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I want to get some floorstanding speakers, but don't know where to start... help this noob out!

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

Okay, I want to get speakers whenever I get my own place, so I want to start looking for them now and maybe get them on sale or something... I own headphones and computer speakers, but know nothing about stereo systems.. few questions:

 

a) I don't want a home theater system (for like a TV) but just plain stereos for music only. What components do I have to buy? Is it pretty much 2 speakers, a receiver, and a pre-amp? 

 

b) How much does a person typically have to spend for a good set of speakers? I am on a budget, but I do have around 900 saved up from graduation..Can I buy a decent set for under that? I would like to get speakers that is not that expensive but sound pretty good (very descriptive, I know haha). I believe that as the price goes up, you pay for less of an improvement, and I feel that applies to all electronics. I would like to get speakers that are in that "sweet spot" where the price most justifies the performance, yet sounds great and isn't cheap/ toyish.

 

c) Any good brands? I feel the good brands are brands I never really heard of before, just like how your average buyer doesn't know what Senheiser's or Grados are. I've heard of Polk a lot and my dad has Denons, Audio Research, and Bower and Wilkins...

 

Thank you for helping me out! 

post #2 of 46

You can buy decent speakers for 800$ but you have to buy used and test before you buy. Test 10+ speakers and buy one.

 

As for what you might want, get as close as you can to Revel Performa3 F208 in both size, engineering and looks. :)

post #3 of 46

What sources will you be plugging the receiver into?

 

You might find a good price for used audio on Craigslist.

 

Here is a site that lists audio equipment on sale.

http://www.techbargains.com/catsearch.cfm/1_7_0

 

Here is a site that sells refurb A/V receivers.

https://www.accessories4less.com/index.php

 

The best sub-woofer value I know of is the Velodyne VX-11, used $150, new $300.

 

You might just settle for now on getting a receiver and speakers for now

and maybe? adding a sub-woofer later

post #4 of 46

Don't get a subwoofer, don't get audiophile cables, don't get a trick DAC or an audiophile power amp, just get a great pair of speakers. Spend 80% of the total on that.

post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eugenius View Post
 

Don't get a subwoofer, don't get audiophile cables, don't get a trick DAC or an audiophile power amp, just get a great pair of speakers. Spend 80% of the total on that

Okay, so what would the speakers plug into exactly? I plan to play music with my tablet (mp3) rather than CDs. A receiver? I'm guessing based on your statement that the speakers are the most important component of my hypothetical stereo system? 

post #6 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

What sources will you be plugging the receiver into?

 

You might find a good price for used audio on Craigslist.

 

Here is a site that lists audio equipment on sale.

http://www.techbargains.com/catsearch.cfm/1_7_0

 

Here is a site that sells refurb A/V receivers.

https://www.accessories4less.com/index.php

 

The best sub-woofer value I know of is the Velodyne VX-11, used $150, new $300.

 

You might just settle for now on getting a receiver and speakers for now

and maybe? adding a sub-woofer later

Thanks for your replies, I will check them out!

post #7 of 46

Whatever you can get for the last 20%. If you happen to get efficient speakers (93dB+), I suggest the NAD D3020.

post #8 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolcucumber91 View Post
 

Okay, so what would the speakers plug into exactly? I plan to play music with my tablet (mp3) rather than CDs. A receiver? I'm guessing based on your statement that the speakers are the most important component of my hypothetical stereo system? 

I'm assuming your tablet can output digital audio thru it's USB port?

 

You can also ask Home audio questions on the AVSforum and AVforum websites.

 

If your only going to get 2 speakers and no sub-woofer, then you do not really need to get a receiver.

Just a stereo speaker amplifier $100?

And a DAC ($65 to $110) to go between the tablet and the amplifier.

post #9 of 46

Another alternative is to use something like this inexpensive NI Audio 2 audio interface (DAC) which comes with software designed to work with tablets and phones.

 

http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/traktor/dj-audio-interfaces/traktor-audio-2/

 

Since it has 4 channels out you can also connect speakers and headphones at the same time and have a separate volume control for both. You can even listen to different programs on each output.

 

Active or powered monitors might make an economical quality improvement over a standard receiver/integrated amp > passive speakers system. Especially if space is at a premium and/or your emphasis is on music rather than video and games.

post #10 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eugenius View Post
 

Whatever you can get for the last 20%. If you happen to get efficient speakers (93dB+), I suggest the NAD D3020.

Looks nice, but it's too expensive. Maybe in 10 or so years when I make a bit of money haha

 

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

I'm assuming your tablet can output digital audio thru it's USB port?

 

You can also ask Home audio questions on the AVSforum and AVforum websites.

 

If your only going to get 2 speakers and no sub-woofer, then you do not really need to get a receiver.

Just a stereo speaker amplifier $100?

And a DAC ($65 to $110) to go between the tablet and the amplifier.

It's output would be thru it's headphone jack...like I think it would be connected to that wire that has a red and white component thingy... so that would connect to the amplifier? Sorry I am really confused and I don't really know the components at all...what is the component that I would plug my music source to? Surely not the speakers themselves?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post
 

Another alternative is to use something like this inexpensive NI Audio 2 audio interface (DAC) which comes with software designed to work with tablets and phones.

 

http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/traktor/dj-audio-interfaces/traktor-audio-2/

 

Since it has 4 channels out you can also connect speakers and headphones at the same time and have a separate volume control for both. You can even listen to different programs on each output.

 

Active or powered monitors might make an economical quality improvement over a standard receiver/integrated amp > passive speakers system. Especially if space is at a premium and/or your emphasis is on music rather than video and games.

I have a DAC for my computer...maybe I can use that? I think I can plug speakers into it, but I'm not sure. https://www.nuforce.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=4:udac-2&Itemid=186/index.php

post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolcucumber91 View Post

How much does a person typically have to spend for a good set of speakers? I am on a budget, but I do have around 900 saved up from graduation..Can I buy a decent set for under that? I would like to get speakers that is not that expensive but sound pretty good (very descriptive, I know haha). I believe that as the price goes up, you pay for less of an improvement, and I feel that applies to all electronics. I would like to get speakers that are in that "sweet spot" where the price most justifies the performance, yet sounds great and isn't cheap/ toyish. 

Yes. But tower speakers are expensive. Even on sale, say, $300 will only get you very entry level budget towers. And of course, individual listening preferences make a difference between what some people feel are "pretty good" or not.

That being said, I would follow the previous advice of putting most of your budget toward speakers. And I'd avoid any of the mini amps like the NAD D3020 unless you need the small footprint. You'll be paying a premium for the smaller size as opposed to full sized receivers. Because the market is so competitive and so many are manufactured (economies of scale), audio video receivers can often be (but not always) a better price/performance value than stereo amplifiers. Plus, some modern AVRs have wifi capability for connecting to tablets (depending on the receiver and the tablet).

Yes. You can run the analog outs on your uDAC to an amplifier or receiver.

Some questions, though.

1) What are your expectations about listening volumes (do you like it REALLY loud)? Is this a big room that you will be playing them in?
2) Are you into bass heavy music genres and do you like a lot of bass emphasis? If so, bookshelves and a sub might be your best bet.

Finally, while often the best deals to be had for speakers are online, you should get out to some music stores and listen to some speakers so you have some idea of what you like.
Edited by cel4145 - 6/19/14 at 6:17am
post #12 of 46

Looks like you could connect your playback system ok but note this from the spec.

 

Quote:
Nuforce USB Audio devices are designed to work with x86 architecture.  Tablet devices running Windows 8 (RT) are not supported..

 

That's why I mentioned the NI Audio 2. It's the only one I know for sure works with tablets and phones. I'm sure there must be others (anyone?). There will certainly be many more on the way.

post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolcucumber91 View Post
 

It's output would be thru it's headphone jack...like I think it would be connected to that wire that has a red and white component thingy... so that would connect to the amplifier? Sorry I am really confused and I don't really know the components at all...what is the component that I would plug my music source to? Surely not the speakers themselves?

 

Headphone output would not be the best way to connect the tablet to a speaker amplifier.

What is the make and model of the tablet?

post #14 of 46

Speakers are very subjective theres no perfect speaker  that suits everyone, and price doesn't always mean it will sound better to you every speaker design is a compromise is some way. really you should go and demo the speakers with your own music and buy whatever sounds best to you.

To power the speakers you could go with a av receiver or power amp a av receiver has more connectively options and more features than a power amp , a power amp like the crown xls is just a basic amplifier but has alot more cleaner power than an av receiver.

 

A headphone socket wouldn't be able to supply enough vrms to fully drive an amp, if your tablet supports usb on the go then you want a usb 1.1 (driverless) dac or usb to sdpif converter, I use this with my galaxy s4 http://www.amazon.com/Fanmusic-FM6011-Coxial-Converter-Digital/dp/B00A2QJK5I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403189834&sr=8-1&keywords=usb+to+spdif , then plug it straight into my dac sounds no different than using the usb or spdif jack on my laptop and connecting to the dac.

post #15 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Yes. But tower speakers are expensive. Even on sale, say, $300 will only get you very entry level budget towers. And of course, individual listening preferences make a difference between what some people feel are "pretty good" or not.

That being said, I would follow the previous advice of putting most of your budget toward speakers. And I'd avoid any of the mini amps like the NAD D3020 unless you need the small footprint. You'll be paying a premium for the smaller size as opposed to full sized receivers. Because the market is so competitive and so many are manufactured (economies of scale), audio video receivers can often be (but not always) a better price/performance value than stereo amplifiers. Plus, some modern AVRs have wifi capability for connecting to tablets (depending on the receiver and the tablet).

Yes. You can run the analog outs on your uDAC to an amplifier or receiver.

Some questions, though.

1) What are your expectations about listening volumes (do you like it REALLY loud)? Is this a big room that you will be playing them in?
2) Are you into bass heavy music genres and do you like a lot of bass emphasis? If so, bookshelves and a sub might be your best bet.

Finally, while often the best deals to be had for speakers are online, you should get out to some music stores and listen to some speakers so you have some idea of what you like.

1) Not really. I want to use it for more of background music/ study music. Ambient music I guess. Not for party use haha. If I want to blast my music, I would use my headphones

2) I do listen to a little EDM and some pop music. Not much rap/ hip-hop. I do listen to are rock, classical, and jazz. I wouldn't want a lot of bass at all. Clarity, soundstage, and how "crisp" it is is are my priorities

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Headphone output would not be the best way to connect the tablet to a speaker amplifier.

What is the make and model of the tablet?

It is a Nexus 7, so although it connects to USB, it does not have a USB port in itself. Is there some other way to connect it to a speaker amp? Or would I have to use a different component other than an amp to connect to my tablet via headphones?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRG1990 View Post
 

Speakers are very subjective theres no perfect speaker  that suits everyone, and price doesn't always mean it will sound better to you every speaker design is a compromise is some way. really you should go and demo the speakers with your own music and buy whatever sounds best to you.

To power the speakers you could go with a av receiver or power amp a av receiver has more connectively options and more features than a power amp , a power amp like the crown xls is just a basic amplifier but has alot more cleaner power than an av receiver.

 

A headphone socket wouldn't be able to supply enough vrms to fully drive an amp, if your tablet supports usb on the go then you want a usb 1.1 (driverless) dac or usb to sdpif converter, I use this with my galaxy s4 http://www.amazon.com/Fanmusic-FM6011-Coxial-Converter-Digital/dp/B00A2QJK5I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403189834&sr=8-1&keywords=usb+to+spdif , then plug it straight into my dac sounds no different than using the usb or spdif jack on my laptop and connecting to the dac.

I do agree with your statement about subjectivity. I probably will have to buy really entry level speakers for now, and save up in the future for better ones in like a decade or so. I am sure I would still greatly enjoy entry-level speakers.

 

So what would you recommend, receiver or amp? And I'm guessing my tablet would have to connect to either of those...

 

The product you have should work on my Nexus, since it works for your S4 since they use the same connection (mini USB --> USB). Still a bit confused on how that works, but it should be tablet > USB converter/ dac > receiver or amp > speakers, correct?

 

 

Thanks for your patience and replies guys! It's been helpful. Sorry if this is frustrating to you guys haha

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › I want to get some floorstanding speakers, but don't know where to start... help this noob out!