[I searched and looked at the 'similar threads' listed but didn't find an answer to my question. If there is already a similar thread, my apologies.]
[For those who don't want to read through the entire thread, see my "executive summary" at the end of this post. Please also check out the most recent couple posts to see where I'm at in this speaker quest.]
I am in the process of replacing my L/C/R speakers.
I am concentrating on two-way designs with a 6.5" woofer for a couple reasons:
1) Tom Nousaine has said that this particular design works best for L/C/R speakers (with a sub of course).http://www.nousaine.com/cen%20chan%201.htm
"I’ve had the opportunity to test hundreds of different loudspeaker systems over the past decade. From 80 to 100 Hz upward, the best systems—and I mean best in an absolute sense—have been 6.5" two-way designs. The speaker graphed in Fig. 8 is among the finest I’ve encountered. As you can see, it has tightly controlled directivity in the horizontal plane out to 60 degrees. This means that all listeners get the same basic sound quality, and reflected sound will be returned with the same timbre. There is a relatively small amount of lobing in the vertical plane, which means that this speaker sounds best vertically placed, and that’s how I use it. This cabinet is only 14" tall, looking almost graceful perched on a 50" rear projector, but hidden behind a 115" perforated screen even that doesn’t matter. What’s the downside? It doesn’t have adequate dynamic capability below 80 Hz. So what? If this were a full-range speaker, in the truest sense, I’d cross it over at 80 Hz anyway because center-channel placement always compromises bass performance."
[I would love to know which speaker Nousaine is referring to but haven't been able to find out. Anyone know?]
2) Space constraints.
I'd really like to keep the cost below $750 for three (3) speakers.
Some of the speakers I am considering (but in no way set on) are the following:
All are 2-way, 1" dome tweeter, 6.5" woofer, except #10:
Dimensions are WxHxD rounded up to next 1/2"
Weight is listed because in some cases it may be an indication of build quality. I was surprised by the variation between the different speakers.
1) AV123 Rocket RS250MkII: $500/pair (sale -- online only)http://**********/index.php?page=shop...mart&Itemid=37
24 lb each
No power spec listed on site. FWIW rep claims RS250MkII is factory tested with 800 and 1,000 watt amps "cranking heavy metal".
Rep also said the magnets and voice coils in the 250 were much larger than those in the Axiom M3 v2 and M22 speakers (I had mentioned Axiom to him). He said the larger voice coils and the use of 1" MDF for the cabinet accounts for the weight difference.
2) PSB Image B25 Monitor: $480/pair (MSRP)http://www.psbspeakers.com/products/...ge-B25-Monitor
15 lb each
70 watts program
3) Paradigm Mini Monitor $438/pair Only available at select local storeshttp://www.paradigm.com/en/paradigm/...1-2-4.paradigm
17 lb each
80 watts max.
4) Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE $348/pair + $20 shippinghttp://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...70/cbm170.html
14 lb each
200 watts max. (400 watt peak -- unclipped)
* MDF only 5/8" thick
Sound Stage (SS) measurements:http://www.soundstagemagazine.com/me...ascend_cbm170/
5) Athena Technologies AS-B2.2 $250/pairhttp://www.athenaspeakers.com/modelASB2Reviews.php
12 lbs each (packed in pairs -- sold individually?)
6) Axiom M3 v2 $330/pairhttp://www.axiomaudio.com/m3ti_info.html
12.7 lb each
SS measurements (older m3ti):http://www.soundstagemagazine.com/me...ts/axiom_m3ti/
7) Kef iQ3 $500/pair (www.vanns.com
(Coaxial. Cannot be turned upside-down on shelf due to cabinet design.)
15 lbs each
No power rating
110 db max output (!)
8) B&W 685 $600/pair MSRPhttp://www.bowers-wilkins.com/displa...rid=2304&sc=ht
9) Klipsch RB-61 $448/pair MSRPhttp://www.klipsch.com/products/details/rb-61.aspx
100 watts RMS; 400 watts peak
****** And, for something completely different!:
10) Crystal Audio THX-Center $199 (seems like a bargain)http://www.crystalaudiovideo.com/product.aspx
No weight given
100 watts RMS; 200 watts peak
I probably can't use the THX-Center because of lack of space, but I thought I'd throw it in for anyone who is interested. It seems to me there would be no reason not to use 3 of them across the front. $199 for a THX-certified speaker isn't bad. The only way I might be able to use them would be if I could turn the L/R speakers on end (rotate 90 degree from normal) and I imagine that would be a huge no-no.
11) Definitive Technology SM450 $329/each (MSRP -- Too expensive unless on sale.)http://www.definitivetech.com/loudsp...tor.html#sn450
No weight given
225 watts max.
24 Hz low end!
SM350 (5.25" woofer) $249 each
No weight given
200 watts max.
26 Hz low end!
OK, if you've read this I really appreciate it.
I'm making no claims or assertions about the above speakers. Some I have researched a bit, others just happen to have the right design at the right price but I haven't had time to check them out.
IOW, I'm not married to any of them. I'd like some honest opinions about both the speakers I've listed and any that I haven't.
Any you would disqualify immediately?
Others that definitely deserve a listen?
Just because a speaker is _not_ listed certainly doesn't mean I have excluded it.
I ordered the av123 Rocket RS250MkIIs this past Wednesday, so they should arrive next week. (Tip for those who have read this far -- although av123's site says the RS250s are back-ordered until April 26, they actually have a few left. Free shipping _both_ ways right now. Not bad).
The B&W 685s are available locally. I plan to pick them up tonight or tomorrow. In a way I hope I don't like them since they are by far the most expensive of those listed. I've always heard good things about B&W so I thought it would be interesting to include them.
I've compared the Rocket RS250MkII with:
1) B&W 685
2) Axiom M3 v2
3) Polk RTi A3
4) Monitor Audio BR2
5) Pinnacle PN8+ (This test was done in mono. I only have one working PN8+ and wanted to get an idea how it compares with the Rockets, since the Pinnacles were my main speakers for the last 10 years or so).
6) Sonance Cinema Select Cabinet (on Sunday, 4-20-08)
Update (4-21-08): The Rockets sound almost identical to the Sonance Cinema Select Cabinets. They are incredibly close. After listening to both together, I have decided to keep the Rocket RS250MkIIs. The fact that they can hold their own against $1,000/pair THX certified speakers from a reputable mfr is very impressive. When you consider that they cost literally half as much and have _much_ nicer cabinets, they seem to be an incredible deal.
I like the Rockets the best, but the others are all decent speakers. Another person, in a different room, might very well decide differently than I have. My coworker (who did the Sonance comparison with me) thought the Rocket speakers sounded bass-heavy (boomy) in his house. In a few cases I thought the Sonance speakers had an edge over the Rockets -- but not enough to justify the difference in cost.
See my last couple posts in this thread for more...