Hunt for speakers begins

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bizarre

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Dear guys,

I am out for speakers. The questions I'm going to ask may sound like repetitive but before starting this thread, I had actually gone through various threads but there were no direct answers as such (or I missed out :(). I have been reading about speakers as soon as Kaushik offered to build a USB DAC. Some stats about my prospective purchase:

1. Pure audio setup. Most probably PC/Laptop-based.
2. Max budget 40k (stretched, no possibility of even 1-rupee increase!)
3. Room size < 150sqft (bedroom) or > 300sqft (living room), confused.
4. I have no particular taste for music. No type of music as such but am inclined to soft-rock a bit.
5. I don't plan to buy a sub, unless highly recommended by you guys.
6. I will start hunting for an amp when I've finalized the speakers. The amp budget would be around 30k max.

My first question is: Shall I go for floorstanders or bookshelves? Except for higher volume level and ability to cater larger room-size, do floorstanders are better than bookshelves in any other aspects? Do bookshelves are a compromise on bass?

Right now I am inclined towards floorstanders. I have done quite a lot of home-work and have compiled a good list of 25 floorstanding speakers to be auditioned! The list includes almost all the speakers sold in India under 40k price range, including Sonodyne, Polk, MS, MA, Jamo, Wharfedale, Mission, Tannoy, KEF, Qaccoustics, Sanen, PSB, Lithos and Audire etc!

If you suggest bookshelves, I would add the floorstanders' bookshelf counterparts to the list as well.
 
Last edited:

argho

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I am confused. What amp are you planning to buy ?
If you specify the amp, people can reccomend speakers that are well matched.

You can't just connect your PC directly to speakers.
 

gobble

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Forget FS in a 150sq feet room. Even Diamond 9.1s will need 12" from rear and side walls. Best to go for Lithos Noa 2.1 which satellites can be screwed into the wall. Very good quality sound.

Regards
 

bizarre

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@argho,

Of course I have plans of buying an amp but this forum itself has suggested me that one should finalize speakers first then should hunt for matching amp. I think I'm right? Anyways my mistake, I forgot to mention it. :)

@gobble,

That's a shocking thing for me! I don't have one-foot to spare at rear of the speakers! But I'm a little confused as why do we need space at the rear? Don't speakers have clean-back except for the connectors?

So, if I decide to put my audio setup in my living room, does buying BS still make sense? I am living on rent and I may move out of this house in a year or two max. It's very likely that my next bedroom would be much larger. If BS work well only in small rooms, then will I have to upgrade them then?

If I put FS, say Jamo C407 in my 150sqft room, what are the negatives?
 

bizarre

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I somehow am wary of "active" stuff. The problem I see here is, I get speaker for Audioengine A5's for 19,000 that means the price is for speakers + built-in amplifiers. Obviously, these speakers would have cost much less if they were not active.

The only active speakers I have audiotioned (informal) so far is Adam A5 (got a quote of 50k for a pair) a few months ago. I found the vocals and highs very good, however, bass was absent altogether (short auditioning, may be incorrect opinion).

I don't mind saving on amplifier if gurus here suggest that active speakers are better than speakers + separate amp? I understand they would be VFM but do they really compare to a dedicated amp based setup?
 

unleash_me

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Check the Swan MKII and MKIII. Haven't heard MKIII but judging from my experience with MKII (which was way better than A2) I guess the latest iteration should be good.

kd.jpg


Pro-Med Instruments (P) Ltd.,
Add: 9/1, 18th Avenue,Ashok Nagar,Chennai-600 083
Tel: 0091-44-42132295/42142295

Happy auditions.
 

bizarre

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Unleash_Me, the Swan speakers are lookers! Forget SQ, they are worth buying for their looks itself!

By the way I went for my first ever speaker auditioning. I wasn't prepared and hence no CD as such except for an assorted songs CD of A R Rahman from my car. The auditioning was done at 5.1 Sounds in Nerul, Navi Mumbai. Got to audition Polk TSi 100, TSi 300, RTi A9 (out of curiosity), Jamo S506 and Sonodyne Sonus 1601. This post will tell you my level of noviceness! :(

Started with TSi 300 along with Sonodyne 1601. I must say I found Sonodyne pretty decent in detailing, midrange and midbass. Very low frequencies (deep bass? <50Hz frequencies?) was absent completely. Another major issue with Sonodyne was the fact that highs and midrange sounded in the face, sort of annoying at times. 1601 was offered for 15500 (negotiable), demo piece could be acquired for 11000.

TSi 300 was better than the Sonodyne in harshness and low bass but the difference wasn't as much. Immediately listened to TSi 100 bookshelves. Didn't like it at all, the speaker sounded loud and with almost no bass, even midbass wasn't as good. After Sonodyne's 11000 price, TSi 100 for 11000 sounded like obscene spent!

Then came the Jamo S506. Brilliant bass, better than Polk TSi 300 + Polk Sub (forgot name). But looked like the bass came at the price of details. The speaker sounded as if entire midrange and highs are supressed and only bass is apparent. Jamo S506 for 26,000!

Asked the humble guy for RTi A9 audiotioning, though A9 was better than TSi 300 but somehow, I wasn't able to justify the difference in price. A9 was more of a speaker that was delivering everything better i.e. good bass, midrange and highs but maybe my ears are not as accurate and hence I couldn't find the value in them. Anyway I wasn't in position to afford them. They cost around 70,000.

Next week I plan to go to Atria for Sonodyne 2605 and Norge in Mahim.

p.s. I liked the guy Rakesh at the 5.1 Sounds shop. I never knew that a shop guy can be this patient. In my 40-mins auditioning, he was up and running all the time. He did whatever I asked for. Not even single strain on his forehead. When I was walking out, his enthusiasm was still as high. Maybe this is the way audio shops are run but this was a very different experience for me. In fact first I thought if I like some product that he has, I will buy from him only! :p
 

iaudio

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Unleash_Me, the Swan speakers are lookers! Forget SQ, they are worth buying for their looks itself!

By the way I went for my first ever speaker auditioning. I wasn't prepared and hence no CD as such except for an assorted songs CD of A R Rahman from my car. The auditioning was done at 5.1 Sounds in Nerul, Navi Mumbai. Got to audition Polk TSi 100, TSi 300, RTi A9 (out of curiosity), Jamo S506 and Sonodyne Sonus 1601. This post will tell you my level of noviceness! :(

Started with TSi 300 along with Sonodyne 1601. I must say I found Sonodyne pretty decent in detailing, midrange and midbass. Very low frequencies (deep bass? <50Hz frequencies?) was absent completely. Another major issue with Sonodyne was the fact that highs and midrange sounded in the face, sort of annoying at times. 1601 was offered for 15500 (negotiable), demo piece could be acquired for 11000.

TSi 300 was better than the Sonodyne in harshness and low bass but the difference wasn't as much. Immediately listened to TSi 100 bookshelves. Didn't like it at all, the speaker sounded loud and with almost no bass, even midbass wasn't as good. After Sonodyne's 11000 price, TSi 100 for 11000 sounded like obscene spent!

Then came the Jamo S506. Brilliant bass, better than Polk TSi 300 + Polk Sub (forgot name). But looked like the bass came at the price of details. The speaker sounded as if entire midrange and highs are supressed and only bass is apparent. Jamo S506 for 26,000!

Asked the humble guy for RTi A9 audiotioning, though A9 was better than TSi 300 but somehow, I wasn't able to justify the difference in price. A9 was more of a speaker that was delivering everything better i.e. good bass, midrange and highs but maybe my ears are not as accurate and hence I couldn't find the value in them. Anyway I wasn't in position to afford them. They cost around 70,000.

Next week I plan to go to Atria for Sonodyne 2605 and Norge in Mahim.

p.s. I liked the guy Rakesh at the 5.1 Sounds shop. I never knew that a shop guy can be this patient. In my 40-mins auditioning, he was up and running all the time. He did whatever I asked for. Not even single strain on his forehead. When I was walking out, his enthusiasm was still as high. Maybe this is the way audio shops are run but this was a very different experience for me. In fact first I thought if I like some product that he has, I will buy from him only! :p

Bizarre, great to see that you have started the auditioning process. Since you are in Mumbai, there is no dearth of hi fi outlets for audition.
As for your pleasant experience with the service of the salesman, I think it is required in hi fi, as one can assess merits, demerits and comparisons only by spending quality time listening. But again, in this field too, there are people who will let you audition if you are in for a high end purchase only, guys who give you a few minutes of listening and then hammer you for a sale.
I think Magmas speaker thread will tell you what can be auditioned where.
good luck.

Hi fi log has always suggested buying speakers first and then buying suitable amplifier. I feel there is one problem, how do you lug around the speakers to each place for an audition? It is easy to carry an amp or cdp, but speakers are a tough job. You need a car with lots of space and physical strength to haul the speakers.
 

bizarre

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Thanks iaudio, for boosting the morale. And for a good tip on my purchase plan. Neither I have that much space in my car to carry floorstanders (If I buy them) nor am I that enthusiast. You are right I should finalize an amp first.

I've gone through Magma's thread and a few similar other useful threads. They were quite useful. Based upon the guidance, I am going to prepare a couple of CDs that I'm familiar with.
 

iaudio

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Thanks iaudio, for boosting the morale. And for a good tip on my purchase plan. Neither I have that much space in my car to carry floorstanders (If I buy them) nor am I that enthusiast. You are right I should finalize an amp first.

I've gone through Magma's thread and a few similar other useful threads. They were quite useful. Based upon the guidance, I am going to prepare a couple of CDs that I'm familiar with.

Bizarre, i am not sure buying the amp and source and then speakers is the best way to take, but I was just pointing out the practical difficulties of hauling a speaker around esp fs to audition with different amps.
You could try making a shortlist of amp speaker combos which are reported to have good synergy and which you have you have heard too. Like
CA- MS, Nad-Psb,Norge-Norge spkrs etc
And you are right in using cds of songs you are familiar with, after all its what plays your music best that you should buy!:)
 

jaudere

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I somehow am wary of "active" stuff. The problem I see here is, I get speaker for Audioengine A5's for 19,000 that means the price is for speakers + built-in amplifiers. Obviously, these speakers would have cost much less if they were not active.

The only active speakers I have audiotioned (informal) so far is Adam A5 (got a quote of 50k for a pair) a few months ago. I found the vocals and highs very good, however, bass was absent altogether (short auditioning, may be incorrect opinion).

I don't mind saving on amplifier if gurus here suggest that active speakers are better than speakers + separate amp? I understand they would be VFM but do they really compare to a dedicated amp based setup?


here are some suggestions

1) Don't go on power rating: i am using 25 watt RMS speakers. they go louder than i can tolerate in my 14X 11 room.

2)don't go on the price: i am happy with rs 7000 home made speakers.(they are open baffle) i did not like rs 18000 Jamo speakers . then i went DIY way as i could not spend more than 20K on speakers and i am a happy man now.

3) avoid forming opinion on any system unless you hear it yourself.

I have never personally heard audioengines. but going by the reviews, you will never feel low on bass. they are supposed to be the best active speakers at that price point. get an audition if possible.
 

bizarre

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1) Don't go on power rating: i am using 25 watt RMS speakers. they go louder than i can tolerate in my 14X 11 room.

I don't. Frankly, I'm too novice in audio world to know how many RMS means what kind of loudness. When it comes to technical specs, all I see is X-way, and frequency range (especially the starting range). That too, I am not very sure about.

2)don't go on the price: i am happy with rs 7000 home made speakers.(they are open baffle) i did not like rs 18000 Jamo speakers . then i went DIY way as i could not spend more than 20K on speakers and i am a happy man now.

I agree. I loved Sonodyne 1601 @11k more than anything that was available in the showroom that day. I thought it's a little sharp at ears otherwise, it would have been my favourite speaker so far. All the India-made speakers are on my radar. I don't know DIY and hence am not into it so far but that's not untouchable either!

3) avoid forming opinion on any system unless you hear it yourself.

I again agree. Trust me, I try to. However, several times I feel that my ears are not good enough (like many audiophile wannabes) and hence I end up forming opinions based upon what others say, especially when somebody apparently very knowledgeable forms a strong opinion on something! For example, Polk RTi A9 was pretty ordinary to me but there are many who swear by its name!

I have never personally heard audioengines. but going by the reviews, you will never feel low on bass. they are supposed to be the best active speakers at that price point. get an audition if possible.

Thanks. Apart from normal bookshelves, I will also add powered speakers to my auditioning short-list. Anyway it's going to take a couple of months to finish auditioning these many speakers and I'm in no hurry. Auditioning is absolute fun. :licklips:
 

jaudere

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I






I again agree. Trust me, I try to. However, several times I feel that my ears are not good enough (like many audiophile wannabes) and hence I end up forming opinions based upon what others say, especially when somebody apparently very knowledgeable forms a strong opinion on something! For example, Polk RTi A9 was pretty ordinary to me but there are many who swear by its name!



:


hmm,
good or bad, your ears are your ears. you won't be able to borrow an audiophile's ear on an hourly basis:eek:. and trust me, you are lucky if you are not an audiophile. it will save a lot of money.:lol:

So chose what your ears like. do a bit of search on the forum and you will find that a speaker loved by one audiophile is hated by another. As I read audiophiles find it very difficult to satisfy themselves. you will always find positive and negative reviews on each speaker. everyone will say: XYZ ar the best speakers that I have heard "at this price point"

so enjoy your auditioning. have fun.:)
 

datuca

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Bizarre, i am not sure buying the amp and source and then speakers is the best way to take, but I was just pointing out the practical difficulties of hauling a speaker around esp fs to audition with different amps.
You could try making a shortlist of amp speaker combos which are reported to have good synergy and which you have you have heard too. Like
CA- MS, Nad-Psb,Norge-Norge spkrs etc
And you are right in using cds of songs you are familiar with, after all its what plays your music best that you should buy!:)

Bizarre, Once you have the combinations in mind you can go to a shops that carry a wide range. Alliance and The Shop are a couple that I know of. They are in Andheri (W), Opp. D N Nagar police station.
 

kaushik

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I somehow am wary of "active" stuff. The problem I see here is, I get speaker for Audioengine A5's for 19,000 that means the price is for speakers + built-in amplifiers. Obviously, these speakers would have cost much less if they were not active.

The only active speakers I have audiotioned (informal) so far is Adam A5 (got a quote of 50k for a pair) a few months ago. I found the vocals and highs very good, however, bass was absent altogether (short auditioning, may be incorrect opinion).

I don't mind saving on amplifier if gurus here suggest that active speakers are better than speakers + separate amp? I understand they would be VFM but do they really compare to a dedicated amp based setup?

Hey ADAM A5 i got quote 13K here .. !
If you put in proper room they should give a better bass officially they go 33Hz atleast .I am happy if they 43Hz..
 

bizarre

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@jaudere,

You are right. They're my ears and I have to use them to listen to my music. Can't rely on somebody else ears! But it hurts when you buy something, you think is good enough and somebody comes and tells you that what you have bought is not even worth half the price or the SQ is nowhere close to his half-budget setup! But I know what you mean and I agree to it. :)

One interesting real-life story. One of friend has a sort-of luxury car and was very happy with the way his stock ICE sounded. Then he came across someone who said that the bass is not adequate. He went to an ICE shop and asked if something can be done. The ICE guy said, the system in his car is complete crap and everything needs to be redone, from source to speakers! He spent close to a lac on his ICE and was damn happy with the SQ. Now came another audiophile who said, the sound isn't worth 1 lac. Then started R&D on his system, everybody tried to tune it. Now my friend is so dissatisfied that he feels his stock audio was better! I auditioned it the other day and I found it amazing. But I'm no audiophile and he doesn't believe me.

I am not a guy like my friend but I believe in research. I will find a speaker for myself based upon what my ears can judge. You guys' support is always there in case!

@datuka,

Thanks, buddy. Came across these two names in this month's AV Max. Your suggestion gives me reassurance.

@Kaushik,

Mine quote was from Pankaj Chheda of FM Drive, Santa Cruz, Mumbai. He is known for car audio in Mumbai. It was more of an informal discussion than a proper quote. When I went for a car audio done by him, I saw this pair lying in his shop. I insisted to audition it and in discussion he said, one speaker costs 25k. I asked one speaker or one pair? 25k for one speaker, with a wide grin on his face!
 

rikhav

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Hi there
I have not purchased anything substantial from The shop, Alliance or Viola (This is near Alliance and they deal in many brands)
But out of all three THE SHOP guys are little snobbish and you will have to bargain a lot
Also if you are coming to DN nagar then you should also Boomerang which is in the same housing soc. where Prithvi Theatre is. I am not sure if they have anything in your range but you can always meet them and ask if they have anything in your budget.
Recentky one of our members purchased MA speakers from him and he also had good things to say about Boomerang
 

jaudere

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@jaudere,



One interesting real-life story. One of friend has a sort-of luxury car and was very happy with the way his stock ICE sounded. Then he came across someone who said that the bass is not adequate. He went to an ICE shop and asked if something can be done. The ICE guy said, the system in his car is complete crap and everything needs to be redone, from source to speakers! He spent close to a lac on his ICE and was damn happy with the SQ. Now came another audiophile who said, the sound isn't worth 1 lac. Then started R&D on his system, everybody tried to tune it. Now my friend is so dissatisfied that he feels his stock audio was better! I auditioned it the other day and I found it amazing. But I'm no audiophile and he doesn't believe me.

I am not a guy like my friend but I believe in research. I will find a speaker for myself based upon what my ears can judge. You guys' support is always there in case!

A kind of side tracking but you made me remember an incidence while i was doing residency in internal medicine. during the first year ,we failed to pick up a cardiac murmur of a patient while our boss picked it up. we were amazed because we were using Rs. 4000 Litmann stethoscope(supposed to be very good,comes with warranty, has soft earplugs, thicker tube etc etc) and our boss was using Rs 375 simple microtone stethoscope. We all said, "boss , you are great".

He said, "what is more important than the stethoscope is the ears in which the stethoscope is plugged. If your mind doesn't expect something, your ears will never be able to hear it".

through experience I gradually learned that art(but not to the extent that my guru had attained). i remember this incidence every time i see the expression on the face of my assistant when he misses a murmur, i hear it and then he confirms it on a 2 D echo.:)
 
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