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What's an appropriate amount to spend for good speakers in a bad listening environment?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm shopping for my first 5.1 speaker system. I would love to have an audiophile-quality setup, but the room it will be going in is an apartment living room. It has three walls with windows on the left wall, a variety of furniture, and an open space on the right that leads to the kitchen, entrance hallway, etc. Also, the ceiling is slanted. I'm no expert on acoustics but I bet this is probably just about the worst possible room one could find.

Given this, I don't want to waste money on speakers that can't be appreciated in this space. The problem is I have no idea what kind of price point is reasonable for this kind of room. Could some more educated members help me out? smile.gif

I'll be primarily listening to movies, classical, and rock (in that order).
post #2 of 29
No one can answer what is appropriate for you. An amount for some might be insanely high for others. Throw out the max you are comfortable spending. I'm not expert either, but from what I've read on here the concern with an open layout is usually on having bass to fill the room. Not the actual speakers. Your bigger problem is the fact you are in an apartment and have to worry about disturbing neighbors.
post #3 of 29
you can find something in the $500 range, excluding a sub.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'd be willing to spend up to $10K if I thought I'd be able to appreciate the difference in my apartment.

I have never heard noise from the adjacent units and this room shares no walls with any other units, so I am hopeful that disturbing my neighbours will not be a big problem. smile.gif
post #5 of 29
Do you plan on doing any acoustical treatments?
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post

Do you plan on doing any acoustical treatments?

No, I'm not planning to treat the room in any way since I don't own my apartment unit (I'm a nomad smile.gif ).
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Schmelcher View Post

No, I'm not planning to treat the room in any way since I don't own my apartment unit (I'm a nomad smile.gif ).

Then I'd spend no more than like $2000. Good speakers do nothing in a bad sounding room.
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post

Then I'd spend no more than like $2000. Good speakers do nothing in a bad sounding room.

Thanks. Any recommendations in that range? I am planning to audition some of the low-end Paradigm stuff next weekend which would be at about that price point (excluding A/V receiver).
post #9 of 29
Are you set on 5.1? What about a better 3.1 or 2.1? Bookshelf or floor speakers?
post #10 of 29
The price point on what you should spend is Subjective

Best bet is to get some speakers with controlled directivity - the JBL Studio 5
series is a strong option - and they are good for both music and HT. The horns
are smooth and refined, with good detail and definition.

I will take them over low end Paradigm, PSB and several other brands.

Yes, they can do classical and rock

Studio 580
http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Studio-580-Floorstanding-Loudspeaker/dp/B0060IG460/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390165421&sr=8-1&keywords=jbl+studio+580

Studio 520
http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Studio-520CBK-Channel-Speaker/dp/B00622SUHK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390165470&sr=8-1&keywords=jbl+studio+520

Studio 210 for surrounds
http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Studio-210-Surround-Speaker/dp/B00GK22KYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390165642&sr=8-1&keywords=jbl+studio+210

SVS PB-1000 subwoofer
http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/PB-1000#.Utw--RDnYlI
Edited by zieglj01 - 1/19/14 at 2:01pm
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post

Are you set on 5.1? What about a better 3.1 or 2.1? Bookshelf or floor speakers?

I'm pretty set on 5.1. I was thinking floor-standing speakers but that's not set in stone. I just don't want to spend extra for something that won't sound any better in a bad room. I auditioned a 5.1 Paradigm Reference-series set-up vs. a B&W CM-series set-up yesterday and I would readily shell out the cash for those if they were going to sound the same in my apartment, but I'm sure they wouldn't.
post #12 of 29
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks. Hadn't heard of KEF before. They have a retailer not too far from me so I'll check them out.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Schmelcher View Post

Thanks. Hadn't heard of KEF before. They have a retailer not too far from me so I'll check them out.

You may like them - however, they are not controlled directivity speakers.
post #15 of 29
you still could get acoustic panels that you could put on the walls, ceiling that would not be permanent for the kind of money you are talking about.
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark62 View Post

you still could get acoustic panels that you could put on the walls, ceiling that would not be permanent for the kind of money you are talking about.

I'm not sure that would go very far. I could put them on two of the walls and on the ceiling, but the left wall is filled with windows and the big open space on the right side is a lost cause. More importantly, my wife would not be okay with putting unsightly panels all over the place. :P
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

You may like them - however, they are not controlled directivity speakers.

Oops, I missed your first post. Thanks for the tip on directivity. I'll check out JBL too.

What do you think of Denon's Audyssey technology? Would it help my situation?
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Schmelcher View Post

Oops, I missed your first post. Thanks for the tip on directivity. I'll check out JBL too.

What do you think of Denon's Audyssey technology? Would it help my situation?

yeah audyssey will help you i believe. i dont care to use it, but for you definitely.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Schmelcher View Post

Oops, I missed your first post. Thanks for the tip on directivity. I'll check out JBL too.

What do you think of Denon's Audyssey technology? Would it help my situation?

It may help some - however glass is glass, and a weak layout tends to be weak. Audyssey
can do some things - however, do not expect miracles. I am not a big fan of receiver set-up
options - however, I tend to be in the minority there.
post #20 of 29
maybe use some heavier curtains for the windows to help with the reflections (sound).
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark62 View Post

maybe use some heavier curtains for the windows to help with the reflections (sound).

That may fly. smile.gif

Today I attempted to measure my room's frequency response using Room EQ Wizard with my PC, a karaoke mic, and my TV speakers. Then I realized it was a waste of time since I have no way of calibrating any of it. :P I guess at some point I will just have to buy something and see how it does in my home.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Schmelcher View Post

That may fly. smile.gif

Today I attempted to measure my room's frequency response using Room EQ Wizard with my PC, a karaoke mic, and my TV speakers. Then I realized it was a waste of time since I have no way of calibrating any of it. :P I guess at some point I will just have to buy something and see how it does in my home.

Buy something - it all comes down to what will sound fine to you

It really does not matter, how any one else would feel - it all comes down
to you - some people do compromise.

Your call
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the recommendations. I looked into both JBL and KEF Q-series but sadly no one had them in my area to audition. frown.gif But I did find a dealer with a wide variety of price ranges and brands (including other KEF models) and after two days of auditioning their stuff I finally went for it and ordered two Totem Sttaf fronts and an Anthem MRX-310. (I'll get the other channels later.) Bit pricier than the suggestions I got here, but my wife and I felt it was worth it. They finally arrived this weekend and we're loving them.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Schmelcher View Post

Thanks for all the recommendations. I looked into both JBL and KEF Q-series but sadly no one had them in my area to audition. frown.gif But I did find a dealer with a wide variety of price ranges and brands (including other KEF models) and after two days of auditioning their stuff I finally went for it and ordered two Totem Sttaf fronts and an Anthem MRX-310. (I'll get the other channels later.) Bit pricier than the suggestions I got here, but my wife and I felt it was worth it. They finally arrived this weekend and we're loving them.

Also take a look from the offering from aperion
http://www.aperionaudio.com/speakers/verus-home-theater-speakers

I got the Verus Grand series and could not be more happy, also lots of customer who purchase the Verus Forte or the Intimus series seem also very happy.
Just go the site from the above link and read some reviews (professional and customer).

For the subs I would also second the offering from SVS
http://www.svsound.com/?gclid=CMKF67yP1LwCFQtgMgodu2QAoA
or, power sound audio
http://www.powersoundaudio.com/

Just to add a few more choice.
Good luck and happy listening.

Ray
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Schmelcher View Post

Thanks for all the recommendations. I looked into both JBL and KEF Q-series but sadly no one had them in my area to audition. frown.gif But I did find a dealer with a wide variety of price ranges and brands (including other KEF models) and after two days of auditioning their stuff I finally went for it and ordered two Totem Sttaf fronts and an Anthem MRX-310. (I'll get the other channels later.) Bit pricier than the suggestions I got here, but my wife and I felt it was worth it. They finally arrived this weekend and we're loving them.

Continue to enjoy
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Schmelcher View Post

Thanks for all the recommendations. I looked into both JBL and KEF Q-series but sadly no one had them in my area to audition. frown.gif But I did find a dealer with a wide variety of price ranges and brands (including other KEF models) and after two days of auditioning their stuff I finally went for it and ordered two Totem Sttaf fronts and an Anthem MRX-310. (I'll get the other channels later.) Bit pricier than the suggestions I got here, but my wife and I felt it was worth it. They finally arrived this weekend and we're loving them.

Continue to enjoy

+1

And never mind my last, I didn't realise I was too late to the party rolleyes.gif

Ray
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Schmelcher View Post

I'd be willing to spend up to $10K if I thought I'd be able to appreciate the difference in my apartment.

I have never heard noise from the adjacent units and this room shares no walls with any other units, so I am hopeful that disturbing my neighbours will not be a big problem. smile.gif

Hence why people said this is subjective. $10k is well out of my budget no matter whether the room is perfect or not. I'd have spent $500. Others may have spent $2k. Others still may have spent $20k.

If you're willing to spend $10k, buy the speakers you want. Chances are you'll move to a place that has a better room for em. No point buying a pair of cheap speakers that you'll upgrade later when you have a better room if you already have the money on hand to get what you want now.

It really is so subjective.....
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Schmelcher View Post

I finally went for it and ordered two Totem Sttaf fronts and an Anthem MRX-310. (I'll get the other channels later.) Bit pricier than the suggestions I got here, but my wife and I felt it was worth it. They finally arrived this weekend and we're loving them.
Nice speakers! Just goes to show that you can get the benefit of good speakers in most rooms.

Theory seems to overwhelm practice in this forum.

If you have placement flexibility, you can do a lot to get the benefit of good speakers. That is, if you can put the left and right away from the walls; and if you can have the listening position in the right place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post

Then I'd spend no more than like $2000. Good speakers do nothing in a bad sounding room.
That's about the right number, but completely the wrong idea.

The easy proof why is this: put a chair in the middle of the room, and the speakers six feet away. I guarantee you'd hear the difference between good and bad speakers, because the placement would avoid some of the biggest issues in the room.

More practically, if you're able to adjust the front left and right and the seating position, you can do a lot in a challenging room.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

Nice speakers! Just goes to show that you can get the benefit of good speakers in most rooms.

Theory seems to overwhelm practice in this forum.

If you have placement flexibility, you can do a lot to get the benefit of good speakers. That is, if you can put the left and right away from the walls; and if you can have the listening position in the right place.
That's about the right number, but completely the wrong idea.

The easy proof why is this: put a chair in the middle of the room, and the speakers six feet away. I guarantee you'd hear the difference between good and bad speakers, because the placement would avoid some of the biggest issues in the room.

More practically, if you're able to adjust the front left and right and the seating position, you can do a lot in a challenging room.


You misunderstood my point. Will you hear the difference from a cheap speaker to a quality one, yes. But will you hear the difference from like a Revel and a Polk? The room will play a big part in how the sound, so it's pointless to buy a set of high-end speakers if you are just going to throw them in a room and play them.
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