Which speakers would fit this home entertainment system?
July 31, 2007 6:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm putting together a basic home theatre system but I know nothing about speakers. Any suggestions?

I'm setting up a second home entertainment system in my bedroom. I recently bought this 2.1 channel receiver. It's paired with a hdtv and a basic samsung dvd player.

I didn't want to deal with more speakers, nor do I care about surround sound. This basic setup is perfect for what I want. But I have no idea what speakers would pair well with this system. I'm overwhelmed by the choices on amazon. If anyone could point to something appropriate I'd appreciate it. I don't want to spend too much but I'd like something decent (also, is a subwoofer normally included or is that a separate purchase?).

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
posted by gtr to Shopping (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What are you willing to spend? How big is the room? Do you usually turn up or down the bass on your car stereo? Do you have any hearing problems?

The only advice I can offer so far is that Bose is overrated.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:34 PM on July 31, 2007

Response by poster: It's a very big room, but I don't play music that loud. I'm really looking for a midrange pair, whatever that means as far as price. Most of the 2 speaker sets I see are geared more to computers.
posted by gtr at 7:37 PM on July 31, 2007

Best answer: Myself, I like Axiom speakers - but a quick look at Amazon shows bookshelf speakers by well-regarded manufacturers like Polk, KEF, NHT, and Aperion all available for $300-400 a pair. Most should have matching subs available.
posted by kickingtheground at 7:38 PM on July 31, 2007

Response by poster: Polk, kef, nht, aperion? Good brands? Thanks, that's a place to start. I've never heard of those brands, that's how lost I am.
posted by gtr at 7:46 PM on July 31, 2007

I'm going to make an assumption here, obviously, correct me if I'm wrong. You're not much of an audiophile.

Either am I.

I have a similar, 2.1, setup in my living room - large room, basic receiver, etc.

BrotherCaine said that "Bose is overrated". While I can't attest to this one way or the other, I can tell you that I am extremely happy with my Bose 301 speakers. To my ear, the sound is great and the room is filled nicely whether watching a movie or if there are 20 people running around.

I think I paid just under $300. I'm very happy and would buy them again.
posted by ASM at 8:03 PM on July 31, 2007

Response by poster: I'm going to make an assumption here, obviously, correct me if I'm wrong. You're not much of an audiophile.

That's a safe assumption. I will check out bose also. Thanks.
posted by gtr at 8:10 PM on July 31, 2007

Best answer: You will be able to find boxes that have two speakers and a sub, but these are to be avoided.

Go to a stereo shop. Not Best Buy, not Circuit City. Someplace that carries some of the brands above, or Paradigm, Energy, PSB, B&W, or other well-regarded brands. There will be a dude there that you can talk to. Tell him:

(1) How much you want to spend on two speakers and a sub, or two full-range mains.
(2) What you're going to listen to. Not "movies" or "movies and music," but "jazz and classical, some regular tv, and quiet movies" or "rock and roll and movies with asplosions."
(3) What kind of receiver you have.

Listen to what he has to say. Listen to the speakers he suggests and see which you seem to like best. If anything seems hinky or you get pressured to buy more than you want, you can always just thank the nice man and go somewhere else.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:11 PM on July 31, 2007

Best answer: Congratulations on buying the Harman Kardon HK3480 - I've had this receiver for about two years now and I continue to be pleased with it.

However, the receiver is not 2.1 (implying a third center channel speaker) its just a straight two channel stereo receive/amp. (Although you can pair a sub with the system for some extra omph, particularly if you invest two way bookshelf speakers.)

I use mine at my desk to drive two Klipsch bookshelf speakers. The Harman/Kardon paired with the Klipsch is really overkill, but I like having the option crank it.

Without further info you're going to know right away two things: how much you want to spend, and what type of space you have for both filling the room with sound and placement.

There are some wonderful bookshelf speakers out there in the $300 to $600 range. Full sized floorstanding speakers maybe over kill for your bedroom.

Follow ROU's advice above and you can't go wrong...
posted by wfrgms at 8:42 PM on July 31, 2007

However, the receiver is not 2.1 (implying a third center channel speaker)

2.1 would normally mean two speakers and a line-level sub output, which that receiver has. The .1 is "and a subwoofer output."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:12 PM on July 31, 2007

Having owned the 901's sure they're nice, but not GREAT. I installed the Sony home theater System. It's only 550 watts 100 x 5 channels and the remaining 50 for the powered, 8" 100w sub. Rocks on all movies and channels.
Occasionally you will have to get up to push some knick-knack back so it doesn't shake off of the entertainment center. I recently exchanged the "sattelite" speakers and went 301's in the front and 501's inthe rear. The sound has way more "range" now and is clear as a bell. Good luck. BTW, the POLKS/BOSE are a bit on the pricey side.

My advise: get a nice box system and change out the fronts and rears with some nice bookshelf speakers. You won't regret it.
posted by winks007 at 6:53 AM on August 1, 2007

Just an idea to consider: Once you learn about different types of speakers, and reputable brands, you might do well to visit a few second-hand shops. I've noticed a fair amount of high-quality used speakers for sale in such places. So many people are "upgrading" to surround sound systems, that they are ditching their old speaker pairs. A good bet can also be garage sales in affluent neighborhoods, where people are likely to upgrade their toys often.

I bought a pair of Allison Six speakers in perfect condition for under $20 at a charity shop. They are 25 years old, but sound fantastic.

It's kind of a long-shot, but if you have a little knowledge, and the time to look, it might be worthwhile.
posted by The Deej at 7:12 AM on August 1, 2007

get a nice box system and change out the fronts and rears with some nice bookshelf speakers

This is the same as

"Buy five speakers and a subwoofer, throw away the five speakers, and then buy new speakers, but maybe keep the subwoofer."

In which case, why not just cut out the middleman and buy a nice sub?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:36 AM on August 1, 2007

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