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MAJORLY CONFUSED - Budget Advice for Apartment Set-Up (Audio Newb)

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

Brand new to the forum, but have been researching speakers for my apartment in my downtime for the past couple weeks. The more research I've done, the more lost I've become. I have no idea how I should set-up my apartment, so I've come to the experts for advice.

I made a quick sketch of my apartmentsorry I'm no Van Gogh, but did my best to lay out dimensions, sound area, walls, and window fixtures. I'll take pics later and post back. Area I'm looking to cover is about 16 Feet by 30 Feet, rectangular / hallway shape.

My budget: <$350 (I'm not expecting MAJOR hi-fi SQ, but still want good bang for buck)

Needs / Uses:
1) Ability to hear music throughout the kitchen / living room without major degradation in sound quality in various spots of the rooms.
2) Ability to stream Pandora, and other Internet stations from my Windows 7 Laptop. Playing music from my laptop is the primary use for my "audio system" (can we really call it a system for <$350 haha).
3) Clean set-up. I don't know how to hook up lots of wires and do it discretely.
4) I live above my neighbor so I don't want huge amounts of bass. However, I'd rather have more bass and be able to turn it down, than not have enough at all.
5) Don't have a TV yet, but may want to hook it up to the speakers if possible. Not a huge requirement.

My Clean Set-Up Ideas:
- Place small active bookshelf speakers on top of the window fixtures. I'm not sure if I'd have dead sound spots though. One Option I've found is the Audio Engine A2 with the W3 Wireless Adapter. I was thinking about putting them on Window Fixture 1, and Window Fixture 2 (See Attached Pic for Window Fixture Label). The set-up would run about $350. Is this the most efficient use of money?
- 2 Creative ZiiSound D3x plus 1 ZiiSound DSx Wireless Sub. I was thinking about placing 1 speaker on each of the window fixtures, and the sub between the 2 couches. I would purchase the 2 D3X's now for $250 and buy the $150 DSx later.
- Creative ZiiSound T6. I would place 1 swivel set on window fixture 1, angling 1 of the swivels towards the kitchen / lounge chair, and the other one angled towards the couch. Then on window Fixture 2, angle the speakers to the 2 couches. Sub would go in between couches. Amazon has them on sale for $350 sometimes so would purchase at discount. Currently, priced at $399. That's too much right?

I'm completely open to other clean set-up idea's, so bring it on
post #2 of 37
Thread Starter 
Still researching. Would like to know if the following would work:

Lepai Amp ($39) LP-269FS - placed in between both fixtures to discretely run wires from.
4 Sony SS-B1000's ($126). I would place one horizontally on each corner of the window fixture. I have a depth of 5.5" above each fixture and I think the Sony's will fit. My concern is perhaps the weight of 2 speakers on each fixture may cause it to break or maybe the speakers may move?
1 Audioengine W-3 Wireless Adapter ($150) connecting to the Lepai amp so I can stream my music from my laptop.

Total cost - $315

I don't want to connect a Sub - I think it's a bad idea living above an old woman. Is there some sort of bass with those B1000's? I would definitely not be happy if there wasn't any bass. I like a lot of hip hop, dub step, house, electronic, reggae, so I'll need a bit of bass to keep me entertained. However, I think 4 of them would adequately fill out the area with sound

Thoughts / opinions on above budget set-up?

P.S. I'm no longer considering the Creative D3x and T6 solutions.
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 
Sigh..the confusion continues. I found some Bluetooth Tower Speakers from Soundlogic for only $130. I can't find any good information on them, and if they sound good.

Looks to be good value but I'm not sure. I kind of want to pull the trigger. It has 4 speakers, and a sub, I can connect wirelessly from my laptop, and can connect to a TV. The description makes it seem like a receiver isn't needed, but I'm not sure. Only $260 for both. Do they sound horrible or something?

I listened to some Polk TSI400's yesterday at Brandsmart and have decided I want Tower's. The Polk's had enough bass for my apartment so I'd be happy with those (more than what I want to pay though). I have my eye on the Pioneer FS-51, they seem to get good reviews. Do they have more / less / same bass as the TSI400's?

Any information on the Soundlogic or comparision between the Polk TSI400's and FS-51's would be most appreciated.
post #4 of 37
The FS51s have decent bass (rated down to 45 Hz). They're a pretty good value for the money.

If you like the TSi400s you might want to consider the Monitor 60s or 70s. These are very similar to the 400s and will be much cheaper. Newegg has sales on the Monitor series quite often.
post #5 of 37
If you plan on using something like the Lepai amp linked above, you want to look at high efficiency speakers. The SS-B1000 you mentioned above are pretty good for cheap speakers (and yes they have bass, just dont expect them to replace a sub) but they only have an efficiency of 87db. With a lower powered amp, you pro ably want something in the 90db or higher range unless you never plan to play loud (which in an apartment is probably a good idea).

Tower speakers will give you better SQ in general and most certainly better/deeper bass, but its going to raise your cost considerably. Are the pioneer towers in your budget? In any case you should be able to find a good deal on some Polk or Sony speakers in your range. Dont give up. Decent sound for less can be found. You just have to be patient and understand that at such a low budget you will not find perfection. Nowhere close. As long as you keep that in mind, you'll be ok.
post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot NuSoardGraphite and postrokfan.

I see Newegg has the Polk 70's for $179 each. This will exceed my budget and I guess the Pioneer's are out of the question. You were right SoardGraphite. For some reason I thought I saw them less on Amazon. And I dare not venture trying to pick up speakers on Craigslist. I've never had good luck on there.

SoardGraphite - Why did you link that Lepai amp? Is it better than the other one? I looked at the specs and it says 200W P.M.P.O and it's 2 x 20W RMS. So peak power I can expect is 100W per channel and the "baseline" would be 20W? The other one I linked said 4 x 45W but didn't say if it was RMS. I have to assume RMS because 45W wouldn't make sense to me, but I'm still a newb researching

You mentioned Polk and Sony can be found in my price range. Which ones in particular are you thinking of? I assume you were also thinking of high efficiency speakers? I saw these Polk Tsi6's for $179 rated at 89 db's. Then also Polk Monitor 40's for $169. The confusion continues haha. I have no idea which one has the type of sound sig I like. Typically with my IEM's I prefer a more warm sound, with good clarity, and non-fatiguing.

Also, just want to round out dimensional specs of the living room / kitchen I sketched out in 1st post. The height ceiling to floor is 7 feet 8 inches or 92 inches.

EDIT: Are these Sony Towers good on CL? I hate CL, but these look interesting - http://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/ele/2999415900.html
He'as asking for $100. What are some of the things I should look for / ask/ do when buying speakers on CL? Is there some sort of checklist? I really don't trust CL, but the only reason I'm considering these are (A) the price, and (B) they look like they've had a nice home. But still, it is CL..
post #7 of 37
The Pioneer FS51s are $180/pair at BB right now. You could pick up the Denon 1612 for $170 used from Amazon. That would meet your budget maximum at $350 for the receiver and towers.
post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 
Would a denon 1312 power them? They're on sale for $137 - http://www.paulstv.com/Receivers-and...n-AVR-1312.asp (coupon code HOT22)

Why's the 1612 so much more? They're both 5.1 Channel x 75 watts right?

EDIT: Best Buy has 6 month financing. So I'd do that to free up some cash, and at least won't feel like I'm over budget
post #9 of 37
Read post #2 in the Denon xx12 thread. It explains the differences between the models. For a difference of ~$30 right now, don't even consider the 1312.
post #10 of 37

The 1312 does not have Audyssey. The lowest 2012 Denon model that should be considered is the 1612. The 1612 is highly regarded and should drive the FS51s just fine.
post #11 of 37
I have a Lepai tripath amp that I use in my garage sound system to drive a pair of Yamaha NS-6490 speakers. With careful placement they don't need a sub - and they'll play clean sound loud enough to get you tossed from an apartment. The Yamaha speakers sound pretty damned good for the price. Check out the bookshelf speaker shootout they were in.
post #12 of 37
In no way are you getting audiophile towers for your money. If you want the CL sony towers go for it. Usually you want to check the overall exterior condition and if you can give them a listen then that's a major plus. You could buy those and a Lepai amp. Used surround/stereo receivers are one of the best values out there but I probably wouldn't pay over $100 for one unless there's something very special about it. I bought both my receiver and speakers used.

If you want to goto best buy and get the Pioneers financed and then buy a new receiver that works too.

Likewise those Yamaha bookshelves mentioned are nice too.

The wireless is the major $ eater of your setup. With such a small budget and having to give $150 of it up to a wireless adapter it's a killer.
post #13 of 37
Also, check the Boston CS226 Tower speakers
post #14 of 37
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by khankewycz View Post

...The wireless is the major $ eater of your setup.

EXACTLY!!! I'd finance the adapter too, but it's not available The audioengine is the only one that I'm sold on. Are there cheaper options? My laptop has a USB connection (2.0 and 3.0 if it makes a difference). Can I plug my laptop into the receiver and play my music? Maybe I can do that temporarily? Apologies in advance for not reading through the entire Denon thread...it's massive but I'm sold on the 1612. Looks like I can keep myself busy tweaking it for a while

I'm trying to make arrangements to see the Sony CL tomorrow. If I can listen to them, I'll offer $80 (ad would've been up for a week so I should have bargaining power), but will spend $90 assuming they sound good.

The Pioneer BB Sale price ends tomorrow. I'm still debating on whether or not I'm going to pick them up. The reviews seem awesome and they look like they're small towers which is perfect for me..small size + huge sound!

I was reading some people with the Lepai amp experience popping in their speakers when turning on and off. Are they just not powering up the speakers properly?

P.S. I ordered the Yamaha speakers for my room with a Belkin Wireless Adapter

Need advice on which amp to use. I'd go for the Lepai $20 amp, but I'm concerned about the popping when turning on and off the speakers.

P.S.S. I just tried cancelling the Yamaha speakers to opt for the cheaper Sony SS-B3000 . If it's honored I will get these instead, but still need amp advice..
post #15 of 37
I hear that people like Lepai amps, but some are having failure problems right out of the box. Some customers went through 2 or three defective Lepai amps, before they got a working one. Have you got to hear the Sony speakers? I think that I saw Sony floorstanding speakers to demo last time that I was at HH Greg.
post #16 of 37
post #17 of 37
Thread Starter 
In case any other budget conscious shoppers are looking for receivers, found a nifty little thread with tips for finding discount receivers -> http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1388096

BTW I appreciate all the input from everyone.
post #18 of 37
Originally Posted by postrokfan View Post

The Pioneer FS51s are $180/pair at BB right now. You could pick up the Denon 1612 for $170 used from Amazon. That would meet your budget maximum at $350 for the receiver and towers.

I have these. You cant go wrong with these man.
post #19 of 37
Thread Starter 
So I finally got the Yamaha speakers. Hooked them up to the Lepai amp. It sounds pretty anemic. I have a logitech wireless boombox that sounds better than these. Is the Lepai amp no good? Fake Yamaha speakers?
post #20 of 37
You have to put those speakers up against a wall to get bass. Send them back and get the Pioneer floorstanders
post #21 of 37
The speakers are fair and thin sounding to me. Also, I would not choose
a Lepai Amp, over this 1312 Denon.
post #22 of 37
people love this $89 sherwood stereo receiver. 100 watts

post #23 of 37
Originally Posted by bradymartin View Post

people love this $89 sherwood stereo receiver. 100 watts


That is a nice one.
post #24 of 37
Thread Starter 
Well the Yamaha's were for my bedroom. I wanted to test the Logitech wireless adapter which will work fine for me with the Pioneer's. So my LR set-up will be Pioneers, Denon 1612, with Logitech wireless adapter, and meets my budget

But back to the Yamahas (Bedroom set-up), even with repositioning, the bass just isn't there. The other poster said he had pretty good results with the Lepai amp, but it's definitely not for me. What can I get <$100, small size, better bass than these crappy Yamaha's, decent clarity, and work well with the Lepai amp? Is the Sony SB-1000 my only option? Another poster in this thread said they'd need more power to drive them well?

EDIT: I'm surprised these got such great reviews with such a thin sound.
post #25 of 37
You got a couple options that are way better then those sony's or yamaha's



You have to have reasonable expectations with mini montiors. If you up the budget to $150 you can get some far more capable monitors.
post #26 of 37
Originally Posted by Working_In_Naple View Post

Is the Sony SB-1000 my only option? Another poster in this thread said they'd need more power to drive them well?

The Sony does not have an overall even response - and they only
have a high pass filter to the tweeter. Not much bass or highs and
thin sounding.
post #27 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thank you Jay. I love the price on those Infinity's. I just need to contact the Amazon seller first and firm up the return and I'll get those. I don't need complete audiophile gear for my bedroom, just something decent. These Yamaha's, lack lows badly. Will this Lepai amp deliver enough power for the Infinities?
post #28 of 37
I have owned Infinity Primus bookshelf speakers - I reccomend something
like that Sherwood receiver linked above.
post #29 of 37
That Lepai is realistically about 10 watts/channel. Very unlikely to be sufficient for a 16x30 foot area.
post #30 of 37
Thread Starter 
I'm rethinking my bedroom set-up.

Upgrade the Lepai T-Amp to this Dayton DTA-100a . The Sherwood price is great, but it'll take up too much space. I want something small, and discrete for the bedroom. It says 50 watts per channel.

For speakers, I will increase to $150. Looking for a smallish size, good clarity, and VERY good bass powered by the Dayon amp. What are the best options? These speakers are only for music...reggae, hip hop, electronic, so need good bass.

Do the Infinity's need more juice than the Dayton amp can deliver?
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