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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for a stereo amp and a pair of book shelf speakers for a college dorm. The source will be my desktop which will be playing movies and music through a Asus Xonar Essense STX which will also feed my headphones. I listen mainly to classical and rock music, but always enjoy listening to something new. I am open to the idea of active speakers or used equipment as long as I can find it in good condition from a reputable seller. However, as I am not familiar with older equipment, I do not know where to start. I would like to stay in the $3-500 range


Any suggestions?


Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have been doing a lot of searching, but there are not any halfway decent receivers in my area for under $150 and online shipping usually brings used receivers up to the same range. I did a search for professional 2 channel amps and found the Behringer A500 which goes for about $190 shipped. However, given my budget that seems as though I might be spending too much on an amp since I will only have about $250 to spend on speakers.


On the active side of things there seems to be several potential options. Space will be at a premium so the idea of not having an extra amp is nice, but I do not know if they would be too fatiguing for just listening to music as opposed to recording.


In the $300 range I have options such as:

Samson Resolv 65a

KRK RP5 Rokit

Behringer truth b2031a

M-Audio Studiophile BX8a Deluxe

Mackie MR5

Audioengine A5

Yamaha HS50M


Does anyone have any experience with active monitors, specifically for classical music? Any other suggestions?


Thanks
 

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Welcome to the forums!


I had about the same budget as you did, and here's what I did:

Harman Kardon AVR-247 ($220 shipped from Harman Audio on ebay)

AV123 ELT525M Bookshelf Speakers B-Stock ($142)

The Speaker Company ASW-10 Subwoofer (Used) ($65).


That's my little 2.1 setup at school. I listen to about 90% classical music, and IMO the system rocks my room (back home I have a higher end system in the HT, but I prefer my bargain setup for intimate listening sessions).

Speakers:

The ELT525Ms can be had for $175 right now from AV123 dot com (can't post a direct link), but the company has been under some scrutiny because of some subwoofer problems that are finally being resolved. The fit and finish is superb, and the sound of the speakers are just absolutely detailed and great for classical. If you're located in Norcal (SF Bay Area or Sacramento), you're welcome to drop by and listen to them =)


Forum member alphaiii has a nearly brand new set for $155 shipped .


If you're up for a powered solution, the Audioengine A2 and the A5 both all within your price range. They constantly get good reviews for powered monitors.


I haven't heard The Speaker Comany's speakers, but I own their sub, and it's really great for the low prices that they charge. The ASW-10 is very tight and musical. I don't really take advantage of it though - it's really only used to get nice organ and string bass notes. TSC offers a 30 day audition (as does AV123 and Audioengine), with free shipping both ways, so you may want to give them a risk-free trial.

Receiver

I ended up getting a full blown AVR because it was cheap, and it has a built in DAC so I could get a digital signal. Harman sells some pretty cheap things through their outlet store on ebay - an AVR-154 can be had for under $175 on occasion. The equipment is all refurbished, but still comes with the full factory warranty.


For a stereo setup, Tweak City Audio makes a 2.1 channel amp called the Gizmo for $119 shipped that many people have been happy with. You can PM the owner of the company (a respected forum member here), craigsub, for more info on it if you'd like.


The Denon 1609 can be had pretty cheaply off ebay, as can some older Onkyo models. You can check out other Audio sites like audiogon and audioholics for sales of older receivers.


Anyways, I have to run, but hope my input helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Since my sound card has a wonderful dac built in as well as many well documented customizations, I really like the concept of the Gizmo, but have a few concerns

-what type of speakers is it capable of powering? 25 watts seems rather low when compared to the Behringer which does 230. Even when looking at bookshelf speakers in the $2-300 range, many of them listed suggested power requirement close to 100watts.

-if I put off the sub purchase for a year until I move into an appartment, will I loose everything from 100hz down or can I disable the subwoofer crossover?


I think I would need to find some suitalbe amp in the $100 range to make passive speakers a viable option.
 

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Used receiver. There are some around for 50-100, you'll just have to look. Don't worry about the A500.


Next, get some speakers that rock. A used set of Cerwin Vega tower speakers will work great.
 

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The Mackie MR-5's will work nicely for your application and save some needed space in a dorm room. Add an audioengine wireless fob setup and stream from your PC anywhere in the room. If you need more oomph, add a subwoofer if funds allow.
 

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Get a Panasonic SA-XR series receiver for hella cheap off Ebay used or refurb. Can't beat it's sound for the price. Spend the rest of the $500 on a pair of PSB Alpha B1 that can play pretty much any kind of music with equal measure. That's a really tough combo to beat even for amp+speakers costing up to $1000.
 

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I'm a college student, and for my setup for my dorm/apartment living room, I went with a banged up Yamaha HT5890 from bestbuy for deep discount (under $200), and speakers I went with a pair of Klipsch RB-61s. They've been fantastic, filled the room with crisp sound, and I wanted/needed the front firing ones so I could put them up against the walls so others couldn't hear the speakers through the walls, and they wouldn't sound weird when placed flush-ish against a wall.


Eventually when I had more floorspace, I made DIY speaker stands out of wood, PVC, and sand, and they've been holding up really well, and look pretty nice once finished with spraypaint (matte black) and stain. I made a set and my friend made a set, so I think all in all they cost around $70 for 4 nice solid speaker stands. Highly recommended, though I don't remember which DIY tutorial we used to be honest. It was done about a year ago I want to say.


Good luck
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoth /forum/post/16912223


Since my sound card has a wonderful dac built in as well as many well documented customizations, I really like the concept of the Gizmo, but have a few concerns

-what type of speakers is it capable of powering? 25 watts seems rather low when compared to the Behringer which does 230. Even when looking at bookshelf speakers in the $2-300 range, many of them listed suggested power requirement close to 100watts.

-if I put off the sub purchase for a year until I move into an appartment, will I loose everything from 100hz down or can I disable the subwoofer crossover?


I think I would need to find some suitalbe amp in the $100 range to make passive speakers a viable option.

This link to my search for a receiver may help you. It discusses the power requirements and what all the stuff means. I'll quote it right here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_TX /forum/post/23077


Welcome to TCA.


You can use the SPL calculator - link
http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html


That will help you determine your SPL need/want based on distance, speaker sensitivity, etc.


If I recall correctly the Gizmo is only 18W/ch into 8 ohms.

That said most people only listen to speakers using a few watts of power.


Consider that 83 dB is relatively loud.

If a speaker is 83 dB @ 1W/m ( ELT 525M ) then that means the following:


- if you are listening at 1 meter (~3ft) at 83 dB (pretty loud) you are using 1 watt of power.


You need to double watts for each 3 dB (approx. minimal increment you can detect) increase in loudness.


There are some examples people can probably find of the Gizmo driving really big full range speakers.

Is that advised for watching the Iron Man blu-ray in a large HT room, no.

Let us know what you think.


Good luck,


Mike

Pretty much, what I learned is that the difference between a 75w receiver and a 140w receiver is pretty insignificant - the 140w really is only capable of increasing the volume by 3db, since power needs to be doubled. The Gizmo is really only for small room/desktop applications - it is as it states it is: a high quality desktop amp. There's a review at Affordable Audio if you're interested. That being said, I didn't end up getting a Gizmo, so don't feel obliged to!
 

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There are several sets of used Mackie HR624s in the $300 range, and HR-824s on E-bay in the $500-$600 range. Hell of a speaker and hard to beat.


Below that, the Behringer 3031A is pretty respectable to say the least. You may need to do some EQ on them as they are a bit more forward in the midrange, but a tiny bit o' tweakin' and they are surprisingly good (I sell them so take that with a pinch of NACL).
 
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