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The Audio Board's Recommended Gear

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17 hours ago, spwath said:

If you don't mind having a massive piece of Spider-Man in your ear, and ok with sound leaking in/out.

I have them and they're extremely light, they don't feel any heavier than other earbuds. They're comfortable too imo. And the open back makes the sound stage sound similar to (not as good) as my sennheiser HD 700s.


CPU: i7 6800k @ 4.4ghz | Motherboard: Asus Rampage V Edition 10 | RAM: 64 GB 2400Mhz DDR4 Corsair Dominator Platinum | GPU: GTX 1080 Gigabyte G1 Gaming | CASE: Corsair 780T | Storage: 512GB Samsung 950 Pro m.2 Nvme SSD, Samsung 950 Pro 1TB SSD, Seagate 7200rpm 1TB HDD, Seagate 5TB external HDD | PSU: EVGA 850watt G2 | Displays (3): ASUS VG278HV 1080p 27 inch 144hz 1ms response time, Asus VG248QE 1080p 24-inch 144hz 1ms response time (vertical setup), HP 27 inch 1080p IPS display | CPU Cooler: Corsair H115i | Keyboard: Logitech G910 Orion Spark | Mouse: Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum | Headphones: Sennheiser HD 700 | DAC/AMP and USB audio enhancers: Audioquest Dragonfly Red, Schiit USB Decrapifier, Audioquest Jitterbug | Webcam: Logitech 930e | Speakers: Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II 2.0 and MartinLogan Dynamo 300 Stereo Subwoofer with Creative Sound Blaster E5 High-Resolution USB DAC to run them both at the same time. | Microphone and DAC/AMP: Blue yeti pro, and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) | Router and Modem: NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200, and ARRIS SURFboard SB6190

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Today my iems finally died after several years and thousands of hours of use (tbh it was just the cable that died but it wasn't detachable and I don't feel like sending it to someone to get it repaired only to have to worry about if they are going to fix it properly).
 

I was all set to order some Shure se425s but I read the reviews and heard that the plastic shafts they have for putting tips on tends to break off easily and I freaking hate the color options of clear or silver so just for fun I searched vsonic on amazon and it turned out that even though my gr07 mk2s were discontinued they have an updated version for 2017 and it has a replaceable cable! Purchase made.

Honestly the originals sound identical to my akg k7xxs so to get that out of an earbud for $125 is phenomenal.They also do an excellent job of blocking out noise. Can't recommend them strongly enough.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRCPTBR
31to3JG3rPL._SL500_AC_SS350_.jpg

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@SSL To add to the IEM list, priced at $350, Campfire Audio Orion.

 

An excellent IEM, including many eartips (including comply), a nice removable cable, and a nice hard case. Made in the USA from aluminum. Cable is a nice braided silver cable, 4 conductor all the way down, so can be reterminated into balanced if wanted. Very thin and light cable. A slight treble emphasis, but overall great tonality. Bass may be slightly less emphasized than others. A great value for a well built, comfortable, great sounding IEM.


n0ah1897, on 05 Mar 2014 - 2:08 PM, said:  "Computers are like girls. It's whats in the inside that matters.  I don't know about you, but I like my girls like I like my cases. Just as beautiful on the inside as the outside."

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On 8/15/2017 at 5:42 PM, Wolf_Lbh said:

Today my iems finally died after several years and thousands of hours of use (tbh it was just the cable that died but it wasn't detachable and I don't feel like sending it to someone to get it repaired only to have to worry about if they are going to fix it properly).
 

I was all set to order some Shure se425s but I read the reviews and heard that the plastic shafts they have for putting tips on tends to break off easily and I freaking hate the color options of clear or silver so just for fun I searched vsonic on amazon and it turned out that even though my gr07 mk2s were discontinued they have an updated version for 2017 and it has a replaceable cable! Purchase made.

Honestly the originals sound identical to my akg k7xxs so to get that out of an earbud for $125 is phenomenal.They also do an excellent job of blocking out noise. Can't recommend them strongly enough.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRCPTBR
31to3JG3rPL._SL500_AC_SS350_.jpg

Posted a review of these:
 

Spoiler

Sound:
Firstly, a disclaimer: I prefer neutral sound. I don't like "enhancements" on my iems/headphones because I might be watching movies with them, tv shows, or youtube vids, also playing games, talking with people in voice chats, or listening to any possible genre of music. Studios can spend tens of thousands of dollars to get something to sound just right so I like to have the option to appreciate it as it is first, and then fiddle with my eq if I want to change things up. Baked in sound alterations are simply going to make a lot of things sound worse than the original sound so a neutral approach and then modifying stuff with software just makes a lot more sense.

In a direct comparison between listening to one and then switching to the other these sounded identical to my Akg k7XX $200 headphones from massdrop (Which I'm told also sound identical to the Sennheiser HD6XX by Linus from LinusTechTips) the sound stage is obviously not as big as open backed headphones but to describe it as best I can the Akg K7XX sound like you're listening to music in a large room and the Vsonic Gr07 sound like you're listening to music in a small room, but not a closet like most iems. Being a massdrop item saying these $120 earbuds held their own against heavily discounted $200 headphones and only gave up a little bit of sound stage is freaking impressive.

If I had to explain the sound to someone that has never listened to anything I've mentioned so far I would say they sound crystal clear, not harsh like a magnifying glass kinda clear but softer and more welcoming like a warm, still pond that you can see the bottom of like the water might not even be there.

Note that these are not sound isolating headphones so while with foam tips I am aware of the environmental sounds around me I do not feel outside noise in any way intrudes on my listening experience. Also you wouldn't get such an impressive sound stage for iems if you don't let a little bit of sound in. It is extremely muted and while it is clear enough to understand what is going on around you, it is like the volume is set a 0.1% but you can still hear it somehow.

Durability:
I had the previous model (Plain GR07, not the 2017 edition) for 4 years. I switched jobs at one point but for over a year I was allowed to listen to these at work all day, every day, and then I took them with me to the gym after work and I would work out disgustingly hard, sometimes my ears would be a pool of sweat and the drivers would flood and turn off, a few hours later once they dried out they would work completely fine again. If the 2017 edition drivers have the same durability as the original then you better get out a stake and some garlic if you plan to kill them. The reason my originals died was actually that after 4 years of abuse the cord got a short in them and rather than send the cord in to get it fixed and worry if it might still have problems I simply decided to upgrade. ...And the 2017 edition has a detachable cord! So if anything dies after the warranty is up it costs like $10 to replace it.

Speaking of the cord, wow the new cord has a lot of minor improvements that go a long way. The 3.5mm jack has a lot of shell around it that is also angled to make it easy to grab, and the cord coming out of it has stress relief and the Left/Right cable split also has plenty of stress relief as well as a heavy duty built in slider that is non-removable. This cord is going to last a long time, extremely tough. Also when tossing the iems in my pocket I like to move the slider all the way up and that keeps my Left&Right drivers from tangling almost entirely so I can just take the cord out and it is good to go.

The cabling itself is "tangle resistant" and does a pretty good job of living up to the name. It also is immune from noise when the cable is touched and a good length. I'm 5"11 and have a few inches extra. If you are 6"2 or taller and want to listen to a dap (digital audio player) in your pocket then you have a few options: 1) cable extension 2) Longer replacement cable 3) Use a small dap with a clip, this also saves your phone's battery.

And the cable is balanced trs which means you won't get signal noise from sharing a ground wire.

Accessories:
Not much to say here, typical assortment of differently sized tips, nice carry case that isn't bigger than it needs to be, some over-ear rubber holders that aren't needed because the cable retains its shape well enough on its own, no mic clip to prevent it from tugging but those only cost like a dollar to pick up.

One small thing that I thought was awesome were the foam tips that come with the headphones. I always go for foam because of the way they fill up it makes for a snugger fit, and the density of the foam blocks out more noise. The downside to foam tips is they are porous so they get kinda nasty after awhile, except these ones have a rubberized coating over them so you get all the benefits of foam and it is easy to clean. That's just one of those little things that makes me super happy.

Aesthetics:
I for one love simple elegant minimalist black. No shine, no colorful logos, no bs. Just nice easily missed (if you are trying to be naughty and listen to them when you shouldn't) black. The plug and Left/Right drivers do have a name on them but it is easily missed unless you look at them up close.

Price:
This is where these iems really shine. Iems of this quality would usually be around the $300 price range (or more!) in my experience but these only cost $120 ($60 less than the originals and with added features like the detachable cord!) Honestly I would rather listen to these than my Akg K7XXS.

The price puts these in an amazing category because if you love HiFi sound quality but need headphones that you can put through the wringer these are perfect because they will provide that sound quality, take those hits, and not break the bank if you do end up killing them somehow. In short, I don't have to worry about my super expensive iems breaking because I did something dumb with them and I can still enjoy epic sound quality on the go.

The alternative is that $120 is a lot of money to you and you would have to scrim and save to get these which makes them equally awesome because they vastly outperform anything else you could afford for $120 and assuming these were a large purchase for your budget that means you would probably look after them well and they are extremely durable so with babying I'm sure they will have a very long lifespan.

Unless you have $300+ you can drop on iems whenever something happens to your current pair then I would say the Vsonic GR07s are the absolute best thing for you on the market.

Negatives:
The cable is grey and I would have really liked it to be black. It still doesn't call attention to itself but I wish it was black.

Seriously can't find a better pair of iems that you don't have to be afraid of abusing.

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I wonder, why don't you have the etymotic ER4SR or ER4s, they are both some of the best-regarded IEMs in their price range. They both have a very clean sound, probably one of the most "neutral" IEMs in this range, their soundstage is on the more normal to narrow side, but the positional audio is pretty good and the detail level is also pretty damn good for the price. They have a "flaw"(not really sure if I would call it a flaw), you really need to stuff them as far in as you can or else you get a treble spike.

 

A more fun model is the ER5XR, it has a good 5-6 dB bass boost over the SR model, but I haven't tested those and some think they aren't as good because that bass boost throws off the sound as a whole.


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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Got ahold of some HiFiMan He-4xx 2 days ago and I've been testing non-stop since they arrived and I have to say I'm in love. They are basically the same as the 400i (I'm told) except the slider doesn't click into place when you adjust it so it is free flowing but firm, the headband is massively improved, the cable now terminates in 2 3.5mm jacks instead of the stupid plugs they used to use, and at $170 it now costs $50 less.

Assuming they sound the same I would suggest the 4xx over the 400i because the build quality is way better and it costs $50 less.

My full review is here: 

 

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22 minutes ago, Wolf_Lbh said:

Got ahold of some HiFiMan He-4xx 2 days ago and I've been testing non-stop since they arrived and I have to say I'm in love. They are basically the same as the 400i (I'm told) except the slider doesn't click into place when you adjust it so it is free flowing but firm, the headband is massively improved, the cable now terminates in 2 3.5mm jacks instead of the stupid plugs they used to use, and at $170 it now costs $50 less.

Assuming they sound the same I would suggest the 4xx over the 400i because the build quality is way better and it costs $50 less.

My full review is here: 

 

I see the 400S is already in the recommended list, it would be good to have that compared against these by someone with both since these 4xx do seem really good based on your experience

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I just want to recommend the urbanite XLs

They are v-shaped but not too harsh.

They're like the dt770 but not too V shaped basically.

 

And of course i'll recommend mrspeakers aeon flow closed for the top end of closed backs, those are ballers.


“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”


 


―  C.S. Lewis  :)

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11 hours ago, applesuxD said:

I just want to recommend the urbanite XLs

They are v-shaped but not too harsh.

They're like the dt770 but not too V shaped basically.

 

And of course i'll recommend mrspeakers aeon flow closed for the top end of closed backs, those are ballers.

I second the AEON flow closed. I tried them at an audio meet and I quite like them. I would like to buy them at some point, but $700 is a bit out of my price range. I guess I don't really need a closed back. Ill stick with my HD650s and HD580s.


n0ah1897, on 05 Mar 2014 - 2:08 PM, said:  "Computers are like girls. It's whats in the inside that matters.  I don't know about you, but I like my girls like I like my cases. Just as beautiful on the inside as the outside."

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15 hours ago, spwath said:

I second the AEON flow closed. I tried them at an audio meet and I quite like them. I would like to buy them at some point, but $700 is a bit out of my price range. I guess I don't really need a closed back. Ill stick with my HD650s and HD580s.

I also quite like them, they are probably among the better closed headphones I have tried and I also want a set, but I have the same problem as you. The price is a bit steep for me, plus I don't like the fact that he does silent revisions. If I ever see them new for 400-500€ or "used for a week" or something like that, then I might see if I can't get them. :) 


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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11 hours ago, Dackzy said:

I also quite like them, they are probably among the better closed headphones I have tried and I also want a set, but I have the same problem as you. The price is a bit steep for me, plus I don't like the fact that he does silent revisions. If I ever see them new for 400-500€ or "used for a week" or something like that, then I might see if I can't get them. :) 

There's the denon dxxxx series .. Which i heard,is flat. Haven't actually tried it though.

 

Make sure to count the dac/amp pairing costs.

 

A magni 3 modi 2 combo will do fine.but literally anything below sucks ass. The aeons need alot of power to sound good.

 

 


“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”


 


―  C.S. Lewis  :)

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On 5/11/2017 at 12:06 AM, Ryan_Vickers said:

[...] The MSR7s however constantly creak and squeak due to the plastic binding and straining in different places.  [...]

This finally got so annoying I just had to do something about it, so I opened them up, separating the black frame from the blue insert and superglued those pieces together.  This has solved the problem, since most of the noise was caused by opposing forces being applied to these two pieces causing them to slide and bind against each other.  It is a mod I would recommend to anyone with these.

 

Capture.PNG

 

That's not to say that's the only source of noise though. Another source is the black/blue side of the swivel joint binding against the grey one above it when you rotate the cups, but I don't find this movement happens on a regular basis the way the one I described above does, so for now, I am done with my changes.

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The HD800s aren't inside the list...

Stock, they are a good value. One of the most detailed headphones ever, with a really wide soundstage and the best headphone for imaging. No contest. However, modded, it becomes a different headphone. Whatever you felt was bad about the HD800 is fixed. Overly wide soundstage, too diffuse, upper mid dip, 6k peak + ringing, all gone. The presentation relaxes from a headphone that throws detail in your face to something nearer to a HD600/HD650. A bit smoother, but more detail, and almost better everything. Timbre still loses to HD6x0 stuff. Extremely good value considering you can get one for about $500-600 used and mod it. 

 

Cons:

- Extremely picky with source

- Still bright

- Dust covers ruin the sound

- Connectors are quite tight

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11 minutes ago, salatji said:

how outdated is this thread? anything new or better aviable?

Completely outdated. Far better off using the suggested products on the skullcandy website.

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On 2018-02-03 at 4:51 PM, salatji said:

how outdated is this thread? anything new or better aviable?

What I’ve noticed is that this thread is an introductory “course”.  The new items are on specific threads peppered among this forum. Are there particular models you’re looking for?

 

Strictly curious and FYI, eh.

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so i think the driver in my right ear of my HD558s is starting to come loose after vast amounts of metal at pretty high volume, sleeping on it accidentaly(kinda passed out in my chair watching YT lol) and general handeling, idk if i should get another pair or something else so i thought id turn here, budget would be ~€200. mostly listen to metal:

Spoiler

 

 

and game a lot. prefrence goes strongly to open back headphones from my experience with these HD558s that you guys recomended me :D

 

setup audio wise is right now a Soundblaster Z, going to my Fisher reciver and then headphones so nothing especially fancy.

 

il probably pick them up in a coupple weeks, right now there is nothing thats especially wrong with these but if it gets any worse im replaceing them right away because it does bug me


I spent $2500 on building my PC and all i do with it is play no games atm & watch anime at 1080p(finally)...

Builds:

The Toaster Project! Northern Bee!

 

The original LAN PC build log! (Old, dead and replaced by The Toaster Project & 5.0)

Spoiler

"Here is some advice that might have gotten lost somewhere along the way in your life. 

 

#1. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

#2. It's best to keep your mouth shut; and appear to be stupid, rather than open it and remove all doubt.

#3. There is nothing "wrong" with being wrong. Learning from a mistake can be more valuable than not making one in the first place.

 

Follow these simple rules in life, and I promise you, things magically get easier. " - MageTank 31-10-2016

 

 

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I had the 681 EVO , I dont know if you guys should still recommend it , the connector on the evo is a really short cable with a male connection which makes it "removable cable"  and this can break and render the headphone useless in short time like mine.

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11 hours ago, Mytre said:

I had the 681 EVO , I dont know if you guys should still recommend it , the connector on the evo is a really short cable with a male connection which makes it "removable cable"  and this can break and render the headphone useless in short time like mine.

That is more down to you and not the headphone itself. You will always have the risk of breaking a cable, at least they let you replace most of the cable. There are many headphones that won't let even let you do that and it would be wrong to remove a good or great headphone for its price from the list because the cable isn't removable or some guy broke something on them.

 

If you just treat your headphones somewhat well, then you won't break cables.


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills, Focal Elex

DAC and AMP: Dual PCM63k tube DAC, RME ADI 2 DAC, Cavalli Tube Hybrid

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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On 3/27/2018 at 2:55 AM, Dackzy said:

That is more down to you and not the headphone itself. You will always have the risk of breaking a cable, at least they let you replace most of the cable. There are many headphones that won't let even let you do that and it would be wrong to remove a good or great headphone for its price from the list because the cable isn't removable or some guy broke something on them.

 

If you just treat your headphones somewhat well, then you won't break cables.

Fair. But I treat the headphone well. It has a stand and it never leaves the computer. It just broke onthe connector. Won't deny they sound amazing for the price. But to last 8 months being used  on one computer only just makes me kind of salty about it.

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Guys, I have a question to those recommendations.

 

I am currently in the process of doing a total upgrade of my whole setup. Display, PC etc. and decided that maybe some audio upgrade is in order as well.

 

My question is, will I benefit from high end headphones if I do not consume audiophile's type of content? I watch a lot of movies, tv shows and will be playing games - and to be brutally honest, I want the best possible experience here. So if, say, that experience is to be achieved by buying electrostatic headphones, I will buy them. I do listen to music occasionally when I am doing other stuff as well.

 

But since I am not an audiophile and as such I do not search for the purest form of music files, I think that there might be some hard cap in hardware after which I will be overpaying for stuff.

 

So, if I buy, say, KOSS ESP 950 or STAX SRS 3100, will my games and movies sound amazing or there won't be a difference between them and a pair of $500 headphones? I know that a lot depends on the original file quality but my understanding is that there will be noticeable difference between a budget pair of headphones and higher end with amplifier, no matter the quality of the file.

 

Let's say for the purpose of the question here that my budget for this is about $1200-1300 but obviously it doesn't have to be.

 

EDIT: disregard this post, I've got what I need ;-)


CPU: i7 6950X  |  Motherboard: Asus Rampage V ed. 10  |  RAM: 32 GB Corsair Dominator Platinum Special Edition 3200 MHz (CL14)  |  GPUs: 2x Asus GTX 1080ti SLI 

Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 1 TB M.2 NVME  |  PSU: In Win SIV 1065W 

Cooling: Custom LC 2 x 360mm EK Radiators | EK D5 Pump | EK 250 Reservoir | EK RVE10 Monoblock | EK GPU Blocks & Backplates | Alphacool Fittings & Connectors | Alphacool Glass Tubing

Case: In Win Tou 2.0  |  Display: Alienware AW3418DW  |  Sound: Woo Audio WA8 Eclipse + Focal Utopia Headphones

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For anyone who wants an absolutely AMAZING sound setup. 

 

    Front left and right

-Yamaha ns10m

-Jbl 4312A

-yamaha club series 12"

 

    Front left and right sub

-yamaha club series 18"

 

    Center mono sub

-velodyne servo subwoofer

 

    Mid Left right

-magneplanar speakers

 

    Rear left and right

-any hifi kevlar cone and ribbon teewter 6.5

 

    Front center

-magneplanar speaker

 

    Rear center

-magneplanar speaker

 

    Amps

-high end mackie or cs400 for the PA

-kinergetics research, marantz, or carver for the rest

 

Whatever your heart desires for the rest i suppose.

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Alternatively for someone looking for an audiophile grade 5.1 experience that doesn't cost as much as a crappy house you can go with:
Fronts - Micca MB42x $90
Center - Micca MB42x-C $70
Rears - Micca Covo-s $45
Sub - Bic PL-200 II $300
5.1 receiver - Sony Strdh550 5.2 $150
Total: $655 and if you can find a better sounding setup for under $1200 I'll be surprised.

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20 minutes ago, Wolf_Lbh said:

Alternatively for someone looking for an audiophile grade 5.1 experience that doesn't cost as much as a crappy house you can go with:
Fronts - Micca MB42x $90
Center - Micca MB42x-C $70
Rears - Micca Covo-s $45
Sub - Bic PL-200 II $300
5.1 receiver - Sony Strdh550 5.2 $150
Total: $655 and if you can find a better sounding setup for under $1200 I'll be surprised.

Goodwill/salvo speakers and amps 

Maybe $100 tops. Ive found 7.1 channel surround sound recievers for $5 and $700-$3,000 speakers for 10-25

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1 minute ago, Kamjam21xx said:

Goodwill/salvo speakers and amps 

Maybe $100 tops. Ive found 7.1 channel surround sound recievers for $5 and $700-$3,000 speakers for 10-25

I'm talking from a store. If you want to go bargain hunting that is an entirely different game and certainly not something you can plan in advance what you're going to end up with. Also you probably will be buying out of warranty and could end up with god only knows what issues you wouldn't see in something you had owned and taken care of since the beginning. That's a hell of a lot of hassle to save not a lot of money. And the setup I suggested is still going to sound better unless someone died and their idiot relative took it to goodwill.

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