Small Stereo Speakers

john_wcApril 26, 2006

I want to buy a pair of small stereo speakers. I am not interested in home theater speakers for this particular room. Almost everything out there are speakes for HT. If I buy two front channel speakers which are marketed as HT speakers, will they be the same as what used to be called stereo speakers? Is the sound quality for music tracks as good as stereo speakers?

Please make recommendations for brands and models to consider. Budget: $400 - 500 per pair.

Thanks.

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gsenthil

They are all the same. You can use any two bookshelf speakers as stereo speakers. Also check craigslist.com for used Yamaha speakers in your area. You can get some nice ones for 100/pr!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 12:20AM
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steve_o

The main difference between "home theater" speakers and "normal" speakers is that HT speakers are magnetically shielded, so you can put them right next to your TV and not have the magnets in the speakers affect the picture. Other than that, it all comes down to sound quality, build quality, and how they look.

You don't say how "small" you want, but some brands to check out would include Paradigm, NHT, Monitor Audio (I have these and like them very much), B&W, Energy, and Pinnacle. Obviously there are others. Your best bet is to get to a store that sells hi-fi (and not computers and appliances) and listen to a bunch. Pick the ones that sound best to you. Keep in mind that, the smaller the speaker, the less likely it is to have a lot of depth in the bass regions. That's especially true for speakers not advertised as HD speakers since many movie sound effects depend on the presence of bass.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 8:27AM
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john_wc

I don't really know the size. Something that is small enough to sit on a bookcase either side of a TV and not be obtrusive to my "decorator". Size perhaps of Bose speakers in which it appears as two speakers joined together. I do not want Bose however.

BTW steve_0, what are "HD" speakers?

Thanks for the response.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 9:34PM
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steve_o

"HD speakers" is a typo. I meant to write "HT" for Home Theater. Sorry!

Small? Paradigm's "Atom" is 10-1/2 in h x 6-1/2 w x 8-1/2 d. Monitor Audio's "Bronze B1" is within a few fractions of the same size. Gallo's "Due" is 11-1/2 in h x 5 w x 4-1/2 d. For years, Radio Shack sold a surprisingly good pair of speakers called "Minimus 7"; they were 7-1/4 in h x 4-1/2 w x 4-1/2 deep. All of these speakers sound amazingly good for their size. You can have quite good sound without quite big sizes.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 9:04AM
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john_wc

I checked with a couple local hifi stores and of course, nobody sells all the brands you listed. My ears are not that good to be candid. At least not in the store. When I get them home, I can hear a little better. Any opinion on Infinity or Polk?

And if I may sneak one more question in here. How important is sensitivity?

Thanks for all your help!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 2:52PM
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steve_o

Infinity and Polk have had good reputations and bad reputations. I still remember the first pair of Infinity speakers I ever heard -- in a good way. My take on them is that they are impressive but not necessarily the most neutral speakers. I happen to value "neutral" over "impressive", but that's just me. They are much better speakers, IMHO, than many more popular brands.

Polk is back on track after a few years of mediocrity brought on by rapid expansion. I had a pair of Polks maybe 20 years ago. They were very easy to listen to; I gave them up to get smaller speakers and found that speaker science had improved in 10-15 years. The bigger speakers I loved no longer sounded as precise as I wanted them to be. But Polks have improved, too, and now often end up on high-quality short lists of speakers to audition.

I'd give both a listen.

As for sensitivity, it's a measure of efficiency. A speaker with greater sensitivity will play louder with a given amount of wattage from the receiver. That does not mean a highly-sensitive speaker is necessarily more accurate or more pleasing to listen to -- only that it can make better use of the power your receiver puts out. IMHO, it's a consideration only if there is a large difference in sensitivity between the speakers you're considering and if your amplifier/receiver is on the low-powered side (say, 15-25 watts per channel).

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 4:59AM
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Wubsoofer

You could look at some of the cheaper Bowers & Wilkins models? 686s perhaps?

Here is a link that might be useful: B&W 686 Information

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 6:36AM
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jeff-1010

look into klipsch speakers. i bought a pair of synergy b3's a while back and for their size, (about 9x7x 14") very impressive. full range with tuned port. a great feature is they bridge the audio gap between analog and digital. (hard to do). don't remember what they cost but less than $400.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2014 at 9:58AM
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