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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For her birthday and mother's day I hope to give her some speakers and a new turntable vs what she currently has within a budget around $1000 to buy both (such as $600 for speakers and than $400 for the turntable).


Here is to the best of my ability my mother's current audio setup:


Pioneer Stereo Receiver SX-650

Her Dell labtop with Foobar2000 setup as her online streaming media player and CD Player

Soundblaster X-Fi HD SB1240 (Found online: "Strange card with cheap core on CA0189 (CA0189 is a highly-integrated, high-performance system-on-chip designed specifically for a range of lower end, cost-sensitive audio products.) with relatively good DAC (AK4396 sigma-delta Asahi-Kasei, 120dB 192kHz 24-Bit Advanced Multi-Bit DAC with PCM/DSD input)and ADC(Cirrus logic CS5361 114 dB, 192 kHz Stereo A/D Converter ) plus low noise amplifiers (ST microelectronics 33078 OpAmp). Capacitors WIMA red, Elna + ST M29W400DT flash memory 4mbit(512Kx8). The components can support 192kHz but card able to works only at 96kHz.")

A Ion turntable TTUSB10 with a Shure M97xE Stylus

Two very small speakers (8 ohms) from a old audiovox dv1100 DVD player Home theater system. This most likely be very well be the weakest link and I've considered replacing them for her many times.


I linked the turntable's rca to the Pioneer receiver's Phono input, I found that the gain dial on the ION turntable was set to the max (+) so I turned it down to the lowest (-) (should I set it back to high?), using the first receiver's tape monitor's outputs (rec) I linked it to the SB1240 line in connection, link the SB1240 to my receiver's Tape Monitor's input (play) with a rca cable in order for the labtop (using Foobar2000 for CD Playing and online streaming such as Sirius and similar) to access the speakers connected to the receiver. Connected the Soundblaster and labtop together using the soundblasters USB cable and input)


To me her speakers is what's going to bottleneck her listening experience and is the first thing I'm focusing on for her. Then since she listens and makes Flacs of her records on her Ion turntable that is the next thing I want to replace for her to get a more enjoyable listening and copying experience. Because of the Soundbaster's RCA input and usb link I don't need the turntable to have a USB link and I'm only looking for the best quality for her.


I've read many recommendations and topics and found myself with a huge list of recommended speakers. I'm focusing on clarity, sound-stage, and either monitor/non-colored speakers for her or perhaps something that puts forward the vocals due to how many soundtracks and Broadway shows she has (she is a musical theater lover). I think that would help her and she might get the most from such speakers but I also might be off.


Here is a huge list I gathered of speakers many people seemed to like (with major fluctuating prices):


Cambridge Audio S30

Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 or 10.2

BIC America DV62si

PSB Alpha B1

Cerwin Vega CLS-215

Magnepan Magneplanar MMG

Swans M1S

Energy rc-10

Dynaudio Excite 12

Dynaudio DM 2/7

Spendor SA 1

Monitor Audio Bronze BX2

Monitor Audio RX-1

Vanatoo Transparent One

KEF Q300

B&W 685/686

Pioneer SP BS41 LR


I'm looking into bookshelf speaks due to limited room she has and I don't think that she would be able to fit a pair of floor-standing speakers. I know majority of bookshelf type speakers cannot properly play strong bass thus pairing with a powered subwoofer (I don't think her Pioneer Stereo Receiver SX-650 has a sub out) would be best (if needed) and something I would have to save up some money for in the future.


I'm stumped on what to get her so any recommendations and advice would be helpful based on her music .
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for responding.


I have read good things about these RX1 speakers. For the $500 range do you know how they compare to other price wise speakers? Are they in your option naturally sounding or warm or other. Looking up for reviews on this I found this topic: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1489783/comparison-cambridge-audio-s30-monitor-audio-rx1-paradigm-studio-20-v-3-pics-videos-inside which compared them to the S30 (which I do have and enjoy and thus the RX1 do sound favorable) and this review http://www.whathifi.com/review/monitor-audio-silver-rx1 which the reviewer likes them but seems to favor another speaker pair.


I hope to buy a pair of speakers for my mom and then start focusing on the turntable (which I have a big list of options gathered by reviewers and forums posts as well) with the money left over within one week from today so the more info the less I would feel unconformable by uncertainty in making such a large important purchase.
 

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The RX1 is a very good bet as (1) a speaker that someone else is likely to enjoy and (2) one you can feel comfortable taking the plunge on as a good value for what you are spending.


I'm not a fan of What HiFi reviews. Even less so after reading this review. " The RX1s need articulate, light-footed partnering equipment to sound their best." Umm, OK.
 

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I would look into possibly going with a pair of Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1's or the Philharmonitors from Dennis Murphy at Philharmonic Audio. Either of those speakers would beat anything on your list, and most likely anything else in that price range.


Yes the Sierra-1's and Philharmonitors are more expensive, (around $800, iirc) but they sound phenomenal! I am not familiar with that turn table that she has, but, I would advise investing in something like an older used Technicks(sp?) turntable as those things are workhorses and can be slowly upgrades at a later time by adding things such as a new cartridge, a new needle, tone arm, platter, ect...you have to he careful when dealing in turntable stuff as it's kind of like a black hole. You can get sucked into many different types of turntable upgrades that are marginally better..


I can promise you that if you could drop $800 on a pair of Sierra-1's and get a used Technics turntable for under $200, that would provide tons more sound quality than something else from that list with a more expensive turn table. You have to remember that equipment upgrades only offer minimal sound quality differences, the biggest difference in sound quality comes from the speakers!
 

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I would say that the Dynaudio Excite X12 are probably the best on that list.


The Wharfedales and KEF speakers are also very good.


The KEF speakers are front-ported, which may be a big advantage if there is not going to be much space behind them.


The NHT Classic Model 2 is another excellent speaker that is a sealed design, with no ports, which is one you should look at.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelJD  /t/1522752/looking-for-a-great-pair...few-classical-and-instrumentals#post_24488421


Thank you for responding.


I have read good things about these RX1 speakers. For the $500 range do you know how they compare to other price wise speakers? Are they in your option naturally sounding or warm or other. Looking up for reviews on this I found this topic: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1489783/comparison-cambridge-audio-s30-monitor-audio-rx1-paradigm-studio-20-v-3-pics-videos-inside which compared them to the S30 (which I do have and enjoy and thus the RX1 do sound favorable) and this review http://www.whathifi.com/review/monitor-audio-silver-rx1 which the reviewer likes them but seems to favor another speaker pair.

While the budget friendly Cambridge S30 is nice/good - the Monitor Audio Silver RX-1 is clearly, a good clean step above.

The RX Silver is good - and can handle all types of music - and handle your mothers' favorites > they have good resolution,

with good detail, definition and depth for imaging and sound-stage presentation. They do not lean towards bright or warm.


With some reviews, I tend to eat the fish and spit out the bones > I also do the same with the bias ID and Retail fan club.

I am not pro ID or Retail - there are good speakers on both sides. No one can guarantee you anything.


The Silver RX-1 is respected by many owners and people out there. It comes down to preference/taste and choice.


You have a lot of nice options - there is no so called one perfect speaker for everyone.


Enjoy the search adventure - have fun
 

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BTW, that list is a jumble. Let me start sorting it out, see below. You could throw a couple others in there, but honestly given the timing and the fact that it's a gift, adding more choices doesn't help.

Above your budget, maybe even used


Dynaudio Excite 12 ~$1100

Dynaudio DM 2/7

Spendor SA 1 ~$2200


Competitive at your budget


Monitor Audio RX-1

Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 or 10.2
KEF Q300 - hard to know if someone else will like it

NHT Classic Two - I like it a lot, but not everyone does. A very good deal at the recent sale price of $400 a pair, not so much at current $660/pair.


Not really worth the money vs. other options:


B&W 685/686


Nice, but if you have $3-600 to spend, you get something better


Monitor Audio Bronze BX2 - can't compete with the RX1 at current pricing

PSB Alpha B1

Cambridge Audio S30


Shouldn't be on your list, options for when budget is a big constraint


BIC America DV62si

Pioneer SP BS41 LR


You might never find them again:


Energy rc-10


Speakers people can only buy for themselves:


Cerwin Vega CLS-215

Magnepan Magneplanar MMG



??


Swans M1S

Vanatoo Transparent One
 

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The Magnepan MMG is not a bookshelf speaker:

 

http://www.magnepan.com/model_MMG

 

It is, however, what I would want at its price point.  Whether you mother would like them or not depends heavily on her taste, and on the space she has for them.  But from your description, she may like them very much.  If she has room for them, you could try them, as Magnepan has a 60 day money back guarantee (check the details of this before you order).
 

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+1 the comments re getting a bookshelf with stong-ish bass.


+1 the B-stock Philharmonitor mentioned by shadyj. (Great deal/speaker, though a tad over your stated budget.)


For a less pricey bookshelves with decent enough bass (in order of my personal recommendation) ...

- Monitor Audio RX-1 ($500 a pair with certain finishes)

- Ascend CMT-340 ($560 a pair, really mini-towers with excellent bass)

- KEF Q300 ($500 a pair at http://www.accessories4less.com/ )

- Ascend CBM-170 ($350 a pair)

- Arx A1b or A1rx-c ($300 a pair)

- Cambridge Audio S30 ($200 a pair at http://www.accessories4less.com/ )
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you to everybody for your replies thus far. I don't make alot of money so I need to invest time in researching to the best of my ability avoid "buyers remorse" but I still want the best that I can get for my mother.


From my list based on further research and written comments:

1st: Monitor Audio RX-1 ( sale: $500)

2nd: Dynaudio Excite 12 (but unless I can find for $800 or under it's a big no go)

3rd: KEF Q300

4th: Vanatoo Transparent One


"The KEF speakers are front-ported, which may be a big advantage if there is not going to be much space behind them."

It's a mid size room and I don't think she will have much space behind them.


I will have to look up the additional considerations provided:

B-stock Philharmonitor

Ascend CMT-340 (possible that she might be able to have mini towers but not certain)

NHT Classic Model 2

Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1's from Dennis Murphy at Philharmonic Audio

Philharmonitors from Dennis Murphy at Philharmonic Audio


"Yes the Sierra-1's and Philharmonitors are more expensive, (around $800, iirc) but they sound phenomenal! I am not familiar with that turn table that she has, but, I would advise investing in something like an older used Technicks(sp?) turntable as those things are workhorses and can be slowly upgrades at a later time by adding things such as a new cartridge, a new needle, tone arm, platter, ect...you have to he careful when dealing in turntable stuff as it's kind of like a black hole. You can get sucked into many different types of turntable upgrades that are marginally better..


I can promise you that if you could drop $800 on a pair of Sierra-1's and get a used Technics turntable for under $200, that would provide tons more sound quality than something else from that list with a more expensive turn table. You have to remember that equipment upgrades only offer minimal sound quality differences, the biggest difference in sound quality comes from the speakers!"


Sounds like a good idea but do you know of good sites (this one included) where I can buy used and not worry about the quality of a used turntable or speakers or be able to look up info on the sellers?


I was planing on posting this in a turntable topic area but to give an idea of the turntables I read great reviews on thus a part of a gathered list to look further into:


PRO-JECT - DEBUT CARBON ( Since she has the soundblaster is there a non usb version with OM5 to save money or would the usb be possibly better to have on the turntable for backup)

Pro-ject Debut III

Rega RP1

Pro-Ject RM 1.3 Turntable

Technics SL-1200

Stanton ST.150 Professional DJ Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Professional DJ Direct-Drive Turntable

Rega RP3

Music Hall MMF 2.2


Reloop DIRECT-DRIVE HI-TORQUE TURNTABLE


Denon DP-300F Fully Automatic Analog Turntable
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm assuming B-Stock means "Backstock" thus B-stock Philharmonitor are Philharmonitors from Dennis Murphy at Philharmonic Audio.


Reading up the Sierra-1 and Philharmonitor it seems that the Philharmonitor has the advantage with front port.


The reviews on the Philharmonitors seem like these might be the speakers I will get for her however one comment did get me some worry. I the post 32 of this link http://www.avsforum.com/t/1518709/ascend-sierra-2/30 a reviewer has written:


"The Sierra-2 is almost 2x the price of the Phil's and shows it in a few areas. Switching between the two revealed several things. When going to the -2's it was as if a veil had been lifted. Not a thick veil, but a veil nonetheless. Clearer with greater detail. Imaging was more focused, solid and stable. The mids were more upfront while the Phil's seemed more recessed. Bass was too close to call for me, so I'll let George comment on that if he cares to. While the Phil's cabinet had a solid feel, the knuckle rap test showed how very rock solid the Sierra's bamboo cabinet is. One important quality for George he commented on was how much clearer the Sierra-2's were at low volume."


Now the Sierra-2 is WAY outside my budget and thus I can't really consider them unless I find good fortune winning the lotto (which can't happen due to that I don't play) or I earn a FAR better paying job. Still reading "The mids were more upfront (Sierra-2) while the Phil's seemed more recessed."

I have read that the Mids are where the vocals are mostly located so I was hoping to find speakers that either played the music without any color (monitor speakers I think is what they are called) and are pure clarity and strong wide soundstage so my mother will hear what the creators wanted her to hear (and help me when setting up the EQ if needed letting the EQ color the music if needed with the speakers able to handle it) or speakers that supported and put somewhat or mostly the vocals up front similar to a show where the singers would be in front of the instruments (and center usually). So reading that has me a bit worried that my new number one choice might not be the best for my mom and the others might be better for her.


Right now my list:


1st: Philharmonitors (Can get it for B-Stock (can anybody tell me what that means) for $699 leaving me about $300 for mom's Turntable)

2nd: Monitor Audio RX-1 ( sale: $500)

3rd: Dynaudio Excite 12 (but unless I can find for $800 or under it's a big no go)

4th: KEF Q300


I still need to look up:

Ascend CMT-340 (possible that she might be able to have mini towers but not certain)

NHT Classic Model 2
 

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I wouldn't wait too long to get the Phils, there is only one pair in B-stock. B-stock means previously owned or used, or something like that, basically very good condition, but maybe a small cosmetic flaw somewhere and can't be sold for the price of a new one. If you are not using a subwoofer, the Philharmonics are easily the #1 pick for me from that list. It will sound a lot more authoritative due to great bass extension.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelJD  /t/1522752/looking-for-a-great-pair...few-classical-and-instrumentals#post_24495897


Right now my list:


1st: Philharmonitors (Can get it for B-Stock (can anybody tell me what that means) for $699 leaving me about $300 for mom's Turntable)

2nd: Monitor Audio RX-1 ( sale: $500)

3rd: Dynaudio Excite 12 (but unless I can find for $800 or under it's a big no go)

4th: KEF Q300


I still need to look up:

Ascend CMT-340 (possible that she might be able to have mini towers but not certain)

NHT Classic Model 2

Do not worry about certain comments made about certain speakers, in different posts. Dennis Murphy who

designed the Philharmonitor is a musician who plays in an orchestra - he does not believe in recessed mids.


The speakers on your list will pancake the Audiovox system. > Also, the speakers will handle the bass of the

Broadway tunes. Non of them will be a wimp. She is going to receive an ear opener from the new speakers.


No real poor speakers have been recommended to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
After reading about Ascend CMT-340 I discovered it was a strong mid sounding speakers which looks great and I was also impressed by the reviews on the neutral sounding NHT Classic Model 2 but many people here and on various websites seem to love the Philharmonitors and I don't want to pass on a great deal (Cosmetic flaws I'm fine with as long as audio quality is perfectly fine). I think that the B-stock Philharmonitor will be my pick (and I'll then discover the best I can get turntable another time for around $300).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Lost out on owning the B-Stock so I either can now wait and hope more "b-Stock" might show up or start from scratch with the top speakers on my list.


Philharmonitors (Now being offered to me for $800 but I was hoping for the B-Stock 699 to save the most in order to contribute to a very good turntable)

Monitor Audio RX-1 ( sale: $500)

Dynaudio Excite 12 (but unless I can find for $800 or under it's a big no go)

KEF Q300

Ascend CMT-340

NHT Classic Model 2


I hope while I wait and decide I might earn a better paying job that I could even afford the new Sierra-2 I've read great things about when researching the Philharmonitors. While new would be safe I'm fine buying used and B-Stock and saving money as long as the audio/sound quality wasn't damaged/weakened. Then using what is left over to a high quality turntable (again used and B-Stock is fine as long as it works perfectly and I don't care about cosmetic looks)..
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelJD  /t/1522752/looking-for-a-great-pair...few-classical-and-instrumentals#post_24498074


Lost out on owning the B-Stock so I either can now wait and hope more "b-Stock" might show up or start from scratch with the top speakers on my list.


Philharmonitors (Now being offered to me for $800 but I was hoping for the B-Stock 699 to save the most in order to contribute to a very good turntable)

Monitor Audio RX-1 ( sale: $500)

Dynaudio Excite 12 (but unless I can find for $800 or under it's a big no go)

KEF Q300

Ascend CMT-340

NHT Classic Model 2

You have 6 speakers on your list - 7 is a nice popular number - so, I will throw a curve-ball.


Also, they are front ported and on close-out pricing > MB Quart Alexxa B
http://shop.mbquart.com/p/as-b1pb-pair?pp=24


(Since you like to read reviews) A subjective review here
http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/speakers/messages/28/286262.html
 
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