Need help with getting a BUDGET speaker setup!
Jun 13, 2011 at 3:26 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

TranceFan

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To all speaker experts of Head-Fi...
 
I'm currently using an 9-yr-old Harmon Kardon set-up (don't know the exact model, but it's two very small speakers by my laptop and a subwoofer next to my feet), and it's starting to finally reach the end of its lifetime (crackly audio, difficult to get sound through both speakers). As such, I'm in the market to get a new set of speakers - nothing big, but something to keep on my desk like my current ones (I take it these are called 'bookshelf' speakers? Correct me if I'm mistaken!). 
 
Now, I'm a graduate student and on an extremely tight budget. I'm fully aware that I'd need to shell out some serious cash to get a nice setup, but I'm looking for something that'd give the best "bang for the buck," if you will. I know very little about speakers since I've just had this set up for a while (heck, it came for free with the Dell PC I bought back then!), so I'm turning to the experts now :) 
 
My budget is less than $50, I'm hoping. I'd be primarily using these for various multimedia (shows/movies/sports) and music (mostly everything, but definitely a greater focus on trance/electronica). I wouldn't be using them too often since I work pretty late, hence the desire for a very low-priced set (and also the fact that I have very little spare money, haha). 
 
Some searching from this forum led me to the Phillips MMS 321, which seem like what I'm looking for.. but I'd love to hear more suggestions and recommendations. Thanks in advance for your help, looking forward to your replies!
 
 
Jun 14, 2011 at 2:03 AM Post #4 of 14

TranceFan

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The Labtec 485 seems like a nice replacement, but I'm having a bit of trouble finding it. Is there a different model number that's more prevalent on the market, but is still a good budget? I'm mostly looking for either two somewhat small speakers to put right on my desk by my laptop. Subwoofer is optional - one of my buddies has a set of small speakers that has amazingly rich sound quality without a sub, wish I could remember the name of them! 
 
I've also heard good things about the Altec Lansing ATP3, thoughts on this? So far on my list, I have the ATP3, Phillips MMS 321, and Labtec 485 (or some other model number that's easier to find?) - what do you guys think? If I were to choose one of these, which should it be? And are there any other models I'm just straight up missing?
 
Jun 17, 2011 at 9:45 AM Post #7 of 14

kitkat12012

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Probably not audiophile grade but the one I have in my room right now is an Altec Lansing Expressionist Bass:
http://www.amazon.com/Altec-Lansing-FX3022-Expressionist-Speakers/dp/B001IOZTNK/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1308318116&sr=8-4

It's $70 on Amazon but I remember getting it for only $50 when I bought mine.


I have my PC and my PS3 hooked up to these and they're decent for music, movies, and games.
 
Jun 17, 2011 at 3:47 PM Post #8 of 14

jung

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Quote:
I'm currently using an 9-yr-old Harmon Kardon set-up (don't know the exact model, but it's two very small speakers by my laptop and a subwoofer next to my feet), and it's starting to finally reach the end of its lifetime (crackly audio, difficult to get sound through both speakers). As such, I'm in the market to get a new set of speakers - nothing big, but something to keep on my desk like my current ones (I take it these are called 'bookshelf' speakers? Correct me if I'm mistaken!). 
 
Now, I'm a graduate student and on an extremely tight budget. I'm fully aware that I'd need to shell out some serious cash to get a nice setup, but I'm looking for something that'd give the best "bang for the buck," if you will. I know very little about speakers since I've just had this set up for a while (heck, it came for free with the Dell PC I bought back then!), so I'm turning to the experts now :) 
 
My budget is less than $50, I'm hoping. 
 


Scythe SDA-1100
Scythe SCKCM-1000
http://stereo.50webs.com/
 
 
Jun 18, 2011 at 9:54 PM Post #9 of 14

nastynice

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Are you looking for bookshelf speakers to match with an amp, or are you looking for speakers to just plug into your computer and have them play whatever you play off ur computer?  I ask cuz the phillips mm321 seems to be computer speakers (speakers have built in amp and power) where as many of the suggestions here seem to be bookshelf systems which would consist of seperate speakers plus an amp.
 
Just wanted to ask to clear up any confusion, it would suck to get the wrong thing.  Can't really make any suggestions I got klipsch 2.1 pro media (computer speakers) which sound AMAZING (you'll be surprised how much clean bass that little sub can put out), but they'll run you over $100.  I also got some $20 cyber acoustic 2.1, they get the job done but they sound pretty crappy, pretty much get what u pay for.  I have no experience with any speakers that fall in ur criteria.  I'd personally say to try and find whatever's on sale and within your budget, that'll probably give you the best bang for buck.  My one piece of advice would be to stay away from sony, FAR AWAY, they make a lot of good products but home audio is definitely not one of them.  I used to sell home audio at fry's, and sony was noticebly lower quality compared to all its competitors at any price point.
 
If you somehow come across a used set of klipsch 2.1 pro media in ur budget, I'd say jump on it.  They sound awsome!!
 
Jun 20, 2011 at 3:43 PM Post #10 of 14

TranceFan

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Hm, I'm not quite looking for an amplifier - that type of setup is a bit more than what I'm going to be able to afford. I'm either looking for just two speakers to plug in, or two speakers w/ a subwoofer. I'm pretty sure I can get what I'm looking for with that setup - yes, I know it wouldn't be audiophile grade or as good as what it could be if I had an amp, but I simply don't have the budget/time to go down that path, and I don't use my home speakers enough (at the moment) to put too much $$ into a nice setup. 
 
I do appreciate the prior suggestions, and am currently looking into all of them. Again, for now I'm not looking for an amp. Does this help you guys limit the choices down? :)
 
Jun 20, 2011 at 4:18 PM Post #11 of 14

BlackbeardBen

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If you look right, bargains can be had even with separate amps.  It's always worth going down to your local second hand store, but new this fits right into your price bracket and I don't think there's anything that comes close in overall quality:
 
Dayton B652 Bookshelf Speakers
Lepai Tripath TA2020 Amplifier
 
Add a cheapo interconnect and some lamp cord for speaker wire and you're good to go.
 
I have the speakers - they're damn good for $30.  I have the more expensive but roughly equivalent Dayton T-amp; I'd get this one if I did it again (they used to have a combo with the speakers and Dayton amp, which saved quite a bit on them).  You can even power the amp by a 12V car/motorcycle/marine battery (or any other 12V battery that can supply 2A) - so it's perfect for car camping and other outdoor use.
 
The bass should be much better controlled and textured than any satellite/sub combo in your budget, although it does cut off pretty steeply after 70 Hz.  That's the B652's biggest weakness, and for the price it still outperforms anything else.  It takes money to make decent woofers and subwoofers and at $50 there's essentially nothing better.   I know that's rather cliche to say - it's funny how you'll hear "X headphone performs at twice its price", at which price point "Y headphone performs at twice its price" - but for these speakers (and the amp) there's really no competition in the super-budget range other than used bargains.
 

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