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gox
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$300-$400 Speakers

Hello everybody.

Sorry if this is something not Hi-Fi and cheap, but I need your help.

What I'm looking for:
The best 2 speakers deal for $300-$400.

The idea is:
Set up a good 2-channel system mainly for listening to music. And, if it's possible, use the same system to watch movies on a (TV or computer) and to play computer games.

The situation:
I'm a newbie and I don't have thousands of dollars to spend.
Somebody told me that I don't have to take the cost and equipment too seriously for a first time setup.

Things to take into consideration:
I've heard that the music genre I listen to most and the listening space play a important role on the speakers' selection. I'm not sure how to give a listening space description, but here it is: My listening space will be my bedroom, which is 13' x 11', carpeted, plaster hollow/dry walls and mostly full with furniture. Metal music is what I listen most to, and what I really care for is that my music sounds good.

I really like the floorstanding speakers design, but I don't know if they will suit my sound quality expectations.

I don't know anything about high quality audio. However, I've heard speakers are the most important part on a system and that I should be putting most of my system budget on them, because in most cases they are the bottleneck. Also, that an amplifier is nothing more than a piece of equipment that increases the power of an original signal, so, that for right now, I just need a good clean amplifier (that's what I've heard).

What can you tell me about this? Let me pick your brain.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!

jackfish
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Re: $300-$400 Speakers

Infinity Primus P362 $330/pair http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/605infinity/

What is your total budget and what are you going to use for a source?

gox
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Re: $300-$400 Speakers

My total budget is $500 for now, but I won't discard the upgrade possibility.

For the source, I'm going to use my DVD player for a while, then later I may get a Blu-Ray player. However, if I notice that a CD player will result in better sound quality, I won't think twice about getting a good one. Also, my computer will be a source.

Just in case these work for something, I have on my computer:

  • S/PDIF Out
  • IEEE 1394 port
  • Onboard Audio Realtek ALC889
  • HIS IceQ 5 H577QT1GD Radeon HD 5770 Turbo

Thank you

Jim Tavegia
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Re: $300-$400 Speakers

There are some new Rega bookshelf models off Audiogon for $389 a pair. If you added a sub later I think you would be very pleased.

Rega R1

You might also look at the bookshelf models off Audio Advisor.

smejias
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Re: $300-$400 Speakers

Hey gox.
I'm excited for you. You have lots of options. You've already gotten some good suggestions, but I would also consider the PSB Alpha B1 loudspeakers ($279/pair). I own these, so of course I recommend them. (People almost always recommend what they own.)

I listen to a lot of hard rock and the little PSBs have never disappointed me, so long as I listen at reasonable volumes. Our editor, John Atkinson, reviewed them and was also very impressed, noting that they offered great bass and drum performance and worked well with classical and orchestral music (which really isn't very different from metal in a lot of ways).

For your source, you can also try a Sony Playstation One (serial number SCPH-1001), which you can pick up for around $30-$50.

(But that's just until you get into vinyl.)

gox
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Re: $300-$400 Speakers

What really worries me is buying a pair of speakers which I haven't heard, so I went to a store to see what they got on display and it wasn't really what I'm looking for.

Some people have told me: "sound quality is a personal choice", but hey! If a lot of people tell you that a pair of speakers are good, there must be something to it, right?

What I'm going to do is make a list of the speakers I'm considering from what I've been recommended and the impression I have on them (an impression that can be wrong), so this way you can help me choose.

Infinity Primus P362 $330/pair: This pair attracts me most because of its good reviews, it's floorstanding and they say it's really worth the money. But the descriptions on the review from Stereophile don't sound too "metal" to me.

Infinity Primus P162 $160/pair: The P362 little sibling?

Infinity Primus P152 $120/pair: ??

Cambridge Soundworks Model 6 $150/pair: Very good reviews. Very cheap. They were $100 a couple of days ago. NOT magnetic shielded and if they're bookshelf I'd put them next to the monitor. Is there a big problem if I place them next to an LCD monitor or LCD TV?

Rega R1 $389/pair: Too expensive to be bookshelf for me.

PSB Alpha B1 $279/pair: At least I have the positive opinion from Stephen, who has used them and listens to hard rock on them. But I found them so little, they look so weak to me... Isn't this bad?

PSB Image B15 $260/pair: They bring their stands. But the description said they are commonly used as a rear surround speaker.

PSB Image B25 $320/pair: Same as Image b15.

I know there are a lot of more options, but my frustration is that I can't hear them and compare :'-( I going to continue looking for audio stores. How can I locate one in my area? (Perth Amboy, New Jersey).

Questions:
If I realize later that I need more bass, can I just add a subwoofer?

Do I need to buy a specific amplifier so I can later add the subwoofer?

I want to hear your opinions. Thank you.

jackfish
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Re: $300-$400 Speakers

The PSB Image B25 is a really good value at $320/pair. Here is a review: http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/1204psb/

You can always augment bass with a subwoofer. How well one integrates depends on the subwoofer, room, speakers and input source. There are several stereo receivers and integrated amplifiers which accommodate subwoofers. Otherwise, most subwoofers have speaker level inputs that will work with any receiver/amplifier with A/B speaker outputs.

smejias
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Re: $300-$400 Speakers


Quote:
I know there are a lot of more options, but my frustration is that I can't hear them and compare :'-( I going to continue looking for audio stores. How can I locate one in my area? (Perth Amboy, New Jersey).


You can try our list of dealers in NJ.

smejias
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Re: $300-$400 Speakers


Quote:
PSB Alpha B1 $279/pair: At least I have the positive opinion from Stephen, who has used them and listens to hard rock on them. But I found them so little, they look so weak to me... Isn't this bad?


Unless you want to go super-loud and super-low, in a heavily-furnished, 13' x 11' room like yours, I don't think the speakers' size will be a problem. My room is also 13' by 11'. The speakers can be augmented by a matching subwoofer. (I have the PSB Sub 1, just in case, but never use it. Then again, playing very loud and very low isn't very important to me.)

But, if you really want floorstanders, then I think you should go with floorstanders. It'll set your mind at ease, and a calm mind helps in enjoying music.

gox
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Re: $300-$400 Speakers

Thank you all for your help!!!

After reading here and there, I'm going for the Infinity Primus P362 ($350/pair) or the PSB Image B25 ($320/pair). However, I don't know how one or the other is going to affect the choice and price of amplifier, which is going to affect my final election of the speaker.

What amplifier do I need to make the most of these speakers without breaking my wallet?
(I'm not interested in FM/AM listening, though I wouldn't mind having this feature).

There's someone selling a pair of PSB Image T65 Towers new and sealed for $575 negotiable, the shipping is $90 approx. But again, I don't know the amp to make the most of these. I think it's going to be more expensive because these speakers are bigger. What do think of this deal?

See you later, thanks!

commsysman
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Re: $300-$400 Speakers

I would recommend the PSB Image B5.

Audio Advisor is selling them currently for $399, and I believe they are a better-sounding speaker than any of the ones you have been considering.

For an amplifier, I recommend the NAD 316BEE at $349. That is the least expensive amp that I know of that will give you very good sound quality. Check Audio Advisor's website for the detailed specs.

One nice thing about Audio Advisor is that you can order the gear with no tax and no shipping charges, and then you have 30 days to listen in your own home. They allow you to return the gear for a full refund for 30 days, no questions asked. Listening in your own home is far far better than listening in any demo room!! I have bought several pieces of equipment from them and they are great to do business with.

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