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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've put about 20 hours of research into picking out a receiver, so now I'm trying to find out what speakers to get.


I'm an engineer by profession and I'm not intimidated by spec sheets or all the theory that goes behind the numbers at all. But I'm finding that picking out a receiver based on specs and features is much easier than picking out speakers. I'm planning on going to best buy tomorrow to listen and finalize my receiver choice, but I'm still at a loss of where to begin with speakers.


I've been poking around on the forums and I've read all of the guides at crutchfield on speakers, but I'm still lost, please help!


There are too many brands and even choices within each brand. Which brands sort of represent the mid end?


I currently have a set of 5.1 sony speakers I'm replacing -- they are all rated at 100 watts, thats all I know about them. I'm planning on keeping the sub and rear 2 speakers for now, and just upgrading the center and front 2 speakers. I've got about a $500 budget for the 3 speakers. I was looking at the polk TSi series, but I am by no means set on it. I also read the polk monitor series is the same as the TSi's but cheaper, maybe that is an option?


What other brands/series should I be considering in this range?? I do 50/50 music/movies if that matters. Also, the wife doesn't want full standing speakers, so I'm limited to bookshelf.
 

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I hope that you are not spending an arm and a leg for a receiver and than shorting your budget on speakers. Based on your $500 budget for speaker, I wouldn't spend more than $300 on a receiver...Actually, I would spend around $180. You might want to go use for best bang for the buck from audiogon, craigslist, or ebay.


For an amazing HT experience...Don't short change your speakers and subwoofer. Infinity and Polk are affordable entry level speakers that will keep average listeners happy....atleast happier than a HTiB can.
 

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Speakers are easy... sort of...pretty much forget the specs.. at least the specs on low they go...aim for speakers sensitivity 89db or higher You're wanting bookshelves and I guess this Is for a home theater right?

If so you'll be crossing your speakers over to the sub at 80hz or so. Just go and listen to everything you can... find a nice store preferable a place that has listening rooms or speakers setup as you would in a living room setting that has Paradigm, Klipsch, B&W, def tech etc.....they all have some really nice bookshelves around your price range.


Pay attention to how they image (assuming they're setup somewhat properly) are they forward or laid back.. neutral or bright.. you'll notice things that some speakers have that you like but things that you don't...

Ex. you may love the way Klipsch is forward and detailed but it may be too bright...but the Paradigms may sound (and do) a little more laid back but not bright but smoother in the top end.


Picking speakers is like picking you favorite ice cream... everyone has different taste and everyone has their favorite. You just have to find yours.


In other words if someone here tells you brand "x" is the best out there... I'd skip the post!


Search the forum for how to audition...


For subs specs do come into play.. the lower they go the better and the more $$$. Online is usually safe with subs..SVS, HSU, AV123 all have very nice popular foundation shakers.


If you do decide to upgrade the sub and your budget is really tight this one is pretty popular and gets to 25hz... read the reviews at the bottom of the page.

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-635


I don't know if you've ordered you AVR yet but I agree somewhat with Calnbs..but I'd make sure it at least had pre-outs so if you ever want to add an external amp in the future you'll have that option. If you research I'm sure you know that the total power consumption and weight of an AVR is a good tell-tell sign if it can come close to putting out what it's rated for. Almost every manufacturer will measure 2 channels at 100w and call it 7 channels at 100w in reallity some have been bench test measured to be half of that or worse. Beware of light weight AVRs with low consumption.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm looking at about 350 for the receiver. Based on that 500 sounded reasonable to me for a center and 2 bookshelf speakers. I'd be willing to stretch to 800 or so if there would be a noticeable difference. Whatever I get I plan on keeping for a long time so spending a bit more for the investment is worth it to me. Really I have no idea what is reasonable and 500 was a fairly arbitrary number.


You say Polk and Infinity are good entry level. What brands/price range would I be looking at for "mid-end". I usually like to purchase mid-end things. You get better bang for your buck than the high end, but you still get a noticeable quality difference from the low end.
 

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from a fellow engineer......don't over analyze



as mentioned, receiver = 1/3rd of budget

speakers = 2/3rd of budget


Absolutely the best everyday "bang for the buck" speakers today are the Polk Monitor series from www.newegg.com The "other best" are Infinity Primus speakers when you can fine them on sale (hopefully with free shipping).


Once you leave the Polk Monitors and Primus speakers, you are quickly headed for a $1K system, so you can see that the spending goes up drastically to get much in the way of sound improvement.


My suggestion for your budget is:

2 Polk Monitor 60 or 70 towers and a CS2 center

or

2 Primus P362 towers and a PC350 center.

or

the SCS-01 "Front three" package from SV Sound http://www.svsound.com/products-spks-scs01.cfm (note, stands are optional)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_vanmeter /forum/post/18204449


My suggestion for your budget is:

2 Polk Monitor 60 or 70 towers and a CS2 center

or

2 Primus P362 towers and a PC350 center.

or

the SCS-01 "Front three" package from SV Sound http://www.svsound.com/products-spks-scs01.cfm (note, stands are optional)

The OP doesn't want floor standing speakers he wants advice on bookshelf speakers. I myself would have givin him the same advice you did with the Monitor towers but thats not what he wants. Unless maybe he can find a floorstander that is acceptable to his wife then that will be the way to go.
 

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Speaker decisions shouldn't be made without your own listening and visual evaluations. So I won't recommend anything directly, other than that if you are in a decent sized metro area and are on a budget... it is foolish not to consider used speakers.


AVR's, TV's, etc., get new features each year so a lot of times you want new for those features or for the warranty. These are not really concerns on speakers. With a little legwork $500 can get you into a very nice set of fronts/center.


The only thing I would recommend is buying speakers from a big enough series that you can get matched fronts/centers and eventually surrounds. Sub matching isn't really required, but there is a nice deal on the BIC F12 floating out there at the moment. A great budget choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the advice guys!


Yeah, I already had to convince my wife upgrading from 32 to 42 inches for the TV was a good idea -- she doesn't want me taking up any more space, so I've got to get bookshelf speakers to sit on the TV stand.


I do plan on matching the rears and upgrading my sony sub in the next 6 months or so, but for now I'd rather just spend the whole budget on fronts and a center so I can get better ones.


Doesn't look like Best Buy carries Paradigm or B&W (excuse my ignorance, but is B&W short for something?).


Looks like I need to start reading up on auditioning...
 

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You'll have to search for a specialty store for Paradigm and B&W. Look for their website if there is a dealer near you. Their speakers can get quite expensive.


B&W:
http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/


Something you might have to think about....what is the requirement for your center? How big is too big to the point it won't fit the stand?


These have rated well but you can only buy it online through them:

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...m/cmt340m.html
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...c/cmt340c.html


PSB bookshelves and center:

http://saturdayaudio.com/



Best way is pretty much hit every store in your area whether it's Best Buy or a Specialty store that carries higher end. Go audition them to see if you can tell difference between each brand. If you can, you might just want to go as far as your budget will carry you...if you can't tell the difference, pick the best bang for the buck.


Don't hesitate to look at Internet brands such as Ascend Acoustic, Elemental Design's bookshelves, AV123's ELT bookshelves, etc. You might have to pay shipping back on some of these if you don't like them.


Infinity and Polk Monitor are definately good bang for the buck...I own the Infinity Primus, they are definately a good entry level speakers and the prices I paid for them....a good buy.
 

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Paradigm, Klipsch Reference, B&W, etc, etc... all of these manufacturers makes speakers that are very nice in your price range... and way, way above it too.


One thing to remember... if you're placing these "in a cabinet or enclosure" rear ported speakers will be boomy and it can be tough to get them to settle down...sealed or front ported will be easier to deal with in these situations.
 

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The thing with speakers is that mid-end ends up being like 600 dollars and up for bookshelves and about 800 and up for towers so you might not really be able to get mid end with your budget, but like many others here are suggesting there are many good bang per buck options out there but they are more on the entry level range as far as home theater goes



I have great luck with a pair of deftec promonitor 1000's that I still think are awesome and kick the crap out of anything polk in the bookshelf arena. The promonitors and matching center would be about 660 all together(220 each) this is with the procenter 1000 not the 2000 as some recommend but I have those 3 and they sound great, I just recently upgraded to some monitor audio rx6's though so I am not using those anymore lol
 

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NHT booshelves are very nice, soud great, probably about what youre looking for--id add it to the list, maybe polk LSI 7, focal chorus 705, psb bookshelves
 

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I'll add Usher and Era to the mix. Being in SD there must be some nice stores to audition at in the area. Also take some music you're familiar with.
 
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