What to do about speakers?

I'm afraid this is another one of those "I'm building my first system and don't know a thing about how to do it - Please help" threads.
But seriously, after thinking about it and casualy scouting equipment for a few years I've finally started to build my first "real" system.
A little background first. (sit back and get comfortable this may take a bit) My wife plays the cello (not professionaly) and her father was an audio tech. with CBC Radio for years before he moved up to management and recently retired; so she has a well trained ear and enjoys good sound. I, on the other hand, do not have ears quite as well trained but am completely in love with music and enjoy hearing the little details.
That being said, we are just starting out (married only 2 years, she in grad-school me going into teachers collage) and so are not about to drop $??000.00 on speakers or the like.
Now for the meaty stuff.- I recently purchased my first piece of audiophillia technica - namely the much touted Rega Planar 3 turntable (yes he said P-L-A-N-A-R-3, not P3- it was the right price) and I'm running it with a dennon DL160 Cart. Yes, yes I know the speakers should have come first. But you see I've wanted the Rega for about 8 years now since I first saw one, so when I decided to start building my system I just couldn't ressit starting with it. Unfortunately this TT is being amplified by a (now grab a pillow to muffle your screams of abject horror) Marantz 2215 b integrated amp/tuner and, even worse, the speakers are from my highschool days and came with some cheap system I puchased at Sears. Before christmas (when I bought the Rega) I was using a pair of JBL-L112's but unfortunately they were not to surrvive the trip to the in-law's over the hollidays.)
So as I can no longer stand these speakers I am looking for replacements. My wife and I are currently renting and will probably do a fair bit moving around over the next 5-7 years so fitting the speakers to the room this system is in doesn't make much sense; suffice it to say it will be in the average sized living room of whatever average sized house we wil be living our average sized lives in. As far as price range we are looking in the $500-$700 range. I've done some reaserch, but must admit I'm quite baffled by all the speaker-tech that I come across .
I was thinking that a set of full range speakers was what I was looking for but then I realized that I don't know what the differance is between: Full Range, 2 channel, centre channel etc. is. So why would one purchase say a two channel speaker over a full range speaker?
I've been told(by my father-in-law and my hi-fi freak uncle) that the JBL S38 model would suit what I'm looking for, however, I thought maybe something like the Mission 701, or 761 series might be better but I really haven't the fainest, any help would be greatly appriciated.
Oh as for musical tastes, well as both my wife and I will be using the system say everything from the Beatles to Bartok, or the Smiths to Satie, or even Coltrane to Mahler.(Copeland to Guided by voices Anyone?)
And yes the amp will be next -but that's another forum.
Sorry for the ridiculosly long post and thanks to anyone who actualy read all of it. Thanks also in advance for your wonderfully witty, insightful, and incredibly helpful responses.
P.S. sory for any typeos:< ( oh And for anyone wondering It should be pronounced CHAS- when I registered it the name was taken so I had to be creative - ug!

Your wording is close, but a little off. Two channel refers to how many channels the recording contains. For example: mono, two channel, four channel (quadophile), or 5.1 theater. In stereo music, there are two channels, hence the reference. Center channel refers to the speaker that provides the dialogue on movies. Most audiophiles are two channel guys. There are exceptions...

Full range speaker refers to a speaker that can reproduce all the frequencies within human hearing (20 Hz - 20KHz).

The other option is a limited extension speaker, or one that doesn't go as low as 20Hz. A lot of stand mount or bookshelf types of speakers are limited extension. That is what I would recommend for you. A stand mount, or book shelf. They don't go as low, but you will get more value for your money. The first place I would look is the Green Mountain Audio Europa. They can be had for about 550 dollars or so, and you would really like them, I think.
yes two channel referes to the number of chanels...for two chanel there is a left and right chanel..two speakers

5.1 chanel is home theater...where there are five speakers...left center and right..accross the front, and two speakers, a left and right, that are behind you...the '.1' is the subwoofer, which only plays extreamly low frequencies

i would second the green mountain europa...havent heard them, but there's been enough great praise to let me know that they must be an exceptional steal at $550 used...one person on this board felt they bested the totem forests which regularily sell for $2000+ used here.
you'll get more bang for you buck with monitors like the green mountains
you could find a monarchy audio sm-70 amp for $400 used and have a great little set up that would sound fantastic i would think!
If you can deal with a bigger box and a little more$, used Vandersteen 2ce speakers go for a little more than the Europas, are nearly full range, mate well with a variety of electronics, and will improve when/if you upgrade upstream equipment. Probably sell for about $700 or so. The older 2ci model would be about the same price as the Europas. The Model 2 in all its incarnations, is the largest selling high end speaker of all time.
Hard to go wrong with something like the Paradigm Studio 60s - full-range speaker, nice looking, great build quality, and exceptional sound for the dollar. Keep an eye out here for used ones, they are within your budget.


Don't apologize for the Marantz 2215B. The Marantz 22XX series is one of the most popular and desired receiver series to come out of the vintage era of the 1970's. The "baby" Marantz receivers (2215; 2216; 2220) have a nice tonal quality to them ... warm and musical ... and keep in mind that these receivers were designed to work with turntables and FM as their primary sources. I currently use a Marantz 2216B and a 2240 in my systems.

As for speakers, over the years I have paired a whole number of small speakers with my Marantz and my favorites were the NHT SB2s. You will need to be concerned with the speaker's efficiency (how loud a speaker will play given 1 watt of power), because the Marantz will only put out 15 watts per channel. There are a number of variables involved (how loud you play your stereo; the size of your room; etc.), but you would be advised to get a speaker that has an efficiency of at least 88db. Unfortuantely, that knocks the NHT SB2 out of the box ... great speaker, but it needs some power.

As for your father-in-law's suggestion, the JBL S38 is an unabashed rock music speaker. If you check out Stereophile Review #1 , you can read about them.

One speaker I would suggest to check out is the Athena AS-F2 . It is a tower speaker (you would not need speaker stands), has a high efficiency that would do well with your Marantz (93db), and was very well reviewed in Stereophile ... Review #2 . Audio Advisor has them for 1/3 off at $400 and with free shipping and (potentially) no sales tax is a kicker of a deal.

I would be hesitant to spend too much more than $400 to $500, only because in the next few years when graduate school, etc. is no longer a concern, you will probably be purchasing a whole new system, soup to nuts. A speaker like the Athena will provide you with good sound now and can always be used in a secondary system.

Regards, Rich

Thanks again for all your help fellas? ( I wonder how many women are regulars here?) Those Athena ASF2's look prety tempting, and thanks for the info about the Marantz Rich. I just supposed that because I got it used for $100.00(Can.) a few years ago that the phono stage it has couldn't be do justice to the Rega; although, when I think about it, when I hooked up the Rega my wife and I were quite astounded at the improvement in the sound - there seemed to be more space between the different elements in the recordings, obviously this has more to do with the TT and tonearm, but if the amp were totaly worthless I don't suppose it would be half as noticeable ( or would it? Bah! I don't have a clue about this stuff! all I know is that the amp sounds fine for now - I mostly put in the derrisive coments about the Marantz 'cus I was a little intimidated by the "OH MY GOD THSE GUYS HAVE INDIVIDUAL PIECES OF EQUIPMENT WORTH MORE THAN ALL THE CARS I'VE OWNED COMBINED" factor-nuff said.)
The Europa's also seem to be a promissing prospect.I think, for now anyway, it's between these two. Sorry Swampwalker, the Vandersteens are a little too big and blocky for my aesthic tastes.

Now, can someone please explain why some Full range/Limited Extension speakers have a Woofer, Midrange and Tweeter, while others, with simillar frequency response, have only a woofer and tweeter? Is one type generally better than the other. Keeping in mind this is for turntable/Tuner primary source system.
Thanks again.
I agree with Rich. I have a 2216B and use it all the time as a "beater" in the family room. The sound is great! Definitely look for speakers rated at 90db/watt or higher for an 8ohm speaker due to the lack of power(I do believe that wattage is doubled for that receiver at 4 ohm so, 87db minimum for 4 ohm speakers.

If you plan on moving a lot, get a smaller speaker that is easy to move. The size of the woofer doesn't always give you better sound. 2 way speakers are much more popular these days since they are more compact, cheaper to produce (1 less component) and require simpler crossovers.

You can check out the Athenas, but I would lean towards a B&W 301 or similar?
Just curious..Does your wife have any opinion about what would make a good speaker? I get the impression that this will be a system you will share. I also got the impression that she has got good ears- that you respect her observations about sound. I think that makes you fortunate. Is she much interested in this system building endeaver? I would have thought the NHT speakers would make a good all rounder for your Marantz- a good compromise.
Second the Athena's. Easy to drive and great with all types of music. Some might find them a little bright with certain equipment, but should match well with the Marantz and Rega. Only thing to keep in mind is that they are fairly large. They have a big dynamic sound, but somehow seem to me more coherent and organic than a lot of other speakers I have owned.

The NHT's are excellent speakers (the SB2's are superb), but because of their acoustic suspension design that are a bit power hungry (85db sensitivity). When I had them hooked up to the Marantz 2216B (16 wpc at 8 ohms), I would be at the 11AM position on the volume control to get them a bit loud and that was in a bedroom system ... in a decent sized living room, it would be pushing Chas' Marantz 2215 most of the time.

Let's keep this interesting, given that we are talking about a seriously retro system ... vintage Marantz receiver and turntable.

Another way to go could be something like the "Silent Speakers" from Direct Acoustics . Direct Acoustics is run by Winslow Burhoe, one of the founding fathers (or uncles) of modern speakers. He was part of Acoustic Research in the late 60's/early 70's and went on to start up EPI speakers ... fyi ... growing up in the 70's, just about everyone owned a pair of EPI 100's at some point paired with a receiver. These speakers have some interesting design science behind them and they could work out pretty well.

Regards, Rich
Well I must say that after checking out the provided links the Athenas, Europas, Silents, and 301's are the ones that we will probably be focussing on. Yes I said WE Timf, Jessica, my lovely wife, will be involved in building, using this system; and yes you read correctly she has very well trained ears, and I respect her observations about sound and oh so many other things! [ she's probably going to see this post:)]She has good ears but doesn't care much for reading reviews, doing research and the like, for her it's all about listening, and how components sound. So my job is to do the research and come up with a short list for us to audition then we chat a-bit and decide on which one we will get.

We were both thinking that when we eventually replace the Marantz we will probably go with a good tube amp.

Thanks for all your help folks. I'll let you know how things go.
Along the same lines as the SB2, I can recommend the Epos ELS-3. They 87db and 4 ohms, so they should be okay with your Marantz, and they are outstanding in my 12x12 listening room. Surprisingly smooth high end for an aluminum tweeter, and very tight bass down to 55 hz or so, which is all this room can handle anyway. Very simple crossover so mids are clean and phased well. You can buy them used here on Audiogon just about anytime for around $225.