***For the section between the dotted lines, I have a TLDR for it. Sorry, I know this is long.
Hi guys! So.. I have limited experience with the endless companies that release speakers, as can be said for most people who are simply enthusiasts; I'm looking for opinions. For it to be otherwise, I would need the luxury of having been able to swap in and out all the signature speakers within similar price ranges of each company in a minimally sound altering room. What I can do instead is mix and match characteristic descriptions of suggested speakers and line that up with what I'm looking for. That's in fact what I do.
I will narrow down the field of scope for what I would like as much as possible. Pretty much all of the following will be to help form a picture and ideas in terms of what to suggest, not to limit you with each successive detail though. In other words, ideally yes, but you don't need to be familiar with each thing I mention to make suggestions - just the general idea of the type of sound and a technical grasp for the room environment. Thanks
Firstly, here's a relatively accurate diagram of the room. Each square is approximately one foot. From bottom to top is 17.5 feet:
The floor and walls are regular wood and drywall. The front speakers would go on the shelves (although really it's like 2.1' tall wooden cabinets). The surround speakers would go on speakers stands. The placement is fairly obvious; any nuances can be figured out; no need for concern in that area. I feel as though the distancing and positioning can be figured out quite ideally.
The diagram should really extend further, but further is simply more of the dining room and then the kitchen. It is all connected and forms a total "width" of 26.5 ft., as suggested in the title. The mentioned space in the title is from the wall with the "shelves" to the back of the couch.
The speakers are being paired with an Onkyo TX-NR809 Receiver
I will likely extend the setup to 7.1 at some point but for now the rear speakers aren't of concern. The subwoofer budget is around $500-$600 but as there is another section for that, details will be posted in a separate thread.
I was thinking of splitting up the budget for the speakers like so: $175 each for the Front L&R, $200 for the Center, and $150 each for the Side L&R. It can be spread out of course however, although, I feel this makes the most sense. The budget can really only be pushed by $50, $25 more each for the Front L&R I was thinking. Also, these amounts aren't limited to current pricing. If there are ever known deals on whatever suggested speakers, that can be taken into account, no matter how extreme/rare. Those are target prices for the minimum. I will constantly be tracking once I come to a decision.
For the size of the room, I'm thinking 6 ohm speakers would be best? Generally speaking, relative to how speakers tend to be designed, I'm thinking that this would allow for louder sound at lower volumes? This may be just some random claim I heard somewhere which made sense to me at the time. What I'm simply suggesting is that I'm looking for the speakers to be designed not to need a crazy amount of amplification to be decently loud. From what I understand, this kind of design also tends to be better for dialogue. The reason for this is that it'd provided a sense of clarity at lower volumes since mid and lower frequencies would then be less prominent. In any case, I'm looking for speakers that don't require a ridiculous amount of power to drive. For the purposes of this setup in particular, it is more for TV and movies than it is for music, although I'd of course like it to sound well with music also. In the end, good speakers are good speakers and at this price range, I don't think I should need to make too many compromises in one direction or another. The only technical compromises for the most part should be just what's mentioned above - no sacrifices in the tone as it relates to music. The sacrifice in that sense here would be the dynamic volume in music since more amplification would inevitably more accurately reproduces differences in volume (less compression) and more uniformly and naturally reproduces middle to lower ranges. I know I'm contradicting myself a bit but what I'm saying is that I'd like a fine balance between the two, slightly leaning towards the above mentioned design.Sound & Tone Preferences----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
With the intended purpose now mentioned, I'd like to now describe the kind of sound I'm looking for, using as many examples as I can from my accumulated experience with music
In terms of what's worth mentioning specifically about which I understand enough/have enough experience with, the Logitech Z-5500 system, the entry level Onkyo HT-S6100 HTiB, and the Toyota Corolla 2007/2008 JBL Audio System comes to mind. A little strange on that last one, I know, lol.
The first two speaker systems in the above mentioned are fairly popular so my thoughts on it might give some perspective. Of course I will try to shorten the thoughts as not to give full-on reviews. So, as far as Logitech goes, I really like the sharpness of the sound while it maintains a certain warmth to it. The mids kind of bleed into each other so that may be the reason why; clarity suffers for it but the sharpness, probably due to certain spikes in treble, colors that flaw relatively well. The tone of the subwoofer is also great, although boomy. (I got the system for $300, however many years ago it was already, and there's simply no better bang for the buck.) Now, as far as the Onkyo system goes, let's just say this.. The lower mids are impossible to neutralize which constantly gives dialogue a muddy sound and treble is only existent if you're sitting relatively close to the speakers and have them pointed within one degree towards your ears; sense of direction suffers for it. That's probably my biggest negative and a very important issue which needs to be significantly improved upon in the current selection. This is a surround system after all. Now, on the other hand, bass extension for those speakers is decent and the general tone of the speakers is quite nice for music - just lacks excitement in the treble area and often times just sounds muddy. Last thing I would say is that the Onkyo speakers always sound distant in general and definitely so in comparison to the Logitech speakers. An important factor they have over the Logitech on the other hand is natural sound. The Onkyo speakers are natural sounding and less distracting for casual listening while the Logitech speakers' sound is forced.
The Toyota Corolla JBL mentioned stock system is VERY impressive (in the front row of the car and more-so when stopped when no external noise is factored in). It's a fairly common car and maybe some of you guys may have experienced it and took notice (always more noticeable with music you know). In terms of my preference with speakers out of what I have owned, currently own, and have heard from countless other sources and places (cars, the many people's computer speakers, home stereo systems like from the older days, home theater systems), I prefer listening there. Of course, this is relative to lower end stuff but I mean, not all of which is total crap. I could name some specific things but that'd be besides the point. The point is this: the sound feels very close, almost headphone like; the stereo soundstage is decent (I understand that it's designed for the specific space and that everything else I've likely heard wasn't perfectly positioned - a problem which needs to be deliberated when selecting speakers here); and the tone is perfect! It's a little bit on the warmer side, absolutely not fatiguing, and characteristic of the actual sound, so probably relatively flat with a few small bumps in determined areas. Tone for lower frequencies is also quite accurate (listening with Bass: 2) although not quite fully extended. In general, it's just a great balance between a fun sound and accuracy. Only thing I'd say is that it lacks separation, that which also creates problems with clarity. It's for a different reason though, better than the reason than that with the Onkyo speakers. It'd be even worse with them if it weren't for my upgraded receiver to the TX-NR708.
I need to now bring up headphones because apart from the JBL car system, headphones are the other two sources where I enjoy/prefer listening to my music over anything else. The absolute perfect sound through a properly decoded and amplified source (with slightly boosted bass) is with the Brainwavz HM5 (Fischer Audio FA-003) headphones. They are full-sized closed cans and the best way to describe them would be absolutely neutral and unbiased. They play exactly what you give them. They have incredible, perfect separation; you can hear the exact distances of every instrument, voice, chorus, or whatever. You can hear exactly where everything is placed in the stereo soundstage - very fine points all the way from far left to far right. All I can say is that certain songs which are made interesting by the JBL system (due to more of like a collage/blending of the sound and certain boosted areas), kind of sound boring on the headphones even though more accurate and separated. A baby of the two would be a perfect listening experience
! That's pretty much what one would be looking for in a surround sound system I would think - certainly I.
The other pair of headphones are IEMs: the Brainwavz M2's. They sound a little bit muffled with VERY SLIGHTLY "overly fun" bass which I correct with my Cowon J3 PMP ("MP3 Player") with it's EQ. The result, I mean, and even on their own, they are otherwise wonderfully pleasant sounding headphones. Amazing natural sounding instruments with very warm (like in a humid wooden cabin) tones. Incredibly fun and full sounding with a signature that very rarely interferes with the intended sound of a song. Overall, just natural sounding...TLDR-
-I'm looking for relatively flat sounding speakers with potential tradeoffs only for a)
a tone slightly on the warmer side, b)
SLIGHT peaks here and there for bringing a bit of excitement to the sound, and c)
a sense of extension in the soundstage (tricks with tweeters).
-I would like there to be a great sense of presence - for the speakers not to feel distant like my experience with entry level Onkyo speakers.
-Another problem of significant importance and drastic improvement which I'm looking for is sense of direction relative to those Onkyo Speakers. In general it's an important factor which also ends up contributing to soundstage.
-If familiar, I would be fully satisfied with anything similar in design individually or mixed with the Toyota Corolla 2007 (and years further up most likely) JBL sound system
, and/or Brainwavz HM5 (Fischer Audio FA-003) monitor headphones
, and Brainwavz M2 IEM headphones
So that's that! Thank you guys profusely, especially if you read through this whole thing! I greatly appreciate your time! Any suggestions would be very helpful - what you think would be the best bang for the buck and fits my preference. Once again, thank you, sincerely!