if Sonny's a complete noob, who's gonna teach her? wink.gif

Seriously, we get questions like yours periodically, somebody who wants to buy (or recommend) a megabuck system for somebody else. Typically, it turns out they don't want to buy a system that's good for the recipient; they want to buy a system that reflects well on the giver. I'm not saying you're in that boat; I'm just cautioning you to think about who this system is really for.

And I'm going to stick with my recommendation that you limit this to a two-channel system, unless your Mom has specifically expressed an interest in something more than that. Yes, you could easily afford an AVR and a 5.1 speaker set, but AVRs are not necessarily user friendly. (Some here will disagree. They're the kinds of people who don't need the advice I'm giving you.) And does Mom really want speakers placed all over her living room, with yards and yards of wire connecting them? (BTW, please don't tell me this is going to be a surprise.)

A 2-channel receiver (or integrated amp—that's a receiver without the radio) and a pair of speakers are all she needs (pus a disk player and a connection from her computer), and will be very simple for you to set up and her to operate.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

mcnarus is offline  
post #7 of 26 Old 09-13-2012, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
baelfire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hi Mcnarus,

Thank you for the advice. I will ask if she is fine with a 2.1 system. Also its not a surprise. She is planning on remodeling her living room, and was waiting on me deciding which speakers system to get her so she can design around them. Just curious why would your recommend 2.1 vs a 5.1 as I would think surround sound would be better since its more immersive? Definitely trying to pick the package best for her smile.gif.

I really appreciate your patience and help.

Best Regards
baelfire is offline  
post #8 of 26 Old 09-13-2012, 07:34 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mcnarus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 260
You said she will use this mostly to listen to classical music, virtually all of which will be 2-channel. If you listen to it that way, the other 3 speakers are going to be gathering dust.

Of course, you can process 2-channel into surround sound, and some people like that. And if she is willing to design her room around a speaker system, then maybe 5.1 is right for her.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

mcnarus is offline  
post #9 of 26 Old 09-13-2012, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
baelfire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Ic, I did not know that classical music was mainly 2 channel. Let me communicate that to her and see what she says. In the meantime, is there anything else I should know?
baelfire is offline  
post #10 of 26 Old 09-13-2012, 09:48 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
arnyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Posts: 13,654
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 288 Post(s)
Liked: 997
Quote:
Originally Posted by baelfire View Post

Hi guys,
I am planning to buy my mother a sound system and am completely clueless to what a good system is. I know that Klipsch is a good brand, but that is about as far as my knowledge goes. She will be using it mainly to listen to music with the occasional movie. I am hoping for a 5.1 system, and was wondering which setup would be best. My budget is $1,000-3,000 dollars. The music she will be mainly listening to is classical music. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

If she is going to watch any movies at all, that means that there is a HDTV somewhere in the picture. Does she already have one, or will we have to recommend one?

My experience with females of the generation you are speaking suggests to me that they probably are not going to crank the system up, that they are going to be critical of any harshness in the sound, that ease of operation will be very important, and that they probably won't appreciate a subwoofer all that much.
arnyk is offline  
post #11 of 26 Old 09-13-2012, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
baelfire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
HI Arnyk,

Your conclusions seem about right. However isnt a subwoofer necessary to get the complete sounds? Also there is already a HDTV. Its a Sony 55inch LCD. so we are good on that front. As for how they are currently watching movies, they use a computer that has a hdmi out and use the built in television sound.
baelfire is offline  
post #12 of 26 Old 09-13-2012, 01:17 PM
AVS Special Member
 
mcnarus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 260
Quote:
However isnt a subwoofer necessary to get the complete sounds?
Yesss, but getting the complete sound takes a very, very good subwoofer. (And more than one.) And lots of people get by without the lowest octave or (even two octaves) of music. Really low notes tend to have a lot of power in the second harmonic, which is an octave higher.

Again, this is all about compromises. and as I said, when someone buys a system for someone else, the person making the decisions isn't the person living with the compromises. So this is something else to discuss with Mom.

Aren't you glad we're all helping to bring you two closer together? smile.gif

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

mcnarus is offline  
post #13 of 26 Old 09-13-2012, 01:22 PM
AVS Special Member
 
mcnarus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 260
Quote:
In the meantime, is there anything else I should know?
Maybe a little about room set-up. Speakers shouldn't go directly against a wall or on a shelf (even though the smaller ones are called bookshelf speakers). Towers sit on the floor. Bookshelf speakers should go up on stands. Either should be a few feet away from side and rear walls. Surround speakers are best somewhat behind and to the side of the main seating. The seating itself should not be against a back wall. This is all ideal, of course, and compromises inevitably must be made in real-life rooms.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

mcnarus is offline  
post #14 of 26 Old 09-13-2012, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
baelfire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Wow lots to consider good thing I asked instead of trying to do this on my own T__T.

Let me talk again to my mother tonight and I will try to get a better picture of what she would prefer. As for the room layout, I guess after the speakers have been decided, maybe you could help let me know the optimal setup and I can tell her and she can design around it.
baelfire is offline  
post #15 of 26 Old 09-13-2012, 02:32 PM
AVS Special Member
 
mcnarus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 260
I suggest you google "home theater speaker placement" and check some of the search results.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

mcnarus is offline  
post #16 of 26 Old 09-13-2012, 08:48 PM
AVS Addicted Member
 
cel4145's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 11,193
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked: 635
Quote:
Originally Posted by baelfire View Post

HI Arnyk,
Your conclusions seem about right. However isnt a subwoofer necessary to get the complete sounds? Also there is already a HDTV. Its a Sony 55inch LCD. so we are good on that front. As for how they are currently watching movies, they use a computer that has a hdmi out and use the built in television sound.

If she has room for floorstanding speakers, many can produce plenty of good bass for music. And I'm with Arnyk. Unless your mom is an action movie junkie smile.gif , then tower speakers would probably have sufficient bass.

cel4145 is offline  
post #17 of 26 Old 09-14-2012, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
baelfire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Okay so I talked to my mom, and she would still prefer 5.1 speakers, and I spoke to her again about her music preferences.

She wants to listen to classical music, and music like abbe/begees (that genre and time frame). Hopefully that helps narrow down the suggestions a bit?

Thanks again
baelfire is offline  
post #18 of 26 Old 09-14-2012, 07:21 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
cel4145's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 11,193
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked: 635
Quote:
Originally Posted by baelfire View Post

Okay so I talked to my mom, and she would still prefer 5.1 speakers, and I spoke to her again about her music preferences.
She wants to listen to classical music, and music like abbe/begees (that genre and time frame). Hopefully that helps narrow down the suggestions a bit?
Thanks again

Is that bookshelf speakers or towers for the front left/right?

cel4145 is offline  
post #19 of 26 Old 09-14-2012, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
baelfire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
which one would sound better? Bookshelfs or towers?
baelfire is offline  
post #20 of 26 Old 09-14-2012, 08:12 AM
Senior Member
 
underminded999's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 352
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by baelfire View Post

which one would sound better? Bookshelfs or towers?

Tough Call.  Both have their pros and cons.

 

Normally towers have better frequency response.  However, bookshelves have more flexibility to be moved and re-positioned as needed.

 

If there is no subwoofer, then you would need towers that can go down low.  However, you said that .1(subwoofer in 5.1) is on the plan, so you could get by with bookshelves.

 

Whatever speaker system you get, make sure that the subwoofer overlaps the lowest FQ of the Left and Right speaker.  For example, if a bookshelf's FQ range is 50Hz to 19Khz, make sure that the sub goes from >50Hz to above 50Hz to cover the difference.  Most subs go low 30's or high 20's Hz.

underminded999 is online now  
post #21 of 26 Old 09-14-2012, 08:54 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
arnyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Posts: 13,654
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 288 Post(s)
Liked: 997
Quote:
Originally Posted by baelfire View Post

which one would sound better? Bookshelfs or towers?

The fair comparison is bookshelves with a good sub, versus floor standers. The answer would usually be the bookshelves with a good sub.

Floor standers with a sub only makes sense as an upgrade situation. You get the floor standers for better sound up front. The final answer for an enthusiast almost always includes a sub, and not a small one.

Frankly, I'm first and foremost suggesting no sub up front because I doubt that your mom will ever be interested in that kind of sound. Maybe I've scoped her out wrong, but most women her age aren't into maxed out throbbing enveloping sound.
arnyk is offline  
post #22 of 26 Old 09-14-2012, 09:04 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mcnarus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 260
Quote:
Normally towers have better frequency response.
Towers typically have better low-frequency extension. That's not what most people mean by better frequency response, however. Better FR usually means flatter response within the rated range.
Quote:
However, bookshelves have more flexibility to be moved and re-positioned as needed.
Only in the sense that they give you more options for placing them badly. A bookshelf speaker on a stand is no more flexible than a tower.
Quote:
Whatever speaker system you get, make sure that the subwoofer overlaps the lowest FQ of the Left and Right speaker. For example, if a bookshelf's FQ range is 50Hz to 19Khz, make sure that the sub goes from >50Hz to above 50Hz to cover the difference.
FR specs should not be interpreted to imply the presence of brickwall filters at the frequency extremes. But unless you're buying little cubes, this advice is probably irrelevant.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

mcnarus is offline  
post #23 of 26 Old 09-14-2012, 09:17 AM
AVS Special Member
 
mcnarus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 260
Quote:
Okay so I talked to my mom, and she would still prefer 5.1 speakers, and I spoke to her again about her music preferences.
Then 5.1 it is. At the low-cost end, I'd take a look at the Infinity Primus series. PSB and Paradigm are also brands worth considering.

For an AVR, anything with room correction is good. You want something that'll be simple to set up and operate, so read a lot of user reviews about that. (Ignore their comments about sound quality.)

Just add a Blu-Ray player for disks, and you're done.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

mcnarus is offline  
post #24 of 26 Old 09-14-2012, 09:39 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
arnyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Posts: 13,654
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 288 Post(s)
Liked: 997
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post


FR specs should not be interpreted to imply the presence of brickwall filters at the frequency extremes. But unless you're buying little cubes, this advice is probably irrelevant.

Good point. I was looking at the tech tests of the Energy Take... system and see that even the itty-biity L & R satellites have some kind of response down to maybe 120 Hz. While far from optimal, this could work if the sub is placed near the fronts. But, the minuscule size of the L&R woofers rears its ugly head when you start trying to crank 'em up.
arnyk is offline  
post #25 of 26 Old 09-17-2012, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
baelfire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks for all the responses. I think I will be going for bookshelf speakers since my mom would prefer those. I will take a look into the Infinity Primus, PSB and Paradigm. Are these complete sets, or should I look into mixing and matching brands?
baelfire is offline  
post #26 of 26 Old 09-17-2012, 08:39 PM
AVS Addicted Member
 
cel4145's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 11,193
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked: 635
Those are some good speaker brands to look at smile.gif

Your front left, right, and center should definitely be the same brand and same speaker line. You want a good timbre match for the front soundstage. It's much less important that the surrounds match exactly.

Subs you definitely don't have to match the brand at all. For the best deals on subs, research and ask questions in the AVS subwoofer forum. Typically traditional speaker brand subs like Paradigm, PSB, and Infinity are not the best value for your money. The subwoofer forum tends to know what the best deal is at the moment.

cel4145 is offline  
Reply Audio theory, Setup and Chat

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off