Ditch the Soundbar: 7 Great Compact Speaker Systems for Any Budget

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
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1,633
#1
We get it, large speakers that have all of the aesthetic value of a refrigerator aren’t necessarily what every home theater enthusiast is looking for. To some folks, a small and attractive setup is much more palatable, especially if a spouse is in the picture. But, building a compact, clean looking system without making big sacrifices in performance can be a challenging task, especially when real world budgets are taken into consideration. Every system recommended here (a total of 7) uses a particularly compact receiver/amp that should be easy to place in any room, and bookshelf speakers to save even more space. Some have a sub, others rely on bookshelf speakers with above par bass response. Somewhere in the mix, nearly anyone should be able to find a system they would be happy with.


Discuss "Ditch the Soundbar: 7 Great Compact Speaker Systems for Any Budget" here. Read the article.
 
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#2
Whenever audioholics does "budget" systems I choke a bit. I paid under $300 for a very nice Yamaha RXV receiver that can handle more than two speakers and another $250 for a set of five decent Fluance speakers. If you throw in my $250 Polk subwoofer, that's $800 for a full 5.1 system (not including $100 in wiring).

All the systems you list under $1000 are only two channel, and yet I know from experience that my sub $1000 system sounds a lot better than any sound bar I've heard.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
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4,672 24 9
#3
Whenever audioholics does "budget" systems I choke a bit. I paid under $300 for a very nice Yamaha RXV receiver that can handle more than two speakers and another $250 for a set of five decent Fluance speakers. If you throw in my $250 Polk subwoofer, that's $800 for a full 5.1 system (not including $100 in wiring).

All the systems you list under $1000 are only two channel, and yet I know from experience that my sub $1000 system sounds a lot better than any sound bar I've heard.
you missed the point of the article. Many people can't have surround speakers, let alone a full blown 5.1 system in their homes. This is why Soundbars are so popular now. This article offers better sounding alternatives to Soundbars while keeping the form factor acceptable.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
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#4
Go to any online store and shop for TV. I will guarantee you than 90% of less than perfect reviews will mentioned bad sound quality.
The simple truth - slim tvs and good speakers do not possible and nobody is using plannars or ribbon twitters in these
I think that article has it's merit. The speakers chosen are all solid and good components.

Would I choose a bit differently - you betcha, but still any of these will be a) simple and b) huge improvement over built-in TV speakers
 
A

abboudc

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
87
#5
If the goal is better than TV sound, and people don't need a preamp, a pair of audio engine a5's would do nicely...

TSTO also has low profile niles speakers for 149(?) ea I think.

Gene, are there any good low profile amps? Lots of small speakers, but I'd love to see a small amp that could be mounted on the wall. Something that was flat and not deep...
 
J

Jonathan Landry

Audiophyte
#6
I'm currently looking into LCR speakers/soundbar. My place is limited so the soundbar makes sense but it would also be possible to place horizontal small speakers. If using similar drivers quality and size, will there be a difference between using a soundbar vs speakers?

I am specifically looking into goldenear supercinema 3d soundbar. It has crossover noise correction on the last driver on each side to make it sound like the speakers are more far away from each other that they are in reality. Reviews for that soundbar are very good.

If I go with 3 speakers of similar quality, I lose the crossover correction, but will I gain something since they are on 3 seperates module?
 
Topken

Topken

Junior Audioholic
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5 1 1
#7
I would swap the Pioneer either the Sony Core or the Elac Debut speakers if you are going 2.0/1 on a small budget
 
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
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471 3 10
#8
I'm currently looking into LCR speakers/soundbar. My place is limited so the soundbar makes sense but it would also be possible to place horizontal small speakers. If using similar drivers quality and size, will there be a difference between using a soundbar vs speakers?

I am specifically looking into goldenear supercinema 3d soundbar. It has crossover noise correction on the last driver on each side to make it sound like the speakers are more far away from each other that they are in reality. Reviews for that soundbar are very good.

If I go with 3 speakers of similar quality, I lose the crossover correction, but will I gain something since they are on 3 seperates module?
You will get MUCH better sound with 3 good speakers than with any soundbar, so there is nothing to worry about the sound quality. Optimal thing would be to get pair of stereo bookshelf speakers and matching center speaker. Of course it would work with matched 3 bookshelf speakers as well, but I would look for center channel instead if that is an option. You are better of starting your own topic for asking help to get more/better responses.

I would swap the Pioneer either the Sony Core or the Elac Debut speakers if you are going 2.0/1 on a small budget
Those suggestions are 2 year old, so a lot has changed since then. But it will still give a good idea. For speakers I personally would look for these if you are in budget: http://philharmonicaudio.com/aa.html
 
Topken

Topken

Junior Audioholic
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5 1 1
#9
You will get MUCH better sound with 3 good speakers than with any soundbar, so there is nothing to worry about the sound quality. Optimal thing would be to get pair of stereo bookshelf speakers and matching center speaker. Of course it would work with matched 3 bookshelf speakers as well, but I would look for center channel instead if that is an option. You are better of starting your own topic for asking help to get more/better responses.


Those suggestions are 2 year old, so a lot has changed since then. But it will still give a good idea. For speakers I personally would look for these if you are in budget: http://philharmonicaudio.com/aa.html
The Elac Debut speakers are brand new for your info. The Pioneers speakers are the ones that are 2 years old.

http://www.cnet.com/products/elac-debut-b6/

Info on Andre Jones who did those Pioneer speakers leaving for elac Which happened last year

http://www.cnet.com/news/starting-o...jones-set-to-launch-a-brand-new-speaker-line/

So yeah your info is wrong.
 
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
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471 3 10
#10
Topken

Topken

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
5 1 1
#11
I never said that those elacs were 2 year old.. Was talking about OP.
That is partly why I would swap them for either the Elac Debut B5 or B6 bookshelf speakers.

I thought you were talking to me since you quoted my post which had suggestions in it.
 
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
471 3 10
#12
That is partly why I would swap them for either the Elac Debut B5 or B6 bookshelf speakers.

I thought you were talking to me since you quoted my post which had suggestions in it.
Was referring to your pointment of switching based on 2 years old suggestion (OP). AA monitors how ever would be better option compared to Debut what I have read about them.
 
M

Mark of Cenla

Full Audioholic
Ratings
85
#13
To me, the best inexpensive system would be a Sherwood receiver and the Sony Core bookshelf speakers with whatever source. I have heard such a system for many hours with both music and DVD concerts and movies. Peace and goodwill.
 

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