I need speakers -- please help!

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I need speakers -- please help!

Post by Sham »

Here is my home theater setup thus far:
  • Sony KDL-40XBR2 40 Inch Bravia XBR 1080p LCD HDTV
    Sony BDP-S350 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player
    Harman Kardon AVR 330
    Monster XP XPMS Monster Cable (100 ft)
All of this (excluding the Blu-ray player, which I will be receiving this Christmas) belonged to my parents at some point, and because they never hooked it up correctly, the equipment is essentially new. The monster cable from 2004 is actually still in the plastic wrap.

The only thing I think I'm missing now is a speaker system.

Here's the problem: I have absolutely no idea what any of my equipment is capable of. I don't even know what my receiver can do.

Now my dad has a very old set of Bose speakers (Acoustimass 7) he would be willing to give me, but I've heard horror stories about Bose equipment, so I'm hesitant to take it from him.

So what speaker system do you think I should get? I'm currently looking at this Sony system, but I don't know if it's too much money, or if it's too little quality for what I already have.

Please help!

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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by Neon Maniac »

What's your price range?
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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by Sham »

I've been looking in the $150 - $200 price range, but I'm willing to pay more.

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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by Alien Redrum »

I am not an a/v expert by any means, but I have had Sony HTS's and speakers and I could never recommend them.
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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by Neon Maniac »

In that price range, you'd probably be better off taking your Dad's speakers until you have at least $500 saved up.
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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by walls »

Buy three pairs of these.......http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp ... 8085354138" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

They get great reviews and are regarded as one of the best "bang for buck" speakers available. Just use a pair for the fronts, a pair for the rears, and a single for the center (yes I know there will be one extra). This way you have five IDENTICAL good speakers instead of five UNMATCHED sub par ones. And they will put out enough bass to satisfy until you can afford to add a sub.

Anf then for a great "bang for the buck" model you can turn to Sony with this model......http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp ... 3047115936" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I have seen it on sale for as little as $79, and it way outperforms its price!

This will all add up to a VERY satisfying system that will sound really REALLY good for the money.

BTW, I have seen the Insignia speakers on sale as well for as little as $59, but it has been a while since they have gotten so popular.

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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by Sham »

So I went to Best Buy today to see and hear some of the speakers up close. All I can say is that, after nearly three hours, I don't think I'll be watching The Incredible Hulk again anytime soon. :lol:

Actually, it was a great learning experience, and best of all, I finally found a sound system that I think is perfect for me.

Walls,

Best Buy had an Insignia setup near the back of the store, and even though I don't think they were the exact speakers you mentioned, I decided to give them a shot anyway. I thought the center speaker sounded great, especially with the dialogue, but I was a little disappointed by the backs, mainly with the sound effects. It was unusually quiet, and the soundtrack seemed really overpowering because of this. I don't know if the setup was unbalanced because of faulty wiring, or if it was just the quality of the speakers themselves. Either way, I wasn't sold, but that price was definitely enticing.

I also took a look at some sets from Mirage, JBL, and Yamaha. Yamaha impressed me more than anything else I looked at. The bass from the sub was fantastic, and once the other speakers were positioned right, everything in the store seemed to disappear. It was very absorbing, creating the home theater experience I was looking for.

However, I just couldn't get past the $499 price tag.

I talked to a few of the employees at the store for more ideas, as well as a customer who seemed to know more than any of the workers did. This customer directed me to a Panasonic display with Polk Audio speakers.

It was very quiet at first, but once I tinkered with the dials and buttons (someone had the balance all wrong on the receiver), I was extremely impressed. It was perfect, too, because the movie had just reached the scene where Hulk and the other dude start battling it out on the street. The bass, while not earth shattering, was beyond acceptable, and there was this indescribable depth to the entire presentation. It was like being in the middle of the action without being assaulted.

I knew this was the right one.

The suggested retail price at Best Buy was $399, but apparently there was a big sale for Black Friday, and the entire stock of speakers was gone. After talking with the other customer, he informed me that I could get the entire package on Amazon for less than $250, even with shipping. He was right.

My total for new speakers was $247.49, and they're being shipped directly to my house.

Happy dance.

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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by The Hitman »

Sham wrote:I've heard horror stories about Bose equipment, so I'm hesitant to take it from him.
I'm no expert but it sounds like you got a good setup.

Just for your future reference/edification, Bose stuff is actually very good... except the "o" in "Bose" stands for "overpriced."

So free Acoustimass would've been fine, maybe not for your needs/wants, but in terms of quality.

I've got a Lifestyle 25 and have no complaints except that it's 5.1 (and we've since moved on to 7.1), and I paid too much even with an inside connection.

Oh, and that the radio-frequency remote, while very useful for the speakers, prevents any chance of ever having fewer than two remotes.
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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by walls »

I disagree, Bose NEVER gives tables of output power, frequency respone, and distortion levels for ANYTHING they sell, and there is a reason.
Any of the multichannel set-ups I have heard have all lacked...very badly....in the mid range and lower than 40hz areas. In other words there is a serious gap in the frequncy spectrum between the Bose "subwoofer" and the small cubes. There really is no way it can be denied, anyone can here it, especially when compared to a system composed of five half way decent bookshelf speakers and an actual subwoofer.

What Bose is great at is MARKETING, they sell because they know how to sell. And they are VERY good at using music samples on thier displays that is custom talored to what thier products can actually do.

I would use a bose set-up in my bedroom, if it were very cheap, but thats about it.

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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by The Hitman »

I'm going to give you that one, because much like DDM with a woman, I have no idea what you just said.
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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by Sham »

The Hitman wrote:
Sham wrote:I've heard horror stories about Bose equipment, so I'm hesitant to take it from him.
I'm no expert but it sounds like you got a good setup.

Just for your future reference/edification, Bose stuff is actually very good... except the "o" in "Bose" stands for "overpriced."

So free Acoustimass would've been fine, maybe not for your needs/wants, but in terms of quality.

I've got a Lifestyle 25 and have no complaints except that it's 5.1 (and we've since moved on to 7.1), and I paid too much even with an inside connection.

Oh, and that the radio-frequency remote, while very useful for the speakers, prevents any chance of ever having fewer than two remotes.
I won't deny Bose has some quality products, but my dad's speakers are just worthless. The subwoofer is practically nonexistent, and there is no umph to any of the other speakers. It's a marginal improvement over 2.0 at best.

Don't get me wrong, though. If I was flatass broke and desperately needed speakers, I would take them in a heartbeat. But I had some extra money and didn't mind spending it on something better.

Now I'm just hoping I didn't get ripped off. :lol:

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Re: I need speakers -- please help!

Post by walls »

You did OK, Polk generally makes decent stuff. I just wouldnt expect the system to be very dynamic. The frequency response for that sub, its 8" woofer, and its modest 50 watts isnt going to shake even your chair but it will be loads better than your TVs speakers.
I mean it may sound good but its not going to play low or loud without audible strain. And this is also true of the speakers, there is only so much a 3" woofer can do. I actually think where this system is going to struggle most is going to be with music. ;)
You are going to have to really play with the frequency/crossover settings on your amp/processor to find the best blend between the sub and speakers, I would start at around 100hz and go UP from there because those little speakers are not going to handle anything lower, so you will have to leave it all for the sub. Otherwise you are going to make the speakers show weakness long before they hit a satisfactory volume and or leave out a ton of the frequency range in the signal.

IMHO you would have been better with the speakers I suggested, but they would be more money and take up more space in your home. I am not one to give up performance for looks, but thats just me.

Good luck and enjoy!!!

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