Powered Speaker Reviews and Setup Ideas

In order to effectively roll out your budget home networked system your going to need some speakers.  While most people will have at least one zone ready to go (plugging their android device into their main audio system in the TV Room), Sonos and Squeezbox do have one advantage I didn’t mention in my original post (The Alternative to Sonos / Squeezebox Players).  If you want to add another zone, simply buy another Sonos or Squeezebox Device and the powered speaker is included (with network connectivity).

For those of us budgetwise operators we need powered speakers, or a receiver to run passive speakers.  So let me tell you what I’ve done.  I don’t claim this to be a particularly great set-up, but for me it works for the moment.  If I can generate some ad revenue from this site…maybe I can afford to review some better options ;-)

Zone 1 (Serves Outdoor as well as Main Zone – 3.5mm to RCA Plug -> Radio Shack 4-way Distribution Amplifier -> HT Receiver (Speakers) & 900 Mhz Wireless Outdoor Speakers ($25 @ Garage Sale).

Zone 2 (Basement) – 3.5mm to RCA Plug -> 2 – Channel System (NAD Pre-Amp, Power-Amp).

Zone 3 (Master Bedroom) – 3.5mm to 3.5mm -> I-Home Clock Radio (Aux Input)

Zone 4 (Office) – 3.5mm to RCA Plug to Powered Computer Speakers (w/Sub)

Zone 5 (Dining Room) – Since it’s cold outside… I’m using one of my outdoor wireless speakers in mono setting.  Sit’s on the floor out of the way and works fine.  (Though Green Plastic doesn’t really do the dining room justice, nor does the audio quality).  Here is where my next purchase will likely go.  Here are my current thoughts on the future.

I plan on reviewing the following setups in the next little bit. All are self powered 2-channel solutions. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone has any experiences with some of these. I’ll stay unbiased until I hear for myself.

Speakers A: M-Audio AV40 ($159)

Speakers B: M-Audio BX5 D2 ($249)

Speakers C: Audioengine 2 ($199)

Speakers D: Audioengine 5+ ($399)

My guess of which setup I’ll like most before even hearing are the AE 5+’s… that’s just normally how it goes with my luck (the most expensive pair).  I’m very interested to hear the M-Audio Studio Monitors (both models).  I’ve really never considered a traditional studio monitor in a true sense.  I’m expecting much less bass but a stronger mid-range than the AE 5+.   Not necessarily a bad thing for the dining room paired with a little Dave Brubeck or Chopin.  We’ll see.

Cheers for now!


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