Please Help Choosing an HT system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 95 Old 01-07-2013, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone.

I am a long time reader of this great forum, but this is my first post.

The image below is the living room in my condo, approximately 18'x14'. I don't have neighbors above or below, but I do on either side.
I want to buy a HT speaker system and a receiver. It will be used for movies (65%) and music (35%). Budget for speakers and receiver is roughly $2,000.
I currently have 46" plasma and BluRay player. (the TV is a bit small, I sit about 13' from it, but later I'll upgrade it to 65")

1. Should I go with 7.1 or 5.1 will be enough for the room size I have?
2. What are the best options and models for speakers and receiver?
3. How should I place the speakers, specially the surrounds and the subwoofer?
4. The front speakers can be towers or bookshelves (no objection from wife)
5. For the surround speakers is it better to go with direct or bi-pole/di-pole type? (I know nothing about bi-pole/di-pole speakers)

Thank you very much in advance.

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post #2 of 95 Old 01-07-2013, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
I want to buy a HT speaker system and a receiver. It will be used for movies (65%) and music (35%). Budget for speakers and receiver is roughly $2,000.
. . .
1. Should I go with 7.1 or 5.1 will be enough for the room size I have?
That's up to you. IMO, 5.1 will work just fine in that room. (I run 5.1 in my ~15' x ~30' room, with the surrounds on half-walls ~18' back, and my chairs at ~15' back.)
Quote:
2. What are the best options and models for speakers and receiver?
Wow, that's a wide-open question! A few thoughts:
- Good mainstream receiver brands include Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Yamaha and Pioneer.
- Audyssey MultEQ room-equalization software is, IMO, the best of the bunch. Denon, Marantz and Onkyo use Audyssey; Yamaha has their own YPAO and Pioneer has their own MCACC.
- Of the flavours of Audyssey, MultEQ is good; MultEQ XT is better and MultEQ XT32 is the best. Get an AVR with at least MultEQ.
- Regarding features (# of HDMI inputs, processing options, networking, etc.), it's up to you to decide what you want / need.
- Good mainstream speaker brands include Polk, Energy and Paradigm. I advocate shopping for gently-used speakers - you can get great gear for a lot less than new (if you're patient).
- For subwoofers, companies like SVS, HSU, PSA and Rythmik (among others) offer excellent performance for the money.
Quote:
3. How should I place the speakers, specially the surrounds and the subwoofer?
Here's a guide.
Quote:
5. For the surround speakers is it better to go with direct or bi-pole/di-pole type? (I know nothing about bi-pole/di-pole speakers)
Generally-speaking, you should use direct-firing speakers (such as bookshelf speakers) as rear surrounds, and if you're running 7.1 you can use bi-/di-pole speakers as side surrounds.

Hope this helps. smile.gif
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post #3 of 95 Old 01-07-2013, 01:08 PM
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Send that diagram to HTD.com, and they'll give you recommendation on speakers. With a $2000 budget you should be able to get an excellent 5.1 set up.

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http://www.avsforum.com/lists/display/view/id/8599

 

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http://www.avsforum.com/lists/display/view/id/8597

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post #4 of 95 Old 01-07-2013, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for the reply.
You got a beautiful setup there.

I have seen all those guides and diagrams. They are very general and not necessarily work with my room. Also my head spins when I look at all those different speakers, brands, combinations, sizes and varieties. It is very difficult to choose anything. I'll appreciate if you could be more specific at least with the speakers.
My understanding is the HT is very much room specific. I have a 14' back wall with bookshelves but almost no side walls (one side is a sliding door, the other is a little recessed niche which can't be used for a speaker, or can it?) I sit about 4' from the back wall.
Thank you very much.
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post #5 of 95 Old 01-07-2013, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Thank you very much for the reply. You got a beautiful setup there.
Assuming you're addressing me, you're welcome and thanks! biggrin.gif
Quote:
I have seen all those guides and diagrams. They are very general and not necessarily work with my room.
They are guidelines. The facts of your room dictate where things - for better or worse - will end up. In your case, I would place:
- the main speakers symmetrically on either side of the TV cabinet, as far apart as you can, and toed in toward the listening position (LP);
- the center speaker on the TV cabinet, in front of the TV (and using a riser/shelf to raise the TV if necessary); and
- the surround speakers placed:
i) symmetrically in the bookshelves behind the sofa, as far apart as you can and either a) at roughly ear-level (when you're seated) and toed in toward the LP or b) 5'-6' off the ground, aimed downward and toed in toward the LP; or
ii) on stands flanking the bookshelves, toed in toward the LP.

But that's just me. smile.gif
Quote:
Also my head spins when I look at all those different speakers, brands, combinations, sizes and varieties. It is very difficult to choose anything. I'll appreciate if you could be more specific at least with the speakers.
I'll try (using Amazon.com for pricing for everything but the SVS sub):
- receiver - Denon AVR-1713 ($450)
- main speakers - Polk RTiA3 ($370/pr.)
- center-channel speaker - Polk CSiA6 ($347)
- surround speakers - Polk RTiA1 ($235/pr.)
- subwoofer - SVS SB12-NSD ($649)

Total cost: $2,051.

Add a pair of ~25" stands for the RTiA3s (check your local classifieds, you should be able to get a pair for under ~$40), and some cables and and wires from Monoprice.com and you're set! cool.gif
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post #6 of 95 Old 01-07-2013, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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RE: "Assuming you're addressing me, you're welcome and thanks!"
Yes, eljaycanuck, I was addressing you.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Polk with SVS Sub? Is it OK that the brands don't match, aesthetics aside (one is shiny the other is matte)?
And for the receiver, won't it be better to get 7.1 for later upgrade?
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post #7 of 95 Old 01-07-2013, 03:56 PM
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Yes, eljaycanuck, I was addressing you.
Cool. Well, thanks again! smile.gif
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Polk with SVS Sub? Is it OK that the brands don't match ...
Yes. "Timbre-matching" (make, model and usually also version #) is highly-recommended for the front three speakers; the surrounds don't need to be timbre-matched, but it doesn't hurt. Matching doesn't apply to subs.
Quote:
And for the receiver, won't it be better to get 7.1 for later upgrade?
If you think you may go 7.1 - or 5.1 + front height (or presence) speakers, or 5.1 + Zone 2 - then, yes, getting a receiver that has that capability is a good idea. A perfect example of considering the options you may want/need in an AVR! wink.gif
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post #8 of 95 Old 01-07-2013, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks eljaycanuck.

I was reading a lot of good reviews about these Pioneer Andrew Jones speakers. Are they too "low end"? I don't wanna buy something and regret later.
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-PK52FS

Aesthetically I like Klipsch RF series (dark boxes with copper drivers). Aesthetics is important 'cause the speakers will be in the living room.
http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-RF-42II-Theater-Bundle-FREE-Acoustech/dp/B005F6OFTQ/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_1
http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-RF-52-Reference-Theater-System/dp/B009KMERSA/ref=sr_1_88?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1357605002&sr=1-88
But I have no idea how they sound. People say they're too "harsh"?

eljaycanuck, the Polk RTiA3 and CSiA6 that you mentioned have 6.5" woofers. Is it something to look for for the room of that size? The Klipsch-RF-42/52 have smaller drivers.

Thanks.
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post #9 of 95 Old 01-07-2013, 07:17 PM
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Re. the Pioneer speakers: I've also read some good things, so perhaps they'll suit your needs. (I'd skip the Pioneer sub and go with the SVS, though.) You should google for more reviews, or poke around AVS for existing threads on those speakers and maybe ask some questions.

Re. the Klipsch speakers: Check out your local A/V stores to see if they have some you can demo. You really need to listen to different brands / models to determine what sort of sound or sounds you might like.

I agree that aesthetics are important. Good-sounding and good-value are more important, but if you can get those two plus aesthetics, you're golden. smile.gif

Roughly-speaking, the larger drivers (woofers) will help the speakers:
- dig a bit deeper (which means you won't have to set the crossover too high, which can result in "localize-able" bass from the subwoofer); and
- sound a bit fuller than a comparable speakers with smaller drivers.

This does not mean that well-designed speakers with smaller drivers can't also dig deep and sound full. Again, you'd have to try to listen to a variety of speaker to see what sounds best to you.
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post #10 of 95 Old 01-08-2013, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks

Where would you put the side surrounds in 7.1 setup? I don't think stands will work.
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post #11 of 95 Old 01-08-2013, 11:24 AM
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Where would you put the side surrounds in 7.1 setup?
I'd mount bookshelf speakers on the walls to either side of the sofa (in line with your head when you're seated), and aim them downward toward the listening position.

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post #12 of 95 Old 01-08-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Cool, thanks a lot.
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post #13 of 95 Old 01-08-2013, 01:38 PM
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I will do something very common, recommend what I bought to make me feel better about my selection.

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid2pkg.html

I actually only bought the 5.0 part and went with a cheaper sub, but the bookshelves really perform well and their customer service is top notch. They are very patient on the phone and will respond quickly via email, I even spent a few minutes talking to Dr. Hsu about placing my speakers and he was really helpful.
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post #14 of 95 Old 01-08-2013, 02:19 PM
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^^Me too! biggrin.giftongue.gif
Ascend CMT 340's across the front with matching stands for L/R speakers and CBM 170's for surrounds = 1346 shipped
Refurb Denon 2113ci from AC4L = 400 shipped, currently the only 2113ci listed is 449
Klipsch RW12-D sub from Newegg when on sale for 299 shipped
Total if you can get the 2113ci for 400 is 2046
No matter what you do you should look at AC4L for a reciever or even perhaps some speakers I think they have some nice Focals for 799 and a matching center for 2-3 hundred, I don't know, now I'm starting to ramble.

Panasonic TC-P65VT50
Denon 2113ci
Panasonic DMP-BDT220P
Ascend CMT-340SE L/R
Ascend CMT-340SE Center
Ascend CBM-170SE Surrounds
Klipsch RW12-D x 2
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post #15 of 95 Old 01-08-2013, 02:23 PM
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if you have a budget of 1000 dollars, then the Pioneers or Polk Monitor series are a good choice. With a budget of 2000, you are a step up from them.
I really like the Ascend recommendation, excellent speakers. Also, don't forget about EMPtek speakers...look and sound great for the dollar!

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 #16 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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After doing a lot of reading this is what I came up with:

Polk Monitor 75T (Front L/R)
Polk Monitor 25C (Center)
Polk Monitor 35C (Surround and/or Back L/R)
BIC F12 (Subwoofer)

Denon AVR-2113CI (Chose this because of Audyssey MultEQ XT. Looks like everybody likes Audyssey better than YPAO and MCACC. Other Audyssey options are Marantz, which is more expensive, and Onkyo, which only offers MultEQ XT32 in much more expensive TX-NR818, the lower models come with 2EQ)

Total around $1,850 with taxes and shipping.

Now questions:

1. Is 75T too big for 18'x14' room? Will 65T be enough?
2. Are receiver and speakers good match? Power and sound wise? Am I going to under- or overpower the speakers?
3. Is F12 subwoofer good? It seems one of the popular ones among budget subs.

I am open to any suggestions.

Thanks in advance.
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post #17 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone?
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post #18 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
1. Is 75T too big for 18'x14' room? Will 65T be enough?
IMO, the 75T isn't too big, but the 65T will be enough.
Quote:
2. Are receiver and speakers good match?
Yes.
Quote:
3. Is F12 subwoofer good? It seems one of the popular ones among budget subs.
It's a popular one. Personally, I'd put some money toward a better sub (say, an SVS PB-1000 @ $499, shipped).
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post #19 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 01:39 PM
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If aesthetics are important, I feel EMP offers some fantastic options at an affordable price.

EMP E5Ti
EMP E5Ci
EMP E5Bi

That's $1000, they offer a piano black or red burl (I would highly recommend this, I own these and they are sharp). As was recommended, the SVS-PB1000 would be a fantastic choice, and then you have $500 to grab a receiver with MultEQ XT and wires/stands. I upgraded from the Polk Monitor line and I am glad I did.

Denon AVR-1713 | EMP E55Ti | EMP E56Ci | EMP E5Bi | BIC F-12
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post #20 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isagreg View Post

After doing a lot of reading this is what I came up with:

Polk Monitor 75T (Front L/R)
Polk Monitor 25C (Center)
Polk Monitor 35C (Surround and/or Back L/R)
BIC F12 (Subwoofer)

Denon AVR-2113CI (Chose this because of Audyssey MultEQ XT. Looks like everybody likes Audyssey better than YPAO and MCACC. Other Audyssey options are Marantz, which is more expensive, and Onkyo, which only offers MultEQ XT32 in much more expensive TX-NR818, the lower models come with 2EQ)

Total around $1,850 with taxes and shipping.

Now questions:

1. Is 75T too big for 18'x14' room? Will 65T be enough?
2. Are receiver and speakers good match? Power and sound wise? Am I going to under- or overpower the speakers?
3. Is F12 subwoofer good? It seems one of the popular ones among budget subs.

I am open to any suggestions.

Thanks in advance.


Polk is a good brand, they generally offer a lot of value for the money, but I have not specifically heard the Polk Monitors. I owned a pair of Polks many years ago and they had a nice even tonal balance, but the bass was somewhat over blown. That is not a big deal as long as you get a quality sub. My only problem with Polk was that the speakers I owned developed a buzz in the tweeter,, and then later one of the speakers tweeters failed completely. I have questions about Polk's reliability, which is the main reason I looked elsewhere. However, if they have improved in that department I would have no problem recommending them on terms of good sound for the price.

Other than that I would try and audition as many speaker brands and models as you can. DefTech is another good choice for value and performance, and they have a deal now where if you buy the front soundstage, (L,C,R) you get the rear speakers for free. Either way a pair of DefTech BP-8060St would fit your budget, with the current deal that DefTech is offering. These are bipolar speakers and they have powered subs in the speakers, they have good bass already, so you would have to do decide if you still wanted or needed a sub.

Things to look for in selecting a good pair of speakers is: low coloration, even tonal balance, good power handling so that you are not spending a fortune on amplification to get a good soundstage, and also so that speakers can handle a moderate amount of amplification without distortion or the amp clipping. DefTech are fairly efficient, so any moderately priced AVR should work fine. They generally have a good even tonal balance, not quite as flat across the entire frequency as some would strive for, but for the price they are fairly neutral in this regard.

Either way I would try and audition any speakers before you make the purchase. If you go the ID route, make sure they offer a decent amount of time for an in home audition. Most do.

Hope that helps.
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post #21 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 01:46 PM
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If you listen to Polks against other brands, you may find them wanting. They are better than Bose, but you can do a lot better than Polks, but that is just my opinion, and I dislike their sound. I haven't heard that particular model, but if they are anything like the older monitors, I would skip them. I don't even like the Rtis that much. A low-priced four-way should set off some alarm bells right away, especially when they are using the same driver for the mids. Just because the Polks have a whole lot of woofers doesn't mean they are good or powerful speakers. And if that weren't enough, Polks new logo is nauseating, it looks like they are trying to sell speakers to the Hello Kitty crowd. Blech!

Anyway, there is no point in getting tower speakers if you are getting a decent subwoofer. Tower speakers main advantage over bookshelf speakers is they can play bass below 80 hz. The thing is, that's where you are going to cross over bass to your subwoofer, so the sub takes the advantage of towers away. Save some money and get some decent bookshelf speakers. Get a proper sub and some capable bookshelf speakers, and your system will be a lot more powerful. Some bookshelf speakers to consider: HTD Level Threes, Arx A1b, Ascend CBM-170, Hsu HB-1 mk2. The EMPs woudl be good too. For subwoofers, Look at Hsu, Rythmik, Outlaw Audio, and Power Sound Audio. They will be worlds better than a BIC and a better value than SVS too. The subs do not have to match the speakers, but make sure your front stage speakers match. It isn't as critical for surround speakers, don't spend a lot of money on surrounds.
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post #22 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 02:06 PM
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Yeah I have to throw in EMP Tek as well for this, I just posted thoughts on these speakers in the EMP tek forms going against way higher priced speakers and they did fantastic as well they look amazing. If any thing you can do the 30 day trial and see if they would work for you.

EMP tek 5.1 theater setup, Marantz SR6006, Oppo BDP-95
Salk Songtowers, Emotiva XPA-2, ERC-1.  

This is a horrible hobby!!  My wallet hates me, takes up to much space, neighbors want me to move, but man my house sounds amazing!  

 

 
 

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post #23 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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eljaycanuck:
No, 75T is not big physically, and it has 6.5" drivers, and should go lower (vs 5.25" in 65T). But it's not overkill, is it?
SVS PB-1000 is "only" 10", everyone is recommending at least 12". Also it is 2.5 times more expensive.
Another thing, ported vs sealed subs. Like SVS PB-1000 and SVS SB-1000. Which is usually better?

Transmaniacon:
EMP E5Ti are out of stock. They only got E55Ti for $795 pr.
In general will EMP be better than Polk monitors? The price is definitely higher but in audio world higher price does not necessarily mean better quality (Bose for example)

Matts
Where can I see that DefTech deal?

shadyJ:
I' wanna go with towers because (1) the tower enclosure usually allows to reach lower frequencies and (2) with bookshelf I'm gonna need stands, which will add to the total cost.
And in general is it a good idea to go with the same speakers for front and back (as Hsu does)?
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post #24 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 03:22 PM
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I would personally spend less on the receiver. I have a Denon 2113CI enroute, but with your budget, I would spend less on the receiver and get a better subwoofer.

As a former Polk owner I tend to agree that they are not bad speakers but they would not be at the top of my list.

For $2K I would get this receiver (still has Audyssey MultiEQ XT):
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1712/DENON-AVR-1712-7.1-A/V-Surround-Receiver/1.html

For speakers:
Ascend 340 left, right, and matching center
Ascend HTM-200 for left/right surrounds
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/purchase/advisor.mv#bottom
This is $1168 shipped.

This leaves you enough for the SVS PB1000 for $499 shipped or the new Rythmik LVR12 for $549 shipped. And you might be able to get the Rythmik cheaper as they are offered as package deals through Ascend.

You are right at $2K and can add two more HTM-200 surrounds for 7.1 when the budget allows.
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post #25 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isagreg View Post

eljaycanuck:
shadyJ:
I' wanna go with towers because (1) the tower enclosure usually allows to reach lower frequencies and (2) with bookshelf I'm gonna need stands, which will add to the total cost.
And in general is it a good idea to go with the same speakers for front and back (as Hsu does)?

Towers do go deeper, but like I said, you are not going to be using that capability, at least if you set your system up correctly, so it isn't doing you any good. From the perspective of your pocketbook, you do have a point about speakers stands, so if you would need to buy stands, it might make more sense to just get tower speakers. As for the fronts and back being the same, yes, its a good idea, in fact it is the ideal, however in reality it isn't that critical because the surround channels just don't do very much, in most sound tracks they are underused.

Here is a very good three way tower speaker that cost less than those Polks but will sound significantly better, in my opinion at least.
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post #26 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 03:29 PM
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No, 75T is not big physically, and it has 6.5" drivers, and should go lower (vs 5.25" in 65T). But it's not overkill, is it?
The 75T extend to 40Hz @ -3dB vs 48Hz for the 65T. Not a big difference and, since you're running a sub, not one that matters anyway. But it might provide better midrange performance. Regardless, and IMO, it's not overkill.
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SVS PB-1000 is "only" 10", everyone is recommending at least 12".
All I can say is: Not all 10" subs are created equal. smile.gif
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post #27 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry, I never buy refurbished electronics.
That means the DENON AVR-1712 is gonna be $500

Where can I find Rythmik LV12R?

For Ascend CMT-340 SE add matching pedestals ($180)
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post #28 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by isagreg View Post

Sorry, I never buy refurbished electronics.
That means the DENON AVR-1712 is gonna be $500

Where can I find Rythmik LV12R?

For Ascend CMT-340 SE add matching pedestals ($180)

The Rythmik sub just started shipping, it is recently redesigned. Ascend should be able to get you a quote on the whole package, and it might save you some money. You may also find alternate stands for the Ascends, but I do like the pedestals.

I would spend max $500 on a receiver based on your budget and would probably keep it closer to $400.

The one thing to consider with the refurbished receivers is that they are from an authorized reseller and have a 1 year manufactuerers warranty. You can also add a Square Trade warranty on top of that. You just get a lot more and stepping up from the BIC 12 to an SVS or Rythmik sub will be a massive upgrade.
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post #29 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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shadyJ:
I read somewhere that those Infinity speakers are 4 ohm.
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post #30 of 95 Old 02-13-2013, 03:54 PM
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Here is the info on the Ryhtmik sub. My blocker software blocked it so I did not see it:
http://www.rythmikaudio.com/LV12R.html

$549 shipped. Ascend should be able to get you a package discount if you go that way.
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