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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to all of this. I haven't really thought about audio equipment since high school, but my interest was piqued when I got some hand-me-down gear from my parents and discovered how crappy the sound was that I had been subjecting myself to.


I have a Cambridge Audio 540C CD player and a Cambridge 340A integrated amp. They're both great. But here's the issue: I have them running through an early-90s Altec-Lansing 2.1 system (also hand-me-down). I can't find a model number. The system includes a passive sub consisting of a box with two drivers (about 8"), and bookshelf speakers which are very heavy, unvented, and each speaker has two small-ish mid-range drivers with a single tweeter in between.


I think they sound good, and far better than my old speakers, but hardly great. My friend who is big into audio gear told me they were a total mismatch with the Cambridge stuff, that I should upgrade, and will hear an enormous difference. If it makes sense, I'm excited to do it, and I would be happy to spend about $500. This is for a 24x20 room with 9-foot ceilings. Music is mostly rock/alternative, a little jazz and classical, rarely cranked up to 11. Source is CD or streamed from Airport Express. Speakers would be on built-in bookshelves at ear level, with a sub tucked away someplace.


Should I get new speakers and, if so, which ones?


Thanks (and sorry for the long message)!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by john02114 /forum/post/18229073


Should I get new speakers and, if so, which ones?

Yes, you should get new speakers. That's the easy part. The hard part is what to get exactly. In the under $500 range I'm not as versed on what's the best deal going these days, so I'll leave specifics to others. I would definately say however to shop www.audiogon.com for whatever you decide upon. I do think somebody recently said that Ascend had B-Stock Sierra's for under $500. If that's true, that would be the direction I'd go.
 

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24x20 is a large space to fill with $500 worth of speakers, I'd recomend living with the Altecs for awhile and continue to save your pennies. During this time get out and listen to as many 'affordable' speaker options as you can and do consider 'turbos' advice about the 'Gon'
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the quick reply. Just a brief follow-up: does it matter that the Sierras have ports in the rear, as I will be placing them on a bookshelf?


Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
. . . and, yes, the room is pretty big. $500 is a rough guideline--I'd go higher, but not more than $900 or so.
 

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If you're going to put them on bookshelves, I'm not so sure it's worth getting new speakers. (I presume you're not putting the subwoofer on a shelf.) Are you sure you can't accommodate speaker stands, or tower speakers?


Given the space you have to fill, I'd look at another 2.1 system. Can you use just the A-L subwoofer, and get a better pair of monitors?
 

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Originally Posted by mcnarus /forum/post/18229652


If you're going to put them on bookshelves, I'm not so sure it's worth getting new speakers.

True, didn't notice that ... and built-in bookshelves to boot, the absolute worst case scenario for proper acoustics.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S /forum/post/18229753


True, didn't notice that ... and built-in bookshelves to boot, the absolute worst case scenario for proper acoustics.

except for properly positioned electrostatics, for built in bookshelves can provide an excellent 'diffusor panel' behind the speakers....but for what the Op is saying relative his speakers I agree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, guys. I've been told the bookshelf situation is not ideal. I can't do towers or stands because I have a very active 3-year-old who can't stop herself from knocking things over (and another on the way . . . so I'm a few years from being able to stop using the bookshelves).


So, given these limitations--speakers have to be on bookshelves and let's say I'm maxed out at $900--what's the move?


(No, the sub isn't on a shelf. It's on the floor.)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by john02114 /forum/post/18234079


Thanks, guys. I've been told the bookshelf situation is not ideal. I can't do towers or stands because I have a very active 3-year-old who can't stop herself from knocking things over (and another on the way . . . so I'm a few years from being able to stop using the bookshelves).


So, given these limitations--speakers have to be on bookshelves and let's say I'm maxed out at $900--what's the move?


(No, the sub isn't on a shelf. It's on the floor.)

If you can fill in the gaps in the bookshelf around the speaker then it is not that bad atall if pick bookshelf designs that have BSC (Baffle Step Compensation) options.


Salks HTS designs have this abillity but they are a little outside of your budget.


Emotiva ERM-1s have this feature too and they are very low cost but more entry level designs.


There are other choices but its a limited list.
 
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