need stero speaker recomendation
October 16, 2010 8:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for a pair of bookshelf or floor stereo speakers that will work well with a 125W amp for $200 or less.

Speakers will be used to listen to music from ipod and the occasional CD. I like a clean sound but am no audiophile.
I've moved into a new house in which multiple rooms are wired for stereo speakers, but the size of the rooms and the wiring don't lend themsleves to 3-speakers systems.

Thanks in advance.
posted by Alexdan4 to Shopping (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
125W is plenty of power, assuming that the amp is good, quality wise.

The mass-market speakers: Polk, Infinity, Energy are going to give you decent sound for the money, as long as you aren't expecting audiophile performance (good for background listening).

Budget audiophile, but high value: PSB, Paradigm, Axiom. Klipsch, B&W (consumer range).

I've found some phenomenal deals over at AudioAdvisor.

Bose stuff is overpriced and overrated.

Floor standing speakers are going to give you more bass, but worse sound quality for the same amount of money.
posted by kenliu at 8:59 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have these and absolutely love them. Big beautiful sound from a surprisingly small package.
posted by buzzv at 12:47 PM on October 16, 2010

I have a pair of Paradigm Atoms v5 which I bought after exhaustive online research a few years ago. Extremely clear sound, a little light on the bass (as expected). Picked them up for a bit less than $250.
posted by brother at 1:13 PM on October 16, 2010

This is an extremely difficult question to answer, as there are thousands of speaker brands out there, with hundreds of good ones, and audio "quality" is also highly subjective. Spaeker placement and room acoustics can often influence fidelity far more than specific speaker brands. Further, your 125 watt "power-rating" is essentially meaningless. One immediate conclusion however, is that you will simply be unable to find any floor-standing speakers at your price point that would be worth the gunpowder to blow them up. That said, all of the above posters have steered you in the correct direction for bookshelves, with the Paradigm Atoms and Polk RTi s as noteworthy well-known choices. Given your budget limitations, it might be worthwhile to shop for used versions of those.

I am curious though, as to why you feel that the size of the rooms and the wiring don't lend themselves to 3-speakers systems. What do you mean by this? As a general rule, having a house properly pre-wired for distributed audio is a bonus. It seems that you have some understanding of acoustics, so I wonder what leads you to this conclusion.

Bose stuff is overpriced and overrated.

THIS. A thousand times. If you take no other advice here, never, under any circumstances, purchase Bose. They are the joke of the industry.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:14 PM on October 16, 2010

PareidoliaticBoy - Thanks for the thoughtful response and its best to presume no knowledge on my part.

It seems that the rooms in question are wired with speaker cable to two opposite corners of the room, I assume to allow the left channel to be run to one corner and the right channel to the other. My experience with 3-speaker systems is that they have both the left and right channel speaker cables coming from the stereo run into the sub-woofer with wire then running from the sub-woofer to each satelite speaker. As a result, I can't figure out how to use a 3-speaker system without doing further wiring.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated and apologies in advance if I've just revealed the profound nature of my ignorance.
posted by Alexdan4 at 6:08 PM on October 18, 2010

Nope. Those are passive sub-systems. They use the cross-over in the sub to roll-off the unwanted frequencies before the signal reaches the main speakers. This is a major compromise, and is never really recommended.

If you send me an email with a component equipment list, and or a schematic diagram/pictures of your proposed layout, I will try to help you. What time zone are you in? From an efficiency point of view, 20 minutes on Skype would likely be worthwhile.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:00 PM on October 19, 2010

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