Speaker recommendation for low end HT - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 37 Old 11-12-07, 12:55 PM
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Speaker recommendation for low end HT

Hi, just registered yesterday, a guy I work with is on this board.

I'm looking to get a good setup but for a budget.

My current setup:

Olevia 32" LCD HDTV
A Shuttle PC for HTPC
Cambridge Soundworks DTT3500 5.1

The CS setup works OK, but it just started developing an issue with the analog sound input, sound is scratchy. I've tried different cables too. There's no problem with the optical digital input from the PC though.

I have the PC, Wii, and PS2 connected to the HDTV via HDMI and component (shared cable for the Wii and PS2), and the audio output of the HDTV going to the CS receiver.

So my usage is for DVDs, games, TV, and some music.

I've been wanting to get a real receiver and nice big speakers for quite a while, so I finally ordered an Onkyo TX-SR674S for $318 from Amazon (actually coming Crutchfield warehouse.) Hopefully it'll get here tomorrow.

What I'm wondering is what to do for speakers. I suppose I could hold out with the existing 5.1 Cambridge speakers since they're not bad, but would prefer to have 2 big speakers up front and maybe use the CS speakers for surrounds.

Originally I thought I'd stay within a budget of $500, but seeing as how I've already spent about $400 on the receiver, shipping, speaker wire and an extra HDMI cable, that's obviously not enough. I could hold off a while though like I said, so it's not urgent.

I went to a local audio shop, New England Hi-Fi, and the guy there recommended a few set-ups:

Paradigm Atom V5
Klipsch RB51
Onkyo SKS-HT540 (complete 7.1 speaker package.)

I listened to them all and they're pretty good, although the first 2 are bookshelves and would need to buy stands, making them about the same as a floorstander I think, and on the Onkyo, well I already have a set of decent surrounds.

Personally, I think I'd prefer some floorstanders. I've been envious of my father's NHTs for a long time.

My current setup is in the living room, which is I think 16x12 or so (not sure exactly), and I have a swiveling media cabinet that's just wide enough for the TV on top and some shelves inside for the equipment. Right now I just have the small CS speakers attached to the sides of the cabinet. There's really no place to put bookshelves.

Like I said, it's not urgent that I buy speakers soon, I can wait until I have a better budget, but I'm definitely not looking to be spending thousands. I'd say, at the most, I can justify say $500 for speakers.
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post #2 of 37 Old 11-12-07, 01:25 PM
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Re: Speaker recommendation for low end HT

Welcome to the Shack!

Speakers probably introduce more "personality" into a system than any other component as even identical speakers can be made to sound different depending on voicing of the crossover. What I'm getting at; before anyone can offer meaningful recommendations, it would help you and us if you did a little auditioning to get a feel for what you like the sound of. Otherwise, everyone's basically recommending something that fits their tastes and your budget.

Speaking of budget. How many speakers are you looking to get for that $500? Just front L/R or L/R/C?

For my .02. Polk is in the process of releasing a new generation of RTiA speakers, so there are major deals to be had on the outgoing RTi series. Disclaimer: I use RTi38s all around in my theater room. AV123 was/is? having some major blowout pricing on both their Rocket and X lines. SVS has a couple of 7.0 sets in their B-stock section for $550ish, but they're not towers. I'm sure others will chime in soon with their recommendations.

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post #3 of 37 Old 11-12-07, 01:56 PM
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Re: Speaker recommendation for low end HT

Yeah, I know what you're saying about personal taste. I might look into the home audition thing, if they allow it.

I'd like to get L/R floorstanders/towers.

I don't remember if that store I went to had Polk or not, they had Paradigm and Klipsch though.
post #4 of 37 Old 11-12-07, 02:32 PM
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Re: Speaker recommendation for low end HT

If you're on a tight budget then you should try to find some second-hand speakers. I would do that if i were you. You can easily get a pair of speakers for half the price of new ones.

Klipsch is a really good choice if you like dynamic speakers. They're awesome for movies and very good for a low/medium 2-channel system.

In northern Europe, we can buy speakers from manufacturers like Dynavoice and XTZ.
They have an unbeatable quality/price ratio here. I don't know if you can find them where you live.

Klipsch (THX2) | Crown | SVS | SlimDevices | Sony | Pioneer | Yamaha
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post #5 of 37 Old 11-12-07, 04:11 PM
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Re: Speaker recommendation for low end HT

Looks like those companies are only in Sweden.
post #6 of 37 Old 11-12-07, 09:09 PM
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Re: Speaker recommendation for low end HT

You need to check out the Boston Acoustics VR2 ( I love Boston )
@ onecall for $249.97 each free shipping (3 day fedex)

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post #7 of 37 Old 11-12-07, 10:18 PM
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Re: Speaker recommendation for low end HT

Definitive Technology makes some great speakers for small budgets... I'd look at ProCinema for a $500 budget or if you can wait and increase spending a bit the small bipolar towers with built in subs. They are just 'fun' IMO
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post #8 of 37 Old 11-13-07, 09:45 AM
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Re: Speaker recommendation for low end HT

You can get the Infinity Primus Theater Pack for $280. This includes four P142s and a PC240 center channel. Then purchase an Infinity PS28 8" powered sub woofer for $180. A complete 5.1 system for $460 that will sound as good or better than what you've listed.

Or you can do much better with four Infinity Primus P152s for $190, a Infinity Primus PC250 for $150, and the Infinity PS28 8" powered sub woofer for $180. A better complete 5.1 system than above for $520.


If you are indeed just looking for some good floorstanders to build off of then the Infinity Primus P362 for $460 a pair should get a listen.

Last edited by jackfish; 11-13-07 at 10:00 AM.
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post #9 of 37 Old 11-13-07, 10:33 AM
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Re: Speaker recommendation for low end HT

There are a few options you haven't yet touched on. First there are a number of sound card options which have either digital coax or toslink out on them. Diamong makes a 7.1 version with7.1 for about $35.00 Not the best sound card but a pretty good one and works much better than any other $35 dollar solution you can choose. Secondly depending on the sound card you are currently using many have the option of using a coax to 1/8" line that usually plugs into the center channel out on the sound card. I used to use one made by philips and though it was specified as a portable dvd to coax in on your reciever, it worked really for PC to receiver, until I accidentally cut it in half. It was cheap though less than $20.

As far as good budget speakers go try going to your local freecycle.org and simply asking for vintage audio gear. My mains are 15" pioneer floor standers and I got them for free, I got my current rear and surrounds 15" floor standers and 12" 3 ways for free as well. If you live in/near a major metropolitan area or are willing pay for shipping try ebay or craigslist for subs. These are just a few of my budget suggestions and also try hitting the classified listing on any one of a number of audio boards, I have purchased with really good results from at least a dozen of them over the past year.
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post #10 of 37 Old 11-13-07, 11:09 AM
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Re: Speaker recommendation for low end HT

As far as the PC, it's a Shuttle with NForce3 chipset, currently using the optical output. Unfortunately it seems to only do stereo, and I have to use the 2nd analog output for the rear channels, not sure if it sends 5.1 Dolby when playing a movie or not. I know that using the Nvidia control panel, I'm unable to send sound to the center and sub directly. I usually put the Creative receiver in "movie" mode to get the center channel.

I do have a 7.1 channel sound card, Chaintech AV710, in a drawer somewhere I could try.

I'll check out those ideas above for speakers, though. Thanks, guys!

UPDATE: Got my Onkyo receiver and took it home, but haven't had enough time to connect and test yet.

One thing I noticed is it doesn't have outputs for an unpowered sub, only pre-out. Since I'll be using the Creative 5.1 speakers for now, how should I connect the sub???

Last edited by capran; 11-13-07 at 01:59 PM.


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