Advice on which speakers to buy (£200~ budget)

Which would be a better option for the price range for the best music experience

  • Bookshelf Speakers

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • Floorstanding Speakers

    Votes: 2 66.7%
  • 2.1 Computer speakers (would prefer not too though)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    3

Itsjoshy

Standard Member
Hey guys, was wondering if i could get some advice. I'm looking to buy a set of speakers that will be mostly used in my room at uni, primarily for listening to music and occasionally for small parties. I will have maybe up to £200 (maybe more) to spend and I'm wondering whether I'd be better off buying a receiver and set of speakers, either second hand floorstanders or powerful bookshelf speaker. Or if it's unrealistic to find a decent sound system around that budget buying a set of 2.1 computer speakers such as possibly the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III (which are down to £69!) Whatever you think would give me the best set up for music listening really. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
 

Polymoog

Standard Member
Where sells Soundsticks for £69? I'm looking for some for a friend. Oh if you mean Richer Sounds they're out.

I recently bought a pair of new Dali Zensor bookshelf speakers and mounted near a wall they make a hugely impressive noise with a ~10 year old Sony micro system bought for £20 in the local ads. The whole system doesn't take up much room either. I have them in my kitchen which is about 15' long (although narrow) and you could easily fill it with people and party to the sound this can kick out. It may not be true hifi but it is loud and fun to listen to and all for well under £200.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
It would help if we knew what kind of music you listened to. If it is bass heavy music, then that might sway the responses.

You not only have to think about listening to them, but you also have to think about moving them.

Here is the absolute best deal in !!!PARTY!!! floorstanding speakers -

Wharfedale XARUS5000-BLACK from Hughes Direct

But at 1080mm tall, you are going to have a hard time cramming these into the back seat of a Mini-Cooper. Not to mention that they will overwhelm most typical dorm rooms. But they will throw a DEMOLITION Grade Party.

Now, if you can still find them, the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 are very good speakers, and since discontinued, probably available for a nice discount -

[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Wharfedale+Diamond+10.2&oq=Wharfedale+Diamond+10.2&gs_l=products-cc.3..0.1774.7586.0.7954.23.14.0.9.9.1.184.1262.12j2.14.0...0.0...1ac.1.1eP83YVy7iw]Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 - Google Search[/ame]


These have 6.5" bass drivers and response down to 40hz.

The next version down is the Diamond 10.1 with a 5" bass driver, still a very popular speaker -

[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Wharfedale+Diamond+10.1&oq=Wharfedale+Diamond+10.1&gs_l=products-cc.3..0l3.3395.4272.0.4817.3.3.0.0.0.0.88.224.3.3.0...0.0...1ac.2j1.z6TWOhKUGX4]Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 - Google Search[/ame]


In the new Diamond 100 series, the model 121 and 122 are the equivalent to the 10.1 and 10.2, though being new, the price is a bit higher -

[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Wharfedale+Diamond+121&oq=Wharfedale+Diamond+121&gs_l=products-cc.3..0.1512.11834.0.12371.32.13.5.14.13.1.134.1057.12j1.13.0...0.0...1ac.1.-LAgQmSUgKk]Wharfedale Diamond 121 - Google Search[/ame]


[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Wharfedale+Diamond+122&oq=Wharfedale+Diamond+122&gs_l=products-cc.3..0.2572.4007.0.4397.3.2.0.1.1.0.111.192.1j1.2.0...0.0...1ac.2j1.XY5xlGw5r8k]Wharfedale Diamond 122 - Google Search[/ame]


Comparable speakers to these are the Monitor Audio BX1 and BX2 -

[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Monitor+Audio+BX1&oq=Monitor+Audio+BX1&gs_l=products-cc.3..0.1417.5608.0.6184.17.13.0.4.4.0.134.1076.12j1.13.0...0.0...1ac.1.JM-mhomXSWE]Monitor Audio BX1 - Google Search[/ame]


[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Monitor+Audio+BX2&oq=Monitor+Audio+BX2&gs_l=products-cc.3..0l4.2819.3991.0.4583.3.3.0.0.0.0.71.207.3.3.0...0.0...1ac.2j1.Uf1AMOF4-2E]Monitor Audio BX2 - Google Search[/ame]


Those are pushing you budget a bit though.

The Dali Zensor 1 are a very flat speakers at a very modest price. These have bass response as good as any in its class, but I would not call them a bass dominant speakers. However this allows them to be placed very close to the wall, even wall mounted, which will give an additional bass boost. Quality speakers with very well balanced sound, at an attractive price -

[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Dali+Zensor+1&oq=Dali+Zensor+1&gs_l=products-cc.3..0l4.2084.6582.0.6809.17.9.2.6.6.0.92.721.9.9.0...0.0...1ac.1.2unCrJuz6QA]Dali Zensor 1 - Google Search[/ame]


If you want a highly rated speakers at a rock bottom price, then consider the Tannoy Mercury V1, you can find a review in Stereophile Magazine (Stereophile.com). These are an absolute bargain -

[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=tannoy+mercury+v1&oq=Tannoy+mer&gs_l=products-cc.1.0.0l10.1334.12727.0.14718.10.9.0.1.1.0.151.866.7j2.9.0...0.0...1ac.1.SCHAdJn_7RI]tannoy mercury v1 - Google Search[/ame]


And if you can raise the money, the Tannoy Mercury V4 floorstanding is a exceptional bargain -

[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=tannoy+mercury+v4&oq=tannoy+mercury+v4&gs_l=products-cc.3..0.2347.3953.0.4224.3.2.0.1.1.0.118.191.1j1.2.0...0.0...1ac.2j1.ZSiYSKrMX-4]tannoy mercury v4 - Google Search[/ame]


Someone recently experienced some build quality issue with some Mercury V4, they are the only person I know of to have encountered this problem. Others are very pleased for the modest money.

As to amps, it is possible to get a decent amp in the range of about £160 up to about £230 -

[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Marantz+PM5004&oq=Marantz+PM5004&gs_l=products-cc.3..0.2292.6368.0.7164.14.9.0.5.5.0.136.816.7j2.9.0...0.0...1ac.1.pZ8VLSVcjic]Marantz PM5004 - Google Search[/ame]


[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Denon+PMA-520&oq=Denon+PMA-520&gs_l=products-cc.3...5046.9588.0.10271.13.7.0.6.6.0.86.554.7.7.0...0.0...1ac.1.e_4hUOA4FmI]Denon PMA-520 - Google Search[/ame]


[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Denon+PMA-720&oq=Denon+PMA-720&gs_l=products-cc.3..0l2.2611.5264.0.6016.3.3.0.0.0.0.65.180.3.3.0...0.0...1ac.2j1.RtpFjHij2-E]Denon PMA-720 - Google Search[/ame]


[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Yamaha+AS300&oq=Yamaha+AS300&gs_l=products-cc.3..0.1405.7533.0.7884.14.6.1.7.7.0.95.480.6.6.0...0.0...1ac.1.7wSStMqeyh0]Yamaha AS300 - Google Search[/ame]


[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Yamaha+AS500&oq=Yamaha+AS500&gs_l=products-cc.3..0.2474.5311.0.5623.7.4.0.3.3.0.86.285.4.4.0...0.0...1ac.2j1.-dUcoVCYC2I]Yamaha AS500 - Google Search[/ame]


As far as Active Speakers, meaning speakers with built-in amps, you can't do much better than this -

[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=Audioengine+A5%2B&oq=Audioengine+A5%2B&gs_l=products-cc.3..0l3.3686.8053.0.8349.15.8.0.7.7.0.96.665.8.8.0...0.0...1ac.1.N1hu0PLVBWI]Audioengine A5+ - Google Search[/ame]


Audioengine 5+ - Audioengineusa.com

Remote control, powerful amps, potential for Apple Airplay wireless transmission of music, expandable with a Subwoofer, USB Device Charging, iPod Doc, etc.... Highly rated by equipment reviewers.

Note there are other Active Studio Monitors at a lower price, but they have fewer features. Check out KRK Rokit speakers, good bass, reasonably clear, very popular, and reasonably affordable, but less versatile than the Audioengine -

[ame=http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbm=shop&q=KRK+Rokit&oq=KRK+Rokit&gs_l=products-cc.3..0l10.1708.4387.0.5427.9.6.0.3.3.0.95.498.6.6.0...0.0...1ac.1.Dl-nuO0roQk]KRK Rokit - Google Search[/ame]


Prices are likely EACH unless otherwise noted.

Notice that is is next to impossible to pull off a really good quality system for £200 or less. You really need closer to £300 to £350, but that money will buy you a system that will satisfy you for years, if not decades, to come.

The Yamaha AS500 (or AS300) are absolute bargains. The AS500 has 85w/ch and the AS300 has 60w/ch. Either one is enough to drive just about any speaker out there. Check Superfi.co.uk for the best prices, though very common amps and available just about anywhere.

The Marantz PM5004 (40w/ch) and the Denon PMA-520 (45w/ch) are nice little amps at extremely attractive prices, and with enough power to drive any common speaker you are likely to encounter. Stereophile Magazine gave high praise to the Marantz PM5004 and the matching CD5004 CD Player.

The Denon PMA-720 is only a modest 50w/ch, but the amp originally cost about £350, so the quality is there. I think SuperFi might have them for about £199, which is a bargain.

Now, it is possible to get a basic amp for roughly £100, and pair of basic speakers for roughly the same, and that might get you through university. But with a few more Pounds of money, you can get a system that will truly last you for decades.

All this is tempered by how you will use the system, how long you want it to endure, and what your expectation are. If you expectation are in line with the money you have to spend, you should do fine, but if you expect a system to sound like £2000 with a £200 budget, you are going to be disappointed.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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