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I have not heard that particular speaker before, but reading that it is a bamboo laminate , 87db efficient and rear ported (a problem if you plan on having these near the wall).. I don't know if I would personally get them for $848 for the pair.. I'd personally rather throw another $150 at it and get these:

1201332179.jpg

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I have not heard that particular speaker before, but reading that it is a bamboo laminate , 87db efficient and rear ported (a problem if you plan on having these near the wall).. I don't know if I would personally get them for $848 for the pair.. I'd personally rather throw another $150 at it and get these:

They're not bamboo laminate, they're solid bamboo...no mdf used at all.

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Well, its not like I have a G to spend on speakers right now anyway, so its not relevant anyway, I just thought they were an interesting twist on materials.

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I was looking through the Canuck Audio Mart forum and came across this pic...what can happen if you don't assemble your ikea unit properly...ouch:

50ktw6.jpg

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wow, that really sucks. It got me thinking about my setup, I have the same unit (different colour), but I didn't put it together myself (gift/surprise) I hope my friends did a good job. Only time will tell I suppose...

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Poopie - I was looking into those very pretty Vienna Acoustics monitors you posted above...what sort of power would you need to run those in an amp?

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Just anything clean.. they sound great with any receiver.. something with high current and lower distortion is going to give you improved imaging and a better mid-bass. If you can get something that doubles up at 4ohms and it's within your budget, that will be even better for you. Good luck.

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Was that pic of your personal speakers or from the net? They're quite beautiful...I love the transparent woofer and how its ported on each side of the tweeter enclosure. The rosewood is also quite spiffy.

I was planning on getting NAD's 325BEE amp, which is 40w/channel, 110w at 8ohms, and 160w at 4ohms. VA's specs recommend an amp between 25-180w, but that's pretty vague.

I have another ? about my current setup of sub & sat's. The NAD amp doesn't have a LFE input, so I'm either going to be connecting the sub to the pre-out, or using the speaker inputs directly, and having the satellites connected to the sub directly. Is there a preference (did that make any sense?)

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Thats a pair of speakers from the net, those are in the VA signature rosewood finish. Peter Gansterer's wife was on a trip in India one time and saw this specific type of rosewood and fell in love with it so much she decided to buy the entire world's supply of that type of rosewood. The woofer was originally not meant to be transparent, its a mixture of 14 materials carefully chosen to give a neutral "colorless" sound.. and they are ported on the front so that you can place them close to a back wall if you have to.

NAD makes great amps, real good quality for the money. Just watch out for those types of specs.. it looks like this amp is 40w/channel at 8/4ohms. The 110w and 160w ratings are given driving one channel at a time - not a true indication of what you can expect. I see the msrp on this unit is $399usd, are you looking to buy new from a retailer or used from ebay or audiogon? If you are looking at buying used, I'd recommend moving on up to the C370 integrated amp, it has substantially more power and on ebay, are only a few dollars more. If you are looking at new units, I'd recommend the NAD 355 or 352 because from what I've heard, 75-100w is what you want to get with these speakers. Again, I don't know what your preferences are in listening volume, but the Viennas can play loud if you want them to.

Here's a link to a C370: http://cgi.ebay.com/NAD-C370-AMP_W0QQitemZ160205038670QQihZ006QQcategoryZ3280QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

As far as sub & stats.. The NAD amp doesn't have an LFE output because LFE is a seperate discreet channel only used in 5.1 encoded films and SACDs, never for CDs or Vinyl. Does your sub have speaker terminals? If it does then you want to run it off those, this way your subwoofer is getting the exact same signal that your speakers are getting. This will increase system synergy and make it seem like your subwoofer is not really there.

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That's a cool story about the rosewood...almost justifies the $300 extra tacked on for it. ;)

Good info about the specs...I sort of knew that the 110/160w stats weren't quite relevant, but it makes much more sense now. The NAD 352 is $100 more here than the 325, but I tend not to listen to anything very loud anyway, so its not a huge concern I guess.

My sub does have speaker terminals, so I guess I'll be hooking it up that way.

Thanks again for the info!

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I have a feeling this thread is just for me to hear my own voice...but whatever.

So I went listening to some speakers on the weekend (good times). Mostly cheap ones, because I don't even want to know what I'm missing with the nicer ones.

I listened to Cambridge Audio's S30 (meh), Mordaunt Short's Carnival 2's (more meh), PSB's Alpha B1 (best so far, but still didn't feel "it"), and one other...Infinity I think? I forget...but it left no impression next to the cheaper Alpha B1.

Next on my list to try - Monitor Audio's Bronze Series BR2, which looks promising. The Alpha's were "cute" and all, but lacked the depth I was looking for. I have a feeling after living with a proper sub for this long, I'm not going to find the bass I'm looking for anyway, but I'm still striving for a bit depper sound than what I've heard thus far.

Front port vs. rear port....opinions?

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So, I kind of loathe all the speakers you posted about. I would recommend checking out ebay and audiogon fairly regularly and picking up some of the really good deals.

Simple deals like this: http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrmoni&1205340051 come along all the time, and you can get really nice speakers for not too much. There are also a fair quantity of speakers being sold in Canada to avoid the pain in the ass international shipping.

I don't think anyone can say "front port is better" or "rear port is better" and be taken seriously. I have owned good front ported speakers and rear ported speakers. They require being designed differently, and have different placement limitations, but given a competent designer either can work.

I hadn't noticed this thread. What are you getting? What do you care about (bass, clarity, vocals, tone)? What do you hope to spend (I'm too lazy to read the thread, ignore me if you like).

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I wasn't crazy about any of the speakers I've heard as of yet...hence my ongoing hunt.

The only reason I haven't been looking 2nd hand is because I HATE dealing with people...I sold my current (past now) system and it was a horrible experience. I know I can get good deals, etc. buying used, but I'm just lazy and would rather purchase from a store where I can listen first, etc.

To sum up my personal issues in the thread...I purchased a Pro-ject Xpression III turntable, and am now in the slooooow process (ie - i have no moneys) of getting an amp and some speakers.

What speakers would you recommend in the $500ish bracket (give or take a few hundre). I listen to pretty much everything, ideally would like something with a bit of bass, but mostly interested in the higher octave being well produced.

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What speakers would you recommend in the $500ish bracket (give or take a few hundre). I listen to pretty much everything, ideally would like something with a bit of bass, but mostly interested in the higher octave being well produced.

How many speakers are you looking to get for $500?

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How many speakers are you looking to get for $500?

2

is that unreasonable?

My plan was to get the best I could right now...and then move them to my home theatre system when I can afford better.

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What speakers would you recommend in the $500ish bracket (give or take a few hundre). I listen to pretty much everything, ideally would like something with a bit of bass, but mostly interested in the higher octave being well produced.

To give you an idea of my speaker likes, I've loved B&W (not the 805s though, shits are muddy), Dynaudio, Totem, Egglestonworks, and all those kind of things. With the exception of B&W, they all share a "warm" midrange and for the most part a slightly rolled off high end. My suggestion, allowing for used, would be to pick up a pair of the rainmakers from audiogon, they're just such an incredible little speaker. Also, Totem likes bass, and gets great bass out of small, cheapish cabinets. These go down solidly to right around the bottom note of a bass guitar, which the B&Ws and Dynaudio A52s don't quite pull off.

The successor to the B&W DM602 I had is actually a very nice speaker for around $600. I dunno the model number any more. It is a touch clinical, but very pleasant. I love these speakers, but they're less my thing than the dynaudio/totem sound, which I equate (though others may not). Here it is, this is the successor to the 602:

http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/display.aspx?infid=2301&terid=2304&sc=hf

Hitting $500ish or thereabouts new, I'd see if you can't find a bit of a deal on a demo model Dynaudio Audience 52 or a rainmaker, both of which retail for around $900. I'm wary of linking my suggestions, since I'm probably a day away from picking up one of these, but on audiogon:

Rainmakers

http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrmoni&1205340051

http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrmoni&1207444852

http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrmoni&1207169312

A52SE ($825 though):

http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrmoni&1205090210

This, and the Audience 72 and 72se even more so, are just really nice. I can never really critically listen to them, they don't quite do that, but I'm always just happy when I listen to music I like through them, and that's nice. se means special edition, which isn't marketspeak, it means they've got the drivers from the much more expensive contour line and some crossover improvements IIRC.

EDIT: I think $500 is a hard price to get a good full range speaker worth hearing. I would suggest either saving for a speaker that costs closer to $1000 or buying something used. Kiya's paradigms are probably great. I got my little brother a pair of paradigms and a NAD amp when he went off to college and they've always made him happy.

EDIT2: I should have said, Totems and even more so Dynaudios are hard to drive. You need good power, and quite a bit of it.

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Thanks for the tips. They carry the Totem line at my local audio store, so I'll check those out. I was quite impressed with the looks of the Arro's, but haven't actually listened to them, and assume that they don't sound all that great at their size (just assumptions though).

I'll do some research on the Dynaudio's as well. They're carried at the same store as the B&W's, which I've done lots of research on (685's). They seem to be great speakers, I just wish they weren't so damn big.

Edit - any opinions on the Paradigm Reference Studio 20's? I think they're in Version 3 now, so the old reviews online seem moot. They're also easier to drive than the others (allegedely), so I can focus more of the budget on speakers and less on amplification. Thoughts?

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2

is that unreasonable?

My plan was to get the best I could right now...and then move them to my home theatre system when I can afford better.

Man, i JUST sold a pair of Paradim Monitor 9 floor standing speakers for $450 yesterday..

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Thanks for the tips. They carry the Totem line at my local audio store, so I'll check those out. I was quite impressed with the looks of the Arro's, but haven't actually listened to them, and assume that they don't sound all that great at their size (just assumptions though).

I'll do some research on the Dynaudio's as well. They're carried at the same store as the B&W's, which I've done lots of research on (685's). They seem to be great speakers, I just wish they weren't so damn big.

No, you are wrong. way wrong. They sound phenomenal. I should have recommended them, since they're another readily available speaker for around $700. The Arros sound better than the rainmakers in my opinion, have great bass extension, and are phenomenal. They DO NOT PLAY LOUD. Trying to turn them up to loud causes them to bottom out and break, but at moderate/reasonable volumes, they are fucking unreal. I just haven't been thinking about them because my speakers always get co-opted for parties, and so they would last like a week until someone came over and turned them up. I don't mean you have to listen quietly, but there are very real volume limits with them.

The 685s are very nice. They're also clunky and large. They have a sound that is very different from the Dynaudios. You will hear the difference immediately. They're also easy to drive.

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Edit - any opinions on the Paradigm Reference Studio 20's? I think they're in Version 3 now, so the old reviews online seem moot. They're also easier to drive than the others (allegedely), so I can focus more of the budget on speakers and less on amplification. Thoughts?

Paradigms have never done it for me. But, that's just me. Lots of people love them, and the Reference line is less muddy sounding to me than their monitor line. My brother fell in love with his, and they stay incredibly popular at stores carrying dynaudio, b&w and on and on, so they must do something right. They're available all over. Take a listen. The old reviews will give you an idea of their priorities and character, but not exactly what has been improved.

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Another option for you that i think you'd dig.

Get a pair of DM600 S3 speakers and a B&W sub. They'd be great for music (The B&W subs work well with music AND films, which is somewhat rare i find..) and they'd be great for a home theater start too.

You can probably get a pair of speakers plus a sub for $550...

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Good info boys...thanks.

Kiya - you use B&W don't you? Which do you have again? I currently have the sub/sat combo, although not B&W, and am not very satisfied with the setup. I will look into the models you mentioned though, because I've only thus far been reading reviews on full size sets.

Good to know about the Arro's...I've read mixed reviews on them, and they were always a bit out of my range ($1200 here), but they're quite nice.

When you say hard to drive, how much power would I need in an amp? I still don't full understand the 4 vs. 8ohms deal...I was asking about that earlier.

Any opinions on Dali speakers? Ikon1 specifically. I've noticed that people have very strong opinions on brands that they like and brands that they don't. I'm of course taking note of all recommendations and plan on buying what sounds good to me....but why all the hate out there?

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Yes, i do use B&W.

I have a set of CM7 speakers i use for audio (retail $2000) which i got late last year.. I love em.

For anybody that wants anything from B&W, i can normally get 15% to 20% off retail from a close friend that works in the industry..

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When you say hard to drive, how much power would I need in an amp? I still don't full understand the 4 vs. 8ohms deal...I was asking about that earlier.

Urkh. I looked into the ohm bullshit at one point, and don't really understand it. My (simplistic) understanding is that it's just a matter of resistance. An ideal transistor amplifier (some of the Krells mirror this behavior) double output each time the resistance halves, so 200 W into 8 ohms, 100 W into 4 ohms. Tube amps, for reasons I won't pretend to know, do not duplicate this behavior, their output does not increase as resistance reduces. Lower resistances somehow (again, sorry, I just don't know the way it works) are harder for amplifiers if I understand right.

Regarding hard to drive, I mean a few things. 1) They are lowish sensitivity at lower resistances, 2) They drop to a very low resistance somewhere (or some wheres) in the frequency spectrum, 3) they just sound better when they have more available power and it is "better" power. Obviously, #3 is a bit subjective. But, there are certain speakers I've heard that sound flat and dead with a perfectly good 40wpc NAD amp, and like completely different brilliant speakers out of 400wpc Krells. Obviously this is an extreme case, but in the case of the Totems, I would try to get at least 50+ watts a channel. If I remember, the Arros are nicer about this than the dreamcatchers. I really don't know why, I know some people think that this is a transistor problem, and others think it is why tubes are bad, and I can't be bothered to care about the nearly religious wars in audio. What I will say is that I would try to get at least 50 watts of good power (Bryston, Rotel, etcetera).

Reviews are good and all, but you gotta listen too. Prices don't mean shit, reviews don't mean shit, and really my opinions don't mean shit. When I got my first system years ago (freshman year in High School), my parents bought me some sony components and speakers from Fry's, we put them together, and they sounded like SHIT. Just absolute shit. So we returned them all and went to a really fancy stereo store. We ended up getting the cheapest NAD receiver and a pair of DM602s. I used a walkman until I got a summer job then picked up a NAD CD player. It sounded awesome. At the same store, though, I listened to a lot of systems I couldn't then, and can't now, afford. The one the salesman wanted to show me was a Wilson Audio Maxx speaker system, Mark Levinson amps, a Meridian CD player and on and on. The salesman just loved listening it, and showed it to anyone who would listen. It was one of the best systems of the time. I hated it, it sounded awful. I heard another system playing off Meridian amps and cd player to Egglestonworks Andra speakers that remains the most divine sound I've yet heard. It was more than I can afford now, but probably more of a $15,000 system than the $300,000 the one I hated cost.

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Speaker Options

Lots of good info T...thanks again. My plan is of course to listen to each and every option in person if I can, but I plan on making a list of hopefuls in the meantime, because I find it overwhelming just walking in without any plan at all.

Okay, so my budget has been extended to the $1000ish range, but will be happening a bit later now...either way, here'smy shortlist...comments from all please if you've heard them:

1. NHT Classic 3 (lots of good reviews...sealed cabinet which is different)

2. Dali Ikon 1 (good brand rep., not much info online)

3. Paradigm Studio 20 (Canadian-made, hopefully cheaper here)

4. RBH 61-SE (high-ball option)

5. B&W 685 (low-ball option)

6. Totem Arro or Rainmaker (also Canuck made)

Record Cleaning

On another note, I'm curious about cleaning brushes & stylus cleaners as we've already discussed liquid/enzyme-based solutions a bit.

I ordered this (cheap on ebay):

http://www.needledoctor.com/Onzow-Zerodust

I'm currently looking for a carbon-fibre brush as well...they all sort of look the same, but if anyone has any insight, that would be great.

Speaker Stands

I don't think this has been discussed much. Ideas? Opinions? There's some pricy shit out there...is it worth it to drop hundreds (thousands) of dollars on stands? How important is isolation? Does anyone actually use the spike feet on non-carpeted floors? Discuss. :)

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Speaker stands beyond around $200-300 are bullshit in my never humble opinion. The cheapest stand you can find with 3-4 solid legs (or one huge one) that can be sand filled and has a rock solid top and base which takes spikes is all you need. I lucked out got some $250ish ones for $75. Speaker stands are also things for which technology has not changed in 20 years. Find old ones if money is any issue.

NHT speakers have some of the lowest sensitivity of any speakers I've ever seen, harder to drive even than my baby totem and dynaudios. I like the tone of NHT speakers quite a bit, but never felt like I wanted to invest the money needed to drive them. It seemed to me, when I bought my last (now being replaced) stereo system that the NHTs had a huge hidden cost of requiring much amplification, and that I would be better served by avoiding that or getting nicer speakers.

Paradigms just have a consistently unreal reputation for being good, so definitely worth a listen.

The 685s are B&Ws 4th generation 600 series. The 3rd generation was fantastic, the fourth generation should be improved. It is also the first speaker for which they've moved production to China IIRC. I don't know what that will mean for long-term reliability. I don't know if they're manufacturing to the same standards or not.

Don't know RBH or the Dalis.

Listen to the totems for me even if they're not on the shortlist.

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I've added the Totem Rainmakers to the list. I'm going to scout out who carries each and go for a listen. I have to compare the prices again with the Arro's to see if they fit in the running.

Totem sells two separate speaker stands...$200 and $450 respectively. I'll consider teh $200, but nothing more.

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I've added the Totem Rainmakers to the list. I'm going to scout out who carries each and go for a listen. I have to compare the prices again with the Arro's to see if they fit in the running.

Totem sells two separate speaker stands...$200 and $450 respectively. I'll consider teh $200, but nothing more.

There are many lesser known companies that sell basically the same stands for cheaper than the larger companies. Totem being canadian could change the price considerations, but if it doesn't, don't worry about the name. I think Target makes good ones for possibly a bit less than that, and so on and so forth. I mean, speakers are fairly complex, and it makes sense to spend a lot. Speaker stands are big steel tubes with platforms and a hole cut in them so you can fill them with sand. That's it.

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There are many lesser known companies that sell basically the same stands for cheaper than the larger companies. Totem being canadian could change the price considerations, but if it doesn't, don't worry about the name. I think Target makes good ones for possibly a bit less than that, and so on and so forth. I mean, speakers are fairly complex, and it makes sense to spend a lot. Speaker stands are big steel tubes with platforms and a hole cut in them so you can fill them with sand. That's it.

So what is your opinion on spikes?

I have all my speakers on spikes.. Fronts have screw in bottom mount spikes and my rears are on B&W stands that have spikes on the speaker platform so the speaker almost looks like it's floating..

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  • Luisa via Roma (US)
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