You all have been great! Thanks to all for your replies on this thread. It has been very informative!I've Narrowed It Down...
It has also been challenging to sort through the options against my size constraints. I have found that outside of an HTIB solution, I can come close with just a few non-HTIB solutions.
I've ordered the TV and will know precisely my size constraints for the center speaker later this week, right now I estimate 4 inches are available from bottom of TV stand to top of the TV's bottom bezel. I've also found a shelf that seems the right size and able to support the TV to give me extra 2 inches height, totaling approximately 6 inches for a center speaker's height.
Because of where I am going to place them, and the detailed/thoughtful feedback I received from sholling about the effects of having bass ports / vents, it took quite some time to research, but I have found that the speakers from Definitive Technology are best fit. They have speakers that have good performance specs, that are almost the right size (i.e. 4 inch center) or have a few more that are close (i.e. within 6 inches for center), and that are sealed / passive radiator.
BarnacleBill is right that suggestions provided tend to bust the budget. Fortunately, I can stretch my budget (hey, I can spend way more, but I think there are clearly diminishing returns here and I'm trying for a practical balance of performance to a reasonable budget...just like I drive Ford/Toyota vs BMW/Lexus, even though I could).
Clearly, my budget is blown going the non-HTIB route (and that is going 3.1 with DefTec and, say, the Emotiva Ultra 12), even with the lowest priced units. Brand new, the minimum will be $840, and the maximum $1430 (ouch!). Perhaps I can mitigate this and get close to my budget if I find a good deal used (more on this later).Questions on Matching...
For folks who know DefTec, is there tonal match between the Mythos line and the StudioMonitor or ProMonitor speakers?
I am prompted to ask, as one of the recommended configurations from DefTec
is ProMonitor 800 satellites with Mythos 3 center (and Mythos 6 fronts). This seems to imply some tonal matching, though, granted, satellites are less critical for this. If I can match Mythos, Studio, Pro then I can have the greatest flexibility when hunting for deals. For instance, the Mythos 7 has the best fitting height at 4.1 inches (if it comes to that) and I'd like to use Studios or Pros work with this.Questions on Sound Quality...
How should I rank the following Bookshelves for sound quality? Based on frequency response, it seem to be as follows, but price per pair (lowest I could find) does not follow this order. There may be other factors/characteristics that play into SQ that I am not knowledgeable about (e.g. Mythos Gems have the angled drivers).
- StudioMonitor 450 - $658 (nearly most expensive)
- StudioMonitor 350 - $498
- ProMonitor 1000 - $438
- Mythos Gem XL - $698 (most expensive)
- ProMonitor 800 - $290 (cheapest)
- Mythos Gem - $558
How should I rank the following Centers for sound quality?
- C/L/R 2002 - $356
- ProCenter 2000 - $349 (may be too tall at 6.5 inches)
- Mythos 3 - $300
- ProCenter 1000 - $220 (cheapest)
- Mythos 7 - $399 (this is most expensive and is the shortest at 4.1 inches)
Not sure what I can land through the used market, but the ProMonitor 800s with the ProCenter 1000 is the cheapest way to go new. Assuming I pick up a good sub, will I find anything lacking with this combo?Question on Subs...
If I were to go with ProMonitor 800s and ProCenter 1000, that would be just over $500. An Ultra 12 is another $330. I could stretch a couple hundred more to get a better sub (as recommended by a few folks here, as making a noticeable difference for our enjoyment). It seems that threshold is reaching 20Hz (thanks sholling).
Hsu was recommended, and I checked them out...looks like VTF-2 MK4 fits the bill at 18Hz. It goes for $519, which keeps me at about the $1000 mark. If feedback here on the 800s + 1000 indicates I ought to upgrade from them, I think my backup plan is the Ultra 12 for a sub to keep cost down.
Thoughts/Recommendations?Question on Buying Used...
Being an noob and not being an audiophile, how do I evaluate a used speaker for condition? What discount from retail should I expect (>50%?)?
In my city, through Craigslist I see some DefTec speakers advertised. They are not much below current new prices, but I presume that is negotiable. I presume I should test them first, but what should I bring and what should I look for (i.e. potential problem areas)?Thanks!
I know I've put a lot out there today for feedback, but I do appreciate all the responses so far. It has been an education, and I feel that when the dust settles I'll have a system our family can really enjoy, while not busting the bank, thanks to your knowledgeable input.
I look forward to you responses.