Time to place my order-please help me choose - AVS Forum
Speakers > Time to place my order-please help me choose
tvckmiller's Avatar tvckmiller 12:44 PM 01-19-2013
Well, I am sure you guys are tired of getting these type of threads but, the bottom line is that this is (IMO), the best place to get real world advice from educated audiophiles. First, a little about my current set up. I have been working a little at a time to collect my equipment and proud to have some pretty nice pieces. They are as follows:
Arcam AVR300, Oppo BD95, Bigfoot RSC200 center, Blue Jeans and Monoprice connects, Kef q70s for surrounds, and a Seaton Submersive (1KW version). I have 2 custom built Obelisk speakers for L/R duties. They sound really nice for music and do pretty well for home theater. They were built by a buddy of mine who is an acoustical engineer. Problem is that they are not efficient and in those times when we are watching at low listening levels, which is most of the time, they are not good performers. Once I get them cranked up they really are good though.

I say all of this to preface what I want. I am currently using my home theater in a living room setting. Approximately 3300 cu ft open at one end. I will be building onto the house soon and will have a dedicated theater room with acoustical treatments ect... but for now just in the living room. The way they will be used is about 75% HT and 25% for gaming and 2 channel music. Now, for home theater use I could have already made up my mind by now. I have a local dealer that has Triad Golds and they sound amazing! That is not the whole equation though. I also have an old Marantz 2230 that I use for my 2 channel listening. This thing flat trounces anything I have heard for pure 2 channel listening without going into 5k or > seperates.

I am looking for a speaker that performs VERY well for home theater in both low and very high spl's. I want very nice, well defined punch in the low end and crystal clear (not laid back) detail in the mids and highs. The B&W 805 Diamond has the kind of detail I am looking for. My wife has nixed the bookshelf idea though. I know I may be asking alot and what I am looking for may not be available in the $3100 or less price range that I have.

I am about 80% sold on just getting the Von Schweikert VR22s based on my conversations with Albert Von Schweikert. They sound like an amazing loudspeaker. Only one review out as of now but another coming in Positive Feedback. I do however want to cover my bases here. There are LOTS of contenders out there in this price range. Some I have considered are:

Salk Song Towers with RAAL ribbons
Ascend Sierra Towers with RAAL ribbons
Vandersteen 3As
Dali Ikon 7s
PBN Montana SP3s
Focal 836Vs
Tekton Pendragons

Now, the only ones I have actually heard are the Montana SP3s. They are from a well know high end manufacturer and do sound really nice. They provide a wonderfully wide sound stage. I haven't been able to here them in a theater setting though. They also have pretty good punch but would need a little extra fill in from the Seaton Submersive to get what I need out of them for 2 channel audio. All others I only know through reviews. The Salks are the one that I here most about. My only question with them are the same that I have with Montana's, how are they for home theater and do they have to have a sub to get any real punch? I have this "no replacement for displacement" attitude and it makes question how well a pair of 5.25" drivers will be able to give you a good mid range thump much less really low notes.

I would really appreciate any input you guys may have here. First hand experience carries alot of weight with me and that is what many of you have. I am also open to any "other" ideas you may have. As I said earlier, the Von Schweikerts are in the lead right now but that is mostly based off of what Albert himself says the VR22s can do. The quality of components are important to me as well. Although I would like to have furniture grade, beautiful loudspeakers, performance trumps beauty in my mind. Obviously, If I nan get both that would be a bonus.

Thanks for reading my far too wordy post and hope you all can give me some perspective.

JerryLove's Avatar JerryLove 01:37 PM 01-19-2013
THX peaks are (IIRC) 115db for frequencies below 80Hz.

Yes. For high-SPL LF response, you will need a sub or a truly powerful set of mains.

You also need to define what "high SPL" is to you, and what your listening distance is.

My experience from the speaker on your list is with the Salks (I have experience with many speakers; but those are the only ones on your current list).
I have the SCST, which is the same as the ST-RL you are considering except that the mids are replaced and capable of going lower in the MWTL (34Hz).
I've found them excellent without sub for music listening with my primary listening distance 2m at quite significant volume.

Considering how much I love LF, I would not use them for movies without a paired subwoofer. (well, I would; but I'd then be looking for a subwoofer to add).

I honestly suspect that every speaker you are considering, when used to play HT at high volume, should be paired with a subwoofer or 4.

I've interacted with Albert, but not listened to his speakers. I'm off-put a bit by the fact that he's in the "spend more money on cables" group of people.

I can say that (and I've had everything from Paradigm S2's to B&W N801's to Ohm Walsh's) Salk is my favorite sounding speaker of those that I have heard. I can also say that he is known for the quality of his (and he builds-to-request) cabinets.
tvckmiller's Avatar tvckmiller 03:32 PM 01-19-2013
Thanks Jerry Love,
I do listen to movies quit loud and my current setup is capable of reference levels at LP. I will always use a sub for music but do not want to for music. I really enjoy well defined bass and that is one thing that the VS vr22 is said to have. In fact, people at one of the audio shows accused him of having a hidden sub. Does the SCSTs have a nice thump with most music? Any real air movement? Again, I have kind of a hang up with small drivers. Probably making too much out of it though.

I really am thinking of giving the Salks a try. Do you bi amp yours? I haven't had the opportunity to use channels 6&7 om my Arcam, here it makes a big difference.

Thanks for your response
JerryLove's Avatar JerryLove 10:12 PM 01-19-2013
Please don't take anything I said as negative on the VR22s. I have not heard them.
Originally Posted by tvckmiller View Post

Does the SCSTs have a nice thump with most music? Any real air movement? Again, I have kind of a hang up with small drivers. Probably making too much out of it though.
Surprisingly so. The transmission line results in a surprisingly low 34Hz roll-off point. I've been using the SCST's in my family room with a primary listening position about 2m, but with secondary listening up to 6m. I am not running a subwoofer on them and am very happy with the results. I would not try HT (with its +10db LF) at these volumes without a sub.

The limitation is x-max on the drivers. It limits max volume. It's loud enough for me, and I consider myself a loud listener; but it may not be for someone else (that can be solved with a speaker like the HT2-TL, but that's outside of your price range). Adding a sub should bump up the max clean volume somewhat.

I should also note that the ST-RT's (per my conversations with Dennis Murphy) get louder than the SCST's, but that's at the cost of low-frequency reproduction (meaning, I suspect, you won't want to run them without a sub).
I really am thinking of giving the Salks a try. Do you bi amp yours? I haven't had the opportunity to use channels 6&7 om my Arcam, here it makes a big difference.

I do not. I am running off a single Yamaha P5000S.

I highly recommend auditioning anything you can. If you reach out to Jim Salk, he will try to introduce you to a local owner willing to let you come listen to his gear. It's worth the listen.
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