Noob with dilemma: large room, small budget, need design help - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 63 Old 02-29-2012, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Our sons gifted us a 50" Panny plasma. I have been reading on here and researching for quite awhile now. I have been to Magnolia and 1 other local audio store. I decided against a soundbar & HTIB and decided to gradually build a surround system. I have never had any nice A/V equipment before. So thought this would be a nice time to get started. Here is some info:
The room is a 20' x 27' high arched ceiling (aprox 5800 cuft ). The tv is centered and mounted on one end wall. The main viewing couch is 12' from tv. In the center of the 2 long walls there is a 9' glass patio door and a 7' opening, to the rest of the house, on the other wall.
Our usage is 60% Directv/movies and 40% music (classic rock-soft & hard ), probably bookshelf speakers for now (budget & wife). Dialog and clarity very important.
I would rather not sell old equipment to upgrade, rather just buy the 2.0 system to begin with and grow. But it would be possible to move smaller speakers to the master bedroom later. I'm looking for suggestions on brands and models.
Here is where I need some help. I'm gonna approach my budget in a couple of ways, depending on suggestions.

Option 1: L/R Front speakers~ $500/pair
?? A/V Receiver ~ $300-500
OK, I was told at audio store there were no $500/pr speakers that would fill my large room. So if they would get me by for awhile I would move them to the bedroom later. If they could fill the room, I would just build from here and add a center and sub later. Maybe even buy a less expensive pair, since I would be moving them.

Option 2: L/R Front Speakers ~ $1000-1300/pair
$$ A/V Receiver ~ $ no idea (an Integra was suggested at audio store)
In this case I would save for awhile and then just build on this system,(not sure if I'm patient enough though).

What I listened too were Boston Acoustics 685's ( I think )-$480/pr and a pair of Def Tech - $440/pr. The BA sounded much nicer to me. At the audio store all I listened too were Paradigm Studio 20's- $1300/pr. Very nice but wanted to hear some PSB's, no luck.
After this long post I'm hoping to get some suggestions on how you would approach this dilemma, and what speakers would fill this room. Thanks
LL
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post #2 of 63 Old 02-29-2012, 08:42 PM
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To get your money's worth on receiver, you might have to buy an older model receiver or a refurbished receiver from an authorized dealer like Accessories4less.com, etc. Denon, Yamaha, Harman Kardon, or Marantz are good choices to go with. You can find a good reciever in that price range if you go refurbished. Or find close out models that is on clearance from various stores on the internet.

If you go with bookshelf speakers, you are going to need a subwoofer. Check out one of Internet Direct subwoofer makers such as SVS, HSU, Epik, etc. Find one that can fill that room you have.

Slowly building your set up is the way to go. You'll get better quality. If you don't mind buying used speakers, you can save yourself a lot of money but you'll have to know what you are looking for.
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post #3 of 63 Old 02-29-2012, 09:58 PM
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You made the right decision by not getting a soundbar or home theater in a box, but you know that.

You also do not need to "fill" the room with sound if you don't want to. Traditional though dictates bigger and more powerful is better, but this is the future! There are now receivers that use some great tools (like denon's use of Audyssey for example) to smartly adjust your speakers to hit a sweet spot within reason.

I was able to setup a pretty darn good surround sound system at a friends house that had dimensions similar to yours (albeit taller ceiling and less depth) using the knowledge I gained here to great effect. Because speakers are directional, I was able to aim them and utilize the tools included in the newer receivers to get the speakers to produce some great sound in a decent sized viewing area. Where I made an error was assuming I could go, not cheap, but lighter than needed on the sub. The sub I went with in my friends setup just made no impact. I'm not a big audiophile, but I'm assuming the sub more non-directional nature was working against it in that large room. I had to go bigger than I though (from hsu VTF-2 MK3 to VTF-15H) and place it closer to the viewing couch while doing more floor crawling to nail the sweet spot. Even then, my smaller sub sounds better at my place due to the smaller room, but it is what it is.

The difference was that within the couch area, they had fantastic sound being delivered. It did sharply die off in quality outside the "viewing" area, but who cares, you are only walking to or from the couch with popcorn in that scenario if viewing movies.

As far as music, well that becomes more complex. I am not a big music guy, but I know folks who are and they are willing to spend so much more on the left and right front channels because they can notice a difference with their music when it comes to a $300 speaker compared to a $1000 speaker. I cannot.

I'm partial to Energy RC series speakers, and I used all Energy RC-10s to satisfy my friend for his surround sound desires in their sweet spot. I coupled this with a hsu sub as mentioned. If you are more of a music family, you might better appreciate the energy rc-70s which are on sale at vanns for around 500 a piece and should theoretically be much more powerful and music friendly, but I have actually never heard them.

Speaking of vanns, they usually have some great open box or clearance prices if you are patient. The stuff is always better than marked and you will save a decent amount. If you want to buy new stuff, the customer service is great and sometimes if you call, they can hook you up with a better deal, or try a bundle price.

Just my story, and hopefully more folks chip in. Good luck!
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post #4 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 05:09 AM
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You should be able to position your seating such that you are surrounded by the speakers focusing on the sweet spot. Then all you will need is a huge subwoofer or a pair and you are.good to go.

I recently did mine using definitive clr 2002 + sr8040bp + HK avr 2600 + pair of velodyne vx11 for around $1350.
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post #5 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 05:11 AM
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I got my equipment from electronics expo, just call and negotiate.
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post #6 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 07:29 AM
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I did some intensive shopping and listening a year ago with my goal being the best floorstanding tower speakers for under $2000, and ended up buying the PSB Image T6 speakers for $1300.

The KEF Q900s were also excellent, but the Image T6 sounded better overall to me. I bought them, and after a year I am still absolutely amazed at their excellent performance for the price.

I have Vandersteen 3A speakers ($4300) at my other home, and the T6s are so good that the listening difference is really quite small. I would have bought the Vandersteen 2C for my second home, but 9" wide is about all I had room for, and the Vandersteens are 16 inches wide...no good.

Anyway, I certainly recommend the Image T6 if they are in your price range. The T5, at $1000/pair, are also excellent. The T6 have slightly more bass, but the difference is small.

The Monitor Audio Bronze BX-6 speakers for $1000/pair, are another outstanding performer.

Any one of those three would sound excellent, and have all the power you will need.

For a receiver, there is nothing at ANY price that can come close to the sound quality and power of the Cambridge 650R receiver, but that is $1600. Home Theater magazine did a review and said the same thing. You can spend $3000 and get a lot less IMO.

If that is outside your receiver price range, the Denon AVR-2311 is probably the one I would choose from the rest of them. I think it is going for around $600. The Denon AVR-1712 is about $400, and that is another good one.

If you want to start with some lower-priced tower speakers, the Monitor Audio M6 speakers can be had at various retailers for less than $550/pair. That is a speaker that IMO is by far the best-sounding in that price category, and most definitely have the power you need; they are very powerful. They have 91db/watt sensitivity, go down to 35 Hz, and are rated for up to 200 watts of power input.

You will have a hard time finding anything for under $800 that will even come close.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyncal View Post

Our sons gifted us a 50" Panny plasma. I have been reading on here and researching for quite awhile now. I have been to Magnolia and 1 other local audio store. I decided against a soundbar & HTIB and decided to gradually build a surround system. I have never had any nice A/V equipment before. So thought this would be a nice time to get started. Here is some info:
The room is a 20' x 27' high arched ceiling (aprox 5800 cuft ). The tv is centered and mounted on one end wall. The main viewing couch is 12' from tv. In the center of the 2 long walls there is a 9' glass patio door and a 7' opening, to the rest of the house, on the other wall.
Our usage is 60% Directv/movies and 40% music (classic rock-soft & hard ), probably bookshelf speakers for now (budget & wife). Dialog and clarity very important.
I would rather not sell old equipment to upgrade, rather just buy the 2.0 system to begin with and grow. But it would be possible to move smaller speakers to the master bedroom later. I'm looking for suggestions on brands and models.
Here is where I need some help. I'm gonna approach my budget in a couple of ways, depending on suggestions.

Option 1: L/R Front speakers~ $500/pair
?? A/V Receiver ~ $300-500
OK, I was told at audio store there were no $500/pr speakers that would fill my large room. So if they would get me by for awhile I would move them to the bedroom later. If they could fill the room, I would just build from here and add a center and sub later. Maybe even buy a less expensive pair, since I would be moving them.

Option 2: L/R Front Speakers ~ $1000-1300/pair
$$ A/V Receiver ~ $ no idea (an Integra was suggested at audio store)
In this case I would save for awhile and then just build on this system,(not sure if I'm patient enough though).

What I listened too were Boston Acoustics 685's ( I think )-$480/pr and a pair of Def Tech - $440/pr. The BA sounded much nicer to me. At the audio store all I listened too were Paradigm Studio 20's- $1300/pr. Very nice but wanted to hear some PSB's, no luck.
After this long post I'm hoping to get some suggestions on how you would approach this dilemma, and what speakers would fill this room. Thanks

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post #7 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 07:54 AM
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I will have to agree with commsysman on this one however, you want bookshelf style speakers. The ones he mentioned were towers.
This is just my opinion but, for that $1,000 or so, You are not going to beat a pair of Focal 806vs. For about $400 less, listen to some B&W 685s. That is a good speaker as well. Also, both these models are front ported so they don't have as many placement issues as a rear ported speaker does.

Sounds good!
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post #8 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 08:01 AM
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Move your seating position a little closer- 12' is too far for a 50" screen. If your viewing listening distance is less you don't need as much speaker to get decent volume at the main listening/viewing position.

I would look for a nice set of bookshelf speakers and a good sub for starters.

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post #9 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 08:20 AM
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You could go with Option 1 now, invest a little bit more in a receiver and scope your front speakers as eventually moving to take the duty of surrounds. Then in second phase focus on L-C-R fronts.

You do not need to fill the entire space with sound, only the listening area. That said, prepare for a fairly significant investment in subwoofer(s) at some point.

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post #10 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

Move your seating position a little closer- 12' is too far for a 50" screen. If your viewing listening distance is less you don't need as much speaker to get decent volume at the main listening/viewing position.

I would look for a nice set of bookshelf speakers and a good sub for starters.

IMO this is subjective, only you know how close you want to be, not a chart or THX. Based on this calculator I should be 7.3' from my 65" display, and I'm much more comfortable at 12' (roughly half the maximum distance). I never was a front row kind of guy.

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post #11 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 08:34 AM
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Those are definitely good points he makes.

I suggested the M6 towers with two thoughts in mind;

1) They have enough bass that he will not be in any immediate need of a subwoofer.

2) Very few smaller speakers are powerful enough for the room.

If a person was going to get a subwoofer immediately, though, there are many good monitor speakers that could do the job in the $500-700 price range. That is several hundred dollars cheaper than the floorstanders of comparable quality.




Quote:
Originally Posted by karlsaudio View Post

I will have to agree with commsysman on this one however, you want bookshelf style speakers. The ones he mentioned were towers.
This is just my opinion but, for that $1,000 or so, You are not going to beat a pair of Focal 806vs. For about $400 less, listen to some B&W 685s. That is a good speaker as well. Also, both these models are front ported so they don't have as many placement issues as a rear ported speaker does.

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post #12 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replys. I was hoping I could get some system to just fill the listening area. We are in that area 95% of the time when we are in that room.
I wanted to listen to some PSB speakers but didn't happen. Not ready for the towers yet, I have to have patience with my wife. The Cambridge receiver is out of my price range but will check out the Denon.
Have not heard of the Focal 806vs speakers, will check them out. Are they the same as the 806V? I did listen to some B&W 685's or 686's (not sure) that were ~$480/pr.
After these replys I'm leaning towards Option 1 now. Using the bookshelves as surrounds is a nice idea. Not sure How I would mount them. Would probably like them in the bedroom more.
Any thoughts on the compariison for both HT and music on these speakers:
Focal 806V . . . PSB B6 . . . B&W 865 . . . or others in this price range.
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post #13 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyncal View Post

Focal 806V . . . PSB B6 . . . B&W 865 . . . or others in this price range.

Focal is a strong one - also, look at KEF Q300
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post #14 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 09:04 AM
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imo it would be wise to build a good foundation with a good set of front speakers and a sub this will keep you from upgrading any time soon.with that said a few suggestions would be in your "size" room a high efficent tower would be more efficient. with more drivers and bigger cabinet more sound.this also eliminates buying a set of good speaker stands (unless you have built in entertainment center or shelves)as mentioned by someone else the energy rc-50 $800 a pair or rc-70 $1000 a pair at vanns and also mentioned was buying a refurb. avr from accessoriesforless for example a denon avr 791 for $260 would be a great start. just my 2 cents

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post #15 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyncal View Post

The Cambridge receiver is out of my price range but will check out the Denon.

The 1712 Denon is a great receiver. Check this link out to make sure it has the features you want, or if you should go up a little higher.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1334369
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post #16 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smasher50 View Post

imo it would be wise to build a good foundation with a good set of front speakers and a sub this will keep you from upgrading any time soon.with that said a few suggestions would be in your "size" room a high efficent tower would be more efficient. with more drivers and bigger cabinet more sound.this also eliminates buying a set of good speaker stands (unless you have built in entertainment center or shelves)as mentioned by someone else the energy rc-50 $800 a pair or rc-70 $1000 a pair at vanns and also mentioned was buying a refurb. avr from accessoriesforless for example a denon avr 791 for $260 would be a great start. just my 2 cents

Worse case scenario in starting off w/ smaller bookshelf speakers is you can later use them for surrounds or in another room. Just do't make the mistake of buying/ skimping on a puny sub!
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post #17 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stryprod View Post

Worse case scenario in starting off w/ smaller bookshelf speakers is you can later use them for surrounds or in another room. Just do't make the mistake of buying/ skimping on a puny sub!

I think for the original poster this is the best case scenario.

I would personally put subwoofer off to last, its going to be the more complex and expensive component for that room. You can live without a sub for awhile, don't rush into it.

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post #18 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 10:03 AM
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Everyone keeps recommending the RC-70. Is there anyone that can give an opinion between the RC-70 and the Emp 55 towers?
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post #19 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 10:06 AM
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Sorry I hit send before I was done. Reason I ask is I bought the Emp smaller towers and was going to wait on the larger ones but I can get a new pair of the RC-70 for $600.
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post #20 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwe416 View Post

Sorry I hit send before I was done. Reason I ask is I bought the Emp smaller towers and was going to wait on the larger ones but I can get a new pair of the RC-70 for $600.

Where can you get a pair of RC-70s for $600?

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post #21 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 10:30 AM
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i personally never heard the emptek speaker but i have heard the rc-10 and rc-50 which are very good so "i' can't compare but the specks are more inviting on the rc-70. 31hz-23khz, 92db at 8ohm compared to 40hz-20khz,88db at 6ohm so the rc-70 will give you more bass and get much louder from same power given. just my 2 cents. by the way $600 for a pair is a great deal

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post #22 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwe416 View Post

Sorry I hit send before I was done. Reason I ask is I bought the Emp smaller towers and was going to wait on the larger ones but I can get a new pair of the RC-70 for $600.

Yes please do tell!
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post #23 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 11:01 AM
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Sorry they are the C7. I read it wrong. I think I wanted it to be the other.
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post #24 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyncal View Post

I wanted to listen to some PSB speakers but didn't happen. Not ready for the towers yet, I have to have patience with my wife. The Cambridge receiver is out of my price range but will check out the Denon.

Some Denon refurb receivers are here >
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...results/1.html

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post #25 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 11:04 AM
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I need to quit typing on my phone. They are the cf70.
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post #26 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwe416 View Post

I need to quit typing on my phone. They are the cf70.

Ah. Thanks for the correction

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post #27 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 11:30 AM
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Here we go again on the roundy round with speaker choices. Here is what you are going to do. First decide what you want from your system. Second figure out a fairly exact budget. I say exact because you will get caught up in the "if I only spent $100 more" game. Each one of these speaker recomendations are good ones. HOWEVER, they each sound different. So do some listening!
That being said, a room that large is going to require a lot of driver surface area. Large bookshelf or towers will be needed. AND a sub.
Now, to answer another question, $1,200 for bookshelf, $1,800 for towers and about $600 for a sub is about the point where spending any more the law of deminishing returns really starts to kick in.

Sounds good!
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post #28 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

IMO this is subjective, only you know how close you want to be, not a chart or THX. Based on this calculator I should be 7.3' from my 65" display, and I'm much more comfortable at 12' (roughly half the maximum distance). I never was a front row kind of guy.

I currently have a 50" plasma and at 12' even SD TV looks sharp, which means you are too far. My viewing distance is about 7-8' which is still a little too far IMO.

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post #29 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlsaudio View Post

Here we go again on the roundy round with speaker choices. Here is what you are going to do. First decide what you want from your system. Second figure out a fairly exact budget. I say exact because you will get caught up in the "if I only spent $100 more" game. Each one of these speaker recomendations are good ones. HOWEVER, they each sound different. So do some listening!
That being said, a room that large is going to require a lot of driver surface area. Large bookshelf or towers will be needed. AND a sub.
Now, to answer another question, $1,200 for bookshelf, $1,800 for towers and about $600 for a sub is about the point where spending any more the law of deminishing returns really starts to kick in.

I've played that '$100 more' game before. I get it, just trying to find if there is a 'sweet spot' in a budget that can be adjusted a bit. you answered alot for me with this post.
My plan is to get some bookshelf speakers between $500-$1000
a) Focal 806V- $999/pr b) PSB B6- $550/pr c) B&W 685- $650/pr d) Kef Q300- $650/pr

Then find a A/V receiver that works with these and also will work with some floorstanding speakers later, so I don't have to replace the receiver later.

Find a sub-woofer in the $600-$900 range and center speaker this summer. Will try to match the center to both the bookshelves I buy now and also the floorstanding speakers I buy later. Does this sound reasonable?
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post #30 of 63 Old 03-01-2012, 12:50 PM
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my only problem i see is getting sound from a pair of bookshelf speakers to fill 5800 cuft of living space

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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