Small Speakers Challenge - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 12-09-2011, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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This forum is awesome! I have been out of touch for more than a decade and learnt a lot on the latest tech by reading various posts.

I had the same 5.1 audio system since 13 years and I like it even today (Paradigm Mini Monitors, Atoms, CC-170, PDR-8, Marantz-5001). We moved to a differnt house and all my problems started. The layout of the family room forced the 65" TV to a corner of the room because of the fireplace and cabinets. The place to put speakers on either side of the TV is pretty small (7" wide x 9" high x 9" deep). Adding to that pain, wife wants to do interior design.

I am looking to replace all my HT audio components starting with speakers. The speakers need to be small so that they fit on either side of the TV. I strongly prefer neutral and clean sound with a nice soundstage.

My usage is about 60% movies, 40% music (Wide variety of music: heavy metal, mainstream pop, trance, alternative, new age...) Budget is $1,500 to $2,000 for 5 speakers.

So far I have auditioned these speakers: Deftech Pro Cinema series, Martin Logan Motions, Paradigm MilleniaOne, NHT Verve, B&W M1B, Energy CB-5. To my ears, Paradigm MilleniaOne sound the best among these different speakers.

Are there any other speakers in this small footprint that I should be considering? How do Absolute Zeros compare with MilleniaOnes?

Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 20 Old 12-15-2011, 12:58 PM
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What size is your room? Most of the speakers you mentioned are pretty small, so they might struggle in a larger area (or if you like to watch movies with the volume loud).

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post #3 of 20 Old 12-15-2011, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimwilson View Post

what size is your room? Most of the speakers you mentioned are pretty small, so they might struggle in a larger area (or if you like to watch movies with the volume loud).

+1

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post #4 of 20 Old 12-15-2011, 03:07 PM
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The Cambridge Audio s30 has a small footprint and it sounds way bigger then it looks.
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post #5 of 20 Old 12-15-2011, 03:35 PM
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Also check out the Golden Ear Supersat series. Their folded motion tweeter provides a very sweet but detailed highs not normally heard with normal dome tweeters. It's the only speaker that would give my MilleniaOnes a run for my money

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post #6 of 20 Old 12-15-2011, 04:58 PM
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If your looking for the biggest possible sound out of those dimensions I would suggest the following:

X4 Klipsch rb-41II - $600 for 4
X1 Klipsch rc-42II center - $250 at most

The rb-41's JUST fit in the space you mentioned.
Plus they will likely have the highest WAF as the copper woofers seem to impress
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post #7 of 20 Old 12-15-2011, 05:00 PM
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"We moved to a differnt house and all my problems started. The layout of the family room forced the 65" TV to a corner of the room because of the fireplace and cabinets. The place to put speakers on either side of the TV is pretty small (7" wide x 9" high x 9" deep). Adding to that pain, wife wants to do interior design."

Man need mancave! Big, brute, manly speakers GOOD, wimpy minisats BAD LOL! Sorry for your unfortunate situation, best of luck with solution.

Jay

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post #8 of 20 Old 12-15-2011, 05:08 PM
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Is it possible to mount the tv above the fireplace? Then you could go for some floor standers and larger surrounds to fill your room?

Life is hard, be harder.
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post #9 of 20 Old 12-15-2011, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Valid point Jim/Dan. Room size is 16x18 and the room opens into dining/kitchen area which is 20x20. I am also concerned about the capability of small satellites filling up a room of this size.

Thanks to bearchan, who opened a door to the world of ID Speakers for me. I just cannot believe the price point vs the Specs on the ID Speakers. In my search, I found this setup looked good: Arx A1 (with A2 as center). Other choice would be Ascend HTM-200 (with CMT 340 as center). Any feedback on these setups for the room size?

Unfortunately, with ID Speakers, I have to order and audition them at my home which is ok I guess.
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post #10 of 20 Old 12-15-2011, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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"Man need mancave! Big, brute, manly speakers GOOD, wimpy minisats BAD LOL!"

Could not agree more!!!!

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post #11 of 20 Old 12-16-2011, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkshm View Post

Valid point Jim/Dan. Room size is 16x18 and the room opens into dining/kitchen area which is 20x20. I am also concerned about the capability of small satellites filling up a room of this size.

How tall is the ceiling? The total cubic volume of the room is critical when making a determination, not just the square footage. What you can get away with in a room that has 8' ceilings you won't be able to do in a room with 12' ceilings.

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Unfortunately, with ID Speakers, I have to order and audition them at my home which is ok I guess.

Ironically, that may also be their biggest strength...

While there is definitely value in being able to walk into a store and audition something before you buy it -- a process I sorely miss -- that doesn't always equate to the same experience you would get when listening to that speaker in your own environment. The electronics you have, and the room acoustics, can drastically alter the sound. And it's a virtual certainty that your speaker placement and seating position will differ to how the store was laid out, which is another critical factor about a speakers sound.

It's always nice to at least have a general understanding of what a speaker will sound like before committing to a home audition, but with the ID companies that's not possible. Their business model seems counter-intuitive, and in some respects it really is, but that's actually the ideal place to audition them; your own home. If you find that they don't work then you're out some time and money, which is always unfortunate, but in a lot of instances if you opt to keep the speakers the value they provide was worth it.

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post #12 of 20 Old 12-16-2011, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Ceiling height is 9'.

I agree with your comments on the ID company business model. If I end up going with the ID speakers, I'll definitely share my experiences with the group.
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post #13 of 20 Old 12-16-2011, 09:26 AM
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If I were in that situation I would get four of the NHT Super-Zero 2.0 speakers, which are very good and only $99 each at Audio Advisor (9 x 5.5 x 5 inches) and the Velodyne Wi connect 10 subwoofer, which can be wirelessly located anywhere in the room, for $399. Those are good little speakers; don't know of anything as good in that size.

I don't know if you really want or need a center speaker, but NHT makes the NHT Absolute Center for $299, which is compact. Personally, I would just go with the front, rear, and sub and forget using a center speaker, but if a center is your preference you could either get the NHT Center or just try the CC-170 with the NHT speakers for a while and see how that works, and then decide. The CC-170 may work fine.

You really DO want to get a better subwoofer immediately; the one you have is VERY limited in both LF range and sound output and quality. Even the Sony SA-W3000, which you can get on Amazon for $130, is a MUCH better one than what you have (over twice the cone area and twice the amplifier power; 10 times as much bass)! The Sony would be a good choice if you don't want to spend the money for the Velodyne right now.

Since ANY speaker small enough to fit your space is going to give very little output below 90 HZ, the subwoofer is really going to be critical to getting decent overall sound, so the one you have is NOT going to be adequate!

Audio Advisor gives you 30 days to return anything for a full refund, no tax and no shipping charge; you do pay return shipping on returns.

P.S.- That's a nice receiver; hang on to that one!

********************************************************

I had the same 5.1 audio system since 13 years and I like it even today (Paradigm Mini Monitors, Atoms, CC-170, PDR-8, Marantz-5001). We moved to a differnt house and all my problems started. The layout of the family room forced the 65" TV to a corner of the room because of the fireplace and cabinets. The place to put speakers on either side of the TV is pretty small (7" wide x 9" high x 9" deep). Adding to that pain, wife wants to do interior design.

I am looking to replace all my HT audio components starting with speakers. The speakers need to be small so that they fit on either side of the TV. I strongly prefer neutral and clean sound with a nice soundstage.
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post #14 of 20 Old 12-16-2011, 09:39 AM
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The Cambridge Audio Minx system should be in the mix if small satelitte speakers are the only option. There is an active thread about those...

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub
Set up #3: JBL130, JBL120C and Klipsch synergy sub
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post #15 of 20 Old 12-16-2011, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Appreciate all the input on the different options. I am taking notes on all the different brands and will check them out.
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post #16 of 20 Old 12-16-2011, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkshm View Post

Appreciate all the input on the different options. I am taking notes on all the different brands and will check them out.

If you liked the Paradigms you had I would look at the MilleniaOnes. They are not going to hit reference levels in a room that size but they should sound good for normal listening.
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post #17 of 20 Old 12-16-2011, 03:08 PM
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A few other small satellites that you might want to add to your list are the Kef HTS2001.3 and the HTS3001SE/HTC3001.SE combination; the Klipsch Quintet; Polk Blackstone TL3; Focal Dome. The CA Minx 20 is a good suggestion too - those seem to be well liked.

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post #18 of 20 Old 12-16-2011, 04:21 PM
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You budget is decent for 5 speakers, my top choice would be the Genelec 6010 or slightly larger 8020. A little more pain to wire but worth it. If there is no Genelec home theater dealer that has these to demo near you, many music stores will have them.
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post #19 of 20 Old 01-06-2012, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Finally took the leap and ordered Arx A1 speakers:
http://www.theaudioinsider.com/produ...products_id=65

I have been listening to them for a week now. I should say that I am pretty impressed, especially keeping the cost in mind.

I am a HUGE Paradigm fan, I never thought that I would like speakers from any other brand.

I'll post a detailed review.
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post #20 of 20 Old 01-06-2012, 06:36 PM
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I'm glad you're enjoying them. Look forward to seeing your write up.

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