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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How can I improve my sound if my budget is

I currently have the Bose 201 series IV speakers as my mains, An Athena ws-60 as my center, a Yamaha sub, and the Bose surrounds(I don't really know what model they are. Does it really matter since they all suck anyway). I use a Yamaha HTR-5660 as my receiver. I would really like to try to optimize the setup I currently have until I can afford to upgrade my receiver/amp and the speakers. So what can I do to tweak the system as I have it now for less than $100? I just don't get very good sound out of it. It sounds dull and lifeless. Here are my settings and some of the things I have tried. Can you think of anything else?


1. My speaker cables were not terminated by banana plugs on either end. I had the bare wires going directly into the terminals. When I put banana plugs on them the Bose speakers seemed to get louder. Should Banana plugs make that much of a difference?

2. I have 15-40 ft Monster speaker cables but they are only 16 gauge. Should I go to something lower than that?

3. My center channel speaker sits about 24 off of the ground and points directly at my head when I sit on the couch. I can change the vertical angle of the speaker. Should I tilt it upwards at all?

4. I have all of my speakers set as small in the receiver. Is there any reason to set them as large?


Any other ideas?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warpdrv /forum/post/0


go to a bar that plays live music...

Churches often have very nice concerts of various types for little cost, at least in Europe. I just have to go to a good concert to know how woefully inadequate my (our, according to my wife
) setup is.


On the other hand, with a small child, our opportunities to attend are concerts quite limited nowadays.


PS A good organ in a church beats a subwoofer anytime, as well as giving a much better presentation of the musical content.
 

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Honestly, and I don't think you'll like this answer, your BEST improvement for $100 would be to sell all 4 bose speakers and buy something with the profit+100. People here think very poorly of Bose, but they have GREAT name recognition and will sell easily on ebay.


If you can get 100 (should be easy) for your 4 bose speakers, you could spend 200 on the velodyne CHT (5) speaker package which I think would give you better sound. You could also spend your money on Athena to match your center speaker. Matching the front 3 is quite important, and Athena is a great bang-for-the-buck brand.


I don't think there is anything else you can do that would have a big impact. This is more hassle that you want probably, but it would give you significant improvement for little money.
 

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1. Banana plugs should make no difference. They only make it easier to connect and disconnect things.


2. In my opinion, Monster cables are highly overpriced. While runs over 30' should be 12-gauge wire at least, some cheap ($20 for 50') 12-gauge wire is all you'd need. And I doubt that even that would make any audible difference for you.


3. Your center speaker should be pointed at the listener's ears. Angle up or down as needed.


4. Small is correct in your configuration.


You may get more out of your system if you buy a Radio Shack analog SPL and calibrate the speakers. Or you may not. At least you would be sure you are squeezing everything you can out of your system if it is calibrated. And you should ensure that your speakers are placed properly, that there is no furniture between the listener and the speakers, etc.


All in all, Andy seems to have the best advice to offer. And if you like your center, getting timbre-matched fronts would be a good investment. Other speaker sets to consider include HSU's speaker/sub sets.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson /forum/post/0


1. Banana plugs should make no difference. They only make it easier to connect and disconnect things.


2. In my opinion, Monster cables are highly overpriced. While runs over 30' should be 12-gauge wire at least, some cheap ($20 for 50') 12-gauge wire is all you'd need. And I doubt that even that would make any audible difference for you.


3. Your center speaker should be pointed at the listener's ears. Angle up or down as needed.


4. Small is correct in your configuration.


You may get more out of your system if you buy a Radio Shack analog SPL and calibrate the speakers. Or you may not. At least you would be sure you are squeezing everything you can out of your system if it is calibrated. And you should ensure that your speakers are placed properly, that there is no furniture between the listener and the speakers, etc.


All in all, Andy seems to have the best advice to offer. And if you like your center, getting timbre-matched fronts would be a good investment. Other speaker sets to consider include HSU's speaker/sub sets.


Great advise by Tnilsson


I would also take the $100 and purchase the wood and material needed to make some acoustic panels. This will be one of the biggest improvements you can make with any system.
 

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Yea I plan on selling the Bose speakers on ebay. However, I did a few things tonight that have brought them up to an acceptable level for now. I pointed the center channel up slightly to match my sitting position. I also replaced all straight bare wire connections with banana plugs. Now I know that it should not have made any difference but it did. I used to listen to TV at a level between -42 and -50. Now that will blow me out of the room. I am at -58 right now and that is plenty loud. I think I had some bad connections before. I was getting some distortion even at lower levels before. It is pretty rock solid now. I had to redo my calibration since the volume levels of certain speakers had totally changed. I didn't use a sound level meter but I tend to think my ears are the best judge of what I like and don't like. Anyway I am satisfied with the speakers for now. The new connectors cost me $25 so I consider that a pretty good deal considering the new speakers I want would run me about $1100. Thanks for all of your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Holly Crap I just checked and the POS Bose center channel I have sitting in a box fetches about $150 used on ebay. Can you say "Sold to the highest bidder". That single center channel actually fetches more than the 201 speakers. I can't believe that! A Cambles soup tin can makes a better speaker that that thing does! I guess I get get about $300 for the speakers I have. So maybe my budget is more like $400 now. I am a lot closer to those ERA speakers now!
 

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Congratulations on getting more out of your system for $25 (and for finding out how much you can sell your Bose for). But please don't continue to rely on your ears for calibrating your speakers. There is no way you can do it by ear. And I know from experience that a difference of only 2-3 dB can make all the difference in whether you like, or dislike, your system (and especially your center speaker).


A Radio Shack SPL is something you will use again and again. To calibrate your speakers without it is as dumb as trying to calibrate your video system without AVIA or another similar video calibration DVD. I think SVS sells them both, together, for a reasonale price. It is one of the best investments you can make for both your audio and video system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson /forum/post/0


Congratulations on getting more out of your system for $25 (and for finding out how much you can sell your Bose for). But please don't continue to rely on your ears for calibrating your speakers. There is no way you can do it by ear. And I know from experience that a difference of only 2-3 dB can make all the difference in whether you like, or dislike, your system (and especially your center speaker).


A Radio Shack SPL is something you will use again and again. To calibrate your speakers without it is as dumb as trying to calibrate your video system without AVIA or another similar video calibration DVD. I think SVS sells them both, together, for a reasonale price. It is one of the best investments you can make for both your audio and video system.

Good advice. Your analogy rang a bell with me. I am more of a video guy than an audio guy. Yes I wouldn't calibrate a display without Avia. I will buy the sound meter.


I actually fixed my Bose speaker problems with the banana plugs but I created the same problem for my center channel. It was shorting out on my receiver that is why the Bose speakers suddenly sounded so much louder. The center channel was not outputting properly. In fact it shut down my receiver when I turned it up. I got some better plugs for my center channel and everything is working properly. It still sounds like crap but it at least it sounds the way it was intended to sound. The plugs and the sound meter should get me through till I sell the equipment to buy the real speakers!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mazersteven /forum/post/0


Great advise by Tnilsson


I would also take the $100 and purchase the wood and material needed to make some acoustic panels. This will be one of the biggest improvements you can make with any system.

My room is relective. Do you have instruction for this, best/good material, etc?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by smile /forum/post/0


My room is relective. Do you have instruction for this, best/good material, etc?

In the builder forum there is a big thread from a guy who bought frames that artist typically wrap with canvas, and just added some Accoustic Fabric and OC 703. It seems like a quick and cheap way to build some nice frames
 
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