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First post....need some help

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
A little history...

I'm a complete noob when it comes to sound/speakers/anything audio related. I'm looking for a system for my small apartment...I'm not interested in a 5.1 and wont be in the near future. My budget is around 600.

So last week I bought a sony ct-550w that came with a soundbar, sub, and receiver. I returned it 2 hours later.....it sounded like crap.

I listened to the Bose Cinematic II at Costco and was impressed. After coming here and reading....I've realized that I could possibly even better sound for cheaper, which led me to tons of reading.

From my research......I've seen the Cambridge S30's recommended a lot....as well as the Energy RC-10. Problem is the Energy has been discontinued right?

I suppose I would be happy with a system that sounds similar to the Bose I heard.....and i need some guidance.

My questions are:

1) Is the Cambridge S30 a good option for me? What are some other comparable speakers I could research into?

2) What is a good match for receiver and sub? And are they even needed?

Thanks so much.
post #2 of 13
Almost any speaker that represents a full size speaker will sound better then the Bose! Reason you were impressed is because you had no other speaker to compare it against side by side. Not sure how much Costco was trying to sell it for but normally their around $540 range on line, that is budget territory.

Edited; I got speakers mixed up and thought that Bose model was surround sound, I realize afterwards that that model is not. So new info. Again Pioneer to the rescue, model Pioneer S-A4SPT-PM Pure Malt Speakers, the Klipsch Reference Series RB-61 II, and the Fluance Higher Fidelity Two-way Floorstanding Pillar Speakers ES. The first two are small speakers, the Fluance is a floor standing speaker which will have fuller sound. However, all these modern speakers are designed to be used with a powered subwoofer which none of those come with so you will need to pick up one of those.

Now here's the big problem with speakers, I can sit here and list speakers all day and it won't do a bit good because you need to hear those speakers in person, what speaker may sound good to me may not to you. So you need to listen to speakers with your own CD's of the kind of music you listen to and not some store demo. The store demo sound is purposely chosen by Bose, in your case, to showcase their speakers the best, but using a different sound will deflate them. And a lot of speakers on the market that have high ratings are difficult to find in walk in stores if at all! However, I will say that either of the three speakers I mentioned in my first paragraph will stomp all over the Bose! So even if you want to order on line you will get better sound from either. And it may simply boil down to size, while the Fluance may be a bit better then the Pioneer or the Klipsch (just my opinion) you may not want the larger size speakers of the Fluance therefore the other two will be more attractive to you because of their smaller footprint.

I think the some Best Buy Stores carry the Klipsch and the Bose you should wander down to one and test listen and see what you think. Bose has never impressed me, not even their most expensive 901 series, they use very cheap paper drivers for most of their speakers, they simply alter from single cube to twin cube to multiple speakers in one box, but the little 3 1/2" speaker they use probably cost Bose $5 to buy. And with any small driver less then 5 inches across your not going to get a whole lot out of them and Bose uses the smallest in the industry for home systems which makes them less then idea.

The Cambridge you mentioned I've never heard but looking at them I would think they would better then the Bose. But if you want to do a little bit better I would suggest getting one of the three I mentioned and buy a sub-woofer, but if budget is a problem then get the Cambridge but you still need a sub.

On Line through Amazon you can find either of those speakers I mentioned for about the same cost or a little less then the Bose but will end up costing a bit more when you add in a subwoofer, however you will be happier in the long run.
Edited by froze - 1/30/13 at 2:21pm
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your input....I should have mentioned....i'd rather stay away from tower speakers........this is why I was interested in the Cambridge.
post #4 of 13
is the sub and avr included in your budget?are you looking for 2.1 or 3.1? how big is the room? is your apartment pretty well sound insulated. a sub could be problem if played to loud you could become the talk of the buildingyou might be better off with pair of towers and maybe a center channel. he towers will give you that little bit more bass than bookshelf speakers
post #5 of 13
Does the $600 budget cover everything or just the speakers?

The Pioneers have a bookshelf too. The Cambridge S30s are probably better, but I have not heard either (I have heard the Pioneer towers). Out of curiosity, why no tower?
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yes, 600 for everything including sub and receiver. The room is pretty standard. About 15x15. Tile floors. I don't want the Bose system, just something comparable or hopefully better. Would the Cambridge matched with a receiver and sub do this?
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Not really sure why I don't want a tower haha. I guess I should be open to those as well!
post #8 of 13
if you want some smallish bookshelfs, but aren't interested in 5.1...look at the Def tech SM350/450s from New Egg! Great speaker and because it is being discontinued, they are pretty cheap right now ($170/pr). really good speaker for the money!
post #9 of 13
I like full size speakers over small sats or bookshelf speakers even if they are running subs. Problem with today's mid to low end tower speakers almost all of them almost require you to buy a sub IF you want booming bass effects that movies do or certain music like Rap, techno, and R&B use. You can get really decent budget tower speakers today like the Polk TSi500, or the BIC Acoustech PL89, or the Definitive Technology BP6B; the last two have decent low end response, better then other budget towers but while offering better bass still won't shake the floor when explosions go off or like certain kinds of music will do. The Polk I mentioned has a better and more accurate mid to high end response then other two, but the bass is lacking and would require a subwoofer. I happen to like the Definitive Technology speaker the best, it offers a lot of speaker for the money, on Amazon they would cost about $700, a bit more then you had budgeted but if you can stretch the budget in the long run you will be far happier then with small shelf speakers. The Bic' s are also really nice and they are a bit less expensive then the Def. Tech's at about $570 for the pair, but those Bic's are the best buy of the 3 in regards to price. If your into music like smooth jazz or classical etc then the Polks would be the better speaker but again their more expensive.

If you live in a situation that subwoofer deep base may bother people then go with either the Def Tech or the Bic, both would give you satisfying bass. The beauty about all of this is if right now you can't shake the floors and walls due to neighbors, you can always buy a subwoofer later when you move into a place that you can.

Be careful if you buy on line that you make sure that you get a pair. Example; on Amazon the Def Techs are sold and priced by each and not a pair, but then the Bic's are priced by the pair. So you need to read real carefully to make sure the money you'll be spending that you're getting a pair or you have to order two instead of one.
post #10 of 13
If you get tower speakers, they will possibly cost a bit more but have more bass. If you don't want a subwoofer, then you really should get tower speakers if you can. The Cambridge S30 speakers are very nice, but way too small for standalone speakers.

If you don't actually have speaker stands or shelves or a cabinet to put the speakers on, don't neglect the cost of speaker stands, which can be expensive. The floor is handy and free.

The Polk R300 speakers are less than $100 each, and are actually not too bad; check the price at Amazon, Newegg etc. I would suggest those for a starter set of speakers.

You really do want a receiver. I suggest the Onkyo TX-8050 Stereo Receiver, which you can get for around $250. It can be used for games, video, TV, and even has a phono preamp built-in if you ever get a turntable.

It also has digital inputs for a connection to your TV and other device.

Originally Posted by shishkabab View Post

Not really sure why I don't want a tower haha. I guess I should be open to those as well!

Edited by commsysman - 1/30/13 at 3:42pm
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hmmm...I guess I need to look into tower speakers too.....would I still need a receiver if I go the tower route?
post #12 of 13
You need a receiver to power speakers and provide a central unit for volume control and switching between various devices. All speakers need power to drive them and it comes from a receiver or integrated amplifier.

They don't power themselves.

It becomes cumbersome and awkward to try and do things without one.

If you get that Onkyo receiver and the Polk R300 speakers you will have a nice starter system for under $500, and any other devices (Iphone, CD player, etc etc.) can just be hooked to the receiver when and if you get them.

It also has a USB input for various devices and a network input for streaming radio, like Pandora etc. It is an extremely versatile unit.
Edited by commsysman - 1/30/13 at 3:52pm
post #13 of 13
fwiw if you where not in an apartment, with your size room i would of recomended bookshelf speakers and a sub but i know by experience that subs and tenants dont mix all the time ,especially subs that would be in your budget range. thats the reasoning for towers. they will get you more bass that wont rumble your neighbors floors and walls and save you from purchasing speaker stands. just my 2 cents
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