Opinions on quality speakers on a budget...

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Rob Thomas, Apr 21, 2017 at 9:32 AM.

  1. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Hey guys. I'm new to the forum and appreciate all of the knowledge that's shared here. Hoping ya'll can help point me in the right direction. I have a Fisher tube amp (T/A 800) That was recently gifted to me from my dad. It's currently getting an overhaul to bring it up to speed (recapping, etc...) and I'd love to pair it with some quality speakers to highlight this amazing amp. I currently have some basic RCA speakers bought from RadioShack in the 90s and really need to upgrade. I'm on a budget of $300-400 (married) and would appreciate any opinions or even some basic direction. You will have to dumb it down a bit as this is all new to me...

    Edit: It looks like a common response I'm getting is the need for efficient speakers with my unit. Any more suggestions based on this?

    Thanks so much guys and God bless from NC!
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 10:48 AM
  2. JosephH

    JosephH AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    649
    Location:
    Lewiston, NY
    Welcome! You did not mention if you were looking for bookshelf or floor standing speakers. I am a big fan of the ADS series. The dome tweeters and mids on the L series are sublime. I believe there is a set of the outstanding L1290 on Bartertown for $400, and I have seen some recent listings in NC. Strong offerings include L1090, 1290, L1590 floorstanders and the L780/880/980 series are great, & the L710/810/910series are popular too. Another great series is the JBL L60t/L80t/L100t speakers. JBL later updated the models to t3 designation, which were refined a bit. They are not common but can be real bargains. I know that Klipsch, are often mentioned when tubes amps are concerned. Other tremendous bargains can be the Boston Acoustics A150/200/400 series. There are many, many great choices. Barter Town is a great resource, and you gain access by becoming an AK subcriber for $25 a year. Good Luck.
     
  3. maxhifi

    maxhifi Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    940
    Location:
    Canada
    First you need to narrow down some things by answering to yourself the following questions

    1. How much space do I have for speakers?

    2. How big is my room? (Not the same as 1.)

    3. Is it important to go really loud? (Or do I prefer small size?)

    4. How important Is bass, do I want it really deep? (Bass extension versus sensitivity versus size always a trade off limited by physics)

    5. What style of music do I listen to most? (Will need more sensitive speakers for heavy metal, more bass for hip-hop, flatter frequency response for classical, etc)

    6. Do I mind to take on a project, or do I want something which works immediately (a bit of sweat equity can add value to your $300 and move up quality ladder)

    7. What kind of looks would make me happy? (Stand mount, tower, smallest possible, etc)

    8. Am I likely to upgrade in the future? (I.e. Should I buy something easy to sell?)
     
  4. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Thanks Joseph, what a great response! I will look at Barter Town right now. As for the speaker type, bookshelf or floor would work fine. I'm sure some quality speakers will make a HUGE difference.
     
  5. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Hello Max, Space isn't a real problem but I would like to keep them end-table size or smaller (great description I know!). This would be for a good sized living room maybe 15ft X 30ft? Sound quality is more important than volume to me for sure. I never really blast my music. Bass isn't super important as I don't listen to Hip-Hop but I would like a nice balanced sound if that makes sense. Music for me mostly includes late 50s through mid seventies. Classic rock, Motown, early rock and occasionally classical on Sunday mornings. I'm up for a little work but I am not experienced working on electronics and don't really solder. I guess with good direction (youtube) I can do some work however I'd like to keep that to a minimum. As far as looks, this is for a classic Fisher so wooden speakers or even faux wood would suite me the best. I'm not too concerned with types as in tower, bookshelf or stand mount. I believe any would be just fine. Hope this helps. Thanks. I appreciate as much feedback/suggestions as I can get. You guys are great!
     
  6. Hawkeye83

    Hawkeye83 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,180
    The ADS speakers are good. Also look at older KEF Reference series...103.2, 105.2, 105.4, 104/2...any of those might be in your budget, especially if you can stretch a little up to the $500 mark. Although I think all of these speakers like some "juice" (current/watts) so if you're running a classic Fisher tube unit, you might need to look for more efficient speakers...maybe vintage JBL? I'm unfortunately not very familiar with many efficient speakers. Others that may work (but not necessarily be efficient) - KLH 5, 6, 23, Wharfedale W90, Bozak B302 (or other).
     
  7. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Thanks Hawkeye, I guess that brings up a good point. Anyone have any good Efficient ideas?
     
  8. onplane

    onplane What! No Wake???

    Messages:
    1,854
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    There are really two tactics you should consider and one class of speakers you should avoid. Avoid that is, because tube amps just don't have the raw power to tame very inefficient speakers. Most of the "inefficient speakers" are acoustic suspension and require decent amps to drive. Consequently, I recommend you avoid anything with a sensitivity less than 88db.

    Now, as for the two tactics, one is floor standing efficient speakers (ported or reflex). Below is a link to modern floor standers:

    https://www.parts-express.com/cat/floor-standing-tower-speakers/98

    The Daytons are quite economical and have gotten good reviews on this board.

    The other tactic is bookshelves with a powered sub to handle the low frequencies:

    https://www.parts-express.com/cat/bookshelf-speakers/99

    https://www.parts-express.com/cat/powered-subwoofers/95

    Now, the idea with this tactic is to "off load" the low frequencies to the powered sub leaving your tube amp to reproduce everything else. Thus since the real power in music is in those low frequencies, you don't need to be as concerned about sensitivity. This scheme works best when you get a sub that "strips" those low frequencies from the signal sent on to the bookshelves.

    Regards,
    Jerry
     
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  9. maxhifi

    maxhifi Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    940
    Location:
    Canada
    I suggest to buy these, brand new. Should be able to find them locally and on sale. I think they match well with your needs and the fisher, and will avoid messing with vintage. Would also be easy to repurpose to a home theatre setup if you ever get the urge to upgrade

    I selected them for a friend who was buying his first stereo, and before turning them over to him I used them on my tube system for long enough to understand what they are - and I believe they're one of the best choices all around in this price range.

    Vintage could be a better deal but it can also be hit or miss, kinda like buying a used car.

    http://www.pioneerelectronics.ca/POCEN/Home/Speakers/Pioneer+Speakers/SP-FS52
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 11:04 AM
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  10. Drumolator

    Drumolator Super Member

    Messages:
    1,262
    Location:
    Plaucheville, LA
    Pioneer SP-BS22LR
    Polk RTiA1
    Sony Core (SS-CS5)

    I have these and like them quite a bit. Peace and goodwill.
     
  11. MarZutra

    MarZutra Super Member

    Messages:
    3,515
    Location:
    New Scotland, Canada
    Nothing for nothing, I've been taken by the vintage sound of a few pair of Rectilinear speakers I had restored for a mate of mine; Rectilinear Highboy iii and a pair of the XII. Both sound extremely nice for vintage kit.
    Good luck with your choice...
     
  12. Finjima

    Finjima Active Member

    Messages:
    157
    Location:
    Lake Helen Florida
    You can always pay market value or even get good deal way below market, but nothing beats getting lucky, like 20 bucks at a garage sale lucky. that's your budget there, work hard at getting lucky and you will build a nice system
     
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  13. Finjima

    Finjima Active Member

    Messages:
    157
    Location:
    Lake Helen Florida
    I just looked your location, Boone.... good luck getting lucky there, talk about living out in the boonies, you can also become a member here and trade. meet local members and make deals that way too
     
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  14. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Yeah, for real! I've been checking the local sales and thrift stores but very sparse. It amazes me that in this new digital age that there are still underpriced deals out there being that everyone can just "google" values for everything. I haven't found that myself. Yet..
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 2:21 PM
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  15. darkblue94

    darkblue94 It wasn't me. Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,045
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon
    It could prove to be worthwhile to get out of Boone once in a while.:)
     
  16. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Agreed! I'm from Charlotte and my folks are still down there. I BARELY have unsupervised time to myself!
     
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  17. darkblue94

    darkblue94 It wasn't me. Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,045
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon
    See if you can wrangle a day pass from the "warden" for a visit with the folks and hit a couple of shops and/or Craigslist sellers while you're at it.:)
     
  18. colohiker

    colohiker Active Member

    Messages:
    358
    Location:
    Northern Colorado
    Playing around with your Craigslist I did see a couple of interesting speakers that might be worth checking out.. Unfortunately, they are both at least a couple hours away. A pair of EPI 200b's and a pair of Epicure fourteens. The EPI 200b's look like a pretty good price though one of the woofers might not be original. Perhaps it just has a new center cap. You would need to pull it to compare it to the woofer in the other cabinet. I have never run my EPI's with tubes but have used several lower wattage SS amps and have been more than happy with the volume.
     
  19. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Addicted Member

    I think the Fisher is around 35 wpc so you've got a wide assortment of speakers to consider. Are you at all interested in DIY where $400 goes a long way?

    The Boone/Blowing Rock area is a great place to live with 4 distinct seasons. Nothing more scenic than to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway down to Asheville. I always looked forward to playing at App State when I attended Wofford.
     
  20. trinhsman

    trinhsman Active Member

    Messages:
    397
    If you can find some old Snell's in good shape, you will be hard pressed to find anything better. I own 3 sets, so I am partial. The E II's are fairly easy to come by. Just make sure they are all original, and if they had their surrounds changed (which they should have by now), that it was done with the proper surrounds. Makes all the difference in the world. Also, if the crossovers need work, their is an AK'er that is a crossover guru and will rebuild them to their "exact" specifications. Snells are hard to beat IMHO.
     

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