thoughts on my potential $1500 setup - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-15-2012, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I currently live in a second story apartment. My living room is roughly 17x15. Nobody lives below me so I think I can get away with upgrading my surround sound system (I currently use the Logitech Z-5500 which is meant for a PC). I really only care about 5.1 and am only looking to spend $1500. After getting some opinions, it seems most are saying Option 1 or 4 are the way to go. Thoughts? Suggestions?


Option 1
front: Pioneer SP-FS52 (x2) $200--:
center: Pioneer SP-C22 $100 ----:(tiger direct w/shipping)
rear: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR $100 --:
sub: ??? for $500
receiver: Pioneer SC-1222-K $600 (newegg)
total = 1500ish

Option 2
front: Polk TSI300 (floorstanding) (x2) $420
center: Polk CS10 $210
rear: Polk TSI100 $220
sub: ??? for 400
receiver: Denon 1712 $262
total = 1500ish

Option 3
front: Klipsch KB-15 $250
center: Klipsch KC-25 $250
rear: Klipsch KB-15 $250
sub: ??? for $500
receiver: Denon 1712 $262
total = 1500ish

Option 4 - Could just keep it under budget as some have suggested and lose a good receiver with preamp out:
front: Pioneer SP-FS52 (x2) $200--:
center: Pioneer SP-C22 $100 :---(tiger direct w/shipping)
rear: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR $100
:
sub: HSU VTF-2 MK4 $612 (w/shipping)
receiver: Denon 1712 $262
total = $1274
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-15-2012, 10:13 PM
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What I would do:

1. Get a nice AVR, mixing a good AVR with bad speakers = still bad speakers
2. Get a nice Sub, the HSU VTF2-MK4 is nice.
3. I would then save up again and get your speakers. There's no sense on throwing a system together, just to have to upgrade it soon after.

I don't know what you would be using you system for.. HT or Music? Both? Also, I don't know what you like out of your speakers. Do you want clarity or loud party speakers?

Another thing you can look at are Bookshelf speakers, since you will have a nice sub, you will not need woofers on your front or rear speakers. You should be able to get higher quality bookshelf speakers then towers due to the fact that you won't have to pay for the woofers, because with your sub you won't need them. Just set the crossover to the suggested setting ~55hz or so, if you get a nice AVR you should be able to do that with the AVR.

Just my opinion.

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post #3 of 17 Old 10-16-2012, 01:14 AM
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What I would do on your tight budget:

Infinity Primus p163 x 2 = $172
Infinity Primus c351 = $200
Infinity Primus p153 x 2 = $152
Hsu VTF2 mk4 = $612 (good sub right there)
Get whatever decent receiver you can get with your remaining money. Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer, those are some good brands to look at. Don't bother with tower speakers if you are going to get a good sub like the Hsu, you won't need the additional bass extension that towers have. If you need bookshelf speaker mounts, get the AM40 Pinpoint mounts, those will save you a real headache over cheap mounts, trust me on this. Get your speaker wire, HDMI cable, and subwoofer cable from Monoprice.com. The Primus c351 center is going to be more powerful than the other center speakers on your list, and this is a big advantage.
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-16-2012, 03:44 AM
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fwiw, hsu hybrid 2 5.1 package

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-16-2012, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

What I would do on your tight budget:
Infinity Primus p163 x 2 = $172
Infinity Primus c351 = $200
Infinity Primus p153 x 2 = $152
Hsu VTF2 mk4 = $612 (good sub right there)
Get whatever decent receiver you can get with your remaining money. Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer, those are some good brands to look at. Don't bother with tower speakers if you are going to get a good sub like the Hsu, you won't need the additional bass extension that towers have. If you need bookshelf speaker mounts, get the AM40 Pinpoint mounts, those will save you a real headache over cheap mounts, trust me on this. Get your speaker wire, HDMI cable, and subwoofer cable from Monoprice.com. The Primus c351 center is going to be more powerful than the other center speakers on your list, and this is a big advantage.

Wow, this is why I'm so thankful to be able to ask people who know what they're talking about. I never even considered the fact that the floorstanding speakers are really just adding more bass and that a good sub would just take care of that anyway. Thanks buddy!
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-16-2012, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smasher50 View Post

fwiw, hsu hybrid 2 5.1 package

+1
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-16-2012, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smasher50 View Post

fwiw, hsu hybrid 2 5.1 package

Good suggestion.

Another similar one
http://www.svsound.com/systems/sbs-02-sb12
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post #8 of 17 Old 10-16-2012, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I've never seen that HSU brand in stores. Is there some method of determining or comparing speakers? I'm a computer guy and am used to being able to look at benchmarks to see if A is faster than B.
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-16-2012, 02:58 PM
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Yonith, I come from a computer background too, but the metrics used to measure speakers are a bit different. There is also a subjective element, since different people prefer different kinds of sound. One thing to look at is off-axis frequency response, this is kind of like "how even the speaker sounds as you walk away from the direction its pointed in". This is important because much of what you actually hear in your room is reflected sound, not direct sound from the speaker, and a lot of the reflected sound will sound like is going to be the speaker's sound outside of it "aim" or vector, ie off-axis response. Here is a typical measurements for off-axis frequency response:

The blue line is right on axis, the green line might be fifteen or thirty degrees aff-axis, and the red line is probably fourty-five or sixty degrees off-axis. This is a simple chart and didn't label the axis measurements. Here is one that is labeled:

Obviously the further you go aff-axis, the worse the speaker sounds, but the better it can maintain a flat frequency response, the more accurate it will end up sounding in your room.
Here is an example of poor off-axis frequency response, you can see how mangled the frequency response becomes as you move away from the speaker's 'vector':

Here is an example of good off-axis performance, note how similar the response is at thirty degrees to zero degrees. Also not that this chart does not measure out all the way out to sixty degrees like the above chart. At sixty it won't be as good as thirty, but it's likely to be a lot better than the above measurement:


There are other ways to measure speakers, like impulse response, step response, group delay, spectral decay, etc, but frequency response is arguably the most elemental metric of a speaker's performance.

As for the Hsu brand, it is a manufacture direct brand, so you won't see it at stores. They are good speakers, although I don't think there are any review measurements of them anywhere. I have some myself. I also have the Infinity Primus speakers, which do very well in -off-axis frequency response, especially for the price. The Hsu sub is killer, you will have a hard time doing better for the money for a subwoofer.
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-16-2012, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

As for the Hsu brand, it is a manufacture direct brand, so you won't see it at stores. They are good speakers, although I don't think there are any review measurements of them anywhere. I have some myself. I also have the Infinity Primus speakers, which do very well in -off-axis frequency response, especially for the price. The Hsu sub is killer, you will have a hard time doing better for the money for a subwoofer.

HSU measurements here
http://www.stereomojo.com/HSU%20HB1%20Mk2%20Speaker%20Review/HSUHB1Mk2SpeakerReview.htm

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post #11 of 17 Old 10-16-2012, 03:41 PM
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Quote:

I stand corrected.
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post #12 of 17 Old 10-17-2012, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone, for all the replies. Unfortunately, the HSU hybrid package puts me a bit over once shipping is factored in. I believe I've narrowed my choices down to two:

front: Infinity Primus P163 $170--:
center: Infinity Primus PC351 $200--:$576 shipped from infinity
rear: Infinity Primus P163 $170--:
sub: HSU VTF-2 MK4 $612 shipped from HSU
receiver: Denon 1912 $313 shipped from A4L
total: $1501


front: Ascend CBM-170 --:
center: Ascend CBM-170 --$806 shipped from ascend
rear: Ascend HTM-200 --:
sub: HSU STF-2 or Klipsch RW-12d $362 shipped
receiver: Denon 1912 $313 shipped from A4L
total: $1481

I'm going to an audio shop tomorrow in hopes they have the Infinity's to listen to.
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post #13 of 17 Old 10-17-2012, 08:10 PM
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Well for the fun of it, I will throw another one at you.

HTD Level Three bookshelves and center
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Bookshelf-Speakers
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Center-Channel-Speaker

And the Level Two bookshelves for surrounds
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-two-speakers/Level-TWO-Bookshelf-Speakers

Some more info
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOYrdpkHQGo

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PA-R200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #14 of 17 Old 10-17-2012, 08:16 PM
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I would go for option 1, the sub is much better, and that will make more of a difference.
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post #15 of 17 Old 10-17-2012, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Well for the fun of it, I will throw another one at you.
HTD Level Three bookshelves and center
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Bookshelf-Speakers
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Center-Channel-Speaker
And the Level Two bookshelves for surrounds
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-two-speakers/Level-TWO-Bookshelf-Speakers
Some more info
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOYrdpkHQGo

that would allow me to do

front: HTD Level THREE--:
center: HTD Level THREE--: $732 shipped
rear: HTD Level TWO--:
sub: HSU VTF-2 MK4 $612 (w/shipping)
receiver: Denon 1612 $190
total = $1534

not sure that receiver is gonna cut it though. the 1712 and 1912 both put out an extra 10watts per channel vs the 1612. interesting though!
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post #16 of 17 Old 10-17-2012, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yonith View Post

that would allow me to do
front: HTD Level THREE--:
center: HTD Level THREE--: $732 shipped
rear: HTD Level TWO--:
sub: HSU VTF-2 MK4 $612 (w/shipping)
receiver: Denon 1612 $180
total = $1524
not sure that receiver is gonna cut it though. the 1712 and 1912 both put out an extra 10watts per channel vs the 1612. interesting though!

The receiver will drive the HTD speakers >> you will not really hear
a difference between 10 watts.

While the Infinity is nice - I prefer the HTD over them, they do a good
job for both home theater and music.

The 1612 is one of the better receivers around, that will hold its power
in surround mode.
http://www.hometheater.com/content/denon-avr-1612-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures

Your call.
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__________________________________________
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 PA-R200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #17 of 17 Old 10-18-2012, 01:29 PM
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+1 on the Ascend and HTD set ups. I've auditioned and really liked both.

To my ears ... HTD 3's hit their sweet spot at a slightly louder volume compared to the Ascends (I do a lot of late night listening so that wasn't optimal for me). On the other hand if you occasionally want to crank the volume and rock out the HTD's have the edge.

Best advice I got was to audition speakers so you can listen for yourself (thanks Mr. zieglj01!). Both companies will let you do that.

(Haven't heard the IP's or HSUs.)
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