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Best speakers on a budget?

CarlToft

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I made another post before but a lot of the speakers recommended were not loud enough for listening to music around 3 meters away from the speakers. According to the manufacturers.

Hey, I have some pretty good headphones and iems but the only speaker I own is an Ultimate ears hyperboom whose battery doesn't even last that long. So I wanna finally buy some good sounding speakers.

Info:
I live in a pretty small apartment around 37m2. My couch is around 3 meters from my TV where I will be placing the speakers.
I prefer Harman-tuned headphones.
I would prefer the speakers to be active but if the recommendations are passive an amp and streamer will have to not be more expensive than around $200

My budget is around $1400 for speakers and a max of $200 for an amp and streamer if needed.

It has to be available in Denmark or be shipped from European sites.
 
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Moonhead

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KH120II

 

Timcognito

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Svend P

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terryforsythe

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The recommendations above all are good speakers. If I read your post correctly, the total budget for speakers/amplifier/streamer is $1,600.

The Neumann KH120 II will blow your budget ($999 each) and still need a streamer.

The Wharfedale Linton 85th Anniversary are on sale for $1,499/pair, but will need an amplifier/streamer. So, this option likely will exceed your budget.

The Arendal 1961 bookshelves are $799/pair, but will need a subwoofer and amplfier/streamer. For a subwoofer, I recommend getting one with variable phase adjustment, NOT just a switch that toggles between 0 and 180 deg. Otherwise, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get the bookshelfs and subwoofer in phase at the crossover frequency. I fought with this situation before, and the bass never sounded right. I think the cost of a good subwoofer, in addition to the amplifier/streamer, will set you over budget. On the other hand, you can buy a cheap subwoofer now to stay in budget, and upgrade to a better sub some time later.

The Arendal 1961 towers are on sale for $1,260/pair, and also will need an amplifier/streamer. That leaves $340 for an amplifier/streamer. Of the options presented above, this probably is the best option unless you increase your budget.

You can use a WiiM Amp for your amplifier streamer. https://www.wiimhome.com/wiimamp/overview. It runs $299 and pushes 120 W/channel into 4 ohms, which is the rated impedance of the 1961.

If you don't mind going $13 over your budget, you can go with separates for better sound quality. WiiM Pro streamer ($149), a SMSL SU-1 DAC ($67.99), and a Fosi Audio V3 amplifier with a 48V/5A power supply ($135.99). Total for this stack is $352.98.

EDIT: Better option: WiiM Pro Plus streamer ($219) and Fosi Audio ZA3 with 48V/5A power supply ($115.32). Total for this stack is $334.32. With the Arendal 1961 Towers, total is $1,594.32.

Check out the review of the WiiM Amp by cheapaudioman on YouTube. He compares the WiiM Amp to the above stack - that is where I got the recommendation and prices.

There are a lot of speaker sales going on right now. It may be worth investigating some other options as well. I just ordered a pair of KEFs at nearly a 30% discount.
 
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terryforsythe

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Fosi Audio has a new amplifier coming out, the ZA3. It is on Kickstarter with a 48 V / 5A PSU for HK$ 900 ($115.32). Same SINAD as the V3 (88 dB), but more power: 180 W into 4 ohm vs 141 W for the V3. It also has both XLR and RCE inputs, which is nice, and it would save $20 vs. the V3.


With the Arendal 1961 towers, WiiM Pro streamer, SMSL SU-1 DAC and Fosi Audio ZA3, total price would be a little under $1,600.
 
D

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Guys; do you know what a Hyperboom speaker is? -It is pretty serious "boombox". OP would probably need a bit more capable stuff than small bookshelf speakers. At least a powerful sub to go with them.

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I would suggest to buy used. @CarlToft how much space do you have where the speakers would be placed?

If enough space I would think you would absolutely love this kit:
AMP:

Speakers:
 

Svend P

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The Wharfedale Linton 85th Anniversary are on sale for $1,499/pair, but will need an amplifier/streamer. So, this option likely will exceed your budget.
I found a used pair for Carl for $720. New they are only $1200 in Denmark, and you can find B-stock for a little more than $900

 

Pareto Pragmatic

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Given you like the harmon curve, maybe Klipsch the Sevens would fit. That, plus a wiim streamer. They look good (imo) and can be adjusted (they are tilted up in the treble). The Nines would likely be barely in your budget, but pretty big for the room. I suggest this even though I will never go with Klipsch again, been there done that.

HDMI connection, so you can use your TV to stream, and the speakers for AV sound. They do go on sale regularly, btw.

If I were going separates, likely I would go with a Wiim streamer amp and ... some speakers. And likely throw in miniDSP but that's me. I am sure you will get many speaker suggestions here from people with more knowledge than I have. Take suggestions, look at how they measure. Something with a bit of a rise in the base and treble might be just the ticket for your personal tastes. Not a lot, just a bit, harmon curve and all. I do find that any boost to bass or treble of over 3dB is not something I want to live with, even with correction.
 

terryforsythe

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What about the Dentons?
It depends on the OP's taste, including how much bass extension he desires and how loud he wants the speakers to play. Once you start looking at bookshelf speakers for operation without a subwoofer, there are many good speakers that will fit within the budget.

Bookshelf speakers I have heard, though, have left me wanting deeper bass extension. When a cheap subwoofer is added, the bass just gets muddy/sloppy. Only the addition of a good subwoofer that is properly time/phase aligned solves the issue for me, and those subwoofers usually are relatively expensive, thus blowing the budget.

There are some powered bookshelf speakers that do extend low in the bass, but usually they only do so at low to moderate volume. When the volume is increased past a certain point bass limiting kicks in to protect the woofers. There are some notable exceptions to this, such as the large Genelac stand-mount speakers, but they are in another price category entirely.
 
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terryforsythe

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I found a used pair for Carl for $720. New they are only $1200 in Denmark, and you can find B-stock for a little more than $900

The Wharefedale Linton 85 has better bass extension than the Arendal 1961 Tower. Given the price of $1,200 new for a pair of the Lintons in Denmark, and the great price on the used pair you found, that probably makes the Linton the better choice from among those speakers discussed above. From the options discussed, if I were working with the OP's budget, I would go with the Lintons given the better pricing you found.
 
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terryforsythe

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If enough space I would think you would absolutely love this kit:
AMP:

Speakers:
Interesting option. This is the first I have heard of those speakers. Personally, I do like coaxial drivers. I did a brief Google search looking for objective test data on those speakers akin to what Erin and Amir produce, but did not find anything.

The Yamaha is $900 here in the U.S., so that would leave around $700 for the speakers given the OP's budget. What would be the price for the system in Denmark?
 
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Interesting option. This is the first I have heard of those speakers. Personally, I do like coaxial drivers. I did a brief Google search looking for objective test data on those speakers akin to what Erin and Amir produce, but did not find anything.

The Yamaha is $900 here in the U.S., so that would leave around $700 for the speakers given the OP's budget. What would be the price for the system in Denmark?
The total is a bit over budget. But as I also wrote I would buy used.

The 2nd link is to a German review site that has measurements.
 

terryforsythe

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The 2nd link is to a German review site that has measurements.
Thank you.

The frequency response of the speaker looks a little rough, especially the dips around 160 Hz, 500 Hz, 1.1 kHz and 9 kHz. There is some roughness in the impedance graph around 160 Hz and 500 Hz, so there may be some sort of resonances happening at those frequencies. The impedance graph looks smooth at 1.1 kHz and 9 kHz. So those dips may not be due to resonances. Perhaps diffraction? Maybe the review explains this, but I am not fluent in German, so I don't know.
 
D

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Thank you.

The frequency response of the speaker looks a little rough, especially the dips around 160 Hz, 500 Hz, 1.1 kHz and 9 kHz. There is some roughness in the impedance graph around 160 Hz and 500 Hz, so there may be some sort of resonances happening at those frequencies. The impedance graph looks smooth at 1.1 kHz and 9 kHz. So those dips may not be due to resonances. Perhaps diffraction? Maybe the review explains this, but I am not fluent in German, so I don't know.
Well it's not a studio monitor. ;)

You can use Google Translate on pages.
 

terryforsythe

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Well it's not a studio monitor. ;)

You can use Google Translate on pages.
Good suggestion. First time I used Google Translate on a web page. :p It works well.

Notably, the V12C speaker is fairly efficient, 89 dB (I assume at 1W at 1m), and is rated at 109 dB maximum SPL, with short-term peaks of 121 dB. So, it will play loud. It will do well at filling a large room with music. With a 12" woofer, the V12C is moving an appreciable amount of air, and with a paper cone I suspect it will perform very well with regard to dynamics. The -3 dB point on the bass extends down into the 40s, which will be fine for most people.

The review indicates that 1.1 kHz is the crossover frequency. That explains why there is a frequency response dip there without a corresponding blip in the impedance curve. Looking at the phase curve, there is large phase swing just above the crossover frequency. I suspect there is some phase cancellation occurring between the woofer and tweeter causing the dip at 1.1 kHz. Although the crossover uses air core inductors, which I greatly prefer, it looks to me like the crossover would benefit from additional engineering effort to get the drivers in phase at the crossover frequency.

The 9 kHz dip probably is due to diffraction occurring at the transition from the tweeter's horn to the woofer cone. These types of things are not an uncommon issue with coaxial drivers. It is a tradeoff, but one I tend to think is worth making to get the tweeter and woofer spatially aligned.

Personally, the V12C is not my cup of tea (I prefer more neutral tonality), but I can see a lot of people really liking the speaker, especially at its very competitively price of 1,298 euros/pair. In this regard, the V12C fits within the OP's budget. He should listen to a pair, he might like them.
 
OP
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CarlToft

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I found a used pair for Carl for $720. New they are only $1200 in Denmark, and you can find B-stock for a little more than $900

Thanks alot i will check the link later.
 

Pritaudio

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Kali in8 v2 with a sub under £1500, just add streaming dac preamp.
 

Dr Morbius

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Klipsch RP-600M very efficient speakers ( I have 2 pair in different rooms ) runs $500 or so. Sounds great and with the $1500 savings you could get a decent amplifier.
 
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