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Looking for cheap home theater speakers

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Many of you are really in-tune to this kind of thing and these days I'm so far out of the loop it's not even funny. Here's what my general wish list is: a) Good quality. I have a decent hifi setup and while this doesn't have to rival a great system I would like competent musical performance. This will be for a main TV watching area in the den where I will also want to listen to music. b) Doesn't need killer bass. It should have a sub but it doesn't have to be an 18" thunderbox to alleviate those constipated days. c) Small, preferably identical satellites. I'd do in-walls if I could but as I have plaster interior walls and budget constraints they are not an option. But I want small, preferably tiny, and unobtrusive speakers. I also have an upcoming event where it would be nice to rig a bunch of small satellites in a tent and if these could double up for that duty it would be awesome. I'm even tempted to try Bose because this is a pretty desired constraint. d) Cheap. If I could do this for $500 and get something decent, I would. Will go to $700-800 if necessary. e) Home theater is not a huge deal for me. I'm not all that picky so I prefer good musical performance over huge cinema impact - I would probably even go 2.1 if I didn't specifically need these other speakers for my "event." Hence my willingness to settle for a phantom setup if that's what it comes to. I've turned up a few options that look decent given some reviews and my knowledge of the brands: Paradigm Cinema 70CT NHT SuperZero 5.1 but I'm not sure where else to look. I would also consider buying 2 pairs of small mini-monitors (plus a separate sub) and running in "phantom" center mode, if that still exists. Any thoughts? Thanks to all for any advice.
post #2 of 18
The NHT speakers are quite good Douglas. Paradigm and PSB also good in this price range. Generally speaking a good 2.1 setup with mini-monitors is the best way to get decent sound in your range. You might also consider a ZVOX which is a high quality "sound bar" system. The "tiny satellite" systems like Bose and others sound uniformly awful in my experience.
post #3 of 18
post #4 of 18
post #5 of 18
IMO, unless you're going to spend a tremendous amount of time watching action movies, surround is overrated. Plus, they're a pain in the ass with wire runs, stands/wall mounts, and seating adjustment. I'd plug the money into a better 2.1 and get even more enjoyment out of it.
post #6 of 18
^ it's not only movies, playing games surround makes huge difference. don't get virtual surround like its called it's virtual, fake. unless of course you don't want to deal with wiring. this is the speaker I bought last year http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-694 very cheap not the best looking but connected with dg820 + 16awg cable + banana plug. it's pretty awesome. when wiring, buy cable cutter/stripper makes job much easier.
post #7 of 18
Im no expert either, but here's what I did when I was in your same situation. I got some Energy Take Classic speakers off of Vanns.com for $199 which was a great value, they are a good entry level speaker which are a great bang for your buck. I paired this with a 10" energy subwoofer which was on sale for approx $200, and got a refurbished Harman/Kardon receiver (AV254) for another $230 or so. Add some wiring and set it up yourself and you can get a nice little set-up for right in your range.
post #8 of 18
I have an older surround set from Paradigm, Douglas. Very good sound and reliability.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help, guys - but to re-iterate - I am definitely looking to purchase 4+ minimonitors because of the coincidental need for a number of speakers for an event I will be hosting later this fall. The way I see it, I have to buy speakers for that purpose anyways, so if I can get something useful that I can turn into a HT setup or maybe even 2 different 2.1 systems at some later point in time that's the bonus. So 5.1 speaker systems in a box that might have some economies built in are sort of my frontrunners to begin with. Appreciate any recommendations in that vein. Thanks.
post #10 of 18
When I lived with my parents they had an amazing home theater, but in all honesty I felt it to be a novelty. Now I could take it or leave it and honestly I prefer my movies being fed through my Peachtree Audio Nova.
post #11 of 18
NHT SuperOne and Zeros are good
Definitive Tech
Paradigm
B&W

I'd audition some and search for them on ebay or Audiogon. As long as they are in good condition, you can get a higher quality set for the same price range as new.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
Thanks for the help, guys - but to re-iterate - I am definitely looking to purchase 4+ minimonitors because of the coincidental need for a number of speakers for an event I will be hosting later this fall. The way I see it, I have to buy speakers for that purpose anyways, so if I can get something useful that I can turn into a HT setup or maybe even 2 different 2.1 systems at some later point in time that's the bonus. So 5.1 speaker systems in a box that might have some economies built in are sort of my frontrunners to begin with. Appreciate any recommendations in that vein. Thanks.
My bad D. Missed the "event" part in the OP. You have a receiver already, right? If not, the Onkyo packages are a great deal for the money. Do you need the rear speakers to be floorstanding for the event? Or can they be hung/mounted?
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
Thanks for the help, guys - but to re-iterate - I am definitely looking to purchase 4+ minimonitors because of the coincidental need for a number of speakers for an event I will be hosting later this fall. The way I see it, I have to buy speakers for that purpose anyways, so if I can get something useful that I can turn into a HT setup or maybe even 2 different 2.1 systems at some later point in time that's the bonus. So 5.1 speaker systems in a box that might have some economies built in are sort of my frontrunners to begin with. Appreciate any recommendations in that vein. Thanks.

In that case, $500 is not really that much to work with. You would be better off investing a little more imho. The HTIB systems are not that great.
post #14 of 18
Douglas, A couple of questions for you. What will you be using the large number of systems for? Do you need them for a party or corporate event where volume level is important? What will you be driving the speakers with? How much power does it have?
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm close to pulling the trigger on the NHTs, although I'd love to audition them first somewhere. The event is my wedding, and they will be needed to play background music in a tent during dinner. Volume is not particularly important, nor for that matter is sound quality all that critical. I just need a few small speakers to scatter through to play some jazz or something so it's not dead silent in there and seems inviting. And I want to somehow rig them up in the tent overhead so that they're unobtrusive. I'll drive everything off an old pro-style PA amp I've sort of "inherited."
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