HTD Level Three tower alternatives - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 01-26-2013, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I am still in the return period for my Pioneers (FS52) and not quite happy with the way they sound for music but very happy with HT. I can see myself upgrading in a few years, but would rather just upgrade now and save money overall. I have been eyeing the HTD Level Three towers. HTD is having their anniversary sale and I was about to jump on it when I thought I should find out about the competition (and how it stacks up). Sadly, if HTD offered free return shipping on the towers, I wouldn't even have bothered checking.

I live in an apartment where the living room is 14'x20' and the TV is 10' from the couch. I have a sub (Klipsch RW-12d). Usage is primarily HT at the moment, but I want to listen to more music (mostly metal/alternative with a smattering of everything else thrown in). I do not really have a firm budget as the original budget was entry level; lets say the budget is a soft $800. I have no problem with ID, but there should be a reasonable trial policy (free return shipping preferred of course).

What are the tower alternatives for the price range and how do people at AVS think they stack against each other? Would these towers be good for music or like the Pioneers and good for mostly HT?

Oh, and is a center necessary with the towers?
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-26-2013, 07:30 AM
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I was always under the impression that HTD had free return shipping on all their merchandise, towers included.
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post #3 of 22 Old 01-26-2013, 08:05 AM
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HTD Does offer a 30 day risk free trial, if you don't like them they will take them back and pay for shipping.

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post #4 of 22 Old 01-26-2013, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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From HTD
Quote:
If this is your first purchase with HTD and you are not 100% thrilled with our speakers, call us and we'll even send you prepaid UPS shipping labels to return the speakers to us (excludes shipments to/from Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and APOs and is limited to two pair of bookshelf or in-wall speakers, one center channel speaker, and one powered subwoofer -we will not pay the return freight for Tower Speakers).
(emphasis added).

They do not return ship the towers and I am sure the return shipping on that must be expensive (2x50 pounds). As I said, if they return shipped the towers, we wouldn't be having this conversation. smile.gif

How does the Arx A5 compare to the Level Three towers?
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post #5 of 22 Old 01-26-2013, 10:01 AM
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I was going to mention the Arx A5. IMO I think its one of the best towers under $1,000-1,500. Built quality is top notch, drivers are what you would see in very high end speakers (heavy cast alloy baskets, huge motors, xbl2, and long throw suspension). For being a compact sized cabinet its very well braced, actually it has about twice as much cabinet bracing as some $1500 towers i've seen (althought not all towers in that price). The crossovers use much higher end components as well, high end caps, wire wound non-inductance resistors (about 4x the price compared to those cement block types) and air cores.

I've been extremely pleased with them, sound is great for hometheater or music. The little A1b bookshelfs see a common trend of people asking how someone can make a bookshelf that cost only $300.

There is a trial period for 30 days, but you have to pay return shipping (although unlikely you will want to). Aperion Audio is the only one that I know of that offers return shipping on its towers free of charge. Thats why I usually recommend them to everyone looking for speakers. Its a win win situation, demo them in your room, don't like them your out nothing.
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post #6 of 22 Old 01-26-2013, 10:52 AM
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No one can tell you how they compare. Every person has different ears, preferences in sound, rooms, etc. Only you can decide what sounds good. You can look at measurements, but they don't tell the entire story at all. You can look at reviews, but their preferences & things mentioned earlier are likely going to be different than yours. The only way to be truly worry free is trying them yourself.

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post #7 of 22 Old 01-26-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

No one can tell you how they compare. Every person has different ears, preferences in sound, rooms, etc. Only you can decide what sounds good. You can look at measurements, but they don't tell the entire story at all. You can look at reviews, but their preferences & things mentioned earlier are likely going to be different than yours. The only way to be truly worry free is trying them yourself.

I know that is true, but hearing any feedback or thoughts on it would help me decide. For example, I know that Klipsch's are known for being bright. If I audition a Klipsch that is something I will look for so it does not sneak up on 45 days down the road.

Nothing beats my own experience and auditioning, but everything beats no experience. wink.gif

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Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

I was going to mention the Arx A5. IMO I think its one of the best towers under $1,000-1,500. Built quality is top notch, drivers are what you would see in very high end speakers (heavy cast alloy baskets, huge motors, xbl2, and long throw suspension). For being a compact sized cabinet its very well braced, actually it has about twice as much cabinet bracing as some $1500 towers i've seen (althought not all towers in that price). The crossovers use much higher end components as well, high end caps, wire wound non-inductance resistors (about 4x the price compared to those cement block types) and air cores.

I've been extremely pleased with them, sound is great for hometheater or music. The little A1b bookshelfs see a common trend of people asking how someone can make a bookshelf that cost only $300.

There is a trial period for 30 days, but you have to pay return shipping (although unlikely you will want to). Aperion Audio is the only one that I know of that offers return shipping on its towers free of charge. Thats why I usually recommend them to everyone looking for speakers. Its a win win situation, demo them in your room, don't like them your out nothing.
Aperion's Intimus towers are 2-way and seem to have smaller drivers at 4" (or 5.25" for the 5T). The specs for both the Arx A5 and the HTD Level 3 both seem better on paper...but maybe not in real life?

Arx's description of the A5 sounds like PR speak to me but that might be because I am pretty new to the speakers world.
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-26-2013, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

Aperion's Intimus towers are 2-way and seem to have smaller drivers at 4" (or 5.25" for the 5T). The specs for both the Arx A5 and the HTD Level 3 both seem better on paper...but maybe not in real life?

Arx's description of the A5 sounds like PR speak to me but that might be because I am pretty new to the speakers world.


No the A5 isn't PR speak. XBL2 is measureable and isn't exclusive to Arx. Its a license technology from another company. Its been used in other companys DIY subwoofer drivers, tweeters, midranges, car audio setups ect.... XBL2/Split gap has been around for around 10-12years with alot of success.

The Arx and the HTD will have better bass, lower distortion since there is multiple drivers doing the work plus each driver only has to cover a smaller freq range.

While I myself and alot of others enjoy the A5s they migh or might not be for you. Best way is to let you ears doing the judging. Nice to get opinions from as many as possible, then try and listen and let your ears be the final say. Doesn't make one speaker better or worse than the other.
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-31-2013, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

While I myself and alot of others enjoy the A5s they migh or might not be for you. Best way is to let you ears doing the judging. Nice to get opinions from as many as possible, then try and listen and let your ears be the final say. Doesn't make one speaker better or worse than the other.

I would probably be using this 70% HT / 30% music. I know the A5 was designed for stereo music, but it seems like it would be fine for HT? Should I buy a center too (and which one)?

I have come to the conclusion that I will just have to bite the bullet and pay (return shipping) for auditioning some speakers. Other than Arx, HTD, and Aperion, are there other towers I should look at? I would prefer suggestions that are 3-way speakers as I imagine those are better (let me know if I am wrong or putting too much emphasis on it). I am currently thinking about the Arx A5 as it sounds intriguing, no tax (HTD's have tax since they are based in Texas), and designed by an AVS member! I am leaning against the Aperion towers in my range because they are 2 ways; I do wonder if the price is higher due to free return shipping.

I was reading in another thread that for a small room or usage with a sub, bookshelves might be better. I do have the Klipsch RW-12d as a sub, would I get better performance out of a pair of bookshelves for the same ~$800 budget?
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-31-2013, 10:39 AM
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I use the A5s as L/R mains in a mostly hometheater setup. It wasn't designed just as a stereo speaker, it does great as mains in a multi channel surround sound and one member uses a single A5 as the center channel too with 3 A5s across the front. Right now the only center available is the A1b single which can have the tweeter rotated for center channel use horizontal. The A2c should be available soon, just been waiting for Jon Lane to post some info on it.

I run SVS subwoofers and still use the A5s as my main L/R speakers. The A5s have an advantage in better dynamics, more output, clarity, lower distortion than some of the bookshelfs i've listened too.
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post #11 of 22 Old 01-31-2013, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

I would probably be using this 70% HT / 30% music. I know the A5 was designed for stereo music, but it seems like it would be fine for HT? Should I buy a center too (and which one)?

I have come to the conclusion that I will just have to bite the bullet and pay (return shipping) for auditioning some speakers. Other than Arx, HTD, and Aperion, are there other towers I should look at? I would prefer suggestions that are 3-way speakers as I imagine those are better (let me know if I am wrong or putting too much emphasis on it). I am currently thinking about the Arx A5 as it sounds intriguing, no tax (HTD's have tax since they are based in Texas), and designed by an AVS member! I am leaning against the Aperion towers in my range because they are 2 ways; I do wonder if the price is higher due to free return shipping.

I was reading in another thread that for a small room or usage with a sub, bookshelves might be better. I do have the Klipsch RW-12d as a sub, would I get better performance out of a pair of bookshelves for the same ~$800 budget?

I'd add EMP to that list. Also, a well designed speaker should be able to reproduce music and HT. They're one in the same.

Not sure where you're located, but I'd look in each of these dedicated speaker threads for the brand you're looking at to see if there is anyone close by.

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post #12 of 22 Old 01-31-2013, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post


I was reading in another thread that for a small room or usage with a sub, bookshelves might be better. I do have the Klipsch RW-12d as a sub, would I get better performance out of a pair of bookshelves for the same ~$800 budget?

The speaker choice/preference is up to you

If you want to try HTD, then get a pair of the Level Three bookshelves to test them out.
If you do not like the sound, then send them back. If you like the sound, then finsh out
the system with the Level Three center > and a pair of Level Two bookshelves for your
surrounds. However if you still want towers, then exchange for the towers >> However,
the bookshelf surround system is a good option for your room.

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post #13 of 22 Old 02-01-2013, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

I'd add EMP to that list. Also, a well designed speaker should be able to reproduce music and HT. They're one in the same.

Not sure where you're located, but I'd look in each of these dedicated speaker threads for the brand you're looking at to see if there is anyone close by.
Decided to look at a few more towers to see what is out there. Thanks for the heads up on EMP. The e55ti looks nice and EMP Tek has free return shipping (on the Impression line)! Too bad they were out of the towers in "red burl".

Jim Z-I noticed that the stated frequency response on the HTD goes up to 40kHz! Do the highs sound that much better than comparable towers (that you have heard)? I wonder if I can even hear that high...
I also took a look at Focal/KEF since you mentioned them in another thread. The 714 seems to be the only speaker by them in my price range, but I am not sure if they are sold individually (I suspect so) or pairs. Purely based on specs, the Focal's look the least impressive. I took a look at KEF Q500 but the matching center is a bit expensive and all are at the "upper" end of the budget.

I think I am going tomorrow to listen to the Paradigm Monitor 7 and see what else the AV stores nearby in Houston have for me to listen. Any suggestions on audio to bring with me to test out the sound or in-store pitfalls (e.g. setting the brightness/contrast up ridiculously for TVs)?

At the moment I am leaning towards the Arx A5 or EMP e55ti. Although that seems to change with each new speaker. rolleyes.gif
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post #14 of 22 Old 02-01-2013, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

Jim Z-I noticed that the stated frequency response on the HTD goes up to 40kHz! Do the highs sound that much better than comparable towers (that you have heard)? I wonder if I can even hear that high...
I also took a look at Focal/KEF since you mentioned them in another thread. The 714 seems to be the only speaker by them in my price range, but I am not sure if they are sold individually (I suspect so) or pairs. Purely based on specs, the Focal's look the least impressive.

I do not rely on specs that are written on paper - it is the sound from the design and engineering that counts.

The highs on the HTD ribbon tweeter are nice - and not harsh, sharp or edgy sounding.

With the Focal, I would look at the 814 - sold in pairs. >>> Focal makes good speakers, with good definition
and detail.
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/FOCAL814V/FOCAL-Chorus-814V-716v-Dual-6-Floorstanding-Speakers-Gloss-Black-Pair/1.html#!specifications

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post #15 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

I do not rely on specs that are written on paper - it is the sound from the design and engineering that counts.
This is the most frustrating aspect of speakers and one I'm slowly coming to accept.

Over the weekend I went to listen to the Paradigm Monitor 7 but thought they did not really open up until about 12-14' back while the Monitor 9 was better (in general) and opened up much closer.

I listened to the B&W 684 and ML Motion 40s in the Magnolia room at Best Buy. Martin Logan's were clearly much better but also double my desired budget. In the normal part of Best Buy I heard the B&W 683 which I thought was a good compromise of the two above systems. I was really impressed with it but the area was so noisy it was hard to compare.

In the end, I thought about it a lot and decided that the ID products would serve me better for the price. Auditioning brick and mortar brands was fun but not very helpful (except as a basis of comparison).

So I just purchased the Arx A5. In the end, I'm not sure why I picked the Arx. Partly to support Jon Lane (as a member of AVS) even if he does not "need" it. I was also swayed by the fact that I did not seem to find anyone unhappy with the speakers. I guess I am just intrigued by the Arx line.

I want to thank everyone who posted. If I end up not liking the Arx, I'll probably go HTD or KEF and post my amateur thoughts on the difference in this thread.
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post #16 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

This is the most frustrating aspect of speakers and one I'm slowly coming to accept.



So I just purchased the Arx A5. In the end, I'm not sure why I picked the Arx. Partly to support Jon Lane (as a member of AVS) even if he does not "need" it. I was also swayed by the fact that I did not seem to find anyone unhappy with the speakers. I guess I am just intrigued by the Arx line.

I want to thank everyone who posted. If I end up not liking the Arx, I'll probably go HTD or KEF and post my amateur thoughts on the difference in this thread.

Yes went in doubt listen with your own ears. While graphs and measurements are great for "bench" racing on the forums they are not a reliable way to determine if you will like a speaker or not. My opinion is that providing a ton of graphs and charts doesn't equal better sounding speaker.

I ended up buying Arx kind of the same way. I just read about them and though what the hell i'll give'em a shot. Glad I did and have ZERO regrets. Look forward to reading your thoughts on them. Great speakers.
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post #17 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

So I just purchased the Arx A5. In the end, I'm not sure why I picked the Arx. Partly to support Jon Lane (as a member of AVS) even if he does not "need" it. I was also swayed by the fact that I did not seem to find anyone unhappy with the speakers. I guess I am just intrigued by the Arx line.

I want to thank everyone who posted. If I end up not liking the Arx, I'll probably go HTD or KEF and post my amateur thoughts on the difference in this thread.

Enjoy the adventure, and have fun - remember, it is a hobby.

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post #18 of 22 Old 02-15-2013, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I decided that I wanted to compare the HTDs with the A5, so I purchased the Level Three towers as well. If anyone is in the Houston area and wants to compare let me know. My room is probably acoustically terrible with tile floors and reflective walls, but it should hinder both speakers equally (I think).
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post #19 of 22 Old 02-06-2014, 10:53 AM
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hi,

I am also in same boat as you.

I sold off my KEF IQ90 in weak moment. I like their neutral sound signature.

Got Focal 716V, they bright/harsh for my ears. Bass is hallow and boomy.
I tried all possible solutions, did not like their sound signature.
After cross overing them under 150Hz with SVS PB1000 sub, I could able to hear them bit better.
Going by you posts, you have similar tast of sound as me. Do not recommond Focal 700 series.

I did not like HTD level 3 sub, I felt bass is not tight enough, it's day and night difference with SVS PB-1000.
HTD Level 3 sub is going back.

I do have HTD level 3 center speaker and another 6 in ceiling HTD speakers.
Nothing to rave about in ceiling speakers, they just good enough for price.

HTD center was good matching with HTD level 3 sub. Not sound great wtih SVS sub.
I am still considering about HTD level towers, no free return shipping kept me look for response for others.


Could you post you experiance with HTD level 3. How they sound on low, mid and high frequency spectrums.
I do not want to level twos, I am worried many entry levels will sound harsh/bright.
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post #20 of 22 Old 02-06-2014, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmmurali71 View Post

Could you post you experiance with HTD level 3. How they sound on low, mid and high frequency spectrums.
I do not want to level twos, I am worried many entry levels will sound harsh/bright.

Look here
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1458372/arx-a5-vs-htd-level-three-vs-emp-e55ti-tower-shootout/60

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post #21 of 22 Old 02-06-2014, 11:23 AM
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I have Level 3 bookshelves and the center. They are paired with a JTR Cap Pro. Because of that, I had no need to go for towers. That said, I absolutely love mine. They are solid as a rock and sound great to me. Never harsh or bright with clear dialogue. The only time I've ever clipped them is during the opening scene of TDKR at reference being pushed by a XPA3. I wouldnt hesitate to buy them again.
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post #22 of 22 Old 02-06-2014, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmmurali71 View Post


HTD center was good matching with HTD level 3 sub. Not sound great wtih SVS sub.
I am still considering about HTD level towers, no free return shipping kept me look for response for others.

There should be no matching problems between subs and speakers, unless you have a speaker that has a high crossover point, say 150hz and the sub is only flat to 100hz
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