SoundStage speaker set up - first impressions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 09-06-2010, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Had this before, but messed up when I posted it, hopefully it works this time...
Hello everybody,

At my local Visions in Canada, a rep showed me to these strange looking speakers from a brand I had never heard of (see here: www.soundstage-audio.com). I auditioned them in-store with my own music and movies, and was impressed. So he offered me a sweet deal and I decided to take a leap of faith (with the return policy in mind) and grab it, along with an Onkyo HT-RC260 (basically the 608 minus a couple features that are useless for me). So I set it all up, with the 3D5 towers, 3DC2 center and BFX12 12" sub up front, and 4 3D1 bookshelves as surrounds (also tried the audyssey dsx front wide setup - WOW). Since there's next to nothing on the net about these speakers, I thought I'd throw around my first impressions.

Build Quality - Out of the box, I can definitely say that I'm not a fan of the build quality on these things. The grilles are cheaply made, could easily be torn, and pick up dust quickly. Cabinet construction is standard MDF, but as bulky as they are they are surprisingly light. Not a good sign for speakers. Despite that, I can see most of the money went to driver design and construction; these are very well made polypropylene drivers, and the titanium tweeter is really the star here. But overall, build quality here gets a thumb down because of the compromised cabinet construction.

Sound w/ movies - to test pacing, dynamic slam and vocal performance, I used the lotr blu-ray trilogy. Overall, the bass was good, fast paced scenes were reproduced without any hiccups. Vocals were a little bit shallow, but were accurate at least to my judging. One thing I noticed is despite its low power rating, the sub was really overactive, giving a boomy presence (personally, not a fan). To solve this, reduce the sub's contribution bu hooking up the sub via lfe and setting the crossover at 70 or maybe 60hz. However, if your receiver does global crossovers, just get a better subwoofer. Good value options: bic h100 or f12, polk psw505, and even the infinity ps210 which I have and really like. So thumbs up here for movie sound quality, of course after adjusting the bass.

Sound Quality - Music - Went all cnet and used the soundtrack from Perfume to try the music capability. CD player - my old 1999 pioneer (great, not sure of the model). Nice transparency with the sound, the speakers work well in unison to project a soundfield - the good thing is the sound hits you as one sound, not 7. The speakers kind of dissolve into the surrounding. However, the bass with the music was all over the place, indistinct and not as tight as I would like. This is mostly due to the sub, since 7.0 music sounded rather nice with these speakers. But the bass response of the towers still wasn't great. Prior to this I never understood why people always made a distinction between movie and music sound when looking at speakers and av receivers. Well in this case the bass really takes away from what could be a great music listening experience. These speakers are definitely made for movies and games. One big hairy thumb down here. Possible solution: get a 'musical' or all-rounder sub from eD, HSU, BIC, Velodyne, SVS, etc. This will at least reduce the bass problem.

Also, in general, that 3D 'effect' touted by the manufacturer is just snake oil marketing. I messed with the wiring and disabled the rear mounted driver on the tower speakers. No difference at all in the soundfield than when that special driver is on. Yes, sound does come from the driver, but it really doesn't make a difference in overall sound output.

General looks and 'practical-ness' - If you plan on enlisting Soundstage for your home theatre needs, make sure you have the space to accommodate the speakers. They are LARGE - for example, the 3dc2 center is a good 27" long and 7.5" high. Also, they look good with or w/o grilles, and the 5 way binding posts make for a easy, secure connection. Another general note - do NOT bi-amp these, they are pushed hard enough by a single connection. Overall, thumbs up for this category, they don't look too bad despite the space needed for them.

So overall, if you can get past the subpar cabinet design and solve the bass issues by getting a better subwoofer, these are decent speakers for the listed price. They can be great speakers, those 'bang for the buck' products if the price were lowered somewhere near what I got them for.

EDIT: since best buy had great deals on the infinity primus speakers, I have since replaced my main ht system with the primus 2 line. Also got a new pio 1020. But i did keep the best parts of the SoundStage setup in my den, the 3d1 bookshelfs and the 3 way 3dc2 center--AWESOME. This center is actually just as good as my infinity pc350, the folks at soundstage really nailed this speaker.
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post #2 of 2 Old 12-27-2010, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Just a question to avs admin: what are the rules and regulations about starting an unofficial owner's thread? I'm just looking to start one for Soundstage
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