Question for Audiophiles

Discussion in 'Community' started by Kid Red, Mar 19, 2003.

  1. Kid Red macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I know there are a couple here who claim to be audiophiles. While i enjoy my music with my system in my car and in my home, I've always gone with what i liked and what I knew, Bose for home audio/movies and JBL, Polk, Sony, Kicker, etc for car.

    Now before you go off on my Bose, they rock for movies, that's 90% of the home stereo use. DVD movies, HDTV cable. I havwe an Onkyo receiver and Pioneer DVD player. I have the Acoustimass Bose system.

    So my question is this, what 5.1 speaker system can I get that won't break the bank that will outperform my Bose when I mostly use the system for DVDs and HDTV? I really don't listen to music on the system unless it's a music video channel.

    As well, what at the best mid's/hi's speakers for the car that will go nicely with a Kicker Solobaric subwoofer?

    Educate me my audiphile brethren.
     
  2. Foucault macrumors 6502

    Foucault

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    Dec 30, 2002
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    Pasadena, CA
    #2
    I recommend Energy speakers. You can get a set of the Take 5 Energy speakers witha subwoofer for about $500. They are small enough that you can give them good placement, and they are versatile enough to provide and engaging home theatre experience as well as an audiophile one. Check them out. You'll find them in high end audio resellers, so don't expect to get them from circuit shiiiitttiiieee or best buy.
     
  3. alset macrumors 65816

    alset

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    East Bay, CA
    #3
    Pick up a copy of Sound & Vision at your local book store. There are a couple other great home theatre zines, but for affordable gear, this one rocks them all.

    Dan
     
  4. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #4
    A better Bose setup would outdo the Acoustimass series.

    I have Bose 901s in front, Bose 601s in back, and a VCS-10 for center. I thought about a subwoofer, but it seems so unnecessary.

    As far as breaking the bank, your Acoustimass were somewhat expensive, how big is your bank?
     
  5. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    The West Loop
    #5
    -Kid Red

    bousozoku askes a good question. I think Bose is damn fine with their speaker designs, but if your bank is a little bigger, I'd go for Martin Logan electrostatic speakers.

    Finest - yet relatively affordable - speakers I've heard in my life. You can actually apreciate the sound of 96kz/24bit audio with those.

    The additional advantage to them is that the sound projects out the back as well as the front, thus using the acoustics of the room and therefre sounding like the musician is actually in the room with you.

    I think a pair of Aerius speakers are going for around US$2,000.

    Yeah, that may seem steep, but, like a Mac, it's an up-front cost. No need for sub-woofers or other enhancements.

    BTW- if your feeling particularly wealthy, Martin Logan also makes center and rear electrostatics as well.

    If there is a Tweeter near you, go an give a listen.
     
  6. Kid Red thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 14, 2001
    #6
    Well my bank is pretty good, the bose were $1200. However, seeing that they were $1200, I'm not very eager to rush out and spend an outrageous amount on top.

    ZThe only reason I'm asking is I've always been happy/satisifed with the Bose until a recent thread here had a few members laughing and joking about Bose. Of course most were in relation to music and not movies, to which I've heard Bose are pretty good. Then someone said Bose arn't THX certifed, and that has me a little bummed. I love my music and movies and just want the best sound for value, not over the top and not cheap, just best bang for buck.

    I watch action movies and listen to hip Hop, R&B, some punk/rock, etc. The Bose sound fine but I don't want to be missing out on any sounds and look naive about quality sound.
     
  7. Kid Red thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    So, how much for a 5.1 surround? $3-$4k+? That's a little more then I could justify spending (or convincing the wife to let me spend :) )

    I guess $1500 kinda max for 5 speaker surround sound set, 2 front, center, and 2 rear.
     
  8. Kid Red thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 14, 2001
    #8
    The Engery's look cool, and the price sounds good. There are 2 dealers local so i may go check them out.

    Any others? I've also heard about Acoustic Research, are they any good?

    Oh, and the Energy and any other set will/should be better then my current Bose right? I don't want to replace them with inferior speakers.
     
  9. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

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    #9

    and this is what hacks me off about the whole high-brow audiophile world...
    it just plays on people's insecurities.

    kid red, if you like the bose then stick with bose. if you're unsatisfied with them then check out every other affordable option. you might find a system you like better...or not.

    bottom line: don't believe the hype of the know-it-alls. next you'll be worried about the quality of you cabling( gotta get those $1,000 ones...), then upgrade the dvd player...and don't forget the megabuck audiophile stands to put everything on...and you better tune your room too...

    and then someone will dismiss it as inferior...;)

    just choose what sounds good to you and enjoy.
     
  10. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #10
    -Kid Red

    Well, you could go to the moon with costs. Personally, I thing the main left and main right are enough for the Martins. they'll fill your room enough :D

    BTW- did I mention you can see through these speakers?

    These are not cone speakers.
     
  11. sparkleytone macrumors 68020

    sparkleytone

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    #11
    Really the best systems you can get are composed of mix and match components from very different companies. No one audio company makes the very best components ALL the time.

    As another on this thread said, pick up a copy of Sound & Vision for a few months in a row. After educating yourself, make a small purchase. Gradually make bigger purchases until one day you listen to what you have and realize that it is amazing what you have accomplished.

    I firmly stand by the fact that no boxed 5.1 'set' will ever be as good as a hand picked selection of the components that sound best to your ears.
     
  12. Kid Red thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 14, 2001
    #12
    Cabling is very important, I have the 24kt gold ones, they make a huge difference at least in picture quality. All my sound is digital/optical. My TV, receiver, DVD player/ etc are all quality, I just wanted to make sure my speakers weren't limiting my enjoyment by not capable of producing certain sounds. Like, if Bose can't hit certain frequencies, etc, I'm not very educated on that aspect of home speakers. I just want to know all the 'proven' options so that I can compare myself bascially.

    I'll check out that mag, already at the web site reading some of the reviews.
     
  13. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #13
    I spent a whole afternoon with some people who were so-called audiophiles. They switched cables back and forth between sets of speakers and all those $4000 speakers sounded less than real. After playing piano most of my life and hearing the reproduction of a, well, it was supposed to be a piano, I gave up and went home. :D

    Listen to what your ears tell you about them before you put any money into it. Yes, the Acoustimass don't provide a huge range, but you might be surprised at what you can't hear from tweeters going up to 40,000 KHz, despite what people will tell you.
     
  14. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #14
    -bousozoku

    Damn good point. The normal range of human hearing is ~1khz to ~20-21hz. One can feel vibrations below that threshold for bass, but above, forget it.

    So if someone is touting a speaker setup that can play at frequencies above ~23khz, whoopie-ding. I doubt there is much audio above that anyway.

    Just walk away from those guys.
     
  15. Kid Red thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    So then you think the Acoustimass are good enough? Watching movies I'm hard pressed to think I may be missing out on anything but I don't want to miss out when I listen to a music DVD or CD, etc.
     
  16. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #16
    -Kid Red

    Acoustimass is a fine system - way better than the average. Especially that the speakers are so damn small you can actualy hide them.

    I don't think you'll be missing much. Sure there are probably low ranges that you're missing, but then again, you don't want to piss off the neighbors - in Brazil :D

    Bob Lutz, former Chairman of Chrysler once said: "Too much quality will ruin you." Take this to mean that your efforts to reach perfection will become so expensive and you'll will ever achieve it.

    Take it as personal preference - I happen to prefer Martin Logan, and can justify the cost. But I like and respect the Acoustimass system just as well.

    I think your fine. Save your pennies for your next Mac ;)
     
  17. Kid Red thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Dec 14, 2001
    #17
    patrick0brien


    Ok, thanks :) I still may check out the Energy speakers just to see tho. So, I can tell audiophiles to piss off and leave my Bose alone then? Cool :)

    As far as my next mac, it's a business expense so as long as my company makes money, I will buy a new mac because it's a tax deduction :) Just waiting for the 970........
     
  18. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #18
    -Kid Red

    Please do. Stay as informed as possible - knowledge is power.

    In case you noticed, I tend to sprinkle knowledge about the forums a bit, staying informed is a passion of mine :D

    As for the audio snobs, that's all they are, we see the same thing with the Mac v. PC debate. Just leave it alone. Otherwise you'll end up aguing opinion, and thats just a never-ending spiral.

    And don't let them try to sell you on SACD or AudioDVD stuff (audio encoded at 96khz/24bit). I can only tell the difference - barely, on high-end speakers (Like Martin's) and my hearing is a bit above average (I can hear dog whistles).
     
  19. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #19
    You may be missing something technically, but if you can't tell, should it matter?

    I listened to the Acoustimass before they came to market and they were good enough that I considered them. It's certainly great to be able to hide them so well.

    If you like, go to the nearest Bose store and listen to those I have. If you don't hear a great difference between those and your Acoustimass set, why would you spend even more money?
     
  20. Vector macrumors 6502a

    Vector

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    Feb 13, 2002
    #20
    I personally like Vandersteen. Bose is good for some things, but for a really good home theater surround sound system, you need to go a little bit better, assuming you use it enough to tell a difference. Martin Logan makes some good speakers, and I looked at them when I was setting up my system, but they seemed to lack base. This was several years ago so they may have improved, but either way they are some of the best speakers in their ability to give a large range very precisely. If you want to set up a good stereo sytem soley for music, I recommend that you buy tube amplifiers and interconnects with a good input device. I have a seperate stereo system for which I use two tube amplifiers, one for each speaker. The tube amps give a very rich sound, making them very good for stereo systems, but good ones are expensive.

    Also it is very important that you buy good quality hardware in addition to your speaker. I recommend a seperate amplifier and preamp if possible, and also high quality cables (audioquest makes some good cables and interconnects).
     
  21. thekaiser macrumors member

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    Dec 16, 2002
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    #21
    I have grown up with the best in audio and video so I may be a bit jaded. My father owns the biggest high end custom A/V store in midstate Illinois. I am in college now and still have around a $10,000 setup in my apartment. The biggest advice I can give you is to go listen to as many different speakers as you can. Only you can decide what sounds "good" to your ears. Take my mother for example. My father and I put my mother in a room and did a frequency sweep. She does not hear that well above 12kHz. This is why she has a hard time telling speakers apart. My father and I can hear near 20kHz, enabling us to distinguish sounds in the higher frequencies. Cabling is very important to me. I can hear the difference between good and bad cables. However, I have been trained by my father to recognize good and bad. As I previously stated good and bad can sometimes be relative to the listener. I spent arond $1000 for cabling for my system. Spent is also relative seeing that I do not pay for my equipment. As previously mentioned, the Energy speakers are quite nice for the money. I used to have their satellites and subwoofer when I lived in the dorms. I since upgraded when I moved to an apartment. Good luck, electronics shopping is tons of fun. Enjoy!
     
  22. groovebuster macrumors 65816

    groovebuster

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    #22
    Not to forget that a "normal" CD only has a frequency range up to 20kHz anyway...

    It is true that better equipmnet also sounds better (normally), but it is like with everything else... the last 5% to achieve the goal cost 95% of the efforts. So you always have to set everything into relation of your needs and your hearing skills. I was a pro musician for years and I have indeed very good (and well trained) ears. I can hear details and differences that the normal Joe Six-Pack would never even notice. But for my father (e.g.) a 200.- € Stereo sounds just as good as one for 2,000.- €. Years ago I spend a lot of money to have always a very decent stereo in my appartment. But know what? Since a while I don't do that anymore... One reason is that I don't have the time anymore to listen to music at home that often, but the main reason is that I was sick to spend that much money all the time. Since 8 years now I am just replacing when something is broken and then I just buy special offers of components that are mid-range. Saves a lot of money and really, the difference to a high-end system isn't that big at all. So don't let people tell you otherwise. It all just depends on your likes and dislikes. YOU have to like how your stereo sounds like. And that doesn't really depend on the amount of money you can spend...

    groovebuster

    P.S.: I still have my Akai GX-9 tape deck and it is still fully functional and in use (for the old tapes I still have). I bought it in 1985. Now that's really quality! :)
     
  23. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #23
    That's a good note on the cabling. I've been trying to decide lately what to do, but have the minimum, bare Monster Cable in use. I know that, in general, the thicker the cable, the less resistive it is and will let the electricity flow more easily, allowing more good stuff to get through.

    By the way, I was just wondering if you're affected by bad a CRT t.v. Once the horizontal flyback no longer regulates itself properly, the noise from it becomes unbearable for me. That would be 15.75 KHz. I also used to have trouble with some security systems that operated on high frequencies that, apparently, almost no one else could hear.
     
  24. Nepenthe macrumors member

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    Feb 24, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #24
    No highs,
    No lows...
    -gotta be Bose

    If cost is an issue, which it is for me, you may be happy with some Klipsh speakers.

    Seriously, though. Sound "transparency" isn't exactly a big issue with home theatre systems. Transparency is more for recording, mixing, and mastering. Theatre speakers are aimed more towards huge, knock-you-on-your-arse, larger-than-life sound.
    That's mainly why Bose are soooo :rolleyes: well known in areas like home theatre, because their speakers color the sound like nobody's business. What you get through them is HARDLY a transparent image of the sound (ie. dont' mix/record on Bose speakers). However, they work some "wonderful magic" on sound (sortof), and that effect is what people like to hear when they're listening to movies.
    If you ever get a chance, try to find a frequency response curve of some Bose theatre speakers :)

    Personally, I don't care much for Bose speakers. When I'm in the studio, I use several different Genelec and Yamaha monitor speakers to get a transparent sound...They don't sound nearly as "groovy" as Bose or what not. At home on my computer I use monsooon '700 flat panel speakers...Not exactly the BEST sound in the world, but they are good enough so I don't get irritated by the sound. The cool thing is that they are wired out-of-phase (I think) that's why they have this notorious "3D sound-drenching" feature...as long as you don't move your head more than 3". Also, they kick ASS on games.

    Getting to the point... I am a poor, poor student. Thusly, I can't afford to bring in a THX crew with a spectrum analyzer and set up my home theatre system for me. I have a modest Klipsh setup at home. My recording college is kindof a Klipsh-cult of sorts. They aren't exactly the most super-outstanding speakers out there, but they perform very well for their cost. In terms of computer speakers, they are some of the best for music (wish I had the money to buy some). Their home theatre system shtuff is cost-effective, and damn sexy considering that you don't have to take out a loan to buy them.
    If you just buy a bunch of Klipsh speakers, go home, plug them in and turn on a movie, you might not be impressed. The speakers neat a small amount of TLC. A decent amp/reciever setup and maybe even an active crossover network if you know what your doing.

    Also, don't get seduced by Monster cable. Really some of the things that are Monster cable's big selling points don't mean much, or are readily available in cable that you can buy at a local electronics store for ALOT LESS MONEY. Do some research about cable related to audio. Develop a set of standards that YOU want to see in cable (or anything, for that mater), and go seek out the cable. In my first few weeks of my first semester of audio engineering, all of the students were PRIMED to go and spend an assload of money for home studios with "really good gear." One guy I knew put his truck up for sale, bought a Dual G4 and a bunch of other stuff. A week later he said to me "I just realized that firstly I had no idea why I'm buying this stuff, and that this might be too much gear for me right now."
    The problem was that most of us had no idea what made some gear good, and some gear not so good. So you had all of these students going "Mr. Stirling, what interface should I buy? What Digital mixer? Why yamaha? I was at Guitar Center the other day and these monitors were there, the guy said they were good, should I buy them?:confused: " And basing their decisions on the professors input...:(
    Kindof frustruating when someone is comparing his/her geat to yours. "Well mine does this, it also has X of Y" and your sitting there "Well someone told me this was really good... so yeah"

    All my opinion, of course :)
    Cheers-
    -trev
     
  25. howard macrumors 68020

    howard

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    #25
    \

    while it is true that you can't hear above 20khz that doesn't mean that a speaker that is saying it will play up to 25khz is the same as 20khz. the 25 khz one will sound better at the high ranges cause the arch doesn't fall off right where your hearing does. the 20khz is in danger of low quality highs.
     

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