NHT Classic Series vs. Definitive Technology Mythos ST Series - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-08-2010, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I'm designing my new home theater system and working on picking out all the components, and I need some advice on a speaker system.

A bit of background. My room is quite small (maybe 15x15, though it's a part of a pretty open floorplan - speakers will be restricted to this area tho). I don't have a lot of room for a sub, so I'm looking for fronts with some nice built-in bass, and I'm going for a 5.1 system overall (or 5.0 if you will). My receiver will have plenty of power and be fairly high end (looking at a Pioneer Elite or Denon CI series most likely...definitely over 100 watts per channel and probably more like 140). As a listener, I like clean, clear sound with great dialogue and music (everything from classical to rock) reproduction and appropriate-sounding bass, but nothing overly boomy. System will be used more for TV/movies than anything else, but will certainly be used for music too.

Someone very knowledgeable about sound systems recommeneded I take a look at the NHT line because of their generally excellent reputation/reviews and the fact the Fours have a built-in sub, and I'm very impressed. Unfortunately, it appears the Classic Fours (Fronts) for this system are completely sold out everywhere I've looked and won't be available until at least November, which is a bummer because I was hoping to do this renovation sooner than later. At any rate, if I went Classic series, it would be:

2X Classic Fours (Fronts)
1X Classic Three (Center)
2X Classic Three Loudspeaker (Rears)

Searching around, I discovered another candidate, albeit in a higher price range (which fortunately would work as I have a bit more budget to play with than I originally anticipated), and that's the Definitive Technology Mythos ST series. This has its advantages as it actually takes up quite a bit less space, which in a small room is a boon, and it also has amps built into the subs. However, the friend who recommended the NHT's has heard both the systems, and while he loves the Mythos as well, he doesn't feel they're quite as razor-sharp as the NHT's, though they do produce a bigger soundstage. If I went Mythos ST, it would be:

2X Mythos ST (Fronts)
1X Mythos Ten (Center)
2X Mythos GemXL (Rears)

Would love to hear opinions/recommendations on which system I should go with! Unfortunately, I'm in the boonies, so hearing both these systems in person is probably an impossibility. While I'd rather not wait, if the NHT really would make me happier, I'm willing, but on the other hand if the higher-priced Mythos is a better system overall and still has great clarity, I may as well go with it and be able to build now.

Thanks in advance for any advice/recommendations!
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-08-2010, 05:19 PM
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Time has come in researching HT speakers to look seriously at highly efficient (98+dB) designs with controlled or constant directivity to provide the "clear dialogue" and dynamics needed for movies (music too). Don't get me wrong, I have had NHT VT2's, 2.9's (w/ AC2) and finally C-4's. I just didn't know better. After spending many hours here, primarily in the DIY section, I moved on to pro-style speakers. They are a relative bargain for the performance you get (and measurements are posted). I tend to gravitate toward JBL's but there are many good ones suitable for HT/music. Look at JTR, Seaton Sparks or many of the used JBL's on ebay. The newest bargain would be the TCA Pro-10's.

http://cgi.ebay.com/JBL-MRX515-PA-PR...item1e5e28fcba

A pair of these would lay waste to any "hi-fi" speaker in the same price range..or even 2x the cost.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-08-2010, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Wrager, thanks much for the comments and advice!

Unfortunately, for my setup, there's simply no way speakers that size would fit practically in my setup - they're simply too big for my space, hence my desire for some tower/slimmer designs. I'm sure they do a great job - I just can't possibly fit 'em. Nevertheless, thanks for your candid point of view.

Still very interested in any comparisons from anyone who's heard both the NHT and Definitive systems mentioned above. Or for that matter, any other recommendations for what I want to do are of course welcome.

Thanks!
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-08-2010, 08:27 PM
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You don't need Three's for rear/surrounds, absolute zero is plenty as those channels aren't used much. Also I would go with Threes/Three Center for front & add separate subwoofer; that gives you a less costly better sounding & more flexible system.

Scrap the Pioneer/Denon anything idea; check out NAD receiver line for the best sound quality for the money.
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-08-2010, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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sc10000, thanks for the reply. Unfortunatley, room for a subwoofer would be pretty tight also. It might be possible, but it would have to placed somewhere else in the room (probably the rear) - this is the main reason I've been looking for a system that incorporates subs in the Fronts.

Also, I assume from your post you'd go the NHT route?
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-08-2010, 08:36 PM
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Subs can be placed anywhere; by definition they are non directional, so in the back is fine.
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-09-2010, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Good to know. I'll think about it/ressearch (though I'd still have to lose some furniture to to ghis route most likesly), though I'm also still considering the Mythos ST and NHT Classic series as well. Thanks again and more opinions welcome and very much appreciated!
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-09-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgupta View Post

However, the friend who recommended the NHT's has heard both the systems, and while he loves the Mythos as well, he doesn't feel they're quite as razor-sharp as the NHT's, though they do produce a bigger soundstage.

FWIW, I strongly disagree with your friend about what is quoted in bold above about the soundstaging. If anything, I feel it is the other way around with the edge there also going to the NHTs. However, if you don't have a relatively wide, well damped room, this can actually be a negative. IMO of course, as always, YMMV.
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-09-2010, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Mark,

I'm not sure if he was talking about my specific room or not (as it is a fairly small space, but on a fairly open plan), but interesting. So are you also saying you'd go with the the NHT's as well between these two? (Based on pure sound quality; let's take price out of it for the moment.)
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-09-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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Well, they are both great speakers IMO, and, as always, if possible, I'd advise to try to get your listen on to them both in your room with your equipment with your favorite music/movies.

FWIW The Mythos STs and the Classic Fours have both posted some of the best, flattest measurements that I've ever seen at Home Theater Magazine. In fact, about the only ones that I've ever seen that bested them under the same set of measurements in HTM were the NHT T5s and the NHT Xds. I don't feel like linking them right now, but you can look them up for yourself.

The NHT Fours have imaging and detail that can literally be startling when you first hear familiar material on them, to the point that it can take some getting used to.

Then are other varibles to consider, like the true 3-way Classic 3C CC speaker, and the true on-wall matching surrounds of the Mythos series. They are both just flat out gorgeous IMO.

Honestly, either one is a can't lose decision IMO that I would be happy with either one.

Edit - you can also. for now anyway, still get the recently discontinued NHT X2 crossover to bi-amp the subs in the Fours with to in effect turn them into active, powered subs. You would still need a 2 channel amp or pair of monoblocks to do it with though.
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-09-2010, 02:13 PM
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I can't make any argument against the Def Tech's as I haven't listened to them, what I can tell you is that the NHT's will most likely give you what you are looking for. I don't remember the exact dimensions of my room but it's something like 22x24x16 and the Fours are quite capable of filling the room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark russ View Post

Edit - you can also. for now anyway, still get the recently discontinued NHT X2 crossover to bi-amp the subs in the Fours with to in effect turn them into active, powered subs. You would still need a 2 channel amp or pair of monoblocks to do it with though.

I went this route, I have an X2 paired with a couple of Outlaw m200's that I got off ebay for $150 each.

Someone also mentioned the 3's being overkill for surrounds, and I would tend to agree. I've got 2's as surrounds, and maybe I'm lucky with placement, but Audyssey has the 2's going down to 40Hz. In any event, achieving reference levels in a moderately large room has been no issue, and vocal clarity and punchy bass have been everything I could have hoped for.
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post #12 of 19 Old 09-09-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yorknh View Post

Someone also mentioned the 3's being overkill for surrounds, and I would tend to agree.

Plus 1. The AZs are perfect for surrounds, smaller, cheaper, and a narrower front baffle than even the Twos, much less the Threes.
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-09-2010, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the fantastic feedback! I've got a lot to think about and the wheels in my head are churning. (Other comments of course welcome and appreciated). I'm tight on time at the moment but will post some more thoughts later.
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post #14 of 19 Old 09-10-2010, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Again, thanks for all the feedback.

Mark, unfortunately, it would be prettymuch impossible to audition both sets of speakers in my home. I live in a fairly rural area, and we don't have much available as far as high quality electronics.

If I'm lucky, I may get to hear the Definitive system in-store next week while I'm out of town, but that's provided the Best Buy I'll be at actually has it. I'm guessing they won't have the NHT's, but I don't know that for a fact.

Mark, tough question, but it's clear you really like both of these systems. If you had to pick ONE of them for your setup, price difference aside, which would you choose and why?

Still investigating other alternatives as well...and still open to any feedback. =)
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-10-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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Well, looking at it logically, like anything else, there are pros and cons either way. As I mentioned before, if you wind up getting an actual CC speaker, I think that the true 3-way NHT Classic 3C is superior to the DT Mythos equivalent for arguably THE most important speaker in a movie surround system. However, I do like that the Mythos have a true on wall surround available whereas you have to use omnimounts with the NHT AZs. The NHT Fours are somewhat cheaper than the DT STs, but as you said before yourself, the ST's subs are already self powered. You could get a NHT X2 crossover and bi-amp the Fours so that their subs are in effect self powered too (along with MUCH more control over your bass), but buying the X2 and an amp or amps will at least somewhat negate the Four's cost advantage over the STs.

It all comes down to your room, you said about 15' x 15'. That is a rather smallish room for NHT Fours or Threes. They soundstage so big that even with the recommended toe-in, they really do need a relatively wide and well damped room to really shine to the best of their capabilities. How far back will the main listening position be from the front stage, and how far apart will the main L/R speakers be placed from each other?

Also, is the room more towards being reflective, or well damped? I have NHT Fours in a relatively wide, well damped room, as they should be. They are about 6 and a half feet apart from tweeter to tweeter, and the main, prime listening position is about 10' back from their front plane. A practically optimal set up for them

The NHTs would definitely have a "bigger" sound than the DTs, but in a room that small, it wouldn't really matter IMO.

I also like the Mythos STs very much. They are IMO THE very best music speaker that DT has ever made hands down, and it sounds like maybe they might be better suited to your room. Best of all, you wouldn't have to wait for them.

Also, keep in mind that if you do get a chance to hear the DTs in a Best Buy, it obviously won't be in an optimal environment/setting to hear them at their very best.

That's why it's just too bad you can't get a chance to hear them both in your room. I know it sounds cliche, but at the same time, how does a cliche become a cliche if there isn't at least something to it?

If I'm not mistaken, NHT will allow you to order them directly from the website to try them out, then if you don't like them, you can return them for a full refund within 30 days. It might just behoove you to take them up on that offer so that you will know for sure, and then you will never have that nagging, lingering "what if" doubt from then on.
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post #16 of 19 Old 09-10-2010, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrager View Post

Time has come in researching HT speakers to look seriously at highly efficient (98+dB) designs with controlled or constant directivity to provide the "clear dialogue" and dynamics needed for movies (music too). Don't get me wrong, I have had NHT VT2's, 2.9's (w/ AC2) and finally C-4's. I just didn't know better. After spending many hours here, primarily in the DIY section, I moved on to pro-style speakers. They are a relative bargain for the performance you get (and measurements are posted). I tend to gravitate toward JBL's but there are many good ones suitable for HT/music. Look at JTR, Seaton Sparks or many of the used JBL's on ebay. The newest bargain would be the TCA Pro-10's.

http://cgi.ebay.com/JBL-MRX515-PA-PR...item1e5e28fcba

A pair of these would lay waste to any "hi-fi" speaker in the same price range..or even 2x the cost.

I'm getting a little tired of the pro-audio speaker sect coming into every thread to recommend JTR's or Seatons even when the TS has described a situation in which such speakers would clearly be inappropriate. Please read the TS's post before preaching the gospel about pro speakers.
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post #17 of 19 Old 09-10-2010, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Mark, I certainly see what you mean about pros and cons to each.

I definitely do want a center channel, and dialogue is important to me, so I don't want to skimp there. Quick question - if I were to go with the Mythos ST series, but changed the center channel to something like the C/L/R 3000 or the NHT Classic 3, would that work, or is it best to stay within the ST package if choosing thos speakers? I know the packages are meant to work together as is, and I'm not knowledgeable enough to know if using a different center could screw things up.

Wall mounting is not a consideration - I'll be using stands for the rears, and the center will need to be on the TV stand.

I'm planning on going with a high-end receiver (still deciding between Pioneer [probably the SC-37] or the Denon equivalent), and to keep things simple, I'd prefer not to have to go with a crossover/separate amp let alone bi-amp. (I would if absolutely necessary, but I'd rather just let a good AVR do the magic - I don't like room-shaking bass [just good tight bass], so this should be enough.)

Re room setup, I just mesaured. The length of the room (the way I'll be facing the TV) is indeed 15 feet, and sitting position is about 11 feet from the TV. Width of the room is 14 feet. That said, it's an open floorplan; the kitchen is right beside this room (widthwise) without any real partition between. Similarly, lengthwise, it's two steps up and no real partition into another large room. But the speakers need to be confined to the 15 x 14 foot area. There's a window directly behind the home theater (I know that sounds strange; it's really not as bad as it sounds) and on the left side of the room (drapes both ways), so my guess is the room would be absorbing than it would be reflective.

As far as width apart from each other, the L/R speakers will need to be about 5 and a half feet apart. I only have 85" to work with for the entire home theater, and I'm aiming for a 65" screen, so space is a consideration - one reason I like the Mythos ST's is they're very space-consideration friendly.

I've considered ordering speakers and trying them, but I really hate to do that. I guess that's why NHT allows you to try and return - it just sits with me as a hassle for both me and the company I'm purchasing from. Though, to be fair, this is quite an investment, so I certainly see the appeal.

Thanks for the help and feedback!
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post #18 of 19 Old 09-12-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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^^^ Whatever you get, I'd definitely recommend getting the same companies true matching CC speaker in the same product line and not the other brand's, or even a different series within the same brand for that matter. Remember, the CC speaker is one of the most important things, if THE most important, in a surround system, along with the sub(s).

Also, if on wall surrounds are not important, then that pretty much negates a big DT advantage.

If you do wind up getting NHT Fours, I'd highly recommend getting an X2 to bi-amp them with. Not necessarily because of the higher power/more output bi-amping them will provide, but for the spectacular amount of control over your bass it will provide with it's comprehensive set of of bass controls - gain (both main L/R for flat response on music AND totally separate independent LFE for a little extra "boom" on movie soundtracks), complete phase (not just a simple 0 or 180 degree switch), and boundary Eq which will be important in a smaller room like yours.

The Mythos ST, if I'm not mistaken and remember correctly, also has a separate LFE input that you could level adjust from your AVR, but I don't think it's bass controls are nearly as comprehensive as the X2 as I recall.
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post #19 of 19 Old 09-13-2010, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the great reply, Mark.

Good to know I should get a matching system - that clarifies things a lot despite making the decision in some ways harder.

I've checked just about everwhere for availability of the Fours, and it's just not looking good (or even possible) until at least November. Apparently from what I'm told the demand for them is crazy and NHT is putting their focus on newer models.

After a lot of thought (and I may still see if I can listen but that's iffy), I think bottom line I'm going to try the Mythos ST series. I spoke with Definitive techs, and if configured right, yes, the center is two-way, but with proper AVR setup, the lower end of the bass can be channeled to the ST's. The rest of the Ten is apparently an ST without the subwoofer, which should sound pretty great.

I did also give Paradigm (Monitor series) a look, but I'd again have to go with a separate subwoofer here, which I'd rather avoid if possible.

The bottom line is my room isn't huge, and the Mythos ST series will fit what I'm trying to do far better than anything out there at the moment (even the NHT's, though I might have gone with those if they had been available). It also requires less complexity for someone new to high-end home theater. I realize I won't have quite as much control over the bass as with something like the X2, but for me, that might be a boon, and the receiver I'm getting (probably the Pioneer Elite SC-37) does a pretty good job, from what I've read, of figuring that out.

To give some perspective, this is what I'm upgrading from: http://www.crutchfield.com/S-lqvwJFb...=detailed_info

It's not exactly what I'd consider a minor upgrade to be sure! ;o) Still open to all feedback til I order (hopefully towards the end of this week!).
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