Advice Needed - Good sub/sat budget combo? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-23-2013, 04:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Doing my 5.1 or 7.1 setup and looking for advice.

After reading many threads here, I pulled the trigger on a Denon AVR-1913 refurbished. Seemed like too good a deal to pass up at $379. Also grabbed a pair of the Polk RC60i in-ceiling speakers from Newegg. Those aren't going to set the world on fire, but at $69 for the pair, I thought they'd be a good start, and I can always upgrade later.

Now I need to make a decision on the rest of my speaker set up. Options I'm considering now are the following:

(1) Polk Blackstone TL3 front, center and right paired with either a Polk Psw111 ($499) or Psw125 sub ($550)
(2) Polk Blackstone TL2 5 pack (front, center, right and surrounds) paired with either a Polk Psw111 ($499) or Psw125 sub ($550)
(3) Energy Take Classic 5.1 package ($399)

I had originally thought about just doing 5.1, but, of course, now that I went with the 7.1 channel Denon, I'm tempted to go with a 7.1 set up. If I did that, the easiest set up for me would be to use the extra two channels as front height surrounds. I think that would mean I'd have front, center, right speakers mounted at the same elevation just under and to the sides of the TV and then "height" front and right speakers mounted on the same wall but near the ceiling. Does that make sense? Is that the right set up, and is it worth doing?

If so, I could swing that with the TL2s or the Energy Takes and still be within budget, which is about $1k for the whole system ($600 or so left for speakers after Denon and in-ceiling purchase).

If not, maybe it makes more sense to go with the more expensive TL3s and stick with 5.1.

Thoughts?

And thanks!
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-23-2013, 04:57 AM
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I would definitely go with a front height setup rather than a back surround. You will get a more significant sound stage. Very little if any sound comes out of the back surrounds most of the time. It is also better for listening to music. Particularly if you have a "7 channel stereo" option like my Yamaha.

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post #3 of 26 Old 01-23-2013, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Just to clarify, the ceiling is already wired for rear surrounds, positioned about 6 feet apart and just behind the main viewing location. That's what I purchased the Polk RC60i set for. Now I'm looking to finish off the set up with either front L/C/R or front L/C/R plus height L and R.

But I take it from your comment that you think the front height speakers are the way to go.

Any thoughts on how significant the improvement would be from the Polk TL2s to the TL3s? Also, I'm not married to that Polk Bkackstone TL series. I need to go with a satellite system due to certain spousal approval requirements. I zoned in on the Polks because they seem to be well-reviewed and were more or less in my budget. Also, the Polks seemed like an obvious choice since I got the deal on the in ceiling Polk rears, but I understand that matching fronts and rears isn't really all that important. So I'm also open to other speaker recommendations, too.

Thanks again for the help!
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-23-2013, 07:05 AM
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Sorry. I didnt mean rear surrounds. I meant skip the back surrounds and use front height. Of course you need the rears for surround sound. So you would have FCR, rear surrounds and front height.

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post #5 of 26 Old 01-23-2013, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurth01 View Post

Just to clarify, the ceiling is already wired for rear surrounds, positioned about 6 feet apart and just behind the main viewing location. That's what I purchased the Polk RC60i set for. Now I'm looking to finish off the set up with either front L/C/R or front L/C/R plus height L and R.

But I take it from your comment that you think the front height speakers are the way to go.

Any thoughts on how significant the improvement would be from the Polk TL2s to the TL3s? Also, I'm not married to that Polk Bkackstone TL series. I need to go with a satellite system due to certain spousal approval requirements. I zoned in on the Polks because they seem to be well-reviewed and were more or less in my budget. Also, the Polks seemed like an obvious choice since I got the deal on the in ceiling Polk rears, but I understand that matching fronts and rears isn't really all that important. So I'm also open to other speaker recommendations, too.

Thanks again for the help!

Based on the reviews I would go with the TL3s. But I would look elsewhere for a sub if you can afford it. I'm thinking you're taking advantage of the free sub offer from polk. If so and you can afford a little extra maybe apply that credit towards a better sub.

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post #6 of 26 Old 01-23-2013, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

Based on the reviews I would go with the TL3s. But I would look elsewhere for a sub if you can afford it. I'm thinking you're taking advantage of the free sub offer from polk. If so and you can afford a little extra maybe apply that credit towards a better sub.
x2

But to the OP, What are the dimensions of the room you are setting this up in? Length x Width x Ceiling Height?

What kind of performance are you seeking from speakers
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-23-2013, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

Based on the reviews I would go with the TL3s. But I would look elsewhere for a sub if you can afford it. I'm thinking you're taking advantage of the free sub offer from polk. If so and you can afford a little extra maybe apply that credit towards a better sub.

Yep. Was planning on taking advantage of the Polk free sub offer. The PSW111 is the freebie, but I was thinking of applying the $300 they'll give me for it toward a PSW125. That would move me from an 8" to a 12" woofer. Do you think I should upgrade the sub further than that? Would I be better off with the DSWpro series? I could get the DSWpro440wi, but that's an additional $140 over the PSW111 (and it also has only an 8" woofer).

Because I'm on a budget, if I go with Polk, I'd like to take advantage of the subwoofer offer they're doing now. Would love to know your thoughts. Thanks!
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-23-2013, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post

x2

But to the OP, What are the dimensions of the room you are setting this up in? Length x Width x Ceiling Height?

What kind of performance are you seeking from speakers

Those are great questions, obviously, and information I should have included right at the start.

The room is an odd shape. It's on the third floor of a house we are heavily renovating. The ceilings are a little more than 9 feet and the rough square footage is approximately 224. I'm going to try to add a picture of the layout here.



I've annotated to show the placement of the media built-in, the wired fronts (at ceiling height but on wall just above media center), the wired rears (in-ceiling) and the planned seating. If you take a look, you'll see that the main viewing/listening area is a roughly 14X10 space extending from the built-in to the stairs (there's a knee-wall between the media room and the stairs down, and that whole area is open down to the second floor, which I know will have an impact on the acoustics of the room). The space is also open to an additional 8X10 space going back to the rear wall of the house.

As far as my expectations regarding performance, I know I'm on a budget, so I'm not expecting miracles. I'm mainly looking for something that will make watching movies up there a fun time for the kids and my wife and I. Also looking for something that will deliver decent performance playing music. To put this in perspective, my last set up was an Onkyo LS-V950 HTIB from 2002. I lived with that for quite some time and enjoyed it, despite really poor speaker placement. I'm hoping my next system is a significant (i.e., readily noticeable) performance upgrade for listening to both movies and music.

I really appreciate your time in offering up suggestions/advise. With limited funds, I'd like to get the most bang for my buck, but there are a ton of options and choices out there.

Thanks!
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-23-2013, 07:44 PM
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Often recommended that you take the amount spent on your av receiver and spend 3-4 times that amount on speakers/sub. Based on that advice, you should be looking at a budget of 1200-1600 dollars.
If you only have 5-600 dollars to spend, I would just get a set of fronts and go 2.0 for now. Then buy a sub...center...and surrounds in steps.
The polks or the energy takes will not provide full range sound or much volume.

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 05:57 AM
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However, if budget limitation insist that you buy a small 5.1 satellite system, this might be your best option:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882981013&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL012413P&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL012413P-_-EMC-012413-Index-_-HomeAudioSpeakers-_-82981013-L026D

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 #11 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 06:19 AM
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Thats a heck of a deal. Amazon had it for $374 and I thought that was a good deal.

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post #12 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 06:37 AM
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My opinion is that those smaller 3" driver injection molded speakers are a great compromise in rooms where you need to be discrete perhaps because it's the main living area. In the case of a third floor media room I'd really consider something larger. There are plenty of wall mountable bookshelf speakers with 5" or larger drivers, or consider larger bookshelfs on a stand or "gasp" floorstanding speakers. If price is an object (and based on "new stair" in your plans it sounds like you're pretty deep into renovation money pit, hey I'm here too!) you can buy some bookshelves and a center and use your in-ceilings and upgrade to 7.1 later. That would be an upgrade from the speakers you're considering with no additional cost.

Having had a polk 5.1 system with 3" drivers I'd at least consider that MartinLogan with the 4" mains which "should" do better in the low midbass. I agree with this "The polks or the energy takes will not provide full range sound or much volume." Our last living room was 11 x 18 and after having the Polk 5.1 system for perhaps 3 months I went out and upgraded.

Your room isn't that big especially if the ceiling is slanting down towards knee walls. I'd probably stop at the PSW125, but sub output is kinda a personal preference more than anything. Still a 500 dollar sub paired with 5 speakers that cost the same is a bit backwards to me.

Looks like a cool space, don't be shy about pics when it's done.
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post #13 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 07:57 AM
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[quote name="Elihawk" url="/t/1453778/advice-needed-good-sub-sat-budget-combo#post_22871220"
The polks or the energy takes will not provide full range sound or much volume.[/quote]

Can't speak for the energys but here is a review on the TL3s

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/article/review-polk-audio-blackstone-tl350

From the review-
"During my “torture test” regimen, as I played the most dynamic scenes from action movies such as King Kong and Terminator: Salvation, I was amazed to hear that the system could play with my receiver set at 0-dB reference level (i.e., really friggin’ loud) without apparent distortion."

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post #14 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 10:30 AM
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Well, I would question how "loud" a 3.25 inch driver could get and even Polk says those speakers have a +/-3 db limit of 115hz! But I haven't heard them so....

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
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post #15 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bepperb View Post

My opinion is that those smaller 3" driver injection molded speakers are a great compromise in rooms where you need to be discrete perhaps because it's the main living area. In the case of a third floor media room I'd really consider something larger. There are plenty of wall mountable bookshelf speakers with 5" or larger drivers, or consider larger bookshelfs on a stand or "gasp" floorstanding speakers. If price is an object (and based on "new stair" in your plans it sounds like you're pretty deep into renovation money pit, hey I'm here too!) you can buy some bookshelves and a center and use your in-ceilings and upgrade to 7.1 later. That would be an upgrade from the speakers you're considering with no additional cost.

Having had a polk 5.1 system with 3" drivers I'd at least consider that MartinLogan with the 4" mains which "should" do better in the low midbass. I agree with this "The polks or the energy takes will not provide full range sound or much volume." Our last living room was 11 x 18 and after having the Polk 5.1 system for perhaps 3 months I went out and upgraded.

Your room isn't that big especially if the ceiling is slanting down towards knee walls. I'd probably stop at the PSW125, but sub output is kinda a personal preference more than anything. Still a 500 dollar sub paired with 5 speakers that cost the same is a bit backwards to me.

Looks like a cool space, don't be shy about pics when it's done.

I found an open box deal on the Polk TL350 set for $529 (buy it now on eBay). If I went that route, I wouldn't get the $300 credit from Crutchfield (applied to Polk sub purchase when you spend $499 or more on Polk speakers), but the TL350 set new from Crutchfield is $750 anyway. So, if I went the TL350 route, my options would be:

(1) Crutchfield: New TL350s for plus PSW125 sub for $808.
(2) eBay: Open box (but new) TL350s ($525) plus ??? sub for ???

IF I go option (2), what would you suggest for the sub that would get me most bang for the buck? I'd be looking for the cheapest possible quality sub that would work well with the Polk TL350 set up.

Here's a pic of the space right now.



Still under construction, but it's taking shape!

As far as speaker placement, this photo gives a better view of what I'm thinking of doing. The main L/C/R would go on the shelf just under where the TV will be mounted. The height L/R would go up above where the columns of the built-in are (if you look carefully, you can see the speaker wires that have already been run up there). You can't see the in-ceiling rears in this shot, but their just out of the frame of the picture. As for the sub, think I could get away with putting it inside one of the cabinets to the left or right of the built-in? Would that work, or is it better to have it located in the space itself. If not, could I go so far as to put the sub beind the knee-wall to the left?

Thanks for all the help with this. This forum is such a huge resource.

Edit to add one final thought:

My old system was an Onkyo Envision LSV-950. As I may have mentioned, the sound there was decent but nothing to write home about. But the sub always seemed to pack a decent punch. Here are its specs:

Quote:
Powered subwoofer
:•8" cone
•built-in 60-watt RMS amplifier
•bass-reflex design
•9-1/8"W x 19-7/16"H x 18-1/2"D

I'm skeptical this is worth considering, but should I consider just keeping that sub for the time being and upgrading down the road? Between this sub and the Polk PSW111, the PSW125 or the DSWPro440wi, should I expect much of an upgrade? If it's nominal, maybe I should just save a bit of cash.
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post #16 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 01:07 PM
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Would you consider moving whatever speakers to between the windows and the sloped ceiling/walls? Or you might also consider two center channel or bookshelves on their sides and using a phantom center channel (which should be a setting on your receiver) under the TV. That's just a lot of speakers (5) in an area probably 4' by 5'. Ideally the two front L and R and you sitting would be an equilateral triangle.

The sub will need airflow to whatever space it's in. If you can build a little sub cave in a kneewall that could work and be pretty cool. The subs you are considering are powerful enough those cabinet doors would be going crazy if you tried to stuff it in the cabinet (even the other doors if you opened the one up).

Looks like a cool space.
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post #17 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 01:18 PM
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Open box TL350's 5.0 set with the Klipsch RW-12d (on sale at newegg for $300) is my suggestion
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post #18 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bepperb View Post

Would you consider moving whatever speakers to between the windows and the sloped ceiling/walls? Or you might also consider two center channel or bookshelves on their sides and using a phantom center channel (which should be a setting on your receiver) under the TV. That's just a lot of speakers (5) in an area probably 4' by 5'. Ideally the two front L and R and you sitting would be an equilateral triangle.

The sub will need airflow to whatever space it's in. If you can build a little sub cave in a kneewall that could work and be pretty cool. The subs you are considering are powerful enough those cabinet doors would be going crazy if you tried to stuff it in the cabinet (even the other doors if you opened the one up).

Looks like a cool space.

(1) Can definitely move front L/R out to the areas between the windows and the walls. Should be an easy speaker wire run through the cabinet beneath.
(2) I didn't even think about what the sub would do to the doors on the cabinets! Good point. That would be a mess.
(3) The "sub cave" is already there. I have all the space and access I need behind the knee wall to the left of the built-in. That should also be a really easy wire run with the sub cable.

Any thought about the difference between my current Onkyo HTIB sub and the Polk options I'm considering or the Klipsch RW-12d crasyrob pointed me to?
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 01:36 PM
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Open box TL350's 5.0 set with the Klipsch RW-12d (on sale at newegg for $300) is my suggestion
+1 I was going to say the same. Nice speakers and the RW will crush the sub he has now. Really the whole package would be a different world from that Onkyo system.
The RW is on sale now at Newegg for $299.

Thats a great spot for your height speakers. Make sure you angle them down a little. Putting the lcr on that shelf is way too close together. I would put the lr on stands in the corners at head height when sitting. If you really want the best out of your sub you will have to wait until you get it ad play around with placement options that are acceptable to you and then put it where it sounds best. Location can make a huge difference for a sub.

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post #20 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 01:48 PM
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"Any thought about the difference between my current Onkyo HTIB sub and the Polk options I'm considering or the Klipsch RW-12d crasyrob pointed me to?"

They aren't even in the same league. They're both "subwoofers" in the same way that what's on my car and what's on my 3 year old's bike are both "tires".
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post #21 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 03:01 PM
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fwiw. nht superzeros $99ea. someone on audiogon has 5 mint super zero's for sale $400 or make offer

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #22 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 03:27 PM
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+1 I was going to say the same. Nice speakers and the RW will crush the sub he has now. Really the whole package would be a different world from that Onkyo system.
The RW is on sale now at Newegg for $299.

+1

That's an excellent sub at the $300 price point. If it goes off sale before you are ready to buy, consult the AVS Budget subwoofers discussions thread. That Polk PSW 125 is not a regularly recommended sub (not sure if I've ever seen it recommended), and there is no reason that your sub needs to be the same brand as your speakers.

That being said, it would be worthwhile stepping up from there if you like your bass for movie watching. Outlaw Audio LFM-1 Plus, HSU VTF-2 MK 4, and Rythmik FV12 are considered entry level enthusiast class 12" subs in the $500-$600 range that are also great price/performance values.

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post #23 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Nuts. Looks like the Klipsh RW-12d is back to $349 at newegg. I'm sure that's still a pretty good deal, but I'm already over budget. On the other hand, the Polk PSW505 is down to $189.

I'm going to head over to the Budget subwoofer thread later on tonight and do a bit more digging around. Thanks again for all the help.
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post #24 of 26 Old 01-24-2013, 03:40 PM
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Nuts. Looks like the Klipsh RW-12d is back to $349 at newegg. I'm sure that's still a pretty good deal, but I'm already over budget. On the other hand, the Polk PSW505 is down to $189.

I'm going to head over to the Budget subwoofer thread later on tonight and do a bit more digging around. Thanks again for all the help.

The PSW505 is a good deal that price. Get two biggrin.gif

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Originally Posted by Kurth01 View Post

Nuts. Looks like the Klipsh RW-12d is back to $349 at newegg. I'm sure that's still a pretty good deal, but I'm already over budget. On the other hand, the Polk PSW505 is down to $189.

I'm going to head over to the Budget subwoofer thread later on tonight and do a bit more digging around. Thanks again for all the help.

It's $300 if you use the promo code. Click on "See Today's E-Blast Promo" on the main page to see the code.

Denon AVR4311CI
Magnepan 2.7QR's w/ MGCC3 Center
(2) Polk RT15i
(2) Sonotube Subs with 18" Stereo Integrity D4 Drivers
Behringer NU3000 & NU4-6000 Amps
Panasonic DMP-BDP210 - Projector: BenQ W1070
Panamax M5400-PM
60" Samsung TV
WDTV Live & Minix Neo X7
Some audio history:
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post #26 of 26 Old 01-25-2013, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post

Open box TL350's 5.0 set with the Klipsch RW-12d (on sale at newegg for $300) is my suggestion

Done. Just placed my order. Should be moving into my new place in a couple weeks. Will be sure to come back and post a review (and some finished pics) once I'm settled in.

Thanks agains for all the help. Great forum!!!
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