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$23 speakers at Best Buy that measure well and sound good - Page 2

post #16 of 473
I'm very curious how well the floorstanding models perform. The 5-speaker package looks good, but I'm curious how they'd stand up to a set of Onix XL-S...
post #17 of 473
Thread discussing Insignia vs. AV123.com's x-ls
post #18 of 473
Soundboy, thanks for the link. Danny picked up on something that Zaph didn't specifically mention re: the peak around 800hz which admittedly looks less bad on Zaph's plots.
post #19 of 473
No problem, ooheadsoo.

The thread has an interesting post on the thickness of the enclosure. Still, for $46.00/pair, these Insignia speakers sound like quite a bargain.

Are you planning to pick up a pair?
post #20 of 473
Here's a pretty long thread on them with some impressions for those interested.

http://www.audioasylum.com/scripts/v...akers&m=226415
post #21 of 473
I won't be getting any of these any time soon. I don't have the need for them. If I did have the application, I would totally do so - the price is right. As it is, my last speaker kit cost me well over a grand and I haven't finished it yet...
post #22 of 473
Those discussions are quite interesting. I don't really understand the point of comparing these under $50 speakers with AV-123's over $200 speakers. That's 4x the price. It would be like comparing AV123's 200+ speakers with top performing $800 speakers. Not apples to apples.

Besides, the AV123 speakers have issues (1) out of stock, (2) $200 plus shipping, (3) no grills yet, (4) not efficient enough to drive adequately with a T-Amp. Also, they are large - maybe too big for most desktops.

These might be ideal for a desktop speaker coupled a T-Amp. The coherent source of coax would be good for close-in listening, and I assume the directional problems would not be harmful in a close-in listening environment.

I'm a real cheapskate. I love cheap stuff that sounds good. This looks like it would be worth trying. Also, there are already crossover and case mods. I hope they go back down to $40 per pair! A $40 speaker + a $25 T-Amp + a $10 power supply for the T-amp = a system for well under $100. That sounds promissing.

So, those of you who have heard them, speak.
post #23 of 473
Funny you should mention that because the X-LS is fully competitive with most sub $1000 speakers, especially those with large dealer networks.
post #24 of 473
Quote:
Originally Posted by classicalguy
I'm a real cheapskate. I love cheap stuff that sounds good. This looks like it would be worth trying. Also, there are already crossover and case mods. I hope they go back down to $40 per pair! A $40 speaker + a $25 T-Amp + a $10 power supply for the T-amp = a system for well under $100. That sounds promissing.
I'm thinking along similar lines expect I'll also need to spend a little money getting a new soundcard. But in the end it should still come down under $100.
post #25 of 473
A little expensive, but a lot of good parts for the money and some of you might be interested because of the coaxial aspect of this speaker: http://www.gr-research.com/insignia.htm
post #26 of 473
"Funny you should mention that because the X-LS is fully competitive with most sub $1000 speakers, especially those with large dealer networks."

I've never heard the AV123 speakers, but their website has some of the features of a cult. It's heavy on marketing hype, while the company has been slow to deliver announced products. Personally, I very much doubt that the X-LS sounds as good as top notch $1,000 speakers. I'm not saying it's impossible, just that you may have been drinking the cool-aid. I'm not doubting that it's a good pair of speakers. But isn't it enough that it's the best speaker in its price class?

I thought the same thing when people were saying that the T-Amp sounds better than multi- thousand dollar amps. Then there were people saying it sounds terrible. Too much hype in both directions. A little sober moderation would be a good thing on these boards.

I've been very much enjoying some of the new cheap audio products that have come out recently: T-Amps and Koss KSC-75 phones are two examples of great sounding inexpensive products. Is this speaker another one? I wish people who have heard them would give their opinions without so much unnecessary hype.
post #27 of 473
Forget the website. Consider the parts the speaker is made of. Sourced yourself, the cost of parts for the drivers and crossover is close to $150+ship (these drivers are known, a custom design built by Peerless.) The cost of the cabinet, were you to build it yourself is probably $50 for the 3/4" mdf and veneer and glue - provided you have the tools and a few dozens of hours. Price for the veneered cabinet built for you by a third party is probably in the $120-170+ship range for a onesy twosy sale. Then consider the xover designer, Danny Richie, who designs speakers ranging from the $200 X-LS to the $15,000 Epiphany Audio 12-12, who is a solid, experienced engineer with an anechoic chamber.

Then consider that it is well known amongst those who have cared to research the subject that most mass market speakers in the $1000-$1500 range and under use similar or cheaper parts, (and they won't even show you how their speakers measure) and it's not hard to imagine that the X-LS is comparable. I won't argue subjective listening impressions, just the numbers.

Of course there are tons exceptions. My point was simply that there are many speakers in the $1k ballpark that the X-LS can compete with. I realize I said "most." I am referring to typical mass market offerings.

Btw, I don't own, and will most likely never own any AV123 speakers.
post #28 of 473
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by classicalguy
"Funny you should mention that because the X-LS is fully competitive with most sub $1000 speakers, especially those with large dealer networks."

I've never heard the AV123 speakers, but their website has some of the features of a cult. It's heavy on marketing hype, while the company has been slow to deliver announced products. Personally, I very much doubt that the X-LS sounds as good as top notch $1,000 speakers. I'm not saying it's impossible, just that you may have been drinking the cool-aid. I'm not doubting that it's a good pair of speakers. But isn't it enough that it's the best speaker in its price class?

I thought the same thing when people were saying that the T-Amp sounds better than multi- thousand dollar amps. Then there were people saying it sounds terrible. Too much hype in both directions. A little sober moderation would be a good thing on these boards.
The X-LS speakers are a little off-topic for this thread, but this is a good comment. I agree with your overall skepticism. The T-Amp, for instance, measures terribly (unless you're content with about half a watt of power if you need any dynamic headrooom) and I consider it not a good value, despite its absurdly low price. And it is true that AV123 is good at viral marketing, though you'll see fanboyism of the same type on forums devoted to any major manfacturer (Outlaw, Bryston, etc.).

However, objectively speaking, the X-LS speakers are not hype. The drivers (6.5 inch Peerless of India, 1 inch Seas TDFC clone) are remarkably expensive for speakers at this price point -- at retail prices, I could barely buy the drivers and crossover components for the cost of the speakers. Of course, driver quality means nothing without proper crossover design, and from the measurements, it's clear that Danny Richie did a good job with them.

The cabinets are also incredible for the price... I've been into speaker building for a while now, and I can tell you that a first time speaker builder would have trouble building just the cabinets (with real maple veneer) for the price of the entire speaker, once you add up veneer, MDF, supplies, and tools, including rabetting router bit. An experienced woodworker could do it cost-effectively, but there is still a decent amount of labor involved, especially to get that level of fit and finish.

The thing is, the X-LS are real, no compromise speakers given the specific drivers chosen. Apart from improving the quality of the crossover components (which is mostly voodoo, at times bunk), you can't push an MT bookshelf speaker that much farther, regardless of how much you pay. The cabinets are as good as most speaker builders get, the finish is high quality, the crossover is clean 2nd order LR, the drivers are quality drivers, etc. Specific people may prefer metal or similarly more rigid drivers (I don't), which would necessitate going up to a 4th order crossover (incidentally, higher orders generally sound worse than low order ones because of the off-axis behavior), but those are design decisions. The X-LS are about as good as it gets for an MT bookshelf with soft drivers, for a fantastic price. They're the real deal.

The reason people compare them to speakers in the $750-$1000 range is because so many commercial speakers in that price range are garbage. Consider, for instance, the Totem Rainmaker ($950/pair). The midwoofer is manufactured by Peerless of India, just like the midwoofer of the X-LS, though the Totem uses a smaller driver with a more limited low end. The tweeter is a Seas metal tweeter, whereas the X-LS uses an Asian Seas clone with a soft dome. The Rainmaker has a poor crossover that doesn't measure well at all. The frequency response of the Totems has a built-in smiley face curve which may seem fun at first listen (and give the impression of more bass) but will drive you nuts on long term listening. What's worse, the Totem Rainmakers have awful cabinets. Despite the marketing press about "borosilicate damping", the reality is they use 1/2 inch or thinner MDF that doesn't pass the knuckle test. Each X-LS speaker weighs almost twice as much as each Totem Rainmaker, which says something very significant about the cabinet construction of the Rainmakers.

I could go on and on about how bad many commercial speakers are for the price charged, but suffice to say that the X-LS are the real thing: competently designed speakers at a very impressive price. Not a lot of low cost speakers are like that; the oft-praised budget Axiom M3ti, for instance, is 50% more expensive than the X-LS, yet has a very poor crossover, low quality drivers, and moderate quality cabinets.
post #29 of 473
OK, some impressions from these Insignia Bookshelf speakers which arrived at my house last night. I ran them for a few hours last night, and I've been running them for about 8 hours today. Not anywhere near run in as far as I'm concerned, but, then again, I'm not a speaker guy, and my interest is in an improvement in a pair of speakers with a "scooped out" FR that I paid WAY too much for in the mid-eighties ( $230 / pair for Boston Acoustics A60's). Already, the Insignia's have loosened up enough to be offering up an across-the-board more satisfying listening experience. Their high end is already downright lovely - airy, detailed, and nicely balanced with the mids and lows. I'm also already getting a very satisfying performance in the lows: nicely toned, abundant enough, and extended enough to offer an overall balance with which I am really happy. The mids are already more balanced with respect to the highs and lows than they've ever been with the BA A60's, and I'm fully expecting the mids to blossom even more with continued use. I'm getting really lovely decay and, at times, surprisingly engaging imaging in the sound to give my ear some real listening treats along the way. The geometry of my speaker listening is that I sit 8 - 9 feet from the speakers, which are about five feet apart and pointed toward where I sit. I'm using a vintage Pioneer SX-3400 receiver/amp to drive the Insignia's.

I'm REALLY happy with this purchase already, and I know that the sound I'm getting will only continue to blossom as the speaker elements loosen up and settle in to their best performance. For what I paid ($46 / pair) and the improvements over my A60's that I'm already enjoying, this purchase is the Sweetest Sweet Spot I've encountered to date in my two and a half years in this hobby. So, a great big thanks to all of you who brought this amazing deal to my attention. Just a really lovely and fully ear-satisfying sound for my more relaxed (but not undiscerning) speaker listening.
post #30 of 473
T-Amp measurements are all over the map. I suspect it depends quite a bit on the power supply. I think they sound great, and there is nothing to compare them against in that price class. Measurements are relevant, but there is a lot to sound that doesn't come through in the limited measurements available.

I'm not dissing the X-LS speakers. I'm sure they are a good deal for the money. Although comparing what it would cost you to buy the components and design a speaker (quantity one) is not really relevant.
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