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Bookshelf speaker recommendation for $400 budget for the pair in a 2 channel setup for music - Page 2

post #31 of 83
jps:

I have all 3 Axiom V3 models currently running in my house.

M2s - Wonderful clean sound but really need to be paired up with a quality sub or two. I have 2 EP400s with mine driven by a lower power tube amp. As a system it is a stunningly accurate & pleasing audio only system.

M3s - These are in the same large room but are intended to be an ambiance sound system driven by a low end SS receiver. I alternate listening to each system every second day so I have a good reference for comparison purposes. The M3s are very powerful performers for their size that easily fill my fairly large space with what I believe is fine sound. They really don't need a sub for most music. In fact, yesterday I listened to 'Riding with the King' CD (BB & Clapton) & I was amazed at the amount of large, articulate sound they produced. I thought that I was listening to medium size towers.

M22s - Used downstairs in my HT with 2 Velodyne 10" subs but are rather tall as bookshelfs. It is really a modest setup compared to most here, but it is a most enjoyable system. The M22s accurately produce movie soundtracks cleanly without much effort up to reference levels but I mostly listen at -10 Db.

They all work beautifully for me - subjectively speaking of course...

TAM
post #32 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by jps1107 View Post

I have considered this, and correct me if my thinking on this is wrong, but I liked the simplicity of one quality two channel amp, that I will only have one source connected to 90% of the time. As far as the phone inputs, for my future turntable, I was looking at the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB which has a built in pre-amp. Simplicity and quality was my aim with the emotiva.

AVRs also have bass management features that are very useful if you add a sub later on.

Without bass management, you will likely need to set your sub to integrate with the rolloff of your speakers at the low end. That is because most subs only have a low pass crossover designed to cut off the sub at the high end. So you have to match up the sub to come in where the speakers slow down on producing bass.

Bass management on AVRs has low and high pass filters built into the crossover, so you can set the crossover higher. One benefit of that is that a good sub could be crossed at 80hz, taking some of the load of your speakers and amplifier.

Also, if you get an AVR with room correction, it can help to EQ your speakers (and sub if you go with Audyssey MultEQ or better) to correct for some room acoustic issues. That can give you a smoother in-room response at your listening position.

You would also have the option of running optical out (or HDMI out if you have it) to the AVR to see if it's onboard DAC sounds better than what your computer can output. Analog output from motherboard audio on many laptops and desktops is pretty crappy (can't remember if you are planning on using that).

Finally, because AVRs are produced in such massive quantity, economies of scale make them quite good buys. I haven't heard the mini-x, but it's quite possible that an AVR would give you just as good SQ along with additional features and more max output. A really good deal is this factory refurbished/factory warrantied Denon 1612 (2012 model). Great reviews and almost 119 watts into 2 channel at 1% distortion: http://www.hometheater.com/content/denon-avr-1612-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures
post #33 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Consider planning for the longer term, a subwoofer doesn't have to be added on day 1. The only concern I might have with your proposed path is the choice of amplifier. While it's debatable just how much power you need you are limiting yourself, and agree with cel that an AVR might be the better choice. I know the Polks like power.

Agreed. All the speakers you are considering now will be a dramatic improvement over the Logitech system you have now. But as Transmaniacon pointed out, subs can be a real plus with electronic music. Get the speakers that seem most interesting to you knowing that you can add in extra bass later on once you save up for the sub you want.

I also know that Nethawk recently went from a 2 channel receiver with 2 speakers and sub to an AVR and liked it better. He can tell you more about the benefits of an AVR if you are interested.
post #34 of 83
^^^

Night and Day
Rags to Riches
Whoopi Goldberg to Megan Fox

biggrin.gif

Yeah, it made a big difference, but I will caveat before the Big Difference SWAT Team arrives by saying that it very well could be my imagination. By offsetting those frequencies my small bookshelf (desktop) speakers couldn't handle their midrange performance (where they really shine) has improved, and integrating the bass at just the right point where rolloff starts to occur (100Hz) my room has come alive. I haven't yet run Audyssey, that's the next step. For now I'm very happy with the additional investment and switch from 2 channel receiver to an AVR.
post #35 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

^^^

Night and Day
Rags to Riches
Whoopi Goldberg to Megan Fox

biggrin.gif

Yeah, it made a big difference, but I will caveat before the Big Difference SWAT Team arrives by saying that it very well could be my imagination. By offsetting those frequencies my small bookshelf (desktop) speakers couldn't handle their midrange performance (where they really shine) has improved, and integrating the bass at just the right point where rolloff starts to occur (100Hz) my room has come alive. I haven't yet run Audyssey, that's the next step. For now I'm very happy with the additional investment and switch from 2 channel receiver to an AVR.

Ok I am here, fortunately you redeemed yourself and provided a caveat. I will be watching you good sir. biggrin.gif
post #36 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

By offsetting those frequencies my small bookshelf (desktop) speakers couldn't handle their midrange performance (where they really shine) has improved, and integrating the bass at just the right point where rolloff starts to occur (100Hz) my room has come alive.

I think it makes sense, though. Aren't your bookshelf speakers ported? So setting the crossover that way mean you are probably right at the tuning point, eliminating the higher distortion that ported speakers (and subs) generally exhibit below their tuning point.
post #37 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jm86wvu View Post

I'll also chime in on the pre-amp decision. Consider looking for used integrated amps. I think the convenience of a remote and input switching is worth looking into. You can get used Rotel integrated amps (RA-9xxBX, for example) or something similar for the price point of that Emotiva. A friend of mine has one and it's a great amp. I don't believe this would "complicate" your setup at all.

I'll definitely look into used, as new for a decent integrated or av receiver was out of my price range that could run a drive a decent amount of power at 4ohm, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louquid View Post

To me, the 10.2's are the better choice for stereo listening. Rather 2.0 or 2.1, the 10.2's are said to have a smoother overall response over the 10.1's. The 10.2's, despite being larger, actually produce the cleaner, more crisp sound.

Thanks, exactly the bit of info i was seeking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nothingspecial View Post

I'm going to throw out a suggestion.
Mordaunt Short Aviano 2
I mention the Mordaunt Short Aviano 2 just because of what your asking for a good speaker without maybe the need of a sub for music.And they really sound good in any room. Mordaunt Short Aviano 2 can be bought for $309-$400 a pair finishes walnut,rosewood,black ash the original price was $695 a pair

Those are something that were not on my radar at all, i will look into those too.
post #38 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I think it makes sense, though. Aren't your bookshelf speakers ported? So setting the crossover that way mean you are probably right at the tuning point, eliminating the higher distortion that ported speakers (and subs) generally exhibit below their tuning point.

This is correct. They are rear ported, although designed with desktop placement in mind. I get no boominess at 4-5" from wall, well within the port diameter x 1.5 rule of thumb for placement of speakers of this type. While specifications indicate 60Hz, the only measurement graph I've seen shows a drop of -3dB around 70Hz, beginning just above 100Hz. Going back and forth between 80-100 provided no audible difference so I went with the upper setting.

Whether there are means outside of AVR to experiment at this granular level I don't know, but the AVR sure made it easy.
post #39 of 83
Thread Starter 
So the problem i see with a lot of the integrated amps and avr's at the price point of the emotiva is that they don't do 4ohm, now i know it's pretty easy to find 8ohm speakers, but those polks were one of my top contenders.

ah, such numerous variables.
post #40 of 83
Take a look at the Onkyo TX-8050 stereo receiver. It would be a great option for you, offer more wattage and input options, and has 4ohm support. You could also look at the Yamaha R-S500, and Denon DRA-697CI.
post #41 of 83
Just yesterday I got a pair of Definative Technology Studio Monitor 45 speakers for $400. They have reasonable bass response and articulate highs. Overall they sound warmish in tone to me, which I prefer. Like you, I may add a subwoofer later, and might replace my aging stereo receiver with an AVR. We'll see. It sounds quite nice as it is, though.
post #42 of 83
That's a pretty good budget for a mid-high quality bookshelf speaker set. I came across Massdrop.com that has a bunch of really good Audiophile stuff. They have a bunch of Audio Engine and Kanto speakers for group buy sales. Not sure their return rates, but I have heard both and they are pretty good quality for that price point.
post #43 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

Take a look at the Onkyo TX-8050 stereo receiver. It would be a great option for you, offer more wattage and input options, and has 4ohm support. You could also look at the Yamaha R-S500, and Denon DRA-697CI.

I went from the Onkyo TX-8050 to the Denon AVR (see above). It's quite a nice package for a 2 channel receiver, my favorite over others in its price range due to networking and onboard streaming capabilities, in addition to solid performance. My only complaint was lack of bass management.
post #44 of 83
Stereo receivers don't have bass management. That's a function of AVR's. At least I've never seen a stereo receiver with bass management.
post #45 of 83
Which kinda sucks, really. I wonder why this need hasn't been recognized?
post #46 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by jps1107 View Post

Hi all, I'm looking to put together a simple 2 channel system for listening to music in my apartment living room, which is 12x20 feet.

I think i've already settled on the Emotiva mini-X a-100 as the amplifier. I will be playing mostly 2 channel audio from a digital source like computer and mp3 player, but have plans for adding a turntable/vinyl in the future as well. Now I just need to pick out some speakers.

I have a budget of about $400 max for the pair. My plan is to get a pair of bookshelf speakers that i can place on stands that will sound good by themselves right now, and then maybe 6 months to 1 year down the road add a subwoofer to to round out the bottom end. I've looked at the Arx A1b, as well as the Axiom M2v3 and M3v3, as these all seem to keep popping up in budget conscious threads, but am definitely open to any suggestions. The axiom m3 seemed more appropriate to me because of the larger driver, but i never seem to see that one recommended, only the smaller m2?

My main concern is finding a pair that will sound great on its own, specifically the bass response, as it could be a while before I add a sub, or possibly forego the sub all together (though that's not likely).

In addition, a faux wood grain finish would be a definite plus (real wood is not possible at this price point is it?), as aesthetics is a concern... as reference point i think the Arx A1b's are not very attractive at all.

Also I think it is worth noting that I currently tend to listen to a lot of electronic based music, but I do appreciate balanced sound. I would hope for speakers that could excel at this type of music but be equally at home playing something like Jack White's new album.

One last bit of info. This system will be an upgrade over one of those $80 5.1 in a box systems from logitech they sell to connect to your computer. The satellite speakers are all plastic enclosures, lack tweeters, and the 6 inch sub is loud enough, but way too boomy and draws attention to itself. I've had that for the last 5 years and want a more mature looking and sounding system.

So, am i on the right track with the axioms or Arx, or can you recommend some that I'm missing completely?

!

You're planning to do just about everything the old school, money wasting, low performance way.

For an amp, get a 5.1 AVR, anything would be better than the Emotiva. You can get a full-function AVR for even less at online stores like www.accessories4less.com. There are many options. My first choice would probably be a Denon. Big advantage: bass management which is the final answer when it comes to bass. No problem configuring it as a 2.0 or 2.1 device.

Right now its a bad time to buy them, but when they drop down to $199 at Amazon again, obtain a pair of Infinity Primus P363.
post #47 of 83
if you get the right speakers the bass management is not as important as you think. I just went to a setup using an external DAC and had to disable the bass management in my system (PSA sub with my PSB B6 bookshelfs) I was nervous i would be losing a ton of bass....it turns out i had a little too much bass for music...

the B6's put out the perfect amount of bass for music (albeit not dubstep etc)...so take that as you will. If you have a sub or plan on getting a sub...go with an AVR...but if that is in the distant future and you don't think you will need one...go with the dedicated amp.
post #48 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Fineberg View Post

if you get the right speakers the bass management is not as important as you think.

Show me some floor standing so-called full range speakers with bass extension comparable to say Hsu ULS-15s or Rhythmic F15 series or something on that order and I would change my mind.
Quote:
I just went to a setup using an external DAC and had to disable the bass management in my system (PSA sub with my PSB B6 bookshelfs) I was nervous i would be losing a ton of bass....it turns out i had a little too much bass for music...

I guess you think that quantify of bass is all that matters. Myself, I'm into quality and quantity as well.

One of the benefits of bass management is offloading bass from speaker drivers that are less able to handle it.

In this OP's needs, the choice can be a matter of bass management or not for the same equipment cost. If you do bass management with outboard boxes the price performance always seems to suffer.
post #49 of 83
I'm suprised no one has mentioned HTD..

The level two or level three bookshelf speakers would be a great choice, both under 400 dollars. I had the level twos and to this day I am still impressed by them, while I no longer have them as I ended up buying EMP speakers i am a little upset at myself for selling them as I could have found many uses or palces for them

They thew out quite a suprisning ammount of bass for their size.. they had great detail and AMAZING imaging.. I honestly still feel that they imaged beter than my EMP's

I would seriously take them up on their 30 day in home trial and give them a shot.. you don't have anythng to lose and I think you will enjoy them.
post #50 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by jps1107 View Post

So the problem i see with a lot of the integrated amps and avr's at the price point of the emotiva is that they don't do 4ohm, now i know it's pretty easy to find 8ohm speakers, but those polks were one of my top contenders.

ah, such numerous variables.

The Rotel integrated amps that I recommended are 4-ohm capable.

From the Rotel User Manual:
"If only one set of speakers will be played at any one time, the speakers may have an impedance as low as 4 ohms. If both the A and B sets of speakers will be operated at the same time the speaker should have an impedance of 8 ohms or more. Speaker impedance ratings are less than precise. In practice, very few loudspeakers will present any problems for the RA-985BX. See your authorized Rotel dealer if you have any questions."

Bass management can be very useful, however, one of my favorite ways to listen to my music is in pure 2 channel stereo with no room correction or sub. Most good subs also offer the connections to set the crossovers for your system if need be.
post #51 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Which kinda sucks, really. I wonder why this need hasn't been recognized?

The desired device already exists - it is called a 5.1 AVR.

Doubt me?

Please name a feature that you need for a 2.0 or 2.1 AVR that is not already standard on a 5.1 AVR.
post #52 of 83
We may be getting off-track here a bit. My apologies to the OP as I definitely played a part in changing the subject here to amps/preamp. Getting back to the speaker conversation: If it were me, my three choices would likely be the Polk Lsi7, Wharfedale 10.2, and HTD Level 3. I would post a thread in the amp section seeking advice/recommendations on Integrated Amps or AVRs and purchase that equipment first, then order some speakers for an in-home demo. Good luck!
post #53 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Which kinda sucks, really. I wonder why this need hasn't been recognized?

The Outlaw Audio RR2150 has bass management, but note that it's described as "analog bass management." Which made me wonder why 2 channel receivers don't put an adjustable high pass analog filter dial with a switch to bypass it on the back of the receiver that affects the 2 channel analog audio signal after the audio is split off to the sub. Then you could use that in conjunction with the crossover on the sub to set the crossover point wherever you want. A high pass crossover is a pretty common feature on car audio amps (even cheap ones), so I would be surprised if it's that expensive to include.
post #54 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

The desired device already exists - it is called a 5.1 AVR.

Doubt me?

Please name a feature that you need for a 2.0 or 2.1 AVR that is not already standard on a 5.1 AVR.

Doubt you? Are you not reading the full thread again? Read above. I've been preaching the same mantra.

The reason it kinda sucks is the number of people who jump straight to a 2 channel receiver and never gain the full performance of a 2.1 system. Not everyone comes to AVS, and many that do fall into a commsysman or similar trap, and to the best of my knowledge nobody has an Arny on their shoulder whispering in their ear. So we're back to 'kinda sucks'. wink.gif

Phono input.
Edited by Nethawk - 6/20/13 at 7:45am
post #55 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Doubt you? Are you not reading the full thread again? Read above. I've been preaching the same mantra.

The reason it kinda sucks is the number of people who jump straight to a 2 channel receiver and never gain the full performance of a 2.1 system. Not everyone comes to AVS, and many that do fall into a commsysman or similar trap, and to the best of my knowledge nobody has an Arny on their shoulder whispering in their ear. So we're back to 'kinda sucks'. wink.gif

There's another reason to implement it the way I described above with a 2 channel amp instead of using an AVR where the crossover is part of the digital signal processing. Some people don't want their signal converted back to digital by the receiver in order to implement bass management and then back to analog again. I would think that now that subwoofers are becoming more popular among 2 channel audio listeners with high end up setups that an analog high pass filter might be widely used if available, such as with an expensive vinyl setup where people don't want any digital processing introduced.
post #56 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by jps1107 View Post

So the problem i see with a lot of the integrated amps and avr's at the price point of the emotiva is that they don't do 4ohm, now i know it's pretty easy to find 8ohm speakers, but those polks were one of my top contenders.

ah, such numerous variables.

Also, it is an audiophile myth.

Delivering music to speakers and grinding out sine waves on a test bench are two different things.

Few people have actually seen this comparison, but delivering music to speakers is generally a walk in the park, while sine waves at full power on a test bench is much more than most AVRs see for their entire life.

Most AVRs are capable of driving 2 ohm loads in actual use with music, so 4 ohms is no big deal.
post #57 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Also, it is an audiophile myth.

Delivering music to speakers and grinding out sine waves on a test bench are two different things.

Few people have actually seen this comparison, but delivering music to speakers is generally a walk in the park, while sine waves at full power on a test bench is much more than most AVRs see for their entire life.

Most AVRs are capable of driving 2 ohm loads in actual use with music, so 4 ohms is no big deal.

Agree with this - though a manufacturer may not list a 4 ohm spec, that doesn't mean an amp won't drive a 4 ohm load. The amp will run hotter (as anything driving a lower impedance will) but still should play music just fine.
post #58 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by erick.s View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Also, it is an audiophile myth.

Delivering music to speakers and grinding out sine waves on a test bench are two different things.

Few people have actually seen this comparison, but delivering music to speakers is generally a walk in the park, while sine waves at full power on a test bench is much more than most AVRs see for their entire life.

Most AVRs are capable of driving 2 ohm loads in actual use with music, so 4 ohms is no big deal.

Agree with this - though a manufacturer may not list a 4 ohm spec, that doesn't mean an amp won't drive a 4 ohm load. The amp will run hotter (as anything driving a lower impedance will) but still should play music just fine.

An important fact is that the amp heating capability of a music signal is only a fraction of that of a full power or 1/3 power steady sine wave.

I know this for sure because I have tested well over a dozen varied amps both ways.
post #59 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


There's another reason to implement it the way I described above with a 2 channel amp instead of using an AVR where the crossover is part of the digital signal processing. Some people don't want their signal converted back to digital by the receiver in order to implement bass management and then back to analog again.
Quote:

This would only need to be done if the audio signal comes from the analog domain.

By modern standards there are no high quality signals that come from the analog domain. For example LPs with 70 dB dynamic range are rare. Most are in the 55 to 65 dB range. When was the last time you heard a LP that was truly free of background noise like a good CD?
Quote:
I would think that now that subwoofers are becoming more popular among 2 channel audio listeners with high end up setups that an analog high pass filter might be widely used if available, such as with an expensive vinyl setup where people don't want any digital processing introduced.

Vinyl is mostly a boomer thing. Yes there are some young curiosity seekers, but they are in the minority. Boomers are approaching or have reached the age where most stop buying new audio gear.

Many 2 channel amps and receivers are being billed as being network devices, many have digital inputs. Even at the elevated prices people are being gouged for 2 channel amps and receivers, it still takes volume and production quantities to make a profitable market.
post #60 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Some people don't want their signal converted back to digital by the receiver in order to implement bass management and then back to analog again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

This would only need to be done if the audio signal comes from the analog domain.

True. But need and want are two different things smile.gif

Not just vinyl. To many audiophiles that prefer to use their own separate DAC connected to a computer or maybe a high end CD player for their CDs, the idea of having an internal to the receiver analog to digital and then back to analog process for adding bass management is not very popular.
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