I'm looking for a surround sound system. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 06-02-2012, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys!

I'm in the market for a new surround system and I have a few in mind. Before I get into models and such let me provide some background on my previous speakers.

I can't remember the brand but they sucked! There was no 3D depth that you get from surround sound. I remember my cousin had a logitech system and you could hear the little moans from the zombies in dead rising in the back corner of the room! That being said...

I have 2 speakers in mind, but i'm open to suggestions.

Blackstone TL & Logitech Z906. What I 'm looking for:

Very clear 3D depth
Small to fit a bedroom
easy to setup
compatible with Mac, 360, Apple TV, PS3, etc
Wireless? Not sure about this. Pros? Cons?
Remote!

I might be missing something else but I think that is sufficient for now. Feel free to ask any questions. Love you guys!
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post #2 of 29 Old 06-02-2012, 01:30 PM
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What's your budget?

If it's enough (about $500 or so), you might consider an external multi-channel receiver and "real" surround-sound speakers instead of the limited speaker sets that work only with computers. To find the best speakers in any price range, you really have to audition the different models. You'll be surprised at how different they sound. Or maybe you wouldn't, given your recent experience.

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post #3 of 29 Old 06-02-2012, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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You mean the 5 set speakers I mentioned are not "real" surround sound? My budget is around 500-800.
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post #4 of 29 Old 06-02-2012, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadylane318 View Post

You mean the 5 set speakers I mentioned are not "real" surround sound? My budget is around 500-800.

Then buy these on sale today and buy a decent receiver and call it a day:

MartinLogan MLT-2

It's actually a rebadged Paradigm system and, for the sale price, a steal.
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post #5 of 29 Old 06-02-2012, 02:32 PM
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3" woofers and an 8" subwoofer will seriously limit the accuracy and volume of the lower frequencies -- such small speakers simply can't provide the output. To put it another way, tiny speakers sound tinny.

Main and surround speakers need to have at least 5" woofers, preferably larger. 8" woofers are common, for example, although they're usually found in the more expensive speaker designs. To be able to provide enough volume at low frequencies, subwoofers need to be at least 10", preferably 12". If you're in an apartment, your neighbors might object, though, since low frequencies easily travel through walls and floors.

A traditional rule of thumb when putting together an audio system is to spend about 2/3 of your budget on speakers and about 1/3 on the electronics to drive them.

If at all possible, you should visit one or more local audio/video stores (even BestBuy/Magnolia if that's all there is) to listen to what's available in your price range. You will be surprised.

But don't be mislead by the hype about Bose. Stores with them tend to push them because of their high profit margins. They have very low quality.

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post #6 of 29 Old 06-02-2012, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I see! This all makes perfect sense to me. I'm going to check out best buy.
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post #7 of 29 Old 06-02-2012, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

3" woofers and an 8" subwoofer will seriously limit the accuracy and volume of the lower frequencies -- such small speakers simply can't provide the output. To put it another way, tiny speakers sound tinny.

Main and surround speakers need to have at least 5" woofers, preferably larger. 8" woofers are common, for example, although they're usually found in the more expensive speaker designs. To be able to provide enough volume at low frequencies, subwoofers need to be at least 10", preferably 12". If you're in an apartment, your neighbors might object, though, since low frequencies easily travel through walls and floors.

A traditional rule of thumb when putting together an audio system is to spend about 2/3 of your budget on speakers and about 1/3 on the electronics to drive them.

If at all possible, you should visit one or more local audio/video stores (even BestBuy/Magnolia if that's all there is) to listen to what's available in your price range. You will be surprised.

But don't be mislead by the hype about Bose. Stores with them tend to push them because of their high profit margins. They have very low quality.

For his room and requirements, the MLT-2 is just about right on the money for the sale price. A massive improvement over what he's looking at and still very, very inexpensive. A 10" ported sub will be fine for the average bedroom and the sats are larger than the usual Take system.
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post #8 of 29 Old 06-02-2012, 02:41 PM
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Be sure to take your favorite music with you so you'll know what is should sound like.

Selden
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post #9 of 29 Old 06-02-2012, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

3" woofers and an 8" subwoofer will seriously limit the accuracy and volume of the lower frequencies -- such small speakers simply can't provide the output. To put it another way, tiny speakers sound tinny.

Main and surround speakers need to have at least 5" woofers, preferably larger. 8" woofers are common, for example, although they're usually found in the more expensive speaker designs. To be able to provide enough volume at low frequencies, subwoofers need to be at least 10", preferably 12". If you're in an apartment, your neighbors might object, though, since low frequencies easily travel through walls and floors.

Seems like $1200-$1500 is needed to get 5" main/surround woofers and a 10" subwoofer (if buying new).
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post #10 of 29 Old 06-02-2012, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadylane318 View Post

You mean the 5 set speakers I mentioned are not "real" surround sound? My budget is around 500-800.

The Blackstone TL series should sound much better than Logitech speakers, but they're still rather small speakers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vraxoin View Post

Then buy these on sale today and buy a decent receiver and call it a day:

MartinLogan MLT-2

It's actually a rebadged Paradigm system and, for the sale price, a steal.

Only if you really want or must have small speakers. With these, you'll have people's voices and other localizable sounds coming out of the subwoofer--either that or a very "thin," weak sound in the upper bass (or both if the room isn't small enough).

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Originally Posted by Brocken_5110 View Post

Seems like $1200-$1500 is needed to get 5" main/surround woofers and a 10" subwoofer (if buying new).

Not right now with deals like this:

Infinity Primus P153 x 5 - $250
Energy S10.3 - $220

That's only $470 for a really good entry-level system that is large enough to, well, sound right in a medium-sized room.
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post #11 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is an update:

I decided to go Bestbuy and other electronic store to give them a listen. The sales people made it a point that I need a good receiver in order to use the above (logitech & Blackstone). Here are my questions

1. Is this true, that I need a receiver??
2. How much money should I put down for a small/medium size room where all I care about is depth. Here is an example: I'm playing a game where the character is on screen and the sound is coming from the middle speakers. Another character speaks but he is not on the screen is behind the camera, which if programmed correctly, the sound should be coming from the back right or back left speaker. I want to hear that depth.
3.I play mostly games and movies but I'm all about depth not loudness

Please forgive me for possibly reposting. I'm new to this forum and can't seem to find my post. Won't happen. I'm going to subscribe to this thread!
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post #12 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

Not right now with deals like this:

Infinity Primus P153 x 5 - $250
Energy S10.3 - $220

That's only $470 for a really good entry-level system that is large enough to, well, sound right in a medium-sized room.

That's great - arguably better than the Energy Take 5.1 that's very popular at that price point.

I was thinking of 5.1 NHT Absolute Zero setup for the $1200 price range, but the Infinity + Energy is less than half the price.
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post #13 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadylane318 View Post

Here is an update:

I decided to go Bestbuy and other electronic store to give them a listen. The sales people made it a point that I need a good receiver in order to use the above (logitech & Blackstone). Here are my questions

1. Is this true, that I need a receiver??
2. How much money should I put down for a small/medium size room where all I care about is depth. Here is an example: I'm playing a game where the character is on screen and the sound is coming from the middle speakers. Another character speaks but he is not on the screen is behind the camera, which if programmed correctly, the sound should be coming from the back right or back left speaker. I want to hear that depth.
3.I play mostly games and movies but I'm all about depth not loudness

Please forgive me for possibly reposting. I'm new to this forum and can't seem to find my post. Won't happen. I'm going to subscribe to this thread!

My klipsch promedia 4.1 does that but has no center channel, but really doesn't need one.
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post #14 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadylane318 View Post

I decided to go Bestbuy and other electronic store to give them a listen. The sales people made it a point that I need a good receiver in order to use the above (logitech & Blackstone). Here are my questions

1. Is this true, that I need a receiver??

The Logitech Z906 appears to come with a receiver, although it's probably a very basic one. It should still be able to provide surround sound, though--as in sounds coming from around you. In fact, any $150 5.1 home theater in a box (HTIB) can give you surround sound if that's all you want, and I doubt that they sound much worse--if at all--than the Z906.

You'll definitely need a receiver for the Polk Audio Blackstone TL series, however. There are retailers that package a receiver along with a 5.1 set of these speakers, but the speakers don't normally come with one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadylane318 View Post

2. How much money should I put down for a small/medium size room where all I care about is depth. Here is an example: I'm playing a game where the character is on screen and the sound is coming from the middle speakers. Another character speaks but he is not on the screen is behind the camera, which if programmed correctly, the sound should be coming from the back right or back left speaker. I want to hear that depth.
3.I play mostly games and movies but I'm all about depth not loudness

What about sound quality and deep bass for game effects? If sound quality is not critical to you, then just about any speaker system will do, and my aim will be to help you get as much quality for your money as I can.

Here are some sample systems. Estimated shipping is included, but not sales tax (if applicable--usually not).

Entry-level hi-fi 5.1 system, suitable for full home theater use in medium-sized rooms at typical volumes, and quality music playback. Actually fits in your budget range despite all this.
Infinity Primus P153 x 5 - $250
Energy S10.3 - $220
Denon AVR-1612 - $200
Total: $670

Small/medium-room 4.1 system (no center). Cheesy but at least they're not "computer speakers." Costs less than the Logitech Z906, and should sound significantly better. For $30 more you could upgrade to a 10" subwoofer, and for $55 more a 12" subwoofer.
Dayton Audio B652 x 2 (pairs) - $60
Dayton Audio SUB-800 - $89
Denon AVR-391 - $140
Total: $289

Then there are small systems from quality speaker manufacturers, such as this one (needs a receiver):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882981012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brocken_5110 View Post

That's great - arguably better than the Energy Take 5.1 that's very popular at that price point.

I think it is of similar quality in most respects, and it is bigger with all of the advantages that come with that, as long as the size can be tolerated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brocken_5110 View Post

I was thinking of 5.1 NHT Absolute Zero setup for the $1200 price range, but the Infinity + Energy is less than half the price.

I'd say that an Absolute Zero system would clearly be superior in sound quality (you get what you pay for), but it doesn't take much to improve on little computer speakers.
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post #15 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 07:37 PM
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Infinity Primus P153 x 5 - $250
Energy S10.3 - $220
Denon AVR-1612 - $200
Total: $670

These speakers used as a center sound well? I'm also in the market, considering the Take 5.1, but I also want a good sounding speaker that will provide the range. I was looking at getting the Denon 1912 (I know the 1913 is out but why pay more?) with the Take 5.1. Would the above speakers be better?
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post #16 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knottenuff View Post

Infinity Primus P153 x 5 - $250
Energy S10.3 - $220
Denon AVR-1612 - $200
Total: $670

These speakers used as a center sound well? I'm also in the market, considering the Take 5.1, but I also want a good sounding speaker that will provide the range. I was looking at getting the Denon 1912 (I know the 1913 is out but why pay more?) with the Take 5.1. Would the above speakers be better?

The little Take, will not keep up with the Infinity.

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post #17 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 08:15 PM
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The little Take, will not keep up with the Infinity.

But as a center speaker, these are still a good choice? Is there a better option for a center that you could recommend?
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post #18 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 08:29 PM
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But as a center speaker, these are still a good choice? Is there a better option for a center that you could recommend?

The Infinity bookshelf, is your best center option. If you do not
have room to stand the bookshelf up - then there is the regular
type center. PC250
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_108PC25...ck-grille.html

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post #19 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 09:16 PM
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SHOOT...here is the deal of the day, week and year..http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882325104

$399 with $150 off= $249 this is a STEAL!!!!! I have 2 sets of these and for a small room they cannot be beat!!! Trust me you will thank me for this one.
These speakers and a nice 5.1 receiver like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882115373
and you will blow away any set of computer speakers!
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post #20 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knottenuff View Post

Infinity Primus P153 x 5 - $250
Energy S10.3 - $220
Denon AVR-1612 - $200
Total: $670

These speakers used as a center sound well?

zieglj01 has it covered, but to elaborate a little bit (it's a habit ), yes, bookshelf speakers can actually make for ideal center speakers as long as they're big enough, and especially if they're oriented vertically like the left & right front speakers. Without going into all of the gory details, they're superior at dispersing sound horizontally for viewers who are not seated in the center--the sound doesn't change as much and doesn't lose as much detail as with a typical horizontally-oriented center speaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knottenuff View Post

I'm also in the market, considering the Take 5.1, but I also want a good sounding speaker that will provide the range. I was looking at getting the Denon 1912 (I know the 1913 is out but why pay more?) with the Take 5.1. Would the above speakers be better?

Yes, while the Take 5.1 speakers sound good for tiny satellites, the P153s are large enough to provide a much fuller sound without having to send parts of voices and sounds that you can locate by ear to the subwoofer. You can set the subwoofer crossover to 80 Hz with the P153, and get tighter upper bass (where deep male voices and other similarly pitched sounds are) from them instead of the subwoofer. They can also play louder without getting shrill or distorting, just because they're larger.
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post #21 of 29 Old 06-03-2012, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

Entry-level hi-fi 5.1 system, suitable for full home theater use in medium-sized rooms at typical volumes, and quality music playback. Actually fits in your budget range despite all this.
Infinity Primus P153 x 5 - $250
Energy S10.3 - $220
Denon AVR-1612 - $200
Total: $670

+1

That's a nice setup. Be hard to beat at that price

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post #22 of 29 Old 06-10-2012, 04:44 PM
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+1


That's a nice setup. Be hard to beat at that price

I've just purchased a Denon 2312, now for the speakers. I've looked seriously at the above mentioned Infinity's, but the size of them is a bit of a turn off. In the room that they are going, the 13"x7.4"x10.5" in all 4 corners plus in the center, may be a bit of eye sore. Are there any other suggestions for a surround setup that will provide a comparable sound, but smaller in size?
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post #23 of 29 Old 06-12-2012, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knottenuff View Post

I've looked seriously at the above mentioned Infinity's, but the size of them is a bit of a turn off. In the room that they are going, the 13"x7.4"x10.5" in all 4 corners plus in the center, may be a bit of eye sore. Are there any other suggestions for a surround setup that will provide a comparable sound, but smaller in size?

Would you be willing to pay more? If so, then how much (total for the speakers + sub)? If not, then the following speakers could be substituted at the same or nearly the same price:

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/BOSA23WHA/BOSTON-ACOUSTICS-A23-2-Way-3.5in-Bookshelf/Satellite-Speaker-EA-White/1.html
http://www.amazon.com/Infinity-Primus-Two-way-Bookshelf-Satellite/dp/B0044D3R7M

These are small speakers with the limitations that go along with that, although they should still be a step up from itty-bitty little satellites.
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post #24 of 29 Old 06-12-2012, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

Would you be willing to pay more? If so, then how much (total for the speakers + sub)? If not, then the following speakers could be substituted at the same or nearly the same price:
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/BOSA23WHA/BOSTON-ACOUSTICS-A23-2-Way-3.5in-Bookshelf/Satellite-Speaker-EA-White/1.html
http://www.amazon.com/Infinity-Primus-Two-way-Bookshelf-Satellite/dp/B0044D3R7M
These are small speakers with the limitations that go along with that, although they should still be a step up from itty-bitty little satellites.

I'd like to spend the least as possible, however, I do want to have a good quality setup. I think I'm hooked on the Energy S10.3. I almost went ahead with the Infinity's, but man are they pretty big. I want to hang them in the corners of the room, and the brackets would need to be stout. At any rate, what other options do you have to offer?
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post #25 of 29 Old 06-12-2012, 11:21 PM
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Hanging speakers in the corners isnt exactly ideal placement, but there are some speakers designed to easily corner mount.

http://www.polkaudio.com/homeaudio/surround.php#owm
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post #26 of 29 Old 06-13-2012, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knottenuff View Post

I'd like to spend the least as possible, however, I do want to have a good quality setup.

In that case, the two relatively small speakers I just mentioned may be your best bet--it's hard to find quality speakers of any size at such a low cost, and these are heavily discounted, making them a terrific value.
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I think I'm hooked on the Energy S10.3.

The S10.3 is a good one for the price for sure, and in a small room it should give you just about all the bass you can hear. cool.gif
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Originally Posted by Knottenuff View Post

I almost went ahead with the Infinity's, but man are they pretty big.

Admittedly the Infinity Primus bookshelf speakers are kind of large for what they can do; they're still good speakers, though, and a steal at these prices.
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I want to hang them in the corners of the room

I would generally advise against corner placement, if that would be possible. The strong reflections from two walls could muddy the sound and/or make the speakers sound harsh.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knottenuff View Post

At any rate, what other options do you have to offer?

What I was going to suggest was what I often suggest for those who need/prefer "small" speakers--the Ascend Acoustics HTM-200 SE. It's about half the size of a typical bookshelf speaker in terms of total volume and has a decently compact footprint that helps a lot with placement or mounting, but it still performs well with its twin midwoofers. In addition, as a horizontally-oriented center speaker (the configuration that most people prefer or can tolerate), its horizontal dispersion is actually quite good--easily (and measurably) better than that of the vast majority of MTM centers, due to the close placement of the midwoofers, the aggressive tweeter offset, and the low crossover frequency between the tweeter and the midwoofers--which means that movie dialogue and other sounds coming from the center speaker are less compromised in quality for viewers sitting off-center. Three of these for the front would cost $464, and you could use any pair of less expensive speakers you wish for the surrounds to save money. Perhaps this is more than you'd want to spend, however, and the other speakers are already pretty good. This one is clearly better, in my opinion, but it depends on how picky you are about sound quality.
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post #27 of 29 Old 06-13-2012, 06:40 PM
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I will take good sound over a sore eye any day. However, along with the Ascend and Boston
quoted above.

I would look at 3 of the NHT SuperZeros
http://www.nhthifi.com/Bookshelf-speaker-SuperZero-2-0?sc=12&category=3772

And for now, 2 of the NXG for surrounds > to hold you over.
http://www.amazon.com/Nxg-Pro-4-1-Satellite-Speaker/dp/B0044UHVOK/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1339638017&sr=8-5&keywords=nxg+speaker

If you were not focused on wall-mounting the speakers, then I would reccomend
the Cambridge Audio S30, they have a small appeareance.
The bass will go down to 60hz. Take a look, for exploration and fun.smile.gif
http://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-Audio-Speakers-Dark-Pair/dp/B004NDN9NK

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #28 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

In that case, the two relatively small speakers I just mentioned may be your best bet--it's hard to find quality speakers of any size at such a low cost, and these are heavily discounted, making them a terrific value.
The S10.3 is a good one for the price for sure, and in a small room it should give you just about all the bass you can hear. cool.gif
Admittedly the Infinity Primus bookshelf speakers are kind of large for what they can do; they're still good speakers, though, and a steal at these prices.
I would generally advise against corner placement, if that would be possible. The strong reflections from two walls could muddy the sound and/or make the speakers sound harsh.
What I was going to suggest was what I often suggest for those who need/prefer "small" speakers--the Ascend Acoustics HTM-200 SE. It's about half the size of a typical bookshelf speaker in terms of total volume and has a decently compact footprint that helps a lot with placement or mounting, but it still performs well with its twin midwoofers. In addition, as a horizontally-oriented center speaker (the configuration that most people prefer or can tolerate), its horizontal dispersion is actually quite good--easily (and measurably) better than that of the vast majority of MTM centers, due to the close placement of the midwoofers, the aggressive tweeter offset, and the low crossover frequency between the tweeter and the midwoofers--which means that movie dialogue and other sounds coming from the center speaker are less compromised in quality for viewers sitting off-center. Three of these for the front would cost $464, and you could use any pair of less expensive speakers you wish for the surrounds to save money. Perhaps this is more than you'd want to spend, however, and the other speakers are already pretty good. This one is clearly better, in my opinion, but it depends on how picky you are about sound quality.

So after some thought, I believe that I will get the Infinity's. If the sound from the 153's will be as satisfying as you have made them out to be, I guess I wouldn't be doing myself any justice by not getting them.

Also, I picked up on the comment that placing them in the corner of the room is less than ideal. So after looking at Dolby Digital's website, I will be purchasing stands for the speakers to mount them as close to ear level as possible. I'll be looking at Monoprice for the wires and stands, unless you might have any other recommendation's.
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post #29 of 29 Old 06-20-2012, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Knottenuff View Post

So after some thought, I believe that I will get the Infinity's. If the sound from the 153's will be as satisfying as you have made them out to be, I guess I wouldn't be doing myself any justice by not getting them.

The P153 will sound fuller at relatively high volumes, and the upper bass of the system as a whole will be tighter at all volumes (because the speakers can be crossed over with the sub at a lower frequency). Their larger size alone gives them these abilities, and I think they're pretty good speakers in other respects, too, on top of that (as good as you can get at this price point).
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I'll be looking at Monoprice for the wires and stands, unless you might have any other recommendation's.

Any stand of reasonable quality and adequate weight capacity that works for you in terms of aesthetics and budget should do. Looking at the Monoprice stands, it seems that their weight capacities are too low for the 13.5 lb P153, and the specifications of stands and mounts tend to be somewhat exaggerated to begin with. The larger ones may be able to hold this weight without falling over on their own, but their stability is still in question (in case the speakers are ever bumped, for example). Fortunately there are stands that have adequate capacity for similar prices--you may find some here: http://www.parts-express.com/wizards/searchResults.cfm?srchExt=CAT&srchCat=515. Try to get the tweeters up to your ear level if possible, and with the P153 specifically, err on the high side if you must err (that is, with the tweeter above ear level).

Depending on how you intend to mount your surround speakers, you may also want to consider smaller speakers such as the P143 or any number of others that we could recommend. Personally, I prefer relatively large surrounds (fully matched with the front speakers if possible), which is why I often recommend P153s all around for tight budgets, since the speaker is so inexpensive right now, but like most people you could get away with using smaller surrounds without losing much. Also be sure to ask if you have any issues with mounting the center speaker.

As for the wires, just use any you like (unless they're going to be run inside your walls). If you don't mind the size and cost, then 12 AWG should be more than enough--a conservative choice that many people make so that they'll have one less thing to wonder about. Otherwise, 16 AWG is still enough for even long runs, and 18 AWG works fine for shorter runs. Even thinner wire can be used in some cases without making an audible (or meaningfully audible) difference. Here is a reliable reference: http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable. Refer to the 4 ohm column to be safe, since it is not uncommon for 8-ohm (nominal) speakers to dip down to 4 ohms at some frequencies (this includes the P153).
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