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Thread: Best bang for the buck: How to build a decent audio system on a budget

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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    Default Best bang for the buck: How to build a decent audio system on a budget

    For the first time in a while I am in a position to buy some decent audio equipment to listen to my classical music on. However, my budget is only $500 (American).
    Basically what I am looking for is the best I can get for that much. I realize on that budget my options are limited.
    I mainly listen to CDs and mp3 files on my PC or on my media player (Sansa Fuze) right now.
    At first I thought I would just get a HTIB, but after doing some research, it seems that this isn't the best option a system that will be used maimly for music. It seems like the best way to go would be to build a system from components, but I have no idea where to start. I've read through some of the threads in this forum, but honestly, I don't feel like I learned anything usefull. Everything was either way over may head or out of my budget, or both. Same with other forums I've looked at as well.
    Is anyone willing to point an audio newb in the right direction?

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    I'm not a genius on sound systems or anything either, but what I've noticed is a great low cost option is get a sound card for your pc that supports surround sound speakers, then get some ThX certified (for example Logitech is a good brand) speakers, and wala you have yourself a really solid sounding system that should easily run you under $500 dollars American. I spent under $500 (Canadian) on a similar set up around 5 years ago, so if anything I'd imagine prices have gone down since then for the basic components of such a system.

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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. After doing some more research I think that is the way I'll probably go. I went to an electronics store tonight and played with several systems they had out on display. I fell in love with the Bose Companion 5 series. It blew everything else they had on display out of the water.

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    Senior Member Amfibius's Avatar
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    Hmm, I am a few months too late. Did you end up getting the Bose?

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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    Yes, I did end up getting the Bose. I was a little disappointed at first. It sounded better in the store than it does in my house (go figure!). But it still is miles ahead of where I was before, so overall I'm happy.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Argh! If SuperTonic did buy the Bose, I hope this thread gets lost for me.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Argh again! Too late! As if I were not depressed enough already.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    Argh! If SuperTonic did buy the Bose, I hope this thread gets lost for me.
    I know Bose has a negative connotation in audiophile circles. Its adequate for my needs at this time. It really did sound better than anything else the store had out on display to my ears, at least for what was available in my price range. In perfect hindsight, I probably should have considered the elaborate display the store had set up for its Bose products, which was probably designed specifically to create the best possible listening experience in the store.
    Like I said though, it is much better than the crappy computer speakers I was using before, so I'm satisfied with it for now.

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    If all you wanna spend is a half a grand you can go a couple of ways:

    1. If you play through a lot of digital sources like you said you did and want a killer systems for movies, too...I'd go with this...HK has always used high quality, clean sounding speakers; this system with serve just about every purpose you can give in the price range and has all the inputs you need
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Harman+C...&skuId=2954688

    2. Now, if you don't think you'll use it for tv and want a little more umph, well...let's see:

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Cerwin+V...4427&st=cerwin vega&cp=1&lp=4
    You got these for a buck forty nine a pair

    I personally use this very unit for one of my small rooms and it sounds A!...inputs galore and while I don't use it for my record player, I'm almost certain that is has a phone in...5.1 ready but makes my 12" 3-way speakers rock!...very clean and easy to use although the back looks pretty complicated, it's not
    http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/image...01-rear-lg.jpg


    Best of luck to you!!...I always get excited about sound systems and let me tell you, 500 buck'll get you something that can sound wonderful...even if you're a freak like me who has a twenty thousand dollar system; what can I say...some guys like fancy cars, I drive an old Civic...I like good sound...hope you're jamming the rich tunes on your new system soon!!

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    Senior Member Amfibius's Avatar
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    Oh well, if you are happy - that's all that matters

    I do have Bose at home. I use it for watching TV.

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    i know you've already found something but -

    the best bang for your buck, if you're sitting at the computer, is getting a decent sound card and some really nice headphones. this way you can achieve the same sound quality as a multi-thousand dollar system.

    if you absolutely need speakers, get a small power amp (or integrated..) and the best small speakers you can find. powered monitors are also a good option. although i wouldn't even bother getting a sub if you're on a tight budget...

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Fap.......
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    Fap.......
    in my neighborhood "fap" means the sound of ************

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    What you are 'emulating' is what I would describe as a Bronx Cheer. In Major Hoople's neighborhood fap is an internal reaction to a comment/position inappropriate and (mostly) unexpected. He must marshal his intellectual forces to produce an effective rejoinder - which requires a sojourn at 'the pub'. If he were someone other than a boarder (at a boarding house yet) he might be of the social stratum that would substitute a 'club' for the pub. But either way he is merely a retired major at half pay, and his opinions, succinct and perhaps brilliant as may be, are mostly received as the flatulence of an 'old fart'.

    Personally, my skill at flatulence is so poor that it isn't even ranked in my bowling league.

    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    What you are 'emulating' is what I would describe as a Bronx Cheer. In Major Hoople's neighborhood fap is an internal reaction to a comment/position inappropriate and (mostly) unexpected. He must marshal his intellectual forces to produce an effective rejoinder - which requires a sojourn at 'the pub'. If he were someone other than a boarder (at a boarding house yet) he might be of the social stratum that would substitute a 'club' for the pub. But either way he is merely a retired major at half pay, and his opinions, succinct and perhaps brilliant as may be, are mostly received as the flatulence of an 'old fart'.

    Personally, my skill at flatulence is so poor that it isn't even ranked in my bowling league.

    so i guess all of your contributions to this thread qualify under the above

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