Best speakers in the $400 Range?

BO(V)BZ

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As you said you were confused, here's a simple breakdown of speaker systems available:

1) PC speakers - Range from total shit to average, with the best being the Klipsch Ultras
2) HTIB's such as the Onkyo system - EVERY one I've heard was shit. Not ONE was worth the money, they are designed for people who know nothing about speakers to get their cheapass surround sound to impress their similarly uninformed friends.
3) Bose-style speakers - Basically the rich-man's HTIB, they offer the performance of a system half their price. Not total shit, but definitely not a good deal. Once again, bought by those with money to impress their friends as much as to watch movies with.
4) Commercial speakers - There's a wide wide range of different brands here that offer prices and performances across the board. Some good deals such as the Athena's that Best Buy sell stand out for retail speakers. Otherwise, buying speakers from botique dealers can be a hassle, especially if you are inexperienced, as they can be somewhat snobby.
5) Internet brands - There's a reason all my gear besides my receiver [which is about the weakest link right now, and is next in line to be replaced] is from an internet-only company. Their products range from good to astounding, and the prices are always very competitive. If you seriously want some good speakers, this is the best route to go in my opinion. Customer service is also exemplary in all the cases that I've seen.

If you are so hung up on surround sound, AV123's Tykes would be probably the best that you could manage in your price range. I don't think that you'd be disappointed.

One last point: you view something like the Klipsch's as a stepping stone to a full-fledged HT setup, but it's more of a stumbling block than anything. You are dumping 300$ into something that you'll basically want to throw away. If you buy a receiver and some speakers, even if they are the Tykes, you can replace them one pair at a time, as your budget permits, taking minimal losses. Hell, you could always add two more speakers down the road like the RS150's that AV123 currently has for 200$ to make your system a 7.1 like you want =]
 

GodsMadClown

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BO(V)BZ said:
One last point: you view something like the Klipsch's as a stepping stone to a full-fledged HT setup, but it's more of a stumbling block than anything. You are dumping 300$ into something that you'll basically want to throw away.

Q.F.T.
 

Reagan

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Not to hijack the thread, but BO(\/)BZ and GodsMadClown, what do you guys think of picking up a pair of Klipsch RSX-4s and a Harmon Kardon AVR-135 with the intent to round it out later with 2 more bookshelfs, a center and a sub? Would this give me much better sound than a pair of Swans M-200s? I plan to run them off a Chaintech AV-710. (When I move up to surround, I'll get a different card, this would just be for stereo.)
 

serbiaNem

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Ok.. the Micras are in stock, I don't think I will be going with the tykes. Will getting the Micras with that 119 Onkyo receiver be a good decision for my money?

Edit: How do I use the Onkyo points to reduce the receiver price?
 

ccotenj

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BO(V)BZ said:
One last point: you view something like the Klipsch's as a stepping stone to a full-fledged HT setup, but it's more of a stumbling block than anything. You are dumping 300$ into something that you'll basically want to throw away. If you buy a receiver and some speakers, even if they are the Tykes, you can replace them one pair at a time, as your budget permits, taking minimal losses. Hell, you could always add two more speakers down the road like the RS150's that AV123 currently has for 200$ to make your system a 7.1 like you want =]

a big "hallelujah" from the choir... :)

of course, we've been trying to tell him that for awhile now... :rolleyes:

reagan... i suggest you listen to klipsch speakers before you buy klipsch speakers... some people (a real good friend of mine, for example, who knows his audio) absolutely love them, and some people (me, for example) don't like them at all... klipsch, more than any other speaker brand, polarizes people...
 

serbiaNem

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Alright, heres the final decision. The Micras or the Klipsch. I listened to the klipsche at Best Buy, they were the best sounding setup there. They weren't in a 5.1 config or even setup well, but the sound coming out was clear. I bought my AL 2.1s by comparing them at BB with other 2.1 systems, they sounded the best there so I bought them. I looked up reviews later and found that a lot of people loved them.

Now here is another point, upgrading at this price range is not a real consideration. Even if I were to get the Micras, I would have to upgrade the receiver later along with all the speakers eventually (I will be buying better much quality components). It would be like just buying a new HT system anyway.

I will also always have someone to give the Klipsch to when I upgrade (or just keep them for computer, and build HT for well.. a HT). My sister has a lot of stress right now (premed, took mCats, 24credits, summer credits), so I lent her my AL to help her study (she listens to music while studying), I'm just going to let her keep them and get new speakers. I might just end up giving her what I buy now for when she gets to med school. She thinks the AL are amazing, so the Klipsch (or micras) would have a suitable home.

I'm really asking this, do the Klipsch sound BAD when compared to the micras? The Klipsch have less features (no remote, less control over certain aspects sound, things I don't really care for or can do in software) and they cost less (with reciever on micras), which would make it seem like Klipsch go purely for sound quality. Considering that either system probably won't be upgraded, but rather given a new home, what would be the better value for the money?

The Klipsch can be had for $280 total after shipping. The Micras for near the $400 mark with receiver and shipping (surprisingly what I asked for in the first place, but rethinking now). Shoot me down, but as you can probably tell, I'm leaning toward the Klipsch.

Edit: Saving money = a big plus with no upgrading.
 

so_cal_forever

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serbiaNem said:
Ok.. the Micras are in stock, I don't think I will be going with the tykes. Will getting the Micras with that 119 Onkyo receiver be a good decision for my money?

Edit: How do I use the Onkyo points to reduce the receiver price?

When you are checking out, it will deduct the amount of points from your total.

Nice choice on that receiver. I got mine a few days ago and its been treating me well. :)
 

serbiaNem

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Would this be a terrible idea? Get the Onkyo speakers which come with a 7.1 receiver (Onkyo makes nice receivers I hear), and then upgrade the speakers over time?
 

Mister X

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Onkyo speakers suck but that really depends on what speakers they packaged with the reciever and how much you are paying for them. ;)
 

ccotenj

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brutally honest opinion coming up...

yes. it's a horrible idea. the onkyo speakers SUCK. SUCK SUCK SUCK SUCK SUCK!!!

that being said. you obviously WANT a 7.1 system and want someone to tell you it's a good idea. so go buy one already, but you aren't going to get anyone to tell you it's a good idea (all the options you've thrown out are a waste of money when it comes to SQ, and even if you COULD spend the money to get equipment with decent SQ, you CANNOT set it up correctly in as small an area as a dorm room. it simply won't work acoustically, at least with not a SIGNIFICANT amount of room treatment). so go get it over with. look at it this way, it won't be the last time you waste money in your lifetime.

sorry. not a flame. but quit looking for confirmation. you asked for advice. you've been given GOOD consistent advice. you don't want to take it. so go throw your money away. after all, you earned it, it's yours to do whatever you want with. heaven knows i've thrown away money on worse things in my lifetime, you are entitled to do the same.

and as far as buying the 7.1 receiver today and expecting to upgrade speakers over time, sorry, that doesn't wash either... the part of any surround system that becomes obsolete the fastest is the surround processing part... not the speakers... not the amp... by the time you get out of college, that receiver (besides NOT being up to the task to begin with) is gonna be obsolete...

maybe you can explain to us why you are so hung up on 7.1?

the original recommendation was buy a cheap receiver and a pair of good used monitors. that's still what i would do. but it's your money. spend it on whatever you want. but i don't think anyone is going to change their minds and all of a sudden decide that some 400 dollar 7.1 system is going to be a good idea... you aren't "confused" at all... you know EXACTLY what you want... unfortunately, what you "want" doesn't match up with the advice you are getting....

<hyperventilates a bit> :D
 

serbiaNem

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:) You are very right when you say I am hooked on a 7.1 system. 5.1 looks great, but 7.1 can be used later for future movies and can be used right now for my gaming. Getting even a 6.1 system seems like a wast due to me not being able to hear much directly behind me. But having two speakers there would help out. I like the thought of being able to hear exactly where someone is when they try to get behind. In going with future proof, even if I do hear better speakers down the road, I won't even consider buying them for at least a few years, so 7.1 now will be as futureproof as I get.

And everyone says the Onkyo's suck, but what makes them so much worse than say the Micras or HC6? I heard them at Circuit City and they sounded very clear with nice bass. A little info on their sound quality downfalls would be appreciated.

So you are right, I would prefer 7.1, but 5.1 wouldn't be the end of the world if the Onkyo's suck that badly.

Edit: The speakers would temporarily be used for my parents to enjoy while I'm not at college. We have a fairly large living room and the HC6 and Micra 6s have many reviewers saying that they get distorted at louder volumes. With that in mind, are there any other recommendations? The Onkyo's don't appear to have that problem.. But if they suck..
 

Pinipig523

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Just get the promedia ultras for now. Go for real speakers when you have the disposable income to do it instead of spreading yourself thin at the moment. I would seriously stick with the ultras - this coming from a guy with over $3000 of speakers for his computer.

Btw, good luck with your sister. I took the mcats a year and a half ago and now I'm just about to finish the first year at medical school. It's tough to get in and the road just gets tougher after. Good luck to her and I hope she gets in at her first choice.
 

serbiaNem

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In my confused spec reading, rereading, comparing (was pretty confused, let me tell you), I just read something interesting. I can get the HC6 system for 263 if I pick it up in NY, and get the $119 receiver listed below for about exactly 400. For $100 more than the Klipsch they seem like they are a bargain.

To Pinipig: Before she took the mcat she was studying day in and day out. I knew she had the drive to make it when I saw her getting up at 5AM everyday to study after sleeping only a few hours. Me on the otherhand, I need my beauty rest. I have a greater appreciation for doctors and anyone willing to get to that level after seeing what they go through. Have good luck at medschool.
 

g33zy

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Since you seem oh so confused, i'll just tell you what I have and you can see if u like:

Pioneer 600W Home Theater Speakers 5.1
http://www.heartlandamerica.com/item/default.asp?SKU=82907&r=j&f=f
Pioneer Reciever
http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Pioneer-5-1-Channel-Surround-Sound-Receiver-VSX-D514-S-/sem/rpsm/oid/90862/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do

Harmon Kardon Speakers from my old Dell (i know its an ebay link but I couldn't find any others)
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5201823719&category=41845

2 Headsets because I got them bundled for $9 on ebay!
http://www.costcentral.com/proddetail/Altec_Lansing_AHS_502/AHS502/C58202/froogle/
http://www.costcentral.com/proddetail/Altec_Lansing_AHS_302/AHS302I/G31586/froogle/

of Course a switch for the speakers (which is VERY handy)
http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&product%5Fid=26-204

Now lemme tell you how its all set up, I have the Audigy pumpin the Harmon Kardon speakers & headset with the audio out going to the speaker switch....
then connceted to the switch are the AL AHS-502 and the HarmonKardons so 1 button switches between those.

When i'm in the mood for the big boys to come out I have them plugged into the on board DFi nVidia audio output and just switch the audio output device (since both are installed) over to that, and let me tell you....they are AWESOME, bass is so heavy I have to put sponge under the sub so the downstairs neighbors don't complain and the speakers are crisp and clear with properly working surround.

The only prob is that my desk is not in the right spot for the surround because my TV is :) ...(which is also connected to the Pioneer) Just make sure that if you gonna do this kinda setup, use a ground loop isolator to stop the humming that comes from the TV
http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&product%5Fid=270-054

The AL 302 sits in a drawer and its for other ppl to use when they come over cause i hate ppl's stink breath in my mic.:p

This works well for me and may be something to consider...basically....I use the headset for intense gaming because even with surround its better for hearing everything thats going on, light gaming and daily use around on the comp i use the Kardon's and when its time to turn it up I use the Home Theater setup.

I have it set up like this because despite what I thought, I don't use the HT setup as much because is so loud and dominating especially when im just doing something simple like watching a video clip or browsing a website with music. Its when i am watching a full movie or listening to music i switch over to the HT.

just my opinion :cool:
 

serbiaNem

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Well it's now official. I'm getting the HC6 with the Onkyo receiver. Will be ordering eithe tomorrow or when I come back from Ireland for pickup from JR. Thanx for all the help. I only need 3 Minijack-RCA cables to hook them up to a soundcard right?
 

Boltaction

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mike_j_johnson said:
Get the Monster Cable upgrade too :)

Jesus no! Don't buy into that crap!

Independant studies have shown time and time again wiring has little effect on sound quality in home systems. If you are spending $20,000 on a sound stage, maybe then. Otherwise, do not waste your money!

Consider antique sound stuff. I didn't until I heard some amazing stuff. Right now I have a Yamaha amp, M&K 12' sub and Polk Monitor 5jr+'s. The speakers are hiding behind a curtain and I use a projector to play games and browse the web. It is awesome.
 

ccotenj

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Boltaction said:
Polk audio is the poor mans reference speaker.

????? other than the fact that you own them, would you care to expound upon that statement some?
 

killernoodle

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AHHHHEM:

http://www.htd.com/levfourmains.html

I have an older set of HTD level 3s and they are some quality components. Beautiful sounding, better than my friend's athenas. And that is hooked up to my klipsch 4.1 sub for amplification!!!

I cant wait until I get the HK AVR-320 in the mail so I can really start listening to some music. That shit is gonna rock so hard.
:D :cool:
 

Pinipig523

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Boltaction said:
Polk audio is the poor mans reference speaker.

True and false....

True: They do make good speakers.

False: The LSi isnt cheap by any means and truly are reference grade speakers.
 

Max-Powers

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I know its a big war between the Klipsch Ultras 5.1 and logitech z5500. cant say I have heard the klipsch, but I love my z5500. I live in a small 2 man army barracks and they are awsome speakers for my small room. dont need something super huge that would get the MPs knocking at my door ever weekend. great deal seeing as I got them for $150 new. (dell sent me 2 for no extra charge :) , sold other to my friend for $150)
 

Pinipig523

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Getting the z5500 for $150 new is an AWESOME deal! My brother has the ultras and my friend has the 5500.... both are good systems - but I would have to give the nod to the ultras overall.

The z5500 vs the Klipsch ultras are probably 90:100 in ratio, IMO.
 

serbiaNem

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Ok, just ordered my receiver and will be picking up the HC6 tomorrow at J&R. Thanks to everyone for the help. Let the wire stripping and speaker/receiver configuring commence.
 

BossNoodleKaboodle

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serbiaNem said:
I saved up some money for a nice set of futureproof (hopefully) speakers. I was looking at the Creative Gigaworks s750's because I like the 7.1 setups (being futureproof and all).

I'm building a new computer soon and will be gaming, watching movies, and listening to music. I wan't a speaker system that will make my media shine. I might wait to build the computer when the X-Fi card comes out though.

Are the s750's a good bargain or is there some home theatre setup that is better for the money? Take into consideration that they need to last a few years and will spend most of their time in a single person dorm room.

Any information appreciated.

are you going to get stands and have a stone henge of speakers around your computer chair?

all these ultra high quality sound cards are going to be a waste of money unless multimedia speaker makers start getting to Meridian levels of quality. its all a BS gimmick.
 

serbiaNem

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I'm just going to buy a cheap audigy till the new card comes out for PCI-E. I really just want to buy a card now and have it last me a few systems.
 

hity645

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I didn't read all what you said but...
I just bought the Creative Megaworks 6.1 Setup...gonna get an audigy 2 cause my current card only goes up to 5.1...Im very pleased...their loud and css is such a breeze i can hear people walking, doors opening etc etc. Got them on E-Bay from the Creative Online Store for $150-$160 where as most retailers are $200-$300.. just my 2 cents
 

serbiaNem

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http://www.shoponkyo.com/detail.cfm?productid=TX-SR302&modelid=38&group_id=1&detail=1&ext_war=1
Is the receiver, it was 119 after joining club onkyo. It still hasn't arrived yet.

http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.process?Product=2455237
Are the speakers, I went to J&R to pick them up and save on shipping.

My first impression of the speakers is that they are heavy and look very nice. I listening to them for a bit at JR and felt the surround sounded very good for the short time I listened to them. I have yet to buy the wire for them.

If anyone knows, is the subwoofer preout just one rca cable end?
 

GodsMadClown

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serbiaNem said:
If anyone knows, is the subwoofer preout just one rca cable end?

Yes. You shouldn't need a splitter. Usually just one of the RCA hookups (left or right) is used for a mono input like that.
 

serbiaNem

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Phew, good. I'll take pics of my dorm room setup when I get my Olympus c-8080 camera (gotta show them in all their glory after all).
 

serbiaNem

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Apparently there was a problem with my credit card on Onkyo.com. For the time being, the receiver has not been bought or shipped. I was looking on CircuitCity.com and found this Onkyo TX-SR303 receiver for 189.99. It looks nicer than the 302, how does it compare to the TX-SR302 sound quality wise?

Also, is there any cheap but good 7.1 receiver? I think I may be adding 2 more speakers sooner than I had originally anticipated.
 

serbiaNem

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I got the Onkyo TX-SR503 thinking by christman I might add on two more speakers. Am I allowed to mix speaker brands for the surround?
 

Mister X

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Sure, but you have to pick and choose carefully or you end up with a system that sounds like crap.
 

serbiaNem

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I just hooked up and listened to the HC6s for a good 4hrs. I love the sound, but would that Dayton sub be better? For 124, it's quite a bargain.
 

o0akoni0o

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serbiaNem said:
I just hooked up and listened to the HC6s for a good 4hrs. I love the sound, but would that Dayton sub be better? For 124, it's quite a bargain.
i have the dayton the sub you're talking about and i love it. at home i have them connected to polk audio r30's (that i picked up really cheap) in my room and it's a wonderful 2.1 system. the dayton is easily the best sub in its price range, will outperform any sub in a pc speaker set, and is comparable to subs in the $150-200 range. if you can afford a $200+ sub right now then by all means go for it, but if you really would like to stay less than that you can't go wrong with the dayton.
 

serbiaNem

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Ok.. I have a problem I can't solve.. The sub lags the music. I hear the drum beat .3 or so seconds after the music. What can I do to remedy this?

And can someone tell me where I can get a decent rca-minijack cable about 3 or 6ft long to connect the speakers to a sound card? I just bought a soundblaster live card to hold me over until the x-fi pci-e comes along.

Edit: Also, what should my crossover be set at? I think either 60 or 80 sounds good, and how do I set them to coincide with the receiver and back of sub setting? Also, what is the phase?
 

serbiaNem

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I have my hand on the sub right now, the time it takes for the vibration to come is lagging. I've placed it all over to adjust it. I don't have any fancy tech to test it, but I know it sounds a bit more in sync with phase at 0. I sat looking at the darn driver while listening to bass heavy music, it lags...
 
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