Hybrid 5.1/2.0 Setup - Suggestions and Advice needed please!!! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-27-2011, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so I want to do a 2.1 setup for music via turntable from old/new records. My house doesn't have another area where we can set one up. This leaves the living room, where I already have a 5.1 setup (see setup below). I initially just bought a budget 5.1 speaker setup that's decent, but not great, and really struggles with high-quality music. My question is, can I just replace my front Left and Right channels with high quality speakers, and then use those as my 2.0 off of my existing receiver?

Current Setup:

Denon AVR-1610
PS3 for blu-ray
(Older) Pioneer Turntable for vinyls <-- will be next item to upgrade.
Pinnacle Audio 5.1 Click here for Info

Im thinking about buying 2 Martin Logan or B&W speakers to run as my front L,R channels, and hooking up my turntable into my receiver (after I find a place to mount it).

Is mixing speakers bad in the long run? Im just looking for something more versatile so I can have a nice 2.0 setup when I want it for music, but still have good sound for 5.1 movies when we watch them as well. Thoughts?

Special Considerations:
1) I do NOT have room for floorstanding speakers. This is unfortunate, but it's the honest truth. They simply will not work.
2) I do NOT have room to purchase a all-together-separate 2.0 setup for the same or different room in my house. We live in a 1910 Victorian with very small rooms that wouldn't work well with an audio setup.
3) Budget for SPEAKERS is ~$500.00 for a pair.
4) Speakers will be mounted to the wall, or a shelf will be built to house them after purchase if they're too large to hang.

Thanks SO much for any help and recommendations!!

-Matt
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-27-2011, 05:33 PM
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Your Denon will need fairly high efficency (91-95db or more) speakers if you want clean sound at high volume without clipping the Denon. It isn't exactly a power house AVR. Many bookshelf speakers are rear ported - you'll need to avoid them if you want to hang your new speakers on the wall or inside a bookcase. Mixing speakers sometimes works well - sometimes does not. Match the front three for timbre if you can. The rears aren't as important.

With such small drivers on your current speakers just about any bookshelf speaker with a 5 1/4" or 6.5" single or dual driver will be a dramatic improvement. Some 6.5" drivers might even outperform that sub.

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post #3 of 20 Old 11-27-2011, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the reply! I really appreciate the help. How much room behind the speaker does a rear-ported speaker need? See this picture for my setup.



This is a to-scale rendering I did of my living room on google sketch-up. The green areas are where my speakers are currently placed. The front L/R channels are mounted to the white trim around the brick fireplace. The center channel is mounted straight to the brick. My AV components are located on the top shelf within the closet with all the wires running through a mortar section of the brick so everything is hidden. If I were to buy larger bookcase speakers, I would build a flush-mount platform off of the white trim that would allow some space behind the speaker (potentially 4-6" if that's sufficient).

If I were to purchase new L/R channels, I would likely forego the center channel for the time being as funds aren't quite available to replace my entire front soundstage.

Given your recommendations, do you know of a particular speaker you would recommend? How would a B&W DM601 S2 work? I LOVE how those sound.

Thanks again!
-Matt
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-27-2011, 07:57 PM
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Spacing between the rear port and a wall depends on the speaker and room acoustics. One foot should make most ported speakers sound good but like all things adjustments may be necessary. It looks like the B&W speakers you like are front ported so they are less affected by being placed against a wall. You don't need a center channel speaker to get that effect. Most AVRs will split the center speaker sound and move it to the L/R speakers - giving you a phantom center. Works pretty well as long as you have decent speakers. Make sure that you run Audyssey to get the best sound from what you have. Square rooms can be hard to set up a sound system in.

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post #5 of 20 Old 11-27-2011, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Great, thanks for the reply. Im eyeing some B&W DM601 S2 for $250. I know they're an older model, but the reviews are glowing. I think I might jump on these.

-Matt
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post #6 of 20 Old 11-27-2011, 10:41 PM
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Matt,
Have you looked into front ported speakers that will be more forgiving of placing them closer to your walls?
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-28-2011, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I haven't directly as I've just begun researching the best speaker for this situation. I initially wasn't aware of the differences between front/rear ported. If you have a recommendation, feel free to pass it along!


Thanks!
Matt
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post #8 of 20 Old 11-28-2011, 09:38 AM
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Don't overlook a sealed (acoustic suspension) speaker design. There are some very good ones out there.

For front ported speakers that get some very good reviews considering how inexpensive they are look at Infinity Primus speakers. The P153 comes with a wall mount - the P163 is strictly bookshelf since it's so big. You probably can find them cheaper than from Harman Audio. I just don't know offhand who has them on sale. Someone else may. Check out the Infinity Primus Owner's thread for user reviews. Lots of happy campers with Primus speakers. I had some Infinity TSS speakers a while back that used the MMD tweeter that is common to all the Primus speakers - very very good IMO.

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post #9 of 20 Old 11-28-2011, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Great suggestion! I'll check into these. Thanks for the recommendation!

-Matt
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post #10 of 20 Old 11-28-2011, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Would those Infinity Primus 163 be a better choice in your opinion than the B&W DM601's I previously made mention of? Price would be right about equal. Brand new vs. a proven 10-year old speaker. Im not sure which route to take.

-Matt
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post #11 of 20 Old 11-28-2011, 01:37 PM
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I've never heard the B&W speaker you are considering. I've heard the Primus speakers in several configurations - the P162/152 speakers - the same thing as the P163/153. I thought they sounded as good or better than any speaker in it's class. The tweeter is very good - as I mentioned. Why not find a pair locally and take a listen?

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post #12 of 20 Old 11-28-2011, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Wife and I are heading out right now to check out a few different places. I hope to put the Infinity's and the B&W head-to-head and see what I prefer vs. cost.

-Matt
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post #13 of 20 Old 11-28-2011, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Went to Magnolia tonight and listened to:

- Energy CB10 - $269.00/pr
- Energy CB20 - $369.00/pr
- B&W 686B - $479.00/pr
- B&W 685B - $649.00/pr

The CB10's simply didn't compare. They won't be mentioned again in this review.

The CB20's were a nice speaker, and played louder than any of the B&W. However, I think in their loudness, they lost a lot of clarity. My room is 1/2 the size of the "Studio" Magnolia had set up, so a much louder speaker won't benefit me at all. While this speaker was turned up louder, it got pitchy at times, which is a turnoff.

The 686B's were beautiful. I demoed them using "Chris Botti: Live in Boston" and "John Mayer: Where the Light Is" blu-rays via Denon receiver and Denon blu-ray player. Their size is perfect for what I'm looking for, their voice is clear at all levels, and never once got pitchy. Just a beautiful speaker.

The 685B's were everything the 686's are, but better, and bigger. Unfortunately, due to budget AND size constraints, I don't think the 685's are the best option for me at this point. I truly believe I will never regret the purchase of the 686's.

That said, I told them to let me think about the purchase and Ill let them know. I was told B&W set their prices corporately (similar to Apple) and doesn't let retailers discount them. This got brought up because I had to wait nearly 1 hour before ANYONE in the Magnolia store acknowledged my existence and offered their assistance. Im in Business Development myself, so I know that this is basically unacceptable in this day and age. I'll likely be calling tomorrow to speak with the manager in an effort he's able to do something to retain my business.

All in all, the B&W did not disappoint. Now I just need to decide whether to purchase new, or look used through audiogon, ebay, etc. for a slightly older setup that might be better.

-Matt
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post #14 of 20 Old 11-30-2011, 05:33 AM - Thread Starter
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The Paradigm Atom Monitor 7's I tried last night give the B&W's a run for their money. I was very very impressed.

-Matt
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post #15 of 20 Old 11-30-2011, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgproudfit View Post

Went to Magnolia tonight and listened to:

- Energy CB10 - $269.00/pr
- Energy CB20 - $369.00/pr
- B&W 686B - $479.00/pr
- B&W 685B - $649.00/pr

The CB10's simply didn't compare. They won't be mentioned again in this review.

The CB20's were a nice speaker, and played louder than any of the B&W. However, I think in their loudness, they lost a lot of clarity. My room is 1/2 the size of the "Studio" Magnolia had set up, so a much louder speaker won't benefit me at all. While this speaker was turned up louder, it got pitchy at times, which is a turnoff.

The 686B's were beautiful. I demoed them using "Chris Botti: Live in Boston" and "John Mayer: Where the Light Is" blu-rays via Denon receiver and Denon blu-ray player. Their size is perfect for what I'm looking for, their voice is clear at all levels, and never once got pitchy. Just a beautiful speaker.

The 685B's were everything the 686's are, but better, and bigger. Unfortunately, due to budget AND size constraints, I don't think the 685's are the best option for me at this point. I truly believe I will never regret the purchase of the 686's.

That said, I told them to let me think about the purchase and Ill let them know. I was told B&W set their prices corporately (similar to Apple) and doesn't let retailers discount them. This got brought up because I had to wait nearly 1 hour before ANYONE in the Magnolia store acknowledged my existence and offered their assistance. Im in Business Development myself, so I know that this is basically unacceptable in this day and age. I'll likely be calling tomorrow to speak with the manager in an effort he's able to do something to retain my business.

All in all, the B&W did not disappoint. Now I just need to decide whether to purchase new, or look used through audiogon, ebay, etc. for a slightly older setup that might be better.

-Matt

If you want to get a discount (usually 10-15%) on B&W go to small independent store. There you can bargaine. BB is commited to MSRP unless it is open box etc.
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post #16 of 20 Old 11-30-2011, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
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completely off topic, but do you have an S2000?
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post #17 of 20 Old 11-30-2011, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgproudfit View Post

completely off topic, but do you have an S2000?

If you ask me - I didn't advance that far, just RX8.
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post #18 of 20 Old 12-01-2011, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

If you ask me - I didn't advance that far, just RX8.

Ah, your SN is the chassis code for the 2000-2003 S2000, hence my question.

Back on topic: I've now gotten the WSOA (Wife Seal of Approval) to look into floorstanding speakers. However, my budget is still pretty much the same at ~$500 ceiling.

Any suggestions? A smaller tower would be ideal (specifically in the depth dimension).

Thanks!
Matt
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post #19 of 20 Old 12-01-2011, 09:18 PM
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You might want to consider used speakers. Post your location and maybe someone will peruse the Craigs List for speakers for sale and post back here with their find.

Lots of nice older speakers for 1/4th and less the cost of new. I sold a pair of Infinity IL40s a few weeks ago for $300. Kinda wish I hadn't done that but what is done is done. I got tired of looking at them - now I miss them.

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post #20 of 20 Old 12-05-2011, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Went with some Paradigm Atom Monitor 7's. Love them.

-Matt
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