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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Help wanted in speaker choice, Melbourne (Aus)
Help wanted in speaker choice, Melbourne (Aus)
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Old 4th June 2007, 12:57 PM   #1
bgbiteme is offline bgbiteme  Australia
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Default Help wanted in speaker choice, Melbourne (Aus)

I have owned cr*p audio equipment in the past principally because I've always been broke but now I want to make amends (even though I'm still nearly broke) and get some decent speakers.

I currently use Luxman amp LV-113 and Luxman CD D103U, so without going crazy with an upgrade of hardware (or should I?), I'm really after the best possible speakers I can get for up to $2,000, that my Luxman gear will do justice to.

My musical tastes are wide but range from Nitin Sawhney, Courtney Pine, Ronny Jordan and a range of jazz vocalists, to Rachmaninov and Bach.

I've auditioned some speakers in shops but haven't heard anything that makes me feel like I'm at BMW Edge (auditorium with great acoustics in Melbourne) listening to a live concert. Either too bright or not enough mid-range or not enough crystal clarity in vocals is my common experience. Plus for under $2,000 retail it seems I'm going to be struggling to find the quality I'm looking for.

The room the speakers will go in is large (high ceiling, large deep room with bay window, concrete walls), but the speakers will be backing up quite close against one wall (within a foot).

What are my options? What brands/specs should I be looking for?

Please excuse my ignorance when it comes to audio, would appreciate someone with experience helping me with advice so I buy something that will last me 20 years, rather than having to keep changing until I find something I like.

Happy to consider having speakers made up by someone who has the skills and who believes they can put something together for me at better value than I'd pay in shops.

You can e-mail me at bgbiteme@hotmail.com or call on 0402 618 054 (I'm at Carlton North in Melbourne, Australia)

Thanks in advance
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Old 4th June 2007, 11:30 PM   #2
Cloth Ears is offline Cloth Ears  Australia
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BG, this is a DIY forum, rather than a hifi forum. Maybe try the General Speaker Asylum at Audio Asylum with the same question.

I can't give you any direct help, as the speakers you buy will have to be your own choice. But there's a bit of a plan you can take when buying speakers.
[list=1][*]Choose your music. Pick one, or maybe two tracks only. Tracks that you don't have to like, but that can show up a piece of equipment. Something like Rebecca Pidgeon singing "Spanish Harlem", or "Easy Money" by Ricki Lee Jones, or "Everybody Plays The Fool" by Aaron Neville, or Terry Evans with "Tell Me Your Lies", or Nils Lofgren on "Keith Don't Go". That'll give you a reference with regards vocals. Then pick a good instrumental track. This will be your choice. I sometimes use "Li'l Ol' Groovemaker" by Clark Terry, or something from Live Art by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones - maybe "Improv/Amazing Grace", or "Sinister Minister" (either is good). You might want to pick something more classical or jazzy.[*]For your budget, and using a 20 year old amplifier (LV-113) to drive them, I'd suggest looking at the smaller, 2-way, "bookshelf" speakers. If you need more bass, then you can always look for a musical subwoofer (there are such beasts) after you have already found your main speakers. If the speakers you are looking at are "ported" items (bass reflex), then a port on the front allows you more scope in placement (if the port is on the rear, then you will have more interaction with the walls behind the speakers). Remember to include the cost of speaker stands in your calculations - you can pick up reasonable ones locally off the internet (eBay) for under $100 - if you're careful.[*]Take your time. If you're looking for long-term speakers, then it may take a while. So, don't treat it as a chore, treat it as a weekly adventure. Make a list of stores to visit only go to one or two each Saturday (I assume this is what you'll be doing). On the other hand, taking a week off and visiting these stores during the week gets you more serious listening time.[*]Where possible, narrow your choice down to two pairs of speakers, and listen to them through the A and B outputs on one amplifier.[*]Control the volume. The easiest way for a salesman to make a sale is to turn up the voume slightly on the speaker he'she wishes to sell. So, you match the volumes as closely as possible at set-up time (make a note of where the control is) and make sure it goes back to the right spot for the right speaker.[*]Listen throught the same cabling that you are going to be using when you take it home. So there are no surprises when it comes to purchasing. In this price range, nice copper cables are good enough - and if the shop insists on "bi-wiring", then the second set of cables is free (insist on it).[*]In most cases, when a shop is not full (ie. not weekends) and the salesperson isn't an a*****e (there's no other way to descibe some of them), then you'll probably be able to be left alone to do some listening. If this is the case, then take the salesperson's advice (if offered) on any tracks they think are good for discerning speaker choices.[*]Do not buy if you are not able to return the speakers within a week/fortnight/month. If they don't match your set-up, then no amount of burning in will make them better. But you may have to play around quite a bit to set them up optimally in your room. Take the time to do this as it will be worth it.[*]If the shop is even nicer, then they may allow you to take home pairs of speakers from COB one day until lunchtime the next (for under $2000, what do you expect? Car buyers only get to take the car out a couple of times before they have to make the choice - and that's 10 times as much money). Take advantage of this if it's offered.[*]Don't be afraid to go back to the same shop again (you will have told them that you're searching, so they will be happy to have you back).[*]Enjoy the process![/list=1]

Shops: Audio Lifestyle, Audio Trends, Audio Video Excellence, Audiophile, Carlton Audio Visual, Clef, Encel, Intersound, Livingstone, Norlec, Secher Audio, Sound Reference, Tivoli and I'm sure there's another one in Burwood Road Hawthorn - but I can't remember the name...

Good Luck!
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Old 5th June 2007, 01:48 AM   #3
terry j is offline terry j  Australia
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hop on the local hi fi forum in Aus

http://www.stereo.net.au and ask the same question. Lucky you, most of the buggers seem to be in Melbourne so you could get to audition some.

Anyway, see you over there.
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Old 5th June 2007, 01:50 AM   #4
MadMutt is offline MadMutt  Australia
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Speakers are the biggest single thing that will affect the sound.
This means you will get as many opinions as there are speakers.

In the diy world, most times things are done as an 'experiment', if it works, great.

Have a look around here, most if not all that have built speakers will have made several at least.

I think most will say 'If this one has the bass of model 1 and the mid of model 4 with the treble of model 2 it'd be ALMOST perfect'.

Yes some of the diy designs will destroy most of the comercial brands for sound and value, but unless you can hear a pair for yourself it's a guessing game.

When shopping, don't forget that the rest of the equipment and the room will also play a big part.

There is no easy answer to your questions.
I've built three speaker systems, all had good and bad points.
My current one's though I really do love, but again it's my opinion of them.

For diy, try 'Troels Gravesen, Tony Gee, Stones studio, for starters.

Good luck.......
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Old 5th June 2007, 03:11 AM   #5
Willitwork is offline Willitwork  Canada
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Guys, BG also said this in his post:

Happy to consider having speakers made up by someone who has the skills and who believes they can put something together for me at better value than I'd pay in shops.

I think that's the reason he posted it here. Perhaps one of his fellow Melbournites (is that how they're called?) in possession of the required expertise would be interested in such a deal? God knows $2,000 builds one heck of a better pair of DIY speakers than any hi-fi store carries.

Also it may help to know that his amplifier is quite better than what its original price would lead one to believe. It can drive hieh-end speakers with some panache.
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Old 5th June 2007, 03:20 AM   #6
Cloth Ears is offline Cloth Ears  Australia
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Quote:
Originally posted by Willitwork
Also it may help to know that his amplifier is quite better than what its original price would lead one to believe. It can drive high-end speakers with some panache.
But does require a fairly benign load (not too much less than 4ohms)... Yes, it's an excellent amp as are quite a few of the Luxmans. That's one of the reasons for Encels' success, IMO.
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Old 5th June 2007, 04:02 AM   #7
Willitwork is offline Willitwork  Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cloth Ears


But does require a fairly benign load (not too much less than 4ohms)...


Yes, but it's pretty much the same for a lot of amps even some significantly more expensive than this one.

Quote:
Yes, it's an excellent amp as are quite a few of the Luxmans. That's one of the reasons for Encels' success, IMO.
Indeed Luxman used to be a strictly high-end prestige brand back the 1970's but some time during the 1980's they committed a marketing mistake that eventually lead to the brand's vanishing from the North American market. Along with their traditional hi-end components they came out with a so-called value line of products that were sold at Costco (then known as Club Price) without changing the name of the brand for those mass-market products. Fearing that the public would now associate the name Luxman with the El Cheapo brands sold at Club Price, high-end retailers refused to carry Luxman products any longer. Around 1990 Luxman retired from the El Cheapo market and produced a line of mid-fi products aimed at audiophiles with thin wallets, but in the end it couldn't compete with the likes of Nad and Rotel and it simply vanished, even though the brand still exists in its native Japan where it occupies a niche in the very high-end segment along with the likes of Accuphase and the top of the line from Nakamichi and such. Interestingly one other brand followed roughly the same course as Luxman but that brand, Marantz, made a successful comeback in the high-end segment.

The LV-113 is regarded as one of the quality offerings from Luxman's last attempt at regaining lost market. Another interesting product from that era was the DZ-122 CD player. Both sold in the $400 to $500 (US) range at the time.
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Old 5th June 2007, 05:18 AM   #8
Cloth Ears is offline Cloth Ears  Australia
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Quote:
Originally posted by Willitwork
Yes, but it's pretty much the same for a lot of amps even some significantly more expensive than this one.
Sorry Willi. I wasn't meaning to disagree, I was just trying to give an indication for any budding Melbournite speaker builders, that the impedance for the speaker they're going to build for BG will have to be benign.

I've got a Sansui from a slightly earlier era - 250w/ch of clean clear punch into 8ohms. It drives my finicky Elacs (dips to about 3 in the midbass) - but I have the amp set permanently on -6dB and don't have it up over about 12 o'clock at any stage. I'm not sure what would happen if I went up to 11 - other than quick and glorious deafness....
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