Totem Forest or Paradigm Studio 60 v5 ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 05-10-2009, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Everyone,

I recently purchased an Arcam AVR 300 and now I need to make my first speaker purchase. I have pretty much limited my choices down to two speakers:

1) A used set of Totem Forest.
2) A new set of Paradigm Studio 60 v5

I would like to get your opinions on what would pair best with the Arcam. I mostly will use them for music (80% music 20% movies).

I know the best answer is to listen to both and decide on my own. However, I have a couple of problems with this. The Totems would be purchased used, so there is no easy way to audition them. The local Paradigm dealer does not allow customers to audition the speakers at home and I think it is pointless to listen to them in store (different receiver, different inputs and different room).

If you were in this situation what speakers would you choose? Or would you do something completely different.

FYI - I listen to a very broad range of music (e.g. Pearl Jam, Norah Jones, Jazz & Blues, Christmas, Nirvana, 10,000 maniacs, Marley, even R&B and various types of Latin music) so I need something that can really kick when I need it, but also be very clean/clear when playing something more quiet and laid back. Also, I will not have a subwoofer for at least a few months.

Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 40 Old 05-12-2009, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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anyone have thoughts on these speakers?
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post #3 of 40 Old 05-12-2009, 05:40 PM
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If you can't try the totems ignore them, go for the paradigms. If you don't like them you could always return them within the 30 days after purchase. Since you listen to music mostly, try the revel performa series, B&W c series. These speakers are within the same price range and great for music.
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post #4 of 40 Old 05-12-2009, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byds26 View Post

If you can't try the totems ignore them, go for the paradigms. If you don't like them you could always return them within the 30 days after purchase. Since you listen to music mostly, try the revel performa series, B&W c series. These speakers are within the same price range and great for music.

The local Paradigm dealer says that they do not allow at-home auditions or returns. I am sure I could at least get store credit, but they don't have much else but magnepan (sp?) so store credit would not do me any good. Anyone have advise on how to deal with a shop like this? I would prefer to not deal with them, but I also dont want to have to drive all over to get the paradigms.

I will look into revel and c series.

Thanks
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post #5 of 40 Old 05-13-2009, 05:41 AM
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Totems
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post #6 of 40 Old 05-16-2009, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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anyone else have an opinion on these two?
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post #7 of 40 Old 05-16-2009, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhensley View Post

The local Paradigm dealer says that they do not allow at-home auditions or returns. I am sure I could at least get store credit, but they don't have much else but magnepan (sp?) so store credit would not do me any good. Anyone have advise on how to deal with a shop like this? I would prefer to not deal with them, but I also dont want to have to drive all over to get the paradigms.

I will look into revel and c series.

Thanks

Where are you located?
As some places, its law to be able to return things within 14 days.
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post #8 of 40 Old 05-16-2009, 12:12 PM
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definitely totem, different class. the totems need good amps,
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post #9 of 40 Old 05-16-2009, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhensley View Post

Anyone have advise on how to deal with a shop like this?

Thanks

Yeah, shop somewhere else - and let that shop know you intend to.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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post #10 of 40 Old 05-16-2009, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Where are you located?
As some places, its law to be able to return things within 14 days.

I am located in southern california, just outside of L.A.
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post #11 of 40 Old 05-16-2009, 02:25 PM
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I know there are 11 Totem dealers in the LA area. Check out the Totem website to find the closest. I just spent 2 days becoming very familiar with the Forests. Amazing, just amazing. And I'm only using 75w per channel
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post #12 of 40 Old 05-16-2009, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chicagorep View Post

I know there are 11 Totem dealers in the LA area. Check out the Totem website to find the closest. I just spent 2 days becoming very familiar with the Forests. Amazing, just amazing. And I'm only using 75w per channel

Yeah, I was set on the paradigms up to about a week ago and I know of only 3 dealers that are even drivable for me. I am about to head out to one right now that sells both totems and paradigms, so hopefully I will hear what want and get it figured out.

Thanks
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post #13 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 10:49 AM
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Totem is definitely known for their musicality - I own the Hawks and think they're great, and I'm only powering them with a 60 watt / channel (in UL mode) tube amp.

I haven't heard the new Paradigms so I can't comment on how the two would stack up, but from what I've read they will sound quite a bit different so it will be up to you as to which sound you prefer. Let us know how it turns out!

"it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it"
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post #14 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 02:15 PM
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Many say to get the best performance out of the Forest, they require mass loading. Many say they do play loud but are not great in the lower end and require a greater break in period. It is best to try speakers on your own gear in your own home to really see if you like them. The Totem are one of the speakers that you must try at home in your own space.

The Forest cost a bit more that the 60's, almost twice as much and is in a different class than the 60's at around $2200 For the price of Paradigm 60's. For the price of the Forest, you could move up to the Paradigm Signature series which I believe to my hearing are a better speaker than Totem Forrest.
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post #15 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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So this sucks.

I went to three different paradigm dealers yesterday trying to listen to the 60v5, but hit nothing but trouble. All three places claim to have a "no return policy" as in all sales are final. That is absolutely ridiculous for speakers in this price range. On top of the lack of ability to know how it sounds in my house, I hit other issues.

The first place I went made it clear that they would not do [u]anything[u] after I make a purchase - worst customer service I have ever seen at AV store. I asked to listen to my CDs that I brought so I could at least hear how the speakers sound. The store manager would not let me touch the CD player, or the remote. He claimed that no stores allow this because I may damage their equipment. He also would not allow the music to be turned up to even a reasonable level, and that was with my first CD - Norah Jones (not like I would be blasting that). They were just terrible. Never been to a place that I cannot adjust volume to hear what I want and not be able to skip to songs I am interested in hearing. I left there VERY frustrated.

Next place was about the smallest place I have been in. They were very nice, but just had nothing to offer. The only speaker in the v5 series they had was the 20v5. I was able to listen to the 60v4 but was in a room no deeper than 8 feet and the speakers were tucked behind others (far from ideal listening environment). The 60v4 are so much different than the v5s that I dont think I would be able to make a fair assessment. Again - they have an "all sales are final" return policy which sucks, but at least they were friendly.

Final place I went to also had the 60's setup in very small room where I had to stand no further than 5 feet from the speakers. They are willing to move things around if I want to come back and listen to them in a normal size room, but again I am left with "all sales are final" and they would barely budge off the MSRP.

I am frustrated because my house is NOTHING like the showrooms. I have hardwood floors, three sets of windows around the room, split level with 18 foot ceilings and the room is positioned oddly. I know there is no way things will sound the same. Just bringing some old JBL bookshelf speakers out of my office that sound quite good in there, they sound like utter crap in my living room. I cannot see spending $2000 on a set of speakers and by stuck with them if I dont like them. I know I can resell them for a bit of a loss.

What do I do? I am in L.A. (Northridge) anyone know of a place that will allow me to audition paradigms? I am open to other brands at this point as well if I am able to bring them home and give them a go.

Thanks
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post #16 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
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BTW, the place that I though sold Totems turned out to not sell them. This was my mistake. I am hoping to stop by a place this week to give the Forests a listen.
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post #17 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 03:58 PM
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The places you went to are ridiculous. You should definitely find some more places.

There are a number of good places in the Los Angeles area. Here is a thread for paradigm in Los Angeles: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ht=los+angeles

Here is another for Los Angeles area stores for other audio: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1&highlight=la

Why are you stuck on Paradigm or Totem? Have you listened to much?

My personal favorite store is Home Theater Doctor in Redondo Beach: http://hometheaterdoctor.com

Sound Factor, in Encino and Pasadena is also good.

I really think you should do more listening. There are also many people in the Los Angeles area willing to let you listen to their speakers.

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post #18 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mziegler View Post

Why are you stuck on Paradigm or Totem? Have you listened to much?

I really think you should do more listening. There are also many people in the Los Angeles area willing to let you listen to their speakers.

I was originally set on Paradigms from reading review/comments online and they seem to match what I am looking for - A neutral sound and listening to 70-90 music. My plans were to buy a used pair of Paradigms so I did a lot of internet research and thought they would be a safe bet. Also, I did not realize at the time that it was normal practice to be able to audition the speakers.

The other reason for the Paradigms was cost and WAF. I am somewhat limited on what is "acceptable" to bring home (paradigm 60s are as big as I am "allowed" to get ). Also there was the price factor. New 60v5 are at the top of my price point. This is basically the same price as used Totems, which I was told will also be OK in my living room (BTW she hates the previous versions of the Paradigms with the plastic tops, so used is out of the question).

The link for local paradigm dealers was not much help. I have already been to Shelly's and the only other place is quite a drive (may try it though).

Thanks for the advise on local dealers for other brands though. I will try hitting them up as it is time to expand my options if I am not willing to gamble on the Paradigms.

Thanks again
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post #19 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 08:01 PM
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And still many wonder aloud why the Internet Direct companies are gaining steam. You should try on a pair of these for a few weeks and see what you think. If you don't like them, simply pay the shipping back and get your coin returned to you, no questions asked. Are they a good sounding speaker? I love mine.

Nuff said!

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post #20 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 08:07 PM
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And still many wonder aloud why the Internet Direct companies are gaining steam. You should try on a pair of these for a few weeks and see what you think. If you don't like them, simply pay the shipping back and get your coin returned to you, no questions asked. Are they a good sounding speaker? I love mine.

I think ID is a great way to go...but it certainly isn't for everybody. I was also skeptical at first, but was lucky enough to live near an ID company that had a different ID company's speaker that I could demo, and from there do some in home comparisons.

Knucklehead...have you heard speakers from other ID companies as well?

dhensley...living in the LA area, you should be able to find owners of ID brands willing to have you over for a listen.

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post #21 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 08:32 PM
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I think ID is a great way to go...but it certainly isn't for everybody. I was also skeptical at first, but was lucky enough to live near an ID company that had a different ID company's speaker that I could demo, and from there do some in home comparisons.

Knucklehead...have you heard speakers from other ID companies as well?

dhensley...living in the LA area, you should be able to find owners of ID brands willing to have you over for a listen.

Other than my AV123 RSC200 "bigfoot" center speaker, the Emotivas are the first ID speakers I've ever heard. The bigfoot impresses me as another great bargain even at the regular price. For the $200 I paid, I'd buy another in a heartbeat if I could get one and use the pair in my bedroom setup and ashcan the Infinity IL30s!

I've auditioned many speakers, mostly way back when, I was shopping for speakers in 2000-2001 and listened to many speakers ranging from $1000 and up. I settled on a pair of Infinity IL50s for the mains, and a pair of IL40s for surrounds. I still have the IL40s. They are in great shape, having done surround duties until 2 years ago when I sold the IL50s. They are a great sounding speaker with a good mid range bit lack upper low bass thump. They also tend to get a bit shrill at higher volumes, mainly due to the titanium tweeters. I also have the IL30 towers as I mentioned above, they are a 2 way speaker with the same 1" tweeter and it gets a bit shrill at higher volumes too. At low volume in the BR they sound great.

The Emotiva 8.3s have none of the faults of the IL40s, and have a very good mid range, as good as I've heard in a speaker before - as I recollect anyway. I've heard many speakers, and up to about $5000 per pair. I do place hard limits on sales people!

The 8.3s are much better than the price tag would indicate. I heartily recommend them to anyone interested in 2 channel music. They work fantastic for HT too. I have a pair of the Emotiva ERD-1 surrounds also. For $250 a pair, its a very cheap way to experience what Emotiva has to offer. I may sound like a fanboy, and so what? I have a very good sounding system that I need make no excuses for. None are needed. That wasn't always the case.

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post #22 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 08:42 PM
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I wonder how an Emotiva LCR would fair against the Bigfoot.

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post #23 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 09:24 PM
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I wonder how an Emotiva LCR would fair against the Bigfoot.

The preferred center channel speaker in the Emotiva line is the 6.3. At $599 msrp I'm not going to bite, but many have. From what I've gathered on the Emotiva Lounge, the bigfoot is not able to compete with the 6.3. Take that with a grain of salt, those are regulars there reporting their take on it all. Its what I'd expect them to say.

The bigfoot is a fine sounding center and I'm not looking to replace it any time soon. Dialog is as crisp and clear as you could wish for. My Onkyo SC885 paid it the highest compliment, setting it to full in Auddyssey and it is a full range speaker in its own right, some day I may replace it - buy a companion for it - and use them for my bedroom 2 channel speakers. Why not?

If the 6.3 is all that much better than the bigfoot, I guess I'll just have to miss out. At least until the price comes down.

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post #24 of 40 Old 05-17-2009, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

The preferred center channel speaker in the Emotiva line is the 6.3. At $599 msrp I'm not going to bite, but many have. From what I've gathered on the Emotiva Lounge, the bigfoot is not able to compete with the 6.3. Take that with a grain of salt, those are regulars there reporting their take on it all. Its what I'd expect them to say.

The bigfoot is a fine sounding center and I'm not looking to replace it any time soon. Dialog is as crisp and clear as you could wish for. My Onkyo SC885 paid it the highest compliment, setting it to full in Auddyssey and it is a full range speaker in its own right, some day I may replace it - buy a companion for it - and use them for my bedroom 2 channel speakers. Why not?

If the 6.3 is all that much better than the bigfoot, I guess I'll just have to miss out. At least until the price comes down.

What I would expect is the Emotiva 6.3 to timbre match the 8.3 better....creating a more seamless front soundstage.

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post #25 of 40 Old 05-18-2009, 06:14 AM
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What I would expect is the Emotiva 6.3 to timbre match the 8.3 better....creating a more seamless front soundstage.

And it does. You can read the 8.3 reviews in the speaker review section on the Emotiva Lounge if you haven't already found your way there.

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post #26 of 40 Old 05-18-2009, 07:04 AM
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To the OP. There is a speaker company based in Northridge you should seriously consider.

For your price range/budget give Revels a try.
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post #27 of 40 Old 05-18-2009, 07:18 AM
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The preferred center channel speaker in the Emotiva line is the 6.3. At $599 msrp I'm not going to bite

That's only 150$ more than the bigfoot though, and not having to deal with the company that sells the Bigfoot is well worth the 150$ imho, especially if it's true that it's a better sounding speaker.

dhensley: btw, hearing the speakers even in an unoptimal setting is still better than not hearing them at all... Paradigm S60v5 vs Totem Forest, as mentioned, you might as well be looking at the Signature line as the prices of the two mentioned speakers are quite far apart, S60 vs Forest isn't that much different than Signature S8 vs Forest for price!

Anyhow, B&M, you should definitely be looking at other speaker brands which you can at least hear... Your shop experience sounded very disappointing, but it's similar to mine. Well I had absolutely no issue demoing speakers, but taking gear home for free evaluation doesn't fly here. Restocking fees and the such make it extremely expensive to demo gear at home even for just 1-2 days.

But, definitely look into other brands. Dynaudio is great, Monitor Audio, Energy, lots of good brands, you'd probably find speakers you'd prefer to either Digms or Forests... Personally, I heard the Forests not too long ago, in a big room though, and was not impressed. They were not bad per se, they were ok, they just didn't wow me. Resolution was good, imaging too, but bass was fairly light and just really unimpressive, though the big room probably had to do with that,. Stick a pair of Paradigm S8 in there, or maybe even Studio 100, and I'm sure that 90% of 'rockers' would have preferred the Digms.

Again, it varies depending on taste and room... And placement... Forests probably could have sounded better with better placement... How large is your room btw? With 18 foot ceilings and 3 sets of windows I'd expect it to be fairly large.

And don't miss out on internet direct speakers... Just do some good checking on the company you're planning to buy from not to get any surprises. There's some good ones, and some bad ones... The Emotivas look interesting Again, for rockers, I'd be tremendously surprised if most would prefer the Forests (in a fairly large room). Had I 5000$ I wanted to spend for speakers, I'd probably go used or ID, then B&M, and in B&M, Totem would be pretty low on the list as they have a pretty low bang for the buck value (Had 2 Totems speakers in the past...)
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post #28 of 40 Old 05-18-2009, 07:31 AM
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I might as well do some pimping here--I own Ascend Sierras, which will pass the WAF factor, especially with the new finishes coming out. Paired with a high quality sub, you should be in hog heaven. Depending on your set up you might want to consider bookshelves as well, especially since the placement options with the sub give you more flexibility.

Another brand that I really want to hear are the Salk songtowers. People here with credibility really tout these speakers. There might be some auditioning options for you with these.

Regarding the Paradigm dealer in Redondo Beach, it is far for you, but you could also include a visit to Home Theater Doctor, and I am close enough for you to listen to my speakers. I shouldn't speak for him, but cschang opens his home for listening. He also has the Sierras and a Rythmik sub, which is an awesome combo. His is also a better listening environment than mine, although my challenging room might be a good place for you to listen.

I know for a fact that Home Theater Doctor will let you take speakers home. They carry some lines you should look at, such as Usher.

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post #29 of 40 Old 05-18-2009, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandarf View Post

That's only 150$ more than the bigfoot though, and not having to deal with the company that sells the Bigfoot is well worth the 150$ imho, especially if it's true that it's a better sounding speaker.

I bought the bigfoot used for $200 shipped. I was looking at the 850 Rockets and the Axiom M80s before I bought the 8.3s. After reading all the problems with orders and people waiting for refunds I started looking elsewhere. The M80s have been described by many as bright and that is one thing I avoid with speakers. As an already happy Emo customer, I decided to give the 8.3s a try and I'm glad I did.

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post #30 of 40 Old 05-18-2009, 09:28 AM
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Yeah well if you have used deals like yours... I know there was a bit also about messed up crossovers for some of their rocket speakers, but you could purchase 'fixed' crossovers which they sold as upgrades, or go for some kit upgrade from one of their ex-employee, so you have to be careful not to get an older one with the defective parts... Don't know if the bigfoot had one of those messed up crossovers, hard to keep up of which of their products have what defect...

Anyhow, I'll echo mziegler's recommendations, all good advice, but it's a bit of a long shot to recommend a 900$ bookshelf (Ascend Sierra) when someone's looking for a 2000$ floorstander Although that's what I also own and am fully satisfied (more than I can say when I had Totems!) and also regularly recommend. And with ~40hz bass response, who really needs floorstanders... Just get a good sub!
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