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post #1 of 55 Old 09-15-2012, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone, I am thinking of getting started with a 3.1 system. I would ]probably add rear speakers in the future. The room is 15 x 13 but to the right of the room is 3-4 feet of walkway that flows into the kitchen that is behind the living room where the system would be located. The floor plan is pretty open with hard floors, so the main area does have some reverb going on. Hopefully more rugs and furniture will quiet things down. The tv is on a small table that is against a blank wall, so I am not sure if the speakers would go on the entertainment table or need to be mounted or on stands? I was wanting a solid system for watching movies that will provide an excellent sound stage with clear dialogue. I hate having to turn the volume up for dialogue and down for action. We would also listen to music but I think tv and movies is the main focus, maybe 80% to 20%. Budget is 1000-1500 for speakers, sub, and avr. I am a pretty new to the hometheater world, but I have been trying to read the forums for info. Thanks for the advice!
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post #2 of 55 Old 09-15-2012, 12:57 PM
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fwiw,
pair of ascend acoustic cmt340's
cmt 340 center $900

energy s-10.3 sub $199 newegg

denon avr 1912 $299 accessories4less

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #3 of 55 Old 09-15-2012, 01:33 PM
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Denon AVR1713 $450
Hsu Hybrid 2 3.1 $1.1k
The whole package will come a bit over 1.5k shipped, but you are getting a great sub in the Hsu package, and a higher resolution version of Audyssey in the Denon 1713.
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post #4 of 55 Old 09-15-2012, 09:06 PM
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I agree that the HSU VTF-4 MK4 would be a better sub than the Energy S10.3, although I would lean toward the Ascend CMT's over the HSU speakers.

But you couldn't do wrong with either suggested setup, and you would certainly be getting a better deal than most alternatives from brick and mortar stores smile.gif

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post #5 of 55 Old 09-15-2012, 09:13 PM
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You could even save a little cash and get the Denon 1712 at accessories4less instead of the 1713.

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post #6 of 55 Old 09-15-2012, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I agree that the HSU VTF-4 MK4 would be a better sub than the Energy S10.3, although I would lean toward the Ascend CMT's over the HSU speakers.
But you couldn't do wrong with either suggested setup, and you would certainly be getting a better deal than most alternatives from brick and mortar stores smile.gif

I don't think CMT340's are a good idea for anyone with that tight of a budget. I would much prefer the CBM170s if I were to go with Ascend. The extra woofer on the 340s won't get you that much extra SPL, but it will introduce off-axis lobing issues which are absent on the single woofer CBM. If you want to be picky, it also adds that much more surface area which adds resonance. it is also more difficult to use a wall mount on a speaker that heavy with that high of a center of gravity, you pretty much have to drill holes in the CMT340 for any kind of mount. In fact, everything being equal, I would also rather use the CBM for a center speaker rather than a CMT, the CBM will almost certainly have a better horizontal off-axis FR unless you used the CMT340 vertically, but not many people can do that. Three CBM170s would, in my opinion, be a preferable system, and leave room in the budget for a decent subwoofer as well.
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post #7 of 55 Old 09-15-2012, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I agree that the HSU VTF-4 MK4 would be a better sub than the Energy S10.3, although I would lean toward the Ascend CMT's over the HSU speakers.
But you couldn't do wrong with either suggested setup, and you would certainly be getting a better deal than most alternatives from brick and mortar stores smile.gif

I don't think CMT340's are a good idea for anyone with that tight of a budget. I would much prefer the CBM170s if I were to go with Ascend. The extra woofer on the 340s won't get you that much extra SPL, but it will introduce off-axis lobing issues which are absent on the single woofer CBM. If you want to be picky, it also adds that much more surface area which adds resonance. it is also more difficult to use a wall mount on a speaker that heavy with that high of a center of gravity, you pretty much have to drill holes in the CMT340 for any kind of mount. In fact, everything being equal, I would also rather use the CBM for a center speaker rather than a CMT, the CBM will almost certainly have a better horizontal off-axis FR unless you used the CMT340 vertically, but not many people can do that. Three CBM170s would, in my opinion, be a preferable system, and leave room in the budget for a decent subwoofer as well.

I like this idea. I don't have the 340s and defer to ShadyJs info in regards to the resonance/lobing, but I do have Sierra-1s, 170SEs and 200SEs. The 170SE is a good speaker and think it'll do fine in a room that size, easier to mount (or put on a stand) plus I like the idea of putting the savings towards a better sub. Personally I'd look at an Epik Legend for a sub ($500 plus shipping for a dual driver 12" opposed sealed design). For avr I haven't looked lately but would get as good an Audyssey setup as I could get along with the other features you're looking for down the line; that 1713 with Audyssey XT of those mentioned looks nice.
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post #8 of 55 Old 09-15-2012, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I went to best buy today and listend to some def tech speakers. I thought the def tech studio monitor 45 speakers sounded good. I also heard the pro 1000 center. The center sounded good, but I was concernered that it sounded a little thin. I am looking for more places that I can listen to speakers. Where do these def tech speakers sit in comparison to the other ones mentioned in this thread?
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post #9 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 03:06 AM
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I haven't heard them, but judging from the specs, I certainly wouldn't pay 200 per speaker for them. Deftech has a habit of exaggerating their specs too. As for the Legend sub, that has had reliability issues lately with their amplifiers, I would check the Epik thread in the subwoofer forum before I pulled the trigger on one of those. Personally, I would go with a Hsu or Outlaw sub anyway.
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post #10 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

The extra woofer on the 340s won't get you that much extra SPL, but it will introduce off-axis lobing issues which are absent on the single woofer CBM. If you want to be picky, it also adds that much more surface area which adds resonance.

Doubt that's a consideration that the OP has to worry about. I've read tons of good testimonials about the 340s on AVS, and I don't remember one person complaining about those issues. Maybe I missed those discussions?
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it is also more difficult to use a wall mount on a speaker that heavy with that high of a center of gravity, you pretty much have to drill holes in the CMT340 for any kind of mount. In fact, everything being equal, I would also rather use the CBM for a center speaker rather than a CMT, the CBM will almost certainly have a better horizontal off-axis FR unless you used the CMT340 vertically, but not many people can do that. Three CBM170s would, in my opinion, be a preferable system, and leave room in the budget for a decent subwoofer as well.

That's true about that wall mounting might be more difficult. But I'm surprised you recommended the HSU hybrid package. I suspect that the OP would be better off going with the HB-1 MK2 for a center instead of the HC-1 MK2 for similar reasons regarding the off axis frequency response, although personally I don't think the OP should worry about it with either brand speaker.

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post #11 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I noticed both HSU and ascend are in socal, where I am located. However with work schedule I doubt I can get out there. Do most people buy these brands direct from the company without hearing them? I was looking into the hybrid 2 package and saw that the center did not get the best review in some threads. I think there was a discussion about the horn design making off-axis poor and performance wasn't the best. Shady, so any disadvantage to using a cmb170 as a center? Would I just lay it on it's side and the other two upright?
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post #12 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 07:53 AM
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The best soundstage is always three identical speakers across the front. However, most people can't accommodate a vertical bookshelf speaker as their center, so manufacturers sell horizontal centers with a driver on each side and a tweeter in the middle. That design is a slight compromise, but people are generally fine with it. A lot of regulars here on AVS (if not a majority) are running a horizontal center channel instead of a matching third speaker. That's why I said above you really shouldn't worry about it.

I'd worry more about avoiding wall mounting. The correct speaker placement will probably have more impact on your listening experience. For instance, being able to sightly toe in the left/right speakers toward the main listening position and getting them out a little from the wall will have an impact on the soundstage of your setup. The mid-bass in rear-ported speakers like the HSUs and Ascends can become a little bloated if put right up against a wall (the port needs to be able to inhale and exhale).

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post #13 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

I don't think CMT340's are a good idea for anyone with that tight of a budget. I would much prefer the CBM170s if I were to go with Ascend. The extra woofer on the 340s won't get you that much extra SPL, but it will introduce off-axis lobing issues which are absent on the single woofer CBM. If you want to be picky, it also adds that much more surface area which adds resonance. it is also more difficult to use a wall mount on a speaker that heavy with that high of a center of gravity, you pretty much have to drill holes in the CMT340 for any kind of mount. In fact, everything being equal, I would also rather use the CBM for a center speaker rather than a CMT, the CBM will almost certainly have a better horizontal off-axis FR unless you used the CMT340 vertically, but not many people can do that. Three CBM170s would, in my opinion, be a preferable system, and leave room in the budget for a decent subwoofer as well.
Any larger speaker has the potential for more resonance. The more related issue is if the resonance is an actual issue and if the speaker is properly braced.

Lobing is a true issue, if you sit off axis. With the CMT-340SE center, if I remember correctly, if you are 10' from the speaker, the center lob is at least 8' wide. At this distance, if you are sitting outside of 8', you are probably sitting outside the left or right speaker too....which would be more of an issue. I'm not saying lobing isn't a real issue, because for some center channels and users it really is.

BTW...the center channel that shadyJ recommended in the Hsu setup is of the same design as the CMT-340SE and would have the same general issues that shadyJ mentions.

As for those that have experienced the CBM-170SE vs the CMT-340SE, most will tell you they don't sound the same. The 340 plays "bigger", certainly plays deeper, and I think the midrange is bit more open.

Mounting is more of an issue with the 340 as others have pointed out. I wouldn't mount 340's on a wall, but others have used a mount that are designed to clamp on to the bottom of the speaker to avoid drilling, and have been very happy with it. If you crossover to a sub at 80hz, you shouldn't have any problems with port.

With all that...I really suggest that you do what you can to get out and listen to speakers, especially the Hsu and Ascend setups recommended. As cel4145 said, you can't go wrong with either of them...but I will add, that if you them both, especially side by side, you will prefer one over the other.

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post #14 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Ya I can see how it would be difficult to accommodate a vertical bookshelf for a center. I could maybe do it if I wall mount my tv and place all my speakers in a row on an entertainment table. How much spacing is needed between the left, right, and center? If I had a 58" table, would that be enough spacing for all three? If I am going to need more space I would rather either wall mount or go to tower speakers. Looks wise I am not a fan of the small speakers on stands, and neither is the wife wink.gif
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post #15 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 09:09 AM
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Ya I can see how it would be difficult to accommodate a vertical bookshelf for a center. I could maybe do it if I wall mount my tv and place all my speakers in a row on an entertainment table. How much spacing is needed between the left, right, and center? If I had a 58" table, would that be enough spacing for all three? If I am going to need more space I would rather either wall mount or go to tower speakers. Looks wise I am not a fan of the small speakers on stands, and neither is the wife wink.gif
Be careful with wallmounting a TV. Many people mount them too high, which is bad ergonomically. Ideally, when seated, the line of site should fall in the bottom half of the TV, and some say in the bottom third.

The 340's have optional stands that make them look like a small tower.

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post #16 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Anyone know where I can listen to some of these in southern California? I have been googling for av stores, but haven't found much.
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post #17 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 09:27 AM
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Anyone know where I can listen to some of these in southern California? I have been googling for av stores, but haven't found much.
Where in SoCal are you?

Hsu is in Anaheim. You can get a great demo there...and with their subwoofers.

Ascend is in San Clemente.

I'm in Manhattan Beach...but don't have the speakers you are considering. smile.gif

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post #18 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I am in the redlands area 20 min east of ontario. I noticed they were both near me, but I am guessing they are only open on weekdays and I am sure they would be closed by the time I would drive out there since it is 1-1.5 hours from me. Weekdays are kinda hard for me to get away with my work schedule.
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post #19 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 09:41 AM
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I am in the redlands area 20 min east of ontario. I noticed they were both near me, but I am guessing they are only open on weekdays and I am sure they would be closed by the time I would drive out there since it is 1-1.5 hours from me. Weekdays are kinda hard for me to get away with my work schedule.
I know both, in the past, have arranged weekend appointments. It's all about their availability.

By the way, there is also the LA Audio/Video group that we have. Many of us are willing to have people audition our setups. Here's the group's thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/727555/los-angeles-home-theater-group-meet

The problem with visiting other's setups, is then you want to spend more and more money. smile.gif It's dangerous!
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post #20 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
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I am in the redlands area 20 min east of ontario. I noticed they were both near me, but I am guessing they are only open on weekdays and I am sure they would be closed by the time I would drive out there since it is 1-1.5 hours from me. Weekdays are kinda hard for me to get away with my work schedule.


As to the Legend having amp issues, yes, they have had some reports, and, like many forums, once some are reported it just keeps getting repeated, even by those who have no experience. I own an Epik Empire and it too had an amp problem. Chad, the owner of Epik, took care of it very nicely as he has with the others, some on the forums just expect instant customer service and don't like that sometimes you have to be a bit persistent in getting him on the phone or by email, for me that's not a big issue. The recent demise of elemental Design has people wondering, too. Stability of a small company varies just as with a big one (like Best Buy being in a downward spiral for some time now, too). The performance of the Epik subs at their price points I don't think can be beat (IMHO). Sometimes dealing with a small internet direct company has its issues, but that's a risk you take for a superior product at a given price point (in most cases). Epik is not alone with having amp issues, more to do with the amp manufacturers than the sub builder (there are better built amps out there, such as what Mark Seaton uses in his Submersive, but you will pay significantly more just as Mark does).

If you want big box store customer service for listening and returns, they do have some value there, but the number of stores out there isn't great and either is their selection and setup for listening (or in the case of tvs, viewing/comparing). Personally I started listening to speakers at Best Buy/Magnolia but found their listening choices and setup lacking and the Def Tech speakers I heard didn't do it for me (couldn't tell you model, but was shopping the general price range being discussed here so far). Listening to speakers in your home is the best place to hear them and Ascend offers a 30 day home trial if you pay return shipping; I think Hsu offers similar, as do many internet direct companies. I think I've also read of weekend demos on occasion at both Hsu and Ascend but you should contact those companies for the direct scoop in any case. I bought all my Ascends without hearing them first, and I'm not returning any of them, same way I selected the Empire...mostly based on the reports on this forum particularly (but doesn't mean every comment has to be taken to heart, it is a forum for not-your-average-consumer smile.gif. Dave Fabrikant and Dina at Ascend are very nice people to deal with as are the reports from Dr. Hsu and his staff. That's another advantage of dealing direct with the guys who built and design these speakers, they actually know their product and can answer your questions unlike the clueless at Best Buy...
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post #21 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quick question on receivers. What does everyone think of a pioneer elite vsx-33 for $300 open box?
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post #22 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 10:31 AM
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That looks like a great deal, you should jump on it! Does it included all the accessories especially remote and calibration mic?

6 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI out
Ethernet port for internet radio streaming
Marvell QDEO video scaler
7.1 preouts for adding an external amp
Advance MCACC room calibration
3 zones



Pretty awesome receiver for $300. I guess it retailed for $1K at one point. You can even connect a keyboard to the USB port for renaming stations, settings, etc.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/ephox/StaticFiles/PUSA/Files/VSX-33.pdf

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post #23 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 10:33 AM
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I agree with afrogt....excellent deal.

Wherever you found the deal, just make sure they have a good return policy, and the unit comes with the warranty.

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post #24 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 11:58 AM
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Nice receiver but I think Audyssey XT is more desireable than MCACC, as it has sub eq (not perfect but it's there, auto and manual) and MCACC doesn't. I'm also a little down on Pioneer as my 919 recently up and quit on me after a coupla years use.
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post #25 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 12:01 PM
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The problem with visiting other's setups, is then you want to spend more and more money. smile.gif It's dangerous!

Agreed, that L.A. group is definitely a dangerous bunch biggrin.gif.

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post #26 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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So more story on the receiver. It is referb from factory so something was wrong at some point likely.
has nothing with it so I need mic, power cord, and remote. 30 day return but no warranty unless I buy it separate. Good deal still?
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post #27 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by PureBlue View Post

I noticed both HSU and ascend are in socal, where I am located. However with work schedule I doubt I can get out there. Do most people buy these brands direct from the company without hearing them? I was looking into the hybrid 2 package and saw that the center did not get the best review in some threads. I think there was a discussion about the horn design making off-axis poor and performance wasn't the best. Shady, so any disadvantage to using a cmb170 as a center? Would I just lay it on it's side and the other two upright?

There are no disadvantages to using a CBM170 as a center, from a technical perspective, in fact it may be better than using a horizontal CMT340. I would just use a normal CBM170 in its normal vertical orientation. The Hsu center isn't bad off-axis, but you want to be within a certain window of its axis, probably something like a 45 degree angle due to its controlled directivity. Again, as with the CBM and CMT, it would probably just be better to use a vertical HB-1 as a center than a HC-1, there is no real reason to spend money on the extra woofer. Btw, on the Hsu speakers, you can flip the tweeters 90 degrees for greater angle of vertical or horizontal coverage.

However, I should add that if your listening position is on-axis, a vertical MTM deisgn (like standing a CMT upright) presents no real problems. I would also add to something that was mentioned, yeah, you could use an all MTM (the designs of the CMT and HC-1) front stage it it will probably sound fine- the issues I cited, lobing and extra resonance, would probably do little to diminish the sound, and, unless you are a perfectionist, you will be happy. My main objection isn't on the technical compromises of that design, but the merits of it do not justify eating so much into a modest budget that it should compel you to get a cheap subwoofer. A good sub like the Hsu VTF2 will do a lot more to improve your overall sound then the extra woofer on the CMT.
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post #28 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

There are no disadvantages to using a CBM170 as a center, from a technical perspective, in fact it may be better than using a horizontal CMT340. I would just use a normal CBM170 in its normal vertical orientation. The Hsu center isn't bad off-axis, but you want to be within a certain window of its axis, probably something like a 45 degree angle due to its controlled directivity. Again, as with the CBM and CMT, it would probably just be better to use a vertical HB-1 as a center than a HC-1, there is no real reason to spend money on the extra woofer. Btw, on the Hsu speakers, you can flip the tweeters 90 degrees for greater angle of vertical or horizontal coverage..
shady...

Lobing is caused by the woofers and their proximity to each other in an MTM. The controlled directivity of the tweeter won't help in that regard.

When you have two woofers as opposed to one, each woofer is doing half the work, and since distortion is not linear with volume level, the amount of distortion is significantly less at higher volumes with the MTM.

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post #29 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by PureBlue View Post

So more story on the receiver. It is referb from factory so something was wrong at some point likely.
has nothing with it so I need mic, power cord, and remote. 30 day return but no warranty unless I buy it separate. Good deal still?
For me...I would probably take a pass.
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post #30 of 55 Old 09-16-2012, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cschang View Post

shady...
Lobing is caused by the woofers and their proximity to each other in an MTM. The controlled directivity of the tweeter won't help in that regard.
When you have two woofers as opposed to one, each woofer is doing half the work, and since distortion is not linear with volume level, the amount of distortion is significantly less at higher volumes with the MTM.

This is true, and I never suggested the Hsu's horn design would somehow exempt it from lobing issues. You also have a point about the strengths of MTMs over MTs, but I would still say the extra SPL ability of the MTM isn't worth it on a limited budget because the CBM would stay clean at louder levels then the OP would likely tolerate.
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