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The $700 Amp/Speakers Challenge

Joined
Dec 1, 2018
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#41
These are supposed to be excellent as well. Sony. SS-CS3. Floorstanders.

$400 a pair. At most.

No funky volume knobs on the speakers. No rickety speaker stands. No bizarro world balanced-to-single-ended-cables. Just. Put. Them. On. The. Floor. Wherever. You. Like. Toe them in. Or move them away from the wall. Spread them out. Or bring them closer together. To fill your room. With optimal imaging and frequency response. Simple.

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-SSCS3-F...Sony+speakers&qid=1562816321&s=gateway&sr=8-8

And don’t let all the satisfied customers scare you off. :D

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-SSCS3-F...d=1562816321&s=gateway&sr=8-8#customerReviews
 
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Blumlein 88

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#43
I’ve gotten component video cables from Comcast a couple times after giving their equipment back, I believe they are unmarked monster cables.
I don't think they are unmarked Monster cables. They are pretty good, well shielded RG6. I've used a few myself. I've compared some with Deltawave getting better than 100 db nulls vs Audioquest Diamond Hyperlitz.
 

TimW

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#44
I would like to suggest the inclusion of room correction in whatever kind of system you end up putting together. In my experience it will make much more of an impact on sound quality then wheather your speakers are active or passive, or how "clean" your amplification is.

Also don't underestimate the importance of good bass reproduction in a system. Even if you are not a self pronounced EDM loving bass freak, you will appreciate good bass.
 
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#46
Pioneer FS-SP52 towers ($260 per pair) and Onkyo TX-8020 2-channel receiver ($120). $380 total, $320 to spare. All Amazon Prime.
I just recommended that same pair to a buddy... he ended up getting a soundbar because he thought towers were too big. Oh well.


Back to the $700 challenge... refurbs. If you like JBL, sign up for the mailing list. Things go on sale all the time. Refurbs have free returns and warranties.
 

BillG

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#47
OK, you have 700 US dollars in your pocket - not a penny more! :) You need an amp, and a set of speakers for a small/medium-sized room. Your goal is to put together the absolute best, most highly-focused and straight-forward "bang for the buck" 2.0 system possible. No subs. No powered speakers. No muss no fuss. Just a good clean amp and a set of speakers. The source will be your laptop through a DAC you already have.
These, as they can often be found on sale for >=$250USD, and the Harmon group of companies knows what they're doing when it comes to speaker design:

https://www.harmanaudio.com/R162BK.html

And this, as it can be found for >$450USD, if one shops around:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...urements-of-yamaha-wxa-50-streaming-amp.7964/

P.S. My source would be a PC/smart device via WiFi, since that amp doesn't have direct USB input for its DAC. It can, however, play audio files directly from an attached USB storage device.
 
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#48
I just recommended that same pair to a buddy... he ended up getting a soundbar because he thought towers were too big. Oh well.


Back to the $700 challenge... refurbs. If you like JBL, sign up for the mailing list. Things go on sale all the time. Refurbs have free returns and warranties.

Haha, I've stopped recommending stuff to friends. They just never listen. I've got a friend who is actually a really big music lover. He's into a wide array of styles and genres...really knows his stuff. punk, folk, jazz, alternative, indie...you name it. But, he's just not got the audiophile thing in him. When he wants gear, he'll just visit the nearest Best Buy and pick stuff. If he was looking for headphones and I told him something like the Takstar Pro82 is great value for the dollar he'd still end up with a $200 set of Beats a week later.
 
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#49
So, there was a set of Pioneer SP-FS52 towers on Amazon for a nice price - $299.95cdn new. I bit. Then I grabbed a Yamaha R-S202bl for $199.95cdn as well - decided bluetooth would be a nice option for streaming from my laptop. Modest set up, but it'll do well in the room I have and being in an apartment I just can't really pump up the volume much at all. I actually have a nice room for audio though. I have space for the speakers to breathe...it should sound very good.
 
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São Paulo - Brazil
#52
I would get a pair of Elac Uni-Fi B5 3-way coax bookshelf speakers ($350):
https://www.amazon.com/ELAC-Uni-fi-Bookshelf-Speaker-Black/dp/B01CRYWVG2/

With some nice looking stands ($55):
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B076HX81WZ/

And a do-it-all small SMSL AD18 amplifier for lack of a better option with this budget ($145):
https://www.amazon.com/SMSL-AD18-Amplifier-Bluetooth-Subwoofer/dp/B071JN7GXN/

Subtotal: $550.
And spend the rest with cables (Blue Jeans Cables), acoustic panels (Vicoustic) and quality beer. :)
 
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#53
USA only yes. I'm always leery of refurb stuff as well.
Although refurbs can always be a mixed bag... it's a little different at AC4L. They don't do 3rd party - they're all factory refurbished and carry warranties in most cases. I purchased a few things from them in the past and they were always like-new. Got one of my AV8801A's from them on closeout, so that was actually 'new' - but the Denon 4520CI was a refurb and it's still running perfectly after 4 years.

Sounds like you're all set though, and that should be more than adequate for enjoying good music at lower levels in an apartment. I'd still recommend you hit a music store some time if you get a chance and listen to some of the active studio monitors... it might be an eye-opener for something down the road. Especially the relatively inexpensive models from Yamaha, JBL, and Adam Audio as mentioned before.
 

FrantzM

Addicted to Fun and Learning
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#54
so the volume control is on the back of each speaker? Back in the 80s, i owned a set of Acoustic Research powered partners. They sounded good, but adjusting the volume was a real pain.
Set the volume of your active speakers to max and use the digital volume control on your PC Media Player. Some apps allow you to use your phone or tablet to change the volume
e.g Roon, Spotify, Tidal , etc ...
I understand the appeal or nostalgia of the mini-shrine but ...

@Blumlein 88
Link for the stands you suggested? Please.
 

Blumlein 88

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#55
@Blumlein 88
Link for the stands you suggested? Please.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1033371-REG/pyle_pro_pstnd35_heavy_duty_telescoping.html

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...pro_pstnd32_studio_monitor_speaker_stand.html

I've some of those in the first link. They are well made. Adjust with a pin through the column so no worries about them slipping. Seem sturdy. Have little holders for cable running to the speaker on top to make it a little neater. Some complain they are welded unevenly and wobble or you have to shim the bottoms. I may have been lucky, but both of mine are level and true.

The tripod type in the 2nd link look to be made the same with the tripod legs. I didn't see those or I probably would have gotten them. Three legs inherently can't wobbe. They also could be set further out for additional stability if you have the room. Or adjusted smaller if you don't.

I've seen more solid stands which also cost more. You also could add weight around the bottom if you wanted more stability and if you use them set up on the higher side of things. But they are basic good adjustable stands just nothing fancy.
 
Joined
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#56
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1033371-REG/pyle_pro_pstnd35_heavy_duty_telescoping.html

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...pro_pstnd32_studio_monitor_speaker_stand.html

I've some of those in the first link. They are well made. Adjust with a pin through the column so no worries about them slipping. Seem sturdy. Have little holders for cable running to the speaker on top to make it a little neater. Some complain they are welded unevenly and wobble or you have to shim the bottoms. I may have been lucky, but both of mine are level and true.

The tripod type in the 2nd link look to be made the same with the tripod legs. I didn't see those or I probably would have gotten them. Three legs inherently can't wobbe. They also could be set further out for additional stability if you have the room. Or adjusted smaller if you don't.

I've seen more solid stands which also cost more. You also could add weight around the bottom if you wanted more stability and if you use them set up on the higher side of things. But they are basic good adjustable stands just nothing fancy.
I didn’t realize you actually have those stands! I would not have made fun of them so off-handedly if I knew. It looks like you took it pretty hard, changed your pic and everything. I didn’t mean anything personal by it. I was just taking the shortest route to a cheap shot I could think of in the moment. Actually they do look kind of okay. Maybe even kind of cool. I thought your post was a very clever and funny retort and we were kind of jousting. Little did I know you were speaking from the heart! :confused:

Like I said, I have some powered speakers (Sonos) (go ahead, laugh at me, I deserve it) in another room. But they come with capability to play music over streaming services, over WiFi, and by voice command or by an app and they have room correction technology built in as well, and I can change the volume with my voice or by an app, so they are kind of a source and a speaker and room correction all in one.

Even with those the sound per pound and per penny (ha ha see what I did there?) is amazing. But a pair will run over $700. (To be clear, I personally have one Sonos One and one Sonos 5, to serve individual purposes, and those together did cost less than $700). I’m sure that’s not the best sounding powered speaker per dollar but that’s not what I was looking for when I got them. And heaven help me when the first thing inside them breaks. At least the Sonos 5 have a line in.

And even so I would still have to say I’d rather be running the $260/pair Pioneer SP-FS52 passive towers than powered speakers in my main system (and I have a choice and that is exactly what I do), full stop.

I don’t doubt the sonic design advantages per penny and per pound of powered speakers as opposed to passive plus amp. But I do think the design choice of floor standing towers still yields some pretty strong advantages in terms of form factor from a looks and audio perspective. It’s not as flashy or efficient technologically of course, and maybe they don’t measure as well perfectly placed in an anechoic chamber, but it has its advantages.

Seriously, with tower speakers it is nothing just to rotate them or slide them or nudge them or whatever on a whim depending on who is in the room, where they are sitting, what gets you the best sound for what you are trying to do, etc., and they don’t distract peoples’ attention from what we are doing when they are playing or look conspicuous or out of place in a nice environment. It’s a very simplistic thing but I still think it can be pretty huge in the big picture, even sonically. :cool:
 
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Blumlein 88

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#57
I didn’t realize you actually have those stands! I would not have made fun of them so off-handedly if I knew. It looks like you took it pretty hard, changed your pic and everything. I didn’t mean anything personal by it. I was just taking the shortest route to a cheap shot I could think of in the moment. Actually they do look kind of okay. Maybe even kind of cool. I thought your post was a very clever and funny retort and we were kind of jousting. Little did I know you were speaking from the heart! :confused:

Like I said, I have some powered speakers (Sonos) (go ahead, laugh at me, I deserve it) in another room. But they come with capability to play music over streaming services, over WiFi, and by voice command or by an app and they have room correction technology built in as well, and I can change the volume with my voice or by an app, so they are kind of a source and a speaker and room correction all in one. Even with those the sound per pound and per penny (ha ha see what I did there?) is amazing. But a pair will run over $700. I’m sure that’s not the best sounding powered speaker per dollar but that’s not what I was looking for when I got them. And heaven help me when the first thing inside them breaks. At least they have a line in.

And even so I would still have to say I’d rather be running the $260/pair Pioneer SP-FS52 passive towers than powered speakers in my main system (and I have a choice and that is exactly what I do), full stop.

I don’t doubt the sonic design advantages per penny and per pound of powered speakers as opposed to passive plus amp. But I do think the design choice of floor standing towers still yields some pretty strong advantages in terms of form factor from a looks and audio perspective. It’s not as flashy or efficient technologically of course, and maybe they don’t measure as well perfectly placed in an anechoic chamber, but it has its advantages.

Seriously, with tower speakers it is nothing just to rotate them or slide them or nudge them or whatever on a whim depending on who is in the room, where they are sitting, what gets you the best sound for what you are trying to do, etc., and they don’t distract peoples’ attention from what we are doing when they are playing or look conspicuous or out of place in a nice environment. It’s a very simplistic thing but I still think it can be pretty huge in the big picture, even sonically. :cool:
It is fine, and I wasn't offended. I was partly joshing. I only changed the pic because I found a better one.

My surround system has floor standers front right and left. They are more ergonomic and being larger more efficient. Center is on a wooden stand I made to fit between a rack. Surrounds are on those I pictured earlier.

My insistence on active is right in the price range you are looking is where there are a few very good choices giving a much larger bang for buck vs passive than in any other price range I know about. There is then a little higher in price not much to choose from on up until you get into quite expensive speakers.

Again, no sweat you haven't offended me. My real speakers are big Soundlab Electrostats.
Here is one without the cloth cover on it. 72 inches tall, 30 inches wide. You have to "dance" these about the room.
1562896258936.png
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
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#58
Chi-fi would definitely dominate the amp part... for speakers not so clear...
If you go for speakers with higher sensitivity you might be able to use a smaller power amp... However small amp with good clean supply is not easier to find compared to something with more power but not that clean...
So if it's me I'll still go for sub-90db bookshelves such as this one:
JAMO/尊宝 C603 HIFI书架音箱发烧无源音箱监听音响高保真6寸低音
Good Danish sound, a bit of coloring but sound really good.
For amps look at this one:
参考德国柏林933功放电路功放整机 经典名器
This is a famous Chinese DIYer who has sold thousands unit of amps, dacs .etc.
This is one of his amp, outputting 120Wx2 into 8ohms.
I don't think you can do much better here than Chinese DIYer :)
Combined together still less than $700.
 

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