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Sound System opinions greatly appreciated!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm trying to build a sound system from scratch. All I care about is listening to music from my macbook pro. I don't record or mess with music, so I really don't care about having the music sounding "flat" I think is the term; I just want it to sound fantastic. I listen to hip hop, a ton of different bands, and some electronic music.

I currently have a polk audio psw111 subwoofer, but I have never plugged it in, so I am hoping it still works. I was looking into buying speakers up to $350. I was looking at the WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 10.1, but I am open to suggestions if you think I could find something better for my interests at a similar price.

Also, do you think the diamond 10.1s would work well with the polk audio psw111 woofer? If not, what would you recommend?

Finally, I have been looking for receivers on craigslist. Does anyone have any opinions on these: Yamaha RX-V659, Pioneer VSX-9300, Pioneer VSX 917V? They all are about the same price, $75-$100 (which I am assuming is a steal). Unless of course you want to recommend a active speaker that doesn't require buying a reciever/amp and would be a better deal.  

I apologize for so many questions. This is my first time building a sound system and I really want to get it right. I have spent countless hours researching and my brain is turning into mush!

post #2 of 21

Wharfedale makes good stuff, never heard that model, but have heard others and I like them. As for the receiver, the VSX-917V is the newest I believe, but they are all outdated quite a bit. I personally think Equator Audio D5s are the best speakers at the price you are looking for. They are active so no amp will be needed.

post #3 of 21
You can definitely get good deals on older receivers from CL. What's happening is that people are wanting to upgrade to receivers with HDMI for their surround setups for bluray quality audio. For 2 channel music listening like you describe, one of those receivers would work well for hooking up to your computer. I'm assuming you have optical out capability with your MAC?

The Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s are generally considered excellent speakers. However, I would also recommend looking into Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE and Arx A1b. These are Internet direct speakers companies that typically provide better value than traditional brick and mortar store speaker brands because they don't have to build in a reseller's cut and they don't spend as much on marketing. They generally compete well with traditional speaker brands with MSRP $500 or $ 600. In fact, that's the thing about traditional home audio speaker brands. Typically the best value comes from finding the good ones on sale. They are generally over marked up in comparison to those Internet direct speakers.

Another Internet direct speaker brand to look at is EmpTek. Also, for a more traditional speaker company brand, the Cambridge Audio S30s are an excellent value at $199. I used to own them, and I would rank them a notch below the Ascends and the Arx, but they are a good bit cheaper if you want to save a little money.
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post

As for the receiver, the VSX-917V is the newest I believe, but they are all outdated quite a bit. I personally think Equator Audio D5s are the best speakers at the price you are looking for. They are active so no amp will be needed.

How are they outdated for two channel use with a computer? The main change that has happened to receivers in new models relates to bluray usage and other DSP features. The amplifiers and other electronics in those models will be superior to newer low end receivers.

As for the Equator Audio D5s, what other speakers have you compared them to? I'm always suspect of people who claim that some such not very well known speaker brand is the absolute best. I've seen the same thing said in this price range for the Vanatoo Transparent Ones, only there are a lot more people saying it.

Meanwhile, my experience has been that buying a used receiver and pairing them with the better Internet direct speakers in the <$500 price range does easily compete with or exceed the SQ of powered monitors in this price range.
Edited by cel4145 - 1/26/14 at 7:39am
post #4 of 21

They aren't bad for 2 ch, but in my opinion it's pointless to run a receiver for that. As for the the D5s I've heard quite a few other smaller monitors in the same price range, as well as some Cambridge, Dali, Audioengine, Martin Logan, Energy, Klipsch, Polk, EmpTek and some others. Equator is a pretty well known company in studios. 

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post

They aren't bad for 2 ch, but in my opinion it's pointless to run a receiver for that.

Not pointless if an AVR is cheaper????
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post

As for the the D5s I've heard quite a few other smaller monitors in the same price range, as well as some Cambridge, Dali, Audioengine, Martin Logan, Energy, Klipsch, Polk, EmpTek and some others. Equator is a pretty well known company in studios. 

Good. There's too many people recommending speaker on here that haven't listened to much. smily_headphones1.gif

I just googled and found that Steve Guttenberg at CNET described them as a different sounding, equitable alternative to the F5. I'm curious why they haven't caught on more? Adam, Yamaha, and Mackie hype?
post #6 of 21
Quote:
why they haven't caught on

 

They have. They are very popular.

 

They are more expensive than the equivalent sized models from JBL, Yamaha, Mackie & Fostex.

 

Which means they sell less. More a competitor for  Event 20/20 and the ADAM F range.

 

Sandwiched between the start of serious quality. ADAM AX range, Eve and bottom of the range Dynaudio, Focal, Genelec.

 

What marks them out is a co-axial mounting of the drivers. Might put some people off. Bit rad. Works well by all accounts. Never heard tham myself.

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

They have. They are very popular.

They are more expensive than the equivalent sized models from JBL, Yamaha, Mackie & Fostex.

Which means they sell less. More a competitor for  Event 20/20 and the ADAM F range.


They are only a $400 a pair. That makes them less than the F5 and Rokit 5s, and around the same price as the Yamaha HS5 and Mackie MR6mk3. So in company with a bunch of monitors in that $400-$500 price range.
post #8 of 21

That's interesting.

 

They are ~500 Euro a pair here in Europe. Never on special offer and frequently on back order. I'm confident of my comparative figures.

 

Arrh. Now I see. They are a US based direct seller like Emotiva. Only with international distribution. At additional cost. Probably tax differences too.

 

That's why I've never heard a pair. They look like exceptional value if you live on the North American subcontinent. Less so elsewhere.

 

I also note how the effect works in reverse. ADAM are much better value in Europe and RoW than in NA.

 

I wonder if that's one of the reasons there has been confusion in recent days. The stuff you tend to recommend comes via a direct channel available to NA citizens but looks expensive anywhere else in the world. Whereas good value stuff on the international market goes up in price when it gets to the US.  Probably a subject for a separate thread though.

 

ed:

 

Quote:
less than the .... Rokit 5s

 

No way man. Rokit 5s are $300 pair. Pretty much everywhere. More in the M-Audio, Berhinger and Tannoy class.

 

Right then. Lets have a word with those gnomes in Davos. No more trade barriers.


Edited by RonaldDumsfeld - 1/26/14 at 1:26pm
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for the response! I should note that I live in New Orleans (USA). The internet direct speakers that you listed, are they hi fi oriented? I'm not really looking for a flat sound. Would you recommend hifi studio speakers over a passive speaker in the $350 price range hooked up to one of the receivers I mentioned earlier? My budget max is $500 total.

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Also, if I was to get monitor speakers I would want ones with coloration (like a passive speaker), not flat. 

post #11 of 21

cel4145 is your man then. Not my field.

 

Please excuse the digression.

 

Good luck.

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Oh thats perfectly fine. I like reading the discussions even if they aren't particularly relevant to my needs. Plus it may give attention to my questions. 

 

I realize this is primarily a headphone forum, but I posted in like 6 other audiophile website forums and I'm not getting any replies. So any advice is greatly appreciated!

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

That's interesting.

They are ~500 Euro a pair here in Europe. Never on special offer and frequently on back order. I'm confident of my comparative figures.

Arrh. Now I see. They are a US based direct seller like Emotiva. Only with international distribution. At additional cost. Probably tax differences too.

That's why I've never heard a pair. They look like exceptional value if you live on the North American subcontinent. Less so elsewhere.

I also note how the effect works in reverse. ADAM are much better value in Europe and RoW than in NA.

I wonder if that's one of the reasons there has been confusion in recent days. The stuff you tend to recommend comes via a direct channel available to NA citizens but looks expensive anywhere else in the world. Whereas good value stuff on the international market goes up in price when it gets to the US.  Probably a subject for a separate thread though.

ed:


No way man. Rokit 5s are $300 pair. Pretty much everywhere. More in the M-Audio, Berhinger and Tannoy class.

Right then. Lets have a word with those gnomes in Davos. No more trade barriers.

Ooppss. I was thinking of the Rokit 6's, which the newest generation generally seems to go for around $400 or so.

And yes. Some stuff here is very cheap compared to the EU. I would not recommend that ANYONE pay MSRP for most brick and mortar store brand passive speakers in the US. Here (not even Canada) there are often great deals for some with significant mark down off MSRP. And we have the Internet direct speaker and sub vendors which often compete with traditional speaker and sub brands almost twice their price MSRP. Whereas, lot of the powered speakers are typically not as easy to find off MSRP. Home audio equipment is a completely different buying situation here than in the rest of the world.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by marinqf View Post

Thanks a lot for the response! I should note that I live in New Orleans (USA). The internet direct speakers that you listed, are they hi fi oriented? I'm not really looking for a flat sound. Would you recommend hifi studio speakers over a passive speaker in the $350 price range hooked up to one of the receivers I mentioned earlier? My budget max is $500 total.

I don't know what you mean by "hi-fi" oriented. Some audiophiles like warm speakers. Some slightly brighter. Some more neutral, which a lot of audiophiles I know like. So I don't know what a "hi-fi" sound is. And the ability to talk about looking for speakers with a brighter/warmer/or more neutral sound really depends on being acquainted with a wide range of speakers. Otherwise, you would have no frame of reference for talking about that.

I think the Arx A1b and Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SEs can compete with any powered monitor in the <$500 range. Whether you would like the sound of something different or not is a matter of personal preference. Whether or not you want to go powered vs. passive is probably more of where you want to go from here. For instance, an audio/video receiver will generally give you more flexibility in buying and integrating a sub.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

Ooops! When I said hi-fi i meant "colored", and by that I think I actually mean "warm." I'm basing this on what music I listen to and the fact that I can listen to music for many hours a day, so I don't want the speakers to get harsh on my ears even at higher volumes. I actually currently have a polk audio psw111 subwoofer. Could I still hook up the woofer to powered monitor speakers?

 

I think I have come to the conclusion that active powered speakers are my best bet for my budget. Now I have to decide between the two you mentioned (if you could pick one that would be great or maybe explain the positives of each) and some I found online while researching: JBL LSR305, Emotiva Airmotiv 5, and Adam Audio F5.

 

Once again I live in the US, any opinions? 


Edited by marinqf - 1/26/14 at 5:18pm
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