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post #1 of 134 Old 12-17-2012, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello all! Big fan of the site and community here at AVS. After a lot of haggling, I've convinced my wife to let me complete my home theater space with a budget of $4000. Can possibly fudge a little north of that but not much. My cave is 2100 cubic feet.
13' width - 21' length - 7.5' height - unsealed with a staircase at the rear of the room. I have a Samsung UN60ES8000 LED so a display won't be necessary.
I've put together a few ideas and I'd like to solicit some feedback if I could.

Def Tech BP8060st pair bundle with upgrades to CS8060 and SR8080bp - 5.2 system. $2400
Onkyo TX-NR818 7.2 AVR - $679 -
Emotiva XPA-3 - $599 to drive front soundstage


Speaker wire - HDMI cords- acoustic treatments- accessories - remainder of budget.
Cons- no dedicated subwoofer
<>$4000


HSU Research Ultimate 7.1 package Satin Black - Shipped $3850
2 ULS- 15 Subwoofers
1 MBM-12 MK2 Subwoofer
6 HB-1 MK2 Bookshelf Speakers
1 HC-1 MK2 Center Channel

I've read a lot of positive things about HSU's Subwoofers, but not much about their line of speakers. I'd be relying on the receiver to power all 7 channels. Not crazy about that idea.

Onkyo TX-NR818 7.2 AVR - $679



>< $4500

Am I doing this wrong? Would love some feedback from the community here. Help me make the best out of those funds! Appreciate it, thank you
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post #2 of 134 Old 12-17-2012, 05:58 PM
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The Hsu is not a bad choice. My experience with them was that their Sub was terriffic and their bookshelves, while pleasently powerful, were off-flat to my ear (gunshots in particular lacked oomph).

A suggestion.
Onkyo 7.2 with pre-outs $450 (http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/ONKTXNR709/Onkyo-TX-NR709-7.2-Channel-3-D-Ready-Network-A/V-Receiver/1.html)
L/R Salk SongTower $2000 (http://salksound.com/songtower%20pricing.htm)
Hsu VTF15H $900 (http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-15h.html)
--- Alternately: a pair of VTF-2's at $1000 combined (http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-2mk4.html)

You've got a killer 2.1 or 2.2 system for $3500. Spend the rest on our surrounds.

If you really want a center channel (some do: I don't like them in most home-setups I've done.. I think too little separation between front speakers. )
Song Center $800 (though I think there's still someone selling theirs on AudioCircle cheaper (http://salksound.com/songtcenter%20features-pricing.htm))

That puts you a little over $4k, but at $4.5k you'll have enough left for some inexpensive surrounds (I actually use Infinity Primus 360's). There's no separate amp, but you have the ability to add one if you so desire.
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post #3 of 134 Old 12-17-2012, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Jerry! I appreciate the feedback. I had not considered Salk. Would the Onkyo AVR you linked (a step below the 818 I think?) be able to push those easily without separates? Being in Alaska, my only real listening experience is at Magnolia in BB when I'm on vacation out of state. Martin Logan, Def Tech, B&W etc.

I was impressed with the Def Tech 8060's towers set up with the center channel and surrounds. I would look to purchase a HSU ULS-15 or VTF line for the real low stuff, but I could live without that for now. Their deal expires in the end of January for the free center channel and surrounds. Any comments on these speakers or brand would be appreciated
The Martin Logan Electromotion ESLs played pretty nice as well, but I think I'd price myself out with those needing a center channel , surrounds and a dedicated subwoofer.
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post #4 of 134 Old 12-17-2012, 07:41 PM
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I don't think I've listened to the DefTech 8060 (which is to say, I've listened to some DefTechs, but I don't know the models). I have listened to the Martin Logans and B&W's that Magnolia carries. I like the ML planars quite a bit, but they have a narrow sweetspot and are very position critical. The ML cone-driver'd enclosures have not impressed me as much. I like B&W at the top of their CM line (the CM9), and it's an excellent speaker.

Having listened to those, I purchased SuperCharged SongTowers for myself after running into them at an audio GTG.. My experience is (admittedly) with the ribbon-based version; but I do truly love this speaker. I do prefer it to the ones you listed that I've listened to (again: I cannot say that I've critically auditioned the DefTech model you mentioned).

The Onkyo is 130wpc into 2 channels, Something less into 5. The Salk SongTowers are 88db@1w before room gain and I would have sworn to you that, though you might not get max volume out of them, you could power them quite well off the Onkyo, especially with the heavy lifting being done by your sub.

But before I typed that: I went into my family room and plugged them directly into the Integra amp I'm using as a pre-amp and the problems were not subtle even at low volume.

I'm pretty sure that there's a problem with the amp stage on my Integra. It had other problems and I've not used the amp stage on it in years (or maybe ever). I'll see about pulling out an old Pioneer for the same experiment. Even if it was insufficient it shouldn't have been this bad. I suggest three routes.
1) I'll hopefully have my new test done by sometime tomorrow.
2) Write or call Jim Salk and ask that question of him.
3) Add an external amp into the budget.

For example: http://www.amazon.com/Crown-XLS1000-Amplifier-integrated-Crossover/dp/B003HZPKSM/ref=sr_1_fed0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355801899&sr=8-1&keywords=crown+power+amp
I'm actually using a Yamaha P5000S, which is more amp than the speakers can use.

Sadly: both of those will require you add a 12v-triggered outlet or else manually turn them on.
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post #5 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 05:26 AM
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hey Mike - my .$.02

if I had $4K to spend, I'd consider

1) the Onkkyo 818 amazon deal. I myself didn't care for it (I liked MCACC and ability to manually equalize better) but its popular enough and the 679 price is a steal
2) ID direct speakers (ie Ascend, Salk) - plan on ~3K for the front soundstage
3) B stock power sound audio xv15 - $719
4) don't spend any money or amps or power conditioners right now. You may (even likely) find that the sound through just a receiver sounds just fine to you. I have a 7.1 system with songtowers/songcenter as the front soundstage and found that both a pioneer sc-55 and onkyo 818 could drive it without problems

You'd still need surrounds and *possibly* a 2nd sub, but you can always add those later. I think my plan above will leave you with less upgrade-itis in the future.

good luck!

Check out my WAF approved living room theater....now featuring a Submersive!

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1526916/my...-1-living-room
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post #6 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 05:58 AM
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I generally agree with madhuski here.

The biggest gain dropping one sub for now is you can move up (at least in the Salk line) to the RAAL ribbon tweeters. Easy enough to add a second sub later.

The down-side is that you'll have that as a future purchase; and if the goal is "one and done", then that's bad (though most of us like having a "what's next" that doesn't relay on scrapping what we have.

I do really think that the AVR will be fine for powering the speakers. You'll get a little more out of a dedicated amp; but not a great deal... but I'll let you know what hooking up my Pioneer does.
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post #7 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 07:43 AM
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Is this a dedicated HT, or do you listen to multi-channel music as well?

Makes a huge difference in suggestions.

I am one of the biggest Salk promoters around, the little WOW1s were built to my specs for the 2.1 in my livingroom, and someday I plan to upgrade the 5.0 in my HT to HT1s smile.gif (note that my planned 5.0 upgrade will be in the $6k - $7k range, vs. your budget for 7.2 plus AVR at $4k)

But if this is a dedicated HT, with the long room that you have, I think you want a 7.2 system and given that you need 7.2 plus an AVR Salks are out of the budget (probably out of budget if you only get 5.2; with such a deep room, to get even bass you will want two subs).

Also, if it is a dedicated HT, you will find the biggest Salk promoter (Nuance) suggesting other speakers as well.


So, is it a dedicated HT is the first question?

The second question is what speakers have you listened to? Which did you like most? Did you dislike any?

The third question is where are you located?


Answer these and you can start to get truly appropriate suggestions from all.

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post #8 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

The Hsu is not a bad choice. My experience with them was that their Sub was terriffic and their bookshelves, while pleasently powerful, were off-flat to my ear (gunshots in particular lacked oomph).

The MBM in the proposed system would ensure there was tons of ooomph in the mid-bass (gunshots in particular).

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post #9 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 07:58 AM
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For speakers, I suggest the Monitor Audio Silver RX-2 front speakers; these are excellent and have an 8-inch main driver, which will give you enough sound for that room. Most Bookshelf/monitor speakers have smaller drivers and will strain to do the job (a
6-inch driver has only about half the cone area).

For the rear, I suggest the MA Bronze BX-1 speakers, and for the center the Bronze BX Center. This 5-speaker package should cost about $1500 at current prices.

For the subwoofer, I recommend the NHT B12D sub, which I use and is the cleanest and most linear I have ever heard for under $1000. It is $700.

For your receiver, I suggest that you consider the Cambridge Audio 551R receiver. Its sound quality is far superior to that of any receiver from Onkyo, Denon, or the other mass-market Japanese receivers.

Read the review done recently in Home Theater magazine, and you will see that they agree. You will not need the Emotiva amplifier with this receiver, as it has plenty of power to drive almost any 5 speakers (its power ratings are honest and real; unlike the totally deceptive and phony power ratings of all Japanese receivers).
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post #10 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 08:19 AM
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I would get two outlaw LFM-1 Plus subwoofers for $499 each shipped. So that's about $1,000.

This may be out of your price range, but the tekton pendragons are $2499/pair
http://www.tektondesign.com/pendragon.html
I've never heard them but they have excellent reviews.
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post #11 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 08:51 AM
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If you like the Def Techs the deal is pretty sweet. I liked them (demo) for music and HT. HT more than music though. Skip the amp and conditioner and just use the AVR and add a good 15" sub (PSA, HSU, Rythmik) to the mix and be done.

Klipsch RF-62II, RC-500, RS-400, SVS PC12+,
Def Tech SC8000
Harman Kardon AVR 1600
PS3, Apple TV, Sharp 70" Qattron
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post #12 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 09:55 AM
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I am a fan of the HSU research stuff. If I had $4000 to spend, I would probably spend about $500 on an AVR and $1200-$1500 on subwoofers. He seemed to prefer the speakers toed in agressively.

For center channels, the sideways MTM is not optimal. A 3-way center such as the Paradigm CC-290 is going to be a lot better for you, or even a 2-way bookshelp speaker. Dr. Hsu told me that he recommended just using 7 bookshelf speakers of using his own center channel speaker.
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post #13 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 09:59 AM
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The Onkyo TX-NR818 really is a great deal. Start with that, get your speakers, and then see if you need the extra external amplification.

For $1000 for dual subs, the Outlaw LFM-1 Pluses are a good deal. For the price of dual HSU ULS-15s, you are near the price point of a JTR Captivator or Seaton Submersive. Those are probably the two most popular high end subs on the AVS subwoofer forum.

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post #14 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick240 View Post

The MBM in the proposed system would ensure there was tons of ooomph in the mid-bass (gunshots in particular).

I'm referrig the the crack of gunfire, not the boom.

I listened to HSU in a room they setup with VTF-15H's. The scene I used for reference was the gun battle from The Matrix (something I used to use to calibrate my HT). The crack was too subdued; and much of the realism of the gunfire was lost. The sub was not the problem area.
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post #15 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

The Onkyo TX-NR818 really is a great deal. Start with that, get your speakers, and then see if you need the extra external amplification.
For $1000 for dual subs, the Outlaw LFM-1 Pluses are a good deal. For the price of dual HSU ULS-15s, you are near the price point of a JTR Captivator or Seaton Submersive. Those are probably the two most popular high end subs on the AVS subwoofer forum.

+1 for the 818, just a fantastic receiver. Good amount of power and a ton of features. Expandable to 9 channels.
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post #16 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

For your receiver, I suggest that you consider the Cambridge Audio 551R receiver. Its sound quality is far superior to that of any receiver from Onkyo, Denon, or the other mass-market Japanese receivers.

It's almost 3 times the cost and receivers don't have sound quality to speak of. Just features (of which the Cambridge lacks quite a few the Onkyo has) and power ratings.

I like the 551R; I just can come up with a reason I'd recommend it over its competitors.
Quote:
Read the review done recently in Home Theater magazine, and you will see that they agree. You will not need the Emotiva amplifier with this receiver, as it has plenty of power to drive almost any 5 speakers (its power ratings are honest and real; unlike the totally deceptive and phony power ratings of all Japanese receivers).

The Songtowers can take 200w. The Cambridge is 120wpc. The math is not complex.

Now he may not use 200w. I certainly made my suggestion on the assumption that the extra 3db would not be make-or-break; but 80w less than the speaker can sustain RMS is hardly a slam dunk. And as far as I can see, the 120w rating is 2-ch at specific frequency.

Please link to third party measurements of your Cambridge and an Onkyo showing that the Cambridge did 120wpc x5 channels (or 7) and that the Onkyo did not meet it's specified rating.
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post #17 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 10:50 AM
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Just another option for a subwoofer. You could quasi-DIY one for about $1500. You could use 2 18" drivers ($500) and have a carpenter / woodworker custom make the enclosure to your liking. Power it with a Crown XLS 1500 amp ($400) or Behringer iNuke 3000 and it would blow away just about anything else in the price range. A good 18" driver such as the Dayton RSS460HO-4 has more than DOUBLE the displacement of something like the Outlaw LFM-1 Plus (long throw 12" driver).

Oh, and you should think about a Behringer Feedback destroyer to tame room modes and improve your bass response, no matter what sub you end up with you could benefit.
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post #18 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

Please link to third party measurements of your Cambridge and an Onkyo showing that the Cambridge did 120wpc x5 channels (or 7) and that the Onkyo did not meet it's specified rating.

Better yet, link to the measurements in the actual review he mentioned, which shows that it is NOT that impressive with 5 channels drive. LOL

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post #19 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djkest View Post

Oh, and you should think about a Behringer Feedback destroyer to tame room modes and improve your bass response, no matter what sub you end up with you could benefit.

The Onkyo 818 has MultEQ XT32 which would provide plenty of room EQ capability. No need for the Feedback Destroyer.

Moreover, it would be helpful to tell the OP that the Feedback Destroyer would also require getting measurement equipment and learning REW. Not as user-friendly as Audyssey.

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post #20 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 11:19 AM
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I would go with your receiver and go with

Monitor Audio RX6's $1250
Monitor Audio RX center $675
Single or Dual Power Sound Audio XV15's $799 shipped

If you would go with a single Sub for now, you would have some money to play with for a nice set of surrounds or upgrade your current receiver choice. With this set up, there would be no immediate need for an amp. I would also skip the power conditioner and just get a higher end surge protector.
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post #21 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

Please link to third party measurements of your Cambridge and an Onkyo showing that the Cambridge did 120wpc x5 channels (or 7) and that the Onkyo did not meet it's specified rating.

Hometheater.com
Cambridge 551R $1200

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 68.2 watts
1% distortion at 81.2 watts

Seven channels driven con- tinuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 61.7 watts
1% distortion at 69.4 watts

Marantz SR6006 $1200

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 75.9 watts
1% distortion at 92.0 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 71.3 watts
1% distortion at 83.4 watts

Onkyo TX-NR 1009 $1399

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 116.5 watts
1% distortion at 131.2 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 86.1 watts
1% distortion at 100.6 watts


Don't see why Commsysman is so in love with that CA receiver. Commsysman is anti digital inputs, anti room correction, anti anything Modern so I guess I can see why it goes toward the CA receiver. Its not bad and its ok to like boutique brands but to also broadly trash everything else is just plain unfair and uneducated biased. And to make false stupid statements to try and shill a favorite product is also dishonst and unwelcomed.
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post #22 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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OP here - Wow thank you all for the feedback! There are a ton of choices here and I'm feeling kind of overwhelmed tbh


@ Rick240 -
1. My HT room will be used for 40% Gaming - 40% Movies - 20% Streamed Media/Music. No limitations on WAF.
2. Being new to the game, my listening experience is limited to BB Magnolia. Def Tech - ML - BW etc. I like the Def Tech BP8060st system they had set up with the matching center channel and bp surrounds. I have no listening experience with the brands you are speaking of, only internet homework. Salk seems like its a popular name around here
3. I live in SE Alaska, so auditioning is not an option -.-

@Madhuski - Thanks for the feedback. I read a lot of nice stuff about the Salk Songtowers and will be considering them for the front soundstage.


@Kini62 -
I'm seriously considering that Def Tech promotion from Crutchfield as they allow you to upgrade the Center Channel and Surrounds. Would the powered subs across the front stage of those speakers produce some really nice mid bass, taking the strain off the receiver, then paired with a HSU VTF-15 crossed over for the heavy stuff? Seems I could stay close to budget with that setup and be satisfied with my investment.

@Kidhorn - Those Outlaw subs look like a great deal- 2 of those > than 1 HSU VTF-15 or ULS-15?

@ Commsysman- Thank you for your feedback. I have never heard of Cambridge Audio. 1200 for my AVR is out of budget I think.


From reading on here and HSU forums, I'm hesitant to buy their bookshelf speakers. They seem to be very placement and room acoustic dependent. I've heard nothing but great things about their subs.
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post #23 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OGMikeT View Post

From reading on here and HSU forums, I'm hesitant to buy their bookshelf speakers. They seem to be very placement and room acoustic dependent. I've heard nothing but great things about their subs.

When you were at Best Buy, did you audition the new Definitive Tech, Studio Monitor
bookshelf speakers?

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Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #24 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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@Zieglj01- No I did not get a chance to listen to the SM series. I've seen setups that used the SM65s as front heights and heard awesome things, but never as the front sound stage.
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post #25 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OGMikeT View Post

@Zieglj01- No I did not get a chance to listen to the SM series. I've seen setups that used the SM65s as front heights and heard awesome things, but never as the front sound stage.

If you get a chance, check them out as a front stage - Definitive raised the bar
compared to the former Studio Monitor series. Now the SM55 may be a little
nicer compared to the SM65. > Check them both if you can >> they both have
good bass for their size, and the sound is big coming from the bookshelves.

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Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #26 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 12:27 PM
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Confirmed bad amp stage on my integra. Salks ran fine on my Pioneer.
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post #27 of 134 Old 12-18-2012, 12:38 PM
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Have you considered the Klipsch RB 81 II speakers? They are super efficient and look like they could fill a large room for their size without a large demand on your amp. Also, despite the talk about business issues, the Chase Home Theater SHO-10's look to me to be the best bang for your buck. They are high on the list in the "reference capable speakers" thread. And they are also super efficient. Another speaker I was looking at were the Ascend CMT 340 SE. Just something to think about.

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post #28 of 134 Old 03-09-2013, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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So after much turbulence around the holiday season, I agreed to compromise with the wife and wait until after tax season to make my first HT purchase. In retrospect, I'm glad I did wait. I've come up with a viable setup that match up with my wants for the space. My budget has increased to +- $4500. My room is 13'x21'x7.5' - 2100 ft³ with a stairwell in the rear of the room.
40/40/20 HT-Gaming-Music


Fronts
EMPTek E55Ti Towers L-R $795 pair
http://www.emptek.com/e55ti.php
EMPTek E56Ci Large Center Channel Speaker - $450
http://www.emptek.com/e56ci.php

Surrounds
EMPTek E55Wi Surround On-Wall - $499 pair
http://www.emptek.com/e55wi.php
EMPTek E5Bi Bookshelf Speaker - $250 pair
$22

AVR
Pioneer Elite SC-65 +- $1000
http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SC-65-Channel-Select-Receiver/dp/B00852X534/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362856185&sr=8-1&keywords=pioneer+elite+sc-65
Amazon 2 year Warranty $89

Sub
Hsu Research VTF-15H - $879
http://hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-15h.html

Accessories
Speaker Wire - Banana Plugs - Mounts - HDMI cables etc +- $200

$4800 Shipped to Alaska

Will be ordering the first week of April. I still have a few weeks to make amendments. Any suggestions from the community would be much appreciated.
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post #29 of 134 Old 03-09-2013, 12:50 PM
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Not a big fan of your Receiver choice... I would stick with Denon or Onkyo but if you researched it and you want what that receiver has..ok... Onkyo 818 can be had delivered for 750..much better choice in my opinon ...also if you pay with Amex you extend the warranty for another year.

Cables Sewell Deadbolt Banana Plugs with Fast-Lock Technology from Amazon and Monoprice 12 gauge speaker wire...worked wonders for me.

Mounts try the VideoSecu One Pair of Side Clamping Speaker Mounting Bracket for $25 bucks.

HDMI cables..get inexpensive ones that are rated 1.4a rated...in case you want to do 3d at some point. They should be a few bucks.

HSU...solid choice and should pair well with the EMP Tek.

I would save a couple bucks and go with two sets of bookshelf rather than bipole / dipole.

Just the receiver change and the bookshelf change would be 500 bucks savings.

Since it is free...there is allot of debate over this...but it is free to try...may want to hold off on the center channel speaker and at least try phantom center. If you hate it...you can still pick up a center.

If you don't mind a phantom...boom...there is your 4k budget kept smile.gif
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post #30 of 134 Old 03-09-2013, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Not a big fan of your Receiver choice... I would stick with Denon or Onkyo but if you researched it and you want what that receiver has..ok... Onkyo 818 can be had delivered for 750..much better choice in my opinon ...also if you pay with Amex you extend the warranty for another year.

Cables Sewell Deadbolt Banana Plugs with Fast-Lock Technology from Amazon and Monoprice 12 gauge speaker wire...worked wonders for me.

Mounts try the VideoSecu One Pair of Side Clamping Speaker Mounting Bracket for $25 bucks.

HDMI cables..get inexpensive ones that are rated 1.4a rated...in case you want to do 3d at some point. They should be a few bucks.

HSU...solid choice and should pair well with the EMP Tek.

I would save a couple bucks and go with two sets of bookshelf rather than bipole / dipole.

Just the receiver change and the bookshelf change would be 500 bucks savings.

Since it is free...there is allot of debate over this...but it is free to try...may want to hold off on the center channel speaker and at least try phantom center. If you hate it...you can still pick up a center.

If you don't mind a phantom...boom...there is your 4k budget kept smile.gif

Same I strongly dislike the AVR choice. I just don't see why you need a 9.2 channel receiver at all. I like the person who suggested the Onkyo 709. It's the amplifier I picked out for my setup as well. You don't seem to want multiple subs, so the newer version of Audessy on the 818 isn't really going to be that much of an improvement, also this 818 has a hindered version of Audessy as well so I'm not a HUGE fan of it. I think the MultiXT on the 709 will be perfect for your setup.

I'd only say the 818 if you had put the multiple subs on every one of your designs but you haven't. I have some HUGE gripes with the Pioneer setup but that's my personal thing. The fact that you can't set individual crossovers, their volume shows only on the receiver and not on screen, etc. there are just a lot of weird things. Just read through a pioneer thread and you'll see weird things that are VERY simple on Onkyo yet difficult or not available on Pioneer. The pioneer is more aesthetic, and has the D Class amplifier but the Onkyo is so much simpler to use.

My full suggestion (Since you like the empteks and I'm an aesthetics whore and I think they're aesthetic I'll just use that).

Fronts
EMPTek E55Ti Towers L-R $795 pair
http://www.emptek.com/e55ti.php
EMPTek E56Ci Large Center Channel Speaker - $450
http://www.emptek.com/e56ci.php

Surrounds (Just these, they're pretty I like em I can't help myself)
EMPTek E55Wi Surround On-Wall - $499 pair
http://www.emptek.com/e55wi.php
EMPTek E5Bi Bookshelf Speaker - $250 pair
$22

AVR
Onkyo 709 - Search around a bit since you're waiting. You'll find it under 400 easily. Why not the AVR you picked? I don't see you having a 9.2 channel system. You have a 7.1. If you have plans to 9.2 then maybe but when you save 600+ dollars that allows you put a dedicated amplifier you'll definitely increase the life of all your products. Why risk underpowering your speakers and potentially run into amplifier clipping and damage your speakers if you can get more performance for the same price? the Onkyo 709 + Emotiva XPA-3 seems like a no brainer. MultiXT on the 709 seems like a steal as well. In fact, Onkyo believes it as well, hence why they removed MultiXT on the 717 and gave it Audessy2EQ.

Sub(Why not two outlaws? Maybe it'll perform better but this is 1 VTF-15H. Probably one of the best subs you'll own before you head closer to the DIY. I'd rather have one great sub than 2 good subs. You can add another VTF-15H later down the road)
Hsu Research VTF-15H - $879
http://hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-15h.html

Amplifier
Things get a little tricky here because I just got my first amplifier and it's a pro amp. I want to suggest that but because I have no clue how you're theater will be set up it's hard. If you have everything hidden in a rack behind a wall a proamp is definitely the cheaper more cost efficient way to go. If everything is on display then a Emotiva. I'm just going to show the Emotiva one here though.

XPA - 3
http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/amplifiers/products/xpa3 - $500 (Run the rears off the AVR it has more than enough power for the surrounds)


Accessories(Speaker Wire, Banana Plugs, HDMI Cables will not cost you more than 40-50 dollars. The mounts of I have no clue about)
Speaker Wire - Banana Plugs - Mounts - HDMI cables etc +- $200

You're looking at a little less than what you spend, but with an Emotiva XPA-3 to power the front sound stage.
I really just can't see the SC-65 being the right AVR for you and the difference between the Onkyo 709 and 809 is negligible. I tried to find differences I could care about and there were only 3. The difference between the 809 and the 818 is mostly the Audessy MutliXT 32 but since you don't have 2 subs, and that version of Audessy on the 818 is dumbed down anyway apparently, I think the 709 is the best bang for buck if you can also get it under 400. I got mine for 310 dollars which is a steal for an AVR with preouts and MutliXT. The 717 is horrific with a worse version of Audessy (Why they made a new AVR that's worse than the previous model just seems like they're taking advantage of consumers who aren't tech savy).
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