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OT - Help me understand Hi-Fi speakers

GregSY

Diamond
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
Houston
I have for my shop this fairly massive receiver...a Denon AVR 5800 which 62lbs. worth of relatively old school radio. I didn't buy it new but they were around $3800 20 years ago.



Denon AVR-5800 A/V receiver | Sound & Vision

I want to buy some speakers that will work well with it.

In looking at speakers...it seems nowadays a great many are 'powered'. That is, they appear to have their own 120v amp and also work off Bluetooth or some other wireless technology...so you don't have to run 'hard' wires to them.


That's great...but I like wires and don't mind running them. I also think the receiver should have enough power to drive speakers without the need for an amp in the speaker box. I also wonder if the amps located in the speaker box will compromise sound quality or have other negative effects.

So....do I ignore all of the powered speakers, or is there no harm in using them if I find a set I otherwise like?denon avr 5800.jpg
 

CarbideBob

Diamond
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Location
Flushing/Flint, Michigan
Everyone will have a favorite.
IMO wired will give better sound than Bluetooth and the amps built into most will not be up to the quality what is in your receiver.
Stating a price range and room size might be helpful.
For just music and such or does the shop have a big screen TV and need the back channels and center?
Do you want loud? There is a huge range of efficiencies. Hit you in the chest bottom end?
All speakers have some "color", some are sensitive to placement. What I like you may not.
Advice on this is going to be like asking what is a good woman to pick.
Bob
 

GregSY

Diamond
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
Houston
This is in my shop which is about 2000 sq ft, 12' ceilings, and full of lots of stuff. No TV at all.

I want good sound quality first. I generally don't play the music that loudly...but I'd like good bass even at low/mid volume.

It seems I used to see lot of used speakers for sale but now...not so much. Of course, with used speakers I'm concerned they've been blown or run ragged. I don't have a particular budget but I'm not an audiophile who will pay big bucks...especially when my room is never gonna be anywhere near perfect.
 

EPAIII

Diamond
Joined
Nov 23, 2003
Location
Beaumont, TX, USA
This is a good start on my thinking.

You seem to have a good receiver which probably has a good speaker amplifier already built in. I assume it is a solid state (no tubes) unit. Reading the furnished reference, it appears to be a very high quality unit.

My observation of "powered speakers" is that they are usually built to a price point. This may allow the amplifier to be matched to the speakers, but both are generally constrained by the overall cost. Can this work? Sure it can. But if you make a wise purchase you can surely get better speakers if you use the same amount of money to get just the speakers and not the amplifiers. Most stores that sell speakers will have a demo area set up where you can hear the same audio being fed into all the different speakers that they sell. Some will have this area in a separate room to eliminate the room noise that a general sales area will have. This will allow you to hear any differences in the speakers.

WiFi??? The audio purists will lecture you all day long about the advantages of their favorite speaker wire which is made with pure gold (or better) and costs millions of dollars an inch due to some highly proprietary process. But I have actually conducted BLIND tests with such wires against regular lamp cord as purchased at the local hardware and THEY can not reliably tell any difference. They then claim the test was not fair for some reason. But it wasn't. They just did not know which was which before hand so they were just guessing.

But what about WiFi to carry the audio across the room? WiFi is a DIGITAL technique. The audio must be converted to digital or converted from some other digital format to the WiFi format first. And then, before it goes into an actual speaker, it must be converted back to analog. This is because, despite any advertising language to the contrary, ALL speakers are analog devices. ALL of them, PERIOD. And these conversion processes will have their problems including things like noise and the quantizing of the audio into discrete steps. While it may not degrade the audio in any way that you can hear, there also is absolutely no way that it will improve it. In my humble opinion, WiFi's only reason for existing in this use is due to the laziness of the home owner in running wires in the house. In the end, plain, cheap, hardware store lamp cord will do a better job than WiFi in most cases. Of course, there can be problems with the lamp cord or other wire that will make WiFi a better choice in some, but very few situations.

One more observation: a shop is not a very good place for a high quality audio system. That high quality receiver is really not at home there. Personally I would install that receiver in my den where I can enjoy it's high quality and get a system that is much more reasonable in cost for the shop. But, that's me.

If I were going to install that receiver in the shop I would get plain (not powered) speakers and connect them with something like lamp cord or an inexpensive speaker wire. Either of these should be at least 12 gauge with larger sizes of wire (lower gauge numbers) being preferred. I would try it that way and only change things if there is a problem. I would choose those speakers at a store where I can listen to them before I buy.



Everyone will have a favorite.
IMO wired will give better sound than Bluetooth and the amps built into most will not be up to the quality what is in your receiver.
Stating a price range and room size might be helpful.
For just music and such or does the shop have a big screen TV and need the back channels and center?
All speakers have some "color", some are sensitive to placement. What I like you may not.
Advice on this is going to be like asking what is a good woman to pick.
Bob
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Location
marysville ohio

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
This is in my shop which is about 2000 sq ft, 12' ceilings, and full of lots of stuff. No TV at all.

I want good sound quality first. I generally don't play the music that loudly...but I'd like good bass even at low/mid volume.

It seems I used to see lot of used speakers for sale but now...not so much. Of course, with used speakers I'm concerned they've been blown or run ragged. I don't have a particular budget but I'm not an audiophile who will pay big bucks...especially when my room is never gonna be anywhere near perfect.

I use the dish network for the music channels as there is no antenna radio here, before the move I was FM, we have the 6 speakers equally spaces around the main shop, 30 x 48 with 16 foot ceilings, the speakers are 8 feet off the floor and canted down about 20 degrees, I can hear it everywhere without having it loud, however I can make the machine noise go away if something good comes on.
 

JST

Moderator
Joined
Jun 16, 2001
Location
St Louis
There is a lot to what EPAIII said.

Powered speakers CAN BE very very good. but shop sound does not need that.

I also would have that receiver at home..... totally wasted on a shop. Ditto for powered speakers. Distortion etc is not nearly as relevant when there is already lots of unrelated noise.

If you want to use that one regardless, get some reasonable (not super cheap) speakers to put where you want them. You have enough channels of amplification for a biggish shop.

The suggestion of Cerwin-Vega was decent.... they have the rep of being efficient.... i.e. loud without taking a ton of power.

I spent about 30 years working first in the Hifi biz, and then designing sound equipment, including a number of higher-end PA speakers. Your application as I understand it from what you wrote, essentially needs good volume, and decent but not necessarily "wonderful" sound quality.
 

Limy Sami

Diamond
Joined
Jan 7, 2007
Location
Norfolk, UK
Help me understand Hi-Fi speakers

Easy peasy -

I blow through here
The music goes 'round and around
Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho
And it comes out here
I push the first valve down
The music goes down and around
Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho
And it comes out here
I push the middle valve down
The music goes down around below
Below, below, deedle-dee-ho-ho-ho
Listen to the jazz come out
I push the other valve down
The music goes 'round and around
Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho
And it comes out here.
 

thermite

Diamond
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Location
Sol, Terra
I have for my shop this fairly massive receiver...a Denon AVR 5800 which 62lbs. worth of relatively old school radio. I didn't buy it new but they were around $3800 20 years ago.



Denon AVR-5800 A/V receiver | Sound & Vision

I want to buy some speakers that will work well with it.

In looking at speakers...it seems nowadays a great many are 'powered'. That is, they appear to have their own 120v amp and also work off Bluetooth or some other wireless technology...so you don't have to run 'hard' wires to them.


That's great...but I like wires and don't mind running them. I also think the receiver should have enough power to drive speakers without the need for an amp in the speaker box. I also wonder if the amps located in the speaker box will compromise sound quality or have other negative effects.

So....do I ignore all of the powered speakers, or is there no harm in using them if I find a set I otherwise like?View attachment 339479

Fooks sake! My early 1970's 'stone age' mere 500 Watt DC-coupled Marantz gear - plus this gal can down low-flying Bf-109's!!!

Mireille Mathieu singing La Marseillaise (with lyrics) - YouTube

This one just tried to keep the pilots from remembering where the airdrome was!

Edith Piaf - Non, Je ne regrette rien - YouTube

:)

Or prevent the war?

Dana Winner - Zeven regenbogen (Tartufo 1993) - YouTube

Mocedades "Eres Tu" (Remastered Audio) HD - YouTube

From the specs:

"There are seven 170W amplifiers, each rated at 8ohms from 20Hz to 20kHz at 0.05% THD. "

That's 1190 Watts of a weapon of WAR, Pilgrim! You don't need "powered"speakers. You can sell surplus power for extra pocket-money!

Got the space for full-size Klipschorns, have yah?

Klipsch - Klipschorn AK6 Tower Speakers (Pair)

...or do you plan on actually working at something, not "just" chilling-out to music?

:)

Google "best rated ceiling speakers" . "best wall speakers".

You need a whole damn tribe of them for the spatial capabilities of that orchestra!

ELSE

"best 'bookshelf" speakers".

The legacy "infinite baffle' tribe that are less power-conversion efficient than a tuned-to-the room Klipsch, (actually, you picked the Klipschorns first, then built the room to suit the speakers!) but don't much give a damn about the acoustics of the world outside of their own well-engineered enclosure.

Suboptimal room acoustics is why those were invented.

A "shop" very damned rarely has any resemblance at all to a proper audio studio!

Damn if it ain't a right BITCH going DEAF!
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
This is in my shop which is about 2000 sq ft, 12' ceilings, and full of lots of stuff. No TV at all.

I want good sound quality first. I generally don't play the music that loudly...but I'd like good bass even at low/mid volume.

It seems I used to see lot of used speakers for sale but now...not so much. Of course, with used speakers I'm concerned they've been blown or run ragged. I don't have a particular budget but I'm not an audiophile who will pay big bucks...especially when my room is never gonna be anywhere near perfect.

In a shop ?

In a listening room maybe....but you want the high quality over the machine tool noise ?
 

gustafson

Diamond
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Location
People's Republic
If using more than 2 speakers, be aware of impedance, if driving with 2 channels, closer to really 8 would be better than closer to 4 but they all vary

If the SPL output is listed you will notice a difference in output for anything over 90 compared to anything in the 80s

Semi vintage speakers you can get a pretty good deal, and since it is the shop you probably don't care about visuals which means you can get a better deal on the used market

IMHO once they got past paper tweeters that was the biggest change. At some point they really started working on woofer design which gives you that solid punch of a high hat rather than the kind of squish of an old school paper woofer that is not as rigid. Also they started going with 2 smaller, stiffer woofers rather than a larger floppy one, and it gives your that same effect.

In that space I would think 4 10 inch woofers would get you some usable bass. Back them against the wall, or close to the wall and you will get room reinforcement that will sound pretty good.

As I mentioned in the 'bad neighbor' thread, that in a significantly larger volume space than you I have 2 10 inch 70s vintage speakers and an inferior amp, I get pretty good bass.

YOu can also go sub/satellite which might work well in the shop, especially if you like bass but not high volume. You can set up your satellites how you like then get a powered sub and adjust the volume of the sub so that you get the bass you want at the volume you want, disregarding that it might sound silly louder.


Speakers are such a personal decision, it is really hard to really give advice.

I like silk soft dome tweeters. I think paper tweeters sound like, well paper. Hard dome tweeters sound harsh and edgy, and horns sound like, well, horns.
But others will disagree.

All speakers distort badly, you have to find ones that distort the way you find pleasant.


I am currently fond of ADS speakers

Was a time when half the speakers worth owning were made within 50 miles of where I sit

Anything Henry Kloss was involved in [AR pre 1980,KLH, Advent pre 1980, Cambridge Soundworks] is worth owning

You could buy a trunk full of Ensemble satellite speakers and a powered sub[I own a downward firing, but think I would prefer a outfacing] for pocket change
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
In a shop ?

In a listening room maybe....but you want the high quality over the machine tool noise ?

I'm not sure how high the quality is but with the OP's receiver/amp and 6 speakers spaced around the shop it sure beats any singing the dog and I can put out, fact is it has no trouble covering us right over.
 

GregSY

Diamond
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
Houston
For whatever reason, I seldom listen to music in the house. And I never 'just listen to music'....it's always something I have on while working. Hence, the shop is where I want to use this. I do have a Bose 5.1 style system in my house which is used mostly for TV movies. The Bose is a sorta weird system in and of itself....you can increase the volume and it's louder but the volume never seems to go up.

But....most of my shop listening is doing something quiet - like assembling a gearbox - interrupted by random noisy events like running a saw or grinder. So there is at least the opportunity to enjoy good sound (clarity) most of the time. I agree the shop is not an acoustically good place, but...

I do notice that if I play something in the shop on a CD, then take it inside and play it on the Bose system, I will hear things that I never heard in the shop.


I also agree with EPA that the type of wire is of little importance. I've done my own looking into this gold-plated business and no one has ever given a good reason why it mattered, and I sure can't hear any difference. But I do like to run good sized wires that never suffer 'connectivity' issues or rely on air-borne signals. Luckily, in my shop there is pretty good accessibility in the attic so running and dropping wires is not too tough.


Yes....I note the Denon's consumption is rated at 11 amps @ 120v so it has the ability to pull some power off the grid and presumably output that power to the speakers.

I think I'm gonna spend some some time looking on Craigslist before I run out and buy anything new.
 

gustafson

Diamond
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Location
People's Republic
Exactly just because you cannot always hear it does not mean that you do not want it to sound good when you can hear it.


I have a newer version of that receiver [3312] at home and you can set it up to do multi channel stereo rather than 7.1 or whatever.


Facebook marketplace is kind of the new CL, it sucks in almost every way, but stuff is there
 

Mark P.

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
When I worked alone on Saturdays, I'd pair my phone up with an older Sony bluetooth speaker my nephew gave me. Sound wasn't the greatest (not like the NHT's I have at home) but it made the half day I was there enjoyable.
 

mjk

Titanium
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Location
Wilmington DE USA
I had a Dennin(?) that I picked up at a yard sale destined for the shop, I think it was rated 200/channel weighed at least 75lbs, had a huge heat sink on the back and it had enough connections to hook up anything and probably support any speaker combination I could add.
Ended up selling it when someone made an offer that I couldn't refuse.
I have a few 80's vintage receivers to choose from now that I will be setting up my 3200 ft shop with
From what I found in my previous location, speakers I found on CL and Goodwill worked well.
Usually they were to big for the previous owner.
Problem with a nice speaker in a shop, they will accumulate dirt, metal particles and eventually need a good cleaning and or replacement.
I have a pair of Yamaha studio monitors that are going to be the office speakers, an old pair of Sony (real wood) speakers that are about 3' tall that will probably be the shop ones.
 

richard newman

Titanium
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Location
rochester, ny
So, wires having been mentioned and lamp cord recommended, what is the maximum reasonable length to run?

I have an old NAD 7100 receiver, 60 honest watts/channel, great tuner section.
 








 
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