Suggest 5.1 system for 3K or under - AVS Forum
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Just as the title says. I'm building a 5.1 surround system for my family room, and the budget is 3k. Wiring should be included in that budget.

The room is 18'8" x 17.6, and is the family room shown in the architectural plans here:

My New Home

The front speakers will be wall mounted, and the back will be in ceiling. I'm looking for best "bang for buck" in this arena. If that happy medium can be achieved at a lower price point, then please let me know!

I've heard quite a few times that good 5.1 is better than mediocre 7.1, so that is why I am looking for the former. But if 7.1 can be done well with my budget, that would be awesome.

So, audiophiles: what do you think my components should be?
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:49 AM
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When you say wall mounted do you mean you want slim profile speakers ?
Or would something like this mounted on the wall with a speaker bracket be OK ?
http://www.klipsch.com/rb-81-ii-bookshelf-speaker

Regards,
Charlie

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Old 07-24-2011, 10:36 AM
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Here are my suggestions for best bang for the buck:

For a receiver, check out the Onkyo TX-SR809, which will run you about $700 from Amazon. For wiring, get a spool of 14 AWG from monoprice, this shouldn't cost you more than 30 or 40 dollars for 100 to 200 ft. Get 12 AWG cable if you are looking at long runs from the receiver (like more than 35 ft). Throw in stuff like banana plugs and wall jacks depending on how clean and nice looking everything needs to be. Get your subwoofer cable from Monoprice as well, 3.5mm cable male-to-male RCA ended cable in whatever length you need. For wall mounts the only one I can recommend is the AM40 pinpoint side-clamping wall mounts. These are about $60 a pair. All in all, receiver and accessories shouldn't cost you more than $1k together.

For speakers and subwoofer, here are a few suggestions:
Hsu 3.1 Hybrid package, plus a pair of their HIW in-walls for the ceiling, for best voice matching. Another good choice for in ceilings with the Hsu speakers and front stage would be these Klipsch RCR-3 in-ceilings, for more conventional ceiling speakers. Depending on which veneer you choose for the speakers/sub, that setup will cost you between 1800 and 2k.

Another good choice for speakers would be an Infinity Primus setup. P163 fronts and PC351 center. Combine those with some Infinity ERS-110II in ceiling speakers, for best voice matching. That should add up to about 700 to 800 shipped.

For a subwoofer, you can't go wrong with the previously suggested Hsu VTF15h. Another good sub would be the Rythmik FV15, which is a bit more expensive. Also worth looking at is the Epik Empire, which is slightly cheaper. The Hsu VTF3 is a bit cheaper still, and but still hits pretty hard. Keep in mind these subwoofers are somewhat large.

Another suggestion for a speaker front stage would be some Ascend Acoustics CBM170 for left/right, a CMT340 for center, and the aforementioned Infinity ERS-110II for in-ceilings. That should add up to about $1k shipped.

Depending on how you juggle the speakers/subwoofer, you should be able to get a pounding setup that looks decent for under 3k from the options I listed. But there are also lots of other great ways to go. Let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:38 AM
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Also, you are correct to skip 7.1 and just do 5.1. You don't need to make as many compromises on speakers with your budget that way.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow shadyJ, I couldn't have dreamed of a more targeted response than what you provided! I'm definitely going to go with your suggestion for the Onkyo TX-SR809. As for the front and center speakers, the Hsu's you suggested seem bulky for a wall mount. I couldn't find any pictures of them in the context of a wall mounted lcd. Subwoofer can be big, and it shouldn't be a problem. The ceiling should be more flexible, but the Klipsch RCR-3 would probably suite me best, since they are a bit more conventional.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:27 AM
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Take a look at Emptek on-wall speakers
http://www.emptek.com/ew35.php

Snell in-ceiling for surounds, is a good choice.
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...er-Each/1.html

Yamaha receiver is a good choice
http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-RX-V667.../dp/B003P2V52M

Look at the Epik Empire sub, as a sub option.

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Old 07-24-2011, 11:28 AM
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All these speakers are roughly the same size. The Hsu's may actually be the least awkward to wall-mount because they have the least depth, although they are the tallest. Whatever speaker you choose should be a winner though, I think they will all be good. I own the Hsu and Infinity speakers, they and the Ascend speakers are highly regarded for their price point.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Relleum View Post


budget is 3k

The room is 18'8" x 17.6

The front speakers will be wall mounted, and the back will be in ceiling. I'm looking for best "bang for buck" in this arena.

Five of the Infinity Primus P163 @ $85ea = $425:

http://www.amazon.com/Infinity-Primu...1527726&sr=8-1

http://www.soundstage.com/equipment/...rimus_p162.htm

http://www.soundstagenetwork.com/mea...y_primus_p162/

Denon 3311 for $890:
http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AVR-3311...1527915&sr=1-3

Two BIC PL-200 @ $279ea = $558 (enter coupon code: TV15):
http://sounddistributors.com/buynow....stech+Speakers

Cables, surge protectors, techflex, accessories:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/de...t.asp?c_id=102
http://www.bluejeanscable.com/
http://partsexpress.com/
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:37 AM
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Did you mean Onkyo TX-NR809? If so, whats the advantage of going for the more expensive 7.1 surround receiver to power a 5.1 setup like a Onkyo TX-NR509?
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Here are my suggestions for best bang for the buck:

For a receiver, check out the Onkyo TX-SR809, which will run you about $700 from Amazon. For wiring, get a spool of 14 AWG from monoprice, this shouldn't cost you more than 30 or 40 dollars for 100 to 200 ft. Get 12 AWG cable if you are looking at long runs from the receiver (like more than 35 ft). Throw in stuff like banana plugs and wall jacks depending on how clean and nice looking everything needs to be. Get your subwoofer cable from Monoprice as well, 3.5mm cable male-to-male RCA ended cable in whatever length you need. For wall mounts the only one I can recommend is the AM40 pinpoint side-clamping wall mounts. These are about $60 a pair. All in all, receiver and accessories shouldn't cost you more than $1k together.

For speakers and subwoofer, here are a few suggestions:
Hsu 3.1 Hybrid package, plus a pair of their HIW in-walls for the ceiling, for best voice matching. Another good choice for in ceilings with the Hsu speakers and front stage would be these Klipsch RCR-3 in-ceilings, for more conventional ceiling speakers. Depending on which veneer you choose for the speakers/sub, that setup will cost you between 1800 and 2k.

Another good choice for speakers would be an Infinity Primus setup. P163 fronts and PC351 center. Combine those with some Infinity ERS-110II in ceiling speakers, for best voice matching. That should add up to about 700 to 800 shipped.

For a subwoofer, you can't go wrong with the previously suggested Hsu VTF15h. Another good sub would be the Rythmik FV15, which is a bit more expensive. Also worth looking at is the Epik Empire, which is slightly cheaper. The Hsu VTF3 is a bit cheaper still, and but still hits pretty hard. Keep in mind these subwoofers are somewhat large.

Another suggestion for a speaker front stage would be some Ascend Acoustics CBM170 for left/right, a CMT340 for center, and the aforementioned Infinity ERS-110II for in-ceilings. That should add up to about $1k shipped.

Depending on how you juggle the speakers/subwoofer, you should be able to get a pounding setup that looks decent for under 3k from the options I listed. But there are also lots of other great ways to go. Let me know if you have any questions.

These are solid recommendations. However, I would strongly suggest that you don't buy your sub cable from monoprice. The one I bought from them was very poorly shielded and caused a 60hz hum in my system (and yes, all speakers were connected to the same power outlet). When I replaced it with a cheap, well-shielded cable from Amazon, the hum was gone.
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:16 PM
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I've seen recommendations for onkyo, denon and yamaha so far. Coincidentally, these are the brands I was considering even before posting this thread. My question is, which brand provides the best quality for the 700-1k pricepoint? I originally thought denon would be the top contender, but the amazon reviews seem to consistently point to lesser quality control and parts as of late. I'm assuming the featureset is pretty comparable amongst the three, but who is the king of quality and reliability this generation?

Onkyo would never be my choice for quality. "Features" maybe but there is a lot of performance based cost cutting with Onkyo including really questionable pre-outs and amp sections. Denon unfortunately hasn't been much better in that particular price range and there seems to have been a trickle down effect into Marantz although i still suspect they have the best preamp out sections.

I would be looking at Yamaha receievers or Marantz refurbs from accessories4less, and I would consider Emotiva or Pro Audio amplifiers to drive your front speakers with clean power.
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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This is at a more expensive price point, but I received a quote from an installer who recommended the Denon AVR-3312CI:
http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AVR3312C...1535035&sr=8-1

The other components he suggested were 3 x Monitor Audio R225HD for wall mounts, 2 x Monitor Audio Bronze CP IC, and a Velodyne DEQ-10R subwoofer. Adding it all up, it comes in at just below 3k, not including any wiring cost. What do you think?
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:54 PM
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Do you really want to spend that much on a receiver? The Monitor Audio
Radius is nice, if you do not play your system at real high levels. Do you
want to spend a lot, on in-ceiling speakers?


"This is at a more expensive price point, but I received a quote from an installer who recommended the Denon AVR-3312CI:"
http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AVR3312C...1535035&sr=8-1
"The other components he suggested were 3 x Monitor Audio R225HD for wall mounts, 2 x Monitor Audio Bronze CP IC, and a Velodyne DEQ-10R subwoofer. Adding it all up, it comes in at just below 3k, not including any wiring cost. What do you think?"

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Old 07-24-2011, 05:53 PM
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The receiver is nice, but I don't think it's doing much the Onkyo already isn't doing. Unless it has some features you want that the Onkyo doesn't, I would skip that. As for the speakers, monitor is a well regarded brand, but those won't have the punch of the ones I listed. They look nice, but they won't exactly be giving you the "THX you are at the movies" goose bumps. I don't think they will sound bad though, just not rockin' speakers. The sub he recommended is just sad, stay away from that thing. As usual per installers, the subwoofer is utterly shortchanged. All in all, I don't think the system he recommended is terrible, it will look very nice, and not draw attention to itself. As far as audio performance goes, however, it is a long way from bang-for-your-buck.
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post
The receiver is nice, but I don't think it's doing much the Onkyo already isn't doing. Unless it has some features you want that the Onkyo doesn't, I would skip that.
Agreed. I think I'm pretty set on the Onkyo TX-NR809 (you did mean NR809, right?)

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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post
As for the speakers, monitor is a well regarded brand, but those won't have the punch of the ones I listed. They look nice, but they won't exactly be giving you the "THX you are at the movies" goose bumps.
Is there a speaker that manages to look nice as a wall mount *and* sound good? Or maybe some middle ground? The hsu's have an 8" depth, whereas the monitor's come in just over 4".

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The sub he recommended is just sad, stay away from that thing. As usual per installers, the subwoofer is utterly shortchanged.
Roger that!
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:31 PM
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It is difficult to get a big sound from small speakers. It usually means having very powerful drivers, and that tends to be expensive. And even then, most small speakers sacrifice width and height but not so much depth. Even most 5" woofer speakers are deeper than 8". There are some good smaller speakers, such as NHT's Zero One, but I don't know of any good shallow speakers that make for an impressive sounding home theater. That isn't to say they don't exist, I just personally don't know of any. Also, if they do exist, they will probably be expensive. Sorry I can't help you more on this point, hopefully someone else can offer some good recommendations.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Relleum View Post
Is there a speaker that manages to look nice as a wall mount *and* sound good? Or maybe some middle ground? The hsu's have an 8" depth, whereas the monitor's come in just over 4".
Take a look at Focal - The Sib XL
http://www.dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/25554

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Old 07-24-2011, 10:22 PM
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I am no audiophile or expert, but I was in your spot a couple years ago. First, my 2 cents on receivers. I have a Denon. It has great features, sounds good and has been reliable. The only issue is the interface and manual suck so much I would almost avoid Denon in the future. Maybe they have improved since 2008.

As far as speakers, try the Paradigm Cinema series. Their website has links to lots of reviews. I auditioned 3 of the Cinema 330s, 2 ADP 190s and the Ultracube 10. They sounded great. You would need to replace the wall mounted ADPs with in-wall speakers, but Paradigm has a bunch of those (can't vouch for how they sound though). If the price is too high you could either drop down to the Cinema 220s, or get a cheaper sub. If you have room for a bigger sub, you could get a good sub for 500 or so if you don't need such a compact sub as the Ultracube. I didn't try the other Paradigm subs, so I am not sure how good those are.

I ended up getting a sub from SVS, the PB 10-NSD. I don't think they make that entry level sub anymore though, but it is great. I have heard great things about HSU, but never heard one.

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Old 07-25-2011, 09:03 PM
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I an unsure of the proper posting edicate but my situation is similar to that of Relleum as i am unsure of what speaker that I should get for my home theater. *I already have an Denon AVR 3312CI and an epson 8700ub. *Theater room is dedicated with total light control. *The room is 20'6" wide and 32'9" long. *The stage will be 3' deep and with be covered by acoustically *neutral material. *The screen will be about 142" diag (120" wide). *The first row of 4 seats will have the people heads around 13" from the screen, *the second row of 5seats on a 12" riser will have the peoples heads around *19'6" from the screen and the final row will be a bar table with tall bar stool with the peoples head at around 24" used only for special occasion aka the superbowl. *The room is concrete block with a tile floor ( it's in the Caribbean)

The room will be used for watching hd movies and playing video games i.e. Xbox &playstation. *I am not audiophile I would just like some speakers that fill the room and sound good.

I have looked at all the recommendations above and was wondering if they were applicable to my situation? *I was wondering about a 7.2 system or even a 9.2 using the prologic IIz? *My budget for the speakers is 3k but I could go to4k if it really would make a noticeable difference to an average Joe. *The front speakers and bass can be big and ugly as they will be hidden in the stage. *It would be nice if I could roof mount the rear channels. *The side channels could be wall mounted or standing. *

I again apologize if I should have started a new thread and thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loophole View Post

I an unsure of the proper posting edicate but my situation is similar to that of Relleum as i am unsure of what speaker that I should get for my home theater.

Not a problem. The word is Etiquette, though

Quote:


I have looked at all the recommendations above and was wondering if they were applicable to my situation?

I didn't really look above to see which speakers you were looking, but I'll tell you that good speakers transcend what you're using them for, plain and simple. Of course you want a smidgen more max output for one thing where you might want a smidgen more timbral accuracy for another, but at the end of the day good speakers are good speakers.

I always recommend worrying about fronts and placement and room acoustics before you worry about subs, and worrying about good multiple subs before you worry about side surrounds, and not worrying about surround backs until you're 100% satisfied with 4.2 or 5.2 first. I also don't subscribe to the "you need a center" group since I find a lot of centers sound worse than no center at all, and ends up being a waste of money which could have gone else where. I do think a great center is worth having but i'd rather spend more on two great mains than skimp and add a centre.

As for recommendations, like I said, I don't know what was recommended earlier, but I guess with a $3000 budget I'd be looking at some good stereo mains like the Revel F12s, RBH e55ti, Salk Songtowers, Aperion Verus Grand, and PSB Image T6 to name a few. For a center, I would only consider it if it's NOT an MTM. For subs I would be looking at maybe two Rythmik FV12s for example. Before surrounds I'd consider corner bass traps and properly placed diffusion panels. For surrounds I wouldn't be looking too high end... I'd be more focused on placement. If necessary, I would supplement the stereo mains with a separates amp, but only if the complex impedance measurements suggest you need one.

Actually, I would do this

One Pair Philharmonic Audio 1 speakers
Two Rythmik FV15 subwoofers
Four Packs of Roxul 60 to make 12" corner bass traps with.

2.2 should take up the majority of your budget. After that, decide for yourself how much you feel the need to spend on surrounds consider how little content material truly, genuinely uses these channels. Personally my recommendation for surround speakers would be

1) Active studio monitors to take the load off the receiver
2) wide vertical dispersion if they are going to be placed higher than your ears
3) Sealed, not ported.
4) Flat frequency response

The closest I can think of to a sure bet for a surround speaker is the JBL LSR2325

A pair of these for $400 is all you need to spend on surrounds. Don't worry about timbral matching between surrounds and mains - if they are good speakers it's not a huge problem. And I'm positive these are both not just good, but excellent speakers.

Don't think that you NEED seven speakers or that "one sub is enough" - I'm confident that 4.2 will amaze you. You don't need golden ears to hear what fine speakers can do - just some well recorded, well mixed, well mastered, and pleasant to listen to source material.

P.S. - I may have overshot your budget >_>;;
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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So far the Focal Sib XL and Monitor HD 225 are front runners for the front left, right, and center. Are there any other on wall speakers that I should be considering? Maybe the Definitive Technology Mythos series?
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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So I'm pretty set on the Paradigm Millenia LPs for LCR, since aesthetics to match a 1.5"-thick lcd are pretty important.

My question is, can I pair these with HSU in-celing speakers found here: http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hiwspeaker.html

I'm somewhat concerned about voice matching, and also about these rears being overbearing since these are definitely more capable than the Paradigm LPs.

What do you think?
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:16 PM
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It mostly doesn't make a difference what you use for surrounds, unless the speakers are truly awful. The Hsu speakers will work fine. As long as the receiver can set the levels for the rears with some kind of room correction, and most new receivers do that.
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

It mostly doesn't make a difference what you use for surrounds, unless the speakers are truly awful. The Hsu speakers will work fine. As long as the receiver can set the levels for the rears with some kind of room correction, and most new receivers do that.

I don't agree with that. I have done SPL measurements on several movies and the surrounds produce SPL equivalent to the mains during many scenes. Of course, it only matters if you listen at volumes beyond the speakers capabilities, but for HT the surrounds should be selected using the same SPL criteria as the mains since they will be tasked with reproducing the same SPL during some scenes.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

It mostly doesn't make a difference what you use for surrounds, unless the speakers are truly awful. The Hsu speakers will work fine. As long as the receiver can set the levels for the rears with some kind of room correction, and most new receivers do that.

My automation guy warned against square HSU ceiling speakers, since they will look bad aesthetically (especially in conjunction with round high hats everywhere). Can I get the same quality sound out of a round speaker, and if so - what do you recommend?
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I was looking at these Yamaha 8" for the rear LR speakers, but also for the in ceiling speakers for the bedroom (which will *not* have a supplemental subwoofer).

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-NS-IW48...pr_product_top

Just like what was mentioned here, as long as they don't suck, they should be fine for surrounds. But what about the bedroom - how much will I be losing from the HSU ceiling speakers?
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Old 09-27-2011, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Relleum View Post

I was looking at these Yamaha 8" for the rear LR speakers, but also for the in ceiling speakers for the bedroom (which will *not* have a supplemental subwoofer).

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-NS-IW48...pr_product_top

I would still put Snell on your list.
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...er-Each/1.html

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Who and Where - is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:49 AM
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I was reading this thread earlier and then saw this deal of the day at Vanns and thought I would bring them to your attention. http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...3314FF7D1.web3

My review comparisons of Energy RC-70s to Veritas V6.3 http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post21199418
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