Speakers for musical enjoyment

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 12410 times.

mcgsxr

Speakers for musical enjoyment
« on: 6 Aug 2013, 02:33 pm »
I built out our basement this past winter, and included a decent HT setup (Pioneer VSX-1018AH, Paradigm Cinema 330 front stage, Paradigm ADP-190 bipole surrounds, DIY massive 2x12 sub, 60 Panasonic Plasma) that I am very very happy with for movies.

Lately, at night, I have returned to that space (now relatively sound isolated from the main floor of the home) for music.  I can enjoy it, but it leaves something to be desired musically.  I believe it is the height of the tweeters of the 330's, as when you stand up to play pool the sound is much better.  The bass is not tight for music either, but very satisfying for movies.

So, I have the room for 2 channel speakers (all the other speakers are on wall).

I have in the past enjoyed Totem Rokk stand mounts, and open baffle DIY solutions for good musical speakers.  I am not looking to build up OB this time around, too many constraints in that room now that others come down there with more frequency.  I could envision a DIY speaker, but suspect that the 4-500 range is a good sweet spot for musical 2 way speakers used.

So, let's imagine I have a $400-500 budget for speakers.  Initially I will have to use the Pioneer (a 130w per channel receiver) to power the new music speakers, but in time a solution like the Nu Force DDA-100 integrated, or a Wadia powerdac, or the TEAC's A-H01 could all fit (all used of course in my budget).

I have a preference for used, and local, but shipping could happen for the right speakers.

Local used options within the budget include:

JM Lab Focal 706v
Usher s520
PSB Stratus Mini
Quad 11L
Definitive Technology BP6B
Definitive Technologies SM-55

Of those I am most interested in the Focals and the Usher's. 

The room is big (roughly 24x24x7) but the listening area is much smaller (though of course open to the whole room).

I will move the speakers out to listen, then back against the wall under the Cinema 330's.  The pic below shows when the room was initally finished, the Poang chair is gone, replaced with a larger leather recliner, and a matching loveseat to the existing black leather couch is now parallel to it.  So basically that end of the room is a family room setup.



Any ideas the speakers listed, or on good musical speakers for under $500?

Thanks!

Donald

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 102
Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #1 on: 6 Aug 2013, 03:44 pm »
I have not heard the other speakers listed, but I have a pair of the PSB Stratus mini's in the bedroom system been using for years. They are pleasantly satisfying speakers. No obvious weaknesses. With their ported design, they reach pretty deep for bookshelves in their used price range. (Around $400)

PMAT

Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #2 on: 6 Aug 2013, 03:57 pm »
I love the Ushers BUT what I envision happening is that any track with the boogie factor will make you want to turn the volume up. I would go with a used med-large bookshelf speaker that can play to 42hz.(-6) Pretty easy to find in your budget. Be patient and CL with cough a set up.

walkern

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 375
Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #3 on: 6 Aug 2013, 04:13 pm »
There is a pair of Usher 520s for sale (auction) on ebay right now, as well as a pair of 601s with a 'buy it now' price of $375 plus shipping (seems like a bargain to me) and a pair of Usher 701 kits (from Parts Express) that have been assembled in the P.E. cherry cabs (use similar drivers to the 601s and a Joe D'Appolito crossover design).  Any of those might float your boat?

Neil

mcgsxr

Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #4 on: 6 Aug 2013, 05:54 pm »
A valid point about some smaller speakers may prove unsatisfactory in a larger room once loving the tunes and the urge to goose the volume comes up.  For the record I will be nearfield (likely 6 foot listening distance, and speakers 6 feet apart once pulled off the wall, so that might mitigate it some.  Also, these will really just be 2 channel music speakers, so if I need to hear Crystal Method at 100DB, I can always fire up the HT setup...

I think the PSB and Focal options are large enough to continue the party at higher volumes.  The front ported ones make the most sense too, since I cannot get the speakers more than 2 feet into the room before they would darn near run into the couch and loveseat.

The Usher 601 is interesting, and there is a set not too far from me for $450 at the moment, but very limited reviews on them vs the ton of reviews for the 520's. 

Looks like I have an ear height of 36-39 inches or so once seated in the chair, and a total height of 41 inches under the Cinema 330's, so a larger bookshelf on a 20 inch stand could work.

I will continue to troll Canuck Audio Mart, and local CL and Kijiji ads.

Appreciate the ideas so far, any other recommendations for speakers I should keep an ear/eye out for appreciated too!
« Last Edit: 6 Aug 2013, 07:13 pm by mcgsxr »

JLM

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 8804
  • The elephant normally IS the room
Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #5 on: 8 Aug 2013, 09:30 am »
Can't imagine good sound quality from floor standers or getting much below 50 Hz for $500 (without going used or DIY).  Can you use the HT subs to help?

I've owned Ascend Acoustics CBM-170's (small 2-way stand mounts, currently $300/pair, internet only) for nearly 10 years and still love them.  The standard finish is low grade, but the content and musical values are extreme.  They're very musical, image like crazy, and can get loud (I've been using them in my HT system for the past 8 years).  Mine are the original version, the current should be better.  Lots of awards, positive reviews of the originals.

With speakers 2 feet from the front wall, bass reinforcement will be minor, port interference a non-factor, but could limit depth of soundstage.

I think you'll like near field listening (that's how my main audio rig is set up).  It sounds like a cross between traditional far field and headphones with imaging that simply 'snaps' into place.  Look for speakers that project the soundstage back versus forward.


Chuckdog2005

Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #6 on: 10 Aug 2013, 09:22 am »
Would a pair of the discontinued closeout priced Definitive Technology 350 or 450 work for your app?

The one's I've heard are true over achievers, especially at the Newegg.com "specials" pricing.

While my knowledge of what's out there now is very limited, I know when properly fed these little gems can belt out some big sound.

geowak

Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #7 on: 10 Aug 2013, 02:03 pm »
A used pair of Vandersteen 2CE often can be found at good prices. I love this speaker and it is often described as very musical. I listened to more than a few, two years ago. Settled on a new pair of 2CE Sig II. Mr. Vandersteen set out early in the design of the speaker to include less wood for aesthetics, thus reducing the price and allowing for more effort into better sound instead.

jarcher

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 1937
  • It Just Sounds Right
Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #8 on: 11 Aug 2013, 06:40 am »
A used pair of Vandersteen 2CE often can be found at good prices. I love this speaker and it is often described as very musical. I listened to more than a few, two years ago. Settled on a new pair of 2CE Sig II. Mr. Vandersteen set out early in the design of the speaker to include less wood for aesthetics, thus reducing the price and allowing for more effort into better sound instead.

Damn - GEOWAK beats me to the punch........I also got a pair of Vandersteen 2CE (not sig I or II) a few years ago for $350 (?) then got some OEM stands for $50 of ebay.  They ROCK (10' active + direct coupled passive bass cone)!  Decent sound stage w/ the "time aligned" etc whatever cabinetry.  Drivers are not the very last word in refinement, but at that price nothing to gripe about.  Very close to "full range".  I listen about 8-10 feet w/ them about 6 feet apart.  They are only about 2 feet from the back wall.  A bit farther forward would perhaps be more ideal, but don't have the space where they are.

Can't think off the top of the head something better, but maybe there's a cheapo older canadian or english option.  I think Mordaunt Short is under appreciated / known USA side.  A bit more rock / less polite than what you'd expect. 

JLM

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 8804
  • The elephant normally IS the room
Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #9 on: 11 Aug 2013, 09:42 am »
Not sure largish floorstanders or the Vandy 2 in particular are good options as he states they will be moved in and out of place between uses.


Racking my brain for ideas (don't worry, not much risk of real damage, and doesn't take that much effort).  How about small floor standers?  Thinking used Totem Arro (you mentioned having Totem in the past).  Or right here at AC, GR Research's A/V-O (2-way, up firing woofer, F3=50 Hz, 86 dB/w/m, DIY, 7" x 7" x 36", $249/pair, I've not heard them but I'm sure you can ask/look around here).

jarcher

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 1937
  • It Just Sounds Right
Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #10 on: 11 Aug 2013, 01:09 pm »
Vandy 2Cs if on their original base are easy to slide around on carpet. When you put the metal base stand with spikes is another story.

Ironically Totem Arro when mass loaded with buckshot or kitty litter as recomended is surprisingly heavy to move around - even when you Blu tak the plinth. Mine are practically anchored to the floor. BUT they do work as close as 1 foot away from the wall, so you wouldn't necessary have to move them. Maybe tough to get at under $500 though. I'm thinking more like $650 minimum. But you never know.

BTW - accessories for less is blowing out below cost the H01.3 Teac system which includes the op mentioned ah01. Even if you don't want the speakers, it comes out less than getting the ah01 and iPod digital dock seperately. I'm thinking of ordering one soon even though I need another system like a hole in the head.

pumpkinman

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 8565
  • A Kind Word Is an Easy Gift To Give
Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #11 on: 11 Aug 2013, 01:32 pm »
I picked up a pair of 2CE's w/ shot filled stands "and" nifty vinyl covers for them when they're not in use, for $200 off of Craigslist.
I like them so much I went out and bought a pair of 3A's. Though they are not so easy to move. But if your patient you can find them
for a great price.

jarcher

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 1937
  • It Just Sounds Right
Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #12 on: 11 Aug 2013, 02:07 pm »
I picked up a pair of 2CE's w/ shot filled stands "and" nifty vinyl covers for them when they're not in use, for $200 off of Craigslist.
I like them so much I went out and bought a pair of 3A's. Though they are not so easy to move. But if your patient you can find them
for a great price.

Wow - and who said high end audio isn't affordable.....

Always wondered if there wasn't a way to DIY upgrade mine to signature II spec seeing as mr vandersteen would never do so. Probably different crossover as well though......

mcgsxr

Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #13 on: 11 Aug 2013, 05:29 pm »
There is a set of Vandersteen 2CE's not far from me, but at $650 are out of the budget.  I also have a height restriction of about 41 inches (speakers need to fit under the wall mounted 330's), and the Vandy's on stands are just a little higher than that.

I'd go for Totem Arro's in a heartbeat, but the local options are $1000 or $500 for a set that need new woofers.

I'd consider stand or floorstanding, but was assuming that in my price range the available stand mount speakers would likely be a better value.

I am not looking for full range performance, I know the constraints my room and available positioning bring to the table, and coupled with the $500 max, I think it unrealistic to go chasing 20-40Hz.  I can live with that, as long as the speakers bring the music.

I am working on a deal with a local guy I know, for a set of Paradigm Studio Reference 20 V5's , rebuilt in new cabinets.  We'll see.  I doubt we'll see eye to eye on what they are really worth.

I stared long and hard at the beat up S2's here on AC in the Trading post too, but they are $650, so out of my league.  Too bad, they would sing down there, and the cabinets I could live with.  But the added shipping would drive it way over the budget.

Thanks for the ideas so far, I will keep this thread up to date as I go along.
« Last Edit: 11 Aug 2013, 06:42 pm by mcgsxr »

Captainhemo

Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #14 on: 12 Aug 2013, 06:12 pm »
I mentioned these  over in the starting block a week or so ago too but I'll   mention  them again.

For a great  price (well within your  budget),  look at the  X LS Encores (GR Research).
These are a great  little monitor,  very musical , lots of detail and well defined  , tight bass down  to about 50 hz.

I'm  sure you've seen the pair fs on the trading post  with the  Ninja master c/o's,  these are a super deal although getting them shipped up here to Canada  might be very expensive as you  well know
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=118475.0

I built a pair for my niece  (no c/o upgrades but cabinets lined) and was really  impressed !
I  bring these up again because I just think think they sound great and the value is outstanding.  I think they get overlooked  sometimes because  the kit prices are so cheap

-jay

Edit, sorry  ,  those ones on the trading post  actually don't have the Ninja c/o's, must have mixed them up with another pair.   They do  however have  a fully P2P  c-o with upgraded  caps and inductors.  Sorry for the error
« Last Edit: 13 Aug 2013, 06:00 pm by Captainhemo »

wushuliu

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 3295
  • “Forget it, Jake. It’s Internet-town.”
Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #15 on: 18 Aug 2013, 07:02 am »
Not a Danny Richie fanboy by any stretch but yes as far as retail options the deals in his forum including the XLS and Carnegie are hard to beat for <$400


zuluwarrior0760

Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #16 on: 18 Aug 2013, 07:16 am »
Want musical?  You can't do better than Vandy 2CE or 2CE Signatures for the price.
End of conversation......

Out of the budget?

Wait and increase the budget

Barring that, I've heard that the latest Pioneer loudspeakers designed
by TAD's Andrew Jones are giant killers for the price and very forgiving
of substandard amplification.....(ie Musical with a Receiver)

jupiterboy

Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #17 on: 18 Aug 2013, 03:21 pm »
Depending on the room, the 1C used would be even cheaper, and you could get some of that sound.

mcgsxr

Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #18 on: 18 Aug 2013, 05:14 pm »
Good advice, appreciate it.

I have only heard the OB7 speakers from GR.  I am betting the room did not help them, they sounded too tipped up for me there.  I have not heard the XLS, but I fear the rear port would hamper placement for me.

I will continue to wait for the moment, nothing compelling has come up yet to tempt me at, or even slightly above the budget.

I'll let the fund brew, and I check the local classifieds daily, so I am sure in the coming 6 months something will tempt me.

Of what is around, the original PSB Stratus Mini's are the most interesting for $400.

I would love to try on a set of those cheapie Pioneers, but none are available anywhere near the price's y'all are seeing in the US...

Captainhemo

Re: Speakers for musical enjoyment
« Reply #19 on: 18 Aug 2013, 06:18 pm »
Good advice, appreciate it.

I have only heard the OB7 speakers from GR.  I am betting the room did not help them, they sounded too tipped up for me there.  I have not heard the XLS, but I fear the rear port would hamper placement for me.

I will continue to wait for the moment, nothing compelling has come up yet to tempt me at, or even slightly above the budget.

I'll let the fund brew, and I check the local classifieds daily, so I am sure in the coming 6 months something will tempt me.

Of what is around, the original PSB Stratus Mini's are the most interesting for $400.

I would love to try on a set of those cheapie Pioneers, but none are available anywhere near the price's y'all are seeing in the US...

Makes sense... that rear port should probably be 14-18" from the front wall ideally and can definately cause placement limitations.   
It's brutal how much of a price jump there is on products this side of the border. How close are you to a US border town ?  You could always have a pair of the Pioneers shipped to one of the services that provide you with a US address and then warehouse the item(s) till you pick it up. I've done that quite a few times and it usually works out very well

good luck  with your search  :)

-jay