Originally Posted by Curmudgeon76
I've heard a lot of good things about Hsu but really I'm open to any quality brand that can deliver great performance and value. As previously mentioned, I'd like to be in the $2500 range ideally for the full setup, so my budget for a sub is probably closer to around $6-700 dollars. My room is probably going to be somewhere around 2500 cubic feet.
So as I understand it, if I'm looking for clean highs that aren't harsh and don't break up, I should avoid metal drivers? So this would rule out JBL, Axiom, Polk, and even Paradigm? Many of the speakers I've been looking at utilize metal tweeters: aluminum or titanium, etc. Should I avoid any type is speaker which heavily relies on metal drivers then?
A good tweeter is a good tweeter. You shouldn't have "harshness" issues if the acoustical engineering was well done.
In regards to a good tweeter, the things I look for are extension, clarity, dispersion, realism, sweetness, and dynamics.
Extension is the ability to replicate the highest frequencies without compromising the sound.
Clarity is related to words such as clean, clear, and often talks about distinguishing between many instruments playing at the same time.
Dispersion has to do with off-axis response. As you move left, right, up, or down, how much are you compromising?
Realism is self explanatory
Sweetness is hard to describe. A sweet tweeter will sound very lush and beautiful, while an analytic tweeter will sound more neutral/true to the source.
Dynamics are the ability to take the information thrown at it and replicate it as true to source as possible.
From what I gather, silk dome tweeters are usually the sweetest. Ribbon tweeters usually have the best extension/dispersion/dynamics. Metal Dome tweeters, and this is a personal opinion, tend to be a bit on the brighter side of the spectrum.
Again, these opinions apply to the basic, nothing influencing, drivers. After acoustical engineering is done, its hard to have any of these stereotypes. Any designer could fix any issues with his speaker before releasing it.
In response to your question, ruling it out before you demo them is not the best idea. However, if you cannot demo them, then you may have safer bets going with ribbons or silk domes.
As far as silk dome vs ribbon, regardless of all the advantages a ribbon has, sometimes the sweet sound of a silk dome is too hard to pass up. When it comes to music, silk dome vs ribbon can be very important. When it comes to home theater however, I would recommend going with a ribbon. Since the off axis response is almost the same as when you are directly in front of them, no matter where you are sitting while watching a movie, dialog will sound clean and clear.
Just my two cents.
Also, if you want a cheaper sub: http://www.rythmikaudio.com/FV12.html
Rythmik is well respected with having low distortion and high quality. Most of these ID companies are all on par with each other. SVS, HSU, Rythmik, etc. None of them necessarily beat each other, each offers their own unique "sound". It all depends on what your looking for. Music - Rythmik. HT - SVS. Both - HSU. However, any of their subs will do well in all fields of audio, those matchup's are just a personal opinion.