Newbie needs advice for 5.1 Home Theatre System - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 01-26-2013, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Finally going to pull the trigger to purchase my first 5.1 system. For me it's for music and for the SO it's going to be movies. My son will use it for his video games when he comes home from college but that is the least of my concerns.My basement is 19.5ft Long X 14.5 Wide. Sitting distance is 11 1/2 feet way from the TV/Speakers. My budget is 7000 to 7500 all in including any amp/receivers I need to purchase. I have talked to some people where i work, they threw out these brands Boston Acoustics, Bower and Wilkens, KEF, Paradigm, Polk Audio, and Magnepan. I will go into the various forums and read but this just seems like a daunting task. Any help will be appreciated. FWIW the music I listen to is mostly rock and roll with some classical music.
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post #2 of 18 Old 01-26-2013, 12:55 PM
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A few thoughts:

First, go listen to speakers. Your ears are the best judge.

Get a receiver with Audyssey MultEQ XT or 32. It will help significantly to smooth the frequency response of the speakers and the subs.

Since music is your priority, find the towers you like for 2 channel music listening, and build the rest of the surround system around them from the same speaker line. It'll sound good for movies and gaming.

Most store bought subs are a poor price/performance value compared to Internet retailers HSU Research, Power Sound Audio, SVS Sound, Outlaw Audio, and Rythmik, unless you can get the sub for at least 1/2 off MSRP. Dual subs are preferred for getting a smoother frequency response throughout the entire seating area. Also, the sub does not need to match the speakers in brand.

With your budget and interest in music, I would look at the Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1 Towers. They are Internet direct, so you'd have to find someone in your area to demo them with.

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post #3 of 18 Old 01-27-2013, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice, heading out Monday afternoon to check out some speakers.
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Finally had the chance to audition some speakers. Listened to Image T6 and Monitor Audio Bronze Series. There were driven by NAD receiver. Liked the Image T6 much better. Seemed to have better clarity and all round better sound. I would think based on price the Monitor Silver Series would be a better comparison but didn't have it on the showroom floor. What I found odd is the salesperson wasn't pushing the Imagine series even though they would be in my budget or offer me to audition those speakers. He suggested the Image T6(1150) image B6(495) image C5( 357) PSB ND-8 (978) NAD T-757 (1185) Total 4165
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 05:49 AM
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Check out Definitive Technology and B&W if possible before you make a descision. Awesome speakers.

My Gear
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 05:50 AM
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I heard allot of speakers that I liked during my auditions... Just like the advice you get when you search for a house...when you walk in...you will KNOW you are home.

Same is with a speaker...in the first 20 seconds...a big smile will come across your face and you will KNOW that these are for you. If you just sort of sat there..and they sounded fairly good...I would audition ALLOT more.
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 05:56 AM
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Good analogy. When I auditioned some speakers for my family-room two-channel set-up, all the speakers sounded nice, but the B&W 684s were the only ones that put a smile on my face right away. smile.gif

(Unfortunately, they were the largest speakers of the bunch and too big for my purposes. Had the limitation not been there, I would have bought them on the spot.)
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 06:57 AM
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The Image T6 is a very hard speaker to beat.

I had them for 2 years and thought they were great. I have since moved on to some more expensive speakers, but I could be happy wit the T6 anytime.

That is a good system recommendation, but the Cambridge Audio 551R receiver is even better-sounding; a real gem; and a steal at only $1200. You might want to read the Home Theater review on it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by skyisyellow View Post

Finally had the chance to audition some speakers. Listened to Image T6 and Monitor Audio Bronze Series. There were driven by NAD receiver. Liked the Image T6 much better. Seemed to have better clarity and all round better sound. I would think based on price the Monitor Silver Series would be a better comparison but didn't have it on the showroom floor. What I found odd is the salesperson wasn't pushing the Imagine series even though they would be in my budget or offer me to audition those speakers. He suggested the Image T6(1150) image B6(495) image C5( 357) PSB ND-8 (978) NAD T-757 (1185) Total 4165
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 11:13 AM
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I would be looking into JTR Neosis series on your budget. Local demo would be tough, and nothing wrong with PSB, but if it was my cash I would at least look into the JTR speakers.

I would also look into the Philharmonics in this range.
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 11:20 AM
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For your subwoofer, I would spend my money on an Internet Direct sub from SVS, Hsu, Rythmilk, PSA. With a $1000 budget for a sub you can do so much better than the subs you will get from PSB, B&W, Monitor, etc.
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-24-2013, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Went out yesterday to listen to Magnepans 1.7's. All I can say is WOW !! The clarity of the singers voice, how the music filled the room and detail I heard was fantastic. When listening to Dave Matthew's Snow Outside, sounded like Dave was in the room with me. Hearing Carter Beauford tapping the triangle was crisp. At the end of the song when a person is walking away on a wood floor sounded awesome. Crash into Me, there is a part of the song where Carter B tapped something that sounded like a hollow piece of wood. Never heard that on the song before. Listening to Springsteen I could hear/feel the heartache in the song. These are just a couple of examples. No matter what I had the salesman play the speakers performed. This is only the third brand I listened to, but was far superior then the PSB image T6. I know I should audition other speakers but I am saying to myself Why ?. Set up recommendation from the salesman with the 1.7 $2,095 (black with silver trim) MMG $695 CC3 $1095 Subs Two B&W $1500. This is where the saleman got very technical. He said having two smaller subs is better than having one big sub. Couldn't question him since I was short on time at that point. NAD 777 $ 2495 ( discounted 15%). Have to say this is fun !
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post #12 of 18 Old 02-24-2013, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyisyellow View Post

Went out yesterday to listen to Magnepans 1.7's. All I can say is WOW !! The clarity of the singers voice, how the music filled the room and detail I heard was fantastic. When listening to Dave Matthew's Snow Outside, sounded like Dave was in the room with me. Hearing Carter Beauford tapping the triangle was crisp. At the end of the song when a person is walking away on a wood floor sounded awesome. Crash into Me, there is a part of the song where Carter B tapped something that sounded like a hollow piece of wood. Never heard that on the song before. Listening to Springsteen I could hear/feel the heartache in the song. These are just a couple of examples. No matter what I had the salesman play the speakers performed. This is only the third brand I listened to, but was far superior then the PSB image T6. I know I should audition other speakers but I am saying to myself Why ?. Set up recommendation from the salesman with the 1.7 $2,095 (black with silver trim) MMG $695 CC3 $1095 Subs Two B&W $1500. This is where the saleman got very technical. He said having two smaller subs is better than having one big sub. Couldn't question him since I was short on time at that point. NAD 777 $ 2495 ( discounted 15%). Have to say this is fun !

Go to the sub forum and look for 2 good sub > 1 great sub... There are other threads like this. It really depends on your room etc.

Magnepan's are very accurate but have some negitives too... Allot of people that like the Maggies like / love ribbon tweeters.

I would have to give a big +1 to the "I would also look into the Philharmonics in this range."

In the case of full disclosure ...I just bought a set of Phil 2's. If you live near Philly you can come by and audition them in 3 weeks or so smile.gif

It may be easier to audition a set of Ascend with Raal or ST with Raal... Dennis makes a quality product..but does not produce as many speakers as say Jim Salk or Ascend... Nor do I really think Dennis wants to. After all, he is too busy in his retirement answering my stupid questions 22 out of 24 hours in the day. (poor guy!)

If you like the RAAL sound...nothing can really beat Phil 2's for the price. (I know someone is going to beat me for that statement...)
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post #13 of 18 Old 03-03-2013, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Went to B&W dealer to demo the 683's, but only had the 684's said the only difference is you get I believe is a better bass response in the 683's. He was using Anthem MRX 700 receiver to drive the speakers. Have to say I was not overly impressed with the sound. Music did not jump out me like when I listened to the Maggie 1.7's Very laid back for my taste. Next demo is going to be Ascends. A member of the AVS Forum is going to be generous and let me listen to his Sierra Towers in the near future. Can't wait.smile.gif
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post #14 of 18 Old 03-03-2013, 09:28 AM
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Skyisyello, when will you be able to hear the ascends. I'm in the same boat your in but I don't have anyone around here with high end systems. I'd like to hear what you have to say since we have both herd B&W's. Very first speaker I heard was a Martin. I like how it was clear clean sound but it lacked the base. The Best buy guy should of turned on a sub to fill up the base. Def tech's were the 3rd speaker I heard after the B&W's. I noticed they had a lot of mid range and base. Almost too much for not running a sub. I'd like to be able to control the base with a sub rather than an over bassed tower.
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post #15 of 18 Old 03-03-2013, 10:05 AM
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Skyisyello, Definitely check out the B&W CM9. A considerate step up from the B&W 600 series, especially in the music department IMO. CM9 looks like in your price range, as well. Head over to the local Magnolia. When you're there also listen to the Martin Logan EM ESLs. If you love the Maggies, you should also like the ESLs with the proper setup. Martin Logan Electrostats may be a little easier to drive compared to the Maggie, however, will require precise setup.
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post #16 of 18 Old 03-04-2013, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob from NJ View Post

Skyisyello, Definitely check out the B&W CM9. A considerate step up from the B&W 600 series, especially in the music department IMO. CM9 looks like in your price range, as well. Head over to the local Magnolia. When you're there also listen to the Martin Logan EM ESLs. If you love the Maggies, you should also like the ESLs with the proper setup. Martin Logan Electrostats may be a little easier to drive compared to the Maggie, however, will require precise setup.

I will go and listen to the CM9's, but will go to audio place in Greenbrook NJ, the salesman was a nice guy and very giving with his knowledge.
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post #17 of 18 Old 03-31-2013, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I had the the oppturnity to demo Ascend Sierra Tower and Phil 2 thanks to members of AVS Forum .Giving a shout out to Rob from NJ (Ascends)and Newbie One (Phil's). Both are dynamite spealkers. I think the the Phil's are little bit more foward and seemed to have a little more bass when played in 2.0. It seems I have a love affair with RAAL's. In HT both were excellent. For the Phils we watched parts of Transformers and Lord of the Rings. Even though Newbie One is set up as a phantom center there was clarity in the voices. There was scene in Transformers where you can hear the sounds like it's circulating around the room. Fight scene in Lord of the Rings, hearing people yelling,screaming elphants thundering on the ground. Awesome.. Forgot the name of the movie that Rob
played, but remember the girl was riding a horse back to her home the sound of the gallop was great and hearing birds chirping.Didn't have to strain listening to dialogue. Since I was in NYC last week and knew I was going to listen to Phil 2's on Saturday I stopped by the Maggie Dealer for another listen. I already demoed them in NJ. Just wanted to have the sound fresh in my head. Told him I wanted to hear the 1.7's Ask me my budget for HT (7500) but somewhat flexible.
His response was my budget wasn't large enough because I would need to spend to much on driving the Maggie's. I already had an idea of cost based on the dealer from NJ. He then suggested the Focal 826v for 2600 a pair. To keep it short I wasn't impressed. I should have been more assertive and told him no and listen to the 1.7's FWIW this is a high end dealer and I am peanuts to what other people spend on HT,but his attitude was terrible. End of rant.

The Ascends have a smaller footprint but that has no bearing on my decision. I know I can't go wrong with Ascends or Phil's but would love to hear the Maggie's
1.7 in 5.1 .
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post #18 of 18 Old 03-31-2013, 06:02 PM
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^^^^^^ Excellent post.........great that a couple of AVS forum guys went out of their way to let you demo their speakers for your benefit......way to go, Newbie1 and Rob!!!!!!!!

FWIW, I agree, you should listen to the Maggies again.

If you go Ascend, you will be able to get the Ascend Sierra Towers with RAAL tweeters for ~$2700, the matching Sierra Horizon CC with RAAL for ~$1400, and the CMT-340SEs for rears for $570......~4700 + shipping, plus you can probably get some sort of discount by ordering all of this through them.......on the Ascend website, they also sell Rythmik subs, with very good reviews and many types to choose from......and still have enough left over to get a ~$1200-1500 receiver......others can recommend something here better than lowly me.......

Happy listening and shopping!!
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