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jmousey
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What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I know a lot of people out there (especially those found on this forum) consider themselves to be audiophiles, or at least beginner audiophiles. With all the high-tech gadgets on the market these days, cost is one of the biggest factor in the consumer's decision making. So with that in mind, could everyone post their favourite set of budget speakers, be it bookshelvess or floorstanding.

Personally i own a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze B2s. Undoutedly it isnt the best pair of bookshelves in the world, but for the price, the performance is pretty spectacular. At least in my opinion anyway.

snickelfritz
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

The Paradigm Studio20 is a good candidate.
Some reviewers have chosen this speaker as a reference in its price range.

300Binary
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Infinity Primus 360 (june 05 Stirful) I have had my pair since June Got them for less than $400./pair.
Pretty decent.

Buddha
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Man, this is really a great topic! I bet we get a good list going.

I need more parameters as to what will qualify as "budget," and even then I can't help but answer this question in a slightly diffuse way.

How about 800 per pair and under for the sake of conversation.

My answer starts with a one word reply - "Ebay."

Equally good could be "Audiogon" or other marketplace sites for hunting for used speakers.

By hitting the used marketplace, your budget can be stretched to about double or triple what you would have told yourself to look at if buying new.

Speakers seem to really lend themselves to being a viable "second owner" kind of product. The technology is advancing, yes, but not all that fast, so by buying used, you are coming within a hair's breadth of current new speakers - more so than many electronic or, especially, digital products.

All of a sudden, that 800 bucks gives you the bang of 2 kilodollars in that marketplace.

I've seen Apogee Stages for 500 bucks - a speaker that could not be touched at the same retail price.

If you happen to live near where a used product resides, the savings can grow. There is currently a pair of Acoustat 2+2's with medallion electronics that the owner can't ship out of Florida. They will probably only make it to 500 bucks or so - quite a bargain if you can pick them up.

I got a pair of Klipsch La Scalas on Ebay for 800 bucks that are going to be my "play project" to dissect and see what can be accomplished. Retail would have been nearly quadruple that price, making them no longer an appealing experiment.

I found an old pair of A/D/S 300C's that had non-working drivers, but thanks to the glory of Ebay, for 160 dollars (including shipping!) I'll have all new NOS (I'm actually flabbergasted to find thing like this, but Ebay is full of this stuff) drivers for them at a bargain basement price. Then, let the tweaking begin! No warrantee to screw up - just a nice little imaging machine to enhance my life.

Sorry to go long, but I also got a pair of Infinity Intermezzo 2.6's, rated Class A (restricted LF) by Stereophile, for 499 dollars through Harmon International's Ebay store. That's about 1/3 retail. I made them my computer speakers...

This week, I'm watching a pair of little studio monitors that had been very highly reviewed at a retail price of 1,000 dollars, sitting with a BIN on Ebay of half that.

You know what would would be cool...we should all find a way to instant messaging or something and have an Ebay/Audiogon party where we all compare notes and experiences with products we see!

So, anyway, a vote here for looking on the used market when we talk about budgets!

OK, me shut up now.

Buddha
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Just for grins, I cruised Ebay. Here's some stuff I'd call affordable. No promises on the closing prices, just examples of some of the mark downs we see...

Toem Arros. Loved by David Abramson at Six Moons Audio.

An interesting pair by Onix.

Giant Horns like I mentioned. Not an endorsement of the speaker, just an example.

Some Martin Logans at about 1/4 retail.

An interesting old pair of KEF's.

Another cool toy!

Intermezzo 2.6

I've never heard these, but an intriguing product with a legacy of amazing difference of opinion!

More Martin Logans. Lots of fine sound for the price.

Edited: I decided to bid on a pair, so I'll post this last link after the auction ends...

Well, that's just a few, coverning the gamut from dynamic to electrostatic to horn to ribbon!

Buddha
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

OK, just one more...

Here's that pair of 2+2's I mentioned for essentially free:

Acoustat 2+2's on Ebay.

seaan
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I was really impressed with the sound of the Infinity Alpha-20 (now replaced by the Beta-20) - retails under $250/pair. It did not have the typical problems of inexpensive speakers - resolution, imaging, and dynamics were all good. Compared with more expensive speakers (such as the $900/pair NHT M5), the Alpha-20 was clearly less refined, less smooth for lack of a better phrase. But many listeners will never notice, and I think even some audiophiles could live them as a second speaker (see the Stereophile review of the Primus 360 or JBL S-38 for similar sounding speakers and their potential foibles).

Another tip for bargain hunter is the Polk LSi-7, which Fry

ludwigvan968
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

A couple I really like are:

Loth-X ION BS1

Tannoy SYS600's

Rega R1's

ATC 7's

tomarty
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I vote for B&W 601 S3's. I heard these a couple of months ago and my jaw hit the floor. Not bad at all for $400/pr. And I'll second that vote for the Paradigm Studio 20's, too.
Tom

Khorn
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I think it

Monty
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

While speaker technology may not be increasing at the rate of digital technology, it's not far behind. I'm amazed at how much music is coming out of small boxes these days.

My pick for the ultra low-buck speaker is the Polk R-15 that can be had for under a hundred bucks a pair! Sure, they can get congested and lose focus pretty quick at moderate to high levels, but driven at moderate to low levels these babies rock.

In the real world of low buck high-end, I'll take a pair of psb speakers over just about anything under $500 bucks.

hansson3
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Magnepan 1.6. New, it's an incredible value that performs way beyond the price. Used at $1200 give or take, well, it's a no-brainer. Absurdly good bargain. On the bookshelf front, the Bohlender-Graebener Z-1 with the Neo3 planar ribbon tweeter is a real gem for $400 new.

John Ashman
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I sell these (not online), so you can weigh this accordingly, but I've sold several dozen brands and the NHT SB1, to my ears, is the most amazing speaker of any speaker I've ever sold under $1000. I have a customer that has searched for almost a year to find a small speaker under $2K that he liked as well (his main system has Revel Gems), and he found nothing in the city and even sent a few highly regarded $1500-$2000 speakers back after ordering them online. The acoustic suspension design and exceptional tweeter (from NHT's $4000/pr flagship) combined with the 5" midrange (not to small, not to big - just right) combine for a combination of qualities not often found in a bookshelf speaker, let alone for a mere $300/pr. When someone comes into the store and says "I just heard your competitor's $100K system - blow me away", I put on the SB3s with about $600 worth of NAD and drop their jaws. Not because it's "better", but because it's so much, for so little, in such a small, elegant package.

Khorn
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Although recommending a speaker for someone else is at best difficult as I previously posted, if I were asked to choose a small speaker that I think has superb qualities and can be used over the years no matter what systems you progress to I would unhesitatingly recommend one of the BBC LS3/5a mini monitors. I still think they have among the best and most natural mid range reproduction.

The LS3/5a specifications were designed for the BBC for use in on site monitoring (in vans) and produced by a few different speaker manufacturers including Rogers, Spendor, Chartwell and Harbeth. If I came across a good used pair at a decent price (garage sale or something) I would grab them immediately.

These speakers will always be useful in a main or second system and can be listened to for very long periods of time without the hint of the dreaded

soundboy
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I got a great deal on a pair of brand new Energy Connoisseur C-3 monitors for $300.00. They regularly go for $500.00/pair. Excellent sound quality....actually, it was down to these Energy's and the Monitor Audio Bronze B2.

wyomoose
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I don't have an opinion on the best cheap speakers yet, however I am looking for a set for $500 or less. Does anyone have a opinion on Definitive Tech Gems? Why don't I see to much about DT? Are they just not up to par with Paradigms, B&O, ETC?

grub
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Whoops, I didn't know I could post without being logged on, I'll remember that next time!
-->grub

Buddha
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Aloha,

If you hurry, this pair is priced very well, and the seller is a well know audiophile from the Bay Area. They image like crazy and have a very good dynamic range.

http://cgi.ebay.com/AUDIO-PHYSIC-NEW-SPARK-SPEAKERS-IN-MINT-CONDITION_W0QQitemZ5815007520QQcategoryZ14993QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I'll go look for more.

Buddha
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

OK, trying for more:

If these were to stay at their current price, they'd be a total steal:

http://cgi.ebay.com/TOTEM-ACOUSTIC-WIND-IN-MAHOGANY-FLOOR-STANDING-SPEAKERS_W0QQitemZ5816300318QQcategoryZ14993QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

If you are at all interested in the care and feeding of an interesting speaker, these Apogees can be made to sing. Takes careful amplifier matching. Take a spin at www.apogeespeakers.com and their forums at http://audioworld.com/cgi-bin/sw/forumdisplay.cgi?action=topics&number=1 .

You may find these to be your dream speakers, but set up and care are paramount.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Apogee-Duetta-Signature-Full-Range-Ribbon-Speakers_W0QQitemZ5818016580QQcategoryZ14993QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Another fine transducer:

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Dynaudio-Contour-T2-5-Speakers-MSRP-4-500-NIB_W0QQitemZ5816606662QQcategoryZ14993QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Another well behaved speaker with a great pedigree:

http://cgi.ebay.com/B-W-Nautilus-805-Speakers_W0QQitemZ5816406726QQcategoryZ14991QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Same... http://cgi.ebay.com/B-W-Nautilus-805-In-Black-Ash_W0QQitemZ5817465772QQcategoryZ116193QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I've heard these several times, very musical:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Meadowlark-Kestrel-2-floorstanding-speakers_W0QQitemZ5817349230QQcategoryZ14993QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Finally, one that really intrigues me. I've never heard these, but have run into several people who say that these babies are the real schizzle. No amp required, great dynamics, lots of detail. I'd love to get my hands on a pair and see.

http://cgi.ebay.com/MACKIE-626-ACTIVE-REFERENCE-MONITORS-PAIR_W0QQitemZ7356923181QQcategoryZ47093QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

seaan
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Speaking from "showroom shootout" experience, there were two things that kept me from liking the Definitive Tech bookshelf models (have not listened to other types). They are less detailed than I like, and they sounded somewhat uneven.

It may help to explain my methods and preferences, so you can see how much this advice actually applies to you. I tend to find that there are two general types of [educated] listeners

seaan
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

ludwigvan968 mentioned Rega speakers. Are these available in the US? I heard a small Rega floor stander at HE2003 which sounded quite nice (and I mean small -- less than 3 feet high). They were playing a jazz trio, and the bass came out pretty reasonable.

I seem to recall they were in the $400/pair range. But I never found a local (SF Bay area) dealer to give them a more detailed evaluation.

Anthony Tam
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

The US distributor may be able to help you. I would guess any dealer that carries Rega components should either have them in-store or at least be able to source some.

--------

The Sound Organisation is the US Distributor for Rega.
Please contact them for details of a Rega dealer near you.

The Sound Organisation

Stephen Daniels
11140 Petal Street
Suite 350
Dallas
Texas 75238

Tel: 001 972 234 0182
Fax: 001 972 234 0249

E-Mail: steve@soundorg.com

UmAlumJoe
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I second the Paradigm Studio 20. It was the first speaker i listened to when i began my journey into Hi Fi about 1.5 years ago and I still remember it's sound. I'd also have to say the Sonus Faber Concertino is high on that list too,.,, but is a budget speaker in the 1000 - 2000 range.. all depends on the territory you are walking in!!

FeisalK
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I must thank Stereophile and Robert J Reina's 2002 review of the Paradigm Atoms - bought 4 of them on the strength of the review, and they are awesome budget speakers.

leetamm
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Great thread! I have a pair of Phase Technology Teatro 7.5 VDT floor standers that I recently bought from a friend of mine for $300.00. They retail for $625.00, but you can get them from onecall.com for half that.

They're awesome speakers, I'm addicted to them. By far, the best $300.00 I've ever spent in my life.

Peter Duminy
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

A new model that caught my ear the other day is the new Dynaudio Focus 140 here:

http://www.dynaudio.de/eng/systems/lines/focus/focus140.php?sid=430f2e4e47441

I am not sure if your local dealer may have it yet though. Price is around $1500 USD a pair.

jackfish
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

How about buying 4 Large Advents in good condition on eBay, replace the woofer surrounds if necessary, and have the infamous Double Large Advents, as highlighted in The Absolute Sound in 1973. Should be able to get them for $400 or less and you wouldn't find anything that would sound better for three times the price.

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/30thAnniversary/143_double_advent.html

300Binary
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

SDAT SB-880 are now playing in my room. Eight drivers per is silly, but, the sound is effortless. And - they look hot ... Oh, $99. on uBid.com ...

Happy New Ears!

Dr Diablo
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

After I read a favorable review of the Infinity Beta 40s in SENSIBLE SOUND, I checked out the Beta series and got the Beta 50s. I don't know that they're the "best" budget speaker, but they're very listenable full-range loudspeakers with an unusually substantial soundstage. In most respects, they sound better than the AR9-LS speakers I paid twice as much for 15 years ago.

After a three-month quest for speakers, I, too, was impressed by how much good stuff is available in the budget range. I found the articles by David Rich in the latest Sensible Sound most informative. He explains that psychoacoustic research findings are the biggest single reason for the improvements in lower-priced loudspeakers. Manufacturers like Harman may not put the expensive hardware into lower-priced speakers that they do into Revels, but they will apply their knowledge of what listeners prefer to all of their product lines.

I liked the speakers in the B&W 600 series. Energy makes some nice speakers in the same price range. Paradigms were a tad warm for my taste, but they make a nice product. There are many other worthy contenders. I found that there was a lot of low quality stuff out there, especially in the home theatre arena, but once you sort through that clutter you find that there are many speakers for around a grand that you can live with forever. The "best" one is a matter of personal taste.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Above post is mine. Sorry, forgot to log in.

RGibran
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?


Quote:
Above post is mine. Sorry, forgot to log in.

Glad you clarified this Jim, I was begining to think that other anonymous was bipolar or worse.

BTW, I must say you are looking marverrlous these days. If I didn't know better I'd swear you "saw your doctor"! Good work Jeff.

RG

ohfourohnine
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

You're right, Jeff's little photoshop session did perk the guy up a bit. Still doesn't compare with his football team picture in the high school annual, however.

Jeff Wong
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Unless I'm mistaken, Jim is still using his original avatar. The special Photoshop beauty cream has not yet been applied. OH NO! PLACEBO!!!

Jim Tavegia
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I am so. You are not. I am so. You are not. I am so. You are not. Listen...No I won't. You think I have a problem? He has the problem. I've been fixed by Jeff Wong! No, I was fixed by Jeff. Geez.

Smitty
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Not "the best", but I recently bought a brand new pair of Phase Technology Teatro 4.5 for the bedroom for $130 w/free shipping. That price is probably impossible to beat for their sound quality.

deadfeat1
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I would like to suggest the Polk T20e.(aka Monitor 30's)Not a bad set of small monitors that I purchased at Tweeter for $130.They list in the low to mid $200's as the Monitor 30's.Great for a second system in a small room. Need a little while to break in, but sound is very nice with realistic bass for small speakers. Had the chance to compare them to the RTi4's and although they were not quite as good they had a strong family resemblence and at just a little more than one third the cost are a very good deal.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

You should also look at the Epos 3's and the B and W 303, both list for $300 and are excellent.

Buddha
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I went to Overstock and looked, no reviews!

Dude, you and all those friends of yours should be lighting up their product reviews so the world at large can take advantage of your audio acumen!

RGibran
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Perhaps THIS (John Wagner) is our anonymous poster who's blowin' these Sdats' and other ridiculous tweaks/claims up our rear ends.

RG

wendelltate
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

When I had to downgrade to a small apartment a few years ago and had to part with my Apogees (very sweet and needy of space and power) I opted for a pair of NHT SuperZeros and an M&K sub. I drove these with a couple of Rotel 50 watt amps each bridged mono. The mids and the highs on the NHTs were really detailed, open and sweet. The M&K provided tight, deep bass. You could probably eBay this setup for nearly nothing.

viking68
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

The above post on the BG's is mine -- for some reason it didn't include my user name. Sorry!

Reptiles00
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Wow, the BGs seem like a nice speaker (checked out the link above) and something I would have liked to audition before I bought my KEF Q7s which retailed for 1200.00. I'm not saying I'm dissatified with the Q7s, especially when I got them new on sale for 550.00.

The BG Z-7s may have been more of what I was looking for since they have a planer tweeter which has always intrigued me.

Thanks for the info on the BGs Viking

Don

Jim Tavegia
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

Also look at the Epos 3 and the B and W 303. Very good at the $300 price point.

Peter Duminy
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

The 303 is a great value, and the Paradigm Atom is still going strong after all these years. The Tannoy Mercury F1 is a nice contender also at this price point.

300Binary
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I am listening to an old pair of Utah SP-12J 12" full ranges. Very good music. But, not new. Stirful is mostly about new stuff, right? These were about $30. on Ebay.

Dr Diablo
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Re: What is the best budget speaker on the market?

I have never had the chance to hear Ohm Walsh speakers, but have read many favorable comments about them. Several audio reviewers have mentioned that they use them in their home systems. Anybody out there who has listened to Walsh speakers or who owns them? I'd be interested in your comments.

Venkat
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Teatro 7.5

I have Phase Teatro 7.5, its really fantastic, bought for $ 325. it beat all the high end speakers (B&W, Magnat etc)

commsysman
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Wharfedale

I think the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 and 10.2 are definitely in the running there.

The Monitor Audio BX-2 that the OP has are definitely very good also.

I would assume "Budget" to mean under $600.

If you really want to get down, the Dayton Audio B652 speakers are amazing for under $40 per pair!!!!

I bought a pair of these for my den, and they replaced a pair of Boston speakers that cost 3 times as much, and sound much better. I am using them with a Sony 60" TV and a CD player and a Cambridge 50-watt integrated amplifier there. The ridiculously low price may keep people from taking them seriously, which is a mistake.

For a floor-standing speaker, there are really very few that are worth mentioning for under $600. One that stands out, though, is the Pioneer FS-52 speakers, which are under $300 per pair, and sound pretty good.

michael green
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B652

I'm so glad the B652 came out. This speaker, the FUNAI DP100FX4 player and the Sherwood 4105 now 4109 have certainly changed the landscape. An audiophile system for under $200.00. That's crazy, crazy good!

I have a feeling there's some big changes on the horizon, a long time comin, and getting closer and closer. We can't pretend the mass produced guys are asleep at the wheel. They caught up and as we hear more about them and take them serious some folks are going to be pretty shocked.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

wkhanna
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an audiophile's worst nightmare...

Been using the DA B652 for years.
One set at work.
One set on the porch.
One set on the patio.

These things will embarrass a lot of other far more expensive speakers.
We (my gang of audio nerds) found that adding a little acoustical stuffing & minor $5 crossover resistor will make them truly shine.
Enough to make some grown men cry.

Bill - on the Hill
Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
- just an “ON” switch, Please -

michael green
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an audiophiles best dream come true lol

As you guys can see I have been bold about some of the new audiophile products that have entered the market. It is so exciting to see high end audio go through such an amazing set of changes. I know for the ones who have spent their life savings it is a lot of pride to shallow, but when it comes down to sound first, there's a whole new ball game out there and as Stereophile and TAS help to make this more known and accepted along with the general music lover the gap between the high and low will close.

This is not a marketing move, the simply made mass produced products coming out are really that good. High end designers need to take a look at why and make some changes of their own. The improvements that the mass world have been making are incredible.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

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