Upgrades for 5.1 system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-27-2012, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Given $1,000 for speaker upgrades what would you get? The only requirement is that I want to at the very least replace the front 2 bookshelves with floor speakers. My current setup consists of:

- Onkyo TX-SR805
- Sony SA-W3000 subwoofer (12 in, 180W)
- 4 KLH bookshelves, 1 at each corner (3-way speakers with single 8 inch woofer)
- 1 KLH center channel (3-way, dual 3 inch)

I don't think the bookshelves sound bad, but the center does sound pretty poor (center is a plastic enclsure). The subwoofer seems a little underpowered to me but is passable. Unfortunately I don't have any local stores where I can audition anything. I split fairly evenly between 2 channel music listening and 5.1 movie watching. I may be getting into some vinyl soon which may end up as 2.0 instead of 2.1.

EDIT: I was just laughing a little. I spent a total of $170 on all 6 of these speakers I currently use.
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-27-2012, 05:08 PM
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Are you wanting to upgrade your entire 5.1 or start with 2.0/2.1? I'd get the best front R/L speakers you can afford to start with and then add a center channel and subwoofer when finances allow. Also, what are the dimensions of your listening space?

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-27-2012, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Listening room is 15' x 16', with high ceilings. Room is mostly open to an equally large kitchen/dining area. Main seating is around 7.5' from the front speakers.

My issue with waiting on a center channel would be if the matching center were discontinued. If I spent $1,000 now, I would expect a year or so before speakers come back up in the budget. It seems like I could keep my current bookshelves in the rear forever since they don't seem that important. The subwoofer seems like I could keep it for a while, assuming the new floor speakers reach down to at leat 50hz (like the current bookshelves do).

$1,000 would get a Polk set on newegg right now:
2x - 75T
1x - 25C
2x - 45B
1x - PSW505

Polk doesn't seem to be highly regarded in speakers, so thats when I came here. I want to see what other people would do given the same money.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-27-2012, 05:48 PM
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Your surrounds don't necessarily need to match your front three so yes you could keep a pair of the KLH bookshelves for surround duty. IMHO, the Sony subwoofer is a weak link. I would upgrade that when you can with something from HSU Research, Rhythmik, or SVS. I've listed some other possible options to the Polk set below for your front three.

Ascend Acoustics CMT-340SE with CMT-340SE center channel. $866
Infinity Primus 363 towers with PC351 center $600 (on Amazon)

The KEF Q900s come to mind as well. They are $1350 at accessories4less so out of budget but very worth it. Since these are the current models from KEF you could definitely pick up the Q600c center channel later (perhaps at clearance prices). Just a thought.

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post #5 of 11 Old 10-28-2012, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking at amazon, any thoughts on the JBL ES90BK / ES25CBK combination? Was also looking at the Energy CF-70, but Amazon does not seem to carry a matching center.

Sort of liking the Ascends. It is a hard chocie. I am guessing any of them will be a big improvement.

Those Q900's look pertty serious. The site you mentioned does not aparently have stock, and the standard price is just too much.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-28-2012, 07:58 AM
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You an also go with the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE for the front with the CMT-170 center. Those would still be a improvement over the KLH in SQ. You could then get the CBM-170 or HTM-200 SE for the rear. Then worry about upgrading your sub later on when you can afford to get something nice like the HSU VTF-2 MK4 or Outlaw Audio LFM-1 Plus.

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post #7 of 11 Old 10-28-2012, 02:51 PM
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The CBM-170SEs are great speakers also but (I own a pair) I think the OP is looking for towers for the front. The CMT-340SEs are not towers in the truest sense but have the output and look when combined with the pedestal stands.

I haven't heard the JBLs but I have listened to the Energy CF-70s. I prefer the Energy RC series to the CF series. I would check for deals on the RC series (Amazon).

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post #8 of 11 Old 10-28-2012, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by postrokfan View Post

I prefer the Energy RC series to the CF series. I would check for deals on the RC series (Amazon).

The RC series is pretty much gone. Vanns is no longer carrying any new stock, so they are impossible to find.

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post #9 of 11 Old 10-28-2012, 03:09 PM
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-28-2012, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by postrokfan View Post

Your surrounds don't necessarily need to match your front three so yes you could keep a pair of the KLH bookshelves for surround duty. IMHO, the Sony subwoofer is a weak link. ...
... Ascend Acoustics CMT-340SE with CMT-340SE center channel. $866.

+1 For your budget focusing on upgrading your front 3 (LCR) and sub-woofer seems like a good idea.
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post #11 of 11 Old 10-28-2012, 10:02 PM
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I am also looking at the BIC speakers. I am trying to replace my front speakers and may be the sub. I'm pretty much looking for a 3.1. I was thinking of getting the new Pioneers F52's with C22, but I wasn't too impressed when I listened to them at Best Buy. The Polk Audio TSi300 sounded better with the same volume. However, the Pioneer center channel sound better over all, but like everyone else, I am trying to get the best for the $$$.

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