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Great 2.1 system for $2,000

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hey im new to this forum. i was looking around for a solid 2.1 system with 2 speakers a sub and a reciever For less then 2,500 dollars. i hava no clue were to start. i mostley listen to music half the time and movies the other half. its pretty split. i though about doing a 5.1 system but i would rather have an ADMAZING 2.1 system for 2,500 as aposed to a very good 5.1 system for 2,500. ok thanks!! From brendan

post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by techman341 View Post
 

Hey I'm new to this forum. i was looking around for a solid 2.1 system with 2 speakers a sub and a receiver For less then 2,500 dollars. I have no clue were to start. I mostly listen to music half the time and movies the other half. its pretty split. i though about doing a 5.1 system but i would rather have an ADMAZING 2.1 system for 2,500 as aposed to a very good 5.1 system for 2,500. ok thanks!! From brendan

As you going to be watching movies, I think you should get a 5.1 system.

Plan on spend (roughly)1/3 of the budget for the A/V receiver and 2/3s the budget for speakers.

Might also try posting home audio questions on the website AVSforum and AVforum.

Check the website techbargins for good prices.

post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by techman341 View Post
 

Hey im new to this forum. i was looking around for a solid 2.1 system with 2 speakers a sub and a reciever For less then 2,500 dollars. i hava no clue were to start. i mostley listen to music half the time and movies the other half. its pretty split. i though about doing a 5.1 system but i would rather have an ADMAZING 2.1 system for 2,500 as aposed to a very good 5.1 system for 2,500. ok thanks!! From brendan

 

I would definitely start  with separate components - either a stereo preamp or surround sound processor preamp and a power amp. I would look at emotiva or outlaw audio if you are wanting to buy new. Outlaw is geared more towards home theater, so many of their amplifiers are 5 channels or more. Emotiva has a lot of different stereo options. Or you could look on craigslist for used gear. The NAD integrated stereo amplifiers are pretty highly regarded, including older models.You could start with something like an emotiva umc 200, which is a 7.1 channel processor, and a stereo power amp like the xpa 200 or upa 200. That way you could upgrade to surround sound in the future. Emotiva does make a stereo preamp, but you would also need to buy an external dac. The umc 200 has that built in. Or you could go with the umc 200 and one of their 5 channel power amps right off the bat. As far as speakers go, there are so many different options, which the other forums, such as avs forum, audioholics, etc will be able to help. I like reading reviews on the audiophiliac on cnet - http://news.cnet.com/audiophiliac/ - they have a lot of speaker and some subwoofer reviews. 

 

These are some speakers that are currently on my radar that have good reviews- obvoiusly if you are going to do 5.1 some of these may not have center channels and surround options but i know the emptek line does.

 

http://emptek.com/e55ti.php

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1458372/arx-a5-vs-htd-level-three-vs-emp-e55ti-tower-shootout/60

 

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57583247-47/psb-image-t6-a-high-end-tower-speaker-at-an-affordable-price/

 

http://www.magnepan.com/model_MMG 

 

http://www.fluance.com/product/XL7F_DW_High_Performance_Three_way_Floorstanding_Loudspeakers.eng-118.html

post #4 of 20

^ Excellent info there!

 

In addition, I have to vote for Emotiva. You'll have a much easier time upgrading to 5.1 in the future. I recommend you start with their stereo preamp USP-1 and 2x XPA-100 monoblock amps. The USP-1 has 'direct' inputs which will allow you bypass the preamp when you get a HT processor. That puts you at $669 shipped. Now you have the bulk of your money where it should be - the speakers.

 

So now you have ~$1,800 left. For speakers, you're going to want something that is compatible with a sub, and blend in with a home theater system in the future. Now, the XPA-100 is 250w @8ohms, so that means it's 125 rms rated. We need to find speakers no more than 100RMS rated.

 

I highly recommend doing some DIY speakers. All it takes is some clamps, glue, stain/veneer, and some time to dry. Look into whatever fullrange/2-way speaker floats your boat from the list that fits the 100w RMS limitation. http://www.madisound.com/kits/ I don't recommend getting 2.5-way or higher IMO.

 

Lastly, spend whatever is leftover on the sub, but dont spend too much on it as the speakers are more important. I personally like 10in subs as a perfect compromise between movies and music.

 

That gives you a nice stereo preamp, killer monoblocks, killer speakers, and a damn good sub that you can never match at a retail store regardless of price.


Edited by brunk - 11/16/13 at 12:12am
post #5 of 20
I would recommend AVI ADM 9RS and the AVI sub but that would end up being about 2200 pounds or so.

Perhaps you could go for Adam Audio A7X with a good active sub.
post #6 of 20

Thanks for the information, that's very interesting. I have seen DIY speakers on parts express, but wasn't sure how any other sites fared. Just out of curiosity why don't you recommend 2.5 or above speakers? I may be getting new speakers here in the near future and have never really strongly considered DIY projects until now.

post #7 of 20

I have done the 5.1 thing before and didn't think it was worth it.... room challenges are tough enough getting great 2 channel stereo sound with equipment, furniture and room constraints.  My wife and teenage son and friends have never commented on the lack of center and/or surround, but have always enjoyed the QUALITY of audio and video.  So now you know my bias.

 

So if you did go down the 2.1 path, why bother with a receiver?  It does make good sense for 5.1 as you can't beat the integration and economies of scale of decent products (and the recommendations in posts above are good ones), but I would go at it with this philosophy:

 

1) Computer as universal source, no more turntables, tape decks, tuners, disc players, etc... just a computing device with HDMI output to TV and TV optical audio output going into optical input of DAC/pre or whatever video connections may work with USB audio going into DAC/pre (assuming you already have a suitable device, $0)

 

2) This:  http://shop.emotiva.com/products/stealth-dc-2   I haven't heard it yet, but can't imagine a better value and you still have an analog input just in case you aren't ready to go totally digital quite yet. ($500)  NOTE: Another personal bias, I am "old school" and subscribe to the Linn theory of "source first" when it comes to equipment priorities.  But only to start with.  Don't get caught up in DAC wars or Cable wars... just get a really good source first and then focus on speaker upgardes for the next 5-10 years. Decent amps are decent amps, speakers make the difference as along as everything else is in reasonable balance and compatibility.

 

3)  Then take the pro level balanced outputs and run into this: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LSR308/  I would normally reccomend a DIY kit based on the "econowave" movement, for me personally, this seems to be the best trend in speaker design in a long time and I am a big fan of waveguide based speaker designs.  But now that JBL is catching on, and doing a better job with small inexpensive monitors each year over the past 4 or 5 years, why build when you can have good looks and performance (and reasonable built in amplification) for such an inexpensive price?  ($500)

 

4) Add cables, stands, shipping costs.... to the above ($500)

 

5) At this point, assuming no other gear, rather than go right for a sub I would add a Shure SRH-1540 and call it a day : )   ($500), but if I wanted to get a good head start on a near future upgrade, like a sub, maybe a Beyer Custom One Pro ($200)... There is nothing talked about here on head-fi I would recommend above these two pics at their price points, except maybe NAD Viso HP50 to slide into the $300 price point and if you like the look a little better.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Shure-SRH1540-Premium-Professional-Headphones/dp/B00FR8DMR8/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1384596305&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=SHure+SRH-1540

 

http://www.amazon.com/Beyerdynamic-Custom-One-Pro-Black/dp/B008XEYT48

 

6) Live with the above system for a while in a typically modest living or family room (apt/condo/small house) and see if you are really missing anything... I would guess only the impact of movies, and then start reading up on this stuff, and plan for around $300-400 for driver and cabinet project, then another $300-400 for servo amp and cables when you are ready.

 

http://gr-research.com/sw-12-04.aspx

http://gr-research.com/a370peq.aspx

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=bi2ev5irffsel3mnqlbo72mlc1&topic=112798.60

 

This system would be very clean and detailed sounding, great dynamics, very stable imaging in just about any room, point speakers to cross in front of listening position and 2 or 3 people on a couch would have a great virtual center image and room filling music.  Best of both worlds for music and movies if your priority is quality music.  Aside from needing power cables to each monitor speaker, this is a dead simple system that I think outperforms the vast majority of home systems I have heard at twice the price.

 

Good luck on your journey.

 

Greg Jensen


Edited by Greggo - 11/16/13 at 2:42am
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidvanderbilt View Post
 

Thanks for the information, that's very interesting. I have seen DIY speakers on parts express, but wasn't sure how any other sites fared. Just out of curiosity why don't you recommend 2.5 or above speakers? I may be getting new speakers here in the near future and have never really strongly considered DIY projects until now.

Here's the deal with 2.5 or 3-way and higher speakers. It's the crossover and coherency. Everything that is put into a speaker are careful compromises. The most important, and most detrimental for us music lovers is the manufacturers must design within a budget. Going DIY eliminates most of that compromise. Second, the most detrimental thing to good sound is a poor crossover. Here's the problem with a great crossover, it costs a mint. The crossover in 2.5 or 3-way speakers is a lossy process, like an mp3. It is an unnatural thing in nature. Third, having several speakers in one box may sound fantastic, but you really lose the pure coherency of the music. Ever walked around a room or outside a room and just "know" you're listening to speakers? That's because you're missing out on the finer harmonics within octaves, among other things not related to speakers. It's a really tricky topic, but if you look at any true audiophile's rig, you will see either a fullrange, or 2-way speaker. The only legendary speakers are fullrange and 2-way. The really good 3-ways or more cost well over $15k a pair and their improvement is only marginal for what you can build at a 10th of the cost. As usual though, don't just take my word for it, do your due diligence and you will find the same.

post #9 of 20
Between adam audio a7x, a good dac And a good sub with stands and cables, you are already out close to usd 2500.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by techboy View Post

Between adam audio a7x, a good dac And a good sub with stands and cables, you are already out close to usd 2500.

I have to be honest here. There couldn't hardly be any worse of a recommendation. You are recommending him a nearfield monitor for a traditional 2.1 system? really?

post #11 of 20

Nothing wrong with a nearfield monitor for home use, they are the same thing as a typical home audiophile monitor, mini monitor or bookshelf system.  Like any choice in that general category, one must consider the size of the room, listening distance, preferred volume and bass preferences.  A good nearfield monitor typically includes a design that is somewhat portable, easily mounts on console bridge or small stands, and has a driver/crossover design that integrates to the designers target sound at a close distance... i.e. good audio performance within 3-5 feet, between speakers and listener.  This doesn't mean they can't energize an appropriately sized room and sound great at twice that distance from the listener.  My only concern with small speakers (4, 5, 6 inch woofers) is that commercial designers often build in a bit of a hump somewhere between 60 and 150 Hz to help drive the illusion of a bigger speaker / bigger sound... or have a very funky roll off below those frequencies and make it a bit more difficult to integrate with a sub, especially a mono sub set.

 

Good nearfield monitors with stereo subs are just as valid of an approach as any to excellent home stereo setups.  I would also suggest that a good active nearfield has some advantages against a typical home passive monitor in terms of crossover distortion and overall negative impact between amp and drivers, but you are typically paying more for the active monitors and that balances out a bit.  That is of course assuming true active design with line level filters and amps for each driver.

 

I like the new breed of waveguide active monitors (or home built), where you have controlled directivity to minimize room effects, constant directivity between woofer and tweeter to achieve better power response and, in my opinion, better image stability and vocal intelligibility, and a crossover point usually between 1 and 2 kHz with less tweeter distortion at crossover point due to waveguide boost.

 

Now add stereo subwoofers crossed at 40-80 Hz and you have a great end game approach.  My recommended targets are 8 inch woofers to match a good wave guide between 1.4-1.8 kHz, where they typical share directivity profile, and where the 8 inch woofer does a better job than small ones in giving real body to voice and working without strain to meet the subwoofer around 60 Hz.  Unless you are a big fan of wide dispersion across the board with speakers well away from room boundaries, and ready to deal with 3 or 4 way systems (and there is nothing wrong with this preference either if you have the right room), or dipole or omni... then I find little to fault with this approach.

 

Greg Jensen


Edited by Greggo - 11/16/13 at 5:15am
post #12 of 20

I will give you another example. Aktimate Mini+ ($880) for example compete decently with passive speaker + amps in the $1000-1500 range. Then you need a sub and a dac making it a 2-2.5k setup.

 

And Adam Audio A7X is a step up from Aktimate Mini+. Aktimate Mini+ is powered yet true home hifi and can reliably handle MP3 128kbps to FLAC/WAV. It is a good entry into audiophile level speakers and beats speakers like Wharfedale Diamonds or Polk RTi speakers. It comes in the same league as MA BX2 or Quad 11L, though some people may prefer one over the other.

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Here's the deal with 2.5 or 3-way and higher speakers. It's the crossover and coherency. Everything that is put into a speaker are careful compromises. The most important, and most detrimental for us music lovers is the manufacturers must design within a budget. Going DIY eliminates most of that compromise. Second, the most detrimental thing to good sound is a poor crossover. Here's the problem with a great crossover, it costs a mint. The crossover in 2.5 or 3-way speakers is a lossy process, like an mp3. It is an unnatural thing in nature. Third, having several speakers in one box may sound fantastic, but you really lose the pure coherency of the music. Ever walked around a room or outside a room and just "know" you're listening to speakers? That's because you're missing out on the finer harmonics within octaves, among other things not related to speakers. It's a really tricky topic, but if you look at any true audiophile's rig, you will see either a fullrange, or 2-way speaker. The only legendary speakers are fullrange and 2-way. The really good 3-ways or more cost well over $15k a pair and their improvement is only marginal for what you can build at a 10th of the cost. As usual though, don't just take my word for it, do your due diligence and you will find the same.

 

Wow, thanks so much for all of that information! I spend so much time hunting and pecking through the never-ending wealth of information on speakers and av equipment and you come in and present information that would have taken me years to uncover! Thanks! That makes perfect sense though, I had never thought about it like that before. I am familiar with the quality of crossovers but wasn't sure how this degraded the sound quality going from 2 way to 2.5 or 3 way operation.  This is definitely useful information I can use when i purchase my next speakers. I guess that's why tekton speakers sound so good. Eventhough i've never heard them they get rave reviews.That leaves me with one other question. The tweeter and midrange/bass driver would be split somewhere by a crossover. Would it be better to purchase a speaker in which the midrange/bass driver doesn't cover such a large frequency spectrum? For instance if I was looking at bookshelf speakers and the midrange/bass driver covered 1kz to 70 hz, would it ever make any sense to want a bookshelf speaker that only covered 1kz to 100 hz and leave the rest to the subwoofer? I'm assuming this would be the main difference between 2 way and full range speakers. So maybe I just answered my own question haha.

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidvanderbilt View Post
 

 

Wow, thanks so much for all of that information! I spend so much time hunting and pecking through the never-ending wealth of information on speakers and av equipment and you come in and present information that would have taken me years to uncover! Thanks! That makes perfect sense though, I had never thought about it like that before. I am familiar with the quality of crossovers but wasn't sure how this degraded the sound quality going from 2 way to 2.5 or 3 way operation.  This is definitely useful information I can use when i purchase my next speakers. I guess that's why tekton speakers sound so good. Eventhough i've never heard them they get rave reviews.That leaves me with one other question. The tweeter and midrange/bass driver would be split somewhere by a crossover. Would it be better to purchase a speaker in which the midrange/bass driver doesn't cover such a large frequency spectrum? For instance if I was looking at bookshelf speakers and the midrange/bass driver covered 1kz to 70 hz, would it ever make any sense to want a bookshelf speaker that only covered 1kz to 100 hz and leave the rest to the subwoofer? I'm assuming this would be the main difference between 2 way and full range speakers. So maybe I just answered my own question haha.

You're most welcome! There is alot of noise you have to dig through to get rock solid unbiased information, especially when people start chiming in all sorts of stuff with virtually no experience - the woes of the internet lol.

 

Anyways, on to your question. You most definitely do NOT want a bookshelf speaker that limited, especially for music. Now if you were really prioritizing movies, then I would recommend 5 or 7 bookshelves that have the flattest possible frequency response down to a minimum of 80hz, preferably 70hz. The reason why is that at 80hz, your ear cannot identify where the bass is coming from, so your brain won't be saying to you "The sub is right there on the floor". Therefore, your optimal crossover would be between 70-80hz.I hope that answered your question, please don't hesitate to ask more! :)

post #15 of 20

Another thing with subs too...

I highly recommend, if it fits within your budget, to get a sub with a passive radiator, over a ported or sealed box. A passive radiator eliminates the issues of 'port chuffing' and resonance almost entirely. Just don't let it interfere with the speaker budget, you can't forget what is most important.

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