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First real speakers

post #1 of 84
Thread Starter 
I have primarily been a headphone guy but I would like to own a solid pair of speakers. I have no knowledge of speakers other than my own M-audio speakers. What could I get for $400. I very much enjoy the sound characteristics of my HD600 if that helps to narrow it down. In terms of music tastes I am all over the board so I would need something that works with a variety of genres. I am still hesitant to get into speakers as they are much pricier than headphones but I know I will take the plunge sometime!
post #2 of 84
what kind of amplifier do you have? the amp matters just as much as the speaker


at 400, for new products, i recommend:

Monitor Audio BR2
Monitor Audio RS1 - can get it at this price via ebay
Mission m32i
Wharferdale Diamond 9.1
Tannoy Mercury F1 Custom
post #3 of 84
Thread Starter 
Right now I only have a Millet MiniMax but I intend to build a Bottlehead S.E.X amp over summer which is a headphone and speaker amp.
post #4 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdogzthmn View Post
Right now I only have a Millet MiniMax but I intend to build a Bottlehead S.E.X amp over summer which is a headphone and speaker amp.
uhh doesnt it produce less than 5w of power?

you're gonna have to look for super efficient speakers...prob 97 + efficiency which doesnt leave much choice, esp at your price range
post #5 of 84
yup with 5W amp probably need to buy horns. I'd visit your local hifi shop and ask for a "warm/laid back" system. I know my Arcam Alpha is like that but unsure of speakers. Probably not ones with metal dome tweeter.
post #6 of 84
Thread Starter 
Yea, the Monitor Audio BR2 take between 30-100W so regardless I would need a basic stereo amp to give them plenty of juice.
post #7 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdogzthmn View Post
I am still hesitant to get into speakers as they are much pricier than headphones but I know I will take the plunge sometime!
That is not necessarily true.

Maybe it is up to $300-$400 or so, but you can get into excellent speakers for a lot less than the new wonder headphones or the out of production high end models.

Personally, I was tempted to buy both the HD-800 and the PS-1000. Those would have set me back a little over $3,000.

After a lot of soul searching, I instead bought a local pair of Quad ESL-63s for $650 and kicked off a build of the Linkwitz Orion+.

The other side of the speaker coin is that they're cheaper and easier to run than headphones. There isn't a big supply of inexpensive used headphone amps going back a few decades, but there is for speakers. You can get an old receiver for $20 that'll do a good job of driving audiophile speakers. Some might sneer, but a 1980s two channel deck with about 100W of power will make some pricey kit sound amazing. You just can't do that with headphones. Great used loudspeakers are plentiful, too.

So don't fall for the "speakers are too expensive" myth. If you factor in the amount and availability of used gear the deals are as good or better.

Anyhow, if you're thinking about building a Bottlehead, then you should be able to build your speakers, too. One driver you should look at is the Jordan JX92S full range driver. A pair is $300 and there are three or four cabinet designs you can use there. No crossover and MDF is cheap, so you should be able to bring a pair in within $400. You could also do the same with several excellent Fostex drivers from Madisound. Also, you can find a number of terrific projects at the full range driver site. I prefer full range drivers to horns - they're also highly efficient, much simpler and have a more headphone-like presentation without the crossovers.
post #8 of 84
Even new speakers @ £200 provide excellent sound quality. I'm looking to upgrade my standmounts also don't think I'll buy another pair of Ruarks treble seems a bit out of place.
post #9 of 84
You might want to take a look at the Denon D-M37. It's a complete system that comes in right around your budget. It has a decent tuner, lots of connectivity options, a cd player and has a smooth, engaging and dynamic sound. The form factor is convenient as well. Don't let the modest power ratings fool you either; it can easily fill a medium sized room with nice sound at impressive output levels with no distortion or compression. It also has a sub out in case you want to round out the low-end in the future.

I bought one for my kitchen and was quite surprised by how nice it sounded. Through the midrange and the treble it sounded nicer and more detailed than my main system at the time consisting of Sherwood Newcastle components and Paradigm Monitor 9's and B&W V202's.
post #10 of 84
Quote:
lots of connectivity options,
Disagree with that, it's only got two inputs. No pre-outs. No direct link to poweramp. No digital inputs or outputs.

I'd look into a stereo integrated amp.

Quote:
It also has a sub out in case you want to round out the low-end in the future.
Useful if it had bass management as well, most likely you'll use standmount/bookshelfs so filtering out the low bass then directing it to the sub will probably work better than full-range to speakers, full-range to subwoofer (using subs own crossover) Or is the subwoofer out filtered and if so where? Fixed or adjustable?
post #11 of 84
It also has USB input which is a convenient way for listening to music if you have USB sticks lying around, an Ipod dock input, a mini input with higher sensitivity than the RCA inputs for use with other portable players and a headphone out. Plus it has a decent CD player and tuner that an integrated obviously won't, and an integrated won't have an optical input or output either. By no means does it have the connectivity of a home theatre receiver, but for a $400 microsystem the connectivity, and more importantly the sound is tough to beat.

There is no crossover on the D-M37, but the speakers are ported and have bungs to stuff the ports for a flatter frequency response. If you plugged the ports, the -3db point of the speakers would probably be around 60-70hz. I don't think it would be too tough to integrate a sub around there and have it sound good.

Anyway, I don't want to argue about what is better, but I'm just throwing it out there for the OP's consideration. At a higher price point there is no question that an integrated and bookshelf speakers could offer better sound, but because this unit was engineereed by one company from start to finish there is a nice synergy to it that I think would be tough to beat for such a low price. The fact that it has a tuner, cd player, a warranty, a nice form factor and other options that an integrated doesn't are pretty sweet bonuses at its price point.
post #12 of 84
Quote:
The fact that it has a tuner, cd player, a warranty, a nice form factor and other options that an integrated doesn't
erm...of course integrated's have a warraty. So do speakers.
post #13 of 84
Yes, new speakers and integrated's do have warranties, but I don't know where you can buy a reasonable quality new integrated amp and speakers for $400, so I was under the impression that you were suggesting used equipment.
post #14 of 84
Audioengine A5's are great bookshelf speakers.. come with an amp so you just have to supply it with a source
post #15 of 84
Thread Starter 
The Audioengine A5 look very similar to my M-audio AV40, which are not bad speakers but Im looking for something that I could invest in. The Denon is a nice system but again I want something I can build on.
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