$2000 budget for receiver and speaker setup for small room - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 01-21-2009, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm trying to put together an HT setup to accompany a new 52" lcd (Mitsubishi LT-52246). In descending order of use, I will be watching TV, playing video games, watching movies and to a slightly lesser extent listening to music (interestingly, though, I care about sound most when watching movies and listening to music). My room is about 12' x 16' with the TV along one of the 16' walls not in the middle. Noise carries in my apartment building through floor and ceiling, but not through walls, although this is only a minor concern. I have space concerns, but would be willing to consider smaller tower front speakers if they are considerably better. I like clarity over power, especially given that I have neighbors. When I listen to music, I listen to mostly indie rock , folk, and electronic music with occasional jazz, bluegrass, and classical.

I was thinking a 5.0 or 5.1 setup to start. I suppose I could always add additional subwoofers and speakers if I move into a bigger apartment or a house. I have two hdmi devices (a PS3 and HD DVR), two component devices (XBOX 360 and Wii), and a turntable. I probably won't want to upgrade to 7.1 for awhile.

I was thinking maybe around $500-600 for the receiver and about $1400-1500 on speakers but don't know a lot about putting together such a setup. $2000 is a firm max and it would be nice if I had some money to have a pro calibrate to my space, although I could probably figure it out myself if I spend enough time on these forums.

I know there are a lot of threads similar to this, but every situation is unique. Thanks in advance for your help. Despite being very particular about how things sound, I really know very little about the science of sound, which makes it difficult to pick out or tweak a sound system. I live in Minneapolis so there are some places to listen to quality speakers, although I don't have a great deal of time to do this.
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post #2 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 04:27 AM
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It seems you need a system with flexability in placement and sheer output isn't a concern, so i'd suggest something with a small footprint or wall mountable. SVS has a great 5.1 package that should suit your needs and budget. Lots of forum readers have purchased it, so inquire through a forum search if it interests you since auditioning isn't the best option. You may find someone locally who is willing to give you an audition. They're not very efficient speakers so look for a receiver with plenty of power...not too hard to find in your price range. Make sure it has enough HDMI inputs for expansion and it should decode all the latest HD audio codecs available on blue ray.
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post #3 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. What receivers should I be looking at? Would it be better to get more "efficient" speakers and a less powerful receiver? Thanks in advance.
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post #4 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 10:23 AM
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A/V Reciever - Pioneer Elite VSX-01 TXH 7.1 110W per Chan. Easy to set up. Has Auto set up with included microphone. You plug it in and sit back. It'll do the work setting up levels, reverb and EQ. Works pretty good. Paid under $600.00 inc. a 4 year service plan. powersellersnyc.com

Matched with a compact Klipsch Cinema 10 Home theater system. 4 wall mountable bookshelf speakers RSX-5, 1 Center RSX-4 & Sub RW-10D. It blows my Bose Acoustimass 10 speakers away! $1200.00 purchased online @ sounddistributors.com.

Fiddled with it for a while and managed to blow one of the bookshelf reference speakers within 24 hours. My fault. The Auto MCACC program on the amp assigned the front speakers as Large (wrong) should have assigned them as Small per Klipsch's setup instructions. I missed it and started playing the system at high volume and blew the speaker. Warning: this set up plays super clear even when cranked high. No Distortion, so you can overdrive the speakers if you have a lot of power to them or they're set up incorrectly (my case).
Dealer is sending me a replacement speaker so I'm happy. System was performing incredibly well until the mishap.
Good luck in your search and have fun.
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post #5 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 10:49 AM
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Allow me to spend your $2K today:

receiver
- get this Marantz sr4002 from accessories4less, $300
- can always add an amp later

speakers
- centre, KEF iQ2 from Vanns, $150 (or $100 in walnut)
- fronts, KEF iQ5 from Vanns, $400 (or $360 in walnut)
- rears, KEF iQ1 from Vanns, $200 (only available in black)
- great 5.0 at closeout prices (iQ7 are an option for fronts, same price, 4" taller)

sub (a couple of choices)
- Paradigm DSP-3100, check dealers, I bought this one for $455 Cdn (~$360 US), different dealers offer different discounts
- SVS PB10-NSD, $430 + shipping
- also worth considering, sealed 12" subs (SVS SB12plus or Rythmik F12); a bit more expensive, but we saved from your budget on receiver and 5.0


Just my $0.02, obviously slanted by choices I made in the last 6 months.

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post #6 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 01:09 PM
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A set of these will rock your socks off and you'll have plenty left over for that receiver and sub. Warning: these are 4 ohm speakers. Most receivers will be able to cope with the 4 ohm load, but some will not.

http://emotiva.com/shop/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=25

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post #7 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick240 View Post

Allow me to spend your $2K today:

receiver
- get this Marantz sr4002 from accessories4less, $300
- can always add an amp later

speakers
- centre, KEF iQ2 from Vanns, $150 (or $100 in walnut)
- fronts, KEF iQ5 from Vanns, $400 (or $360 in walnut)
- rears, KEF iQ1 from Vanns, $200 (only available in black)
- great 5.0 at closeout prices (iQ7 are an option for fronts, same price, 4" taller)

sub (a couple of choices)
- Paradigm DSP-3100, check dealers, I bought this one for $455 Cdn (~$360 US), different dealers offer different discounts
- SVS PB10-NSD, $430 + shipping
- also worth considering, sealed 12" subs (SVS SB12plus or Rythmik F12); a bit more expensive, but we saved from your budget on receiver and 5.0


Just my $0.02, obviously slanted by choices I made in the last 6 months.

Rick240;
Thanks as I took your advice from before but altered a little;
1Q7's vs 5's well worth the extra $20.
iQ3's vs 1's. See above.
Also worth considering is yet another set of iQ3's and use one for center.

I'm going to splurge on a sub. SVS PC12 NSD has incredible stats. $550
Thanks for the Marantz receiver tip. Thats next on the agenda.
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post #8 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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That deal on the Marantz does look pretty good. Although so does $600 for the Pioneer. Should I be considering Axiom or EMP speakers as well?
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post #9 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhineth View Post

That deal on the Marantz does look pretty good. Although so does $600 for the Pioneer. Should I be considering Axiom or EMP speakers as well?

I've heard Axiom and their pretty nice, and there's a good community of people willing to let you come to their house to hear. Not familiar with EMP.

I just loved the KEFs when I heard them so that's what I bought. And the deals with this selloff are amazing, they won't last much longer.

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post #10 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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What do you think of these Energy C-300 systems. Maybe get the 5.0 and ad an svs sub? ttp://www.wwstereo.com/#/ecommerce/store/Speakers/33/-1//
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post #11 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 04:37 PM
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In truth, most AVRs today are laden with all the features you'll need at your pricepoint and a fair amplifier section. For the most part today's main manufacturers do a decent job at product quality as well. When considering the entries from Pioneer,Denon,HK,Onkyo and Yamaha at the same price point it becomes splitting hairs IMO. I'd suggest you purchase from authorized dealers and stay clear of refurb units. You'll always see posts from successful purchasers but not often from the disasters. I personally favor Pioneer.
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post #12 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhineth View Post

That deal on the Marantz does look pretty good. Although so does $600 for the Pioneer.

I believe that Pioneer Elite is basically the exact same as the 1018 non-Elite which you can get for rather less.

Subwoofer deal of the moment: Hsu-designed 10" Atlantic Technologies sub for $200 + shipping.
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post #13 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 04:52 PM
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The speaker system will be the most important choice you have to make. The SVS system paired with an amplifier section of 100w per channel or better would be fine in your size room.
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post #14 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem13 View Post

The speaker system will be the most important choice you have to make. The SVS system paired with an amplifier section of 100w per channel or better would be fine in your size room.

So would the Marantz sr4002 be underpowered at 80w per channel to go with the SVS speakers in your opinion?

Also, how well does the marantz's auto calibration work compared to the pioneer?

Sorry I know this is a speaker forum. I'll add another speaker question. Although the SVS's seem to be well received, how do they compare to speakers that were originally more expensive but have been marked down such as the KEFs and energy C-300s. Also, those Klipsch Cinema 10s look awfully small compared to these others. Do they make up for it in clarity and efficiency? Which of these speakers are the most efficient?
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post #15 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 09:29 PM
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I don't think the Energy system meets the flexability/install needs of your room, unless you're reconsidering your needs???

If possible, can we re-focus on what your goals are again?
I'd like to help you compare and understand the product choices available, but we've got to narrow things down some.

Efficiency isn't as important as it used to be with the low cost of amplification these days. Often high efficiency designs tradeoff some SQ to reach these levels at this pricepoint, not something i'm willing to trade IMO.

Most autocal systems perform almost the same functions at your pricepoint, some just have a nicer user interface. Don't rely on these too much, as you can manually override and adjust all the parameters to taste.

The SVS system uses sealed enclosures which allow for more flexable placement and integration with a subwoofer. For HT, this is an important goal, and the THX standard.

The manufacturers specs for power output are often misleading where AVRs are concerned. I find HK and Pioneer to be the closest rating to actual performance.

Simply put, SVS as an internet direct company can put a product in the end users hand cheaper than Klipsch,Kef and the lot based on basic economic models. Their only shortcomming is reaching the public market and the lack thereof. You're fortunate to have stumbled on the AVS forum where the real facts of a products performance are available to you, so either embrace the opportunity or believe the hype of glossy magazine adds and big box retailers and there Hip-Hop/Teenie Bob sales associates. There's a reason they spend so much marketing.....it works!
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post #16 of 34 Old 01-22-2009, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem13 View Post

I don't think the Energy system meets the flexability/install needs of your room, unless you're reconsidering your needs???

Simply put, SVS as an internet direct company can put a product in the end users hand cheaper than Klipsch,Kef and the lot based on basic economic models. Their only shortcomming is reaching the public market and the lack thereof. You're fortunate to have stumbled on the AVS forum where the real facts of a products performance are available to you, so either embrace the opportunity or believe the hype of glossy magazine adds and big box retailers and there Hip-Hop/Teenie Bob sales associates. There's a reason they spend so much marketing.....it works!

I don't doubt the quality of the SVS speakers at all compared to some of the more heavily marketed brands. I was just wondering if the particular deals I have mentioned are too good to pass up ($399 for Energy C-Series 5.0 marked down from $957 or about $750 for some a very nice KEF setup marked down from about $1850, which rick240 kindly let me know about). I could then add a nice sub, perhaps SVS.

As for my needs, they haven't changed much, although I will likely have a larger living room in a year and a half so if these larger speakers are extremely good deals, I can live with a little clutter for awhile.

However, maybe the SVS setup would actually sound better given the variety of uses I will put them to. On this question, I have no idea, so I appreciate continued guidance. Thanks again.
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post #17 of 34 Old 01-24-2009, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I just got a pretty good deal on the Pioneer Elite VSX-01 THX at a local authorized dealer ($599) so that part is taken care of.

I'm still thinking about the SVS SCS package or the KEF option, but now am now also considering the Enthusiest 1 package from HSU (http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/enthusiast1.html) or some close variant.

I'm still looking for suggestions. Thanks!
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post #18 of 34 Old 01-24-2009, 03:06 PM
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Congrats on the VSX-great receiver, great price.

Am i correct in saying that you have a remaining budget of $1300 for 5.1 speaker set thats capable of wall mounting or is stand mounting an option.
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post #19 of 34 Old 01-24-2009, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I could probably swing as much as $1500 for a 5.1 setup.

However, I just found a local dealer that has a closeout on NHT Classic 4s, 3s and 2s for $999, $699 and $349 a pair, respectively, which seems like a pretty great deal for those. I'm going to go listen to them tomorrow and if I like them a lot lot, I will consider perhaps going a little over budget. Since the 3s are 3-way speakers, and the 4's add (passive) 10" woofers, I may be able to save a bit on a sub (perhaps going with the $299 HSU STF-1) and I could find some less expensive rears, especially if I went with the 4s. But, we'll see how they sound. I'll also check out the Paradigm Studio Reference Series 4 models and Monitor Series V5s, both of which are on closeout, while I'm there.

What do you think about the above models?

If they don't sound worth it to my ears, I have to say I'm leaning towards biting on the SVS or HSU setups I listed above. Both have satisfaction guarantees, so if they don't work, I'll just be out shipping costs.

Thanks again!
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post #20 of 34 Old 01-24-2009, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhineth View Post

Ok, I just got a pretty good deal on the Pioneer Elite VSX-01 THX at a local authorized dealer ($599) so that part is taken care of.

I'm still thinking about the SVS SCS package or the KEF option, but now am now also considering the Enthusiest 1 package from HSU (http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/enthusiast1.html) or some close variant.

I'm still looking for suggestions. Thanks!

You might see if they can do an upgrade to a VTF3 (that are on sale) for a reasonable charge.
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post #21 of 34 Old 01-24-2009, 05:39 PM
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You also may want to check eBay for some used primo quality stuff.
There was a pair of Vandersteens for cheap.
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post #22 of 34 Old 01-24-2009, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhineth View Post

I could probably swing as much as $1500 for a 5.1 setup.

However, I just found a local dealer that has a closeout on NHT Classic 4s, 3s and 2s for $999, $699 and $349 a pair, respectively, which seems like a pretty great deal for those. I'm going to go listen to them tomorrow and if I like them a lot lot, I will consider perhaps going a little over budget. Since the 3s are 3-way speakers, and the 4's add (passive) 10" woofers, I may be able to save a bit on a sub (perhaps going with the $299 HSU STF-1) and I could find some less expensive rears, especially if I went with the 4s. But, we'll see how they sound. I'll also check out the Paradigm Studio Reference Series 4 models and Monitor Series V5s, both of which are on closeout, while I'm there.

What do you think about the above models?

If they don't sound worth it to my ears, I have to say I'm leaning towards biting on the SVS or HSU setups I listed above. Both have satisfaction guarantees, so if they don't work, I'll just be out shipping costs.

Thanks again!

*
The HSU and SVS packages are both great deals and both include a sub, something you'd still be lacking.

There are very few 3 way tower speakers that can stand in for a sub and the only ones I'm aware of have self powered subs built in. Not a great choice IMO as placement is very limited, I owned a pair for several years and ended up selling them.

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post #23 of 34 Old 01-24-2009, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I didn't mean that I wouldn't get a sub in addtion to the NHTs, just that I could get away with a smaller sub. The HSU STF-1 is supposedly quite respectable as it is.

Also, your right, I don't think I'll want to go with the NHT 4s due to placement considerations, but the 3s are actually quite a reasonable size.

What do you think of this:

1 VP150 v2 Center Channel Speaker
http://www.axiomaudio.com/vp150.html#

2 M22 v2 Bookshelf Speakers for fronts
http://www.axiomaudio.com/m22.html#

1 SVS PB10-NSD

and 2 SVS SBS-01s for rears

Total is just ~$1525

Basically, I could pair any front three with the SVS rears and sub. What other front threes would anyone recommend for around $800-900 (or less). Maybe the SVS SCS-01(M) front three at $529 are just as good, but if I wanted to go just a bit better, what would you recommend?

Or maybe it would be better to get a little better sub rather than front three?

Am I right in thinking that the rears are the least important?

Thanks in advance.
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post #24 of 34 Old 01-24-2009, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Also, and maybe this isn't the right place for this, but I have a power conditioning question. I know, I know and I've read a lot of the other threads on it and for the most part don't think I would normally need anything like that, but I live in an old apartment building and the power system isn't the best. For instance, the lights will dim if I run a small 1500 Watt space heater (I live in Minnesota) or if I turn on my vacuum, microwave, etc. I occasionally have to go down to the breaker box and reset. I don't normally run appliances like that on the same breaker as my AV equipment, but it shows the quality of my buildings power system. Should I do anything about this?
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post #25 of 34 Old 01-25-2009, 06:18 AM
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I am an electrician. A rule of thumb is every 100 watts = 1 amp (it's actually a little less than an amp) A 1500 watt heater will draw almost 15 amps. Most house circuits are 15 amps. A vaccuum is a big draw and any motor actually draws more when first turned on. Many vaccuums draw 12 amps. The initial start-up would probably jump to 20 amps or more and will cause some dimming of lights sometimes.
I believe power conditioning will help with inconsistencies of voltage such as spikes and at times in the summer when voltages can drop from air conditioning surges. I've read that most HT forego conditioning for subs.

I just ordered from Axiom myself. (Be sure to check their Factory Outlet Store for discounts) The M22's and VP150 have great reviews. Axiom's surrounds have a great concept for full coverage. I ordered their EP350. I'm told that I could do better with other brands at that price but I'm also told that are very "musical" as well as go seemlessly well with the M80's that I am getting. (So maybe I bought the line)

I almost changed to the M22's just last week. I would expect a very good listening experience with Axiom products.


edited to add:
I also considered an Elite receiver along with a Denon 2309. I was leaning towards the Denon and when it was recommended over the Elite. I got the Denon and don't remember why it was recommended over the Pioneer. This was all before I even started researching speakers. Since heavily considering the M80's (which is a 4ohm speaker) is has been stated many times that the Denon is a very dependable receiver with a 4 ohm load and seems to be a preference among M80 users.
btw my room is only slightly larger than yours AND I am over budget. Oh well!
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post #26 of 34 Old 01-25-2009, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I also considered an Elite receiver along with a Denon 2309. I was leaning towards the Denon and when it was recommended over the Elite. I got the Denon and don't remember why it was recommended over the Pioneer. This was all before I even started researching speakers. Since heavily considering the M80's (which is a 4ohm speaker) is has been stated many times that the Denon is a very dependable receiver with a 4 ohm load and seems to be a preference among M80 users.

I think the Denon is a good receiver I think and from what I've read might be better with a 4 ohm load. I think the Pioneer might have a little bit more clarity though and since I have a thin floor, I'm going to want this to sound great at lower volumes.

As for the power conditioner, I'm not sure I'm convinced enough to spend money on something that might help. Maybe I'll see how it does first and if I have problems I'll see what my options are.

I'd like to know what you think of the Axioms when you get them. Thanks.
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post #27 of 34 Old 01-25-2009, 11:06 AM
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The NHT Classic 3s are fantastic speakers and do everything right IMO. Take a listen. If you can swing it financially, $349 each for the threes and a center plus sub and add surrounds later.
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post #28 of 34 Old 01-25-2009, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, turns out that the store had sold the 3s. However, they had a set of zero demos and a classic 3 center demo for around half off. I brought in 3 CDs and listened to zeros, 2s and 4s for quite a while. They all sounded great. I really like the enveloping neutral sound of this brand. They seem to have a unique sense of space, almost like I could pinpoint exactly where an instrument would be, but at the same time feel completely surrounded by it. Ok, that's a little silly. The 4s naturally stood out and I was tempted to spring for them because they were marked down to $999 for a pair. But because they are so large and because NHT doesn't really recommend using them with a sub unless you buy some extra $$$ components to make sure there isn't unwanted wave canceling/ addition or some nonsense, I decided against it. NHT claims that the 4s can be used without a sub, and they probably could do a decent job, but I just didn't feel like that would be wise. They would work perfectly for me as a 2.0 music only setup, though. They sounded incredible.

I really wanted to hear some 3s, and I did have the 10" woofer of the 4s turned off a bit to simulate them, but I was told that on the 4s the 6" is capped off so it can't go as low as it will on the 3s, so they didn't sound quite right without any low frequency.

Because of this, and because of price, I debated very hard about just going with the SVS line, but after hearing and liking every model of NHT they had, I decided to order a new set of 3s, discounted slightly, and snapped up the center 3 and the set of zeros, which I tested and felt were a great deal. I got the salesman to throw in some speaker wire and give me a discount on speaker stands so in the end, it was pretty much the same as if I had gotten the 3s at demo price, plus I unexpectedly got a center 3 for only $300.

Soooo, I've gone a bit over budget, and still need a sub, but I'm pretty happy with the deal I got and hope that the 3s don't disappoint.

What do you think of me saving a little money and going with the highly rated, but smaller HSU STF-1 for $299 or the SVS PB10-NSD?
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post #29 of 34 Old 01-25-2009, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rhineth View Post

Ok, turns out that the store had sold the 3s. However, they had a set of zero demos and a classic 3 center demo for around half off. I brought in 3 CDs and listened to zeros, 2s and 4s for quite a while. They all sounded great. I really like the enveloping neutral sound of this brand. They seem to have a unique sense of space, almost like I could pinpoint exactly where an instrument would be, but at the same time feel completely surrounded by it. Ok, that's a little silly. The 4s naturally stood out and I was tempted to spring for them because they were marked down to $999 for a pair. But because they are so large and because NHT doesn't really recommend using them with a sub unless you buy some extra $$$ components to make sure there isn't unwanted wave canceling/ addition or some nonsense, I decided against it. NHT claims that the 4s can be used without a sub, and they probably could do a decent job, but I just didn't feel like that would be wise. They would work perfectly for me as a 2.0 music only setup, though. They sounded incredible.

I really wanted to hear some 3s, and I did have the 10" woofer of the 4s turned off a bit to simulate them, but I was told that on the 4s the 6" is capped off so it can't go as low as it will on the 3s, so they didn't sound quite right without any low frequency.

Because of this, and because of price, I debated very hard about just going with the SVS line, but after hearing and liking every model of NHT they had, I decided to order a new set of 3s, discounted slightly, and snapped up the center 3 and the set of zeros, which I tested and felt were a great deal. I got the salesman to throw in some speaker wire and give me a discount on speaker stands so in the end, it was pretty much the same as if I had gotten the 3s at demo price, plus I unexpectedly got a center 3 for only $300.

Soooo, I've gone a bit over budget, and still need a sub, but I'm pretty happy with the deal I got and hope that the 3s don't disappoint.

What do you think of me saving a little money and going with the highly rated, but smaller HSU STF-1 for $299 or the SVS PB10-NSD?

Given the size of your room, either would do the job, allowing for a second added later whcih would be the better option. Glad to see you liked the Classics. The C3 won't disappoint.
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post #30 of 34 Old 01-25-2009, 10:18 PM
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rhineth, great choice of speakers. With the 3s you may want a sub for HT use. They go down to 45hz on their own and the acoustic suspension design will give solid bass performance.

How about a review once you get them set up and broke in?

When all else fails - RTFM!

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