Looking for insight as to the best order to upgrade a cheap speaker set - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 12-26-2012, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently finished my basement into a home theater. It's really humble by standards of this forum but I really like it. On cyber Monday I bought an Onkyo package that included a tx-nr609 and an entry level 5.1 speaker set with a 120 watt sub. I knew the speakers were not what I wanted but the $399 price tag was pretty good and I knew that if I was to buy a good receiver and good speakers separately, to this day would be listening through my tv speakers. (read can't afford to pony up for everything I want at once).

Here are some pictures of what the room looks like right now.



Here is what I am thinking. Right now I am running the 5.1 setup with the surrounds where the rears should be on a 7.1 setup. Because the reciever is a 7.2 capable unit I want to add in ceiling speakers for surrounds to bring me to a 7.1 setup. The speakers would go above the two framed openings on either side of the first row (110 degrees from main seating position as per Dolby)

Also, the -3db drop off for my speakers is at 100hz (according to audyssey 2EQ). I would much rather have speakers that allow me to set my crossover at 80hz.

I can not afford an audiophile level solution but I do want to make smart purchases with my upgrades. To get to where I want to be I'm thinking $200-300 in ceiling speaker (pair). Next, Replace front and center channel (in what order I don't know). And live with the rear channel and sub that I have now.

What I have laid out here is just what's going on in my head, not a set in stone plan. I am hoping that the fine members of this forum can give help with my path foreword be it through speaker selection, telling me the shortcomings in my plan, or sharing of your experience. I do not take criticism to heart so let it rip as long is it is constructive.
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post #2 of 20 Old 12-26-2012, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Looking through another thread on this forum I see someone pointing out the Jamo S 426 HCS 3http://www.amazon.com/Jamo-426-HCS-WENGE-5-Piece/dp/B003GGXGU6/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_1 from amazon at a price point of under $140 right now. Is this speaker set a lateral move from the speakers that came with my Onkyo HT-s7409http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S7409-7-2-Channel-Network-Receiver/dp/B005EP2HKW/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1356553811&sr=1-1&keywords=onkyo+7409?

It just seems to me that the Jamo set is way, way to inexpensive to be worth the money. I just like the idea of a matched speaker set.

I'd really like some Ideas thrown my way. I hope that a decent set of fronts and surrounds will really go a long way to making a richer sound. I'd rather spend three times the cost of that Jamo set and have decent sound than cheap out and have wasted my money.
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post #3 of 20 Old 12-26-2012, 12:59 PM
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The best solution for now, IMO, would be to get much better front L/R speakers that will go down to about 50 Hz you will get much better sound quality, I think , if the sub only operates below that frequency.

If the front speakers don't have the power capability and sound quality, the system won't either. They are the heart and engine that is 90% of the sound IMO.

I would suggest that you consider the Polk Monitor 50 or Monitor 40 speakers for the front. They should run around $200-300 per pair.

On your budget, I would suggest that you concentrate on getting to the best 5.1 configuration possible. Stretching it to 7.1 will just lower the quality too much.
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post #4 of 20 Old 12-26-2012, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the reply. I think I am going to go 7.1 almost as a given. In ceiling speakers may not be the best option from an audio perspective but I think I can get a pair of surrounds that are no worse than the current Onkyo's for a minimal investment. $200 on new egg gets me pretty much a pair of anything they have (in ceiling that is). I could probably start a whole new thread on that however as I have so many questions about the best way to mount speakers in a dropped ceiling. Right now I plan on making a wood ceiling tile and covering it in fabric. Also I have questions as to the need for an enclosure for ceiling speakers.

As far as the advice about focusing on the front sound stage. I could spend $300-400 on a front sound stage and then mount the current fronts horizantally as surrounds above the framed openings. This would give me 7.1, a better "Front End" and not break the bank.

Ideally, I don't mind spending a little more on a few speakers with the idea being to eventually upgrade everything. I do like the idea however of putting large in ceiling speakers (8"??) for surrounds at some point. My receiver is not high end but for the size of room I have is it competent to drive a large cone at 100 watts in an 8 ohm load (130@ 6ohms)?
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post #5 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
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From what I've learned here I want a matched front center left setup. Looking at the polk lineup I see the floorstanding speakers are twice the cost of a comperable bookshelf.

How dramatic of a difference is there going with the floorstanding set? And is there a difference as far as timber matching with the center channel?

Also I am not sold on an in ceiling surround setup based solely on the issue of timber matching. Is it a big deal if the surrounds are not matched? Is it possible to have an in ceiling speaker that sounds good with the matched fronts?
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post #6 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 07:03 PM
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First thing, you need to arrange your front stage like this for proper placement

(excuse the poor paint skills)



Any setup you get should follow this basic placement since your tv is mounted up high like that. All speakers should be vertical and placed at the same height right below the tv. Including if you get floorstanding speakers, you would get 3.

Forget about the ceiling surrounds, use your current speakers as surrounds when you upgrade the LCR
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post #7 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

if you get floorstanding speakers, you would get 3.

Are you saying three towers in the front with no center? It would be easier for me to not have to mount or get a stand for a large center channel.
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post #8 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scipper77 View Post

Are you saying three towers in the front with no center? It would be easier for me to not have to mount or get a stand for a large center channel.

Yes! What is the height of the bottom of your tv? Three identical, vertical speakers is 100% ideal
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post #9 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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46" to the bottom of the TV.

I'm almost thinking about putting a nice wide wooden shelf stretching the width of the tv plus a foot or 2 on either side and going the bookshelf and center channel route for 2 reasons. First is to save close to $200. Second reason is because I think the floorstanding speakers will be to low for the height of my screen.

Also I may need to get some better pictures of the room from an angle. The placement of the surrounds is going to be a compromise due to the openings in the wall on either side of the main seating position.
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post #10 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scipper77 View Post

46" to the bottom of the TV.
I'm almost thinking about putting a nice wide wooden shelf stretching the width of the tv plus a foot or 2 on either side and going the bookshelf and center channel route for 2 reasons. First is to save close to $200. Second reason is because I think the floorstanding speakers will be to low for the height of my screen.
Also I may need to get some better pictures of the room from an angle. The placement of the surrounds is going to be a compromise due to the openings in the wall on either side of the main seating position.


As I've already said, you want 3 identical speakers if your setup allows, and yours does. Something like 3 of these on your shelf, all at the same height below your screen

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hb-1.html
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post #11 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Do you think I would be underpowered at 100 watts if i went with the hsu's? My concern is that i would need more power than i have to have the frequency response go down to the rated 60 Hz.
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post #12 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 09:05 PM
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Why would you want your screen way up there like that? (If it's for the benefit of the people in the rear seating, why not just raise up their seating and lower the screen?)
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post #13 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scipper77 View Post

Do you think I would be underpowered at 100 watts if i went with the hsu's? My concern is that i would need more power than i have to have the frequency response go down to the rated 60 Hz.

Your receiver is way more then enough for the HSU's, which are very easy to drive with 92db sensitivity and 8 ohm impedance. The only thing you need to worry about with the HSU's is, if you're placing them up against the wall, you need to give them 2" of clearance behind the speaker for the ports to breath. Your shelf would need to be 10" deep, with the speakers sitting flush with the front edge.
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post #14 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
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The rear is on a riser. The theater is in the basement so the ceiling is at most 7'. My wife likes to be able to lie down when we watch movies so the tv is at the right height for how we watch movies. I Recline in the front row, while the wife lays down on the couch. (to answer your question)
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Originally Posted by noway1 View Post

Why would you want your screen way up there like that? (If it's for the benefit of the people in the rear seating, why not just raise up their seating and lower the screen?)
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post #15 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 10:33 PM
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+1 re
- invest in three new LCR front speakers, use your current speakers as surrounds, use your current avr
- since you have the room 3 identical speakers up front is ideal
Quote:
Originally Posted by scipper77 View Post

46" to the bottom of the TV.
... I think the floorstanding speakers will be to low for the height of my screen.

Your seating is at an angle so you can do what many theaters do, angle your front towers up a little.

Also, many ID companies will sell a single tower or bookshelf (even if it's not listed on their website).
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post #16 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, So with all of your help I feel pretty good. New fronts are the best bet. I don't care about sound quality at the rear seating position so having the tweeters with no direct line of sight to the rear seats is no big deal. I want to be economical so bookshelves are likely in the front but I am waiting on a deal even if it takes me until this time next year, I've always found that good deals pop up if you can afford to wait and are prepared to recognize the deal and jump on it.

I can't shake the desire to mount surrounds in the ceiling even though it makes no sense acoustically. If I build an enclosure for a ceiling speaker will it make the speaker perform well? Can anyone speak on a good experience with an in ceiling install?

How bad is it to mount the current fronts horizontally to make them work with my current space constraints for the surround positions?
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post #17 of 20 Old 01-06-2013, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone have an opinion on these?
http://m.newegg.com/Product?itemNumber=N82E16882290040
For $50 a piece it seems like a way better deal than the monitor 30's. I could get three of these for a matched front stage.
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post #18 of 20 Old 01-07-2013, 02:08 AM
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I haven't heard that speaker so someone else would need to comment more specifically. My gut instinct ... your room is big enough I'd be concerned with any speaker with a .75" tweeter.

Considering the size of your room vs AVR output, and a $400 budget here would be my suggestions for a front three, listed by price.

HTD Level 2 Bookshelf $300 total (web page only lists as pairs but call and you can buy a 3rd single)
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-two-speakers/Level-TWO-Bookshelf-Speakers

Pioneer SP-FS52 Tower $390 total
http://www.frys.com/product/7327244?source=googleps&gclid=CKynpOr01bQCFUWnPAodNmkAzA

Cambridge Audio S30 Bookshelf $440 total (you'd have to buy two pair but you could probably sell the extra and $50-$80 back putting you back below your $400 budget)
http://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-Audio-Speakers-Dark-Pair/dp/B004NDN9NK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357551054&sr=8-1&keywords=Cambridge+Audio+S30

HSU HB-1 MK2 Bookshelf $450 total
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hb-1.html

HTD Level 2 Towers $600 total (web page only lists as pairs but call and you can buy a 3rd single)
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-two-speakers/Level-TWO-Tower-Speakers


And a wild card ... if there is a Fry's near you they are having an in-store-only fire sale on the Jamo S426 towers for $50 each.
http://www.frys.com/product/6908967?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG
http://www.frys.com/product/6908987?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG
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post #19 of 20 Old 01-15-2013, 04:43 AM
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the jamo 426's suck pretty good....
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post #20 of 20 Old 01-15-2013, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I went to the local overpriced stereo shop expecting the worst buy I was pleasantly surprised. There prices were not as bad as I expected but what I was more pleased with was the level of knowledge from one of there staff members. This guy had a really good perspective as he could speak on what's important in a $50,000 setup as well as why those things mean virtually nothing for my desired setup. For example based on the quality of my current fronts I shouldn't worry about mounting them horizontally or vertically when they become surrounds. The same goes for speaker wire. On really high end systems these things are the difference between 99% and 99.5%. On my system think of it as the difference between 74% and 74.5%.

I listened to Polks and Definitive Technology speakers. To me the tweeter in the Definative speakers sounded like it was midrange heavy (not really midrange from a frequency standpoint but voices were accentuated). I think in audio terms I am saying that the Polks were "brighter" than the DT's. I preferred the polk sound but to be honest I think I would prefer the DT set in the long term. Neither sounded bad to me but over long term listening I have a feeling the brighter sound would seem a little harsher to me.

I guess all I am saying with this post is that I am going to have to do a pretty good amount of learning before I can make a decision. Anyone who buys internet direct speakers is braver than me. Even though I know they are fantastic you just can not get a feel for there sound without actually sitting down and listening.
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