Best sound for under $500

mellofello

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 1, 2011
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I'm rigging up a budget home theater in a small apartment. The GF will ixnay any large speakers and I need things as sleek or invisible as possible. No full size receivers.

I'm looking mostly at soundbars, and high end 2.1 computer speakers.

Any suggestions?
 

davidoloan

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Apr 28, 2009
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jamesvdm

macrumors regular
Mar 28, 2011
147
0
Perth, Australia
Seconded. I just got some for $520aud. A FiiO D3 is on the way but they sound great even with the TV's DAC.

davidoloan do you know how the rlink chooses between sources if both inputs are plugged in?
 
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davidsdiego

macrumors member
Aug 16, 2011
64
3
San Diego, CA
The Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Air is pretty good, although pretty expensive for an iPod speaker dock. I still use my Zeppelin Air; however, I've been using my 1993 JVC MX-S2 a lot lately since it rivals my Zeppelin Air.

I have a couple videos of my Zeppelin Air and MX-S2 on my YouTube Channel...:D
 

davidoloan

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Apr 28, 2009
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davidoloan do you know how the rlink chooses between sources if both inputs are plugged in?
I have the Arcam rDac which has a button on the top to change the 4 inputs, but I leave it set to optical to the TV, with the Apple TV plugged into the TV by HDMI. It means you never have to change input. I have not touched the DAC since it was installed even though I use two different inputs regularly.

The Arcam rLink has no button. You have to use either an optical or coax digital cable. Its designed to be as simple as possible which I think is a good thing.

They also make the rPac which is the same DAC as the rLink, but rather than optical or coax inputs, it has a single USB input. This is a really nice design as the USB powers it so no external power is needed and it has an internal headphone amp with volume control. You can also use it with an Amp instead of headphones.

I think the 2 DACs are really well thought out.

http://www.whathifi.com/review/arcam-rpac


 
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mellofello

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 1, 2011
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Those look great. How is the bass without a subwoofer though? I want a system that will pump when I am watching movies.
 

davidoloan

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Apr 28, 2009
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Those look great. How is the bass without a subwoofer though? I want a system that will pump when I am watching movies.
If I had a fixed budget I would go for overall quality of sound first and bass second. I know most people will go surround sound and subs but I went stereo because you can buy 2 great speakers for the price of 5 lesser ones.

You can always add a subwoofer.
 

GarrettL1979

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2012
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0
Here's what I'm using:

Yamaha RX-v373.

$250 on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-RX-V373-5-1-Channel-AV-Receiver/dp/B007JF8FD8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346003979&sr=8-1&keywords=Yamaha+RX-v373)

Sony Speakers

Bought them used on amazon for $50 (http://www.amazon.com/Sony-SS-CR3000-Channel-Speaker-Package/dp/B000OG88NQ/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1346004033&sr=1-6&keywords=sony+speakers)

We had some a couple of older Sony speakers and a sub, so I decided to use those to complete the 5.1. Got two of these to hide the speaker wire:

http://www.amazon.com/Wiremold-CMK50-CordMate-Computer-Entertainment/dp/B0015EDVVU/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1346004242&sr=1-2&keywords=wiremold+cable+management

Anyways, not high end by any means, but I'm really happy with the setup, and it was definitely under $500
 

mmomega

macrumors 68040
Dec 30, 2009
3,369
1,537
DFW, TX
I recently added an LG 2.1 sound bar with Blutooth sub and it is leaps and bounds better than the TV speakers.

Now this was in the bedroom and it was under $300 so I was not expecting theater quality sound but it surprised me. The sub can be adjusted through the remote control and I had to set it near the middle of what it is capable of, ex settings 1-6 I have it on 3 or 4.

It looks pretty good and matches well with the TV, both are wall mounted with the sub hiding in a corner.

I also had to specifically ask BestBuy for this model because the newer models have a built in down firing 3-4" subs on the sound bar and it wasn't wall-mountable, at least it did not come with the mount like the one I bought did.
 

MagnumOP

macrumors regular
Jul 5, 2010
188
10
I have had a great experience with a variety of Samsung sound bars with wireless sub-woofers.