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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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
Wii
PS2
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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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. :duh:

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.

-Brent
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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.
 

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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 :T and very good for a low/medium 2-channel system.

In northern Europe, we can buy speakers from manufacturers like Dynavoice and XTZ.
http://www.dynavoice-av.com/index.php3?menuid=1
http://www.xtz.se/english/index.html
They have an unbeatable quality/price ratio here. I don't know if you can find them where you live.
 

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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 :bigsmile:
 

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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.

http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/404infinity/
http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/1007inf/index.html

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.
http://www.stereophile.com/budgetcomponents/605infinity/index.html
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
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???
 

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On a budget, you could try a pair of Klipsch RF52's with RB51's or RS42's for surrounds. I wouldn't forgo the center channel as it carries 80% of a movie. A RC52 would match up nice. Then I guess when you can afford it down the road you should grab a subwoofer if you want the real experience.
 

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Welcome to the Shack.

Its ok to ask for others input, but never purchase anything without listening to it first. What sounds great to you may not sound good to the guy next to you.

I never recommend bringing a buddy to the speaker store. Just go and listen by yourself and let your ears be the judge.

Good luck.
 

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Since you admired your Dad's NHTs (and why not; they're great speakers), I'd have a look at the new NHT Classic 4's or 3's if you can't afford the 4's which are floorstanders. Make no mistake, the 3's, and when you save add a nice little NHT sub will deliver the goods in spades. The 4's of course will do it now, but are a little pricey (and worth every penny +). If you look carefully online, you will find some decent discounts on NHT, and some used ones at audiogon.
Good luck...
Cheers,
Konky.
 

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If you don't want to spend thousand on speakers ... here is a link of speakers that you can get thru this forum store or directly from the company .... http://fluance.com/ ... I have the bipolar for surround and I think they sound good ... but I don't know about the front speakers :huh::huh: ... I think they will sound good too ... a set of 5 speakers starts at $200
 

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Have a look at ebay, there are some great deals to be had there. I saw some Mission 764i tower speakers for $500 They are great speakers for that price, New they would have cost you well over $1500
 

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I don't trust Fluance. For those prices, the quality of components must be ****. I'm saying that not having heard them, but I do know what it would cost for me to pick up drivers and caps, etc. and the cost of the wood myself, even in bulk. Of course, "****" is all relative....

A friend of mine at work recently asked a similar question. I told him for the money, buying Internet-direct is really the best thing to do. Used on Craigslist or Audiogon are good choices too. Here's the company list I sent him, for ID speakers:

AV123
Axiom Audio
Ascend Acoustics

My personal comments to him were that I would not recommend speakers from Hsu, SVSound, Emotiva, Outlaw Audio, or Elemental Designs over the ones from those three companies. This is based on what I've read in reviews and measurements, mostly, or lack of the same because the speakers are too new or just don't seem to get scientific reviews or measurements done.

Of course, if you're looking at Audiogon, you can find non-ID speakers at great prices too.
 
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