First Home Theater (apartment!) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 61 Old 01-09-2010, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone!

I finally managed to get my last two components for my HT this Christmas. The new TV and a 360 to act as a media center extender (and the occasional game, of course). My previous TV was component video only, so I've just NOW been able to hook everything up using HDMI and experience TrueHD and DTS-HD.

First thing's first. I've been a long time lurker of these forums, so a huge THANK YOU to everyone who contributes here. I've learned a tremendous amount. Secondly, I DO live in an apartment, so budget was a concern for me as I save for a house. Slowly, over the past 36 months, I've cobbled this modest home theater together for right about $3k.

Equipment:
Samsung 52" B750 Series
Onkyo SR-TX708
Emotiva XPA-3
Samsung BD-P3600
XBox 360 (Media Center Extender)
Roku HD
AppleTV (1st Gen)
Nintendo Wii
DLINK DAP-1522 (4 Port Wireless Bridge, 5Ghz N)

Speakers:
Front: (2) Polk Audio Monitor 70's (XPA-3)
Rear: (2) Polk Audio Monitor 40's (Onkyo 708)
Center: (1) Polk Audio CSi3 (XPA-3)
Sub: (2) Bic America F12's (with subdudes)

That's it folks!












(just kidding plenty of pics for everyone!)

Wide Front Angle


Side Front Angle


Bell'O Rack


Rear of the Room


Back Right


Back Left (with Harmony 1000) (old R50's)


Back Left (new M40's!)


Back Left Naked (M40)


Another Front View


Front Naked


Receiver (with RF extender hidden at top)


Networking/Roku/Wii


Behind the Front/TV (I got bananna plugs for christmas too!)


Center Naked


Center & Subs


Subs Naked


Emotiva XPA-3


My apartment flooring is carpet on plywood (ick), and it's 100% nailed down. I decided for the time being not to pull it up and hide the wiring along the edges of the walls. I'm pretty much done for now. Upgrades will commence once I have my own house!

My to-do list:
Grab a ratshack meter, setup REW and tune the subs, if at all possible (probably a BFD, if needed)
Get rid of my crappy-ass couches and get something more theater'ish (maybe loveseat/recliners?)
Attempt to clean up a little wiring. I used cable management everywhere possible, but it's still a little cluttered behind the rack for my tastes.

Thanks again for making this a cool place to lurk AND participate, enjoy the pics!

X
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post #2 of 61 Old 01-09-2010, 01:27 PM
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Very, very nice..
A little advice. You may want to add an external amp latter on. The Emotiva XPA 5 will make your polks come to life.
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post #3 of 61 Old 01-09-2010, 02:07 PM
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Very nice! Your neighbors must love you
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post #4 of 61 Old 01-09-2010, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kevon27 View Post

Very, very nice..
A little advice. You may want to add an external amp latter on. The Emotiva XPA 5 will make your polks come to life.

Thank you! Yes, I've been reading up on the Emotiva Amps, actually. My current receiver does not have pre-outs, and I knew this when purchasing. I decided that being in an apartment, I'd go easy for the time being! In the future I'd love nothing better than to pick up a better receiver, an amp or two and get hardcore. =)

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Originally Posted by panchoisthedog View Post

Very nice! Your neighbors must love you

Thanks! You don't live upstairs by chance, do you?

I'm actually quite lucky. There's no one beneath me, nobody beside me (model apartment is next door), but there is someone above me.

I purchased the subdudes in an effort to try and reduce the sound traveling thru the floor/walls. I've only had the F12's about 2 weeks now. I was pretty impressed with them, however they are starting to break in, and are getting quite a bit more robust. I try to be courteous... No complaints thus far!
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post #5 of 61 Old 01-09-2010, 07:19 PM
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Excellent system for the money, well done... You MUST be a really, really nice person to get away with those 2 subs in the apartment, regardless of the fact that no one is next to you. When I lived in an apartment, I literally had to turn the sub off. The first time the neighbor upstais complained I thought she was full of it, and asked her if I could go in and see for myself. I had no idea it was that bad, even at very low volume!! I apologized and turned the damn thing off for the rest of my stay there. Being the audio whore that I am, I hated living in an apartment...

Back to your setup, it looks really nice and clean, and the place looks inviting and cozy. I do love the look of those subs!

Peace
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post #6 of 61 Old 01-09-2010, 07:41 PM
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Hello XARiUS.

Welcome to the WYSC section of AVSForums.com. Thank you for creating the thread and posting the photos of your system. I've gota tell ya, your front soundstage must be insane! Dual subs and that Polk Audio speaker array, very impressive. And love the subdudes!
How do you like the Roku HD? Has been problem free for you?

Regards,

ldgibson76

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Originally Posted by ddgtr View Post

Excellent system for the money, well done... You MUST be a really, really nice person to get away with those 2 subs in the apartment, regardless of the fact that no one is next to you. When I lived in an apartment, I literally had to turn the sub off. The first time the neighbor upstais complained I thought she was full of it, and asked her if I could go in and see for myself. I had no idea it was that bad, even at very low volume!! I apologized and turned the damn thing off for the rest of my stay there. Being the audio whore that I am, I hated living in an apartment...

Back to your setup, it looks really nice and clean, and the place looks inviting and cozy. I do love the look of those subs!

Peace

Hello Dan.

I live in a townhouse so my music and movie listening is done is a strategic fashion. I know when the neighbors are home and when they ain't! And when they ain't, the system is crankin'!

"Chance favors only the prepared mind. "Louis Pasteur"

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post #7 of 61 Old 01-09-2010, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldgibson76 View Post

Hello XARiUS.

Welcome to the WYSC section of AVSForums.com. Thank you for creating the thread and posting the photos of your system. I've gota tell ya, your front soundstage must be insane! Dual subs and that Polk Audio speaker array, very impressive. And love the subdudes!
How do you like the Roku HD? Has been problem free for you?

Regards,

ldgibson76



Hello Dan.

I live in a townhouse so my music and movie listening is done is a strategic fashion. I know when the neighbors are home and when they ain't! And when they ain't, the system is crankin'!

haha, good to see you back here, ld!!!

Yes, listening "responsibly" is the right thing to do... Just think of all those annoying kids at stop lights with their subs rattling everything in a 300 ft radius!!

Even with my detached room, totally separated from the main house (about 20 feet away) my wife can still "feel" the sub, mind you, with the sub's volume at 2 (on a scale from 0 to 10)!! It kills me!! That's why, since in the new house I will not have the luxury of a detached room I will have to build a room within a room to contain those pesky low freq. sound waves. I've got it all planned, just have to find the right place.

Late!
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post #8 of 61 Old 01-09-2010, 08:38 PM
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I love it.
You got that TV just sitting on the Center speaker or is there something else going on there not seen?
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post #9 of 61 Old 01-09-2010, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by hikarate View Post

I love it.
You got that TV just sitting on the Center speaker or is there something else going on there not seen?


I think the tv is mounted to the pole which is part of the stand...
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post #10 of 61 Old 01-09-2010, 09:18 PM
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Ahh I see it. You know I have that same TV and same type of TV stand, you would think I would know better. Just looked like it was sitting on the speaker in one of the pics to me. I see the stand in one of the pics now. Thanks.
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post #11 of 61 Old 01-10-2010, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddgtr View Post

Excellent system for the money, well done... You MUST be a really, really nice person to get away with those 2 subs in the apartment, regardless of the fact that no one is next to you.

...

Back to your setup, it looks really nice and clean, and the place looks inviting and cozy. I do love the look of those subs!

Peace

Thanks ddgtr! I'm not ashamed to say that I didn't pay full price for a single piece of this HT. I even got something shown in the pics at walmart! It's odd really, I know all my neighbors across the hall by name, but I've never had the opportunity to meet the folks upstairs. I did leave a note on their door after christmas letting them know about the new subs, and that they should come knocking if it was ever too much.

Thanks again for the compliments. I think the place would look and feel significantly cozier (is that a word?) with new seating!

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Originally Posted by ldgibson76 View Post

Hello XARiUS.

Welcome to the WYSC section of AVSForums.com. Thank you for creating the thread and posting the photos of your system. I've gota tell ya, your front soundstage must be insane! Dual subs and that Polk Audio speaker array, very impressive. And love the subdudes!
How do you like the Roku HD? Has been problem free for you?

Thanks for the welcome, ldgibson! While my Polks aren't considered the cadillacs of the audio world, I do have to say, I like nothing better than putting the system in two channel stereo mode, leaning back with closed eyes and listening to some good music. The front sound stage blends surprisingly well with the subs!

So, the RokuHD. Very Very cool little box. Has been trouble free thus far. I primarily purchased it for Pandora and the occasional NetFlix. Now, before someone chimes in and says "but wait! Your bluray player does netflix and pandora, and your 360 does netflix and last.fm!", while the bluray player does get great PQ, I'm going to be getting something more reliable. I didn't buy into the hype about the reliability issues on the bd-p3600, it's been in for repair twice in the 4 months I've owned it. I plan on replacing it with an LG 390 (I think..).

Netflix loads SUPER fast on the Roku, and Pandora plays and plays without any issue. Roku recently announced a Channel Store, with accompanying SDK kit, which is free to anyone! They're really trying to pull in more content providers to create additional content channels. If it takes off, it'll be pretty slick. The one thing which was weird, is that the Roku is an "always on" device. There's no power button, no nothin, however it only uses 3 watts in standby, and 5 watts PEAK, so it's kinda nice that there's never any startup time!

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Originally Posted by hikarate View Post

Ahh I see it. You know I have that same TV and same type of TV stand, you would think I would know better. Just looked like it was sitting on the speaker in one of the pics to me. I see the stand in one of the pics now. Thanks.

Hi hikarate! I actually aquired the TV stand from wal-mart. It's sold under one of their generic walmart brand names, but is actually made for them by Whalen furniture. It's VERY sturdy, and is a "hanging" type of mount.

My sub positioning is actually my third attempt and sub placement, after having an epiphany in the shower one morning!

Pre Epiphany: (subs were in far left corner and back right corner, seperated)


Post Epiphany: (crappy cell phone pic)


Thankfully, the second shelf was non-load bearing, and with the subdudes, everything made it in with about a quarter of an inch of clearance! It sounds a LOT better up front. With my cramped living area, I really had no other place to put them.

X
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post #12 of 61 Old 01-13-2010, 02:09 PM
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Hello everyone!

Get rid of my crappy-ass couches and get something more theater'ish (maybe loveseat/recliners?)

I don't really know anything about A/V, but that's a gorgeous-looking set-up you have going! Except for the couches - those things stand out like a sore thumb in comparison to what else you have in the room. I'm glad you agree

(Although, I agree with you that it might make sense to wait until you get a house if that's in the near future.)
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post #13 of 61 Old 01-13-2010, 02:44 PM
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Very nice, welcome to the boards. I love the dual sub approach and how you have them set up. I also love the tower surrounds. Not too many people opt for that. How are you enjoying using the 360 as a media center extender? I just moved mine to the bedroom and am using it as an extender too but do notice a bit of a lag between button press and action. Do you? I have a fairly fast computer and am wired so I'm not sure what the problem could be. All in all though great system and welcome aboard!
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post #14 of 61 Old 01-14-2010, 04:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by iviojorisin View Post

I don't really know anything about A/V, but that's a gorgeous-looking set-up you have going! Except for the couches - those things stand out like a sore thumb in comparison to what else you have in the room. I'm glad you agree

(Although, I agree with you that it might make sense to wait until you get a house if that's in the near future.)

Well, frankly, the house is probably at LEAST another 24/36 months out. So for the time being, I can justify something decent for the hiney!

Thanks for the kind words on the setup =)

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Originally Posted by pcweber111 View Post

Very nice, welcome to the boards. I love the dual sub approach and how you have them set up. I also love the tower surrounds. Not too many people opt for that. How are you enjoying using the 360 as a media center extender? I just moved mine to the bedroom and am using it as an extender too but do notice a bit of a lag between button press and action. Do you? I have a fairly fast computer and am wired so I'm not sure what the problem could be. All in all though great system and welcome aboard!

Thanks for the welcome! The tower surrounds work quite well back there! Never been big into bookshelves really. Mental/psychological block, I guess.

My extender also has a slight delay. The reason for this is that Media Center Extenders actually use RDP (remote desktop protocol). The host computer handles all the visual display processing. Each time you press a button, you wait for the IR, the networking from 360 to the host, the host to process the visual changes/processing, and the host to send the changes back to your MCE.

I still like the results, though. It was either the 360, or an Apple TV, and I don't have to worry about Apple TV running out of HD space! Windows 7 included native support for AAC (itunes) playback, so I figured I'd go with the 360 for the occasional gaming session too.

EDIT: FYI. For those curious, with the 360 and Windows 7, you get native playback of just about any type of format you need. It handles xvid/divx etc. No more installing ffdshow and various other transcoders to get this stuff working on your extenders/mce!

X
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post #15 of 61 Old 01-14-2010, 11:51 AM
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Ah I figure it was something like that. Interesting. Overall I am impressed with the extender capability the 360 has and will continue to use it. Do you know if another computer running Windows 7 Media Center can act as an extender of sorts so this lag won't be present?

Also, have you run a calibration on your receiver yet? I'd recommend running the internal calibration and then using a Radioshack meter to compare against and make adjustsments from there.
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post #16 of 61 Old 01-14-2010, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Ah I figure it was something like that. Interesting. Overall I am impressed with the extender capability the 360 has and will continue to use it. Do you know if another computer running Windows 7 Media Center can act as an extender of sorts so this lag won't be present?

Also, have you run a calibration on your receiver yet? I'd recommend running the internal calibration and then using a Radioshack meter to compare against and make adjustsments from there.

Since you're already wired on the 360, even switching to a faster computer would only shave maybe 10-30ms off the delay.

I borrowed an AudioControl 3052 SPL/Spectrum Analyzer from a friend. Sadly it doesn't have an output to a PC. Audyssey has been run on the receiver, and according to the 3052, has a impressively flat response across the board from around 110hz+.

It's on my to-do list to get a radio shack SPL meter and setup REW so I can see what the subs look like. Since the subs are somewhat on the "cheap" side, part of me is hoping that the room response will be decent. The other side of me is dying to pick up a BFD and have some fun tweaking. (sigh, more money).

X
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post #17 of 61 Old 01-15-2010, 07:06 AM
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nice setup. question for the people smarter then me is there any bad side of setting subs on a shelf? for some reason I thought they were supposed to be on the floor?
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post #18 of 61 Old 01-15-2010, 07:10 AM
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One potential drawback of putting subs on a shelf is additional rattles.
This is likely why the OP has decided to use subdudes.
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post #19 of 61 Old 01-16-2010, 05:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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One potential drawback of putting subs on a shelf is additional rattles.
This is likely why the OP has decided to use subdudes.

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nice setup. question for the people smarter then me is there any bad side of setting subs on a shelf? for some reason I thought they were supposed to be on the floor?

Oddly, when I was testing the subs on that lower shelf, there were VERY few, if any rattles. The subdudes did infact take care one or two small twangs, and also seem to have tightened up the sound quite a bit.

The purpose on the subdudes originally was to try and do everything in my power (short of turning the volume down) not to piss off the neighbors. =)

There's still one rattle left to track down that only rarely occurs. I think it may actually be a wire rattling against the back wall/base board!

As I mentioned previously, I really only had one placement choice for these subs originally (damn apartment). The shelf is probably NOT the best place in the room to put them as far as SQ goes, but it's a damn sight better than my previous placement location, so it'll hafta do for now!
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post #20 of 61 Old 04-06-2010, 11:25 PM
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very nice...

<><

RTR
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post #21 of 61 Old 04-07-2010, 08:20 AM
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Where did the pictures go?
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post #22 of 61 Old 04-07-2010, 09:42 AM
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post #23 of 61 Old 04-07-2010, 10:01 AM
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Interesting...I'm at work (I don't take smoke breaks, so it's ok!) and I can always see pictures, so I wonder why I can't with these...

Could someone link them maybe?

Thanks
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post #24 of 61 Old 04-07-2010, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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very nice...

Thank you!

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Originally Posted by John Megadeth View Post

Interesting...I'm at work (I don't take smoke breaks, so it's ok!) and I can always see pictures, so I wonder why I can't with these...

Could someone link them maybe?

Thanks

http://xari.us/pics/hometheater/new/

There have been no new updates to the HT since I posted this thread. I'm still VERY much enjoying it! I am however waiting to see what the new Onkyo 708 looks like (assuming they announce one).

I'd really like to get a newer receiver with pre-outs and maybe toy around with an Emotiva amp.
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post #25 of 61 Old 04-07-2010, 03:00 PM
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Sweet setup man. Looks really cool with all the grills off. Let us know if you got with a pre-out amp and if you pick up a Emotiva.
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post #26 of 61 Old 04-07-2010, 05:46 PM
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Yep, I can see 'em now Thanks for posting them, too.
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post #27 of 61 Old 04-09-2010, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Sweet setup man. Looks really cool with all the grills off. Let us know if you got with a pre-out amp and if you pick up a Emotiva.

Will do, and thanks! I'll come crawling to the receivers/amps section for help when the time comes!

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Yep, I can see 'em now Thanks for posting them, too.

No problem, hope it was worth it for ya lol

X
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post #28 of 61 Old 04-09-2010, 11:10 PM
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Hey X I know you said wire management will have to wait but have you thought about putting wire cover over the wires running across the door? That seems like a tripping hazard, not to mention what it might do to the speaker connectors.
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post #29 of 61 Old 04-10-2010, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey X I know you said wire management will have to wait but have you thought about putting wire cover over the wires running across the door? That seems like a tripping hazard, not to mention what it might do to the speaker connectors.

Funny you mention that, with the temps getting warmer and me wanting to use the patio, I was just looking into some of the DIY cut to length wire covers, both hard plastic and rubber! I'll probably get that part covered in the next week. =)
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post #30 of 61 Old 04-16-2010, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay, the Egg had a sale on some polk bookshelves, and I picked up a pair of Monitor 40's for a great price! They replaced my old tower R50 rears. Wow what a big difference in sound! I always knew the R50's were "decent" for the ridiculously cheap price I got them at, but the M40's blow'em away.

I will post pics later today or this weekend.

BTW, I grabbed the Sanus 24" basic black stands thanks to hikarate's pics. I managed to get them for $28 shipped. The stands are decent enough, however on each stand, the MDF cracked when I tightened the screws. I was using a screwdriver and being very careful, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference. If you can afford to splurge on metal stands versus the MDF's, I'd say do that. If the stands will be hidden from view and small cracks don't bug you, you can't beat'em for $30. Just one of those "you get what you pay for" scenarios.
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