Thinking of replacing speakers-need guidance

beacheApril 24, 2007

We have a component stereo system that we bought over 10 years ago (Yamaha receiver and Yamaha 5 disc CD changer, with Signet 280 speakers). It produces excellent sound, but we are thinking of replacing the speakers because they are big, black and sitting on stands in the living room. We went to a couple of big box stores this weekend and listened to some bookshelf speakers and were really underwhelmed!

Are there any smaller speakers out there that would give us really good sound, but not have to be so big in the room? I wonder if we're spoiled now and will not be happy with any bookshelf speakers out there. This system is strictly for audio recordings, we don't want a surround sound system in that room.

Any advice?

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tom418

"Are there any smaller speakers out there that would give us really good sound?"...

The speakers would only have to sound good to you, beache.

Go sample a few new smaller ones, and do it with an open mind. I personally would never give up my JBL L112s. Others I'm sure would disagree. It's a matter of personal taste, and not Speaker A's frequency response being "better" than that of Speaker B, etc. YOU are the one who has to like the speaker.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 4:17PM
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steve_o

I can pretty much guarantee that, unless you're devotees of lifelike pipe-organ concerts, you can find bookshelf speakers you'll like. Physics will intervene at the very lowest bass levels, so if you're after pipe-organ depth, you either will have to stick with floor-standing speakers or consider a subwoofer. But for everything else ...

You are not likely to find the really good stuff at big-box stores. If you can find stores that deal exclusively in hi-fi audio and video, try some of these brands: B&W, Energy, KEF, Monitor Audio, Paradigm, PSB, Triangle. There are other good brands out there, too, but these have a reputation for clean, accurate, musical sound.

I have both B&Ws and Monitor Audios. The B&Ws are the cheapest ones they sold at the time (around $250/pair) and they sound fine. The MAs were actually sold by them as rear speakers for their home-theater system -- so, again, not very expensive -- but they serve as stereo speakers for me (along with an MA subwoofer) and I have no complaints. Good sound can come out of small packages, and it really does not have to cost more than speakers at the big-box stores.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 9:54AM
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beache

Thanks for the info. These Signets sold for (I think) about $800 when we bought them. The company has gone out of business, but you can still find reviews of them on the 'net. We can't spend that much this time (previous purchase BK--Before Kids!) but we do want a good sound.

No pipe organ music here-we split our listening about 50/50 between pop/rock and 40's & 50's singers/big band. Hey, we're baby boomers, what can I say?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 10:37AM
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steve_o

Speaker technology has increased exponentially in the last couple of decades, courtesy of advances in computerized design and materials science. I would dare to say that even the $200-300 speakers among the brands I mentioned would give a serious run for the money to pretty much any speaker that was purchased 20-30 years ago.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 8:54AM
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tobr24u

I use Polk bookshelf for a second stereo system in my den. Polk made them in a range of prices and you should find a set in your price range. I bought the least expensive some years ago and they sound good in a small space, so I think the larger and more expensive ones might do the trick for you...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 9:55AM
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rayfromalaska

Yes, there are very small speaker-sets that can take any power level you can dish out of your receiver. However, if you want the best, it will cost you quite a lot. Go to the Crutchfield web site and look at the specifications of the small speakers available to consumers today. Bose makes very good small speakers, but there are equal and better ones. One would fit in the palm of your hand.

I have an excellent Sony receiver that is over fifteen years old. Back them I paid around $500.00 for it, plus five Polk speakers. However, since I now have a brand new Sony HD TV with HDMI port, I can't take advantage of the theatre function of the receiver. For that reason, I haver decided to buy a new receiver with HDMI switching, and iPod dock. This way I can pass through the DVD player's sound through the stereo (via HDMI), and also to the TV.

I new set of small speakers would cost from $800.00 to $1,500.00 (medium price), while the receiver costs around $400.00.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 12:49AM
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jdbillp

Take a listen to the Paradigm Atom speakers. Wonderful sounding small speakers for less than $250 per pair.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 6:37PM
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