5.1 speakers on a budget <$500 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-27-2019, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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5.1 speakers on a budget <$500

Actually a few questions as I'm not a speaker expert:


My current setup is I have a 5.1 setup with matching Onkyo SKF-100s in the front, SKM-100 in the rear and SKC-100 center, with a SKW-100 Sub. I bought these as a set around 10 years ago, refurb from Onkyo. These are "old school" wooden case speakers, the fronts are about 16" x 7" the rears 8" x 5" and the center is 15 x 9. So my first question, does size matter? I see most new speakers in my price range are much smaller. Would I still get a richer, fuller sound? I have nothing against going smaller, just don't want to sacrifice anything. Second, is that I see a lot of speakers seem to be made of some type of plastic. Again, wood is old school and always seems to have a good sound to them, but would can/would plastic speakers sound as good? And third, what would you all suggest. Should I go for a set of 5.1? Should I just buy speakers and keep the sub I have?, or should I buy separates? I know I don't have a big budget so just looking for best bang for the buck.


I should mention these will be hooked up to a Denon S920-W AVR. I also don't mind refurbs from reputable dealers like accessories4less (which is where I go the Denon.

Steve
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-27-2019, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknj View Post
Actually a few questions as I'm not a speaker expert:


My current setup is I have a 5.1 setup with matching Onkyo SKF-100s in the front, SKM-100 in the rear and SKC-100 center, with a SKW-100 Sub. I bought these as a set around 10 years ago, refurb from Onkyo. These are "old school" wooden case speakers, the fronts are about 16" x 7" the rears 8" x 5" and the center is 15 x 9. So my first question, does size matter? I see most new speakers in my price range are much smaller. Would I still get a richer, fuller sound? I have nothing against going smaller, just don't want to sacrifice anything. Second, is that I see a lot of speakers seem to be made of some type of plastic. Again, wood is old school and always seems to have a good sound to them, but would can/would plastic speakers sound as good? And third, what would you all suggest. Should I go for a set of 5.1? Should I just buy speakers and keep the sub I have?, or should I buy separates? I know I don't have a big budget so just looking for best bang for the buck.


I should mention these will be hooked up to a Denon S920-W AVR. I also don't mind refurbs from reputable dealers like accessories4less (which is where I go the Denon.
Pretty much the only speakers with plastic cabinets are outdoor speaker; most speakers of any quality are MDF with a veneer, most commonly vinyl but sometimes wood.

You can continue to use your current sub if you wish; 150 watts with an 8" woofer should hit its 30hz specification which isn't that bad.

To achieve significantly better than that would run $450 or so.

These Polk RTiA3s are on steep discount at the moment with real wood veneer in two color choices; $10/box returns if not happy within 60 days; $240/pair with 6.5" woofer

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_107RTI...A3-Cherry.html

https://www.stereophile.com/content/...a3-loudspeaker

Matching center with raised tweeter and dual 6.5" woofer is $240.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_107CSI...A6-Cherry.html

Your receiver is fine.

When the time comes upgrade the sub next as you won't see a real wood veneer speaker for the current pricing of the soon to disappear RTiAs anytime soon.

Or, if you are pretty happy with your front three speakers now, buy one of these now.

PORTED SUBWOOFERS $600 AND BELOW, DELIVERED

NOTE:
*THE LARGER PORTED SUBS DELIVER AT LEAST 40% MORE SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
THAN THE SAME BRAND'S SEALED VERSION WITH SAME SIZE WOOFER AND AMP
*IF LOOKING AT LARGER/MORE EXPENSIVE SUBWOOFERS ADD PSA TO THE LIST OF BRANDS
*IF YOU ARE NOT AN ACTION MOVIE FAN A SUBWOOFER WITH 22-30HZ EXTENSION WOULD BE FINE
*FOR MUSIC A 30HZ SUB IS A FINE CHOICE
*BEFORE BUYING MAKE A CARDBOARD CUTOUT OF THE SIZE OF THE SUB TO MAKE SURE IT IS NOT TOO LARGE FOR YOU

Specs are from the manufacturer unless noted otherwise.
120watts =13w15h16d= 29 lbs 10" [29hz] $250 MARTIN LOGAN DYNAMO 500, limited time offer

200watts =13w14h15d= 27 lbs 8" [29hz] $270 KEF C4 Accessories 4 Less Price

350watts =15w16h17d= 40 lbs 10" [30hz] $399 RSL SPEEDWOOFER 10S, (extension from Sound & Vision review)

200watts =14w15h15d= 32 lbs 10" [25hz] $450 ELAC DEBUT 2.0 SUB3010, (extension from Sound & Vision review)
NOTE: THIS SUB HAS PHONE APP EQ FOR THE SUB

250watts =15w19h17d= 42 lbs 10" [25hz] $455 HSU VTF 1 MK3 (extension from Audioholics review)

300watts =15w19h20d= 46 lbs 10" [18hz] $499 SVS PB1000, (extension from Sound & Vision Review)

500watts =15w19h20d= 72 lbs 10" [20hz] $500 MONOPRICE MONOLITH THX 10"

300watts =16w22h21d= 69 lbs* 12" [19hz] $569 RHYTHMIK LV12F

350watts =15w21h22d= 62 lbs 12" [18hz] $607 HSU VTF2 MK5, (extension from Audioholics review)
* = shipping weight

SEALED SUBWOOFERS $650 AND BELOW, DELIVERED
300watts =12w13h13d= 27 lbs 10" [24hz] $399 MARTIN LOGAN DYNAMO 700W, limited time offer
NOTE: WIRELESS TRANSMITTER INCLUDED

300watts =13w14h16d= 27 lbs 12" [23hz] $499 SVS SB1000, (extension from Sound & Vision)

300watts =14w14h16d= 58 lbs* 12" [18hz] $539 RHYTHMIK L12

500watts =14w15h17d= 35 lbs 12" [19hz] $649 SVS SB2000 outlet, (extension from Sound & Vision)
* = shipping weight

Geoff A. J., California
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-27-2019, 02:10 PM
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I’d grab a Dayton MK402 5.1 system with the 12” subwoofer. And then you can actually get another matching Dayton SUB1200 for under $500. This would probably be the best system for your money. Or if you can swing the extra money, you can get the 5.1 with the 15” instead with an additional SUB1500. That will put you slightly over budget, unless you get the extra subwoofer open box, or find a coupon code which they always have going. It’s usually like $50 off anything above $500.

Dual subwoofers is a big benefit in a system. I highly suggest you go for it. And no need to get the tower package if so. In fact as long as you have a single subwoofer there’s no need for the towers. That money is better spent on a subwoofer anyway.

Good luck!

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-27-2019, 02:21 PM
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Not an expert at all, just want to share what I've learned when I asked almost the same question 3 months ago. I started with a $500 budget, I am currently over $2,000 in, thanks to AVS. I wish I listened to more advice, and started with 2.1 or even just 2 speakers. I was very determined to get everything at once, and this made me settle on a few pieces. Good luck!

Denon 1400h - Emotiva C2 center - 2x S55's LR - 2x S15's Surround - HSU VTF-3 MK5 Bass
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-27-2019, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknj View Post
I should mention these will be hooked up to a Denon S920-W AVR. I also don't mind refurbs from reputable dealers like accessories4less (which is where I go the Denon.
Pretty much a no-brainer on a budget -- the JBL Studio 230 refurb for $159 a pair shipped -- buy 3 pair and use one each as a vertical center
https://www.ebay.com/itm/JBL-Studio-...s/153169789280

Or buy one pair of the Studio 230 and the Studio 235 center
https://www.harmanaudio.com/jbl/STUD...gaAgkzEALw_wcB

Keep your sub and save up for a better one and for surrounds

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Last edited by zieglj01; 02-27-2019 at 02:31 PM.
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-27-2019, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sopel10 View Post
Not an expert at all, just want to share what I've learned when I asked almost the same question 3 months ago. I started with a $500 budget, I am currently over $2,000 in, thanks to AVS. I wish I listened to more advice, and started with 2.1 or even just 2 speakers. I was very determined to get everything at once, and this made me settle on a few pieces. Good luck!
One thing I've learned about buying tech for years, is that:

A) There are always people who will try and talk you into something that is way past your budget

B) There's always a good deal on a decent system (a bang for the buck deal). It might not be the best, but it will suffice for what I would need.

So, my goal here is to see if I can do better than what I have for my budget. If I can't I'll wait. There's usually good refurbs out there where I can get better than I can afford for less. Thank you to whoever on here turned me on to accessories4less. I got my receiver that way for about half of the list price.

What happened is I went to someone's house and I heard their speaker setup and it sounded better than mine, and the speakers were smaller (but this was really top of the line stuff, the setup probably cost them $10k or more when they set it up). They even got a new AVR which was a lower end Denon (because that's all they need at this point, they are elderly and didn't want to spend a lot). So now, I'm realizing what better speakers can do. But I can't spend that kind of money. My better half is always giving me dirty looks when I said I wanted to spend $500 on new speakers!

I know the hobby can be expensive.

Steve
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-27-2019, 02:43 PM
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Yes, IMHO (unless you are willing to scour craig list for used), for 500 dollars, you can get a decent 5.0 -OR- a decent 0.1, but not both! Trust me, i have owned a bunch of 200 dollar subs, and they were either unsatisfying, didn't last long or mostly both!

Set up #1: EMP e5Ti, e5Ci, and EMP e5Bi surrounds, Outlaw LFM1 Plus sub, SVS NSD SB12 sub, Marantz Slimeline 1504 AV receiver
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and EMPtek10i10i sub, Denon 1910 AV receiver
Set up #3: Philharmonics- BMR in a 2.0 system, music only, Yamaha RXV-363 AV receiver
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-27-2019, 02:49 PM
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2 Pair of these and matching center for $300, and they sound great for the money.
https://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS...ag=googhydr-20

Then buy a Dayton 15 or a BIC F12 for around $200, or save a little more and buy something nicer down the road a bit. We all started somewhere.

This is also pretty nice at $250, I have one in my bedroom
https://www.klipsch.com/products/r-1...less-subwoofer

Basement HT 5.1.2 - Marantz 6012, Outlaw 5000 - ELAC Debut F5 Towers, C5 Center, B5 Bookshelves as surrounds - Monolith 15(RETURNED) - BenQ2050a 92" Silver Ticket
Upstairs Living Room, Music 2.1 - Anthem MRX520 - Pair of Chane A1.5's, - SVS PB 1000 - Projekt Debut turntable - LG 55" B8 OLED
Bedroom 2.1 - Denon AVR740h - ELAC B4 Bookshelves - Klipsch R-10SW - TCL 49"
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-27-2019, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknj View Post
One thing I've learned about buying tech for years, is that:

A) There are always people who will try and talk you into something that is way past your budget

B) There's always a good deal on a decent system (a bang for the buck deal). It might not be the best, but it will suffice for what I would need.

So, my goal here is to see if I can do better than what I have for my budget. If I can't I'll wait. There's usually good refurbs out there where I can get better than I can afford for less. Thank you to whoever on here turned me on to accessories4less. I got my receiver that way for about half of the list price.

What happened is I went to someone's house and I heard their speaker setup and it sounded better than mine, and the speakers were smaller (but this was really top of the line stuff, the setup probably cost them $10k or more when they set it up). They even got a new AVR which was a lower end Denon (because that's all they need at this point, they are elderly and didn't want to spend a lot). So now, I'm realizing what better speakers can do. But I can't spend that kind of money. My better half is always giving me dirty looks when I said I wanted to spend $500 on new speakers!

I know the hobby can be expensive.

I still think you should go as slow as possible and build this over time. Especially if you really liked a sound from a high end system. And yes, this can get very expensive. I can't even begin to imagine what I'll end up spending on my sound once I build a house in a few years and put in a dedicated home theater in the basement!

Denon 1400h - Emotiva C2 center - 2x S55's LR - 2x S15's Surround - HSU VTF-3 MK5 Bass
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-28-2019, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknj View Post
So now, I'm realizing what better speakers can do. But I can't spend that kind of money. My better half is always giving me dirty looks when I said I wanted to spend $500 on new speakers!

I know the hobby can be expensive.
The safest approach is to buy at lower than msrp from a place with free returns, (JBL as suggested when they have sales), or a place with inexpensive returns, ($10/box returns and 60 day trial at Crutchfield on stand mount speakers and centers).

If you want real wood veneer try the discounted RTiAs, if you don't mind vinyl veneer try the discounted JBLs.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-28-2019, 11:01 AM
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Very hard to beat ELAC 50% sales. If not buy on sale, I would go Dayton Audio.
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post #12 of 18 Old 02-28-2019, 11:13 AM
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If you can live with using your existing sub and speakers for surrounds I would try this deal for ascend acoustics:

Special Package System Pricing!

3 channel system:

CBM-170SE pair + CMT-340SE center ---> Save $120, now $498

Click here to order: Special 1


http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/sho...-Holiday-Sale!

or from the same link 5 of these; save up for a sub upgrade down the road.

For more information regarding HVL-1's - please see here: HVL-1

Wavecrest HVL-1 bookshelf speakers ---> Save $71 per pair!

Now only $79 per speaker ($158/pair).

Click here to order: HVL-1


From Accessories 4 Less

you can get three Boston acoustic A26's and two A25's for just under $500

or two A26's, two A25's and the A225c center for a little over $500

Last edited by Rgarc; 02-28-2019 at 11:22 AM.
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post #13 of 18 Old 02-28-2019, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknj View Post
One thing I've learned about buying tech for years, is that:

A) There are always people who will try and talk you into something that is way past your budget

B) There's always a good deal on a decent system (a bang for the buck deal). It might not be the best, but it will suffice for what I would need.

So, my goal here is to see if I can do better than what I have for my budget. If I can't I'll wait. There's usually good refurbs out there where I can get better than I can afford for less. Thank you to whoever on here turned me on to accessories4less. I got my receiver that way for about half of the list price.

What happened is I went to someone's house and I heard their speaker setup and it sounded better than mine, and the speakers were smaller (but this was really top of the line stuff, the setup probably cost them $10k or more when they set it up). They even got a new AVR which was a lower end Denon (because that's all they need at this point, they are elderly and didn't want to spend a lot). So now, I'm realizing what better speakers can do. But I can't spend that kind of money. My better half is always giving me dirty looks when I said I wanted to spend $500 on new speakers!

I know the hobby can be expensive.
If you're having trouble hearing dialogue in movies, start out with a good center and build up from there. If you're looking for better detail and clarity for music, start with a nice pair of bookshelf speakers and go from there. If you happy with the sound and just want more punch and more excitement at movie time, A good $500 sub would make a significant difference to your listening enjoyment. You don't need to get everything at once. Evaluate your system and identify what you would like most improved first.
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post #14 of 18 Old 03-10-2019, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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post #15 of 18 Old 03-10-2019, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknj View Post
The Polk T-series are absolutely dreadful. As advised in previous posts, you're better off starting with a nice pair of Bookshelf speaker like Emotiva B1's and building up over time.

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post #16 of 18 Old 03-10-2019, 07:44 AM
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$500 budget

3 ea NHT SuperOne 2,1 and use one as a center
https://www.amazon.com/NHT-SuperOne-...a-490820517519

JBL Studio 550 sub
https://www.jbl.com/SUB+550PBK.html?...RoC3wgQAvD_BwE

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post #17 of 18 Old 03-10-2019, 11:24 AM
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Horrible choice compared to the far superior RTiAs listed earlier.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #18 of 18 Old 03-10-2019, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveknj View Post

I should mention these will be hooked up to a Denon S920-W AVR. I also don't mind refurbs from reputable dealers like accessories4less (which is where I go the Denon.

If a Best buy is near you, maybe run up there and listen to some Sony Cores or Polk Signatures. See if you like either.

Some decent upgrades mentioned by others in this thread, but for $500ish I see you could also do:

2x Sony Cores (use bookshelf as a center) + JBL 550p sub.
Alternatively Cores + Polk S30 or Emotiva C1 + JBL 550p

Polk S15 + S30 + 550p (S30 is only $132 on amazon right now, BB should pricematch)

Emotiva B1 + C1 + (hold off on sub)

And reuse your existing speakers as surrounds.
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Last edited by Doe Doe; 03-10-2019 at 03:05 PM.
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