First time surround sound - need advise to get started - AVS Forum
Speakers > First time surround sound - need advise to get started
gfunke's Avatar gfunke 12:46 PM 06-18-2012
I'm building my first surround sound system and have no clue about speakers. Any help would be appreciated.

Current Equiptment
Denon AVR3312CI - bought this over the weekend during Amazon's sale for $550. Most people around here seem to recommend buying speakers first, but this was a 1 day sale so i pulled the trigger on it.

Budget
Probably around $2500 - $3000 on speakers. Definitely no more than $3500.
I can't afford all of that at once, so i'll probably piece-meal it over the next 6 months to a year. I can afford about $1000 right now ... maybe up to $1500. How should i go about buying speakers (as in what to buy now and what to buy later on)?

Now as far as 5.1 vs 7.2 ... I have never even heard a 7.2 setup before. Given my budget, would i be better off going 5.1 spending more on quality speakers instead of cheaper speakers to get a full on 7.2 setup?

I'm also not opposed to getting used speakers but is that a good idea since i don't really have a clue what i'm looking for?

Usage
80% home theater / movies / sports
20% music

Room Size
OK, here's the problem. I have a house now that I'm going to be leaving in 6 to 8 months. I'll be moving to another house but haven't started looking yet. And i thought about just waiting, but most likely I'll be moving again in a couple years after that. If it helps, i'm guessing the house in general will be a 3/2 with around 2000 sq. ft. give or take. On average that means a size like 15x15 or 13x18 or something along those lines. So i guess i'm looking for speakers that are rather versatile as far as room size goes.

I'm going to try to listen to some of your recommendations "live" ... I live in Jacksonville, FL ... anyone recommend any stores around here?

Thanks!

gfunke's Avatar gfunke 11:04 AM 06-22-2012
Nothing? Boooo frown.gif
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 11:19 AM 06-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by gfunke View Post

Nothing? Boooo frown.gif

If your going to move around a few times, then bookshelf speakers tend to
be a nice option - and mate them with a good subwoofer. A 3.1 option will
be a good way to start.
Look to audition speakers from KEF, Focal, Monitor Audio and PSB.

Look at Internet Direct companies for the better sub options, The good
ones are Rythmik, HSU, Outlaw, Epik and SVS.
gfunke's Avatar gfunke 11:30 AM 06-22-2012
OK thanks ... unfortunately, i don't know of many places to go to try them out. We've got best buy and an independent store Hoyt Stereo which carries these guys:
Anthony Gallo
B&W
Bryston
Definitive Technologies
Denon
Pioneer Elite
Rotel
Sonance

Going to hit them up this weekend and test some out.
cel4145's Avatar cel4145 11:43 AM 06-22-2012
Check out Ascend Acoustics. You could start with a pair of their Sierra-1s and then add in the rest of the setup over time. If you research this forum, you'll find plenty of happy Sierra-1 owners.

+1 for what zieglj01 said about those ID sub companies. Best value for subs. Don't buy a sub on your listening adventure. Traditional speaker company subs are very expensive in terms of price/performance in comparison to the ID subs.

Finally, if you are willing to move towers around when you switch housing, the Kef iQ90 is a great deal at $399 a piece (go to http://www.vanns.com/shop/promo and enter "audio" to get the deal). I'd recommend getting the matching center right now, too, the iQ60C. It might be harder to find in six month since this is the older model Q series, and it's important to match the front L/R and center.
gfunke's Avatar gfunke 12:33 PM 06-22-2012
Thanks! I'll definitely keep that in mind about the sub. I'll probably end up getting the full 3.1 right away like zieglj01 suggested even though it's going to hurt the wallet.

Is the sound from towers always going to be better than similarly priced bookshelf speakers? I don't think towers are going to be a problem moving around. I'm going to be moving in-town within like 5 or 10 miles so it shouldn't be a big deal.

I'm planning on listening to some speakers tomorrow but if nothing blows me away i'll definitely consider those iQ90s ... people seem to be really high on them. I just hope that promo lasts.
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 12:40 PM 06-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by gfunke View Post

Thanks! I'll definitely keep that in mind about the sub. I'll probably end up getting the full 3.1 right away like zieglj01 suggested even though it's going to hurt the wallet.
Is the sound from towers always going to be better than similarly priced bookshelf speakers? I don't think towers are going to be a problem moving around. I'm going to be moving in-town within like 5 or 10 miles so it shouldn't be a big deal.
I'm planning on listening to some speakers tomorrow but if nothing blows me away i'll definitely consider those iQ90s ... people seem to be really high on them. I just hope that promo lasts.

For me on average - a good bookshelf tends to out perform towers at the same price, with
the difference being in the bass. It will be a matter of preference and choice. If the bookshelf
has decent bass, then the sub will fill in the rest.
When you audition, look for the Definitive SM55 - the word is real positive so far, and they do
have good bass. The measured bass is -3db at 44hz
http://www.onecall.com/product/Definitive-Technology/Studio-Monitor-55-Ea/Speaker/_/R-112929
cel4145's Avatar cel4145 12:41 PM 06-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by gfunke View Post

Thanks! I'll definitely keep that in mind about the sub. I'll probably end up getting the full 3.1 right away like zieglj01 suggested even though it's going to hurt the wallet.
Is the sound from towers always going to be better than similarly priced bookshelf speakers? I don't think towers are going to be a problem moving around. I'm going to be moving in-town within like 5 or 10 miles so it shouldn't be a big deal.
I'm planning on listening to some speakers tomorrow but if nothing blows me away i'll definitely consider those iQ90s ... people seem to be really high on them. I just hope that promo lasts.

Don't be afraid to ask on the AVS subwoofer forum if you need recommendations or clarifications on the subwoofer.

Towers can give you a fuller sound stage. Will they sound better than comparably priced bookshelves? Hard to say since the bookshelves would be a higher class of speaker, and depending on whether or not you pair the bookshelves with a good sub.

Looks like the Vanns iQ90 special is until 6/30--unless they sell out. So you got plenty of time to do some listening sessions. Once you do, come back and post what you liked and the price, and people can tell you if there are better buys online for similar or better sounding speakers.
jonnythan's Avatar jonnythan 12:45 PM 06-22-2012
The best thing you can do is go listen to a bunch of different speakers in person and take notes on what you think. Listen to crappy speakers as well as good speakers - this will help you narrow down your preferences and get a better understanding of what makes a good speaker.

Come back and tell us what you think.
gfunke's Avatar gfunke 12:47 PM 06-22-2012
Thanks for the help guys. Hopefully i can audition some of these that you're mentioning.
Elihawk's Avatar Elihawk 01:06 PM 06-22-2012
Def Tech SM series do have good bass output (I own the SM350) and new Egg currently has both the SM 350 and 450 at about 50% off for the weekend!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325059
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325060
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 01:20 PM 06-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

Def Tech SM series do have good bass output (I own the SM350) and new Egg currently has both the SM 350 and 450 at about 50% off for the weekend!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325059
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325060

For one on a tight budget, I would take a serious look - they are nice.
gfunke's Avatar gfunke 03:07 PM 06-22-2012
Cool ... I'm going to write up some opinions tomorrow after my trek around Jax. I was able to find a few stores that carry some of these brands (KEF, DefTech, PSB).

Any advise as far as should I try to listen for specific things? Should I bring in and listen to a particular music CD or bluray (since this will be primarily home theater)? Or just listen to whatever and they have in the store and choose whatever speaker "just sounds good" to me?
cel4145's Avatar cel4145 03:19 PM 06-22-2012
Definitely a great idea. Bring something you are used to listening to, and bring both CD and bluray. Sometimes the speakers might not be hooked up to bluray players.
donutfan's Avatar donutfan 04:23 PM 06-22-2012
Here's a great pair of front channels: JBL K2S9900. Just kidding. biggrin.gif I grew up with JBLs, before they were bought out & started selling lower-priced and rather um....plasticky (imo of course).....speaker lines, and like to show what else they are capable of.
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 05:10 PM 06-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by donutfan View Post

Here's a great pair of front channels: JBL K2S9900. Just kidding. biggrin.gif I grew up with JBLs, before they were bought out & started selling lower-priced and rather um....plasticky (imo of course).....speaker lines, and like to show what else they are capable of.

Well even the JBL LS40, looks nice.
http://www.jblsynthesis.com/Products/Details/99
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