Bookshelf speakers under $300

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02nz
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by 02nz » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:06 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:59 pm
At this point, my only concern is the shielding. I'm have to accidently put my phone on a speaker and suffer data loss.
I don't believe that's an issue. The storage inside your phone is not magnetic (unlike traditional spinning hard drives), so an unshielded speaker can't cause data loss. The other concern back in the day with unshielded speakers was distortion in the picture of CRT TVs, but that's also no longer a concern. Just don't put credit cards (with their magnetic strips) on the speakers. But even those primarily use the chip these days for authentication.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by unclescrooge » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:27 pm

02nz wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:06 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:59 pm
At this point, my only concern is the shielding. I'm have to accidently put my phone on a speaker and suffer data loss.
I don't believe that's an issue. The storage inside your phone is not magnetic (unlike traditional spinning hard drives), so an unshielded speaker can't cause data loss. The other concern back in the day with unshielded speakers was distortion in the picture of CRT TVs, but that's also no longer a concern. Just don't put credit cards (with their magnetic strips) on the speakers. But even those primarily use the chip these days for authentication.
Thanks for chiming in. So solid state storage isn't susceptible to magnetic data loss?

The elacs are literally half the price of the kefs. While I can afford the kefs, I'm still a value conscious BH at heart :mrgreen:

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unclescrooge
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by unclescrooge » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:31 pm

I saw this amplifier... Please let us know how it sounds.

02nz
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by 02nz » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:42 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:27 pm
02nz wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:06 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:59 pm
At this point, my only concern is the shielding. I'm have to accidently put my phone on a speaker and suffer data loss.
I don't believe that's an issue. The storage inside your phone is not magnetic (unlike traditional spinning hard drives), so an unshielded speaker can't cause data loss. The other concern back in the day with unshielded speakers was distortion in the picture of CRT TVs, but that's also no longer a concern. Just don't put credit cards (with their magnetic strips) on the speakers. But even those primarily use the chip these days for authentication.
Thanks for chiming in. So solid state storage isn't susceptible to magnetic data loss?

The elacs are literally half the price of the kefs. While I can afford the kefs, I'm still a value conscious BH at heart :mrgreen:
Correct, there's no magnetic media in there at all, which is why degaussers are used to destroy data on magnetic hard drives but useless on SSDs.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Socal77 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:51 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:01 pm
Kenkat wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:45 pm
For example, the guitaring in motley crue's girls, girls, girls is muted. You can still hear it, but it's not in the foreground as it was meant to be.
Well if that’s not a deal breaker, I don’t know what is! :D
Exactly! :D

But it's more complex than that. You hear it fine, but when the vocals come on, the vocals are more pronounced and the guitaring retreats in to the background.

With the elacs, they're both prominent.

Similar thing happens with the outfield's Your Love.

The more I compare the two, the more I'm leaning towards the kefs... But I still hate their finish. It's a flat white vinyl covering. The black elacs look sharper.
You could exchange the KEF's for black. As far as the vocal/instrument image are you sure they are supposed to "image" in the same place?

With most recordings the vocal image is forward with my KEF R3's.

The singer literally realistically floats in front of me separate from the speakers, while the instruments are left, right, or anywhere between left and right, and usually behind the vocals, depending on how the recording was done.

KEF's are known for their excellent imaging helped by the UniQ driver.

It could be how you are suppose to hear it. :)
Last edited by Socal77 on Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Northern Flicker
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Northern Flicker » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:00 pm

I don't believe that's an issue. The storage inside your phone is not magnetic (unlike traditional spinning hard drives), so an unshielded speaker can't cause data loss.
A magnetic field certainly can distort an analog signal running through a wire though, so having the DAC and op-amp output stage that is in the phone be located in the magnetic field of an unshielded speaker absolutely can and likely will distort the analog audio output of the phone. Setting the phone on top of an amp directly above or near the power supply transformer also could cause the same type of issue due to EMI from the transformer.

No small part of amplifier design is ensuring that EMI from the power supply transformer does not distort analog signals flowing downstream in the amplifier circuits, so distortion of analog signals from electric or magnetic fields is not just a theoretical issue.
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by 02nz » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:04 pm

jalbert wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:00 pm
I don't believe that's an issue. The storage inside your phone is not magnetic (unlike traditional spinning hard drives), so an unshielded speaker can't cause data loss.
A magnetic field certainly can distort an analog signal running through a wire though, so having the DAC and op-amp output stage that is in the phone be located in the magnetic field of an unshielded speaker absolutely can and likely will distort the analog audio output of the phone. Setting the phone on top of an amp directly above or near the power supply transformer also could cause the same type of issue due to EMI from the transformer.

No small part of amplifier design is ensuring that EMI from the power supply transformer does not distort analog signals flowing downstream in the amplifier circuits, so distortion of analog signals from electric or magnetic fields is not just a theoretical issue.
The question was about data loss.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Northern Flicker » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:14 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:31 pm
I saw this amplifier... Please let us know how it sounds.
There is not enough info in the specs to tell for sure but it appears that this is a tube pre-amp paired with a class D digital power amp. The tube preamp can impart the sound with harmonic tube distortion to create the tube sound, but I’m a bit skeptical of the comment in the specs about headroom and clipping of tubes if the power amp is indeed class D.
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:18 pm

jalbert wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:14 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:31 pm
I saw this amplifier... Please let us know how it sounds.
There is not enough info in the specs to tell for sure but it appears that this is a tube pre-amp paired with a class D digital power amp. The tube preamp can impart the sound with harmonic tube distortion to create the tube sound, but I’m a bit skeptical of the comment in the specs about headroom and clipping of tubes if the power amp is indeed class D.
These are hybrid systems. It is completely cheating. Possibly more for looks than anything. I wanted to try one because they are quite inexpensive. They offer bluetooth which is what I wanted. But, I can still have speakers and experiment with different speakers. My CDs, tapes and albums have mostly been sold off. A family subscription to a music service gives me most everything I owned at the push of a button.
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BoglePaul
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by BoglePaul » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:28 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:30 am
BoglePaul wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:07 am
Just get a Google Home Max.
How's the audio quality? Does it have good spacial presence and deep bass?
Yes, surprisingly great bass. It fills my large living room/kitchen.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Blueskies123 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:33 pm

anonenigma wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:37 pm
Worth checking the bargain range of Stereophile's Recommended Components:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/rec ... udspeakers
I wonder if the ones for $84,000 would require a portfolio rebalance?

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Northern Flicker » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:36 pm

02nz wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:04 pm
jalbert wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:00 pm
I don't believe that's an issue. The storage inside your phone is not magnetic (unlike traditional spinning hard drives), so an unshielded speaker can't cause data loss.
A magnetic field certainly can distort an analog signal running through a wire though, so having the DAC and op-amp output stage that is in the phone be located in the magnetic field of an unshielded speaker absolutely can and likely will distort the analog audio output of the phone. Setting the phone on top of an amp directly above or near the power supply transformer also could cause the same type of issue due to EMI from the transformer.

No small part of amplifier design is ensuring that EMI from the power supply transformer does not distort analog signals flowing downstream in the amplifier circuits, so distortion of analog signals from electric or magnetic fields is not just a theoretical issue.
The question was about data loss.
Actually, analog distortion would constitute analog data loss because some of the information content of the undistorted analog signal is lost. The data loss is just happening in the analog domain after conversion from digital data to analog data.

But I think a reasonable interpretation of the original question was concern about compromised audio quality from unshielded magnets.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by 02nz » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:48 pm

jalbert wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:36 pm
But I think a reasonable interpretation of the original question was concern about compromised audio quality from unshielded magnets.
Perhaps unclescrooge can clarify but I think it was very obvious he was asking about the possibility of losing data on his phone, not distortion in the analog audio.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Northern Flicker » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:17 pm

Yes, the particular posting concerned data loss in the phone. I was referring to the thread in general that was concerned with evaluating the audio quality of some speakers.
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Northern Flicker » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:40 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:18 pm
These are hybrid systems. It is completely cheating. Possibly more for looks than anything. I wanted to try one because they are quite inexpensive. They offer bluetooth which is what I wanted. But, I can still have speakers and experiment with different speakers. My CDs, tapes and albums have mostly been sold off. A family subscription to a music service gives me most everything I owned at the push of a button.
If one wants to get tube sound with a tube pre-amp in front of the power amp (which in general is not a new idea) you might as well get something that uses nutubes, which are preamp tubes on a socketed (user-replaceable) chip. They have a much longer life than conventional tubes and take up less space, but I guess are not a visual conversation piece like the Blutube product.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

detroitbabu
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by detroitbabu » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:26 pm

I may be too late but check the impedance of the speakers before you buy and if the amp has enough power to drive the speakers.
4 ohm speakers would need a higher powered amp compared to a 6 ohm and an 8 ohm speaker.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Northern Flicker » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:35 pm

detroitbabu wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:26 pm
I may be too late but check the impedance of the speakers before you buy and if the amp has enough power to drive the speakers.
4 ohm speakers would need a higher powered amp compared to a 6 ohm and an 8 ohm speaker.
It is the other way around. A lower impedance load requires a less powerful amp for a given volume level, all else equal. But a lower impedance load draws a higher level of current which may overspec components in the amplifier circuit and cause the amp to fail. The KA-3500 is rated for 4-16 ohm loads all of which will work fine as long as the speakers are not quite inefficient. Hooking two pairs of 4 ohm speakers up, though, one pair to the A speaker inputs and one pair to the B inputs and driving both pairs at the same time, will present the amp with a 2 ohm load, which overspecs the amp and could cause it to fail.
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by 02nz » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:46 pm

Don't worry about impedance. The rated impedance is nearly meaningless, as the impedance varies a lot depending on frequency, and the minimum impedance is almost always lower than the rated "nominal" impedance. The reality is that, unless you have very unusual speakers (not the ones being discussed here) or amplifier, you don't need to worry about impedance.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by gohuskys » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:59 pm

I am late joining this thread and I dont know about most of the other speakers mentioned, but I have a pair of the NHT Superzero bookshelf speakers and I think they sound great and have a nice piano black finish, 61 on amazon now which is about half what I paid when I bought some a few years ago. NHT also makes a Superone which has better bass response, but I have not tried that one.

BBQ Nut
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by BBQ Nut » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:49 pm

02nz wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:46 pm
Don't worry about impedance. The rated impedance is nearly meaningless, as the impedance varies a lot depending on frequency, and the minimum impedance is almost always lower than the rated "nominal" impedance. The reality is that, unless you have very unusual speakers (not the ones being discussed here) or amplifier, you don't need to worry about impedance.
Well - other factors come into play such as listening space, listening distance, and if you like to go to higher listening levels.

A low impedance speaker and a low powered amp in a big space at loud levels is a perfect storm for blowing tweeters out.

Been there done that. So, all things need to be considered when properly matching speakers, amps, and the listener.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by neon beanbag » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:30 pm

Related to this thread...I bought the KEF Q150s recently. I had been eyeing them for a while and when I saw they were on sale for $300, I pulled the trigger. I haven't listened to them yet because I don't have an amp or receiver. Does anyone have one they'd recommend for this type of speaker? I plan on playing a record player and TV through it so it would need a phono input and coax input.

Thanks.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by 02nz » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:34 pm

neon beanbag wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:30 pm
Related to this thread...I bought the KEF Q150s recently. I had been eyeing them for a while and when I saw they were on sale for $300, I pulled the trigger. I haven't listened to them yet because I don't have an amp or receiver. Does anyone have one they'd recommend for this type of speaker? I plan on playing a record player and TV through it so it would need a phono input and coax input.

Thanks.
NAD D 3020 v2. Compact, has phono, coax and optical inputs, Bluetooth.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Socal77 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:03 pm

02nz wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:34 pm
neon beanbag wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:30 pm
Related to this thread...I bought the KEF Q150s recently. I had been eyeing them for a while and when I saw they were on sale for $300, I pulled the trigger. I haven't listened to them yet because I don't have an amp or receiver. Does anyone have one they'd recommend for this type of speaker? I plan on playing a record player and TV through it so it would need a phono input and coax input.

Thanks.
NAD D 3020 v2. Compact, has phono, coax and optical inputs, Bluetooth.
The NAD is a great option. Here's another one:

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS301B ... -S301.html

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unclescrooge
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by unclescrooge » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:03 pm

Blueskies123 wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:33 pm
anonenigma wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:37 pm
Worth checking the bargain range of Stereophile's Recommended Components:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/rec ... udspeakers
I wonder if the ones for $84,000 would require a portfolio rebalance?
If you sell to rebalance, probably not. :mrgreen:

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unclescrooge
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by unclescrooge » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:13 pm

I decided to place the speakers in the bookshelf so I'd get a better idea of how they'd sound in their final position.

While both were fine on their own, in a side by side comparison, The kefs were definitely thinner compared to the elacs. I had my wife listen and she also agreed the elacs were richer.

I'm in a 20x16ft room, with the speakers against the long end. I was originally listening to the speakers on a side console against the short end of the room so I was much closer to the speakers.

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by dumbbunny » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:19 pm

Socal77 wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:03 pm
02nz wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:34 pm
neon beanbag wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:30 pm
Related to this thread...I bought the KEF Q150s recently. I had been eyeing them for a while and when I saw they were on sale for $300, I pulled the trigger. I haven't listened to them yet because I don't have an amp or receiver. Does anyone have one they'd recommend for this type of speaker? I plan on playing a record player and TV through it so it would need a phono input and coax input.

Thanks.
NAD D 3020 v2. Compact, has phono, coax and optical inputs, Bluetooth.
The NAD is a great option. Here's another one:

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS301B ... -S301.html
I use a Denon AVR-S510BT with my KEFs
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Socal77 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:22 pm

If your budget is 300K for speakers plus around 100K for amplification check these out. :mrgreen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QipY5qzmq4

Come on. I know some of you here could pull it off. :D

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by dknightd » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:34 pm

Speaker placement can have a big effect on sound

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by sleepysurf » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:31 am

Socal77 wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:22 pm
If your budget is 300K for speakers plus around 100K for amplification check these out. :mrgreen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QipY5qzmq4

Come on. I know some of you here could pull it off. :D
I actually heard that Von Schweikert setup at the Axpona audio show (Chicago) this year. Jaw dropping performance for anybody who had the spare change, and space! :D

Fortunately, folks can assemble a very musical two channel system nowadays for as little as $1000 (for example... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V5nZWWHh48), and even less if buying used (Audiogon, etc).

For audiophile wannabe's, the speaker/room interaction is critical, so picking a speaker based solely upon price and online reviews may leave you disappointed. As with investing, it's best to get some education first... online and/or at a brick and mortar audio store (if you are fortunate to still have one nearby). Seeking advice at the "big box" stores is more hit and miss. Alternatively, you can learn (and hear) a lot at one of the growing number of regional high end audio shows. Some cities even have local audiophile clubs with members eager to assist newbies.

BTW, for any audiophiles/wannabes in the Southeast, you might want to attend the inaugural Florida Audio Expo in Tampa (Feb 8-10)... https://floridaaudioexpo.com/exhibitors to audition a variety of gear at all price points. Attendance is free, and Von Schweikert is listed as one of the exhibitors (though I doubt they'll have that megabuck system on hand)!
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Socal77
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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Socal77 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:12 am

sleepysurf wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:31 am
Socal77 wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:22 pm
If your budget is 300K for speakers plus around 100K for amplification check these out. :mrgreen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QipY5qzmq4

Come on. I know some of you here could pull it off. :D
I actually heard that Von Schweikert setup at the Axpona audio show (Chicago) this year. Jaw dropping performance for anybody who had the spare change, and space! :D

Fortunately, folks can assemble a very musical two channel system nowadays for as little as $1000 (for example... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V5nZWWHh48), and even less if buying used (Audiogon, etc).

For audiophile wannabe's, the speaker/room interaction is critical, so picking a speaker based solely upon price and online reviews may leave you disappointed. As with investing, it's best to get some education first... online and/or at a brick and mortar audio store (if you are fortunate to still have one nearby). Seeking advice at the "big box" stores is more hit and miss. Alternatively, you can learn (and hear) a lot at one of the growing number of regional high end audio shows. Some cities even have local audiophile clubs with members eager to assist newbies.

BTW, for any audiophiles/wannabes in the Southeast, you might want to attend the inaugural Florida Audio Expo in Tampa (Feb 8-10)... https://floridaaudioexpo.com/exhibitors to audition a variety of gear at all price points. Attendance is free, and Von Schweikert is listed as one of the exhibitors (though I doubt they'll have that megabuck system on hand)!
Cool! Like OP, about 3 months ago I decided to "upgrade" my HTIBox speakers and pretty much fell in the rabbit hole of mid/hi-fi. 5K later and I'm still not sure I did it right (trying to combine a music/movies system makes it more complicated due to LFE channel). I ended up with KEF R3 L/R, and dual Rythmik F12SE subs for a fantastic 2-channel or 2.2 channel for music and movies depending on my mood. Consumer choice and the vast amount of discrepant info on hi-fi makes it very difficult to know what to do!

What I do know is 1 or 2 more bull markets and I'll have more than enough playdough to scale up my hi-fi. I won't get super silly with it but it looks to me like pairing a mid model Hegel, Arcam or Lyngdorf integrated with 8-12K bookshelves would probably be my endgame when I retire. At that point, I want to separate my home theater and two channel systems, ideally having a music room with only a chair and speakers. :mrgreen:

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by Nissanzx1 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:21 am

I have some NHT bookshelf speakers I bought at a yard sale for $40. They were about $500 new. I love them...

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Re: Bookshelf speakers under $300

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:42 am

Update:

I have had a week or so to listen to my setup. I purchased a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 220 speakers part way through when this thread was active.

This Rockville BluTube amplifier is what I'm using to listen through:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rockville-BluT ... 2749.l2649

My super busy Quarter/Half end period at work hit (accounting related), so I lost several days once the Wharfedale's arrived.

I have the speakers "bi-wired". Meaning two sets of speaker wires go to each unit. There are High Frequency and Low Frequency hookups on both speakers. These are combined at the amp into Left/Right. You can read a bunch about bi-wiring and bi-amping online. Kind of a controversial topic.

I had them hooked up with a single wire with the jumpers and then switched to bi-wiring. I'm going to stay with this configuration through a longer break in period for the speakers.

Overall, how does the BluTube sound with the Wharfedale's? Very good in my opinion. I did not have the various KEF, Polks and others to sound check against like unclescrooge. The only other bookshelf speakers I have are Advent Mini-Advent model from the 80s. The Wharfedale's are far superior, which is expected.

I am streaming from my iphone 8/iPad with Apple Music. This was my single intended source. The BluTube has a very warm and clear sound. Treble and Bass are adjustable. I have both just a bit past the midline. Bass response on the 220's is very good. The bass port is downward firing so the 220s can be placed close to the wall. I adjusted the position to find an optimal bass response about 5-6 inches from the wall. I know unclescrooge reported lacking bass in the Wharfedale 220s. Listening to more pop stuff like Post Malone, bass response was very good. Volume is clear and precise.

I am not an audiophile. I know what I think sounds good to me. The BlueTube is very neat to look at. 4 warm yellow tubes ornament the top front of the unit. Setup was easy. Bluetooth is discover able and the controls are intuitive. Easy to adjust knobs.

There is one slightly strange anomaly I am going to ask Rockville about. When you turn the unit on, there is a Bluetooth LED that is solid yellow. Once you pair the unit to a device, this LED flashes. It continues to flash. It is quite bright. This is completely the opposite of what I would expect. When not paired it should flash (pairing mode). Once paired it should be solid (connected). I ended up putting a small piece of tape over the flashing LED. In a darker room it was like a night light flashing. Just one of those head scratcher design issues that happens.

The BluTube was $149.95 with free shipping. I used a 15% off eBay coupon to get it for ~$128. Warm sounds, adjustable treble/bass, two inputs plus bluetooth. A very fun/interesting look. Something you want visible. The Wharfedale 220s get very high marks in reviews. I am impressed with the look and sound for $250 price tag.

Happy listening.
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