Dynamics at the front: FS52, S30 or HB-1 MK2 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Guys,
I'm relatively new to this stuff and I'm looking for guidance to narrow down what I'm looking for. I'm very familiar with, and fond of, the sound of the original Cambridge Soundworks Microworks 2.1 PC setup and the Harmon Kardon 8 speaker system in my car. As luck would have it, they sound similar. So I guess I'm looking for something that sounds like them - rich and full - but with greater volume and clarity. Last week, after a lot of lurking here, I put together a 2.1 music/HT setup in a 12x11.5 room consisting of Denon AVR 1713, a pair of Pioneer FS52s and the SW8-MK2. Initially I was astonished by all the detail I'd been missing in my favorite songs, but since then I've gradually realized that in a handful of them I'm missing the "true dynamic slam and impact" that made them favorites in the first place.

Some songs where I notice this: when I turn up the volume on Nero's 'Doomsday' on either the Microworks or the HK car system, it is EPIC and HIGH IMPACT in capitals. I get chills. With the Pioneers, the same song seems comparatively flat and uncapitalized.

Same thing happens with the end of 'The Kiss' from the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack around 2:15.

Upon further testing with the HTPC, movies don't seem to hit as hard as they do on the Microworks, so I ordered a BIC F12 (coming in tomorrow), but after a bunch of research today I'm wondering if the Pioneers are just the wrong speakers for me given the dynamics I'm accustomed to. Based on what I've read so far, I'm thinking the Cambridge Audio S30 or Hsu HB-1 MK2 may be more what I'm after for the fronts.

Cheers!

edit: I'm not necessarily intending to keep the F12 - I just wanted to try it out with the Pioneers; from what I've heard on here it might not be the best match for the S30s.


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post #2 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 03:44 PM
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The Pioneer Towers with a Bic F12 subwoofer are a great set-up. Personally I am not a fan of the poineers soundtracks I perfer the Polk Monitors as they are more detailed.

The Pioneers with the Bic F12 will make a huge difference, and make sure to run Audyssey. The Poineers should have a crossover of 60-80hz and let the sub handle everything below that you'll be golden. That will give your receiver more usuable powers to refine the higher end sound from the towers

That will be a huge improvement over your little computer speakers

The two speakers you mentioned are a bit higher on the scale ofthe poineer towers. I would suggest the Polk RTi4's or RTi A1's as well

Have you run audyssey yet? How are your Pioneer's positioned?
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post #3 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm hoping the F12 does just that, but after listening to some stuff side-by-side with the Microworks today I started wondering if the FS52s are too 'laid back' for my taste. The Microworks' satellites may only have 3" drivers but the sound can hit hard and BIG. For context, here's an excerpt from the review linked in the OP:
Quote:
The sizeable bass module, the hefty satellites, and the generous amplifiers combine to produce a sound that is surprisingly full-bodied. Bass is quite punchy and full, while the middle frequencies are smooth and undistorted. The high frequencies are somewhat rolled off, but are OK. Most computer speakers wimp out at high volumes, but not the MicroWorks.

Yep I ran Audyssey on 1-3 listening positions after every speaker reposition until it sounded as good as I could get it. I manually adjusted the crossover from 40 to 60 to 80. Also tried the phase-flip switch on the SW8-MK2 and dialing it down it so Audyssey wouldn't give it any gain. The crossover control on the sub itself is set as high as it goes.

The FS52s are positioned on either side of a 42" tv and the sub is a foot to the left. They're about 5 inches (not ideal I know) from a wall and currently toed in a little to focus on the middle of the couch 12 feet away. Moving them away from the wall a foot or more didn't seem to noticeably help. The room is not quite rectangular: there's turret window on one end, staircase on the other, and the system is up against the staircase wall.

Another song that sounds great on my other speakers and not so great on the Pioneers is Le Loup's 'We are Gods! We are Wolves!' Despite lots of tweaking, the bass which anchors the song is too airy and untextured and therefore the rest of the track feels stark and unsupported.

In case I'm sounding too negative, I want to emphasize that ~all the other songs I've tried sound really good on the Pioneers- like jaw droppingly good; I'm just bringing up these few songs that I would like to sound as good as the rest.


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post #4 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 05:47 PM
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I had a similar experience with the aj pioneer series 1 speakers. I bought a set of Polk m40s from new egg and a pr of the bigger pioneer bookshelves speaker at best buy. After doing about a 3 day a/b comparison for music, then comparing both with unmatched
centers as fronts for HT, I came way unimpresed by the pioneers and they got returned. I found them them to be muffled and cheap, both looking and sounding!
However, many people have stated that the series 2 speakers are improved and sound excellent for the money!

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 #5 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 06:59 PM
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You might also look at the Infinity Primus p362, they have pretty good dynamics and are not very expensive. The Hsu's are good, they have pretty good dynamic range but I don't know how they compare to the Pioneers. Klipsch has very good dynamic response, they will walk all over the Pioneers in that respect. The Cambridge S30 looks like a great speaker, but I don't believe it's going to hit any harder than the Pioneers, judging from the specs.
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post #6 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks I'll start looking at the speakers you guys have mentioned
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

The Hsu's are good, they have pretty good dynamic range but I don't know how they compare to the Pioneers.

Here are some glowing reviews I found; the first one mentions the Pioneers being clearer and more transparent but describes the HB-1 MK2 home theater setup as having a 'freewheeling dynamic kick' and being 'unusually lively performers'. [which sounds like maybe what I'm after]:
1. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57556257-47/hsu-researchs-overachieving-home-theater-speakers/

2. http://hometheaterreview.com/hsu-research-hb-1-mk2-bookshelf-loudspeaker-reviewed/
in the second one, the reviewer ends the review with 'I love em'
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

The Cambridge S30 looks like a great speaker, but I don't believe it's going to hit any harder than the Pioneers, judging from the specs.

I hope not; I was excited because the word 'punchy' seems often used with the S30's ('punchy' was also used to describe the Microworks so I'm inferring that I like 'punchy'): http://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-Audio-Speakers-Dark-Pair/dp/B004NDN9NK/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_2

and zieglj01, who seems to have a lot of experience, is all over them: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1406998/cambridge-s30-s50-combo-for-5-1

I'm also wondering if the AVR 1713, which I like alot, is enough amp for the s30's


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post #7 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 07:34 PM
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I have the HSUs and I love them.
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post #8 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 07:52 PM
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What is it that you are expecting from these speakers?

What do you feel is lacking? Highs, mids, or lows?

If you want a lively speaker might want to check out that Polk RTi-line or the Monitor line(At best buy they are sold at a mark up and under the TSi-line but they sound the same).

Honestly I don't suggest going by written reviews when purchasing speakers cause everyones hearing is different. Your better off going to a place where you can demo the speakers and listen to them.

However here is a review of the Polk RTi A1's which gives them a glowing review with all the words audiophiles love to read http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/908polk/index.html
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post #9 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post

Honestly I don't suggest going by written reviews when purchasing speakers cause everyones hearing is different. Your better off going to a place where you can demo the speakers and listen to them.

Good point. I'm gradually picking up the audiophile language as I steam through reviews and posts but true - everyone does hear differently.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post

What is it that you are expecting from these speakers?

What do you feel is lacking? Highs, mids, or lows?

Ideally, the mind boggling clarity of the FS52s but warmer, richer, fuller bass-to-mid along with the ability to deliver knockout dynamic jumps e.g. from ~silent to HUGE AND VAST (sorry for all the caps!). I guess they wouldn't have to be as loud as the FS52's though - highest I went was -10db and it wasn't comfortable for very long. Once I settle on the fronts I'll need a sub that blends nicely, can do music cleanly and movies with a some tight rumble.

In case it matters, the music will mostly be stuff like Amon Tobin, with some piano, cello, quartet kind of stuff, some soundtracks (Inception, Tron come to mind), Radiohead, and offbeat indie label rock type stuff.


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post #10 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonate View Post

I hope not; I was excited because the word 'punchy' seems often used with the S30's ('punchy' was also used to describe the Microworks so I'm hoping inferring that I like 'punchy'): http://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-Audio-Speakers-Dark-Pair/dp/B004NDN9NK/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_2

and zieglj01, who seems to have a lot of experience, is all over them: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1406998/cambridge-s30-s50-combo-for-5-1

The Cambridge speakers only have 4.5" woofers, there is only so much they can do. I would imagine they could have some snap, but I don't believe that is going to happen below 100 hz. On paper, your Pioneers should have a lot more punch than the Cambridge could ever have. The Hsu speakers do have punch, and they have extension too. Anyway, if you hold onto the Pioneers, you can order some Hsu speakers and compare them, and if you don't like the Hsus, you can return them within 30 days and you are only out shipping costs. My guess is the Pioneers will have a more refined sound at lower volumes and the Hsus will have a more lively sound at higher volumes.
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post #11 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post

However here is a review of the Polk RTi A1's which gives them a glowing review with all the words audiophiles love to read http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/908polk/index.html

that review does sound good. and this guy reviewed them too, using the word punchy twice: http://hometheaterreview.com/polk-rti-a1-bookshelf-loudspeakers-reviewed/
Quote:
Originally Posted by dimetera413 View Post

I have the HSUs and I love them.

sweet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Anyway, if you hold onto the Pioneers, you can order some Hsu speakers and compare them, and if you don't like the Hsus, you can return them within 30 days and you are only out shipping costs.

I am leaning toward this; and I could use the Pioneers as temporary stands for the HB-1 MK2s wink.gif


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post #12 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonate View Post


and zieglj01, who seems to have a lot of experience, is all over them: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1406998/cambridge-s30-s50-combo-for-5-1

I'm also wondering if the AVR 1713, which I like alot, is enough amp for the s30's

Well, I am around here somewhere.

Everyone has their own preference/taste, and as usual some people hear things differently. Also some
people will speculate, because the speaker does not look so-called big enough.

The Cambridge does a nice job below 100 hz - the speaker does not die around this frequency. The woofer
can really be called a 5 inch woofer - from inside the woofer frame to the outside edge of the surround, it
is 5 inches. The speaker is punchy, and not boomy, muddy or wooly sounding - the bass is strong to 60 hz.

However, there is no guarantee that the Cambridge will be enough speaker for you.

I prefer the Cambridge over the Pioneer towers and bookshelf - over the Polk RTi and Monitor/TSi speakers
and the Infinity Primus speakers, and also over the HTD speakers.

The Pioneer towers will have lower bass - and can/will sound bigger on some sources - however, when the
Cambridge is placed on top of the Pioneer towers, they hold their own on a lot of sources. The Cambridge
is more clear/open and lively sounding to me, and easy to listen to, without ear fatigue.

I can not speak for HSU or how they may compare - however, a subjective review here >
http://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-Audio-Speakers-Dark-Pair/product-reviews/B004NDN9NK/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

The 1713 can handle the Cambridge - however, a little more power can/will help

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post #13 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 09:00 PM
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Do you know of any measurements for the S30? I can't seem to find any anywhere. One advantage of the S30 is the small cabinet is unlikely to be a source of any serious resonance.
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post #14 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I can not speak for HSU or how they may compare - however, a subjective review here >
http://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-Audio-Speakers-Dark-Pair/product-reviews/B004NDN9NK/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

The 1713 can handle the Cambridge - however, a little more power can/will help

Thanks zieglj01 - I'd scoured the internets trying to get your take on the Hsu's lol
Also I'd skimmed that nifty amazon review twice already without really reading it through - turns out it even comments upon the Polk Rti vs the S30 question
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Do you know of any measurements for the S30? I can't seem to find any anywhere. One advantage of the S30 is the small cabinet is unlikely to be a source of any serious resonance.

(6.3 x 8.9 x 9.2”)
http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/products/s30-bookshelf-speaker


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post #15 of 81 Old 01-21-2013, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Do you know of any measurements for the S30? I can't seem to find any anywhere. One advantage of the S30 is the small cabinet is unlikely to be a source of any serious resonance.

The cabinet is crossed braced and well damped - no hollow sound with the door knock
test, and no real port chuffing

Not as sensitive as some speakers - and the impedance will drop some down low.
Measurements here
http://www.stereo.de/index.php?eID=tx_cms_showpic&file=uploads%2Fpics%2FCambridge_S30_LS.jpg&width=800m&height=600m&bodyTag=%3Cbody%20style%3D%22margin%3A0%3B%20background%3A%23fff%3B%22%3E&wrap=%3Ca%20href%3D%22javascript%3Aclose%28%29%3B%22%3E%20%7C%20%3C%2Fa%3E&md5=b97c2ff642c381eb246727578f082ff3

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post #17 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonate View Post

(6.3 x 8.9 x 9.2”)
http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/products/s30-bookshelf-speaker

Lol I meant frequency response charts, but I can see how that wouldn't be clear from my post.

Anyway the FR seems to have a surprising amount of bass for a small woofer, and the impedance isn't bad really, and Cambridge claims a Sensitivity of 90 dB which would be excellent for such a small speaker. So what's the catch?
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post #18 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 03:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimetera413 View Post

I have the HSUs and I love them.

me too.
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post #19 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimetera413 View Post

I have the HSUs and I love them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmorage View Post

me too.

from that S30-loving amazon review:
Quote:
S30's vs HSU-MKII:..This is a very close contest though, and for home-theater use I would still prefer the HSUs for their phenomenal imaging and staging abilities.

Since my setup sees a lot of home theater use and the HB-1 MK2's are well loved and said to have "extraordinary power and dynamic oomph", I think I'll give em a shot.

Anyhow, given whatever current sub options would mesh well with the HB-1 MK2, is the STF-2 worth a look (currently $375 shipped)? Should I see how the F12 works with them since I'll have it?


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post #21 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonate View Post

Anyhow, given whatever current sub options would mesh well with the HB-1 MK2, is the STF-2 worth a look (currently $375 shipped)? Should I see how the F12 works with them since I'll have it?

well this thread seems pretty clear:
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjsiv View Post

I now own the STF-2 and previously had dual BIC F12s. The Hsu is much cleaner and tighter than the F12. Music is no comparison. The Hsu was noticeably better from the first minute I turned it on. If you are looking to spend under $200, I always recommend the BIC. It is a great budget sub. If you are looking to spend more, the Hsu is better in every way.


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post #22 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 12:44 PM
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I think if you want punch you ought to get the VTF2. The STF2 is a good sub, but it isn't an output monster. The VTF2 will definitely be in another league. I went from a STF2 to a VTF3, and it was a huge step up, and the VTF2 is a lot closer in performance to the VTF3 than the STF2.
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post #23 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks shadyj, that helps. Now I'm also looking at the VTF-2 MK4, the VTF-1 MK2 and the Cadence CSX12 MK2.

Looking at the Hybrid 1 vs Hybrid 2 I have to decide if the VTF-2 MK4 is worth $100 more. The VTF-1 MK2 is supposed to have an uprated driver and I like that it's only 14" wide. I understand that there's a low frequency tradeoff for the woofer size but if it "makes bass you can feel through the soles of your feet" maybe that's enough of an upgrade from the 6.5" 'subs' I'm used two (one in the Microworks and two in the car).

The CSX12 seems like a great deal but I don't like that it's wider than 15" and I'm wondering if it will be as musically responsive as I'm imagining the Hsu's are. The way the room is, anything over 15" wide limits sub placement options to one: next to the couch. A sub up to 15" wide can sit against the front wall next to the speakers.


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post #24 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 02:17 PM
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At an only $100 price difference, I absolutely guarantee you that the VTF2 will be a worthwhile upgrade. There will be a very serious difference in output, and most of all extension. The VTF2 will get a lot deeper. With the Cadence subs, they have a lot of upper bass output, but not much lower bass output. The CSX-15 mkII has some pretty in-depth measurements, and it's deep bass is very poor, but the upper bass is phenomenal. The Cadence 12 ought to be about the same but minus 3 dB. The Hsu subs will have a much more even frequency response.
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post #25 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonate View Post


The CSX12 seems like a great deal but I don't like that it's wider than 15" and I'm wondering if it will be as musically responsive as I'm imagining the Hsu's are. The way the room is, anything over 15" wide limits sub placement options to one: next to the couch. A sub up to 15" wide can sit against the front wall next to the speakers.

If you can swing for the HSU, I would go with the VTF-2 - For a tight budget, and if you can live with 105 db at 25 hz,
and 91 db at 20 hz, then the Cadence 12 inch is a nice one - I will for sure take their 12 inch sub, over their 15" sub.

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post #26 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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gotcha^
I just refused delivery of the F12 and did some room measurements and the couch placement actually seems pretty perfect, so I guess now I'm trying to decide between two these alluring extremes:

S30 + CSX12 MKII
For only $508 I get great warm, vivid, punchy mains and a nice starter sub that can competently handle music and movies. This is a true bargain if it gets me satisfying dynamics in those songs. My only technical concern is that the S30s are rated at '4-8ohms' and my Denon AVR 1713 says it only wants 6 ohm speakers and up. Is listing 4-8 ohms just an idiosyncratic thing Cambridge Audio is doing in its manual whereas less picky manufacturers just list an average resistance? or is the S30 an oddity in that way? Would the ohm-variable S30s heat up my shelfbound receiver overmuch if it only has 3" of air clearance around the sides? Future upgrades might include additional S30s and a better sub.

HB-1 MK2 + VTF-2 MK4
For only $916 I get fantastic dynamics, great neutrality, imaging, staging, easy listening 'soft treble detail' and rather epic bass. I'm confident this setup would fully exalt the three songs I mentioned. I imagine that the only upgrades I'd want for awhile would be adding surrounds and centers. From what I understand the AVR 1713 would have no trouble staying cool while melting face with the Hsus.

Note: I could still return the AVR1713 and get a different one, but it's the thing that I like the most so far.


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post #27 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 04:28 PM
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Option 2 if you have the money for sure.

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post #28 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonate View Post

S30 + CSX12 MKII

HB-1 MK2 + VTF-2 MK4

Note: I could still return the AVR1713 and get a different one, but it's the thing that I like the most so far.

What you choose is up to you - I for sure know, that my Denon can handle the Cambridge - do not worry much
about the impedance swing, however more power can be beneficial in the long run. Do not put anything on top
of the receiver, no matter what speaker you have.

There are many speakers that have an impedance swing - Cambridge is being honest

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post #29 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

however more power can be beneficial in the long run.

do you mean in terms of component life or in terms of the receiver being able to acommodate more demanding speakers down the road?


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post #30 of 81 Old 01-22-2013, 06:01 PM
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Zieglj01, Can you recommend a better receiver for the S30 setup?

I was looking at purchasing equipment similar to what is being discussed here
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