Energy or B&W - 5.1 System Help - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I'm new here and am just starting to learn about speaker systems. I came across Energy CF-30s for $99/ea online and picked up two w/o hearing them b/c I thought it was a good deal and read good reviews. However, afterwards I went to Best Buy and heard the Energy CF-70s ($400/ea online) and B&W CM9s ($1500/ea) and loved them both, particularly the B&W...how much more is hard to measure given the cost difference. Ultimately I want to piece together a nice 5.1 system for 60% movies and 40% music for a relatively large room with 20 ft ceilings.

So my questions are:

1) At $99/ea, do you think the CF-30s or worth keeping or should I return them for the CF-70s?

2) Which Energy Sub? I was looking at either the ESW-M8 ($850 MSRP but found it for $350 online) or ESW-C10 ($400)? What difference in each should I consider? Is one better for music or movies? Or should I pony up for the top of the line Energy V-SW10 ($1099) if you think it's worth it in long run vs having to upgrade.

3) Plan B - should I just go with the B&W CM9s and over time, piece together a 5.1 B&W system when I have the money for the remaining speakers. Clearly this is a more expensive route initially, but it may save me money in the long run versus wanting to upgrade in 5-10 years.

4) I'm looking at the Denon 3312CI ($1099) for a receiver. Is this a good match for these speakers? I like Denon and this model for it's features, but I'm open to suggestions.

I have a current budget of about $2500-3000. I can either get a complete Energy 5.1 system now...or I can get two CM9s and piece the rest of a B&W system over time. I'm second guessing whether I'd notice the difference at home when I'm not in the Magnolia theater at Best Buy. I am no audiophile but I want a very nice system that I can enjoy for many years to come.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 12:44 PM
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I've had both the CF-30s (sold mine yesterday) and the CF-70s and if you want to stick with the Energy CF towers, get the 70s. They're MUCH better than the 30s. If you want the CF-70s you can get the pair right now for $500. Go to http://www.vanns.com/shop/promo and enter the promo code: energy

There are loads of other Energy speakers that the code discounts. If you want a really nice Energy system you can get the matching center (CC-10) for $200 instead of $300, the bipole/dipole surrounds for $175/pair instead of $350... The bookshelfs are also on a good sale. I don't know if I'd go with an Energy sub though. They can be nice, but if you have that big of a budget, get a good dedicated sub like an Hsu, Outlaw, or something in that category.

Hope this helps!

Or, if you REALLY want good sound, buy yourself a pair of Energy RC-10 bookshelf speakers. Then in a month and a half the RC-70 (much higher quality than even the CF-70) towers and RC-LCR will be available at Vanns. The RC series is discontinued but superior quality and has much clearer and softer sound. If I had a budget like yours I'd get an RC-LCR, 2 RC-70s, and RC-10 bookshelf surrounds with a really nice sub.

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #3 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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@Macstatic - Thanks for the quick response! I just checked Vann's...that's a great deal and it looks like it's good through October...so I have time to think about it. I'll wait to hear what others have to say about sticking with Energy or if it's worth upgrading to B&W .

What are your thoughts about the Energy Subs I mentioned? If you think I should go with another brand for the sub, can you send links or model numbers...and maybe why you think it's better (just for my own knowledge).

And is the Denon 3312 a good match for these speakers?

Lastly - it looks like the Energy RC series is discontinued? How will Vann's have it back in stock in 1.5 months?

thanks!
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post #4 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by scotsomuni View Post

@Macstatic - Thanks for the quick response! I just checked Vann's...that's a great deal and it looks like it's good through October...so I have time to think about it. I'll wait to hear what others have to say about sticking with Energy or if it's worth upgrading to B&W .

What are your thoughts about the Energy Subs I mentioned? If you think I should go with another brand for the sub, can you send links or model numbers...and maybe why you think it's better (just for my own knowledge).

And is the Denon 3312 a good match for these speakers?

thanks!

Well, B&W are nice for sure, but expensive. Like I said the RC line is supremo and some compare them to B&W of the Energy line (supposed to be Veritas but that's a long story since alot of us Energy guys aren't too fond of the new ones). But you have time. That sale goes until Halloween, and sometime just before that Vanns should get the RC center and RC-70 that are on order so you can have your pick (nobody knows how they're getting them, except that it's amazing and lucky). I have the RC-10 bookshelfs as my mains and the RC-LCR center and LOVE it. If you're thinking of getting Energy speakers, go to the Energy Owners Thread and you can ask people who own any Energy speakers specifically what they think of them. Same for if you're wanting to get B&W there is a B&W Owners thread as well.

As far as the sub, the first one you mentioned is a mini sub. It might say it has loads of power, but it won't even get close to other subs as far as sound for a space other than a small room. If you have the budget for a good sub, get a good sub. I'd only get Energy subs if they're on sale. The Outlaw LFM-1 is a great sub. There are variations of it, but if you want to go all out the LFM-1 EX is superb. Hsu subs are also phenomenal. Both Outlaw and Hsu subs were designed by Dr. Hsu, who designs flippin' awesome subwoofers. I have the Outlaw LFM-2 for my slightly smaller room although that sub has been discontinued.

As far as the Denon, holy s*** it'll definitely do the job! The thing about newer speakers is alot of them are able to produce really good sound on lower power, but with that receiver you shouldn't have a problem ever. Also, that receiver is a 7.2 receiver meaning it can have 2 subs hooked up to it. In that case, if you are setting up a dedicated home theater GET TWO SUBS!!! Having a sub on either side of your speakers makes a really amazing balanced bass. Wonderful. Magical.

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #5 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 01:16 PM
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You are comparing two very different speakers and prices. That is the entry level Energy line and Energy is a mostly bang for the buck brand. BW is a prestige brand.

I would go with the Energy RC line (what I have) as the other poster suggested. These are great value (I paid $1250 each for the Rc-70s when they first came out). I would not get an energy sub unless it was part of a package. Check the internet direct lines like Rythmic, id, hus, outlaw as you will get much more sub for the money and subs do not have to match rest of the speakers.

If you can stretch the budget check out the "bundle and save" on energy at vanns. The V 6.3 home theater system 5.1 package is outstanding. The Veritas line is the new top of the heap energy line. These are outstanding speakers (though slightly above RC-to my ears) and you get the surround you can adjust as di-pole, mono-pole,direct which are nice for home theater.

My review comparisons of Energy RC-70s to Veritas V6.3 http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post21199418
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post #6 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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@Macstatic - Thanks again. I just got off the phone with Vann's and they gave me a lot of great info. I asked them about the CF vs RC series...and they said they should both sound about the same...the only noticeable difference are in the materials used (Kevlar and better cabinetry on the RC series). With Vann's promotion, the RC-70s are $600/ea and the CF-70s are $250/ea...a $700 difference for a pair. Do you think it's worth it?

He also recommended Velodyne or Rel for subs. Any thoughts on these companies? How do they stack up against the Outlaw and Hsu that your recommended?

@CalgaryCowboy - Thanks! Have you compared the RC line vs CF? I will look into the bundled Energy packages as well.
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post #7 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 02:43 PM
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No comparison between the CF and RC line. Meaning I have heard both and the Rc is on a totally different level and much better (read huge) in every way. The guy at Vanns must not have compared the actual sound from the two.

I have a velo sub but the internet direct companies are the way to go. They are only sold direct so vanns, best buy ect don't carry them. You just get more and better for the money then any consumer brand out there.

My review comparisons of Energy RC-70s to Veritas V6.3 http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post21199418
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post #8 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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@CalgaryCowboy Thanks again for your advice. I wish I could hear them in person to compare the CF vs RC series, but I'm sure the RC series is superior. Did the Veritas series replace the RC series? I'm now leaning towards pre-ordering from Vanns two RC-70s (on sale for $600/ea) and a RC-LCR (on sale for $350/ea). Unfortunately they won't be available until October, but given the price, it seems like a deal worth jumping on. You think that's a good way to go? I'd like to somewhat "future-proof" my investment, so if the RC series is noticeably better, I'd rather spend the extra money for the upgrade now.

As for subs - which of those internet direct brands do you like the best? Any particular model?
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post #9 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scotsomuni View Post

@CalgaryCowboy Thanks again for your advice. I wish I could hear them in person to compare the CF vs RC series, but I'm sure the RC series is superior. Did the Veritas series replace the RC series? I'm now leaning towards pre-ordering from Vanns two RC-70s (on sale for $600/ea) and a RC-LCR (on sale for $350/ea). Unfortunately they won't be available until October, but given the price, it seems like a deal worth jumping on. You think that's a good way to go? I'd like to somewhat "future-proof" my investment, so if the RC series is noticeably better, I'd rather spend the extra money for the upgrade now.

As for subs - which of those internet direct brands do you like the best? Any particular model?

As for the newer Veritas, they are nice, but they're pretty much Klipsch trying to rake in money with the name. The older Veritas are fantastic (find Hank Mardukous on here, he has several), but the newer ones are just too pricey. Most people say that the RCs are close enough where when the price is a factor, you are getting more bang for your buck getting the RC line.

If you get the RC series you won't need to upgrade. The CF series is nice, but not near as nice as the RCs. The CF towers can get loud, but it gets sort of "buzzy" at high volumes and sounds like the speakers are screaming into your ears.

My wife said it perfectly (I post her quote all the time for people with this same question), speaking of the RC line "It's like the sound floats into your ears instead of being crammed down them." My wife and I were both impressed that our ears didn't hurt after listening to them. Some speakers give what is called "ear fatigue", and trust me, once you have felt it, you remember it. Since we've gotten the RC line, we can play the speakers as loud as we want and the music or movies are crystal clear with very low distortion.

I only wish I could afford the RC-70s when they are on Vanns. It's the last piece to my puzzle HT-wise. I know waiting is hard, but they'd be worth the wait. Plus, you can't tell in the pictures, but the build quality is astoundingly better for the RC line. It's superior furniture-grade quality vs. whatever wood the CF-s are made of ???

As far as internet direct (means that the manufacturer is the only one that officially sells them to be shipped, not picked up), is where I'd go with Hsu or Outlaw. Velodyne's are nice, but they're in between the ones you can pick up in the store and the Hsus and Outlaws. There are other brands too like Rythmic, Epik, etc.

Like I said before though, try to budget it in to get TWO subwoofers. Since you have money to get nice speakers, you should go all out Most internet direct subwoofer companies will give you a discounted price for buying a pair since alot of audiophiles buy two for their systems, so look into that.

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #10 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I think I'll go ahead and order the RCs...can't wait!

As far as rears, I was originally looking at the Energy CR-10s so I can mount them to my back wall. Thoughts on these? Or is there an RC equivalent I should consider?
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post #11 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 05:03 PM
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I vote for Plan B. I had Energy RC speakers and went B&W and never looked back. Start with the speakers you REALLY want and keep adding to them until you have a complete system. I started out with just two, then added a sub, then added center and rears. Even if you don't go with B&W, it's important to get speakers that you can live with for a LONG time.

As for subs, don't bother with either B&W or Energy subs, they will be a pale shadow of the subs you can get from Internet Direct companies like Epik, Elemental Designs, SVS, Hsu, Outlaw etc. Subs don't have to be matched with main speakers.

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post #12 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks. I think I'll go ahead and order the RCs...can't wait!

As far as rears, I was originally looking at the Energy CR-10s so I can mount them to my back wall. Thoughts on these? Or is there an RC equivalent I should consider?

RC-10s can mount easy enough (depending on your situation), but the RC-R is the equivalent of the surround.

http://www.energy-speakers.com/na-en...rc-r-overview/

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #13 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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@warpdrive - oh man...you threw wrench into the mix! ...lol. I'll have to sleep on it now. I have heard the B&W CM9s and they were perfect for me, but also much more than Energy CF-70s which I thought were also very very nice at a a better price point for me. If the RC-70s are supposedly better than the CF-70s, I have a feeling that they may be a good compromise for me w/o breaking the bank. It's a tough call since I cannot hear the RC's to compare.

@Macstatic - do you know where I can find the RC-R's? I did not see them at Vanns.
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post #14 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 06:58 PM
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@Macstatic - do you know where I can find the RC-R's? I did not see them at Vanns.

They're not around right now, they pop up around the web every now and then. Where are you located?

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #15 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I found them on Amazon for $350...I assume its for a pair, but I don't see it in the description. http://www.amazon.com/Energy-RC-R-Su...4669837&sr=1-1

You think this is a good price? Or should I take advantage of the Vann's deal for the Energy CR-10s for $200/pair on sale.

Also - I'm looking at the Denon 3312CI which is 125 watts/channel. The RC-Rs are rated at 125 watts. Would this be a problem?
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I found them on Amazon for $350...I assume its for a pair, but I don't see it in the description. http://www.amazon.com/Energy-RC-R-Su...4669837&sr=1-1

You think this is a good price? Or should I take advantage of the Vann's deal for the Energy CR-10s for $200/pair on sale.

Also - I'm looking at the Denon 3312CI which is 125 watts/channel. The RC-Rs are rated at 125 watts. Would this be a problem?

That is for a single RC-R. I'd take advantage of the RC-10 for $240/pair. (go to http://www.vanns.com/shop/promo and enter promo code "amexaudio". That way you get the pair for $60 cheaper with this new promo code and you can see if you like the type of sound they put out.

The thing is with the types of speakers you're looking into getting, the watts per channel will be safe. That is the peak for watts used, but it doesn't take that much to power them. In fact with their sensitivity rating it probably only takes a fraction of that. That whole receiver probably only powers all the speakers at about 125 watts total, but that's still a monster receiver!

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #17 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 08:21 PM
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I live in Canada so I don't have first had experience with those subs but reading here I would get the rythmic if I could. The RC are very high end speakers at not very high prices. Between them and the BW it comes down to personal taste. I have had mine for 4 years and have not been tempted even once to upgrade. Do a google search as there was many pro reviews done when they first came out to get a sensse of what they are like.

My review comparisons of Energy RC-70s to Veritas V6.3 http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post21199418
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post #18 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks! I just pre-ordered the RC-70s, RC-LCR, and the Denon 3312. Using the promotion code, I saved a bunch...thanks! Where do you find these codes? When I use the "energy" code, the RC-10s are actually $175 vs $260 with the other code.

I am going to think about which rear speakers and sub I should go with. From what I've read, I like either the Hsub or SVS...people seem to really like them both.
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post #19 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 08:39 PM
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Thanks! I just pre-ordered the RC-70s, RC-LCR, and the Denon 3312. Using the promotion code, I saved a bunch...thanks! Where do you find these codes? When I use the "energy" code, the RC-10s are actually $175 vs $260 with the other code.

I am going to think about which rear speakers and sub I should go with. From what I've read, I like either the Hsub or SVS...people seem to really like them both.

Are you meaning CR-10? There is a difference. The RC-10 gets as low as $240 and the CR-10 can get as low as $104 (I just bought a pair for myself)

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #20 of 32 Old 08-29-2011, 08:39 PM
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He also recommended Velodyne or Rel for subs. Any thoughts on these companies? How do they stack up against the Outlaw and Hsu that your recommended?

Generally they don't stack up. Mainly because with subs, it's all about having the best robust drivers that move more air, high output amps, and a large enclosure which increases efficiency.

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As for subs - which of those internet direct brands do you like the best? Any particular model?

Some of the recommended brands in the $500-$1000-ish range are Epik, eD, SVS, and Hsu (Outlaw). If you have a large room, I'd recommend the larger Hsu (Outlaw) subs like the LFM-1EX, VTF3, VTF15H, SVS PB12-NSD, or Rythmik FV15HP, elemental designs A7S-450. I have found SVS and Hsu very excellent (personal experience) in getting support (no experience with the others since I live in Canada)

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@warpdrive - oh man...you threw wrench into the mix! ...lol. I'll have to sleep on it now. I have heard the B&W CM9s and they were perfect for me, but also much more than Energy CF-70s which I thought were also very very nice at a a better price point for me. If the RC-70s are supposedly better than the CF-70s, I have a feeling that they may be a good compromise for me w/o breaking the bank.

You should consider what feels right than what is the current best "deal". I'd forgo the CF series, I don't find them very good, the RC is a lot better IMO. Personally I prefer the CMs myself as they just sound a bit more natural. Yes, they cost a lot more but it's partly about getting that extra 5-10% improvement that makes the music sound just a bit more convincng.

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post #21 of 32 Old 08-30-2011, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
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@Macstatic - oops...I meant to write CR-10s (not RC-10s) for $175. Where did you find them for $104? How do you like your CR-10s as rear speakers? I was thinking of mounting the CR-10s to my back wall. If I had the space, I would consider getting the RC-10s instead.

@warpdrive - again, thanks for the advice..all good points. As for subs, I'm leaning towards the Hsu VTF15H. Do you have any experience with this particular sub?
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post #22 of 32 Old 08-30-2011, 07:37 AM
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@Macstatic - oops...I meant to write CR-10s (not RC-10s) for $175. Where did you find them for $104? How do you like your CR-10s as rear speakers? I was thinking of mounting the CR-10s to my back wall. If I had the space, I would consider getting the RC-10s instead.

use promo codes "energy" and "amexaudio" for $104 for CR-10 pair. You'll also find that most everything else is ridiculously lower price too once you add the amexaudio promo code.

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #23 of 32 Old 08-30-2011, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks! Just ordered them. I still can't believe the prices at Vann's.
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post #24 of 32 Old 08-30-2011, 07:45 AM
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Thanks! Just ordered them. I still can't believe the prices at Vann's.

Oh and you asked how I liked them? I ordered them yesterday so I have no idea I read reviews and such, and they seem pretty good. I'm getting them because in my apartment I can't have too much mounted (I'd have to repair any holes I make before I move out), so these are supposed to hang on a standard screw vs. having to attach to a mount.

Did you see the price on the RC-10? Even if you don't get them for rears, buy a pair. They're already discounted to $300, but they become $240 with the promo codes. Listen to them to see if you like the RC sound, and that way you feel better about waiting til October. Plus, if you like them and don't have room for them in HT, they work fantastic as computer speakers Also, in my HT setup, my RC-10s are laying on their side (no sound difference to me), so if you had to do that you could to fit them.

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #25 of 32 Old 08-30-2011, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Tempting, especially at the promotion price...but I won't have the space for RC-10s once the RC-70s come. I'll use that money towards a nice sub instead.
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post #26 of 32 Old 09-01-2011, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Tempting, especially at the promotion price...but I won't have the space for RC-10s once the RC-70s come. I'll use that money towards a nice sub instead.

I caved in after reading the reviews for the RC-10s. I just called Vann's, and at least over the phone, they honored the stacked promotion prices. I just ordered a pair of the RC-10s for $239. For those still looking at the CR-10s for $104, it might be worth calling.
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post #27 of 32 Old 09-01-2011, 01:26 PM
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I caved in after reading the reviews for the RC-10s.

You won't be disappointed. They're fantastic. Totally changed my views on bookshelf speakers. By the way my CR-10 pair gets here tomorrow, so I'll let y'all know how they sound with the RC-10, RC-LCR.

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #28 of 32 Old 09-01-2011, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Sweet! I'm excited to hear them. My Denon 3312, CR-10s, and RC-10s should be here early next week. My RC-70s and RC-LCR won't be here until late October, according to Vanns.

Any recommendations for speaker wire for them? Does it matter much since I'm only running 20ft runs max? I have Amazon Prime and I'm looking at this: http://www.amazon.com/RCA-AH14100SN-...pr_product_top Reviews seem solid enough. I plan to get some banana plugs too.
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post #29 of 32 Old 09-01-2011, 01:55 PM
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@warpdrive - again, thanks for the advice..all good points. As for subs, I'm leaning towards the Hsu VTF15H. Do you have any experience with this particular sub?

I am well aware of that sub. You won't go wrong with that choice

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post #30 of 32 Old 09-04-2011, 03:24 PM
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Thanks! I just pre-ordered the RC-70s, RC-LCR, and the Denon 3312. Using the promotion code, I saved a bunch...thanks! Where do you find these codes? When I use the "energy" code, the RC-10s are actually $175 vs $260 with the other code.

I am going to think about which rear speakers and sub I should go with. From what I've read, I like either the Hsub or SVS...people seem to really like them both.
What did the RC-LCR come out to be after the stackable promotions? I found it on overstock for 299.

Also, did the promotions aplly to your preorder of the rc-70s?
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