musicality vs. dialogue abilities of DIY speakers - AVS Forum
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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musicality vs. dialogue abilities of DIY speakers

I keep looking at DIY designs like the Fusion Tempest 12 but since I can't hear the things in person, playing music through them concerns me. Why? Because the only thing I've ever heard with anything like a horn with music playing through them in a home setup is the Best Buy version of Klipsch. Those sound like ass with music. They have some ok midwoofers, but then there's this screaming harsh metallic tweeter sitting on top of them.

Likewise, I am halfway looking at things like the Denham MTM, which should sound great with music. Even thought about ditching DIY and going with some SVS's. What about with dialogue though? I have some similar Wharfedales and they sound like ass with dialogue, big muddy lower midrange and not very good upper midrange, plus you have to turn it up too loud and power them pretty hard to make everything out, it lacks detail with soft nuances which is a recurring complaint with SVS. But, blaring music sounds pretty good.

So, are these concerns legit or am I worrying too much? What would be a good choice for both music and dialogue if so? I want dialogue to be as clear as if somebody is sitting in the same room, I want a super wide sound stage with no tweeter hot or dead spots, I want strong and tight midbass for kick drums, I want the slightest whisper in a movie to be picked up, and I want huge sound without a screaming tweeter that is struggling to keep up, I want the ability to run 5-7 similar sounding speakers, and most of all I want the upper range to be smooth as silk, appearing that the tweeter and woofer blends in perfectly and all sound appears to come from one source and not like the cheaper Klipsch. Basically I want to listen to Rodrigo y Gabriela and think they are sitting 10 feet away. What speaker am I describing, or am I chasing a unicorn?
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:57 AM
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My Tempests sound awesome with music, extremely clear and not harsh at all. Sound NOTHING like klipsch.
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Old 08-19-2014, 12:09 PM
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I hate the sound of gear at BestBuy etc etc... all of it sounds like poop to me.

My design goal was to get as close in performance to B&W's Reference 800's gear as possible, but without simultaneously breaking the bank!



I think I did pretty good.

I have more bass than them, and it's high efficiency, and goes much louder, and I saved like $30,000!!!!

They are 3 times better at doing movies than the B&W's IMO.

Are the mids and tweets as good musically or the soundstage? I'd say no, but with EQ it gets damn close.
For $3000 it got me to within 5-10% of those $33,000 speakers!!!
It took my system to the NEXT LEVEL, and thus is worth every penny IMO.

In some cases they sound better, and in some cases they sound worse. It's like comparing apples to oranges. Definitely a different sonic signature.



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Old 08-19-2014, 01:41 PM
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As someone who has purchased 9 pairs of b&w speakers over the last decade I consider myself a fan of Bowers and Wilkens product lineup. The sound good with everything and do almost nothing wrong.
I built a set of 88's for my LCR speakers and am sold on what they can do.
They do not reach down into the bass region like the b&w's did. In my theater I cross my front over at 100hz so I do not require any sort of bass from the lcr speakers.

Most of us build incredible sub bass systems so why not let your sub system shine.

What I really like most about my 88's is;
A big huge sound stage that fills the room.
Output that must be heard to be believed. No conventional soft dome tweeter and woofer could ever keep up.
Clarity that is like wiping the glass clean for the first time.

What I like most about the diy speakers is that they just disappear once the music starts.
Listening to these is what I imagine being in the recording studio with the musician is like.
Never once have a I wished for it to be louder or more bassy or less mid range. They just sound right with pretty much everything.
With the b&w's I always wanted them to get a little louder or fill the room a little more but always held back because the drivers were clearly at there limit. The diy speakers this has never happened.

Also the fact that they are very efficient is a real plus, my Rotel receiver went from getting hot to the touch after a movie with the b&w's to only warm with the diy speakers.

The 88 special is a 2 way design with 2 eight inch woofers and a seos 15 and is 98.5db efficient.
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Old 08-19-2014, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm kind of surprised that two entries here mentioned Bowers and Wilkins as the litmus test. I don't know the exact model but I listened to multiple sets with the kevlar midrange at a Best Buy Magnolia store in Louisville KY, and I thought they were horrendous, some of the worst speakers I've ever heard, even though being quite expensive, I thought the midrange was pretty unnatural and overbearing, as it easily overpowered the tweeter. Of course there is no telling how they had it EQ'ed, but there were some Martin Logan Motion 40's that destroyed the B&W's when it came to music that included strong acoustic guitars and whatnot, on the same high end Marantz receiver. Something wasn't right about them. Of course Best Buy has a habit of taking speakers that look like the real deal but aren't. Look at their new Klipsch Reference RF-28. They had me fooled, thought it was an RF-82ii. They sound awful!
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Old 08-19-2014, 02:13 PM
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The listening room and set-up at best buy is terrible. Listen to B&W in a proper listening room and they are very good. Especially the 800 series.
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:39 PM
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Best Buy? Fughetaboutit!

If you want to seriously listen to B&W, seek out a real audiophile dealer and run the B&W's with serious electronics, not mid-fi receivers. Though I order LCR 1099's I'm skeptical that for non-amplified to the max rock type music (think orchestra), they would approach something like the upper end of the B&W line. But then again, they don't need to. For the money, I want to use these for home theater, not chamber music.

BTW, Klipsch actually makes great speakers if you listen to the right models. I love my Forte's!
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:57 PM
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check this out corndoggy:




horns don't have to sound bad. :-) actually if they sound like horns, something has gone very, very wrong.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:05 PM
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Hard to tell over youtube but those sound mighty fine!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post
check this out corndoggy:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avu_kpqGEe4


horns don't have to sound bad. :-) actually if they sound like horns, something has gone very, very wrong.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by video1 View Post
Best Buy? Fughetaboutit!

If you want to seriously listen to B&W, seek out a real audiophile dealer and run the B&W's with serious electronics, not mid-fi receivers. Though I order LCR 1099's I'm skeptical that for non-amplified to the max rock type music (think orchestra), they would approach something like the upper end of the B&W line. But then again, they don't need to. For the money, I want to use these for home theater, not chamber music.

BTW, Klipsch actually makes great speakers if you listen to the right models. I love my Forte's!
When I listened to jazz and classical music on 1099 they compared favorably with funk audio 6.2 speakers which use super smooth planar. The 1099 were not quite as good as the funks but they were just a step below. If I had big bucks and a seperate dedicated music room I would buy the funks. Since I am of modest means the 1099 will do me fine.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:38 PM
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That speaks pretty favorably of the 1099's, especially considering the price!

I may just build a false wall and hide both my Bohlender Graebner 520's and the 1099's back there. That way I can switch back and forth. I'm really interested to see how they sound compared to the very quick and uncolored BG's.

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Originally Posted by chalugadp View Post
When I listened to jazz and classical music on 1099 they compared favorably with funk audio 6.2 speakers which use super smooth planar. The 1099 were not quite as good as the funks but they were just a step below. If I had big bucks and a seperate dedicated music room I would buy the funks. Since I am of modest means the 1099 will do me fine.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by video1 View Post
That speaks pretty favorably of the 1099's, especially considering the price!

I may just build a false wall and hide both my Bohlender Graebner 520's and the 1099's back there. That way I can switch back and forth. I'm really interested to see how they sound compared to the very quick and uncolored BG's.
I'm not a.musician so I may not hear the fine details that are their. I like my music on the super smooth = bite scale towards bite.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:03 AM
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almost forgot this one by mtg90 (matt):




forward to 3:30
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Old 08-20-2014, 06:49 AM
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YouTube link not working for me

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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Old 08-20-2014, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corndogggy View Post
I keep looking at DIY designs like the Fusion Tempest 12 but since I can't hear the things in person, playing music through them concerns me. Why? Because the only thing I've ever heard with anything like a horn with music playing through them in a home setup is the Best Buy version of Klipsch. Those sound like ass with music. They have some ok midwoofers, but then there's this screaming harsh metallic tweeter sitting on top of them.

Likewise, I am halfway looking at things like the Denham MTM, which should sound great with music. Even thought about ditching DIY and going with some SVS's. What about with dialogue though? I have some similar Wharfedales and they sound like ass with dialogue, big muddy lower midrange and not very good upper midrange, plus you have to turn it up too loud and power them pretty hard to make everything out, it lacks detail with soft nuances which is a recurring complaint with SVS. But, blaring music sounds pretty good.

So, are these concerns legit or am I worrying too much? What would be a good choice for both music and dialogue if so? I want dialogue to be as clear as if somebody is sitting in the same room, I want a super wide sound stage with no tweeter hot or dead spots, I want strong and tight midbass for kick drums, I want the slightest whisper in a movie to be picked up, and I want huge sound without a screaming tweeter that is struggling to keep up, I want the ability to run 5-7 similar sounding speakers, and most of all I want the upper range to be smooth as silk, appearing that the tweeter and woofer blends in perfectly and all sound appears to come from one source and not like the cheaper Klipsch. Basically I want to listen to Rodrigo y Gabriela and think they are sitting 10 feet away. What speaker am I describing, or am I chasing a unicorn?
Sounds like you were listening to the cheaper Synergy stuff. People listen to that stuff and think all Klipsch sound like that. The better stuff from Klipsch does not sound like the cheap stuff. Even over on HTS, they did a speaker shoot out. All the listeners, said they expected the Klipsch to be harsh, because that is what they always had been told. Every one of the listeners stated the Klipsch were not harsh and ranked them very well. The SEOS speakers do well with music. They are not going to be as smooth as a silk dome tweeter, but a silk dome tweeter is not going to have the SPL of a CD. You have to pick what trade offs you can live with.

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Old 08-20-2014, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post
check this out corndoggy:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avu_kpqGEe4


horns don't have to sound bad. :-) actually if they sound like horns, something has gone very, very wrong.
Those sound amazing!!!! What are those?!
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post
Sounds like you were listening to the cheaper Synergy stuff.
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/klipsch-reference-dual-8-floorstanding-speaker-each/6228118.p?id=1219198829056&skuId=6228118&st=pcmcat 165900050005_categoryid$abcat0205000&cp=1&lp=15

It was those. The tweeter was awful in my opinion. They did ok at lower levels with dialogue but with loud action movie sequences and music in general they were very bad. Yet, somebody on the reviews said they were smoother and more pleasant than the RF-82ii. One of us doesn't know what they're talking about, not sure which one it is, it may very well be me. I could tell which sounds came from the tweeter and which from the woofers, they didn't blend together well. I have read that this new line from Klipsch is more or less Synergy with colored drivers but I cannot confirm. If so then yeah you're correct. I have heard Synergy bookshelf and center speakers with the silver drivers, they did not sound unlike these others.

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Old 08-20-2014, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What exactly am I gaining with something like the Tempest 12's over some cheaper passive PA speakers like JBL JRX-212's or Yamaha BR12's? Sensitivity, layout, cabinet size, power rating, are often very similar. Frequency response on the pre-made PA's don't seem to go down as deep but everybody is using these with subs anyway. In terms of clarity or sound with music, are you really gaining anything with DIY? Would be a hell of a lot easier and cheaper to just buy some pre-made PA cabinets.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:19 AM
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Interesting thread considering I was just about to pose a similar question. Also an owner of B&W here, not the best by any means but always been somewhat of a fan. Current set up is B&W 683's for LR and VM1 for Center (which I hate but looks clean since I have to wall mount) and then I have the sealed SI HT18 for sub duty.

I too am looking for a large sound stage since the new house is so open plan. No dedicated home theater yet.

Looking for a LCR setup that can fill the room for movies but sound incredible for music. We are probably 70% music 20% movies and 10% just regular TV viewing.

Need to be considerate of WAF and needs to be kid friendly too (4 & 5 year old).

I was considering Alchemy Towers for LR duty and mounting a Fushion Quad 4 to the wall for the Center (believe I read that this is OK to do with the Quad 4)? Never have listened to them, I am not convinced that these will be any better than my current set up?

The 1099's sound like the cats pajamas but no way I can get away with something that large in our living room.

Someone convince me this the way to go or steer me in the right direction please.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corndogggy View Post
What exactly am I gaining with something like the Tempest 12's over some cheaper passive PA speakers like JBL JRX-212's or Yamaha BR12's? Sensitivity, layout, cabinet size, power rating, are often very similar. Frequency response on the pre-made PA's don't seem to go down as deep but everybody is using these with subs anyway. In terms of clarity or sound with music, are you really gaining anything with DIY? Would be a hell of a lot easier and cheaper to just buy some pre-made PA cabinets.
Higher quality drivers, a better crossover design, and better crossover parts are the notable differences. Sensitivity, layout, cabinet size and power ratings are basically all the same, but these specs basically tell you nothing about a speaker.

The SEOS is a different waveguide than most PA speakers too as it's 90x60 dispersion, which is ideal for a small room but not a big venue.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Higher quality drivers, a better crossover design, and better crossover parts are the notable differences. Sensitivity, layout, cabinet size and power ratings are basically all the same, but these specs basically tell you nothing about a speaker.
I guess this has been my biggest fear, that they will sound the same as a cheap PA speaker. I've been in bands, I know what they sound like. Hopefully that isn't the case, but the fact that the Chane guys were pitting their Theater Ten solution up against the Fusion 10 Pure and saying multiple people chose them in a blind test has been stuck in the back of my mind.

"Why would anyone want to bother building a kit that costs $300 without any paint when he can add to cart on our Theater 10?"
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:44 AM
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Like Bassment said, the XO design will do a better job of controlling the drivers to get the job done well. The PA speakers generally use XO'ers that are designed to get the job done loud. I've see a trend lately that a lot of people buy a cheap PA speaker and are very impressed by the sound. Go as far as posting reviews and selling other people on the speaker. Then when they're put up against a proper home theatre speaker, the difference in clarity and finesse is realized. In other words, it's not immediately apparent that the PA speaker is designed with a different goal in mind.

The SEOS waveguide is also optomised for hifi listening with it's large round over, smooth transition at the throat, elliptical shape to reduce any on axis hole, etc. It's a good waveguide. This also is a subtle thing though.

Finally, the DIY designs usually will push the tuning lower than in the pro setting. For example, the 1099 tunes around 50 to 55hz depending on the box size. The woofers used in that speaker would likely be tuned to 70 - 80hz and use a larger box in a pro speaker. The latter has more power handing and output, the former has a better bass response. (better because the bandwidth is wider and smoother.)
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corndogggy View Post
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/klipsch-reference-dual-8-floorstanding-speaker-each/6228118.p?id=1219198829056&skuId=6228118&st=pcmcat 165900050005_categoryid$abcat0205000&cp=1&lp=15

It was those. The tweeter was awful in my opinion. They did ok at lower levels with dialogue but with loud action movie sequences and music in general they were very bad. Yet, somebody on the reviews said they were smoother and more pleasant than the RF-82ii. One of us doesn't know what they're talking about, not sure which one it is, it may very well be me. I could tell which sounds came from the tweeter and which from the woofers, they didn't blend together well. I have read that this new line from Klipsch is more or less Synergy with colored drivers but I cannot confirm. If so then yeah you're correct. I have heard Synergy bookshelf and center speakers with the silver drivers, they did not sound unlike these others.
Cheaper line than the Reference II series. It uses a horn loaded aluminum dome tweeter.

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Old 08-20-2014, 11:00 AM
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Interesting thread. I'm one of the people who bought cheap PA speakers for LCR use in a home theater (EV ELX-112). I was certainly extremely pleased with the sound for movies (although not music) compared to Hi-Fi speakers that I've owned costing many times more. I then replaced them with three Fusion 12's, fully expecting it would be a further step up in clarity and finesse for movies, but the jury is still out. The lower tuning of the Fusion 12's is definitely a factor that takes them back to being more Hi-Fi like. I've found that plugging all three ports seems to better replicate real IMAX sound (actually prefer the sound at my local UltraAVX theater over the IMAX one). But I've only watched three movies with the ports plugged, time will tell if I really prefer them that way or think of some other change to the system to "improve" the sound. Plugging the ports (and increasing the sub crossover accordingly) certainly sounds better than setting the bass control on the receiver to -2 or sometimes -4dB to get them to sound right in my room.
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So do I just need to pull the trigger on some Fusion Tempest 12's or do you have a better idea? I can't stand my current setup anymore, gotta do something.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corndogggy View Post
So do I just need to pull the trigger on some Fusion Tempest 12's or do you have a better idea? I can't stand my current setup anymore, gotta do something.
I think you need to define what you are looking for in a speaker and what your speakers are lacking, then posters here can make suggestions. Also need a budget to work with.

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Old 08-21-2014, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
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So do I just need to pull the trigger on some Fusion Tempest 12's or do you have a better idea? I can't stand my current setup anymore, gotta do something.
You definitely can't go wrong with the Fusion-12 Tempest! For movies, they will sound much better than the Klipsch RF-82ii, Martin Logan Motion-40, or anything from B&W with the exception of the 803, 802, and 800. With clear crisp dialog and a nice smooth mid-range.

I would also highly suggest the Statements or Statemebt Monitors if you tend to focus on music. They are $900 and $750 respectively, but they have a really nice ribbon tweeter that is simply beautiful for music, and would give you the dialog clarity that you are talking about! I like them better than the Seos for music, and unless you have a huge room and/or listen to movies/music at high volumes, they do movies great too!
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post
I think you need to define what you are looking for in a speaker
From the first post:

I want dialogue to be as clear as if somebody is sitting in the same room, I want a super wide sound stage with no tweeter hot or dead spots, I want strong and tight midbass for kick drums, I want the slightest whisper in a movie to be picked up, and I want huge sound without a screaming tweeter that is struggling to keep up, I want the ability to run 5-7 similar sounding speakers, and most of all I want the upper range to be smooth as silk, appearing that the tweeter and woofer blends in perfectly and all sound appears to come from one source and not like the cheaper Klipsch. Basically I want to listen to Rodrigo y Gabriela and think they are sitting 10 feet away.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post
what your speakers are lacking
from the first post:

they sound like ass with dialogue, big muddy lower midrange and not very good upper midrange, plus you have to turn it up too loud and power them pretty hard to make everything out, it lacks detail with soft nuances which is a recurring complaint with SVS.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post
Also need a budget to work with.
I don't have a defined budget, the cheaper the better but I don't want to sacrifice significant quality. I'm fine with the cost of the Fusion Tempest 12 but would have a hard time paying significantly more for a kit. I would consider paying twice as much if I knew I could get similar performance from a pre-made solution.
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post
You definitely can't go wrong with the Fusion-12 Tempest! For movies, they will sound much better than... Martin Logan Motion-40
I am not exposed to much of anything, so the Motion 40's are the only tower speaker I have heard that I like for music, at least at reasonable levels that you can talk over. They started to break up at higher volumes and I'm not real sure how wide the tweeter dispersion is, otherwise I really liked them. If the Fusion-12 Tempest sounds even better I'm sure I wouldn't complain.
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:05 AM
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What you describe is EXACTLY how I would describe the Tempests.

"I want dialogue to be as clear as if somebody is sitting in the same room, I want a super wide sound stage with no tweeter hot or dead spots, I want strong and tight midbass for kick drums, I want the slightest whisper in a movie to be picked up, and I want huge sound without a screaming tweeter that is struggling to keep up, I want the ability to run 5-7 similar sounding speakers, and most of all I want the upper range to be smooth as silk, appearing that the tweeter and woofer blends in perfectly and all sound appears to come from one source and not like the cheaper Klipsch. Basically I want to listen to Rodrigo y Gabriela and think they are sitting 10 feet away. "
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