Comments on a few surround setups (Klipsch, KEF, Monitor) ~$6k MSRP - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-21-2012, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
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After quite a bit of research and some auditioning, I'm looking for some feedback on the following speaker setups with MSRP around $6k. I plan to pick up a sub or two from the usual suspects (HSU, Rythmic, SVS, etc). My room is 20x16' with high ceilings, one side is partially open to other rooms in the house. Usage is probably 80% TV/movies and 20% music, but ability to do 2ch audio is important. Currently have Denon 3312 receiver; not opposed to adding a 3ch amp for the front speakers if necessary.

1. Klipsch RF-7 II towers, RC-64 II center, RS-62 II (or bookshelf) surrounds
Got the chance to spend some time with these and they were a huge step up from my current (approx 8 year old) Athena Technologies setup. I was impressed with the low frequency output (I was only listening to the RF-7 towers, no other speakers or subs were connected) and they were easily driven by a Denon 2213, so I know they will work fine with my 3312. Out of the options I'm considering I also know that I can pick up this setup for around $2k less than MSRP, which is definitely not true of the other options.

2. KEF R500 towers, R600c center, R800ds (or R100) surrounds
Should be able to audition these, although the one authorized dealer in my area (Phoenix) does not seem to be good at returning phone calls. While my preference is for towers, I wonder if replacing the front R500 towers with R300 bookshelves would be a noticeable downgrade when I'll have 1 or 2 subs from the list above? Will the 3312 have enough power to drive the R series speakers?

3. Monitor audio Gold GX100 bookshelves, GX150C center, GXFX (or GX50) surrounds
The Gold towers are definitely outside of my budget, but with the subs again I'm wondering if not having the towers up front might allow me to get a higher-end bookshelf speaker that would lead to a better overall system. Unfortunately the GX350C center is too tall for my setup. Should be able to audition these locally.

Any feedback on the above options would be greatly appreciated.

Mike
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-21-2012, 08:55 AM
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I have not heard any of your choices except the Kef. I listened to and very much liked the R700 towers. The salesman told me that the R300 speakers were excellent and a great value. I would guess that the Monitor and Kef would sound similar and much different than the Klipsch. As to which is "better" only your ears can make that determination for you.

It has also been much debated towers vs. bookshelves. In a 5.2 or 5.1 setup with good subs, you most likely will have the crossover at 80 Hz, so the major benefit of towers, extra bass, is redundant. The towers will still be able to play louder than the bookshelves, that will be the only major difference. For 2ch music, many people prefer towers since you don't have to integrate a sub. But, the Kef R300, for example, play down to 50Hz, which is pretty good. So you could listen to just those on 2ch playback and then decide whether or not to add the subs if you want more impact for music. If towers stretch your budget, for a room mostly for movies, I would probably say bookshelves are fine.

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post #3 of 8 Old 11-21-2012, 09:12 AM
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-22-2012, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpo1977 View Post

2. KEF R500 towers, R600c center, R800ds (or R100) surrounds
I wonder if replacing the front R500 towers with R300 bookshelves would be a noticeable downgrade when I'll have 1 or 2 subs from the list above? ...
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Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

... the Kef R300, for example, play down to 50Hz, which is pretty good. So you could listen to just those on 2ch playback and then decide whether or not to add the subs if you want more impact for music. If towers stretch your budget, for a room mostly for movies, I would probably say bookshelves are fine.

I just heard the KEF R series and MA Gold series together a few days ago (haven't heard the Klipsch series on your list). The KEF R and MA Gold were both excellent. I think the KEF's had slightly better off-axis (if your listening room is significantly wider than it is deep this might be worth considering), while the MA towers had slightly more punch (for music like rock) than the KEF towers.

The best speaker of the day, at least to my ears, was the R300 - uniquely even and detailed. I heard it with a dual sub set-up, and it lost nothing (again, to my ears) compared to the towers.
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-22-2012, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

I just heard the KEF R series and MA Gold series together a few days ago (haven't heard the Klipsch series on your list). The KEF R and MA Gold were both excellent. I think the KEF's had slightly better off-axis (if your listening room is significantly wider than it is deep this might be worth considering), while the MA towers had slightly more punch (for music like rock) than the KEF towers.
The best speaker of the day, at least to my ears, was the R300 - uniquely even and detailed. I heard it with a dual sub set-up, and it lost nothing (again, to my ears) compared to the towers.

Thanks for the feedback. Did you get a chance to listen to the MA Gold bookshelves or only the towers? I'd be interested in your thoughts on the MA GX-100 vs KEF R300; MSRP is about $1k more for the MA.

I'm also wondering if an Ascend Sierra Tower system, with custom Sierra tower center (due to my height restriction) with RAAL upgrade would be comparable to the above systems; MSRP is in the same range.
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-22-2012, 03:24 PM
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OP is listened to many options at RMAF included the R900s. I was disappointed in them to be honest. I thought they sounded OK until I heard the PSB Imagines immediately after. I would also give the Ascends and some Salk stuff a listen if you can find someone local willing to let you audition.

Salk SCST was impressive.

I am now leaning likely to the ascend towers for my impending upgrade.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-22-2012, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpo1977 View Post

Thanks for the feedback. Did you get a chance to listen to the MA Gold bookshelves or only the towers? I'd be interested in your thoughts on the MA GX-100 vs KEF R300; MSRP is about $1k more for the MA.

I did get to hear towers and bookshelves for both lines. To my ears ... For bookshelves I would go with the KEF R300 (assuming you have a sub of course). For towers I would go with the MA Golds (esp. if you like listening to stereo music without a sub). In the near future I'm looking at a dual-sub set up and currently the R300's are at the top of my list to audition.
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Originally Posted by mpo1977 View Post

I'm also wondering if an Ascend Sierra Tower system, with custom Sierra tower center (due to my height restriction) with RAAL upgrade would be comparable to the above systems; MSRP is in the same range.

Best advice I ever got was to audition your favorite speakers at home. (In which case the Sierra Tower/Center combo might likely be on your short list.) At your price point there are several excellent speakers so the deciding factor will likely end up being your personal preference for a speaker's sound ; )
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-23-2012, 01:16 PM
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Kef R700, R600 and R300s. From what I've gathered, the R700 and R500 are the highest regarded of the R series.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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