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Any design is a tradeoff. The trick is to balance those tradeoffs as best one can. The hi-fi world is full of very expensive "no-compromise" designs. I find that to be comical. I guess having extremely large numbers of your hard-earned dollars changing hands isn't considered a tradeoff by some.

The problem with hi-fi is that it has split into several different camps. The rise of the chain stores such as Circuit City has doomed reasonably-priced high-quality speakers. There used to be a number of companies that made good stuff for not much money. One or two such companies do exist (such as NHT), but you won't find their stuff among all the mediocre JBL, Bose (there, I said it!) and other speakers at your average superstore. Then we have the boutique shops, the ones that sell the rarified stuff. You can certainly get some very nice speakers here. But be prepared to pay. A lot. Thousands of dollars in most cases. The funny thing is that the woofers and tweeters you find in these speakers can be had for pennies on the dollar if you buy them a-la-carte. And, there, dear friends (a Firesign Theatre reference!), is where the sweet spot is. It's actually a great time to be a hobbyist. With a little effort, you can own stuff that rivals some of the best stuff available. And you can do it on the cheap!

So we now have the design parameters for our speakers:

So there we have it. You can be an iconoclast and a cheapskate at the same time!


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