Insignia NSB-2111 Bookshelf Speakers

Discussion in 'Write Your Own Review' started by Buckeyefan 1, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. Buckeyefan 1 Audioholic Ninja

    Buckeyefan 1
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  2. Wafflesomd Senior Audioholic

    Wafflesomd
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    Good, I've been loking to buy some pairs fo these for my 5.1 setup.
  3. Buckeyefan 1 Audioholic Ninja

    Buckeyefan 1
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    The first impression one gets when they demo the speakers at BB is how large they are. You can't appreciate their size or looks from the website. To see and hear them at BB really pulls you in. In our local BB, they were connected to a mid-level Yamaha AVR, with the ability to A/B over to Yamaha bookshelves of similar size. The Insignia's blew them away in every category. The Yamaha bookshelves almost appeared to be put there to make the Insigia's stand out. Their classical selection really brought out the strength of these speakers.

    Here's a few more photo's. The Insignia's are sitting on top of my Polk RTi10 towers, and I have my Polk RTi4's on top of the Insignia's for direct comparison.

    http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b152/tpc3416/9-26-06043.jpg
    http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b152/tpc3416/9-26-06044.jpg
    http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b152/tpc3416/9-26-06045.jpg
    http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b152/tpc3416/9-26-06046.jpg
    http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b152/tpc3416/9-26-06048.jpg

    The music I selected (I only demo'd these with music since I only had a pair) was from cd's I'm most familiar with, all of which have excellent recordings. No subwoofer was used in the demo, and only two modes - direct and stereo were used. I used a house curve on a separate eq to tweak the Insignia's to sound their best later on. The cd's below have excellent dynamics, punch, and a very low sound floor.

    Blues Traveler - Run Around
    Genesis - Abacab
    Toto - Past to Present
    The Outfield - Play Deep
    Yes - 90125
    The Eagles - DTS
    Rush - Chronicles
    Sting - Fields of Gold
  4. Sheep Audioholic Warlord

    Sheep
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    Come on buck, tell us how you REALLY feel ;)

    SheepStar
  5. Rob Babcock Moderator

    Rob Babcock
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    They look to be strikingly well made for the price. I might pick up a couple pairs myself just to fool with.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2006
  6. Buckeyefan 1 Audioholic Ninja

    Buckeyefan 1
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    Sorry for the delay. Work picked up to a pace I haven't seen in months. That's a good thing. Now, back to the review.

    I'll break this down with a simple pros/cons of each of the bookshelves in the A/B comparison. Again, they are the Insignia's at BB for $39.98 a pair, and the Polk RTi4's which retail around $320 a pair. They are being driven by a Denon 3805 AVR in 2 channel mode, so there's plenty of headroom.

    Polk RTi4 Pros:
    Big sound, small speaker - can fill a large room
    Excellent mid bass from a 5.25" woofer, very punchy
    Handles big power, and plays loud. Does not distort
    Accurate, Detailed
    Nice build quality - heavy speaker, huge magnet and crossover
    Smooth midrange due to the smaller driver and large 1" dome tweeter
    Outstanding customer service and great warranty-5/5 parts/labor (Polk)

    Polk RTi4 Cons:
    Very deep cabinet, not a great wall mount design
    Lacks the lower bass notes (65Hz and under)
    Same grill as entry level Monitor series
    Hefty price tag
    Some may say sibilant

    Insignia Pros:
    Sexy design - triangular to reduce resonance
    Very good build quality
    Impressive carbon fiber driver, huge magnet
    Outstanding imaging
    Very strong midrange (see below)
    Excellent speaker for classical music
    Looks best with the grill off
    Dirt cheap! Buy 6 for $120 - you can outfit a start up HT room under $500

    Insignia Cons:
    Rolled off highs, very weak bass (not much under 100Hz)
    Distorts at moderate to high volumes, especially the bass
    Bloated midrange, needs eq'd down in the 800-4000Hz range
    Not impressive with movies, does better with certain music
    Very large bookshelf, too large for shelf, and no easy way to mount as center
    What to do if you blow the driver - are they hard to find? How much?
    Weak warranty - 90 days parts/labor
    Some say a knock off of a knock off (Kef -> Radiiant -> Insignia)
  7. Wafflesomd Senior Audioholic

    Wafflesomd
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    For the price, I really want 3 pairs of them for my first setup, though you say they distort at high volume levels?

    That sucks :(

    I wonder, maybe you could get better woofers, and possibly an external tweeter.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2006
  8. Buckeyefan 1 Audioholic Ninja

    Buckeyefan 1
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    Well, I was driving them pretty hard, and comparing them to a much more expensive speaker. Keep in mind, my room is over 4000 cuft, so YMMV depending on room size. For $39 (only through Sat.), get a pair (or 3) and try them out. You've got 30 days to return them. Six running at the same time will put out quite a bit more dB's than only two, and with much more authority in a smaller room. You can always unload them on ebay, as my BB store ran out two days after the sale. I think you can get them via the website as well for the same price.

    As far as changing out the woofers, the design of the 6.5 inch driver is somewhat unique. The tweeter is centered in the woofer, and is stationary. If you remember the older coax whizzer car speakers, they are similar although the whizzer here doesn't move. My fear was that a design like this, being carbon fiber, could cost $40 to $50 to replace if you damage the driver. And that is if you can find a replacement speaker. If I was outfitting a home theater and wanted a 6.1 setup, I'd probably get 4 pair and keep two as insurance in case problems occurred after the short warranty was up. Those speakers at $20 a piece are a steal, and I'm sure the driver alone would run twice that if bought at msrp. The hole at the bottom is not a tweeter, it's a port. This is a bass reflex design.
  9. Wafflesomd Senior Audioholic

    Wafflesomd
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    Yah, I know all about these and they're design, my freind bought two pairs. I know they are coax.

    We hosted a party with them along with my 700w setup and his Logitech z5500's, plus the insignia's.

    After the party, the tweeters in the insignia's blew. I guess he had them very loud.
  10. Buckeyefan 1 Audioholic Ninja

    Buckeyefan 1
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    Is he the one with the Onkyo 303 AVR? I pushed those Insignia's to their capacity, and didn't blow the tweeters. Do you think it could have been distortion, or simply overuse at high volume? The woofers distorted in the pair I had. There were never enough highs in mine to blow, and I had them running at -5 for a few hours. Then again - I know how parties go. People get their hands on the receiver, and up goes the volume.
  11. WmAx Audioholic Samurai

    WmAx
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    Of course, every bookshelf speaker will greatly benefit from an active crossover/sub woofer configuration. You may have had a room placement issue if you had no bass below 100Hz. The speaker has response well below 100hz, as is easily measured.

    I highly recommend certain easy modifications in order to substantially increase the sound quality of the Insignia speakers in the mid range band. I verified/evaluated the effectiveness of these modifications in a double blinded testing scenario in order to be certain that I was not imagining the difference(s). The modification includes applying about 1/4" of Peel N' Seal built up in layers on all of the interior walls and removing the utterly worthless low grade acoustic foam that is used and replacing it with a fiberglass or rock wool filling at a minimum of 6lb/ft^3 density. Note: normal consumer insulation is in the 1.5lb/ft^3 density range. You can purchase 1 roll of Peel N' Seal for each speaker at Lowe's for about $14 each. The sufficient internal acoustic damping material is another matter. It must be acquired in usually rather large amounts(several 2' x 4' pieces), and from a commercial/industrial supplier. However, because of the modest amount required in the small Insignias, I will gladly send just enough to fill the Insignia to anyone that requests such via PM. Actual USPS parcel postage and a token amount for raw material cost is all that I require. Probably about $2 raw material cost, for reference.

    -Chris
    WmAx,
  12. Sheep Audioholic Warlord

    Sheep
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    BUT, not your average consumer can modify a crossover/cabinet to make the speaker sound better.

    Buck, you should mail those to me and I can compare them to the 150s and C-1s.

    SheepStar
  13. WmAx Audioholic Samurai

    WmAx
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    I don't see why a general consumer can not perform the described modifications. The only tools the consumer needs is a screwdriver(to remove the driver), an Allen wrench(to remove the grill cover anchors which double as the baffle securing screws), a razor knife(to cut the peel n' seal) and a serrated kitchen knife(to cut the mineral/insulation board). I will even provide pictures of the modification steps if so requested.

    -Chris
    WmAx,
  14. Buckeyefan 1 Audioholic Ninja

    Buckeyefan 1
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    Sheep,

    You don't have a BB nearby? They're only $39US. Aren't they offering them in Canada? Unfortunately my BB sold out of them.
  15. Takeereasy Audioholic General

    Takeereasy
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    Not for sale up here Buck, I was looking at getting a pair for some horsing around at that price. Those really are some nice looking speakers. I have to admit to skepticism of anything sold by insignia, but maybe that's unearned in this particular instance.
  16. Nick250 Audioholic Samurai

    Nick250
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    Chris, would a higher end speaker, in my case Paradigm Studio 20's v2, benefit as well from the mods? Or for that matter Paradigm Mini Monitors. I guess the question really boils down to how one makes the determination to do the mods or not.

    Nick
  17. jaxvon Audioholic Ninja

    jaxvon
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    Nick,

    Judging from the measurements at Stereophile, I would say YES. Below is a measurement from an accelerometer on the cabinet with the description from Stereophile. This information and image are (obviously) Copryright of Stereophile.

    [​IMG]

    Fig.8 Paradigm Reference Studio/20, cumulative spectral-decay plot of accelerometer output fastened to cabinet side. (MLS driving voltage to speaker, 7.55V; measurement bandwidth, 2kHz.)

    You want as little resonances as possible. For reference, here is the same measurement done on a Rockport Antares:

    [​IMG]
  18. Nick250 Audioholic Samurai

    Nick250
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    This is a bit over my head, how do the resonances and decay manifest itself when present? Lack of clarity perhaps?

    Nick
  19. WmAx Audioholic Samurai

    WmAx
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    The effect is perceived as a distortion of timbre. The phenomenon of resonances and perception, as well as audible thresholds was researched by Dr. Floyd Toole and published [1] in JAES for peer review in the late 80's.

    -Chris

    [1]"The Modification of Timbre by Resonances: Perception and Measurement", Floyd Toole, Sean Olive, JAES, Vol. 36, No. 3, 1988, March, pages 122-141
    WmAx,
  20. WmAx Audioholic Samurai

    WmAx
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    Most speakers benefit from the modifications I have suggested. Cost of adding these materials appears to be prohibited in a mass produced situation where cost cutting is critical. The mass loaded damping material(Peel N' Seal) is available at any Lowe's store. The acoustic damping material I recommend for maximum/optimum effect is not usually available at consumer outlets and/or in small quantity. I will send the acoustic damping material to anyone who needs it for a token cost($2-$10 depending on the size of the speakers, relating to the amount of material required) plus actual USPS parcel shipping.

    -Chris
    WmAx,

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