Compact HT speakers with good sound quality - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking to upgrade my home theater speakers (just got a flat panel TV and jumped on the deal for the Onkyo 809 receiver)

While *I* prefer sound quality over everything else, the wife....not so much. She wants "small" speakers, right now I have a set of front and centers that I built forever ago (I think its the "Dayton HT" design that was on the parts express tech site). She says those are too big, so Im guessing bookshelf speakers are out.

Also complicating the issue is that half of our living room is open to the upstairs and fully open to the dining room right behind it. All in all it becomes a pretty large space. I realize I cant make it sound perfect, but Ill settle for the best I can get it (Im hoping Audyssey can help out too)

The 809 seems like overkill for compact cube-type speakers, but for the price I dont feel like I wasted anything. But now I need speakers.

Any suggestions? I was looking at the Energy sets (Take 5 or RC Micro) for smaller speakers. I also saw references to a discontinued Boston Acoustics set that seems to have gotten good reviews even in a large room like mine. Most of our use would be for TV/movies with the occasional jaunt of loud angry music when the wife and kids are gone. I already have a separate sub (Dayton 10" powered), so could run with that for now.

Budget wise Id like to keep it in under 350 or 400 if possible. I know for that much I can get Pioneer bookshelf speakers! But again there is the WAF butting in smile.gif

Thanks in advance.

-Chris
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 10:18 AM
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Hrm.

Cheap, Good, Loud, and Tiny.

I look forward to seeing what suggestions come up.
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 10:25 AM
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Are you looking for just a pair of speakers or a 5.1 system?

It is a bit hard to tell from your post.

If you want a 5.1 system, I suggest the Martin-Logan MLT- 2 system, which should be in your price range. Amazon is selling it for $365 now.

It has compact speakers, but slightly larger and more capable the the Energy Take or similar tiny ones. The subwoofer is also somewhat better.

I would think it would be a good fit for your situation.
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post #4 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah sorry about that I forgot to mention:

I currently have cube-size surrounds, already on mounts. I dont feel like I *have* to replace them, but Im guessing they wont match very well with a new set.

Since I already have the sub I also dont NEED 5.1, I can get away with replacing the fronts, rears and center for now. At minimum Ill need the fronts and center since "thats what everyone sees" (wifes words!)
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 10:34 AM
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I'll never understand the WAF. If i'm using my own money to buy something to put into my living room, then it shouldn't matter what it looks like to her. Well, maybe she should have input, but no more than 50%. Not to mention, since when do only men like the look of a well built speaker? Or since when do only men enjoy the sound of a good set of speakers?

I must be lucky, because my wife would never tell me I had any size limits on speakers I were to buy. And if she were to tell me a speaker looked fugly, it's probably because it actually is fugly.

I digress. I would say the Energy Take 5 would be a good option. They sound good for what they are, and do look pretty sleek with the gloss black look.

Though the NHT SuperZero's would probably be better all around. Maybe a bit out of your budget though.

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post #6 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 12:16 PM
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The surrounds aren't that important unless you listen to 5 channel music. For HT it's mostly ambient sounds.

3 NHT SuperZeros across the front is $300.

These polks are pretty sleek and should fit style wise-

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/article/review-polk-audio-blackstone-tl350

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post #7 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 12:31 PM
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Why not build some overnight sensations?

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/speaker-kits/os-speaker-kit.html

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/speaker-kits/osmtm-flat-pack.html

These will easily best cheap micro speakers like the energy's
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

Why not build some overnight sensations?
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/speaker-kits/os-speaker-kit.html
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/speaker-kits/osmtm-flat-pack.html
These will easily best cheap micro speakers like the energy's

These look pretty sweet.

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post #9 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Would the MTM suffice as a center channel?

I see Paul designed a center channel as well but its pretty large. WAF popping up again!
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 10:44 PM
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I would use the mtm for the front 3 LCR and the tm's for surrounds.

You can see this builder shown on Paul's website made the center speaker front ported, wider, and shallower so he could wall mount below his plasma



If this is the larger center you're talking about, its just a custom take on the speaker.
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post #11 of 17 Old 12-28-2012, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

I would use the mtm for the front 3 LCR and the tm's for surrounds.
You can see this builder shown on Paul's website made the center speaker front ported, wider, and shallower so he could wall mount below his plasma

If this is the larger center you're talking about, its just a custom take on the speaker.

Actually Paul designed an MMTMM center channel, different than the MTM.

The TM is a nice size, the MTM is a little larger (obviously). If I went with the MTM that would put me in about the same size range as the Pioneer 22's. Granted, the MTMs would probably sound better/fuller, etc but the Pioneers are already built smile.gif

Another question - these are going to be mated with a flat panel TV. The front of the screen is about 5" off the wall......is there a problem using a speaker thats deeper than the screen is off the wall? Ive never had this issue before since my old RPTV was 30" deep smile.gif
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post #12 of 17 Old 12-28-2012, 07:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisexv6 View Post

Actually Paul designed an MMTMM center channel, different than the MTM.
The TM is a nice size, the MTM is a little larger (obviously). If I went with the MTM that would put me in about the same size range as the Pioneer 22's. Granted, the MTMs would probably sound better/fuller, etc but the Pioneers are already built smile.gif
Another question - these are going to be mated with a flat panel TV. The front of the screen is about 5" off the wall......is there a problem using a speaker thats deeper than the screen is off the wall? Ive never had this issue before since my old RPTV was 30" deep smile.gif

Nope
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post #13 of 17 Old 12-28-2012, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Just throwing this out there - I see a few good deals out and about for Polk RTi4 and corresponding center.

Are they any good? Some reviews Ive read say yes, some say they are harsh at the high end.

Not exactly the most compact but if I can get them in the cherry stain they are at least decent looking.

If not that I might lean towards the Overnight Sensation kits, would just prefer to get something already built so I can mount it and go
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post #14 of 17 Old 12-30-2012, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I *think* Ive gotten the wife to come around to bookshelf-size speakers.

As such, Ive narrowed it down to the following:

Polk RTi4/6 mains + CSi3/5 center

Cambridge S30 mains + S50 center

NHT SuperZero mains + center

Overnight Sensation MTM mains + Overnight Sensation MMTMM center

The Polks are an interesting deal because they can be had on Ebay as "refurb" directly through Polk. Also nice is the wallmount is built in even if they are rear ported, and the real wood cases.

The Cambridge just get so many good reviews its hard to ignore them. My issue will be how far I can get them away from the wall. The manual says 8cm is minimum....has anyone tried that? I know they will sound better further away but my aesthetic constraints dictate I cant get them the 2' away that seems recommended around here

The NHT seem to get excellent reviews, my only concern is how far away from the speakers Ill be (about 10' or so)....will they be able to fill the large area well enough? They'll be powered by an Onkyo 809.

And the OS sound like a great possibility except I prefer not to take on any more projects. The ports can be moved to the front baffle without issue, but that precludes a flat kit that I can just buy and glue together. And if I have to build them myself, Id just as soon tinker with the dimensions to make them taller and less deep to get them even closer to the wall.

Any more advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

-Chris
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post #15 of 17 Old 12-30-2012, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisexv6 View Post

I *think* Ive gotten the wife to come around to bookshelf-size speakers.
As such, Ive narrowed it down to the following:
Polk RTi4/6 mains + CSi3/5 center
Cambridge S30 mains + S50 center
NHT SuperZero mains + center

As long as you can get 3.5 to 4 inches off the wall, and away from corners - the Cambridge
S30 can work - and they are easily my choice over the Polk RTi4 and SuperZero speakers.

If you want some front ported speakers - then HTD Level Two bookshelf and center.
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-two-speakers

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post #16 of 17 Old 12-31-2012, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisexv6 View Post

I *think* Ive gotten the wife to come around to bookshelf-size speakers.

The NHT seem to get excellent reviews, my only concern is how far away from the speakers Ill be (about 10' or so)....will they be able to fill the large area well enough? They'll be powered by an Onkyo 809.

Any more advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
-Chris

I use 5 of the SZ2s in a 14x13x9 room. I sit about 9ft from the LR and 8ft from the center. I'm using an AVR with less than half the power of yours and for movies I've never gone beyond -5db on my receiver. For music I would like a little more power or at least more headroom. IMO they can fill my room quite well on 45watts/channel.

I would love to hear them with a new Pioneer with the d3 amps or the Onkyo 809 or 818.

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post #17 of 17 Old 01-01-2013, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, still dealing with analysis paralysis! Thanks for all the options thus far.

Now just to throw something else in the mix.....stretching the budget a bit, how would the Definitive ProMonitors fare? Most likely the 800 or 1000 models. I notice they are *rated* for fairly low frequency, but not sure how that translates into the real world.

Their size/direct mount against wall are a bonus, Im just not convinced of how good they would really sound (although people in the Definitive owners thread sure like them!)

Thanks in advance.

-Chris
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