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post #1 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

I am researching upgrading my 15+ year old Paradigm 5.1 system and could use some advise.

Current System: (all Paradigm)
- Fronts: Titan v2
- Center: CC-170 v2
- Surrounds: ADP-170 v2
- Sub: PDR-12

Background:
- Room is full enclosed 12 x 21 x 8.
- 75% Movie/Tv, 20% Gaming, 5% Music
- Receiver: Pioneer VSX-45TX (100w x 7)
- Looking to upgrade - Maybe Onkyo TX-NR818 (135w x 7)
- Speaker Budget: $2-3k

So after years of lurking and research, I'm leaning heavily to an Axiom/Hsu set up. Probably M60, VP160, QS8 from Axiom and VTF-15H or VTF-3 MK4 from Hsu. Future phases will include rears and heights.

The reasons for upgrade are need/want for more power and detail. Also, I'm not liking my ADP-170 surrounds (side firing dipoles) in current layout. In my prior theater, I had them in the rear and loved them. In my new theater, I have them on the sides. They are a couple of feet about ear level between the 1st and 2nd seat rows. You can hear them fine from the 2nd row, but not on the 1st. I suspect it's because the speakers are at a 90' angle versus some of the newer ones (40'?). The QS8's are what really drew me in to Axiom and then their "bang for buck" story grew on me.

So, two questions:
- Thoughts on Axiom? I'm thinking that Paradigms are too expensive (Monitor 11?) versus Axiom.
- Dual Sub Mix/Match. My PDR-12 sub is still working fine. Can I use in tandom with a Hsu? Can you mix/match subs?

Thanks much for the input.
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 07:17 PM
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For a system geared mainly toward HT, have you considered Klipsch? Shoot us an email and we can see what would work for you.

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post #3 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 09:15 PM
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You wont find to many Axiom supporters around here. Far to many questionable designs, and claims. The models you're looking at dont have these issues though.

A4Less has some really good deals on Kef speakers right now:

Q900

Q600C

Q300

Comes out to $2100 shipped. Throw in one of those HSU subs for a really nice setup.
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-13-2012, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5 View Post

For a system geared mainly toward HT, have you considered Klipsch? Shoot us an email and we can see what would work for you.

Klipsch have been on my short list for a while. I'm a little worried about the potential harshness and dispersion (mainly the center). I have a pretty wide seating area.

Also how does the bang for buck compare?

I'll email you...

Thanks
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-13-2012, 06:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Java View Post

Klipsch have been on my short list for a while. I'm a little worried about the potential harshness and dispersion (mainly the center). I have a pretty wide seating area.

Also how does the bang for buck compare?

I'll email you...

Thanks

If Klipsch are on your short list you should check out BIC Acoustech. They compare directly to Klipsch Reference Series in quality (actually they have already reviewed better than the Klipsch). They are a ton cheaper than Klipsch and they are not harsh at all cuz they use a 1" aluminum dome tweeter set back in a 6.5" horn. I have them and love them and I have heard Klipsch Reference series speakers and the Acoustechs have better bass.

http://www.acousticsounddesign.com/b...dex.cfm?bid=67

Shawn
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-13-2012, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

You wont find to many Axiom supporters around here. Far to many questionable designs, and claims. The models you're looking at dont have these issues though.

A4Less has some really good deals on Kef speakers right now:

Q900

Q600C

Q300

Comes out to $2100 shipped. Throw in one of those HSU subs for a really nice setup.

Thanks, Jay

Yes. I've picked up on some negativity toward Axiom, but couldn't find particulars. Seemed to be more having issues with their claims versus specific issues with their products. Their products seems to get good reviews.

Anyway, not meaning to rekindle any flame wars...

I started noticing Kef in some positive reviews here and external.
http://www.hometheater.com/content/k...speaker-system
http://www.homecinemachoice.com/news/article.asp?a=9294

I'm intrigued by the Uni-Q driver array. Looks like it gets great dispersion (a concern of mine). It looks a little weak in drivers, though. No dedicated mid. Thoughts?

Last, I guess you like monopoles versus dipoles? Given my problems with my current setup of my dipoles, I've been debating just dropping them and going direct mono. My concern is I have 2+ rows of seating. Will the 300 have wide enough dispersion for all rows?

Thanks, again.
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-13-2012, 07:42 AM
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Allow me to suggest an excellent alternative system for you:

The PSB Image T6 speakers with the Image B5 speakers and the Image C5 center speaker. IMO this system is actually a little bit better than the KEF system and costs about the same (around $2200).

I have had the Image T6 speakers for over a year now, and they are excellent; I have yet to find any flaw in their performance and they sound wonderful on all types of music and movies.

For the best-sounding receiver money can buy, the Cambridge Audio 650R is the clear winner. It puts out 100 watts of power per channel with ALL 7 CHANNELS DRIVEN, or if you are doing 5.1, the front channels can be biamped to give you 200 watts per channel there. You can spend $3000 for a receiver and not get this kind of power or sound quality.

Even expensive receivers often only have a 600 watt or 700 watt power supply, which severely limits total amplifier output; the 650R has a 1500 WATT power supply! Try to find that anywhere else; you won't! The Onkyo 818, for example, is only going to be able to put out 70-80 watts per channel or less with all channels driven, because its power supply can't provide any more than that.

Home Theater magazine tested the 650R and said it was the best-sounding receiver you can buy; I agree. It is a steal at $1600, but I saw it at $1300 the other day on one online site.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Java View Post

Thanks, Jay

Yes. I've picked up on some negativity toward Axiom, but couldn't find particulars. Seemed to be more having issues with their claims versus specific issues with their products. Their products seems to get good reviews.


Last, I guess you like monopoles versus dipoles? Given my problems with my current setup of my dipoles, I've been debating just dropping them and going direct mono. My concern is I have 2+ rows of seating. Will the 300 have wide enough dispersion for all rows?

Thanks, again.

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post #8 of 17 Old 05-13-2012, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Allow me to suggest an excellent alternative system for you:

The PSB Image T6 speakers with the Image B5 speakers and the Image C5 center speaker. IMO this system is actually a little bit better than the KEF system and costs about the same (around $2200).

I have had the Image T6 speakers for over a year now, and they are excellent; I have yet to find any flaw in their performance and they sound wonderful on all types of music and movies.

For the best-sounding receiver money can buy, the Cambridge Audio 650R is the clear winner. It puts out 100 watts of power per channel with ALL 7 CHANNELS DRIVEN, or if you are doing 5.1, the front channels can be biamped to give you 200 watts per channel there. You can spend $3000 for a receiver and not get this kind of power or sound quality.

Even expensive receivers often only have a 600 watt or 700 watt power supply, which severely limits total amplifier output; the 650R has a 1500 WATT power supply! Try to find that anywhere else; you won't! The Onkyo 818, for example, is only going to be able to put out 70-80 watts per channel or less with all channels driven, because its power supply can't provide any more than that.

Home Theater magazine tested the 650R and said it was the best-sounding receiver you can buy; I agree. It is a steal at $1600, but I saw it at $1300 the other day on one online site.

Thanks for input!

I checked out the PSBs on Chrutchfield and they are about $300 more than the KEFs.

As far as power, I was planning on using my Pioneer Elite for the sides/rears via pre outs on the Onkyo. That way only the fronts are pulling off the Onkyo. thoughts?
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-13-2012, 11:26 AM
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I have the Monitor Audio RX8's and I love them. Great for theater.
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-13-2012, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

You wont find to many Axiom supporters around here. Far to many questionable designs, and claims. The models you're looking at dont have these issues though.

A4Less has some really good deals on Kef speakers right now:

Q900

Q600C

Q300

Comes out to $2100 shipped. Throw in one of those HSU subs for a really nice setup.

+1 Nice recommendation.

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post #11 of 17 Old 05-13-2012, 05:06 PM
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Swan T700HT
http://www.lockwaresystems.com/SwanT700HT-256.html
http://swanspeakers.com/products/pro...&sid=38&pid=89


If you do not have the need to drive your speakers to very high levels, then I would suggest this set as it should have great detail and lifelike vocal reproduction. I've had experience with the model above and it's been nothing short of astonishing. There are a couple of comments about this set if you search around (praising), but unfortunately there were no in depth reviews.

Here are the reviews on the drivers however:

M6N: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...97-441&FTR=m6n
RT2: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=297-406
YT8N: (*Not sold in America*). <-- There are two of these bass drivers behind the unit.

Your receiver will need to be 4ohm capable (For the center channel). The reason I mention the high levels is that I assume the amplifier you will be getting will not have a high wattage output.

As far as a receiver and amp go, I definitely recommend the XPA-5 + UMC-1 combo. If you got the XPA-5 (or any amplifier with a high output (100w+, 4ohm capable) then this speaker should sound articulate and precise.

Good luck!

 

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post #12 of 17 Old 05-14-2012, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Java View Post

I'm not liking my ADP-170 surrounds (side firing dipoles) in current layout. In my prior theater, I had them in the rear and loved them. In my new theater, I have them on the sides. They are a couple of feet about ear level between the 1st and 2nd seat rows. You can hear them fine from the 2nd row, but not on the 1st. I suspect it's because the speakers are at a 90' angle versus some of the newer ones (40'?).

I suspect this is because the 1st row is getting enough of an inverse-polarity (since the ADP-170 is a dipole) reflection from the back wall which, though time-delayed, is causing significant cancellation; the 2nd row doesn't suffer from this effect nearly as much because the reflection from the front wall is so much fainter, being farther way. Dipoles aren't supposed to be used in this manner in any case--they're supposed to be placed directly to the sides of a single row of seating in order to achieve the intended effect. Any other side-wall configuration defeats the purpose of using dipoles in the first place.

Another thing that I don't like about placing surround speakers between rows is that for the 2nd row the surround effect comes primarily from in front of the viewers, which is true regardless of the type of speaker being used. If you think about it, bipoles and dipoles, at least in the context of home theater, are essentially two monopoles in the same cabinet facing two different directions, wired with the same or opposite polarity, respectively. With this in mind, wouldn't it be closer to ideal for each row to have their own monopole surround speakers, optimally placed, rather than forcing compromised placement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Java View Post

Last, I guess you like monopoles versus dipoles?

I won't speak for Jay1, to whom you were responding, but I prefer to use monopoles for surrounds in general. This is a whole debate in itself, but in short with the multiple surround channels we have today, it is unnecessary to rely on deliberate early wall reflections or playing with phase inside a speaker to achieve a diffuse surround field, and multichannel music (even some movies do this with their scores) definitely sounds better with monopoles. In addition, generally speaking movies are mixed in dubbing stages that use monopoles as surrounds, and it stands to reason that ideally we would use a similar configuration; not that I'd fault those who still prefer bipoles or dipoles, however, as we all hear differently and have different preferences.

While there is no perfect way to set up a home theater for more than a single viewer--especially in the case of the surrounds and multiple rows--I think that having a pair of monopole speakers properly placed for each row would come closest to the ideal. Dipoles are definitely out, as you discovered for yourself, and using multiple bipoles would result in the 2nd row hearing more direct sound from in front, which doesn't seem right to me. Multiple monopoles is also the configuration that studio dubbing stages and commercial movie theaters use, if this would be of any comfort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Java View Post

Given my problems with my current setup of my dipoles, I've been debating just dropping them and going direct mono. My concern is I have 2+ rows of seating. Will the 300 have wide enough dispersion for all rows?

Use a pair of speakers for the left & right surround channels for each row, and you should be fine. I realize that I'm recommending that you buy an additional pair of speakers, which obviously increases your cost, but then again bipoles and dipoles are usually more expensive anyway because each is essentially two monopole speakers with their own drivers sharing a cabinet. I've recently experimented with all of the configurations I've talked about here, and in my opinion, each row having its own pair of monopole surrounds clearly works the best. Fortunately in your case, you should have enough channels of amplification to get this done without having to purchase additional amplifiers or wire the surround speakers in series (which may alter their tone somewhat).

If you'd really rather just use a single pair of speakers, then use either monopoles or bipoles. In this case, I think that bipoles would at least spread the sound around better for the 2nd row, so that's one consideration, although personally I'm not a fan of reflected sound (even in the surrounds), so I'd probably use monopoles myself if I had two rows, and I'd also consider moving them back a little from the midway point between the rows. The only way to know for sure what sounds best to you overall is to experiment (any way you can, scrounging/borrowing speakers, wiring two monopoles in- and out-of-phase to simulate bipoles and dipoles, etc.).
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post #13 of 17 Old 05-14-2012, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post


For the best-sounding receiver money can buy, the Cambridge Audio 650R is the clear winner. It puts out 100 watts of power per channel with ALL 7 CHANNELS DRIVEN, or if you are doing 5.1, the front channels can be biamped to give you 200 watts per channel there. You can spend $3000 for a receiver and not get this kind of power or sound quality.

Even expensive receivers often only have a 600 watt or 700 watt power supply, which severely limits total amplifier output; the 650R has a 1500 WATT power supply! Try to find that anywhere else; you won't! The Onkyo 818, for example, is only going to be able to put out 70-80 watts per channel or less with all channels driven, because its power supply can't provide any more than that.

Home Theater magazine tested the 650R and said it was the best-sounding receiver you can buy; I agree. It is a steal at $1600, but I saw it at $1300 the other day on one online site.

At least the onkyo and other avr's in this price range EQ the sound instead of just setting phase, volume and speaker distance. It takes only one measurement and has no video upscale ability or processing. It also lacks 3d support because it only supports hdmi 1.3. For a lot of people, room correction and up scaling is still important to them.

If you truly need rocking wattage, add an external amp to your avr. For what Cambridge asked price wise for their receiver, they could update it a bit. I look at the 650 as a simplistic pre with a great amp. It's just not a cost effective option for what it lacks unless you have the perfect listening environment.
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post #14 of 17 Old 05-15-2012, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

Use a pair of speakers for the left & right surround channels for each row, and you should be fine. I realize that I'm recommending that you buy an additional pair of speakers, which obviously increases your cost, but then again bipoles and dipoles are usually more expensive anyway because each is essentially two monopole speakers with their own drivers sharing a cabinet. I've recently experimented with all of the configurations I've talked about here, and in my opinion, each row having its own pair of monopole surrounds clearly works the best. Fortunately in your case, you should have enough channels of amplification to get this done without having to purchase additional amplifiers or wire the surround speakers in series (which may alter their tone somewhat).

If you'd really rather just use a single pair of speakers, then use either monopoles or bipoles. In this case, I think that bipoles would at least spread the sound around better for the 2nd row, so that's one consideration, although personally I'm not a fan of reflected sound (even in the surrounds), so I'd probably use monopoles myself if I had two rows, and I'd also consider moving them back a little from the midway point between the rows. The only way to know for sure what sounds best to you overall is to experiment (any way you can, scrounging/borrowing speakers, wiring two monopoles in- and out-of-phase to simulate bipoles and dipoles, etc.).

Thanks Robert,

You've given me a lot to think about. I may start out with single monopoles where I have the dipoles today (between 1st & 2nd row). Depending on dispersion, I may move up to 2 monopoles.

As far as hooking up 2 sets, I'm thinking I would use pre-outs for the sides and use a Y cable to feed into 2 sets of amp channels. Correct?
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post #15 of 17 Old 05-15-2012, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flickhtguru View Post

If Klipsch are on your short list you should check out BIC Acoustech. They compare directly to Klipsch Reference Series in quality (actually they have already reviewed better than the Klipsch). They are a ton cheaper than Klipsch and they are not harsh at all cuz they use a 1" aluminum dome tweeter set back in a 6.5" horn. I have them and love them and I have heard Klipsch Reference series speakers and the Acoustechs have better bass.

http://www.acousticsounddesign.com/b...dex.cfm?bid=67

Thanks, Flickhtguru

You definitely got my attention. Hard to believe the BIC's beat Klipsch at that price point. Been all through the thread and there are a lot of happy campers.

I believe you have the PL-89's, right? Which Klipsch Reference speakers did you come them to? RF-82 II?

Also, how do you like the PL-66's? If you followed my dipole issues, I'm concerned with coverage between two rows of seating. How many rows do you have? The Pl-66's have the tweeters angled to the front, so I'm concerned with the 2nd row.

Last, did you get the sub from BIC? I've been looking at the HSU VTF-3 MK4 and VTF-15H. The BIC PL-200 looks comparable to the HSU VTF-2 MK4, agree? But $200 cheaper. I read somewhere that HSU helped BIC with their Sub designs, but I couldn't verify.
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post #16 of 17 Old 05-15-2012, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
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T I've been looking at the HSU VTF-3 MK4 and VTF-15H. The BIC PL-200 looks comparable to the HSU VTF-2 MK4, agree? But $200 cheaper. I read somewhere that HSU helped BIC with their Sub designs, but I couldn't verify.

Maybe 2 of the PL 200s would be comparable yet even then they don't do much below 30hz where the HSU performs well down to 18hz or lower depending on your room.

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post #17 of 17 Old 05-15-2012, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Java View Post

Thanks Robert,

You've given me a lot to think about. I may start out with single monopoles where I have the dipoles today (between 1st & 2nd row). Depending on dispersion, I may move up to 2 monopoles.

Sounds like a plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Java View Post

As far as hooking up 2 sets, I'm thinking I would use pre-outs for the sides and use a Y cable to feed into 2 sets of amp channels. Correct?

That should work fine, and is the best way to do it. It is also possible to wire the speakers in series, but this could mess with how their crossovers work; in my experiments, the results have been satisfactory, but since you already have a sufficient number of amp channels available anyway, you might as well use those and do it the right way. It is also possible to wire the speakers in parallel, but I wouldn't do that unless I knew for sure that the amps could handle the current load (if it's an AVR, then probably not, depending on the speaker's impedance curve).
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