"Compact" 5.1 Theater System - AVS Forum
Speakers > "Compact" 5.1 Theater System
davemex's Avatar davemex 08:15 AM 01-14-2013
Hi everyone,

From what I've read here, this question gets asked a lot but I wanted to bounce this off everyone just to make sure I'm making the right purchase decisions as this is my first swing at doing a 5.1 speaker setup outside of buying a HTiB system.

I'm putting together a projector based theater in my basement and have a relatively compact space (12 x 14'). The system will be used for movies, games, and music. I've already purchased a Denon 2113ci receiver to power the speakers and now have about $700 left in the audio budget for speakers (plus some money for wires and mounts). Because of the tight space, I was originally looking at buying a Definitive Technology Pro Cinema 600 system and calling it a day. After reading other forums and reviews that mention systems like that having smaller sound I was wondering if I should try to piece something together myself or buy another system. The other option I looked at was going with four Infinity Primus 143 speakers plus the center plus a Klipsch RW12-D sub. My only concern about bookshelf speakers like that is that A) I might not be able to wall mount them and B) If I can wall mount them, would they even look ok by a projector screen or would they stick out too far? Can anyone speak to the ease of mounting speakers like that? With a somewhat tight budget I don't expect this to be the best system in the world, just something that will be a solid start in the home theater world and let me upgrade the pieces over time as I can afford to.

Given those concerns I'd love peoples feedback on my options above or if there is another 5.1 system I should consider.

Thanks in advance!

Dave

Elihawk's Avatar Elihawk 08:31 AM 01-14-2013
Another speaker to consider...the Def Tech SM350/450s. Not really a small speaker, which is a good thing (6.5 inch driver means decent base)...but considering the driver configuration, about as small a spaker as possible. Also, sealed so they can be flush mounted to the wall! New Egg has had the SM350/450 for around 200-250/pr recently!
davemex's Avatar davemex 09:41 AM 01-14-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

Another speaker to consider...the Def Tech SM350/450s. Not really a small speaker, which is a good thing (6.5 inch driver means decent base)...but considering the driver configuration, about as small a spaker as possible. Also, sealed so they can be flush mounted to the wall! New Egg has had the SM350/450 for around 200-250/pr recently!

Not a bad suggestion if I could find them at the $200/pair cost. Right now they're selling for $300/pair which would put them outside of the budget. I have a month or so before I pull the trigger so I planned on watching prices and grabbing stuff as it goes on sale. Thanks for the suggestion though, I'll keep an eye on them.
Elihawk's Avatar Elihawk 10:05 AM 01-14-2013
I got the S450s for 208/pr in Sept, 2012 and I have seen then in the low $200s/pr a couple times since than. Nice speaker that hit pretty low for a small compact speaker. You could use them for fronts and buy some small satellite speakers for the surrounds.
davemex's Avatar davemex 06:23 PM 01-14-2013
Will something like that wall mount easily or does it stick out too far?
chrisexv6's Avatar chrisexv6 08:01 PM 01-14-2013
The SM350 speakers are about 10" deep. So the least they would stick out is about 10" if you could mount them directly flush with the wall which is probably not possible (unless they have keyhole slots in the back of the cabinet which Im guessing they dont)\

Figure a good wallmount will project another 2" or so from the wall, so you're looking at 12" away from the wall.

Something like the Ascend HTM-200SE would be nice and compact and work well for your room size, but the price is out of budget (300/pr). They are REALLY compact though, only 6.375" deep.

This is one time I like that I have a plasma....its not an uber-thin LED TV so it projects 5" out of the wall instead of 0.5". Makes it easier to "sneak" in bookshelf speakers and still kinda fit the aesthetics.
reframmellator's Avatar reframmellator 08:09 PM 01-14-2013
I just got the SM350s for $180/pr shipped from Newegg in the last two weeks. Jumped on them at that price.
rich7sena's Avatar rich7sena 08:17 PM 01-14-2013
Best Buy is currently selling a Mirage 5.1 set for 299.99 on clearance (reg price is about $800). If you can find a store within 25 miles that has it, buy it online (store pick up).

But if you can afford not to compromise, the Def Tech ProCinema 600 is worth it.
davemex's Avatar davemex 04:25 AM 01-15-2013
Thanks everyone, the suggestions are really helpful! 1' from the wall might be a bit much for a tight space. People have to walk in front of the screen in order to get to the seating area so I'd be afraid the bookshelves would end up getting bumped. I'll have to take another measurement to be sure. I could be imagining the space to be tighter than it really is (I guess I should just be less lazy and walk down to the basement!).
chrisexv6's Avatar chrisexv6 06:11 AM 01-15-2013
Not sure how handy you are or how many tools you have access to, but have you thought about building your own set of speakers?

Im leaning towards that (Ive built a set before so I have an idea of what Im getting into).

The best thing about it is you can take a good design off the web (Google "Overnight Sensation MTM"), muck with the cabinet dimensions to fit your space, then build em.

My goal is the Overnight Sensation MTM but shallower and taller, to look more like an on-wall speaker like the HTD flat panel speakers.

If not DIY, then I would suppose the Def Tech setup would work well for your space. I have a larger area (thats also open to rooms behind it) to deal with so if I went Def Tech Id be looking at the Promonitor 1000. Im sure its a great speaker, but for half the price I can build something that provides an excellent amount of midrange and it wont be black plastic.
davemex's Avatar davemex 07:31 AM 01-15-2013
That's not a bad idea either. I went back and measured the space and discovered that, as I feared, there is only about 2' for people to walk into the seating area due to the placement of a love seat. So now it looks like I'm forced to consider the smaller depth speaker options. The only thing I hate about going with a set like the Def Tec 600 is that I was really hoping to be able to go with a bigger sub. I only expect to be in this space for a few more months though so once that happens the front two speakers will probably get replaced with either higher-end bookshelf speakers or floor standing ones with whatever front speakers I end up having to use right now being relegated to the back for a 7.1 setup. I guess I could always use the Def Tec 600 sub as a secondary sub in that case too.

Are there any issues with using a large sub and a small sub or do they just add up to pack more punch?
cel4145's Avatar cel4145 09:01 AM 01-15-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by davemex View Post

Are there any issues with using a large sub and a small sub or do they just add up to pack more punch?

If you get a really good 12" sub, the Def Tech may not be helpful at all.

Know that the sub with the Pro Cinema 600 set is more of a midbass module, and doesn't hit as deep as Def Tech's specs would suggest. It was measured rolling off starting at 40hz, and it has lost a lot of output by 30hz.
chrisexv6's Avatar chrisexv6 01:39 PM 01-15-2013
Can take a look at NHT SuperZero speakers. They are compact, sealed so they can go directly against a wall, and 99.00 each every day (so they match the 200/pr budget).

Would still need a good sub to go with them, but I think they might give better performance than the DefTech 600 setup.

Also take a look at a similar thread I started: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1447738/compact-ht-speakers-with-good-sound-quality#post_22749881
davemex's Avatar davemex 05:07 PM 01-15-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisexv6 View Post

Can take a look at NHT SuperZero speakers. They are compact, sealed so they can go directly against a wall, and 99.00 each every day (so they match the 200/pr budget).

Would still need a good sub to go with them, but I think they might give better performance than the DefTech 600 setup.

Also take a look at a similar thread I started: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1447738/compact-ht-speakers-with-good-sound-quality#post_22749881

$200/pair is definitely at the upper end since I'd be at $400 before a sub and center. The Polk RTi4s that were brought up in your other thread look like a good option too. I saw them on Ebay for $149 a pair refurb but J&R had them new for $159 so that's probably a better deal.

So right now I think I have it narrowed down between either sticking with the Infinity setup + the Klipsch sub or something with more expensive bookshelfs like either NHT/Polk and then getting a slightly cheaper sub. What did you end up going with?
Kini62's Avatar Kini62 05:21 PM 01-15-2013
I can vouch for the NHT SuperZeros being able to fill a space that size since I have 5 of them in a slightly larger room and on about half the wattage of your AVR.

The SZs do not have a keyhole on the back so you will need some type of mount like an omni mount or similar. I have my LRs on some cheap, small satellite stands about a foot or so out into the room. They could just as easily be up against the wall too.

I use one laid over on its side for the center which works and sounds just fine.
justindo's Avatar justindo 05:50 PM 01-15-2013
The NHT Super Zeros are great speakers for the price. You'll need to set the crossover pretty high (no lower than 100hz), but you'll be dealing with that anyway with small speakers. Going with one of the Dayton subs will bring you in under your $700 budget. Personally, I would put a little more into better speakers and get a little cheaper sub, especially in an entry level system. It's too bad you didn't have a larger speaker budget, as it seems you splurged on the receiver given your overall budget. I think a circa $200 one would have been more appropriate.
davemex's Avatar davemex 06:15 PM 01-15-2013
Yeah I admit I went high on the receiver. The idea was to leave room for future expansion later this year.

With that being the case I might go with the recommendation of getting better core speakers and a smaller sub. Any suggestions on the sub then?

How much would I be losing out by not going with a center speaker designed to be a center?
davemex's Avatar davemex 06:31 PM 01-15-2013
And one other thing to add on to the previous comment... If I can spend another 50-100 and ensure that the system will go a lot further I suppose I could flex a bit. There's no reason to spend $700 only to have to turn around and spend twice that a year later because I find out my cost saving measure got me really weak sound.

Edit: Okay so I've increased the speaker budget a bit to $850 max. Is 5 NHTs and the Klipsch the best route for this or should I still consider the Polks or possible other options like a larger Def Tec setup?
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 08:20 PM 01-15-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by davemex View Post

And one other thing to add on to the previous comment... If I can spend another 50-100 and ensure that the system will go a lot further I suppose I could flex a bit. There's no reason to spend $700 only to have to turn around and spend twice that a year later because I find out my cost saving measure got me really weak sound.

Edit: Okay so I've increased the speaker budget a bit to $850 max. Is 5 NHTs and the Klipsch the best route for this or should I still consider the Polks or possible other options like a larger Def Tec setup?

Look at HTD Flat Panel speakers - 3 each for the fronts
http://www.htd.com/Products/flat-panel-speakers/flat-panel-speaker

NXG Pro 4.1 for surrounds
http://www.amazon.com/Nxg-Pro-4-1-Satellite-Speaker/dp/B0044UHVOK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358306475&sr=8-1&keywords=nxg+pro+4.1
losservatore's Avatar losservatore 08:36 PM 01-15-2013
Hsu bookshelf speakers ....
losservatore's Avatar losservatore 08:44 PM 01-15-2013
Also take at look at Cambridge sound works.
Bond 007's Avatar Bond 007 08:58 PM 01-15-2013
justindo's Avatar justindo 11:18 PM 01-15-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by davemex View Post

How much would I be losing out by not going with a center speaker designed to be a center?

Center channels are compromises. Ideally, you want 5 identical speakers.
davemex's Avatar davemex 03:52 PM 01-16-2013
I really like those HTD flat panels but they seem to have smaller woofers. Would that be an issue? While I was on their site I also took a look at a Level Two setup, which I also liked. Someone started a very similar thread (lots of those these days) where it looked like the leading recommendation was Level Threes for the front speakers and Level Twos for the back. That's what got me thinking about an HTD setup.

So... now it looks like the options I'm considering would be...

  • 3 HTD Flat Panel speakers in the front with cheaper surrounds
  • 5 NHT Superzero 2.0 speakers all around
  • 5 Level Two speakers all around
  • Wait for the Def Tech Studio Monitor 350s to go back on sale and pick 5 up

All of those would be paired up with the Klipsch sub or something similar. Out of those, I'd love to hear people's feedback on which has the most bang for the buck.

Lastly, thanks again to everyone who's provided feedback. You've all been a huge help!
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 05:26 PM 01-16-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by davemex View Post

I really like those HTD flat panels but they seem to have smaller woofers. Would that be an issue? While I was on their site I also took a look at a Level Two setup, which I also liked. Someone started a very similar thread (lots of those these days) where it looked like the leading recommendation was Level Threes for the front speakers and Level Twos for the back. That's what got me thinking about an HTD setup.
  • 3 HTD Flat Panel speakers in the front with cheaper surrounds
  • 5 NHT Superzero 2.0 speakers all around
  • 5 Level Two speakers all around
  • Wait for the Def Tech Studio Monitor 350s to go back on sale and pick 5 up
All of those would be paired up with the Klipsch sub or something similar. Out of those, I'd love to hear people's feedback on which has the most bang for the buck.

This is my preference - and the Flat Panels are not a wimp
1. HTD Level Two
2. Def Tech 350
3. HTD Flat Panel
4. NHT SuperZero 2.0
davemex's Avatar davemex 06:24 PM 01-16-2013
Uhg I totally forgot about the depth constraints of the space. I didn't realize the Level 2 speakers were 10" deep and forgot the SM350 are as well. It looks like it will have to be either the Flat Panels or the SuperZeros. I see you still prefer the HTD over the SuperZeros. Just more sound for the money? I'll have to look at those NGX surrounds too though my back wall isn't as space constrained.
zieglj01's Avatar zieglj01 07:02 PM 01-16-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by davemex View Post

Uhg I totally forgot about the depth constraints of the space. I didn't realize the Level 2 speakers were 10" deep and forgot the SM350 are as well. It looks like it will have to be either the Flat Panels or the SuperZeros. I see you still prefer the HTD over the SuperZeros. Just more sound for the money? I'll have to look at those NGX surrounds too though my back wall isn't as space constrained.

While the SuperZero 2.0 are nice speakers - I do prefer the Flat Panel speakers over them.
The Flat Panels do sound good, and are not a wimp
davemex's Avatar davemex 10:37 AM 01-17-2013
Thanks for the recos. Unless something else calls out to me (I admit I did look at the slightly pricier HSU Hybrid 1 package too) I think I'm going to go with 3 HTD Flat Panels for the L/C/R and 2 Middies for the rears. I figured it would be best to keep them all from the same manufacturer even if it did cost a little more than getting cheaper sides.

I do find it personally hilarious that I started out looking for a $750 system and am now well up into the $1000 range before shipping. It's funny how easy it is to talk yourself in to spending more $. It'll be worth it if I end up with a system that will serve me better for a longer time though.
davemex's Avatar davemex 02:54 PM 01-17-2013
Well, the SM 350s actually went on sale right after I wrote that. They're bigger than I wanted to put in that space but I figure I can mount them higher and angle them down towards the seating area. I also picked up a Mythos 3 to use as a center. If it all shows up and sounds like crap or just doesn't fit, I guess it'll be back in the box to Newegg in favor of the HTDs. While I really loved the look of those flatpanel speakers I just can't pass up having the much larger sonic range of the SM 350s if the price is right.

Thanks again for all the recos!
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