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Rookie Advice

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  • Rookie Advice

    I have $800 to spend on a receiver and speakers. My living room is approx. 25' x 25'. Eventually, I'll get to a 5.1 surround, but for the time being, I want to focus on music. I also like to think that someday I'll be able to incorporate a separate "zone" in the kitchen. So, for future expansion, I'll probably want a 7.1 receiver. I'll go used on that. Hopefully something around $300-$400. That then leaves me $400-$500 on speakers. Since I'm focusing on music now, that will mean a 2.0 or 2.1 setup. I've come to the conclusion that DIY speakers will give me the most bang for the buck, but determining which speakers to go with is a daunting chore for a noob. Do I just need 2 speakers? Do I need a sub? Does going MTM allow me to skip the sub? Should I be concerned that some of the popular kits (like the OS) are 4 ohm?
    Please help. You have a clean canvas, with an $800 budget. That money can be shuffled around, but it can't go up. What should I do?

  • #2
    Re: Rookie Advice

    That's a pretty large space.

    What kind of music? How loud? Are there cabinet size constraints (a.k.a. SAF - spousal approval factor)?

    100w/ch is a good place to look. For music, if your "mains" can reach 40Hz, then you probably won't need a sub - if they poop out at 50-60, you would. For HT, that low end limit is more like 30Hz (for some, even 20, but 30 will likely do).

    MTM does NOT mean "no sub required". They tend to be more efficient, but putting 2 woofers in a box won't make them dig any deeper than a single (given the same tuning), but the box gets twice as big.

    The 4 ohm speaker ? will depend entirely on your amp (and how much you crank it - it's basically a "heat" thing). MOST new(er) amps/receivers can take 4 ohms OK, not so much for 20 yo (or older) stuff.


    • #3
      Re: Rookie Advice is a good place to shop for refurbished A/V receivers. If you get something with pre outs (many Marantz models still have them), you can add a separate amp later for some or all of the channels if you have any issues with low impedance loads. If you want to go really cheap - look for an older Pioneer VSX line receiver that has them. I just saw a VSX-1016 on ebay for $144.44 with free shipping. Then you can add a $200-$250 power amp for your mains and stay within budget. You've got a pretty large room to fill, so if you want the speakers to be visually unobtrusive, then a sat/sub setup will be the best way to get there. To go without a sub, you will probably want a speaker with 2 good 6.5" woofers or an 8" woofer so they won't give up when trying to get to 40 Hz in that room.
      Keep an open mind, but don't let your brain fall out.

      Sehlin Sound Solutions


      • #4
        Re: Rookie Advice

        +1 on the Pioneer stuff. Even new, my father in law is doing the wall mart pioneer 5.1 special in a similar size room.

        Depending on your DIY skills IMO you can buy cheaper than build in this price range. Pioneer andrew jones speakers, and some of the PE subs. The next step up is the PE kits, Madisound, and Meniscus kits.
        John H

        Synergy Horn, SLS-85, BMR-3L, Mini-TL, BR-2, Titan OB, B452, Udique, Vultus, Latus1, Seriatim, Aperivox,Pencil Tower


        • #5
          Re: Rookie Advice

          how about for speakers one of the wave guide kits from diysoundgroup?


          • #6
            Re: Rookie Advice

            I do have "spousal approval constraints". As long as it's not too obtrusive or cheap looking, I think Ill be fine. I like my music moderately loud. The wife usually says it's too loud, but I'd hardly say I'm cranking it. The type of music will be pretty broad. From Black Keys to Patsy Cline.
            Diysoundgroup and accessories4less are good recommendations. As for the Pioneer Andrew Jones speakers, I was considering those first but then heard some kit speakers and the guy said they were less than $150 each, which got me looking here. Unfortunately he didn't know what the kit was. So I'm hoping to get that quality sound and have a little project too.
            Thanks for the advice thus far. Keep those ideas coming.


            • #7
              Re: Rookie Advice

              Lot of good reviews on the TriTrix. And within your budget.



              • #8
                Re: Rookie Advice

                For your space, I'd think you'd need a sub with these. For some pretty hard hitting speakers (that don't need a sub) in the budget category, Google "Dayton 8" (by Dave Tennie - sp?). You can probably fit them into an under 3.5 cf tower. Not really "audiophile" grade sound, but pretty darn good, IMO.


                • #9
                  Re: Rookie Advice

                  You might want to look at Paul Carmody's page (link below).


                  I bought a new Marantz integrated amp from Musicdirect a couple years back. Very satisfied with the service and product.


                  I agree with looking for a sub to finish out the bottom end. You can keep the satellites small (WAF addressed), yet have great sound throughout the room.

                  Where are you located? If another speaker geek lives near you, you might get to audition some different options.

                  "We're speaker geeks, not speaker nerds. Nerds make money!" Marty H
                  Bismarck, North Dakota
                  My Current System: HiFiMe DIY T3 Amp, Kenwood Basic C1 Preamp, and Paul Carmody Sunflowers
                  My Garage System TPS3116D2 Amp, DIY PS 95 Speakers, DC 130 Sub


                  • #10
                    Re: Rookie Advice

                    While your room is quite large, you'd be surprised what some small speakers are able to do. At a recent GTG my very small Madison speakers were able to fill a room with quite loud music that was about equal square footage of yours but likely larger volume because the ceilings were vaulted and the room opened to the kitchen and upstairs hallway. The speakers never sounded strained. My Madisons are under $200 in parts if you build your own cabs and reach in the mid 40s. For HT, I'd recommend a bare min of 30Hz with a huge preference toward something capable of at least mid-20s. Lots of big action movies these days have very low frequency LFEs. Either that or get bass shakers later. Those are quite cool to feel.
                    For receivers, others have already mentioned the Pioneers which are amazing values. I second, third or whatever the count is now on something with pre-outs for the ease of expandability later. I've not experienced the need for more power than what my Onkyos can do but I know I'm also limited now.on my upgrade paths unless I buy new AVRs.
                    A pair of something similar to my Madisons would leave you enough for a decent sub and there are some decent commercial ones in that price range remaining after the speakers.
                    Nichikuros - Peerless 831735 Nomex + Vifa NE25VTA
                    Digger8 - Small compact 8" sub with F3 = 20Hz
                    Madison-D and Madison-R - Tang Band W4-1720 + Vifa BC25SC06 or Beston RT003C (TM and MTM)
                    Jeffrey - Tang Band W5-704D + Beston RT003C
                    Jasmine - Fountek FW146 + Fountek NeoCD3.0 Ribbon in Pioneer BS21 Cabinet


                    • #11
                      Re: Rookie Advice

                      I'll second the recommendation for the Tritrix speakers. You can either buy the kit or if you are a good woodworker, you can build your own boxes and buy the parts kit.


                      There are also matching designs for center channel and MTs for surrounds when you are ready.

                      Here is a link to Curts site.


                      I have a full 7 speaker set Center, MLTL mains and 4 MT surrounds that I use in my Home Theater without a sub enjoyably. A sub would be nice, but is not necessary with these. The MLTLs are tuned to reach the low 40s.


                      • #12
                        Re: Rookie Advice

                        Thanks for the recommendations. The wife squashed the Dayton 8's immediately. Too big. I got a reluctant "OK" on the TriTrix MTM's as long as I paint them to match her color scheme. Would have preferred a wood veneer, but beggars cant be choosers. So I've got at least one acceptable option.
                        The tritrix MTM's are gonna be about as large as I can get away with. I tried to look up the Madison speakers, but couldn't find them. I've also been looking at the GR Research A/V's and Paul Carmody kits.
                        With a 25x25 room, am I stuck to a MTM minimum for the mains? I'm not opposed to an MTM configuration, just asking the question.
                        Thanks again for all the help.


                        • #13
                          Re: Rookie Advice

                          Mu suggestion.

                          1. Costco AV Receiver - they usually carry 7.1 and 7.2 receivers inexpensively. The last one I purchased was a Sony, and it was a steal.
                          2. Although I would not expect to hear these words come out of my mouth (based only on the size of your room and the size of the speakers), I would look into the Speedsters. I heard them for the first time last weekend - wow, wow, wow. They are on Paul C's site. That should make your wife happy. I would also consider the DIY Sound offerings. If it was me, I would focus only on 2 channels for the time being, and the Fusion-8 Alchemy is (IMO) and enormous value.

                          Free advise is worth what you pay for it.

                          Oh, Meniscus carriers the Speedster kit (and they can assemble the crossovers as well).
                          Last edited by Beau; 12-16-2013, 05:52 PM.
                          Sausage With Meat Sause, Please


                          • #14
                            Re: Rookie Advice

                            I do like the smaller size of the Speedsters. Is anyone else familiar with these or Alchemy's? Beau, are you specifically recommending the MT or MTM's. The MTM's might be pushing it on price ($460/pr plus extras), but I might be able to swing it. How do they (Speedsters or Alchemys) compare to the TriTrix, A/V-1,2 or 3's, or Overnight Sensations?


                            • #15
                              Re: Rookie Advice

                              I was referring to the MTs.

                              As for comparisons, I can't say.
                              Sausage With Meat Sause, Please