Hi, I am looking to upgrade the old speakers that I have. I'm only 18 so it can't be incredibly expensive, but I love music so I would like good sound quality. Right now I have this old stuff from the 80s that was my dads. It consists of an RCA receiver (no idea on the power) 2 Eckman design and engineering model 101 speakers (6-8 ohms 15 watts rms?) and 2 realistic minimus 21s (8 ohms 10 watts?). It actually doesn't sound that bad as apparently my mom said the stuff was pretty expensive back in the 80s but I'm looking for something that i can hook up to my dvd player (the receiver has an aux port but I have to shuffle cords around constantly to use it with my tv,dvd,gamecube,etc.), so I am looking for any speakers/receivers which offer good bang for the buck. Any help would be great.
A receiver for sure, the one I have is 2.0 and I would like some type of surround sound and some extra plugs for my gamecube, tv, and dvd player to hook up to. Currently I have to shuffle them. My budget depends on whether or not I keep the speakers I have. The realistic speakers are definitely of worse quality, they have a very high tone and they start to distort if you turn the volume up loud, but they sound good enough at normal levels. The Eckman speakers sound excellent (they are from like 1982 too!) if a bit weak on the high tones, they have more of a bassy feel. The speakers are a decent compliment to each other, however I don't have a clue as to their usefulness in a surround sound type set up. I would say I have about $500 max to spend.
In my opinion, you need to make some choices as to what you want to do. For $500, You could get a nice receiver, or a nice new pair of speakers. I have never heard Eckman's, so I have no idea what they sound like or how good they are. If you are going to buy a new receiver, the minimum you are going to have to spend is $300 for something new. You might want to see about finding a deal on a last years model and save some $$ that way, but still get a great receiver for your needs. If this is the route you take, here are a few options: https://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/store/category.cgi?category=rec_hometheater they are an authorized dealer for Marantz and Marantz makes some great products. The 4400 and 5400 models are great deals on a very good receiver. If you dont want to spend that much money, I would see if you can find last years Onkyos, the 501 or 601. Onkyo isnt nearly as musical as Marantz, but they make a great entry level receiver...probably better than entry. Other brands I would recommend, Yamaha, Denon, and HK. These are probably all better than Onkyo, but they might cost you a little more money. Again, the new models are just coming out for these companies, so if you can find last years models, you will have a very good receiver for about $100 less than the newest model. For the Yamaha 1400, the Denon 1804, or the HK 330. These should all be under $500. If this is getting too expensive and you want an all in one, we can explore that option too. I am of the belief, you should spend equal amounts of money on the receiver and speakers. If your current speakers are solid, you can get a receiver this year so you can plug in your tv, dvd, game cube and have the ability to hook up surround speakers. When you get some more money you can get new speakers. This might be overkill for what you are trying to accomplish, but we can start here and try and dial it all in later.
well, maybe you can help me out with some general information. Say i buy a new reciever and set up 5.1 surround. I use the 2 smaller realistic speakers as my back 2 speakers, so I would need to buy a center channel and sub correct? Would this set up sound decent? Also what characteristics do you look for in each of the speakers (center,l,r rear,sub) in surround sound?
Depends on what you mean by decent. Again, I have never heard Eckman. Realistic doesnt make good stuff. When I was in college, I bought a decent Kenwood receiver, some nice PSB speakers for the fronts and my surround and center were terrible. I eventually added a JBL subwoofer. I didnt have any money, so this was the best I could do. To be honest w/ you, it was fine for what I was doing. When people came to my dorm room to watch a movie, they thought I had some kind of 'HI-FI' system, b/c I had a 5.1 setup.
When I graduated and got some money, I gave my rears and center away. I still use my PSB's and Kenwood in another room in the house, and it sounds ok for 2 channel music while I am working.
I upgraded my HT w/ a Marantz 7500, some B&W 600 series speakers and I think it sounds awesome. Currently I am still using that JBL sub in this setup, but I am going to replace as soon as I can. This setup so far has cost me $1000 for the receiver $600 for the front speakers, $350 for the rears, and about $500 for the center.
About what characteristics do I look for in speakers, I just want something that I think sounds great. I know that is very generic, but you just have to go out an audition speakers and find what you think sounds good. There are some internet only dealers of speakers that are suppose to be very good and priced well, but you have to go through the process of ordering and listening to and sending them back if you dont like. Axiom and Aperion come to mind. You can go to the specialty stores in your area to listen to really nice stuff and you can check out Best Buy and Circuit City to listen to some stuff that probably isnt going to be near as nice, but might do what you are wanting to do. Infinity, Polk, Klipsh all make some decent stuff, but its a matter of what you think sounds good. When I was shopping around, I was looking at B&W, M&K, Paradigm, Def Tech, Kef and PSB. There are LOTS of options, you just need to find something in your price range that you think sounds good. After you narrow down what you are looking for, I can try and help you some more.