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post #1 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all - starting from scratch with some new speakers and I'm suffering from info overload! Wanted to get some opinions on best bang for the buck on a 5.1 set up.

The room is 20x25 with 8 foot ceilings, but the main viewing area is really 20x15 or so. But the space is an open floor plan so I do want enough power to go beyond that. These will be mainly used for watching TV and movies, but some music too.

Only limitations are that I won't have a spot for floor standing mains... they'll need to be on shelving. That, and cost. I'd really like to stay under $2k for the fronts, center, surrounds and sub. Ideally more like 1.5k.... but then I really want to make sure to do this right.

I'd sure appreciate some suggestions from you experts.

Thank you,
Frank

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post #2 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 12:34 PM
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4 x Infinity Primus p363 for front left/righ and surrounds: $340
Infinity Primus c351 center speaker: $200
Outlaw Audio LFM-1 EX subwoofer: $600

There is a great system for $1140 shipped. Hell, get two of those subs at its current sale price, if you have an open floor space you will be glad you did. Remember that subs have to pressurize the whole space, bass is not directional below 80 hz so have to have enough air displacement to get a good bass sound in the middle of the room. You will also need to buy stuff like mounts, wire, and other accessories to put together your home theater.

Here is another great bang-for-the-buck which uses bookshelf fronts: Hsu Hybrid 15 5.1 package. It's a bit pricier than the above system, but the speakers are more appropriate for a larger space, and the single VTF15h sub will be able to handle the entire space with no problem. You could also mix components between the systems, like use Hsu speakers with the Outlaw sub or Infinity speakers with the Hsu sub. Either way you are talking about a lot of bang for the buck.
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post #3 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 01:05 PM
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Since you require bookshelf speakers, I would suggest this as a really solid budget solution:

4x Pioneer BS41 (Currently on sale)
1x Pioneer C21 (Currently on sale)
1x Epik Empire

With the sale price of the Pioneer mains, this is a system that is way within your desired budget (even with shipping), but would offer way above budget performance in a room of your size.
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post #4 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions, I'll check those out, Much appreciated.

I was looking at the KEF KHT3005BL which I saw for $1900... but I wasn't sure if the sub would be powerful enough for what I needed.

I'm going to see if I can track down those you suggested so I can hear them in person.

Frank

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post #5 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 02:14 PM
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fwiw,pair of ascend acoustics cmt340 se and cmt 340 se center
pair of ascend acoustic's cbm 170's for surround tota l$1212



svs pb12-nsd sub $769

its at your top end of budget but well worth it imo.

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #6 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 02:15 PM
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where are you located?

to help others as well, please put location in either profile or in posts asking for recommendations. There are many members here who would be happy to audition / (show off) what they have ... smile.gif

some may be local to you... myself included .

What a long, strange trip its been....
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post #7 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm in Shrewsbury, MA... Sorry about that, I thought I'd put it in my profile.

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post #8 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlhungdude View Post

where are you located?
to help others as well, please put location in either profile or in posts asking for recommendations. There are many members here who would be happy to audition / (show off) what they have ... smile.gif
some may be local to you... myself included .

maybe you should do the same rolleyes.gif LOL

I'd personally go to your local store and audition some speakers. See what sounds best to you and take it from there. Most people will recommend what they own or have owned, which may not sound good to you. With $1500-2000, I would buy everything separately vs a set like the KEF you noted. I believe you can get better speaks and sub that way. Good luck...
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post #9 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 03:23 PM
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I would REALLY recommend this internet direct speakers. Craps all over pioneer!

http://www.emptek.com/e5bi_bts.php <-- pair of bookshelf for front left/right ($195 on sale atm)

http://www.emptek.com/e56ci_bts.php <-- GIANT awesome centre ($350 on sale atm)

http://www.emptek.com/e55wi_bts.php <-- pair of bipole surrounds ($390 on sale atm)

grand total = $935 for 5 super speakers rated well under 80hz for excellent HT crossover.

Then add a HSU or SVS sub that costs about 800 and you'll have spent 1700$ on an amazing setup.

I'm aussie so I haven't heard the emp tek line, but I would love to be in the U.S so i could trial them. If you don't like em? send em back on the return policy
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post #10 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick n Skullsue View Post

I would REALLY recommend this internet direct speakers. Craps all over pioneer!
http://www.emptek.com/e5bi_bts.php <-- pair of bookshelf for front left/right ($195 on sale atm)
http://www.emptek.com/e56ci_bts.php <-- GIANT awesome centre ($350 on sale atm)
http://www.emptek.com/e55wi_bts.php <-- pair of bipole surrounds ($390 on sale atm)
grand total = $935 for 5 super speakers rated well under 80hz for excellent HT crossover.
Then add a HSU or SVS sub that costs about 800 and you'll have spent 1700$ on an amazing setup.
I'm aussie so I haven't heard the emp tek line, but I would love to be in the U.S so i could trial them. If you don't like em? send em back on the return policy

Well, at nearly 4x the price, I would hope that they crap all over the Pioneers. rolleyes.gifsmile.gif
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post #11 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmaz View Post

Hi all - starting from scratch with some new speakers and I'm suffering from info overload! Wanted to get some opinions on best bang for the buck on a 5.1 set up.
The room is 20x25 with 8 foot ceilings, but the main viewing area is really 20x15 or so. But the space is an open floor plan so I do want enough power to go beyond that. These will be mainly used for watching TV and movies, but some music too.
Only limitations are that I won't have a spot for floor standing mains... they'll need to be on shelving. That, and cost. I'd really like to stay under $2k for the fronts, center, surrounds and sub. Ideally more like 1.5k.... but then I really want to make sure to do this right.
I'd sure appreciate some suggestions from you experts.
Thank you,
Frank

First off, I used to be in a similar situation, had a huge room, high ceilings and couldn't put floorstanders...it was a huge pain because floorstanders are what you really need to fill that space with sound. That being said, what kind of floor (carpet, wood, etc) will matter because if you have carpet you could go with something like a Klipsch reference bookshelf which puts out a LOT of sound with only a little power. If you have bare floors, you're going to have to be super careful in your system matching not to get a system that gives you headaches. I had wood floors and used Paradigm Studio 20s (ver. 3; fairly cheap used) which had a laidback sound that gelled well with hard surfaces. Try out some different receivers too, the lower end receivers tend to sound a little harder than upper end ones, you might try Pioneer and Onkyo as they are fairly laid back as well (if you have carpet, don't use laid back receiver with laid back speakers or you'll get fuzzy sounding music, not detailed, accurate sound like you probably want). Also, Definitive Technology makes some nice monitors that are great for movies (good for music) for not too much money, just try to get same brand/same line for all 3 front speakers and you'll be OK.

I now have a living room that is 25 wide X 15 deep, 8 ft. ceilings and carpeted. I traded for some Monitor Audio Bronze BX5s (the bookshelves are BX1 or 2), matching center and an Anthem receiver and I gotta say...I'm really blown away by these little guys. They use the same tweeter and radial screw driver mounting that the Silver series did a few years ago (way more expensive) and it sounds like you're listening to a high dollar 2-channel rig at one of those snooty audio shops, no joke! (I have no monetary ties to them, except when they get me on the cost of new speakers). Also, get on Audiogon and buya good used sub...SVS, HSU, Velodyne...they are all quality stuff. Ported subs go louder and deeper, sealed subs sound less like the music is coming from the sub and more like its coming from your speakers (which I prefer). You can't go wrong, just be patient and find a good deal on gently used equipment (and don't fall for the deal that's too good to be true).

Anyway...give us more room/setup info and we'll give you more recommendations.
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post #12 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 05:39 PM
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HTD Level THREE bookshelf speakers at $299/pr. Get two pair for mains and surrounds.
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Bookshelf-Speakers

HTD Level THREE center speaker at $199ea
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Center-Channel-Speaker

HTD offers a free 30 day in home trial with their bookshelf and center speakers.

That's $800 and still leaves you plenty for the subwoofer
http://outlawaudio.com/products/lfmEX.html
http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/legend.html

These speakers have a popular following too.
http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?p=arx-a1b-monitor-loudspeaker&products_id=65&
http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?loudspeakers=arx&p=arx-a2b-center-lcr-loudspeaker&cPath=21_32&products_id=66&

What receiver do you have?

Afro GT
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post #13 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 05:43 PM
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maybe you should do the same rolleyes.gif LOL


My location is plainly listed in the "I'll demo my speakers..." thread, and the "I'll demo my subs... " threads, for anyone to see, that is potentially looking to hear others' systems. I think it is one of the most underutilized features on this forum.

If I were to ask for opinions, as a new user, I would put the location in my request, and I'm merely suggesting it, not only for the OP, but for the potential benefit of any other NEW MEMBER that may happen to read this thread. Had it been there, and been local, I would have offered exactly that, via PM. I'm sure you can appreciate that, as well as my 'apprehension' to just post my exact location, as well as a big fat flag waving "This is what's in my house... and here's where I am...". For safety's sake... but also being willing to help someone else out, especially when it comes to being able to listen to something that you just CANT buy in your local Wally-world. And I'm sure there are other members of this forum that would not be willing to openly post in either of those 2 threads, for exactly the reasons I listed, but MIGHT be willing to offer a listen, privately, via PM, IF the person asking was nearby.

I hope I didn't offend anyone. I'm truly willing to give back to this forum, because I received great help from others when I first joined. Way more knowledge and wisdom here than I could ever hope to have without others' help.

Joseph

What a long, strange trip its been....
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post #14 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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My receiver is an Onkyo tx-sr796... But I'm going to move this into the basement and buy a new receiver as well. But I thought I made the most sense to settle on speakers as step 1.

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post #15 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 05:59 PM
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I went with HSU, and am very happy. Give them a look. They are a sponsor of this forum, as well.

IMO, YMMV, AFAIK, and IMNAL..

What a long, strange trip its been....
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post #16 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeyvaz View Post

maybe you should do the same rolleyes.gif LOL
I'd personally go to your local store and audition some speakers. See what sounds best to you and take it from there. Most people will recommend what they own or have owned, which may not sound good to you. With $1500-2000, I would buy everything separately vs a set like the KEF you noted. I believe you can get better speaks and sub that way. Good luck...

I'm fine with not buying a set...but doesn't it make sense to have the fronts and center be from the same line?

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post #17 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

HTD Level THREE bookshelf speakers at $299/pr. Get two pair for mains and surrounds.
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Bookshelf-Speakers
HTD Level THREE center speaker at $199ea
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Center-Channel-Speaker
HTD offers a free 30 day in home trial with their bookshelf and center speakers.
That's $800 and still leaves you plenty for the subwoofer

They are some nice speakers.

__________________________________________
Who and Where - is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

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 #18 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 06:31 PM
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Frank,

Something to consider. Even though your listening/viewing area is 20x15, your speakers will "see" the entire 20x25 area as well as open adjoining areas. You can't get around this, can't limit to an area within an area without entirely closing it off.

You probably won't consider this, but how about taking your entire speaker budget and using it for two main speakers only. Think about it, you have a challenging area to fill. Do you think 5 speakers and a SW, averaging $300 or so will work in a space your size? Some of the speaker suggestions you have received will sound like tin cans in 4,000 cubic feet.
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post #19 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmaz View Post

I'm fine with not buying a set...but doesn't it make sense to have the fronts and center be from the same line?

Yes, yes, emphatically, YES! The purists will tell your three identical fronts...as long as they're from the same series and manufacturer, they should be reasonably consistently voiced. In addition, under no circumstance could I see doing exactly the same fronts as surrounds, unless we're talking high end towers (we're not), you should spend your money on they center, which carries 90% of the dialogue from movies and the front L & R, which are the ONLY thing playing in 2 channel stereo, the rears...whatever.

You never told us your floors, couches, wall coverings, etc. The room generally matters more than the gear...especially if its mismatched.
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post #20 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

4 x Infinity Primus p363 for front left/righ and surrounds: $340
Infinity Primus c351 center speaker: $200
Outlaw Audio LFM-1 EX subwoofer: $600

There is a great system for $1140 shipped. Hell, get two of those subs at its current sale price, if you have an open floor space you will be glad you did. Remember that subs have to pressurize the whole space, bass is not directional below 80 hz so have to have enough air displacement to get a good bass sound in the middle of the room. You will also need to buy stuff like mounts, wire, and other accessories to put together your home theater.

Here is another great bang-for-the-buck which uses bookshelf fronts: Hsu Hybrid 15 5.1 package. It's a bit pricier than the above system, but the speakers are more appropriate for a larger space, and the single VTF15h sub will be able to handle the entire space with no problem. You could also mix components between the systems, like use Hsu speakers with the Outlaw sub or Infinity speakers with the Hsu sub. Either way you are talking about a lot of bang for the buck.

+1 for the hsu hybrid 15. We have the same setup with the vtf3mk3 sub in a 40x20x20' room at the family cabin and it fills it with great sound for music and movies with no problem at all.
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post #21 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensctt View Post

Frank,
Something to consider. Even though your listening/viewing area is 20x15, your speakers will "see" the entire 20x25 area as well as open adjoining areas. You can't get around this, can't limit to an area within an area without entirely closing it off.
You probably won't consider this, but how about taking your entire speaker budget and using it for two main speakers only. Think about it, you have a challenging area to fill. Do you think 5 speakers and a SW, averaging $300 or so will work in a space your size? Some of the speaker suggestions you have received will sound like tin cans in 4,000 cubic feet.

Unless he is sitting on the opposite end of the room from the speakers, he won't have to worry about them. He will have to worry about the subwoofer, and he should definitely spend more on that than any of the speakers.
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post #22 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 08:26 PM
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I would also consider the hybrid Hsu package.
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post #23 of 34 Old 08-28-2012, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick n Skullsue View Post

I would REALLY recommend this internet direct speakers. Craps all over pioneer!
http://www.emptek.com/e5bi_bts.php <-- pair of bookshelf for front left/right ($195 on sale atm)
http://www.emptek.com/e56ci_bts.php <-- GIANT awesome centre ($350 on sale atm)
http://www.emptek.com/e55wi_bts.php <-- pair of bipole surrounds ($390 on sale atm)
grand total = $935 for 5 super speakers rated well under 80hz for excellent HT crossover.
Then add a HSU or SVS sub that costs about 800 and you'll have spent 1700$ on an amazing setup.
I'm aussie so I haven't heard the emp tek line, but I would love to be in the U.S so i could trial them. If you don't like em? send em back on the return policy

Have you actually heard the Pioneer speakers?
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post #24 of 34 Old 08-29-2012, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by vraxoin View Post

Well, at nearly 4x the price, I would hope that they crap all over the Pioneers. rolleyes.gifsmile.gif

Right...400 x 4 = $1600. Not 935.

You are looking for maths schooling. It is roughly double the price.

@ others. Haven't heard either speakers. Still maintain bang for buck is gotten in brands like HSU, axiom and emptek. Since opinions based on having heard a speaker are all totally subjective, my opinion is valid to avoid petty contentiousness.
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post #25 of 34 Old 08-29-2012, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick n Skullsue View Post

Right...400 x 4 = $1600. Not 935.
You are looking for maths schooling. It is roughly double the price.

Not that it's a big deal, but the Pioneers, on sale right now (stated this a few times), are $250 for the set. You stated $935 for the Empteks. As I correctly stated, that's "nearly 4x the price". rolleyes.gif
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post #26 of 34 Old 08-29-2012, 01:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlhungdude View Post

maybe you should do the same rolleyes.gif LOL
My location is plainly listed in the "I'll demo my speakers..." thread, and the "I'll demo my subs... " threads, for anyone to see, that is potentially looking to hear others' systems. I think it is one of the most underutilized features on this forum.
If I were to ask for opinions, as a new user, I would put the location in my request, and I'm merely suggesting it, not only for the OP, but for the potential benefit of any other NEW MEMBER that may happen to read this thread. Had it been there, and been local, I would have offered exactly that, via PM. I'm sure you can appreciate that, as well as my 'apprehension' to just post my exact location, as well as a big fat flag waving "This is what's in my house... and here's where I am...". For safety's sake... but also being willing to help someone else out, especially when it comes to being able to listen to something that you just CANT buy in your local Wally-world. And I'm sure there are other members of this forum that would not be willing to openly post in either of those 2 threads, for exactly the reasons I listed, but MIGHT be willing to offer a listen, privately, via PM, IF the person asking was nearby.
I hope I didn't offend anyone. I'm truly willing to give back to this forum, because I received great help from others when I first joined. Way more knowledge and wisdom here than I could ever hope to have without others' help.
Joseph

Location states "off in some ...mountain chain" that is why I said that. rolling eyes was to show sarcasm. nothing else. not trying to offend anyone either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fmaz View Post

I'm fine with not buying a set...but doesn't it make sense to have the fronts and center be from the same line?

yes, front three should from same manufacturer. I was referring to buying the speakers from your manufacturer of choice and the sub from a real sub company (HSU, Epik, Rythmik, etc.) That way you get better components. If you you buy something like the KEF system you initially noted, you might get decent speakers, but their sub cannot compare to any of the ones I noted. Just the way most people who are into this hobby do it.
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post #27 of 34 Old 08-29-2012, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by drewTT View Post

Have you actually heard the Pioneer speakers?

I haven't but the problem with those is poor power handling. There is only so much a small speaker with 5" woofers and 85 db sensitivity can do.
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post #28 of 34 Old 08-29-2012, 06:10 AM
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I want to chime in and agree with shadyj on the Outlaw EX recommendation. I have one, and while on sale at $600, there is simply not a better sub for your size room, and it is easily argued to be the best price vs performance value out of all the subs suggested. Here's a comprehensive review where it was rated at the end as good for rooms up to 5,000 cubic feet: http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/subwoofers/lfm-1-ex-review.

And I also agree with shadyj about the Pioneers. While they are an excellent value in terms of sound quality, better to go with speakers with a higher sensitivity rating in a room as big as yours. I'd stay away from the Emp Teks for that reason as well. Speakers with a higher sensitivity put out more volume for the same amount of amplifier power. The HSU speakers would be one of the better choices recommended so far in that regard. I'd also consider the Ascend Acoustics CMT-340/CBM-170 setup that smasher50 recommended. They have decent sensitivity, and both the dual driver design of the CMTs and the exact matching design of the L/R and center for the front soundstage would probably make them my top choice.

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post #29 of 34 Old 08-29-2012, 06:53 AM
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I third the outlaw sub. On sale for $599 shipped. It's the best deal out there for a sub.

Unless you plan on playing very loud, sensitivity probably won't be an issue. Generally speaking, more sensitive speakers tend to accentuate the higher frequencies more than the bass. Probably because it takes less energy to produce volume at the higher frequencies. They sound kind of shrill to me. I'm sure there are some excellent speakers that are sensitive and sound great, but my general impression is high sensitivity = high pitch.
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post #30 of 34 Old 08-29-2012, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pottscb View Post

Yes, yes, emphatically, YES! The purists will tell your three identical fronts...as long as they're from the same series and manufacturer, they should be reasonably consistently voiced. In addition, under no circumstance could I see doing exactly the same fronts as surrounds, unless we're talking high end towers (we're not), you should spend your money on they center, which carries 90% of the dialogue from movies and the front L & R, which are the ONLY thing playing in 2 channel stereo, the rears...whatever.
You never told us your floors, couches, wall coverings, etc. The room generally matters more than the gear...especially if its mismatched.


Well, we're mid-design process on most of that...but what we know is that the floor will be hardwood with a large area rug. Couch will be a large leather sectional, with an additional leather chair. Wall covering will be just painted.

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