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Upgrade from Harman Kardon Soundsticks II ?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi

 

I need speakers for listening to music in a medium sized room. No wall mountings. 

Musics genres are loud and bass-heavy or just charts music.

I want something that is a SIGNFICICANT upgrade from the Soundsticks. Possibly 5.1 or more if that makes a big difference to listening experience. Max volume is also very important.

 

The Harman Kardon Soundsticks II are the best PC speakers I have ever heard, and on this site ONLY the Logitech Z-5500 is rated higher.

However some reviews have said that the woofer of the Z-5500s can overpower the satelite speakers. Also the satelites seem very small to me.

 

I do have a set of Edifier R1600Ts. With a dedicated subwoofer would these beat the Soundsticks? I fear that the soundsticks are louder. And as I said before, volume is a priority.


Edited by lemon2 - 11/4/11 at 6:34am
post #2 of 24
Thread Starter 

I've got an update

 

I'm thinking about combining the Edifier S550s with my Edifier R1600Ts to make a 7.1 system. Would this work?

And how would that compare to the soundsticks?

 

I have read that for music good 2.1's can be better than 5.1s or 7.1s.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Ok, my latest idea. What would happen if I bought a second set of Edifier R1600Ts, and used the 4 Edifers as the satelites? (With a seperate sub and centre speaker)

Would this sound really good? Or is it a terrible idea?

How would this compare to the Edifier S550s?

post #4 of 24

What is your budget?  A significant upgrade from the soundsticks isn't hard to do.  If you want to listen to music, get a 2.0 or 2.1 set up. The NHT superzero and super 8 sub runs $500 and will be a significant upgrade to your soundsticks: http://www.nhthifi.com/bookshelf-speakers-subwoofer-Super-Stereo?sc=12&category=3830  Then you need to add an amp like this manufacturer's refurbished Onkyo 8255 from accessories4less at $100: http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/ONKTX8255/Onkyo-TX-8255-50-watts-2-channel-Stereo-Receiver/1.html   That would be a heck of a nice system for $600

 

Edit: none of my links are working.  Since the edifier s550 runs around $600, I figured that was your budget.  You can get NHT speakers directly from the manufacturer with a 30 day money back guarantee.  Accessories4less has good deals on manufacturer refurbished products.  The Onk 8255 is a decent receiver and it is 4 ohm stable.  That NHTs and a good amp will sound a lot better than the Edifiers and will kill it when it comes to music.


Edited by alexsj - 11/4/11 at 7:28pm
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions.

 

My max budget is £600 (around $1000) including amp.

 

Can a 2 speakers really fill a room with sound as well as 5 can?

 

So the NHT's are good for music, but with the sub how are they for volume and bass? One of my genres is very loud and bass heavy music.

post #6 of 24

Very little music is designed to be listened through multiple speakers.  You are much better off buying 2 high quality speakers and an amp or 2 speakers/sub and an amp, then 5 less expensive speakers.  I'd put as much of my money as possible into the speakers.  Since you are in the UK, the NHT may not be a good choice for you (they are based in the US).  I'd check out the Onkyo TX 8050 (it runs £300 on amazon UK) since it has plenty of power, digital inputs for computer based playback, it can be networked, and has usb/hard disc playback capability.  You could also check out whatever AV receiver happens to be on sale since they have digital inputs and bass management.  You should also check the Wharfedale diamond 10.2 (around £214 on UK amazon); those are fine speakers and you can add a sub later.   Or buy the Cambridge S30 (£130) and a sub.  Either of these options will blow out of the water some cheap 5.0 (or 5.1) set up esp. since you want it for music.

 

Edit: I'd find some British hi fi site and post your questions there.  You will get a much better idea of what is available for a reasonable price from people who know the local market. 


Edited by alexsj - 11/5/11 at 6:58am
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

I'm assuming that Wharfedales Diamond 10.2 > Cambridge S30's > Soundsticks > Edifier R1600Ts.

 

You said put as much money as possible into the speakers, but the Onkyo TX8050 is £300 and the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2s are £214. Is this really the right balance? Is a £300 reciever really the best way to optimise performance/£?

 

Also, I'm thinking that I should get a 5.1 reciever, but only use 2.1 speakers for music. That way I can use my existing R1600Ts as satelites for movies and games.

So would a 5.1 reciever perform as well as a stereo one if it is only powering 2.1s when playing music?

 

And one more thing, what about using a y-splitter and having 2 subwoofers? Would that be a good idea?

The most important thing with subwoofers for me is that the bass is big but tight.

post #8 of 24

I don't know British prices; that Onk receiver I suggested goes for half the price in the US it does in the UK.  But yeah, I think an inexpensive 5.1 AV receiver is a great way to go for 3 reasons.  First, they tend to be cheaper than stereo receivers because the market is so much more competitive for AV receivers.  Second, they have bass management features that stereo receivers almost always lack.  Third, they have digital inputs which makes it much easier to do a computer based playback system.  The downside is that the amplifier section is often not as robust (a 4 ohm stable av receiver is usually pretty expensive).  That's no big deal, you just need to match the speakers to the receiver.  I would get the Wharfedales over the Cambridge S30s but the cambridge S30s are excellent for the price and they may fit your budget better since you need to pick up some electronics and a sub.  Personally, I'd get just one sub and get a good one rather than 2 cheaper ones; you are working on a fixed budget.  You will be very pleasantly surprised by how good a 2.1 quality system sounds.  If you want to hear music well, focus on the quality of the components rather than try to buy too many of them all at one time.

post #9 of 24
5.1 doesn't work well if badly placed in a small room you are much better off with a 2.1, audio intimidation do a excellent range of floorstanders loud and bassy, behringer a500 and samsom servo 600 gives you loads of watts for little money if you would rather power amps to a receiver.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 

I'm trying to consider my budget carefully when it comes to the bookshelves.

(I will still be buying a seperate sub and some kind of amp/reciever)

 

What actually is it that makes the Cambridge S30's better than the Edifier R1600Ts?

And what makes the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2s better than that?

 

Is it volume? Or clarity of sound? Because the clarity on the R1600Ts was already really good, volume was poor though.

I found the Soundsticks better than the Edifiers because they were loud and punchy, but still clear. Are the Wharedales and the S30s better in this respect?

 

The bass doesn't matter as I will have a seperate subwoofer.


Edited by lemon2 - 11/15/11 at 7:19am
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lemon2 View Post

I'm trying to consider my budget carefully when it comes to the bookshelves.

(I will still be buying a seperate sub and some kind of amp/reciever)

 

What actually is it that makes the Cambridge S30's better than the Edifier R1600Ts?

And what makes the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2s better than that?

 

Is it volume? Or clarity of sound? Because the clarity on the R1600Ts was already really good, volume was poor though.

I found the Soundsticks better than the Edifiers because they were loud and punchy, but still clear. Are the Wharedales and the S30s better in this respect?

 

The bass doesn't matter as I will have a seperate subwoofer.


bump
 

 

post #12 of 24

Proper bookshelfs are way better in every way, I didn't like the cambridge audio s30 theres hardly any treble, Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 are excellent speakers and the Monitor Audio Bronze BX2, The Behringer B2031P are good speakers they are also much cheaper and outperform alot of other speakers there monitors so there more netruel and not as forward sounding as the hifi speakers.

For an amp it depends what you need from it, If you want digital inputs, sub out etc then you need something like this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Harman-Kardon-HK-3490-RECEIVER/dp/B00198F89A/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1321452338&sr=8-7 , if you just want a basic amp then something like http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/product/8459-samson-servo-300.html just has unbalanced and balanced inputs and speaker outputs but offers more performance for less money.

 

post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRG1990 View Post

Proper bookshelfs are way better in every way, I didn't like the cambridge audio s30 theres hardly any treble, Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 are excellent speakers and the Monitor Audio Bronze BX2, The Behringer B2031P are good speakers they are also much cheaper and outperform alot of other speakers there monitors so there more netruel and not as forward sounding as the hifi speakers.

For an amp it depends what you need from it, If you want digital inputs, sub out etc then you need something like this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Harman-Kardon-HK-3490-RECEIVER/dp/B00198F89A/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1321452338&sr=8-7 , if you just want a basic amp then something like http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/product/8459-samson-servo-300.html just has unbalanced and balanced inputs and speaker outputs but offers more performance for less money.

 


Thanks for the really useful reply.

 

Well, how is this for a complete build:

  • Wharfedale Diamond 10.2s
  • Wharfedale Diamond SW150
  • Harman Kardon HK3490 Reciever

 

I just want to reiterate that my main priority is for the sound to be loud and punchy. But still clear and tight.

 

EDIT: I just realised, that reciever could be overkill. The Wharefedales ask for 20-100W of power, and that reciever gives them 120W.
 

 


Edited by lemon2 - 11/16/11 at 6:26am
post #14 of 24

That receiver would be fine I wouldn't worry about 20 extra watts, and that might not even be rms power but peak power, volume can be calculated http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html ,.

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRG1990 View Post

That receiver would be fine I wouldn't worry about 20 extra watts, and that might not even be rms power but peak power, volume can be calculated http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html ,.


Thats a good tool, I managed to input the values, but I don't actually know what the final output means!

 

SPL.PNG

Is 110 dB good? Is it better than the Soundsticks?

I will occasionally use these for club music, so I need to max volume to really be good.

 

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