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Bose 901 or other "design" speakers - Page 2

post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
Yeah yeah...

Well, it looks like I found a good temporary solution, since I don't really want to spend $2-300 on speakers right now.

These are on sale at Best Buy for $40 right now, and they supposedly sound pretty great, and actually look quite good:



In any case, they will beat my trashed KLHs (not good ones) and fit in my space a lot better. If I want to mess with it, I could buy some teak veneer and slap it on there, and make stands for a more design-ish look.
Good choice, those Insignia's have been all the rage in audiophile forums across the web (AVS, AudioAsylum, Head-Fi, etc)
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek
Sonus Faber Guarneri Mementos are in my future. I'd love to have the Stradivari homage, but at 40k it's a little out of my league. It's quite possibly the most beautiful loudspeaker ever made. I'm dying to audition it one of these days.

J, Bose is crap. It has a bum rep in audio circles for a reason. Things might have been different in the 70s but it's like the Armani of sound, actually, not even, I'd say they're roughly analagous to Boss ;p

Anyway, for 300 bucks you could get a pair of paradigm mini-monitors or maybe even Monitor 5s that would blow those speakers away. Forget about the number of drivers or size of the speaker, it's almost irrelevant. B&W has similar offerings, although my preference is paradigm at that price-point. Don't go for the cheap 5.1 setups, they're absolute crap.

You should seriously think about going to a good audio store and listening to their good stuff so that you can establish a frame of reference for what great sound really is. I'm not saying you should spend tons of money, but $300 can get you a very good speaker these days, assuming you do your research.

In terms of bang-for-buck, you're better off getting a good 2-way speaker than anything else.

Yep, love everything Sonus Faber does.

Also, I second the Paradigm notion. I started my hi-fi life with a pair of Mark 5se.
post #18 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
Yeah yeah...

Well, it looks like I found a good temporary solution, since I don't really want to spend $2-300 on speakers right now.

These are on sale at Best Buy for $40 right now, and they supposedly sound pretty great, and actually look quite good:



In any case, they will beat my trashed KLHs (not good ones) and fit in my space a lot better. If I want to mess with it, I could buy some teak veneer and slap it on there, and make stands for a more design-ish look.
I finally got these today and they are really impressive. I put the stick-on rubber isolator bumps on the side so they face upwards about 15 degrees, and put them in my bench/shelving. They really are an improvement, and if you walked in with your eyes closed, you'd have real trouble guessing how big they are or where they are in the room. They sound really huge. It didn't seem to matter where I put them or aimed them for the most part, the highs were still clear (as compared to some speakers I've used where the tweeters had to be aimed at your ears and at ear level to be heard). Granted, most of my experience is with cheap speakers, but these are the best cheap speakers I've tried.

The bass is slightly boomy for my taste, but I will probably get some polyfill and stuff it into the ports and call it good.
post #19 of 31
These JBL Northridge are awesome, with great sound and amazingly compact...but not at all vintage.

http://www.htmarket.com/jblnorsersat.html
post #20 of 31
A lot depends on the type of music you listen. Rock/Pop for the most part would sound fine on cheap speakers. Most compositions emphasize drums and bass which Bose and others would handle fine.
If you're listening to Jazz or Classical music on occasion, then you would not be happy with cheap boxes as nuances are very important there.
I usually test a speaker by bringing my own CD and listening to the same composition on different models. My rule of thumb is : If you can hear how singer takes breath it is a good speaker. Also I always bring organ music on CD. Only very good speaker can handle an organ sound.

Sonus Faber is absolutely great.

I can also recomend Yamaha speakers, as cheap alternative.
post #21 of 31
It seems that you've already bought something pretty smart, so this thread should probably just die. But about 901's I wouldn't go so far as to call them "well respected." After all, Consumer Reports published a bad review on them and Bose took them to court for it. But if you ever want to try 901's out for yourself, make sure to bring something featuring simple spoken word. Preferably of a friend. It'll be well nigh unintelligible on the 901s, thanks to their idiotic (audio) design. If you like the (industrial) design and just want sound everywhere that's something else entirely. Also, contrary to what our "audiophile" friend who thinks there are sonic differences between slugs of copper believes, rubber surrounds last quite a while. Practically indefinitely, in fact. The problem on old Boses, as well as good vintage speakers like Tannoy Golds and some Altecs/JBLs, is that the foam surrounds rot after 10-15 years. Those $40 Best Buy speakers look 20x nicer than the price would suggest, and sound pretty decent so long as you don't expect real-world dynamics. When they were on sale for $35 a pair briefly last month a friend of mine bought 4 pairs for his living room, and I helped him set up a small HT for a friend using seven of them, a cheap Pioneer receiver, and a clapboard sub from Wal-Mart of all places. Total cost of about $500, and I've heard plenty of very expensive audio salon HT demo rooms that sounded worse. The only tweak was to plug the ports, compensating for their on-the-wall positioning. If you're an I-P stickler everything about them from the driver to the cabinet shape announces loudly to the world that they're a pirated KEF design. They probably don't sound much worse than the Paradigms and Sonus Fabers and other pipsqueak speakers discussed. Actually, they're probably better because they're coaxes. They don't have the annoying problems in the midrange that all speakers with separate dome tweeters do, because the tweeter is restricted by the woofer. It really doesn't matter if you spend $40 or $40k on a little speaker, because no small cone and dome speaker - none - is ever going to exceed "not too bad" anyway. If you want something "design-y," decent, and not too expensive for your next step maybe try vintage Martin-Logan Aerius-i's or new Magnepan MMGs. Or better yet, Quad ESL-63 US models with either the Gradient dipole subs or a DIY copy of them. All of those speakers make placement demands you may be unwilling to live with, though. On another note, Sonus Faber seems to get a lot of love around here. I wonder, though, have you guys heard them or just seen them. When I was in grad school, I happened upon the most beautiful pint-sized speakers I'd ever seen at the annual Harvard flea market that year. They had this incredibly well-finished gleaming walnut cabinet, with the drive-units set in pebblegrain leather. And the stands were works of art themselves. I looked at them, flipped over a tag to see the asking price, and claimed them unheard. They were, as you may have guessed by now, Sonus Fabers. Electa Amators, to be specific. And they sounded...nothing like they looked. And certainly not good enough to justify the ~$5k the first owner probably paid for them before ditching them. Mushy and indistinct down low, cloudy in the midrange, an odd combination of piercingly shrill on axis and dull off, and instant overload on any dynamic peaks in well-recorded music thanks to the slight cone area and what I later learned is a low-order crossover. In my current house I used them until recently, but not anywhere near my main system. They were in the corners of my sunroom, actually. They were recently replaced with a pair of much better speakers, modified vintage Martin-Logan Monolith III's. (See the thrift thread for more info.)
post #22 of 31
Quote:
If you're an I-P stickler everything about them from the driver to the cabinet shape announces loudly to the world that they're a pirated KEF design.

Wow, until you said that, I couldn't quite figure out the resemblance. I actually owned KEF 55.2 (2.5-way) towers with the Uni-Q system. It's an exact copy. Good for dispersion.
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by norcaltransplant
Wow, until you said that, I couldn't quite figure out the resemblance. I actually owned KEF 55.2 (2.5-way) towers with the Uni-Q system. It's an exact copy. Good for dispersion.

To wit:

KEF iQ3:


BB Insignia


Note the rounded cabinet, and obviously the Uni-Q alike.
post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 
Good call. I am going to plug the ports or stuff them with a lot of polyfill as these are quite boomy in the bass. I'm not sure if it's resonance from the thin cabinet (slotted MDF to make the curve) or just an overlarge port, but in any case I want them to be tighter. But overall I'm pretty pleased with how they sound.
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGladwell
It seems that you've already bought something pretty smart, so this thread should probably just die. But about 901's I wouldn't go so far as to call them "well respected." After all, Consumer Reports published a bad review on them and Bose took them to court for it. But if you ever want to try 901's out for yourself, make sure to bring something featuring simple spoken word. Preferably of a friend. It'll be well nigh unintelligible on the 901s, thanks to their idiotic (audio) design. If you like the (industrial) design and just want sound everywhere that's something else entirely.

Also, contrary to what our "audiophile" friend who thinks there are sonic differences between slugs of copper believes, rubber surrounds last quite a while. Practically indefinitely, in fact. The problem on old Boses, as well as good vintage speakers like Tannoy Golds and some Altecs/JBLs, is that the foam surrounds rot after 10-15 years.

Those $40 Best Buy speakers look 20x nicer than the price would suggest, and sound pretty decent so long as you don't expect real-world dynamics. When they were on sale for $35 a pair briefly last month a friend of mine bought 4 pairs for his living room, and I helped him set up a small HT for a friend using seven of them, a cheap Pioneer receiver, and a clapboard sub from Wal-Mart of all places. Total cost of about $500, and I've heard plenty of very expensive audio salon HT demo rooms that sounded worse. The only tweak was to plug the ports, compensating for their on-the-wall positioning.

If you're an I-P stickler everything about them from the driver to the cabinet shape announces loudly to the world that they're a pirated KEF design. They probably don't sound much worse than the Paradigms and Sonus Fabers and other pipsqueak speakers discussed. Actually, they're probably better because they're coaxes. They don't have the annoying problems in the midrange that all speakers with separate dome tweeters do, because the tweeter is restricted by the woofer. It really doesn't matter if you spend $40 or $40k on a little speaker, because no small cone and dome speaker - none - is ever going to exceed "not too bad" anyway.

If you want something "design-y," decent, and not too expensive for your next step maybe try vintage Martin-Logan Aerius-i's or new Magnepan MMGs. Or better yet, Quad ESL-63 US models with either the Gradient dipole subs or a DIY copy of them. All of those speakers make placement demands you may be unwilling to live with, though.

On another note, Sonus Faber seems to get a lot of love around here. I wonder, though, have you guys heard them or just seen them. When I was in grad school, I happened upon the most beautiful pint-sized speakers I'd ever seen at the annual Harvard flea market that year. They had this incredibly well-finished gleaming walnut cabinet, with the drive-units set in pebblegrain leather. And the stands were works of art themselves. I looked at them, flipped over a tag to see the asking price, and claimed them unheard. They were, as you may have guessed by now, Sonus Fabers. Electa Amators, to be specific. And they sounded...nothing like they looked. And certainly not good enough to justify the ~$5k the first owner probably paid for them before ditching them. Mushy and indistinct down low, cloudy in the midrange, an odd combination of piercingly shrill on axis and dull off, and instant overload on any dynamic peaks in well-recorded music thanks to the slight cone area and what I later learned is a low-order crossover. In my current house I used them until recently, but not anywhere near my main system. They were in the corners of my sunroom, actually. They were recently replaced with a pair of much better speakers, modified vintage Martin-Logan Monolith III's. (See the thrift thread for more info.)


Do you have lots of friends?
post #26 of 31
j,

Another cause of boominess is placement. If you can, try the speakers in different locations around the room and see what you like. Another thought is to put the speakers in your listening location and walk around the room --- the spot where bass sounds best is a good place for your speaker. This works only for bass, not higher frequencies.

Plugging ports is tricky and has many compromises, one of which is that you'll reduce the lowest frequencies that the speaker can play. But it's an easy tweak to try out and undo if you don't like it.

--Andre
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
Good call. I am going to plug the ports or stuff them with a lot of polyfill as these are quite boomy in the bass. I'm not sure if it's resonance from the thin cabinet (slotted MDF to make the curve) or just an overlarge port, but in any case I want them to be tighter. But overall I'm pretty pleased with how they sound.

To see if the boominess can be fixed quickly and dirtily, try just stuffing a rolled-up pair of tube socks in each port. With vented boxes I don't think polyfill is a great idea, but you could try lining the walls of the cabinet with eggcrate foam like the big boys do.
post #28 of 31
Have a pair of last years sonus faber grand pianos. Excellent speakers. Got them on discount too. If you'r on an entry level budget you might want to try checking out the audiophile forums and get some second hand speakers. Sonus fabers are a safe bet. Definately much better value for money.

I think boominess can be solved by placement. You shouldnt place your speakers too close to any walls, especially on rear ported models.
post #29 of 31
post #30 of 31
Anything by B&W, seriouusly check out this brand. The only speak I'll buy. They have these new onwalls that are so cute and when I hear a side by side comparison with the little bose I was amazed at how terrible the bose sounded, truly awful in comparison.
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