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Please help with choosing a system


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Basically, you will all probably laugh at me for this, but I currently have a £30 Logitech speaker set for my xbox 360 and music, which sounds terrible but is a massive improvement over the TV speakers.


I am however now looking at spend ~£200 on audio equipment which again I know isn't going to buy me the best, but what do you recommend?


I would prefer not to buy second hand as I really dont know anything about speaker systems, and have been told to get the likes on onkyo, pioneer, yamaha, Polk Audio etc but I think this is out of my price range.


For now I need a sub, 2 front speakers and an Amp/reciever. Can build up from there at a later date.



I am unsure of how my room layout would affect surround sound. I have a cabin bed with a sofa underneath which means my bed would be in between me and the speakers?


Anyway, any help would be appreciated!



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Hi Freddie,

It's going to be vey difficult to do much with your budget. One suggestion would be to go for vintage equipment. You can get a lot for your money that way.


Some Examples that I recently purchased for my kids going to college:


Yamaha CA-810 (very nice integrated amp, circa 1979): $130

JBL L36 (circa 1978): $300


That's close to your budget. No sub, but the L36 has enough low end in a small-ish room.


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Hi Freddie,


Frankly, I would recommend letting go of the idea of having a sub for now, I don't think your budget will stretch that far. I'd go with some inexpensive powered speakers, like the AudioEngine A5's, which go for $325 in the US. They output a surprising amount of bass for their size.


Room layouts always affect sound - in fact the room (and speaker placement) is one of the most (if not the most) important factors influencing sound quality. So you'll need to deal with that. However, I can't quite picture your room layout from what you've written. Could you say more?


Also, putting monitor speakers up on some kind of stand will improve the sound greatly - you want to get them up to ear-level.






A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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Well, my sofa is underneath my bed in the corner of my room, so if i had a surround sound speaker in the top corner it would be above my bed if you know what I mean.


I never realized just how expensive speakers and audio equipment really is!


But, there must be some kind of set up for £200 which is far better than my two Logitech computer satellite speakers and sub?


Thanks for the replies.


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I'd start with something like these speakers. These are active, so the amps are built in. You need to feed them good analogue sound, preferably from a DAC with volume control.


If I were you, I would not hesitate to buy used material. Heck, I buy used also, be it in a higher price range. There's tons of stereo's for sale. If you're in the UK, I happen to know there are vintage hifi fairs here and there. Or search the net. If you find something, use Google to learn more about it before you decide to spend.


Do not get surround sound. If your room is small, the surrounds will be to close to your ears anyway. And low budget surround will sound nasty all the time, period.


These are very good value in the UK:



I'd advise against those little systems with speakers included in the price. Better to get some used (bigger) speakers.


Fully Balanced Differential Stereo: Jamo R909 < Emotiva XPA-1 < XLR < Emotiva XSP-1 < Weiss DAC2 < Oyaide d+ FW400/800 < iMac < Synology DS1815+ NAS

Software: Amarra Symphony iRC, XLD, iTunes.

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