How far do I need to go with my system upgrade? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I've been down in the sub forum as my 15" Cambridge Soudworks Bass Cube sub is on it's way out. I have been trying to decide between two sure things in two different price ranges. The BIC PL200 and the HSU VTF-15H. Just for kicks last night I pulled the covers off my towers. Haven't done it for years. Well, the woofers on both need to be refoamed. I guess I am due for some new fronts at this point too as mine are Realistic Mach Two's that I bought in 8th grade. I've gotten 22 years out of them. Not too bad! Then I turn to my cheap infinity wall mount surrounds that I bought 5 years ago from Crutchfield on the cheap for my first home. Undersized and low quality. Well, I guess the only thing left that's ok is my AR center channel speaker. So, I'm thinking, serious upgrading is due, but since I need most everything, I can't go crazy on any one piece. This being said, I guess it's going to have to be the PL200 for the sub. Now for fronts and surrounds. I'm wanting to stay with BIC and was going to go with the Acoustech line. First thoughts were PL89's in the front and PL66's for the surrounds. My room is 12X20 with 8 foot ceilings and only a small arch out to the hall. The system is used 90% for home theater and 10% music. A couple of questions:
1) Do I really need towers in the front with the sub I have chosen or will I be fine with the PL66's in all four corners?
2) Will the horn loaded speakers be too bright for my AR center channel? I would upgrade that one too with the PL26 or 28, but they won't fit in my stand. The AR is standard AV width and fits nicely in one of the component sections of my ET center.

As you can see, I've got a pretty much outdated and mismatched system to date. However, I have been very happy with it to this point as I guess my ears are just amateurs. Any thoughts on my upgrade plans would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 11:11 AM
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no, you don't have to have towers if you are using a decent powered subwoofer. But towers are not that much more expensive than bookshelf units on stands.

I would recommend you consider replacing the AR center channel speaker as well. If at all possible "match" your front three speakers by manufacturer and series. I would not mate loaded horn speakers with a conventional domed tweeter center. For your 90% HT usage, the surrounds do not need to timbre match the fronts.

If you want to consider non-tower speakers and loaded horn technology, please take a look at the Hsu Research HB1-MKII bookshelf speakers, currently on sale.
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hb-1.html
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_vanmeter View Post

no, you don't have to have towers if you are using a decent powered subwoofer. But towers are not that much more expensive than bookshelf units on stands.
I would recommend you consider replacing the AR center channel speaker as well. If at all possible "match" your front three speakers by manufacturer and series. I would not mate loaded horn speakers with a conventional domed tweeter center. For your 90% HT usage, the surrounds do not need to timbre match the fronts.

If you want to consider non-tower speakers and loaded horn technology, please take a look at the Hsu Research HB1-MKII bookshelf speakers, currently on sale.
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hb-1.html

My bookshelfs with stands were $1200 less then the first tower I could have bought from the line of speakers I have. So thats not always the case.

But yes, on the other end of the spectrum, PSB T5 vs B6s and stands only about $200

I agree with the Hsu bookshelfs tho... good little speakers for horns

Dynaudio Focus 260s, Focus 210C, DM 2/6, Hsu VTF2 MK4, Oppo BDP-103,
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taken View Post

1) Do I really need towers in the front with the sub I have chosen or will I be fine with the PL66's in all four corners?
2) Will the horn loaded speakers be too bright for my AR center channel? I would upgrade that one too with the PL26 or 28, but they won't fit in my stand. The AR is standard AV width and fits nicely in one of the component sections of my ET center.

I have no experience with BIC speakers, but to answer your questions:

1) With a good sub in a moderate sized room, the advantages of towers are minimized. On a tight budget, you would do better, IMHO, with bookshelves.

2) If you're replacing your left/right, get a proper timbre-matched center channel as well. This is more important that upgrading your surrounds. Speakers from different manufacturers rarely work well together in the front three.

If I were in your shoes, I would upgrade in stages:

1) Stretch the budget for a good sub. the Hsu looks great (I have not heard the new VTF-15). However, there are lots of good options in between the BIC and that Hsu: a 12" Hsu or Outlaw, for example.

2) Get a pair of bookshelves and matching center channel (sell the AR center) and continue to live with the current surrounds. If you like BIC, get them, but keep your options open; there are lots of good speaker out there...

3) When you want to upgrade the surrounds, you could get a pair of towers in the same line and move the bookshelves to the back, or get a better pair of surrounds; consider surround specific speakers (bi/dipole) depending on your taste and priorities.

W. Lee Hendrick
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I suppose I could use the HB1's for all three fronts if I had one on it's side for my center. I wasn't going to do stands if I got the BIC's as they come with wall hangers. I'm guessing by your suggestion that you guys think a lot more of the HSU's than the BIC's as far as bookshelf models go? BIC does make a nice three way dome tweeter model bookshelf as well. The VK6-LCR. I suppose I could use those for my fronts and they would match better with my current center. Thoughts? Also, you say towers aren't necessary with a decent sub. Would you consider the PL200 to be good enough to fall into that category?
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 12:21 PM
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Your front three should be from the EXACT same speaker series. The rest can fall into place however you see fit...
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I realize that is the optimum way to go but you have to remember that I was perfectly happy with my 4 different brands before I started to have them all fail. Thanks for all the input so far people! I appreciate it. Looks like I have much thinking/obsessing to do before ordering...
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 01:52 PM
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Since nobody has brought it up... You know you can refoam those woofers pretty easily, right?

Ron
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I was considering that, but my wife was thrilled at the idea of getting "those big ancient speakers" out of the living room. I was thinking a coat of satin black spray on the cabinet (I'm a painter by trade), some new black felt on the grills, and $25 re-foam kit from eBay. I guess it's unusual that the wife would rather have me spend more money on AV equipment than fix what I have. Suppose I shouldn't question that! Anyways, I'm thinking (hoping) that I just don't know how much better it could be with modern matched equipment. I'm guessing that when I hear what a new set up can do, I'll be glad I spent the money. So, no one commented on whether the PL200 is enough sub for my room with a lack of towers. Will I loose a bunch of mid or will that sub fill it in?
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taken View Post

So, no one commented on whether the PL200 is enough sub for my room with a lack of towers. Will I loose a bunch of mid or will that sub fill it in?

You'll get a better response with a new thread in the subwoofer forum.

W. Lee Hendrick
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