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Need a setup for graduate school...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I'm heading to graduate school in the fall, and I'm debating if it's time to upgrade my audio setup for my computer.

Currently I'm using my old stereo that I've had since middle and high school. It's a Sherwood RX-4105 receiver (bought it because both of my old receivers that I inherited from my parents died and I couldn't afford anything better at the time) with a pair of KLH L652B bookshelf speakers (again, bought them because they were $20 open box at Best Buy when I was in 7th grade and needed speakers). Overall the setup sounds pretty decent, especially for movies and games, but music always sounds pretty flat and I've never been able to EQ it in a way that it sounds good. Also, there's always a hiss even at the lowest volume setting and it drives me nuts...

Being a grad student, I don't have a ton of cash to spend on a new system--maybe $250 at most. I've been looking at eBay to see if anybody has any good old stuff for cheap, but I think I'm going to wait to really pursue that option until I'm at school. I'll be going to University of Michigan and I don't know yet how I'll be getting out there in August and so I don't want to get a whole ton of stuff if I'm just going to ship it all by UPS and fly out. I'll probably check out Goodwill once I get there to see if there are any steals.

But, seeing as I need something reliable more so than some killer hi-fi system, I'm thinking new is probably a better way to go as at least then I'm not worrying about how something was cared for by its last owner and if it dies, at least I'll have the warranty.

I'll be living in a 2BR townhouse with a roommate, and the policy of the complex is no subwoofers, so something that sounds nice, is compact, and is only two speakers is a must. I mostly listen to rock, but also a fair amount of classical, hip hop, dubstep, and jazz.

I've already got a nice pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50 headphones, so please don't recommend that I get headphones. I don't like wearing them when I don't have to, so I'll save them for when I'm up late working or at the lab and stick to speakers when I'm home during the day and evening.

Options I've been considering:
[1] stick to my current stereo as it works well enough and owes me nothing
[2] upgrade just the speakers and keep the receiver
[3] ditch everything and find something used at Goodwill or on eBay
[4] get a pair of cheap powered studio monitors
[5] buying a nicer set of computer speakers (I used to have the Logitech Z4, and hated them. However I've been pleasantly surprised by how the nicer 2.0 sets from Creative sound)

Thanks.
post #2 of 5
Heh, I grew up (well, the first 9 years of my life) in Saline/Ann Arbor.

Anyway, being a fellow graduate student, I understand the budgetary constraints... The best option I can think of would be something along the lines of the M-Audio BX5's. You can get a pair for under $200 at Micro Center, the one near me has an open box set for$130. They are monitors, and very easy to tune with even just a software EQ. Out of the box, they are very flat, but with excellent accuracy. The whole idea with monitors is to tune the sound as needed, so I am pretty sure that you would be happy with them, or something similar. Good bang for your buck, and extremely good sound for such compact speakers.

A cheaper alternative are the Monoprice monitors. I think around $145? They are extremely good, far better than any "budget" speaker has any right to be!
   
Z77 Bench-a-lot
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Z77 Bench-a-lot
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R.A.T.3 + MX510 My Desk GRADO RS1i Headphones Grado PS1000 Headphones 
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post #3 of 5
If you can find a decent pair of celestion 3 speakers in your budget then go for them. No Sub needed and you still have fantastic bass and mid bass. These speakers are rare, and the market value is sort of weird, but they sound like the perfect speakers for your needs.

If you simply can not find them, than the cambridge audio S30s are pretty good as well, but they do not have as good of bass as the celestions. The plus side is that they are new and easily accessible.

If at all possible and you can buy something slightly larger like the dynaco A25. Again, these have VERY good sound, they they are old, rare, and the price can fluctuate between 150-300.
Yin&Yang
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Yin&Yang
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post #4 of 5

I would definitely go with your option #2 : that may be an entry level stereo receiver but many have mated it with far higher end speakers than your KLH L652Bs and end up pleased. Look for slightly larger bookies if not going with a sub thumb.gif

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El Pinguis Cattus
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the recommendations so far, guys! I'll definitely keep my eyes peeled.
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