Need help piecing together a budget 2.1 sub/sat system for PC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-01-2013, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Not sure if this is100% in the right forum, but here it goes anyway...

A few weeks ago I was having a few drinks and listening to my 12 year old set of Cambridge Soundworks Megaworks 210d 2.1 speakers when I decided that I was going to finally upgrade to a pair of Swans M200 MKIII self powered speakers. I had been doing research on and off for months but holding off on the Swans because of budget constraints, but the last beer convinced me that I deserved the Swans - and if I needed more bass, I would add a subwoofer.

Well, the Swans arrived this week and they are truely magnificent speakers to behold. I hooked them up to my PC next to my existing CSW 2.1 setup and starting listening, expectations high...

Well, truth be told, I was actually quite disappointed with the M200 MkIII's. They're not bad sounding speakers, but the old megaworks system just had so much more clarity and detail. The Swans certainly beat out the MC50 satellites in terms of fullness and soundstage, but the they seemed hollow and distant, and the bass was no where near as tight and punchy as the CSW's 8" sealed sub. These differences were most apparent in classical music recordings surprisingly. Just to set everything equal, I used the same PC, same source and same placement...I even moved the Swans all over the place, which helped a bit, but the Megaworks' sateltiees seemed to sound good from just about anywhere.

Anyway....I wanted to like the Swans, especially after reading so many glowing reviews, but it was just too hard to justify keeping them only for the increased power and fullness of sound...the detail and forward presence was lacking compared to the CSWs...it almost like hearing music play from speakers inside a box with one end open. The funny thing is, if I didn't A/B the two speakers right next to each other, I probably would think the Swans were great!


So, after that back story, here I am, still wanting up upgrade my CSW Megaworks 210d to produce similar sound, but just louder, more solid and full, similar to the Swans, but with the detail.

I'm thinking about creating a new 2.1 system with some mixed components. I'd like to use the Cambridge Soundworks MC300's as my L/R main satellites( about 50-75 used each)....I'm thinking this would be a vast improvement over my already detailed mc50 sats.

I also really like the sealed 8" sub that came with the megaworks, but would like something that hits lower and harder, but stays tight and musical. I'm thinking about the Dayton Sub-1200 to stay in budget, but I'm wondering if I would be asking too much of this budget sub....need opinions please - how well would the blend in with the mc300's?

Specs:
http://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-SoundWorks-Newton-Series-Speaker/dp/B000068PK6/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

I also picked up a used Pioneer 100w x7 receiver that I intend to power the mc300's
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-01-2013, 08:12 PM
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Tight and musical? What have you been reading? It's good bass or it's not IMHO, and usually bigger drivers have an advantage . Budget and good quality....sometimes you have to choose one or the other. Subs don't care what speakers you use, it's your bass management that does the trick. I also have had some old CSW stuff, Ensemble I for example plus some dipole surrounds. Didn't try one of their subs except for the sub modules with the Ensembles (pretty crappy). I love my CSW Model 12 portable system with sub/carrying case, though, sounds better than a lot of 2.1 stuff out there. What is your budget for a sub? If you could go up to $300 and get a Klipsch RW12d on sale (280-300 delivered) then even your old satellites would have new life, or the MC300s. If you can't afford more than the Sub-1200 I don't think you'd be disappointed.
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post #3 of 15 Old 08-02-2013, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok - thanks....I guess that's what my whole question comes down to...does one need a special subwoofer in a sub/sat system to handle some of the higher bass frequencies (100hz+). The MC300's have 2 4" drivers and 1 1" tweeter with a frequency response of about 65hz to 25khz. I'm hoping the Dayton sub 1200 can handle the 80-100+hz range adequately as to not leave a poor SQ gap in between the mc300 sats.

The one thing I like so much about the CSW 8" sub (basscube 821), is that it picks up perfectly where my mc50's fall off...i'm sure that is by design tough as the sub's crossover is fixed.
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post #4 of 15 Old 08-03-2013, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Would someone kindly recommend a sub that would pair nicely with CSW's MC300 satellite speakers? This 2.1 sub/sat setup would be 90% for music, and I would need something that would be very musical, filling in up to around 110-120khz (i'm guessing as the mc300's fall off @ 80hz). I don't mind buying used or off eBay.

I was thinking the Dayton SUB 1200 might work, but I don't think it could quite pull off what I'm looking for. Budget is around $200, give or take.

I'm thinking a used HSU STF-2 might fit the bill, but I'm open to anything...thanks!
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post #5 of 15 Old 08-03-2013, 05:08 PM
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What specs do those MC300s actually have? Amazon rarely has real speaker specs in any case and I couldn't find any. The Klipsch is rated 24-120hz +/- 3db, so could work but crossed very high to work with small sats with poor low end, can still yield issues with say male vocals, which can be as low as in that 80-120 hz range and yield some odd results with localization.

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post #6 of 15 Old 08-03-2013, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I found this Cambrisge Soundworks manual for their P500 & P1000 model subwoofers. On page 14 it suggests setting the crossover for the MC300 speakers @ 100hz.

http://ec1.images-amazon.com/media/i3d/01/A/man-migrate/MANUAL000030686.pdf

Found this as well:

"I was curious to know if anyone has the CSW Newton series MC400 or MC500. I currently have 3 MC300 across the front of my home theater system and 3 of their surrounds in a 6.1 setup with a Hsu VTF-2 Subwoofer. I'm starting to listen to a lot of music (mainly Jazz) and the MC300's sound great for home theater but really drop off around 110hz. I was considering upgrading the left and right front speaker. I don't feel like changing my entire system so I thought sticking with Cambridge because they are all timbre matched. Any suggestions?"

Some other reviws say they're good to about 80hz....


Hope this helps, thanks
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-04-2013, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-06-2013, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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After doing several hours of research, I've come up with the following list...as I truly believe any of these subs will suit my needs for mostly music listening.
I will first point out that I intend to buy used (cl,ebay,etc.), so please keep that in mind. Budget is around $300 for a sub that handles music well...

Good subs for music
1. Emotiva Ultra 10 or 12
2. Energy V-SW10, Mirage prestige S10
3. Outlaw m8
4. Elemental Designs A2-250


I even may consider an older M&K MX-350THX for around $400...how do you guys think this would compare to above...i've heard that this is a musical sub as well.

Thanks guys!
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-06-2013, 08:35 PM
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I have the Mirage Prestige S10. I wouldn't recommend paying over $200 for it or the Energy VSW10. Even then that seems like a lot since you would likely be getting a sub several years old.

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post #10 of 15 Old 08-07-2013, 08:58 AM
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Elemental Designs is out of business, too; their amp repair guy might still be lending a hand, though. The Klipsch can be had as low as 265 with the right coupon, and is far better than the subs you listed.

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post #11 of 15 Old 08-07-2013, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, but I'm not sure if FAR better is completely accurate. I've read a few comments about the Klipsch being good for HT, but not as good for music....
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post #12 of 15 Old 08-07-2013, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandtlj View Post

Thanks, but I'm not sure if FAR better is completely accurate. I've read a few comments about the Klipsch being good for HT, but not as good for music....
I own a Klipsch RW12d and it is fine with music. I also have an Energy ESW8, Infinity SSW10, two Infinity PSW310s, and an Epik Empire. They're all fine with music. YMMV.

Also that sub/carrying case for the Cambridge Soundworks model Twelve.... smile.gif

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post #13 of 15 Old 08-07-2013, 02:44 PM
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Just curious. How long did you keep the Swans (hours of listening) before returning them? Did the sound of them improve any before you returned them?
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post #14 of 15 Old 08-07-2013, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kesando View Post

Just curious. How long did you keep the Swans (hours of listening) before returning them? Did the sound of them improve any before you returned them?

Only maybe a couple of hours...they had about 20 already on them from a previous owner (audiophile). I'll probably put them up for sale on Audiogon
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post #15 of 15 Old 08-11-2013, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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How would an older outlaw lfm-1 (original, not ex or plus) sound with music? I found a guy selling one for $200? Good deal or pass?
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