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Good Friend Needs Audio Advice In An Area I'm Not Entirely Well Versed In - Your Thoughts?


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A dear friend has asked for my advice on an audio purchase. While I could normally provide a quality response in most circumstances, his exact situation is in an area that is hardly one I know well. What he is asking for is an audio solution which will provide good sound for movies, music videos and live, "You Tube" music performances that they play on their TV, as well as allow he and his wife to play his MP3 library.

 

Now if it were a straight home theater, or general audio system, I would have it covered, but there is a bit more to it. First of all, his budget is $1000.00, a budgetary limitation I don't usually deal with, and certainly not in a situation where an amplifier and speakers are required. Secondly, he doesn't want a surround speaker setup (and couldn't afford one anyway). And lastly, his wife is, on a regular basis, a headbanger and loves to rock out at high volumes. She has blown every pair of speakers they have ever owned, and he wants something she can't cause that to happen with.

 

Granted, I realize, as I am sure all of you do that there are a number of issues with all of the above. The previous speakers blew because of poor quality, inadequate quality ofpower, and poorly chosen speaker power limitations. Likely all of the above. And he wants "good" sound which isn't remoptely possible when you are feeding it MP3 garbage, and You Tube quality audio. Still, I promised to come up with the best possible solution.

 

I can certainly find a deal on a fairly good quality receiver (Marantz, etc.) for the power, and signal routing needs. What I am really unsure of is what options there would be in speakers that can handle the power, sound decent, and have plenty of bass (his wife again!) I know of many good value, relatively inexpensive speakers, but none that meet those criteria and would be affordable in the context of his overall budget. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

 

JC

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Klipsch Heresy III speakers. Second hand to meet the budget. Any receiver is more than enough for the bangingest head banger. Your ears will bleed before these give out.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Klipsch Heresy III speakers. Second hand to meet the budget. Any receiver is more than enough for the bangingest head banger. Your ears will bleed before these give out.

 

+1, well done Dennis - and having unsuccessfully tried to destroy a pair in college :) one could argue that this may be your only choice.

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Here is a lo-fi option if looking to buy new.

 

Onkyo TX8050 Network Receiver - $300

Onkyo TX-8050 AM/FM/Internet radio receiver at Crutchfield.com

Crammed with a ton of features most people would like to have.

Very neat network features lets you connect over USB and Ethernet or wifi.

Also offers a pre-out for sub for a 2.1 setup.

 

PSB Imagine X1T - $450

PSB Imagine X1T Floor-standing speaker at Crutchfield.com

These can take a decent pounding and still sound quite good.

The tweeter on these speakers is a gem at this price.

The next model up the X2T at $650 is worth a look.

 

 

Hope this helps!

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That's basically what my upstairs system is. We have Klipsch Reference monitors with a cheap center speaker and sub, hooked up to an old Denon receiver via HDMI. The kids use it for lots of youtube, we stream movies from Amazon or Netflix and TV from Hulu, and use Rhapsody to get background music for cooking, having company over, etc. Once in a while someone blasts it, and the speakers seem to take it no problem. One thing your friends could do with the Reference monitors that would probably go out of their price range with even used Heresies is to get a subwoofer. If they're gamers they might really appreciate that.

 

They could get any one of a number of good HT receivers and pair it with a 2.1 Klipsch system at Best Buy or Amazon, with free shipping, for less than $1000.

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I'd direct them to a good, entry-level powered pro sound setup like the Mackie Thump 12 - $600 delivered from Sweetwater for a pair of 1000W powered speakers with sound quality appropriate for the program material you describe and plenty of bottom. They'd only need line level outputs to drive these, so there are many options for sourcing under $400. They could use a computer as their network receiver, streamer and DAC to drive the Mackies (or similar powered speakers from a number of sources like Kustom, Samson and Peavey) directly from the audio out jack. If they're not looking for audiophile sound, they'll probably be thrilled with the Mackie Thumps.

 

BTW, most blown speakers ended up that way because the amp was underpowered for the speaker and desired listening levels, not overpowered. It's the harsh distortion of an amp pushing far harder than it was designed to do that overheats voice coils and destroys drivers. This often happens to people who try to drive good but inefficient speakers with amps that are simply too small to achieve the desired clean SPLs. I blew a few speakers in low powered guitar amps like a Supro 5 watter and a 15W Ampeg Jet when I was a teenager (which was 'way before anyone mic'ed a guitar amp on stage for reinforcement). But I haven't lost a speaker in over 50 years since I started using adequately powered amps.

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BTW, most blown speakers ended up that way because the amp was underpowered for the speaker and desired listening levels, not overpowered. It's the harsh distortion of an amp pushing far harder than it was designed to do that overheats voice coils and destroys drivers. This often happens to people who try to drive good but inefficient speakers with amps that are simply too small to achieve the desired clean SPLs.

 

Completely agree, and that was what I must not clearly have stated previously. I've driven speakers at many times their recommended wpc with high quality amplification wqith some great results.

 

JC

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Thanks to everyone for the suggestions so far, the input is greatly appreciated. Ina conversation that I just finished with my friend, he has upped the ante to $1,500.00 for this purchase. That should also open up some other possibilities.

 

JC

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Klipsch Heresy III speakers. Second hand to meet the budget. Any receiver is more than enough for the bangingest head banger. Your ears will bleed before these give out.

 

Seems like the perfect speaker option, but they don't seem to be easily found used. At least not in my initial search.

 

JC

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One receiver to check out are the Marantz NR1605 and the older NR1504. These have the advantage of being much smaller than most AV receivers. The NR1605 looks to have Marantz's newest streaming board this will enable streaming of HD and DSD if he wanted to look at that in the future.

 

The only issue is I've just found the US price is $699 (from Amazon) vs around £350 in UK ($525) but it might be worth it and I've personally found Marantz to be the most musical of the mainstream AVRs.

 

Speakers ... well will leave others to advise.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Cerwin Vega speakers...headbangers delight.

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I would say the best advice would be to NOT listen to many advices from HIFI guys (on a general note, not any of the above posts). The problem is that HIFi guys seem to give advices based on their own needs and desires and forget to pay sufficient attention to the actual needs of the guy asking for the advice.

At least this was my experience along the road, which has made me very sceptic......

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I would say the best advice would be to NOT listen to many advices from HIFI guys (on a general note, not any of the above posts). The problem is that HIFi guys seem to give advices based on their own needs and desires and forget to pay sufficient attention to the actual needs of the guy asking for the advice.

At least this was my experience along the road, which has made me very sceptic......

 

Yup! Just use what you read as possible ideas and add a scoop of salt. Forget hype, fancy marketing slogans and don't get hung up on price; higher priced does not necessarily mean better for your ears.

 

In the end trust your own ears as, that is all that counts.

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Any of a great selection of good quality AVRs, like the Pioneer VSX-1124, Onkyo TX-636 (~400) or the Sony DN1050. These are a bit big and bulky looking, but that is what you get at the low end of the price spectrum. Given that some of those AVR's will stream audio from iPhones, iPads, etc., they are a near perfect fit for this lifestyle. This will run you around $400-$550, depending upon where you buy them, which one you like better, etc.

 

Pick up a set of either Pioneer SP-FS52 Floorstanders, which will not only play very good, but play very loud for about $220.

 

Next pick up an Apple TV for $69, and/or a nice Bluray player, like the Sony BDPS6200 for about $130.

 

Add in a two or three HDMI cables, one to connect to the TV, and another one or two to connect to your video devices, and you are pretty much all set, and for under $1000.

 

The Apple TV or the Sony BDPS6200 will *both* play Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, and more if you hook them up to your local wired or wireless network. Easy Peasy. Just pick the one you prefer. (Or, like me, get both an Apple TV and a smart Blurry player.)

 

The only other question is what you are going to stream the music from, other than online sources like iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, You Tube, etc. If iTunes, use the Apple TV, as it streams audio and video both pretty much without muss or fuss. In other words, it "just works."

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I would say the best advice would be to NOT listen to many advices from HIFI guys (on a general note, not any of the above posts). The problem is that HIFi guys seem to give advices based on their own needs and desires and forget to pay sufficient attention to the actual needs of the guy asking for the advice.......

which is why I recommended Mackie Thumps and why jcbenton suggested Cerwin Vegas. There's a lot of inexpensive equipment out there making people who never heard of Audio Research or Raidho very happy.

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Thanks for the recommendation. I came across this Soundstage review and these Cerwin Vega's might be just the ticket!

 

http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/c...ega_cls215.htm

 

 

JC

Your friends may not want or benefit from speakers that big (50x17x21") or from two 15" woofers per side - they're also expensive ($1500 / pair right now on Amazon) and they're out of production. CV makes several speakers more appropriate in scale and price, e.g. the CVi-152 (2-way, 15" woofer, $700 / pair). The CV home series has several great choices, e.g. the SL-28 at $560 / pair that will rock your socks off from a much smaller enclosure.

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If going the CV route personally I would go with a 3-way design such as the SL 15. The 15" woofers are very capable in the low range but maybe not the last word in the midrange. Separating the midrange with a dedicated driver should make vocals a little more defined. This is from experience in the far past so may not be an issue these days - only an audition would tell.

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If you want to use the pre-outs on the receiver and get some more power to drive these beasts at a reasonable price I would check out "Class D Audio" - the increased wattage should keep the speakers safe when headbanger wife gets out of control!

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Your friends may not want or benefit from speakers that big (50x17x21") or from two 15" woofers per side - they're also expensive ($1500 / pair right now on Amazon) and they're out of production. CV makes several speakers more appropriate in scale and price, e.g. the CVi-152 (2-way, 15" woofer, $700 / pair). The CV home series has several great choices, e.g. the SL-28 at $560 / pair that will rock your socks off from a much smaller enclosure.

 

Thanks for clarifying that. I found them for $749.00, but thought the price was for a pair, not a single speaker. I'll look into the options you noted. The SL-28 may be a very good option.

 

JC

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The Cerwin Vega XLS-12 is also affordable and available. Any thoughts on that vs the SL-28?

 

JC

I think the 28 sounds more musical - the two 8" woofers are a lot tighter & more natural-sounding to me than the slightly flabby and more in-your-face bass of the larger CV woofers. CVs are not really designed for home music reproduction.

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