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Best Speaker System on a Budget.

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I have
-15feet viewing distance from couch.
-About 4inches of room on each side of screen for a speaker.
-couch is against the wall and the speakers behind the couch MUST be on the same wall

What does someone feel is the lowest amount of money to have a quality surround sound system to be happy with in my situation?

So far it looks like Martin Logan MLT-2 vs Polk Audio TL1600(is TL2 much better?) vs Energy Take Classic 5.1 is my best option unless anyone has a better idea for my setup and budget.

Would I get overall better sound with a better quality 3.1 surround sound system for the same price as the 5.1 systems I listed above? Are much more expensive subwoofers required for good sound?

Any help is appreciated.
post #2 of 29
15 feet us a pretty long "speaker to viewer" distance...and the 5.1 speaker systems you list are small room systems! Are they way better than tv speakers? Yes, but as you ask, a 2.1 or 3.1 with bigger drivers would likely be better.
Some really good budget speakers with decent driver size are Polk monitors, infinity primus, def tech sm350/450s, pioneer aj speakers, to name a few... And klipch make a couple really good budget subs!
post #3 of 29
If you have the space go with a bigger speaker especially if your that far away. Smaller satellites can get strained easily. Towers generally will have more bass and be fuller than a book shelf. Also if you are going to put a book shelf on a stand, if you can afford it just get the tower. The polk new monitors are pretty decent. They play very loud and clean. for about 400 you can get the 65t's towers and a cs20 center. Great start to a system. With that setup you can decided if you like the polks and either add on some book shelves or upgrade your speakers and put the polks to the rear. Front stage imaging is the most important. As long as your front 3 match up the rears can take a back seat. Thats not to say having them all match would sound great but on a budget your better off buying stuff in stages over getting everything all at once.
In regards to 3.1 vs 5.1 I would say go with 3.1. 80% of your movie goes through your center channel and if you listen to music your L/R do most of the work. The rears for movies are mostly for effects. The energy system isnt bad and is a great for the price. But you will get a much better system going with 5 book shelf speakers over small satellites.

If I was spending 400 on new stuff I would go 3.1 a pair of polk 35t = $150 a polk 15t center =$99 psw-10 sub = 110 the rest you can spend on shipping (from newegg) and speaker wire connectors. If you get a bit extra cash you could get a set of polk 45b's for 200 as new fronts.
post #4 of 29
I had to do some speaker shopping for my buddy and the ARX a1b keep coming up with high regards. Why dont you check out the ARX bookshelves or the tower speakers that they offer. I wouldn't do any smaller than a bookshelf with a 5.5"+ driver as a rec.
post #5 of 29
What size is your room? H x W x L

Is it open to other rooms?

Any pictures you could post?

What is your listening preference? Movies, music, both?

Do you like a good amount of bass?
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

15 feet us a pretty long "speaker to viewer" distance...and the 5.1 speaker systems you list are small room systems! Are they way better than tv speakers? Yes, but as you ask, a 2.1 or 3.1 with bigger drivers would likely be better.
Some really good budget speakers with decent driver size are Polk monitors, infinity primus, def tech sm350/450s, pioneer aj speakers, to name a few... And klipch make a couple really good budget subs!
Thank you for the suggestions smile.gif.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lemonslush View Post

If you have the space go with a bigger speaker especially if your that far away. Smaller satellites can get strained easily. Towers generally will have more bass and be fuller than a book shelf. Also if you are going to put a book shelf on a stand, if you can afford it just get the tower. The polk new monitors are pretty decent. They play very loud and clean. for about 400 you can get the 65t's towers and a cs20 center. Great start to a system. With that setup you can decided if you like the polks and either add on some book shelves or upgrade your speakers and put the polks to the rear. Front stage imaging is the most important. As long as your front 3 match up the rears can take a back seat. Thats not to say having them all match would sound great but on a budget your better off buying stuff in stages over getting everything all at once.
In regards to 3.1 vs 5.1 I would say go with 3.1. 80% of your movie goes through your center channel and if you listen to music your L/R do most of the work. The rears for movies are mostly for effects. The energy system isnt bad and is a great for the price. But you will get a much better system going with 5 book shelf speakers over small satellites.

If I was spending 400 on new stuff I would go 3.1 a pair of polk 35t = $150 a polk 15t center =$99 psw-10 sub = 110 the rest you can spend on shipping (from newegg) and speaker wire connectors. If you get a bit extra cash you could get a set of polk 45b's for 200 as new fronts.
What I have to work with for speaker room is 30inches of space under the screen and 4inches from screen to wall on each side of the screen. Do you still think your suggestions could work? Thank you so much for breaking it down into prices, that is extremely helpful and a very good budget setup that I'm going to look into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

What size is your room? H x W x L

Is it open to other rooms?

Any pictures you could post?

What is your listening preference? Movies, music, both?

Do you like a good amount of bass?

Floor to ceiling 90inches. Wall the screen is on is 120inches, screen is going to be about 109 inches. Viewing distance from couch is about 15feet.

On the right side of the couch is the Kitchen and Dining Room separated by a wall, so I cannot have a surround sound speaker there. On the left side of the couch is a wall as it is fitted in the corner.

This is MAINLY for Movies and Video Games only.

here are pictures of the Living Room: 1. http://www.avsforum.com/content/type/61/id/197706/ 2. http://www.avsforum.com/content/type/61/id/197707/ 3. http://www.avsforum.com/content/type/61/id/197708/



Edited by jflanden - 4/26/13 at 10:31am
post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks to lemonlush's and Elihawk's suggestions, I am almost decided on:

Fronts: $170 Polk Audio Monitor 45B 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Monitor-45B-Black/dp/B009WSVRL2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366997055&sr=8-1&keywords=polk+45b

Center: $170 Polk Audio CS20 Center Channel Speaker http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Center-Channel-Speaker/dp/B0018QKRNU/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1366997804&sr=8-4&keywords=polk+center

Sub: $230 Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-12-Inch-Powered-Subwoofer/dp/B000092TT0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1366998065&sr=8-2&keywords=polk+sub

Is this a good idea? Do they match just because they are from same brand? Is there anything I could get that is better for the same price?

Should I be concerned that the sub and center speaker were made in 2005?



At the moment I only have a Panasonic PTAE8000U purchased and a 125inch screen. I am also looking for a good AVR to go with these speakers.

So far I was looking at:
- Sony STR-DN1030 http://reviews.cnet.com/av-receivers/sony-str-dn1030/4505-6466_7-35332546.html which has bluetooth

- Onkyo TX-NR709 http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR709-7-2-Channel-Network-Receiver/dp/B004V8KWQO doesn't have bluetooth but people say that having "Audyssey MultEQ® XT*" is really good.

I mainly want to be able to stream movies from my computer through my AVR and video game consoles.

Thank you all for the help, it has been greatly appreciated and very helpful
Edited by jflanden - 4/26/13 at 11:49am
post #8 of 29
SP-PK52FS
Andrew Jones Designed 5.1 Channel Speaker Package

Package Includes SP-FS52 Floor-standing Loudspeakers (two total), SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Loudspeakers (1 pair), SP-C22 Center-Channel Speaker and SW-8MK2 Powered Subwoofer


You can get this for around $600. I have this system in a similar sized room and it sounds good. Weak point in the SUB which I replaced with a Klipsch RW-12D for $280 more. Complete system for under $1000.

Hooked to an Onkyo 515 $328 or a 818 $800 and you have a great setup.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jflanden View Post

Thanks to lemonlush's and Elihawk's suggestions, I am almost decided on:

Fronts: $170 Polk Audio Monitor 45B 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Monitor-45B-Black/dp/B009WSVRL2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366997055&sr=8-1&keywords=polk+45b

Center: $170 Polk Audio CS20 Center Channel Speaker http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Center-Channel-Speaker/dp/B0018QKRNU/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1366997804&sr=8-4&keywords=polk+center

Sub: $230 Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-12-Inch-Powered-Subwoofer/dp/B000092TT0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1366998065&sr=8-2&keywords=polk+sub

Is this a good idea? Do they match just because they are from same brand? Is there anything I could get that is better for the same price?

Should I be concerned that the sub and center speaker were made in 2005?



At the moment I only have a Panasonic PTAE8000U purchased and a 125inch screen. I am also looking for a good AVR to go with these speakers.

So far I was looking at:
- Sony STR-DN1030 http://reviews.cnet.com/av-receivers/sony-str-dn1030/4505-6466_7-35332546.html which has bluetooth

- Onkyo TX-NR709 http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR709-7-2-Channel-Network-Receiver/dp/B004V8KWQO doesn't have bluetooth but people say that having "Audyssey MultEQ® XT*" is really good.

I mainly want to be able to stream movies from my computer through my AVR and video game consoles.

Thank you all for the help, it has been greatly appreciated and very helpful
Do consider the Denon 1913, Crutchfield has a good price on it. In fact, if you called around (B&H for example), you could probably get a 2113 for the same price.

Why do you need BT?
post #10 of 29
Fry's is doing a big Polk sale. http://www.frys.com/ads/page6#AdNavi
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan25 View Post

Do consider the Denon 1913, Crutchfield has a good price on it. In fact, if you called around (B&H for example), you could probably get a 2113 for the same price.

Why do you need BT?
This is my first time buying home theater equipment, so I don't really know too much besides going off of recommendations.

Is there anything different or better between Denon 1913 and Onkyo TX-NR709 that really stand out?

I was thinking that I could wirelessly connect my Computer using BlueTooth to the Projector Screen through the AVR. Is that even possible?
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan25 View Post

Do consider the Denon 1913, Crutchfield has a good price on it. In fact, if you called around (B&H for example), you could probably get a 2113 for the same price.

Why do you need BT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jflanden View Post

This is my first time buying home theater equipment, so I don't really know too much besides going off of recommendations.

Is there anything different or better between Denon 1913 and Onkyo TX-NR709 that really stand out?

I was thinking that I could wirelessly connect my Computer using BlueTooth to the Projector Screen through the AVR. Is that even possible?
I always envisioned Onkyo as my first AVR, but as I compared them, I noticed a high number of faulty units. More so than from Sony, Pio, Denon... I think the deal-breakers were 7 zones and AirPlay, Wifi wasn't a factor as I have some other components that need Ethernet, so I just bought a bridge.

Well, I don't believe BT can stream video, but I could be wrong. You could get an AVR with AirPlay to do that or I'd just hook the computer up directly to the projector and run audio to the AVR.
post #13 of 29
I would definitely stay away from Polk speakers and Sony receivers. You don't get much for your money.

Try these babies with high quality ribbon tweeters that throw a bigger sound stage:

Arx A1b monitors (2 pairs) - $299 pair

Arx A2c center. $209 each

You can always upgrade to the A3c or A5 towers later and use the spair pair of A1b's for height effects speakers (as long as your receiver has these decoding options... either Dolby ProLogic IIz or DTS Neo:X). If you move your setup to a better room... you also have the option of using the extra pair as back surround speakers for 7.1.

Yes, somewhat more than the Polk's, but superior in every conceivable way.

http://www.theaudioinsider.com/manufacturers.php?mPath=13&

Newegg.com has sales on the Klipsch RW-12d for around $280 every so often (it's $350 right now). A really good budget 12" digital sub. Lots of good reviews right here on this forum.

Don't cheapen out on your speaker budget. This is the most important part of the system. Even if you have to get a little bit at a time. Otherwise, you might just be upgrading sooner than you realize.
post #14 of 29
You can get a refurb 2113ci direct from Denon for 399. That's a crazy good deal.

I have Polks and love them. The CS20 isn't supposed match with the 45b though.

Frys is having a great sale on RTi4 and that line or go to the ebay store

The equivalent of a 45b for $120
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Monitor-40-Cherry-Bookshelf-Speakers-Polk-Audio-PAIR-/390574617162?pt=Speakers_Subwoofers&hash=item5af00fb24a

The equivalent of a cs20 (with matching timbre) for 108
http://www.ebay.com/itm/CS2-CHERRY-Series-II-Center-Channel-Speaker-Polk-Audio-NEW-/230941360974?pt=Speakers_Subwoofers&hash=item35c52d834e
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

I would definitely stay away from Polk You don't get much for your money.

.

Lol...thanks for this pro tip! rolleyes.gif
post #16 of 29
Best speakers on a budget? Internet direct is the way to go to get bang for your buck, companies like Ascend and Aperion would have what you want.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryder125 View Post

Best speakers on a budget? Internet direct is the way to go to get bang for your buck.
No way. For the bigger budget, buy and hold types - that makes sense. But if the goal is value for money:

1) There are always good speakers being closed out at big discounts when new lines are introduced. That's the best bang for the buck. For example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325029

2) Best bang for the buck is achieved at about $75-150 per speaker, anyway. That's more the budget range the original post describes.

3) Buying a known brand can let those who are careful resell them for most of what they paid when they upgrade.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

No way. For the bigger budget, buy and hold types - that makes sense. But if the goal is value for money:

1) There are always good speakers being closed out at big discounts when new lines are introduced. That's the best bang for the buck. For example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325029

2) Best bang for the buck is achieved at about $75-150 per speaker, anyway. That's more the budget range the original post describes.

3) Buying a known brand can let those who are careful resell them for most of what they paid when they upgrade.

Unless they're as good a quality as something like the HSU HB-1 mk2's at $159 each, then I definitely don't agree. For extremely tight budget speakers maybe... but why wouldn't you save up for something you won't want to upgrade almost immediately?
post #19 of 29
i will agree the hsu's for 159.00 are a good deal.
post #20 of 29
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

what about these for $149/pr? Good deal? 6" woofer and 1" tweeter.
http://www.svsound.com/outlet-specials?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=20&category_id=5#.UX3Fs6LFUaA

Yeah, for a system in a small room where you don't crank the volume those were not bad speakers at all, you could do worse. Don't expect them to fill a medium or large room. Need a sub no matter what.

But you'd have to use one of them as a center. There doesn't seem to be a matching center available any more given that these are clearance models.
post #22 of 29
Hi, I have a 19 L X 11 W X 8 H room with the distance from the couch to television about 9 feet. (typical NYC apartment). I am considering purchasing a Yamaha HTR-4065 5.1 and a pair of HSU HB-1 mk2's . I'm thinking I will forgo everything else until my budget looks a little better. My question will this work alright and be upgrade able without having to junk any of these pieces later. I'm mostly interested in home theater listening.] Thanks for the informative posts.
post #23 of 29
The HSU speakers are fine for movies, however they're designed for playing loudly in a larger room and a little finicky with positioning.

In that average price range, you could try:

Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE (move them to surround duties and get the CMT-340's and stands up front later)

Arx A1b (move them to surround duties and get their A5 tower and A2c center later) @ theaudioinsider.com

I think you should look at upping your receiver budget just a little bit. The Yamaha is only a budget 5.1 channel receiver. If you want to keep it around for a while for upgrade purposes, go for a 7.1 or 9.1 channel receiver.

The Pioneer SC-1222-k is 7.2 with full pre-amp outputs and is $549 at Newegg.com right now, or if you can call around to area Costco's and look for the SC-1522-k for $599, it's a tricked out 9.2 channel receiver with pre-amp outs. That Costco deal is, by far, the best bang for your buck right now.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE (move them to surround duties and get the CMT-340's and stands up front later)

I have the CBM-170 SEs. Great speaker. You cannot go wrong with them. And then it is nice to have the option of upgrading the fronts to the dual 6.5" driver CMT-340s later on if you want, along with using the CMT-340 SE center. That would give you six 6.5" drivers in your front sound stage, with the speakers an exact timbre match. biggrin.gif
post #25 of 29
Thanks. I just ordered the CBM-170SEs and am still working on the receiver. The Costco deal is dead in my area. I was wondering would the full pre-amp be utilized in a room my size? Will I want an amp down the road? Also when I was purchasing the speakers they wanted to sell me 80.00 speaker wire. Is there something I should know about buying speaker wire or is this another variation of the Monster cable ripoff ? Thanks again.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmatt10066 View Post

Thanks. I just ordered the CBM-170SEs and am still working on the receiver. The Costco deal is dead in my area. I was wondering would the full pre-amp be utilized in a room my size? Will I want an amp down the road? Also when I was purchasing the speakers they wanted to sell me 80.00 speaker wire. Is there something I should know about buying speaker wire or is this another variation of the Monster cable ripoff ? Thanks again.

I'm thinking of the pre-amp outs for future use. Those would definitely allow you to add more power if you ever can utilize a bigger room. If the receiver doesn't have them, then you're stuck until you upgrade yet again.

The 1222-k isn't a bad receiver by any means (though it is limited to 7.2 decoding) and it's 50% off at Newegg.com if you cannot get the Costco 1522-k deal.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmatt10066 View Post

Thanks. I just ordered the CBM-170SEs and am still working on the receiver. The Costco deal is dead in my area. I was wondering would the full pre-amp be utilized in a room my size? Will I want an amp down the road? Also when I was purchasing the speakers they wanted to sell me 80.00 speaker wire. Is there something I should know about buying speaker wire or is this another variation of the Monster cable ripoff ? Thanks again.
Just buy a spool from Monoprice. Speaker wire is largely the same as HDMI, it either works or it doesn't.

Note: There are some people who will bet the farm that it makes a difference. There is no hard data to support the claim, despite an abundance of testing.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan25 View Post

Just buy a spool from Monoprice. Speaker wire is largely the same as HDMI, it either works or it doesn't.

Note: There are some people who will bet the farm that it makes a difference. There is no hard data to support the claim, despite an abundance of testing.

Speaker wire... don't go thinner than 14 AWG. I usually use 12 AWG for just-in-case scenarios.
post #29 of 29
Agreed, I run 14, but when we get into a house ill be using 12 for the longer runs.
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