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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've been at the search to find my right speaker for a while. I have a list of speakers I'm interested in, but I have a problem. I live in the middle of nowhere. Specifically, it has a name...South Dakota. Other than corn fields, there isn't much here.


So, if you live far away from a place to even demo/listen to speakers, would you ever buy a pair of speakers on blind faith (after reading reviews, etc)? Or would you demand hearing it first?




If you are wondering, the closest drive for me to demo speakers for PSB, Monitor, GoldenEar, Paradigm (some speaker brands on my list) is at least a 3 hour drive. Its not easy, convenient or cost effective (gas $$$) given my budget size to drive 3 hours one-way to Omaha to test some speakers and then 4 hours to Minneapolis to test other speakers. Locally, I'm able to only hear low-end Klipsch and Polk TSX. Both speakers at Best Buy sound terrible to me. In fact, I can't even hear Andrew Jones Pioneer's because Best Buy refuses to hook them up to be demoed. I'm looking at the brands above because they generally pass the WAF test. A lot of online brands imo look terrible and would fail.


I'm hesitant buying speakers over the phone or internet due to the potential for shipping and restocking fees. My budget isn't large (about $500 to $1,000 sub not included) and could potentially be heavily reduced if I were to buy the wrong speaker. Any thoughts or advice?
 

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What does your wife like in terms of speakers.


Some Internet Direct companys have risk free in home trial periods so if you don't like the sound or the look you can return them.


I bought my Polk RTi4's blind. I had the Monitor 30's and I liked Polk sound so I bought them, been happy ever since. A 3 hour drive isn't worth it unless you know they have specifically what you want to listen to and you are ready to pay their retail price.


Maybe in this thread where members are offering to demo speakers to others ( http://www.avsforum.com/t/1354492/the-ill-demo-my-speakers-for-other-enthusiasts-thread ) you'll find a guy close to you.
 

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I bought my Salk WOW1s blind, based on reviews of other Salk speakers and Jim's abilities - and I love them.


What you can do is audition (at friend's houses, or by making a request here like Crazy Rob suggested) to see the kinds of speakers you like and/or dislike.


With that info people can make recommendations that aren't just based on their experiences but based on yours too.
 

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I would take a look at HTD, they have a risk free in-home trial, and pay return shipping should you not want to keep them. They also are a great speaker that fits right into your budget and also come in a very nice cherry finish.


I would look at Level Three, the bookshelves and center would run you $800 for 5.0, or you could even consider the towers and the center for $1000 and add surrounds later. I have not heard them, but in several shootouts, they go toe to toe with my EMPs, so I would wager they are a great sounding speaker. EMP is another good option, but they do not pay return shipping. Ascend also makes great speakers and a 5.0 set with 340s up front and 170 surrounds is right around $1000. I think any of these choices would be excellent, however with a WAF you might need to cross out Ascend.
 

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You can easily hear the Andrew Jones Pioneer speakers if you really want to.  Just buy them from Best Buy, take them home, hook them up, and listen.  If you don't like them, take them back.  Best Buy deserves to have some returns if they refuse to let you demo them.  Do that with any speakers they sell that they refuse to let you hear, if you want to hear them.

 

Now, if you have a really high budget, you probably will want something else, but the general opinion is that the Andrew Jones Pioneer speakers are good for their price.  That does not mean that you would not prefer something else (as different people can tolerate different vices more than others), but it is unlikely that you will find something much better at its price.

 

 

As for the low end Polk speakers, I have never heard anything lower than something from the RTi line that I liked at all, and I am glad that I can afford more expensive speakers than them.  Still, if I could not afford better, I would buy them:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/RTi4-CHERRY-Bookshelf-Speakers-Polk-Audio-NEW-PAIR-/360804038210?pt=Speakers_Subwoofers&hash=item540198b642

 

They have a nice real wood finish, and are not bad at that price.  I would not buy a higher model of RTi for home theater, because I would use a subwoofer for the deep bass anyway, and those should be adequate for using the THX recommended crossover frequency of 80 Hz for the subwoofer.  And all of the RTi line are "voice matched" from any given year, so you basically just get deeper bass with higher models, deeper bass that is irrelevant because of the subwoofer.

 

For more on that topic, see:

 

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1522899/floorstanding-vs-bookshelf-speakers-is-one-better-for-ht-or-music/0_100#post_24494412

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1522899/floorstanding-vs-bookshelf-speakers-is-one-better-for-ht-or-music/0_100#post_24495329

 

 

One other thing:  Even though I don't like the Polk speakers below the RTi line, I have never seen a Best Buy have the low end models set up well to give them a fair chance.  Nothing sounds too good when set up poorly in a room with poor acoustics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice so far.


The wife actually prefers floorstanders (which surprised me...), but could be talked into bookshelf with the right aesthetics. She also would rather spend more money for it to look nice than for it to be ugly and is not a huge fan of speaker stands. I on the other hand is more price sensitive... Right now I am planning on a 2.1 setup.


I'm considering the following:


PSB Image T6 Refurb

HTD Level 3 Tower

Polk RTi8

Wharfedale Diamond 10.7


PSB Image B6

Monitor RX-2

Wharfedale Diamond 10.2


The speakers above met the WAF requirements (with the exception of HTD, haven't cleared that one yet).


I am looking for a speaker that is large enough to be able to be played in a large room (19 feet by 23 feet) and not sound tiny. I also generally don't listen to audio at high volumes so I would like something that maintains good detail when not turned up very loud. Any thoughts are welcomed. Otherwise, I'll be making a decision in the next week or so and going blind.
 

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Good looking towers? EMP E55Ti



These are fantastic sounding, $700 for the pair, and in red burl are absolutely gorgeous.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turlen  /t/1524253/thoughts-on-demoing-speakers/0_100#post_24530200


Thanks for the advice so far.


The wife actually prefers floorstanders (which surprised me...), but could be talked into bookshelf with the right aesthetics. She also would rather spend more money for it to look nice than for it to be ugly and is not a huge fan of speaker stands. I on the other hand is more price sensitive...


That is too bad, because one can either save a lot of money going with the voice-matched bookshelf [if one exists] of the tower you are considering (with no loss of sound quality, assuming one uses a subwoofer and properly utilizes bass management that is available in pretty much every AVR these days), or one can go with a higher line of bookshelf speaker for better sound above the subwoofer crossover point. With the voice-matched bookshelf speakers for less, one could choose to spend the extra on a better subwoofer for better sound below the subwoofer crossover point. So one can generally get better sound for the same money if one goes with bookshelf speakers (again, assuming one sets it up properly, unlike what a lot of people actually do).


I recommend strict honesty about this, and see if she still wants to spend more for towers.



If you are only going for 2.1, and the $500-1000 is for the main speakers, I would very likely buy these:

http://philharmonicaudio.com/folio-me/html/Phil%20Pages/philharmonitor.html


They are not towers, as you can see for yourself at the link.



Your situation is very unfortunate, as you say that you are too far to audition much of anything. So it is likely that you have no idea of what sort of speaker you would like, and what sort you would not like. Some internet direct brands and stores have better return policies than others, and I strongly recommend that you read them carefully before ordering, and that you look for professional reviews in which the speakers you are considering are measured, and try to figure out what sort of thing you would like from that.



The subwoofer advice is much easier. I recommend the best ported SVS subwoofer you can afford. There are other good brands, but with SVS, they are all good for the money, and SVS has a good warranty and good customer service. With their return policy, you really will want to try one.
 
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