Reasonable priced alternative to Bose without losing all the mid-range? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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In my new home we have two rooms for media. The room in the basement is my theater with Polk Audio speakers, velodyne sub, projector, etc. In our living room we have a 50" tv with smart blue ray player. It's a decent sized room (20 x 14) and opens up to the dinning and living areas. I have convinced my wife to let me add speakers to the room to improve sound for tv/movie watching (doesn't need to be theater style as we have the basement) as well as listen to music (pandora and will later add HTPC for more content and playing CD's).

Here is the battle... I am used to using large floor standing speakers with a decent sub. This, in my opinion, covers the full range of sound well. I like warm sounding speakers with a fair amount of clarity at high end (I like my polks for the warm sound but which they were a bit brighter). My wife is veto'ing anything large and "unattractive" in the living room. She is looking to consider Bose based on size. The low end ones have no mid range and I wasn't terribly impressed with the bass. The more expensive ones are more interesting (in terms of sound) but certainly are not worth the money they cost (in my honest opinion).

I've previously tried smaller bookshelf speakers (not sure if they are referred to as satellites) at the box store. I think they were Definitive and Boston Acoustic. I just was unimpressed with how much mid-range sound you lose. I need to find something small with a good range or some sort of smaller, more slender floor standing if it is still attractive (i.e. natural wood finish).

I am unfortunately on a budget for the project. I will certainly be less than $1k for all of it. I need the fronts, a sub (depending on the type of speakers I get), and probably a receiver (I assume the blue ray player will not power them). It looks like I could pick up a Denon or Pioneer Elite receiver (a few years old) for maybe around $200. I haven't gotten too far yet on the search for a sub. I like the Velodyne I have (I think an SPL line if I remember), at least for movies. I haven't tried it too much for music. I remember listening to Rel's before. They were really nice.

I'm certainly willing to go used on some or all of it. I'm just looking for some recommendations on where to start looking.
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post #2 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psuie23 View Post

My wife is veto'ing anything large and "unattractive" in the living room. She is looking to consider Bose based on size... I'm just looking for some recommendations on where to start looking.
EHarmony? After the divorce, of course.
You can have something tiny and cute, or you can have something that sounds good. You can't have both. The smallest speaker that can sound good is going to be a two-way bookshelf loaded with at least a 4 inch midbass driver, paired with a real subwoofer. At least the sub can be placed out of the way.
The alternative is to let her do what she wants and you take refuge in your man cave.
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I've previously tried smaller bookshelf speakers (not sure if they are referred to as satellites) at the box store. I think they were Definitive and Boston Acoustic. I just was unimpressed with how much mid-range sound you lose.
Unless it was in a treated listening room that won't give you a good idea of what they really sound like. If you have any real stereo/HT shops with a listening room in your area that would be the place to go. You can get very good bookshelves in the $300-$400 pair range.

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The Laws of Physics aren't swayed by opinion.
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post #3 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 10:49 AM
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CA minx system is small, unobtrusive system that measures so much better than Bose! As Bill points out, small always means less full sound...

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub
Set up #3: JBL130, JBL120C and Klipsch synergy sub
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post #4 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 11:51 AM
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The word Bose should be considered a bad four letter word. Tell your wife you never want to hear it mentioned in your home again.
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post #5 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 12:09 PM
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I'd do battle to at least allow some nice bookshelf speakers in the room. You already have a decent sub. Take a look at Monitor Audio RX-2 - NHT Classic Two or Three's. Paradigm B&W PSB Hsu Research and others all make some very good bookshelf speakers that aren't obtrusive IMO. I have large 3 way towers AND four subs - but then I'm not married.

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post #6 of 20 Old 12-29-2012, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input thus far. I heard once Vienna Acoustics at a Tweeter and LOVED them. I also couldn't afford $1500 / speaker. I'd love to get some used Bachs or Mozarts. They would look great and sound even better I think. I might be able to get away without adding a sub. I think a compromise COULD be the Haydn line they have. I believe that is a reasonable bookshelf. It doesn't seem to have as good reviews as the floorstanders, but I guess that is to be expected. I'd love to get a set used but haven't found anything local as a place to get them.

One thing I noticed in a couple of different posts on them is that I'd need a "beefy" receiver....4 ohm impedance on them I guess.
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post #7 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Not having so much luck thus far finding Haydn's. What are some other comparable bookshelf speakers?
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post #8 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 07:26 AM
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I suggest that you get the following Boston Acoustics system:

2-CS26 speakers- $300

2-CS23 speakers- $200

1 CS225C center speaker- $200

and an Onkyo TX-NR414 receiver, which Amazon has now for $230.

The CS26 speakers have 6.5 inch drivers and will give you pretty decent bass and midrange; they also have a very nice sound overall; nothing edgy or bright about them; good for music and anything else. I could name several speakers that are a hair better, but they are all two or three times as expensive. I think these speakers will please you very much and fit your budget well.

Using anything smaller for the front speakers in a room your size is not going to be satisfactory IMO. They are 12" tall and 7 inches wide, which should be anything but obtrusive in a large room. I use a very similar older Boston model with my 60" Sony in my den, and we like them.

BTW; I personally HATE "speaker stands" and they are usually regarded as ugly by the fair sex. I suggest either shelves, small nice-looking pedestal tables, or small freestanding 12-inch wide bookshelf units (which can store CDs or LPs or decorative items) rather than conventional speaker stands.

The solution I came up with for speaker stands in my den is kind of neat, I think; a stack of four 8-inch square concrete blocks covered with an attractive black cloth drape. Very cheap and solid and the wife loves it.


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Not having so much luck thus far finding Haydn's. What are some other comparable bookshelf speakers?
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post #9 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psuie23 View Post

Not having so much luck thus far finding Haydn's. What are some other comparable bookshelf speakers?

Although you haven't stated a budget range heres a few that are close to the same size as those Haydn bookshelfs. If would help even more if you can post a budget, what kind of finish like basic black, cherry, piano gloss ect...

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/SRM1/srm1.html
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/htm200/htm200.html
http://www.aperionaudio.com/speakers/verus-family/verus-forte-satellite-speaker
http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php?p=arx-a1b-monitor-loudspeaker&products_id=65&

http://www.theaudioinsider.com/index.php?loudspeakers=dana&cPath=21_25&osCsid=cc44884745fa5ad768ff2657a0b3afe4 Huge close out discounts 25% off.

Review: http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/speaker-reviews/63793-dana-630i-monitor-630ilcr-center-channel-review.html#axzz2GYHN9FsV
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post #10 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 08:35 AM
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Get these in Imperial Red. She'll love it. Although they are $2599, she'll pat your shoulder and say go for it.

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post #11 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Commsysman and gtpsuper24 - Thank you for the input. I'll check these out. It would be nice if there was a place around here where I could listen to some of these. There is one mid-to high end audio store around here that I am aware of. The couple times I have been there they were completely out of my price range. This is what they carry:
http://ensembleht.com/speakers.html

On my TV stand I have about 6.25-6.5" on either side of the TV to the start of the bevel at the edge of the stand. I'll have to figure a way to get a book shelf on there. Perhaps I can make feet or something. I'll attempt to load photos of the area for easier reference.

I was a little surprised to have a couple of you mention center channels. I assumed that would mainly be used if I was trying to do a 5.1 or some other surround configuration. I assumed if not going for full surround it was more common to use just the fronts. Is that not the case? Which mode would I use on the receiver? I'd have to get something fairly small to sit in front of the tv.

My budget is a little fluid... I'd say I could swing somewhere between $500 and 1000 for everything. Would like to keep around $800 if I could. That would cover the bookshelf speakers, center channel (if I add that), receiver and sub (if needed).

I would much prefer, up here at house level, a wood grain finish...probably a rosewood or cherry or something. I have flat black in my basement. I wish I had gone different there as well.

As for the receiver, I've gone back and forth on this a bit. I guess I could get something which is just stereo. I could get something a little better and either use it in this room or swap out with the one I have in my theater in the basement (Onkyo TX-DS575). I don't use it anywhere as much but it is set up for 5.1. Down there I have Polk RT2000 fronts, CS400 center, polk surrrounds (don't remember the model) and a Velodyne DLS sub. I've seen some Pioneer Elites for $200-400 range used, depending on the age. I found a VSX84TXSi for $400. Seems like a good deal, but would eat up a good amount of the budget. It seems like I can get my hands on Denon used as well.
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post #12 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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post #13 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 08:50 AM
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Another trick you can do to extend the stand is get two pieces of wood about 9 inches wide and paint them black (or what ever...). Put them on either side where they will hang out a bit and put the speakers on them. You can Use a pair of screws to attach them at the inside, or self-adhesive thin mounting tape, but it is really not needed. The center of gravity will be over the stand anyway and they won't go anywhere.

Just use 3M self-adhesive square feet on the bottom of the speaker.

I assumed that you wanted a 5.0 system.

I do just fine with a pair of stereo speakers, myself. looks like you could too...lol.

You can get a Cambridge Audio AM10 integrated amplifier for $350 and a Pair of Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers for $350. That is a very nice combo that I could recommend. Those are just over 7" wide.

Oh...does your TV have analog output jacks for the audio? If not, you might need to get something like the Monoprice digital to analog converter module ($20). (Monoprice #6884)

(For an even better audio amplifier at a lower price, I have my NAD C325BEE listed in the classifieds for $225.)
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post #14 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I might do 5 point later...but don't really see the need when I have the theater in my basement.

I was going to use the output of the smart blue ray player for the audio inputs. I think both the tv and the blue ray have analog outs... but would have to check.

I'll see if I can get a look at the Wharfedale. The store not too far away caries them as a vendor...not sure about that product specifically. There is a new set of 9.2's on sale on Audiogon... too bad they are too wide....unless I found a way to wall mount...which I can't in my set up. I'm a little worried how the imaging will be when I get it set up, the speakers being so close together.

It looks like the Magnolia stores at Bestbuy are going to start carrying B&W.
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post #15 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 09:31 AM
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Yes; I take the audio direct from my OPPO player to my amplifier; that is best if you have that option.

A small set of floorstanding speakers might be the best bet for your situation if you want to get them further apart. That is what I would do if I had that cabinet and wanted to stay with it.

The Wharfedale EVO 20 speakers are $480 per pair at Music Direct. They are only 9 inches wide, and taper to a smaller size at the back, which should fit well in that corner setup.
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post #16 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 09:37 AM
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Hows about some in wall speakers? I've heard some of the M&K's that were pretty impressive for their size. So are the Polk offerings. And the Polk in wall sub.
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post #17 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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commsy - The original debate was about floor standing speakers. If you can see the double door in the photo, she doesn't want to block any more of it. That is what led us to the "small speaker" issue in the first place. If I had my way I'd get some Vienna Acoustics Mozarts or Bachs and be happy as a pig in something-or-other.

Halo - Unfortunately I am limited by that door in the photo above. I could only do over it or all the way on the other side. I think the far side is too far away. The space on the top might be too narrow.

I guess another way to go would be do spread them out all over the room (ie. four speakers). It would mess up imaging as it relates to the tv, but might not be the end of the world. Probably would have awful imaging overall.
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post #18 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 09:56 AM
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I don't suppose moving the TV a small distance to the right and out from the wall a bit is an option? That would let you use floorstanding speakers and not block the door.

As you said, there is a fundamental problem of the speakers being too close together, and to solve that you need more total width. You have wall space to the right that is unused (but the picture would possibly need to move to the right too).
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post #19 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 10:01 AM
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I don't know really what you can do. The area is such a huge comprimise even for bookshelfs. There doesn't seem to be enough room to sit them on the tv stand and you would have the same issues using bookshelf stands like you would towers. I really think something like a good stereo soundbar and a nice amp/receiver would be the way to go and sit your tv on top of it.

Its not the most ideal setup but your really boxed in as to what you can do with that area. You won't get pure audiophile sound from it but it would be a decent comprimise.
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post #20 of 20 Old 12-30-2012, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Just back from Magnolia center. I tried listening to some sound bars... really not for me. It's pretty directional, no imaging. I guess the better ones are better in that regard but above my budget. I listened to the B&W 686 and CM1. I was happy with both but pleased with the CM1 (both NEED a sub). I didn't listen to the CM5 since it is way out of my range (at least if I buy it there). I'll see if I can get to that home theater store and perhaps try out some wharfedale and others. Perhaps they will have something fairly similar but less money. The trick will be figuring out a set up.

I have some old polk center channels in my basement. Perhaps I could get the receiver and then play with some set ups before getting the speakers.... on the other hand, might not make sense to lock myself into a specific receiver without knowing what I'll have for fronts.
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