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Looking for my first pair of speakers.

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hey guys. I really know nothing about speakers but sometimes I just want to kick back and not use headphones so I figured I should look for a cheap pair but I don't wanna get ripped off so I just had to ask here at head-fi. Here are my only real requirements.



In the $100ish range. Willing to go up to is $150 but only if it is seriously worth it

Will be going from PC-> Maverick D1(my DAC and amp) -> Tube-out

Would like some decent bass


I'm guessing within that range, there isn't much to be had and I could only ask for 2.0/2.1 and that's fine, I really have no desire for much above that at the moment. Thanks so much for the help though, I really appreciate it.

Edit: After some suggestions, I've decided to increase the budget to 300
Edited by B-Dawk20 - 1/8/12 at 3:29pm
post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 

Some speakers I've come across



Swan M10

Klipsch Promedia


The Swan looks REALLY attractive to me for the price.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Oh and they need to be able to be use the RCA out of my D1 since that's all I have at the moment. Sorry if that lack of info was off putting for some of you.

post #4 of 19

Vintage receiver and speakers?

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Naw, just looking for something I can sit next to my PC and I guess is self powered so I can just give it an RCA for signal.

post #6 of 19

Active speakers for 100$ with decent bass...it's not going happen:P. Cheapest 'hifi' active speakers I am familiar with are some Elac's @ 250$/speaker. They might just go to 60Hz but that's that. With 100$ you sure can buy some logitech crap but I can't help you out with anything usefull. These are speakers...not headphones^^.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
250?! Jesus...and ONLY down to 60hz? Well christ...I mean, I dont need anything good...I just want the best I can get for the price without getting ripped off but if I'm getting ripped off at anything below 250 then wow, thats just unbelievable. Gotta be something that's at least worth its price tag...just want something that I can listen to aloud and not cringe at and maybe feel some ok bass.
post #8 of 19

+1 cifani090 : vintage/classic stuff in the used market still decent and on the cheap could be your best bet. For 2.0 maybe a beefy stereo/power amp and a pair of floor standers that go fairly low would be nice L3000.gif

post #9 of 19

AudioEngine A2 at $250 are a good deal for powered speakers. If you can really only swing $150, you don't have a lot of options, but definitely don't buy 2.1 on that budget.

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Damn...guess its just a sad reality huh? Alright, well, I wont be able to get them any time soon anymore but what do you guys recommend on a $300 budget?

And sorry but I just cant bring myself to buy something used like audio equipment. I totally appreciate the suggestions though.
post #11 of 19
post #12 of 19

I wouldn't buy amps secondhand either. You can't really tell if they still are in good shape. I am going to send my marantz for reparations this week. It has a cracking volume nob which causes ridiculous noise at low frequencies. Just needs a good clean most likely but you don't want this kind of crap from an expensive device. Older equipment, however, propably is of better build quality but amps do have a limited lifespan.


As much for speakers: modern speakers last (almost) forever. I've got a B&W subwoofer which is about 7 years old and it still works perfectly and looks great. It's active so the whole 'amp' statement I just made is kind of rubbish:P. The driver's conus isn't fixed by rubber but with somekind of other elastic material which is much stronger and won't rip apart that easilly. My floorstanders' drivers also look very durable. Old speakers' drivers commonly would rip apart eventually. I got the B&W for 525euros, let another guy pay the full sum is my philosophy^^. As long you buy quality stuff you'll probably be fine. If you personally don't like the idea I guess that's that but mechanically there aren't huge cons these days.


If I can give you some advise as much good speakers are conserned: go to a store and listen! That's about the only advise you need. I could tell you what my favorite speakers are but not yours. A lot of people live by the rule that B&W is the absolute best sounding stuff around but I found it perhaps the most overpriced stuff around. 'Most overpriced' however is difficult to say when you are talking about audio equipment. The guy I bought the sub from has a B&W 800 setup and made it sound like crap due room acoutics, positioning and bad sub intergration. Still thought his B&W's where amazing spending 10 times more money than I did and didn't have any treble nor tight bass. When I went listening for my setup I found most things said about speakers absolute rubbish. Everybody listens differently I guess. Whathifi.com said the Monitor Audio BW2 was the speaker of the year and it fitted in my budget so I was kind of settled on those. The only speaker that sounded any good to me however where from a relativelly unknown, and IMO underrated, company: ELAC. The speakers where a bit too expensive for me at the time but it was worth it.


When I got them I did some research(I didn't know the brand) on the speaker and it turned out they got an almost flat frequency response(on and off axis) from 200Hz. I guess I was pretty proud of my ears at that moment:P. The cheaper popular B&W's have a bit of a bumpy response (as do all headphones btw) but more importantly very bad of axis response. You'll hear literally 10 times less 2kHz @ 60degrees with the 685's (which is bit of an odd angle to listen at but is evidence of bad sound dispersion). B&W is very nice sounding though, just saying. ELAC is a brand that does all the design and production inside their office in Germany. They designed a very good driver like 8 years ago and they still use it: "don't change a winning formula". The costs of designing this driver are already made up for. This with the fact they don't advertise makes you only pay for the speaker not commercials and production costst. This compaired to, for instance, Monitor Audio who makes an 'amazing' new driver and speaker every year with lots of 'incredible' techniques. IMO my 700/pair ELAC's absolutelly made the 1200/pair Monitor Audio silver's look like a joke. The most expensive Monitor Audio's use sandwich membrane drivers just like my ELAC's and ELAC hardly talks about it...the irony. The moral of the story that the most 'bling bling' corparations are most likelly not the best. This illusion is sometimes created because people buy the marketing crap and don't listen propperly. At home they can't stop talking about "how amazing these new speakers are", at least that's the image I've got about how some very bad speakers seem to be amazing on the internet. I am very happy with my ELAC's but there might be better speakers for the price, I don't want to claim ELAC is the final word in price/quality ratio but you can do a lot worse in my experience.


With your budget you don't have the luxury to really look for 'your' speaker but you should go and listen to some speakers anyway, you'll be suprised about the differences between brands. What kind of headphones are you using? That might also give a hint towards your preferences. With 300$ you won't get hifi but some nice room filling sound could be achieved I think. Sony and Philips (in particular) make some pretty decent micro-hifi systems which are also interesting of you are not planning to upgrade your setup later on. I've listened to some 600/pair Mordaunt Short's which didn't sound much better than my sony micro-hifi with subwoofer and some homemade speakers IMO @ 350euro's but that says more about those Mordaunt's than anything else. It sounds rediculous but it's what both my dad and I my experienced. My dad has a Totem Staff, naim, arcam setup with 1,2k powerstrip etc. as a reference;). If you happen to realise secondhand is massive bang for the buck you'll can look into some much more intersting stuff. Realize it costs money to build a cabinet, 300euro speakers might have 150euro worth of drivers in comparison to 50euros in a 200euro speaker. This is not entirely true but in my experience 300-400euro speakers can sound at least three times as good as 200-300euro speakers. My dad's speakers again are at least three times as good as my speakers but they more than triple the price. I most admit it's a bit stupid to call a speaker 'three times as good' as if can be measured in such a way but it's just in a matter of speech. With your budget you should not be too picky conserning amps. I think using your tube amp would the best solution but apperently that isn't going to work. I don't know how good your headphone amp is but getting a good speaker amp is also a getting a good headphone amp if that argument stretches your budget.

That's about my philosophy and experience on speakers. Hope it helpsbeerchug.gif

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Mcmalden, thanks a lot for the insight. I'm going to take what you said into consideration and just go the local best buy and mess with their speakers I guess. Nothing much else around here in terms of audio stores. I was just hoping that there was a pair out there that was a staple among this price range. Kinda how the Koss Portapro is a great entry model. The only preference I have for speakers is I want the bass to be clean, powerful, and as deep as possible given the price range. Mids would be great too as long as nothing sounds terrible, I don't think I care much. I'll keep the critical listening for headphones in the future, much less expensive.


Besides I don't really have a preferred sound signature yet, haven't heard much honestly. I've just been taking my audio journey slow and grabbing cans that fit what I want to hear within the price range I look at.

post #14 of 19

Good bass reflects a cross all frequencies in my experience, merely than just add a punch. Now I have got the sub the soundstaging and overal cleanness have improved a lot. The floorstanders actually sound even brighter due the lager dynamics plus it removes harshness and adds body. It's not a bad idea to look for good bass as it probably delivers more easily enjoyable sound as speakers without it. My priorities where realistic stereo imaging and crystal clear mids/highs. I've had some ups and downs with harshness. When you return home after a long day, tired, some extra bass(warmth) is preferable IMO. There where moments, before the sub, where I just couldn't listen to my setup, it was just too thin sounding. But when you take the time to listen, just sit down for a while and let your ears settle, I actually prefer less bass to provide for a more precise sound. I've had some very good moments where my setup just sounded perfect to me(you might have had such a moment with your headphones), you really get 'into' the sound, to make up for the bad moments. Got the sub eventually which, for me, is the solution to most of the speakers shortcommings.


Do keep in mind harshness etc. can be controlled by picking the right cables. I've got silver speakers cables with have way more spark than your average copper cable. They don't really mach but they are my dad old ones so that was that (you don't turn down 250euro's worth of wire:P). I thought about getting the naim nac A5, and still do, because those really give a lot of texture to the mids and soften the treble(a little roll off infact). First I want to get the Supra LoRad 2.5 power cable(or something similar) though for my CDP because it's now using a regular one. That also does a lot of good to the treble and bass. But I am dead broke at the moment(darn hifi). I might sound like a wich doctor right now, talking about cables, but that's the fun thing about hifi: hearing is believing.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yeah, my positioning and all that won't be good and I'm not really looking for anything special. I won't be listening to the speakers often at all, just when I do, it'll be for fun listening, never anything close to analytical.

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