Speaker challenge for first home theater (<$3,500 budget on-wall front, in-ceiling surrounds) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 02-06-2013, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi! It's my birthday and I finally get to build an HT system! It's not an ideal room or setup (that will be in the next house ), so I'm looking for some advice. Here's what I have:

Budget: I'd like to stay under $3 or $3.5k for the 6 speakers, but could convince the wife to go to a little higher for aesthetics
Surrounds: Need to be in-ceiling. Not sure if they should be bi-poles, di-poles, or just regular aimable ones.
L,C,R: Thinking thin on-walls since the kids would knock over towers and box speakers do not meet WAF standards. The TV on articulating mount comes out to almost 5", but I'd prefer speakers not come out too far in case I upgrade to a thinner TV or projection & screen.
Sub: I'm planning on placing it where shown below, but it could also go back underneath the R surround. I'm pretty clueless about what sub to get
Receiver: I have an Onkyo TX-NR616. I'd be willing to replace it, but would need to account for that cost in the budget.
The Room: Too big, open on one side, and seating too far from TV!


Ceilings are 8'. The extra stud behind the TV means an in-wall center would have to be only 8" across or 1.5" deep, and in-walls would need to be enclosed as the inside wall of the closet is not finished. So I'm thinking about something along the lines of Deftech Mythos XTRs or KEF T301s. I'd consider something bulkier like Mythos Nine/Ten if it were significantly better sound, but would have to stay lower in the budget since I don't get the WAF bonus Any other suggestions? I don't need huge sound, but of course would like it clear and do have a big room.

I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have!
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post #2 of 31 Old 02-06-2013, 10:32 AM
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EMPtek has a line on on wall speaker you may want to check out. Haven't heard the on wall speakers, but all the other EMP speakers fit well into " good sound for the buck" category. However, with your budget, you may be above that level!

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 #3 of 31 Old 02-06-2013, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I did check out the EMPTek on walls based on a suggestion in another thread. Unfortunately it looks to me like they are over 5" deep, which is going to stick out more than I would like.
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post #4 of 31 Old 02-06-2013, 06:55 PM
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Get proper box speakers. Is she really going to leave ? No ! Just let her have something she wants.
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post #5 of 31 Old 02-06-2013, 07:19 PM
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Probably best bang fer your buck:

Tekton Pendragon - 2700 Shipped
Tekton Front - 850 shipped
Aperion INTIMUS L6-IC IN-CEILING SPEAKER PAIR - $300 shipped

Total: $3850.00


Risk Free (VERY pretty speakers) Still a great deal:
Aperion Grand Tower: 2k Shipped
Aperion Grand Center: 800 Shipped
Aperion INTIMUS L6-IC IN-CEILING SPEAKER PAIR - $300 shipped

Total: $3100 and if you dont like them free shipping on return.

Other Options very highly recommended options:

SIERRA TOWER FLOORSTANDING LOUDSPEAKER -- 1900 or 2600 with RAAL Ribbon Upgrade
SIERRA HORIZON LOUDSPEAKER - 1k or 1350 with RAAL Ribbon
Aperion INTIMUS L6-IC IN-CEILING SPEAKER PAIR - $300 shipped

Total: $3200 or $4250 with RAAL Upgrade

OR

Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 or 3.0 = 2500 or 3500
Monoprice 8 Inches Kevlar In-Ceiling Speakers (Pair) - w/ 15 Degree Angled Woofer - $100
Sonus Faber Venere Center $800

Total: $3400 for 2.5 or $4400 for 3.5



Given your budget...and you have not heard any of these AND looks matter some to you. I would try the Aperion out. It is Risk Free... Shipping is paid both ways. They are dead on sexy speakers too. (Tekton arguably have better sound but are fairly oogly speakers.) Sonus Faber I think is sex personfied with their black...Italian to the bone and sound terrific...but tad expensive for your budget.

Sierra also a great option and one of the only options anywhere near your price range with a RAAL ribbon tweeter.
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post #6 of 31 Old 02-06-2013, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Probably best bang fer your buck:

Tekton Pendragon - 2700 Shipped
Tekton Front - 850 shipped
Aperion INTIMUS L6-IC IN-CEILING SPEAKER PAIR - $300 shipped

Total: $3850.00


Risk Free (VERY pretty speakers) Still a great deal:
Aperion Grand Tower: 2k Shipped
Aperion Grand Center: 800 Shipped
Aperion INTIMUS L6-IC IN-CEILING SPEAKER PAIR - $300 shipped

Total: $3100 and if you dont like them free shipping on return.

Other Options very highly recommended options:

SIERRA TOWER FLOORSTANDING LOUDSPEAKER -- 1900 or 2600 with RAAL Ribbon Upgrade
SIERRA HORIZON LOUDSPEAKER - 1k or 1350 with RAAL Ribbon
Aperion INTIMUS L6-IC IN-CEILING SPEAKER PAIR - $300 shipped

Total: $3200 or $4250 with RAAL Upgrade

OR

Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 or 3.0 = 2500 or 3500
Monoprice 8 Inches Kevlar In-Ceiling Speakers (Pair) - w/ 15 Degree Angled Woofer - $100
Sonus Faber Venere Center $800

Total: $3400 for 2.5 or $4400 for 3.5



Given your budget...and you have not heard any of these AND looks matter some to you. I would try the Aperion out. It is Risk Free... Shipping is paid both ways. They are dead on sexy speakers too. (Tekton arguably have better sound but are fairly oogly speakers.) Sonus Faber I think is sex personfied with their black...Italian to the bone and sound terrific...but tad expensive for your budget.

Sierra also a great option and one of the only options anywhere near your price range with a RAAL ribbon tweeter.

Having a system that you can build on 5 or even 10 years down the road is key. I have to agree with Newbie on the Pendragon speakers. They are truly amazing at imaging and can really get things rocking on nothing more than the power off your receiver.

The Pendragon center is quite large though but there is really no replacement for displacement. Surrounds don't really matter too much IMHO as they pick up mostly environmental sounds and if you listen to music (I'm a music first guy) your mains are all you will be using anyway so don't skimp on them. Add a decent subwoofer or two later down the road. I doubt you will be upgrading from your Pendragons unless you win the lottery or feel like buying speakers that price as much as a new decently equipped new vehicle. The only downside is that you will have to pay return shipping if the wifey doesn't like them.

-James
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post #7 of 31 Old 02-06-2013, 10:54 PM
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Great post newbie . Nailed it with good options .
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post #8 of 31 Old 02-07-2013, 01:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. Those are all awesome looking options, unfortunately none are going to work as floorstanding speakers are not an option in this mixed use room right now. I suppose this is like asking a sports car forum which minivan they would recommend...
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post #9 of 31 Old 02-07-2013, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I did hear the KEF t301s and they were ok. Very clear but underwhelming, especially with music, although he didn't have a matching center and realized afterwards the he had the crossover too low on the sub.

I heard Monitor Shadow might be a better option, but might be hard for me to find some to listen to.
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post #10 of 31 Old 02-07-2013, 06:50 AM
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The Goldenear SuperSats fit the bill aesthetically (they are only 2.5" deep) and are within your budget. They only sell through local dealers, so you'd need to find one near you. There is a dedicated Goldenear thread on this forum if you want to read more about them.
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post #11 of 31 Old 02-07-2013, 07:06 AM
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Ah... I did not see the "no towers" requirement smile.gif

Most of those options still stand... Just down grade the towers to bookshelfs.

Given that...I would go for the:

AperioAperion Verus Grand Center: 800 Shipped
VERUS GRAND BOOKSHELF SPEAKER PAIR: 700 Shipped
Aperion INTIMUS L6-IC IN-CEILING SPEAKER PAIR - $300 shipped
HSU Reearch -- ULS-15 Subwoofer: $1200 Shipped

Total: 3000 WINNER (you probably want to pay the money for the stands / hanging equiptment ...should run you 200 bucks. Get the wire from Monostat and if you need in wall make sure you buy in wall rated wire.)

PSA, HSU, SVS, Outlaw and Rythmik are all great Subs...I am sure I left a few off. I quoted you a sealed sub (vs. Ported) Normally for HT you want Ported but I have a nod to the wife factor and the sub quoted is pretty and very functional PLUS comes wireless so you can move it all around discreetly.

Given your requirements... I think this is the system you should go to without any hesitation. If you dont like the sound ship it back. I can give you other options but most of them will be variations of the first ones I gave you subbing out the towers with bookshelfs. As for Subs...plenty to choose from and with the brands listed all are good choices.
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post #12 of 31 Old 02-07-2013, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Ah... I did not see the "no towers" requirement smile.gif

Most of those options still stand... Just down grade the towers to bookshelfs.

Given that...I would go for the:

AperioAperion Verus Grand Center: 800 Shipped
VERUS GRAND BOOKSHELF SPEAKER PAIR: 700 Shipped
Aperion INTIMUS L6-IC IN-CEILING SPEAKER PAIR - $300 shipped
HSU Reearch -- ULS-15 Subwoofer: $1200 Shipped

Total: 3000 WINNER (you probably want to pay the money for the stands / hanging equiptment ...should run you 200 bucks. Get the wire from Monostat and if you need in wall make sure you buy in wall rated wire.)

PSA, HSU, SVS, Outlaw and Rythmik are all great Subs...I am sure I left a few off. I quoted you a sealed sub (vs. Ported) Normally for HT you want Ported but I have a nod to the wife factor and the sub quoted is pretty and very functional PLUS comes wireless so you can move it all around discreetly.

Given your requirements... I think this is the system you should go to without any hesitation. If you dont like the sound ship it back. I can give you other options but most of them will be variations of the first ones I gave you subbing out the towers with bookshelfs. As for Subs...plenty to choose from and with the brands listed all are good choices.

You really should consider reading the original post. He didn't want "boxy" speakers, and your new recommendations still qualify as boxy speakers.
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post #13 of 31 Old 02-07-2013, 11:54 AM
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Not sure what OP means by "box speakers"...

If he wants recommendations for "life style" ultra thin ..crap speakers... (which re-reading it again) I think he is asking for...

My recommendations are simple:

8 Inches Kevlar 3-Way High Power In-Wall Speaker (Pair) - 100W Nominal, 200W Max -- $87
5-1/4 Inches Center Channel Micro-Flanged In-Wall Speaker - 8 Ohm - $43
Monoprice 8 Inches Kevlar In-Ceiling Speakers (Pair) - w/ 15 Degree Angled Woofer - $89

Klipsch makes some decent In-Wall / Flat Channel Speakers

http://www.klipsch.com/architectural-speakers or http://www.klipsch.com/flat-panel-speakers

However, due to physics...Flat speakers are never going to sound great... Try the cheap cheap route and get the Monoprice and see if they are exceptable if this is what you want... If not your out less than 300 bucks and can return them.

The only two recommendations I can think of are Monostat and Klipsch or going to a soundbar.
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post #14 of 31 Old 02-08-2013, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Not sure what OP means by "box speakers"...

If he wants recommendations for "life style" ultra thin ..crap speakers... (which re-reading it again) I think he is asking for...

My recommendations are simple:

8 Inches Kevlar 3-Way High Power In-Wall Speaker (Pair) - 100W Nominal, 200W Max -- $87
5-1/4 Inches Center Channel Micro-Flanged In-Wall Speaker - 8 Ohm - $43
Monoprice 8 Inches Kevlar In-Ceiling Speakers (Pair) - w/ 15 Degree Angled Woofer - $89

Klipsch makes some decent In-Wall / Flat Channel Speakers

http://www.klipsch.com/architectural-speakers or http://www.klipsch.com/flat-panel-speakers

However, due to physics...Flat speakers are never going to sound great... Try the cheap cheap route and get the Monoprice and see if they are exceptable if this is what you want... If not your out less than 300 bucks and can return them.

The only two recommendations I can think of are Monostat and Klipsch or going to a soundbar.

I appreciate your efforts to help, sorry if I made the requirements unclear or if the limitations offend you. I did not go into this trying to get "crap" speakers, or else I would have just gotten monoprice speakers to start with and wouldn't be asking for opinions. I realize the physical limitations of thin speakers, but floorstanding will get abused by my young kids that play in here, and my center channel is a problem because that stud prevents almost all in-walls and the duct prevents a pitched in-ceiling.

So basically I can't think of any solutions besides on-walls, the type covered in this article. For anyone else in the same boat as me, here are all the options I have found so far for LCR:

Under 3" deep

4-5" deep

I've only been able to hear the KEFs and Mythos XTR-50s so far. I preferred the latter, but they end up about twice as much.

A lot of these have matching on-wall or bookshelf surrounds available, but since I am going in-ceiling how should I go about finding good matches (or I should even worry about that)? They often have matching subs available too, but I don't think most of these are well known for making fantastic subs. Since a good sub is quite important when you've got LCRs lacking on the low end like these, what's the best thing to target there?
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post #15 of 31 Old 02-08-2013, 07:47 AM
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I don't mean to argue the premise but I do not think floor standing speakers would be in great danger from kids or pets. If you are really that concerned I would suggest finding wall mountable bookshelves. Ideally you could put bookshelves on a shelf somewhere but that would depend heavily on your room setup.

I would avoid in-wall speakers and suggest you think if any other alternatives could be made to work. Again, not trying to argue but merely suggest that there might be alternatives you might not have thought about yet.
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post #16 of 31 Old 02-08-2013, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Aside from wanting the floor space, my almost one year old will certainly use the speakers to stand and lean against, and would probably love poking things into them.

I might be allowed to do one shelf, but would bookshelf speakers be that much better than something like Deftech nine/tens?
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post #17 of 31 Old 02-08-2013, 10:19 AM
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In my newbie opinion, you are probably going to pay a premium for on-wall / in-wall speakers compared to normal bookshelf/towers. You might get equivalent sound, but I think you are going to pay extra. If you can afford it and think its worth the premium then go with what you are looking at. If you are trying to maximize bang for the buck, I think bookshelves/towers are the way to go.

Please take my opinion with a grain of salt, as I am fairly new to the world of speakers and this is my impression so far.

As far as kids, I would be more worried about a 5 year old running into them or a child poking the cones. A one year old leaning or using them to stand (as long as its not the cones) should be fine. My cats jump off and on my towers with no issue once I installed the base. I'm not sure how to compare baby vs cats though smile.gif
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post #18 of 31 Old 02-08-2013, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

In my newbie opinion, you are probably going to pay a premium for on-wall / in-wall speakers compared to normal bookshelf/towers. You might get equivalent sound, but I think you are going to pay extra. If you can afford it and think its worth the premium then go with what you are looking at. If you are trying to maximize bang for the buck, I think bookshelves/towers are the way to go.

Please take my opinion with a grain of salt, as I am fairly new to the world of speakers and this is my impression so far.

As far as kids, I would be more worried about a 5 year old running into them or a child poking the cones. A one year old leaning or using them to stand (as long as its not the cones) should be fine. My cats jump off and on my towers with no issue once I installed the base. I'm not sure how to compare baby vs cats though smile.gif

I totally agree I'll pay a premium for the on-walls. Or perhaps more accurately, my wife will pay that premium tongue.gif.

Cats might be like my baby girls were. I'd compare my baby boy more more to a bull mastiff puppy smile.gif The girls would likely run (or dance) into the speakers, which could be OK if i secured them well, but I would rather it not be something to worry about in this space. Next house, I'll have the proper theater room and proper speakers.
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post #19 of 31 Old 02-08-2013, 10:44 AM
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That is why I think bookshelves would be a good alternative. They should be high enough to be out of reach of kids but still better price/performance ratio. You can find wall mountable bookshelves or maybe wall mount a shelf.

If not, then good luck with your selection as I won't be of any help. smile.gif
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post #20 of 31 Old 02-08-2013, 11:45 AM
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Lol...sorry if my tone implied I was offended you wanted "thin" speakes. Honestly though...there is a reason that your TV speakers sound bad.

IMO you are better off going in-wall than using flat on wall speakers. In-wall can still get ok sound whereas flat speakers will never give you too much. They may charge alot and it may sound ok... but for a "normal" speaker at 1/10th the cost it is very likely you will get better sound.

Anyway...we all have limitations be it location, placement or wife and kids.
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post #21 of 31 Old 02-08-2013, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Lol...sorry if my tone implied I was offended you wanted "thin" speakes. Honestly though...there is a reason that your TV speakers sound bad.

IMO you are better off going in-wall than using flat on wall speakers. In-wall can still get ok sound whereas flat speakers will never give you too much. They may charge alot and it may sound ok... but for a "normal" speaker at 1/10th the cost it is very likely you will get better sound.

Anyway...we all have limitations be it location, placement or wife and kids.

In wall would be good but I'm not sure to do with the center because of that extra stud. mad.gif
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post #22 of 31 Old 02-16-2013, 05:33 PM
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I'm in the same situation. Upgrading b&w m1s wich were purchased because of the WAF

Now want to replace front, Center and sub

Which would be better the on wall or bookshelf

Currently looking at kef 301t or DT 60xtr, possibly ML Slm for on walls, but open to bookshelves if they'd give better sound (unfortunately floor standing will never get the thumbs up from my wife.
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post #23 of 31 Old 02-16-2013, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by web05hitz View Post

In wall would be good but I'm not sure to do with the center because of that extra stud. mad.gif

If it is not a load bearing wall you can just cut part of the stud out. The only purpose of the stud is to hold the drywall in place. If it s a load bearing wall you can add bracing to make it within code.
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post #24 of 31 Old 02-16-2013, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 123BigRed View Post

I'm in the same situation. Upgrading b&w m1s wich were purchased because of the WAF

Now want to replace front, Center and sub

Which would be better the on wall or bookshelf

Currently looking at kef 301t or DT 60xtr, possibly ML Slm for on walls, but open to bookshelves if they'd give better sound (unfortunately floor standing will never get the thumbs up from my wife.

I would either go with bookshelves or in-wall speakers.
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post #25 of 31 Old 02-17-2013, 05:08 AM
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I would recommend the James Loundspeaker QX series.

QX630 LCR
QX620 Rear
Then pick a Sub.

Another setup...
QX620 LR/Rears
QX630 Center.

Actually any combination you choose with the 630 or 620 would work.

You could also go with the 820/830.

James can put any of these in a thin box for onwall mounting.

VSX-53, VSX-51,VSX-81 Pioneer Elites and Denon 1611
James loudspeaker inwalls main and future theater
Control4
Other speaker zones DefTech, Polk, Russound, Boston Acoustics
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post #26 of 31 Old 02-17-2013, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
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If it is not a load bearing wall you can just cut part of the stud out. The only purpose of the stud is to hold the drywall in place. If it s a load bearing wall you can add bracing to make it within code.

Actually that stud is just anchoring the closet dividing wall to the main closet wall. An in-wall center speaker would have that dividing wall behind it instead of the usual drywall right behind it. I'm unsure if that would affect the sound or not.
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post #27 of 31 Old 02-17-2013, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by web05hitz View Post

Actually that stud is just anchoring the closet dividing wall to the main closet wall. An in-wall center speaker would have that dividing wall behind it instead of the usual drywall right behind it. I'm unsure if that would affect the sound or not.

I would go with an enclosed speaker vs open baffle if you do go in-wall:
http://www.cepro.com/article/how_to_prevent_audio_loss_with_in_wall_speaker_systems
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post #28 of 31 Old 02-17-2013, 05:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hookedonc4 View Post

I would recommend the James Loundspeaker QX series.

QX630 LCR
QX620 Rear
Then pick a Sub.

Another setup...
QX620 LR/Rears
QX630 Center.

Actually any combination you choose with the 630 or 620 would work.

You could also go with the 820/830.

James can put any of these in a thin box for onwall mounting.

I guess I'm confused why you would buy an in-wall and put in a box to mount on-wall when the manufacturer has speakers they make specifically for on-wall applications.
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post #29 of 31 Old 02-17-2013, 06:13 AM
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It might be a different driver on the QX or even the BE series and also if you don't want to cut the stud. Look at the specifications. James can meet your need on any speaker custom sizes or what ever you want. Check out the sight and you can even give them a call or email them. They are great people to talk with. I can tell you are experience with them has been great and we will not own anything else in the future. We are slowly upgrading to all James in our house. Well I should say in key areas of our house. We listen to a lot of music.

VSX-53, VSX-51,VSX-81 Pioneer Elites and Denon 1611
James loudspeaker inwalls main and future theater
Control4
Other speaker zones DefTech, Polk, Russound, Boston Acoustics
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post #30 of 31 Old 05-26-2013, 10:53 AM
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Has anyone here actually heard the INTIMUS L6-IC in a ceiling for surrounds in a 5.1 setup? The materials used make this product look very appealing for in ceiling surrounds.
Thanks for any input.smile.gif
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