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#1 Kiraaaa

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 10:59 AM

I have a mini home theater setup in my basement right now. It's nothing special, just a BenQ W1070 hooked up to either a PS3 or a laptop to watch movies.

The projector and PS3 already blew about $1,000 so I didn't want to blow any more money just yet.

But now that a couple months have passed, I feel it's time to improve/upgrade something, and so I think I should start with the audio system.

I currently just have a pair of discontinued Logitech 2.1 speakers. They are older than the Logitech Z4 2.1 speakers I'm currently using on my desktop, so yea.. they're pretty bad.

 

Coming from the world of headphones, is it still true that 2 speakers is still better than 5.1 or 7.1?

Also, for a good/decent headphone setup, it would cost around $200 for the headphones itself and about $100 for the soundcard/DAC.

How much would a good/decent speaker setup cost? Is $500 a reasonable price range? Also, would I need to invest in some sort of soundcard/DAC for these speakers?

 

I only know headphones, so I don't know how much different it is to speakers. I know brands such as Sennheiser, Audio Technica, and Beyerdynamic, etc. but as far as I know, they only specialize in headphones? So what brands should I look for in speakers?

 

Suggestions and advice would be much appreciated



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#2 Godlygamer23

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:10 AM

If you plan on using your PC to do the sound processing, a (good) sound card would be a great choice. If not, and you'll be using a separate unit to do the sound processing, a sound card as far as I know is not needed. You'll need at least integrated audio for passthrough.



#3 knight_40k

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:44 PM

Speakers (with the right equipment) are worlds better than headphones. It just depends on budget and personal preference. Obviously a nice pair headphones will sound night and day vs cheap speakers but if you are serious about sound there is no comparison between the two. Also note that speakers, amps, receivers, processors all carry their own distinct characteristics which when paired together have a unique sound which is subject to change if any of one component changes or are paired together differently.

There are many opinions as to which is better, 2ch vs 5.1/7.1 or even 9.1/11.1. Audio is all about preference, budget and room limitation.

It sounds to me like you are wanting a similar to theater like experience at home, correct? You need to think about how you want to go about it. Are you wanting a surround setup or just 2ch? If you see yourself wanting to expand over the course of time it's best to slowly piece it together one or two components at a time as the budget allows rather than buying the whole thing up front with your current limited budget.

Tell us more about your living space. How large is the room? What is the room layout? Is it a dedicated theater room or is it general living space (ie, pool table, guest room, laundry machine, etc)? Is it a House or condo?
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#4 Arokhantos

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 08:45 PM

you can also go 5.2 7.2 btw



#5 knight_40k

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:33 PM

you can also go 5.2 7.2 btw

 

Actually, some receivers have 3-4 sub preouts.


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#6 Godlygamer23

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:34 PM

you can also go 5.2 7.2 btw

Off topic: Your avatar is interesting.



#7 roman83

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 03:29 PM

Check out Hometheater.com top picks for speakers. They have a lot of different price ranges listed and their reviews are technical and forthright. My personal preference is to go with a 5.1 speaker setup. Headphones can become annoying after a while and there is really no comparison to a good set of speakers. There are also a lot of fair value systems out there. The only thing to keep in mind with such a setup is accessory costs i.e. speaker wire, receivers. 



#8 Kiraaaa

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 04:48 PM

Lol wow, never heard of using more than 1 sub, seems pretty overkill or is that standard?

Sorry for late response, but I just measured the room and here are the dimensions: a little over 7ft tall, a little over 10ft wide, and about 30ft in length.

I live in a house, and I have this setup in the basement, it has pretty much turned into a dedicated room for just using the projector for movies, games, and chilling, so yes I do want a sort of home theater experience.

http://i40.tinypic.com/a3efzt.png

Here is a quick visual drawing of the setup.

The red boxes are couches/sofas, the green is the table where I set the projector and ps3 on, the gray area is a counter top that is not moveable, and finally the small black stars are my current speakers.

 

As you can (hopefully, if the image actually uploaded) see, there is not much room on my left and right when seated, in addition to the counter top behind me, so will that be a problem for setting up 5.1/7.1 surround?

I guess I could always have the speakers placed/nailed on walls instead of on the floor, but note that there is no wall on my immediate left while sitting because that leads to the rest of the basement.

And also, I read that you should have the speakers set at "ear-level", so I guess I shouldn't hang the speakers on my wall anyway?

As for a 2 speaker setup, I am guessing they will be two huge speakers, but I am a bit worried as to how this will affect my vision of the screen. Right now the speakers I am using are like <1ft tall and on the floor, so they are not even visible. So if the speakers are too tall, they might get in the way and ruin the visual experience.

 

Btw, there is a laundry room not too far away, but it isn't really a problem since I can just close the door and I can never hear it anyway.

I think I rather buy something upfront right now than piece together a system one by one, as I believe this would be the easier/cheaper option? I'm sure picking each part would get a better result, but I don't mind sacrificing some sound quality in order to save time/money/the hassle.

 

Money is "kind of" an issue. I just want the most out of my money, and obviously the less I spend the better. I don't want/need the best high quality speakers, but I just want a good budget system/"best bang for my buck".

 

So I guess since nobody said that my original $500 price range was unreasonable, I will just use that as my budget for now.

Any suggestions? and thanks for all your inputs



#9 godlikegohan

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:14 PM

i think you would should look into something like this

http://reviews.cnet....t=Apply filters



#10 knight_40k

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 12:55 AM

Ok, lets break this down...

More than 1 sub is usually only for true theater enthusiasts. Adding multiple subs basically just gives you more boom. Even though most receivers (even low end ones) have 2 sub preouts, its mostly a novelty accessory at lower price points as you can add multiple subs to a single preout using a RCA Y-splitter. There is absolutely no difference between using a splitter or plugging directly to the receiver unless your receiver has a calibration feature such as 'SUB-EQ' which most do not. Without SUB-EQ, the room calibration software treats each sub as if it were one speaker. This is bad because not all subs are built equal or produce the same frequency response. Also, if you do go with multi-sub set up you want to use the exact same one.

Technically for the ideal theater build you want a perfectly square room, the same exact speaker for each channel, positioned at ear level, and a total of 4 subs, one in each corner. Now this is unrealistic unless we all built custom homes. We all need to make compromises with our theater rooms to make it work as best it can.

For the front left/right speakers you want to position them at, or slightly above ear level (same applies to surrounds) and have them toed in at each corner of the wall. You will also want to leave a 2-3 ft gap so they are not right against the wall. This gives them room to breathe so that the bass from the drivers doesn't sound too muddy or boomy (if you are using tiny satellite speaker you don't need the gap). For 5.1 setup, from the looks of your pic you will have to mount the side channels a little behind you on that wall, which is fine, they don't need to be directly beside you. Just do some measuring and try to keep them as close to the seating position as possible. Again, try to keep the height no more than 2ft above ear level. You could also buy speaker stands but depending how high the backs of your chairs are, that may not be ideal.

As for your screen, what you probably want to do if possible is ceiling mount the projector. If not, would it work on the counter behind you, or move it forward so that it doesn't use the entire wall? You don't need to use large tower speakers for 2ch, bookshelf speakers are fine its just you usually need to buy stands to get them at ear level unless you have a built in wall unit or something. Another thing to consider is if you are up for a bit of work is build a false wall with a mesh screen so that the speakers can be perfectly positioned behind it without affecting vision of the screen. Like I said, many compromises need to be made to accommodate room limitations.

$500 will get you a cheapy HTiB (Sony, Bose, etc) like the post above and I personally would not recommend that. I'm not saying that it's bad, but given the size of your room, you may start to feel like you are missing something. Realistically $1200-$1500 is more of a starting point. I understand budget and if you end up with a HTiB, try to find a store with a 30day return so you can try it in home and see if you are satisfied before committing to the purchase. I would take a look on Craigslist or ebay and see if you can find a decent pair of bookshelf speakers and receiver. For receiver try Yamaha, Harmon Kardon, Pioneer, Denon, Onkyo and speakers, Polk Audio, Klipsch, Energy, Kef.

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#11 Ace

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:23 AM

My recommendation would to invest in a decent amplifier/receiver that will have sufficient inputs/outputs, watts, and ease of use. Combine this with a decent pair of front channel speakers that have decent tweeters, mids and lows and from there you can upgrade if you need to. Sub-woofers are great for those big picture movies like 'Lord of the rings' but can be rather annoying for other people around you. If you purchase good quality front speakers you won't even need them as they should have rather good lows. If you really wanted to you can buy what I have which works great. Its called a Buttkicker and it picks up sub-woofer frequency's and will rumble and all you have to do is place it under your couch. It adds another dimension to movies.

 

Some good brands of receiver have been mentioned. Yamaha makes decent quality receivers at a low cost, Onkyo make great ones as well but I have found are prone to overheating, Pioneer usually cheap out on their parts hence why they have a low starting point (some cases is not true), Denon are fantastic but are expensive. Speakers can really range in price but you get what you pay for. I would recommend buying a earlier model of anything that is currently new to the market as usually nothing will change internally (at its reletive price point). B&W make great quality, Dali as good, Kilpsch, Jenson. For a guide usually the bigger the speaker the better quality (for these brands). I would recommend going into a HiFi store and just listening to some speakers. They will generally have the better speakers hooked up to these demo areas. From there start researching prices and reviews on the one you are considering.

 

This all depends on your budget and $500 dollars is at the mark where you should look at bundled Reciever and Speaker Packages. But if you are an audiophile you would be looking at around $2,000 AUD just for the amp and speakers and some decent quality wire and maybe even banana plugs (bare wire is best). But if you from the US and Canada maybe you can strike up a deal on amazon for $1,000 US.

 

Before taking anyones word on a system just go around to stores and listen to some setups of different prices and you will hear the difference. Just make sure they can play some decent quality music/movie (24bit). Dubstep does not count as music :P



#12 Arokhantos

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:47 AM

Lol wow, never heard of using more than 1 sub, seems pretty overkill or is that standard?

Sorry for late response, but I just measured the room and here are the dimensions: a little over 7ft tall, a little over 10ft wide, and about 30ft in length.

I live in a house, and I have this setup in the basement, it has pretty much turned into a dedicated room for just using the projector for movies, games, and chilling, so yes I do want a sort of home theater experience.

http://i40.tinypic.com/a3efzt.png

Here is a quick visual drawing of the setup.

The red boxes are couches/sofas, the green is the table where I set the projector and ps3 on, the gray area is a counter top that is not moveable, and finally the small black stars are my current speakers.

 

As you can (hopefully, if the image actually uploaded) see, there is not much room on my left and right when seated, in addition to the counter top behind me, so will that be a problem for setting up 5.1/7.1 surround?

I guess I could always have the speakers placed/nailed on walls instead of on the floor, but note that there is no wall on my immediate left while sitting because that leads to the rest of the basement.

And also, I read that you should have the speakers set at "ear-level", so I guess I shouldn't hang the speakers on my wall anyway?

As for a 2 speaker setup, I am guessing they will be two huge speakers, but I am a bit worried as to how this will affect my vision of the screen. Right now the speakers I am using are like <1ft tall and on the floor, so they are not even visible. So if the speakers are too tall, they might get in the way and ruin the visual experience.

 

Btw, there is a laundry room not too far away, but it isn't really a problem since I can just close the door and I can never hear it anyway.

I think I rather buy something upfront right now than piece together a system one by one, as I believe this would be the easier/cheaper option? I'm sure picking each part would get a better result, but I don't mind sacrificing some sound quality in order to save time/money/the hassle.

 

Money is "kind of" an issue. I just want the most out of my money, and obviously the less I spend the better. I don't want/need the best high quality speakers, but I just want a good budget system/"best bang for my buck".

 

So I guess since nobody said that my original $500 price range was unreasonable, I will just use that as my budget for now.

Any suggestions? and thanks for all your inputs

 

http://www.audioholi...s-part-1-page-6

 

My 2e 800€ sub arive teusday



#13 Arokhantos

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:50 AM


 Bose

 

Stay the hell away from bose, they put in 10 dollar crap and market it as if its the best on the world.

Any decent home theater site will advice you to stay the hell away from it also or it would't be a real home theater site.


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#14 Kiraaaa

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:22 AM

Check out Hometheater.com top picks for speakers. They have a lot of different price ranges listed and their reviews are technical and forthright. My personal preference is to go with a 5.1 speaker setup. Headphones can become annoying after a while and there is really no comparison to a good set of speakers. There are also a lot of fair value systems out there. The only thing to keep in mind with such a setup is accessory costs i.e. speaker wire, receivers. 

I'll check it out, thanks.

Ok, lets break this down...

More than 1 sub is usually only for true theater enthusiasts. Adding multiple subs basically just gives you more boom.

As for your screen, what you probably want to do if possible is ceiling mount the projector. If not, would it work on the counter behind you, or move it forward so that it doesn't use the entire wall?

 

Another thing to consider is if you are up for a bit of work is build a false wall with a mesh screen so that the speakers can be perfectly positioned behind it without affecting vision of the screen.

$500 will get you a cheapy HTiB (Sony, Bose, etc) like the post above and I personally would not recommend that. I'm not saying that it's bad, but given the size of your room, you may start to feel like you are missing something. Realistically $1200-$1500 is more of a starting point. I understand budget and if you end up with a HTiB, try to find a store with a 30day return so you can try it in home and see if you are satisfied before committing to the purchase. I would take a look on Craigslist or ebay and see if you can find a decent pair of bookshelf speakers and receiver. For receiver try Yamaha, Harmon Kardon, Pioneer, Denon, Onkyo and speakers, Polk Audio, Klipsch, Energy, Kef.

     Yea, I don't think more than 1 sub is necessary for me. Even though I don't live in an apartment, I still don't want to make the house rumble and disturb the rest of the family lol.

 

     Ceiling mounting is something I would consider doing, but it's something I have no experience with and so I don't want to mess anything up just yet :P

Putting the projector on the counter would not work because the projector would not be able to sit directly in the centre of the room (sorry for the confusion, in my diagram I drew the counter a bit longer than it actually is, my bad). Even if the counter was long enough to have the projector be centred, I think when someone stands up/walks by it would block the image. Also, it would require us to move the PS3 back there too, and is just inconvenient/unrealistic. So ceiling mount is the best option, but is not something I am willing to commit to at the moment.

 

     The false wall with mesh screen sounds like a brilliant idea, but again it requires some work that I have no experience in, and so this wall would most likely be a complete visible mess, lol. Very creative though.

 

My recommendation would to invest in a decent amplifier/receiver that will have sufficient inputs/outputs, watts, and ease of use.

 

Its called a Buttkicker and it picks up sub-woofer frequency's and will rumble and all you have to do is place it under your couch. It adds another dimension to movies.

 

Some good brands of receiver have been mentioned. Yamaha makes decent quality receivers at a low cost, Onkyo make great ones as well but I have found are prone to overheating, Pioneer usually cheap out on their parts hence why they have a low starting point (some cases is not true), Denon are fantastic but are expensive. Speakers can really range in price but you get what you pay for. I would recommend buying a earlier model of anything that is currently new to the market as usually nothing will change internally (at its reletive price point). B&W make great quality, Dali as good, Kilpsch, Jenson. For a guide usually the bigger the speaker the better quality (for these brands). I would recommend going into a HiFi store and just listening to some speakers. They will generally have the better speakers hooked up to these demo areas. From there start researching prices and reviews on the one you are considering.

 

This all depends on your budget and $500 dollars is at the mark where you should look at bundled Reciever and Speaker Packages. But if you are an audiophile you would be looking at around $2,000 AUD just for the amp and speakers and some decent quality wire and maybe even banana plugs (bare wire is best). But if you from the US and Canada maybe you can strike up a deal on amazon for $1,000 US.

 

Before taking anyones word on a system just go around to stores and listen to some setups of different prices and you will hear the difference. Just make sure they can play some decent quality music/movie (24bit). Dubstep does not count as music :P

     Sorry, but I am a complete noob at this, and I actually have no idea what a "receiver" is/does. Is it basically a "sound card"? So would I hook up the projector to this receiver and plug the speakers into this receiver? What is a "sufficient" wattage? What other things should I look for in a receiver other than inputs/outputs and wattage?

 

    And LOL, Buttkicker... don't think I will end up getting one, but thanks now I know :D

 

    Don't worry, I'm not a huge fan of dubstep :P

Stay the hell away from bose, they put in 10 dollar crap and market it as if its the best on the world.

Any decent home theater site will advice you to stay the hell away from it also or it would't be a real home theater site.

Right, even in the "headphone world", bose was considered crap or not exactly high quality for the price they charge. I wanted to know if the same applied to their speakers, so this is useful information, thanks.

i think you would should look into something like this

http://reviews.cnet....t=Apply filters

Thanks for the link.

 

Ok, so I think I will stay at the $500 range for now, as I don't think I am willing to spend $1k+ just yet. I will most likely buy from a store here in Canada which has a great return policy.

In the link provided by godlikegohan, the 3rd ranked is the "Onkyo HT-S3500". There was a sale that just ended yesterday for the Onkyo HT-S6500 5.1 set for $399. Is that a good deal?

Edit: Looks like the S6500 are ranked 7th compared to the cheaper S3500 which are ranked 3rd? So I'm guessing it's not worth the extra $ from 3500 to 6500?

I am not too familiar with this brand, but it seems like everyone here agrees that Onkyo is a good brand?

 

Also, it was mentioned that Denon is also a good brand. Back a couple months ago, (probably around christmas?), there was a sale on Denon AVR-1613/1713 for around $349, but those were for just the receivers alone. So is Denon really that much better than Onkyo that their receivers alone are so expensive?

 

Thanks again



#15 Arokhantos

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 10:45 AM

Especialy on audioholics they would laugh at you if you say'd bose.

you can spend way less money on something else and have speakers performs 10000 times better then bose.



#16 knight_40k

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:05 AM

1) Ceiling mounting is something I would consider doing, but it's something I have no experience with and so I don't want to mess anything up just yet :P

2) The false wall with mesh screen sounds like a brilliant idea, but again it requires some work that I have no experience in, and so this wall would most likely be a complete visible mess, lol. Very creative though.

3) Sorry, but I am a complete noob at this, and I actually have no idea what a "receiver" is/does. Is it basically a "sound card"? So would I hook up the projector to this receiver and plug the speakers into this receiver? What is a "sufficient" wattage? What other things should I look for in a receiver other than inputs/outputs and wattage?

4) Ok, so I think I will stay at the $500 range for now, as I don't think I am willing to spend $1k+ just yet. I will most likely buy from a store here in Canada which has a great return policy.
In the link provided by godlikegohan, the 3rd ranked is the "Onkyo HT-S3500". There was a sale that just ended yesterday for the Onkyo HT-S6500 5.1 set for $399. Is that a good deal?
I am not too familiar with this brand, but it seems like everyone here agrees that Onkyo is a good brand?

5) Also, it was mentioned that Denon is also a good brand. Back a couple months ago, (probably around christmas?), there was a sale on Denon AVR-1613/1713 for around $349, but those were for just the receivers alone. So is Denon really that much better than Onkyo that their receivers alone are so expensive?

1) I think its just a matter of finding the right mount and drilling it to a stud and making sure you mount it at the right distance. I understand, when you've never done it before it sounds tricky.

2) The false wall was actually a more intermediate idea. I was just giving you a solution. It would require a semi renovation of your basement to actually look like a wall. :P

3) A receiver is basically a 'cheaper' amplifier that also carries video processing capabilities. I say 'cheaper' because receivers don't usually cost over $3000, good amps cost significantly higher. Yes you would run all of your AV equipment through the receiver. Sufficient wattage is meant that due to the size of your room, volume may be an issue. The higher the wattage, the louder it can play without clipping. Other things to look for in a receiver are features such as connectivity (5.1/7.1, amount of HDMI, etc), playback modes (DTS NEO X, Audyssey DSX, Dolby True HD), Airplay (if you use apple devices)...I'm not going to name all, you need to do some research.

4) Onkyo is a good brand but their previous generation of receivers have had overheating issues. That has been resolved with the current line. I don't think this ever applied to those HTiB though. Onkyo HT-S6500, is it good? I don't know, it's cheap (in your budget) It has been suggested that you demo things to see if you like it, that will always be the first suggestion when it comes to audio equipment.

5) Denon is a very well regarded brand, those models you listed are entry level however and yes, that is about the price you are looking at for any entry level receiver unless you buy something used, most brands will have something in that price range.
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#17 Kiraaaa

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:16 AM

Alright, thanks a lot everyone. At least now I know more about which brands to look at and what to look for, and I can probably do the rest of the research on my own.

I will try to demo some equipment at the stores available and make my decision based on that.

Thanks again



#18 roman83

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:04 PM

Stay the hell away from bose, they put in 10 dollar crap and market it as if its the best on the world.

Any decent home theater site will advice you to stay the hell away from it also or it would't be a real home theater site.

Couldn't be more in agreement! I said it before and I'll say it again " BOSE is a marketing firm, not a speaker company!"


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#19 Kiraaaa

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:14 AM

Reviving this thread, sorry.

What is the consensus on Audioengine speakers for home theatre use? In particular the Audioengine A2 or A5. These are advertised as "desktop" speakers, but seem to get really good reviews.

Apparently they don't come with a sub, and are just a very high quality 2.0 pair of speakers? People have even said things like, you don't even miss having a sub because of how clear they are.

 

So what are your thoughts on this? The A2's seem to be around $170-$220, and the A5's are around $300-$400.

Would going this route mean I no longer need a receiver? Is a receiver necessary? If not, then I could save a couple hundred on the receiver and use it towards just speakers such as these Audioengine ones?

Or am I completely wrong, and these Audioengines should be used only for "desktop" use, as intended?



#20 t0wer

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 12:05 PM

It will work fine without a receiver but, you don't have remote control of the volume on the audioengine speakers.

 

for that, I'd just go audioengine p4 and a cheap receiver.

even some of the cheap lepai amps have remote control, so if you're wanting to save money, p4 and a lepai amp should cost under $300 and be equivalent to a5's


Don't assume everything I say is 100% accurate and the final answer due to the trusted advisor badge.

Listen to the other members and research it further before making a final decision.

Reviews: Meelec CC51P - Monoprice 8323 - Koss Porta Pros  - Shure SRH-440 - Shure SRH-550DJShure SRH-840 - Hifiman He-500 - iBasso D4 - o2 Amplifier  -  SkeletonDac  -  I've met my url limit  :(





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