Help THX Speakers - Atlantic Technology 4400 vs Crystal Acoustics 7.1 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 02-12-2013, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking to replace my old Pioneer 5.1 HTB speakers with some THX speakers. About 3 months ago, I retired the old Pioneer receiver and replaced it with an Onkyo 818. I've been using the old Pioneer speakers; but now I'm ready to upgrade them.

The system is in my living room. The room is closed on 3 sides with one length opening to the kitchen and eat-in dining room. The living room volume is approximately 2100 ft^3. For the entire area (kitchen, living room, and dining room), the volume is approximately 5100 ft^3. The speakers will be located strictly in the constraints of the living room.

The speakers would be used primarily for movies but also music - probably 70 / 30 or 80 / 20. So music is important but not the primary purchase. I've never been good at judging how close a speaker sounds to studio reference - so I figured going with THX speakers would take some of my guess work out. This maybe a poor excuse for lack of research but I am partially deaf in one ear and have lost some hearing in the other ear. Also, there's no local distributor of either of these two companies locally to test the products.

My budget is constrained to no more than $3300 for the speakers. Both of these companies seem to have outstanding reviews with possibly Atlantic Technology have a bit better music quality. I know my budget can get me a 5.1 Atlantic Technology 4400 system but it uses 100% of the budget. For approximately $2500, I can purchase the Crystal Acoustics 7.1 T3-7.1-UL system which includes THX Ultra 2 front left, right, and sub; or even cheaper $1600 for the Crystal Acoustics 5.1 T3-5.1-UL system. I'm looking for the best bang for my buck.

Has anyone compared these units? Any noticeable difference between the two? For the cost, would the Crystal Acoustics 7.1 be a better purchase? It seems to me that the Crystal Acoustics is the better value. But I haven't heard either system. I would like some opinions on this.

I know the Atlantic Technology 4400 series provides surround sound speakers capable of bipole and dipole and the Crystal Acoustics surrounds are dipole. Should this be a factor? Right now I am using 5 speakers that are all forward facing (relative to the person); I have read where this seems to be optimum. I'm thinking this is likely the case due to my room configuration (one side not having a wall. Of course, I've read many mixed answers as to what is the best surround sound speaker (bipole, dipole, direct). Anyone have thoughts on this? I was thinking that maybe the best approach for me would be to buy 2 sets of Atlantic Technology front right and left and use one set for the surround sound channel similar to my current configuration.

Lastly, i have read that the Atlantic Technology 4400 sub isn't very good in respect to better prodcuts being available at cheaper rates. Could you please provide feedback on a quality sub if I choose to go with the 4400 syste?

Thanks for all your feedback and help.
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post #2 of 23 Old 02-12-2013, 07:12 PM
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Atlantic Technology is going to be way better than the Crystal Acoustics. AT has been around many years with a solid track record of making fine equipment. CA is relatively new and has not been reviewed in any major publication that I am aware of.

You can mix and match just about any sub with a system. SVS, Rythmik, HSU, Epik, Funk Audio all make fine subs.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #3 of 23 Old 02-12-2013, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your thoughts. I was thinking the same thing as far as reputation. But it seems like Crystal Acoustics seems to have very good reviews from websites that reviewed the products and by owners.

Any thoughts on monopole vs dipole vs bipole in my room environment?

Thanks again for your thoughts.
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post #4 of 23 Old 02-12-2013, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazyscotsman View Post

Thanks for your thoughts. I was thinking the same thing as far as reputation. But it seems like Crystal Acoustics seems to have very good reviews from websites that reviewed the products and by owners.

Any thoughts on monopole vs dipole vs bipole in my room environment?

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Never heard of the CAs but I did find a 4400 set up for cheap on craigslist and bought those for my parents. I thought they sounded pretty good! The set up came with 4 of the L/R speakers so I can't comment on the SRs of the 4400 system. I'd recommend buying a sub from an ID company though.

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #5 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by flyng_fool View Post

Atlantic Technology is going to be way better than the Crystal Acoustics.

What are you basing this on? Pure speculation? If you haven't heard the CA speakers then how can you make this statement?

I have heard the ATs but haven't heard the CAs, and that is why I didn't make any suggestions to the OP one way or the other.


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post #6 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 05:33 AM
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You're right, I haven't heard the CA's, however I have heard many AT's and can highly recommend them. I just suspect CA's as being not quite up to snuff, especially when they are blatantly trying to copy B&W's designs. I'm wary of manufacturers that try and copy others so they can try and get some of their market with a vastly cheaper product.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #7 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 06:56 AM
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I have been doing some research so let me add a few things. It appears that the CA's are a pretty decent speaker but their subwoofers are merely average. So I would still say that the AT 4400's are still going to be a better system, especially if you pair it with better subs.

As far as monopole, vs bipolar, vs dipole goes. With True Dolby HD and DTS HD, all sounds are directed to discrete channels as opposed to matrixed in two or more speakers. So I'm in the monopole camp.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #8 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 07:05 AM
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May I ask why THX speakers? I would recommend some but I think their are better deals out there. What is your budget?

I have owned 6 sets of THX speakers and heard others. Here is how I rank them:

1. JBL pro 4675C-LF
2. JBL pro 3731
3. JBL pro 3622N
4. M&K S-5000(discontinued)
5.Triad in room gold LCR(classics)
6. Klipsch THX ultra 2

I have heard Atlantic technologies and JBL synthesis as well but not in my room.
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post #9 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 07:44 AM
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His budget is $3300

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #10 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I could possibly go up to $3500. But that's about my tops on buget.
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post #11 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

May I ask why THX speakers? I would recommend some but I think their are better deals out there. What is your budget?

I have owned 6 sets of THX speakers and heard others. Here is how I rank them:

1. JBL pro 4675C-LF
2. JBL pro 3731
3. JBL pro 3622N
4. M&K S-5000(discontinued)
5.Triad in room gold LCR(classics)
6. Klipsch THX ultra 2

I have heard Atlantic technologies and JBL synthesis as well but not in my room.

My reasons for the THX speakers are probably less than brilliant. I am partially deaf in my one ear and some hearing loss in the other. So, I don't trust my ears to be able to pull out subtle differences from listening to various speakers. I can hear the differences between speakers, but I'm a poor judge for "reference" sound. Plus, there's no higher end retail stores in my area that carries any of these better speakers... just Best Buy (without the Magnolia store) and HH Greg. Lastly, since they will be used primarily for movies, I figured the THX certification should provide a quality speaker system for movies... however, I do plan to use them for music too.
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post #12 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 08:47 AM
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I have nothing against THX speakers BUT some of the times you are paying a much higher price just for the THX badge. There are many speakers that are not "THX Certified" but meet or exceed THX standards. And you can buy an Onkyo HTIB that has THX certified speakers and sub, it sounds awesome for an HTIB but lots of pieced together systems will sound much better. THX has standards and tests the speakers have to go thru and meet. But for frequency response a THX sub only needs to hit 20hz at -6db and a THX speaker is supposed to hit 20khz at -6db. My subs will do 18hz -2db and speakers will do 23khz -3db.

I would agree with the posters above about getting an internet direct sub or 2. And if you want THX speakers that's fine but know that you don't have to buy THX stuff to get good performance. If you have hearing loss I would look for speakers that are known for producing crisp highs (treble) and clean defined midrange sounds as those are probably the areas you have most of your hearing loss in. I'm thinking speakers with horn loaded tweeters may be good for your application eg: Klipsch, BIC America, BIC Acoustech, HSU Research.

Shawn
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post #13 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by flickhtguru View Post

I have nothing against THX speakers BUT some of the times you are paying a much higher price just for the THX badge. There are many speakers that are not "THX Certified" but meet or exceed THX standards. And you can buy an Onkyo HTIB that has THX certified speakers and sub, it sounds awesome for an HTIB but lots of pieced together systems will sound much better. THX has standards and tests the speakers have to go thru and meet. But for frequency response a THX sub only needs to hit 20hz at -6db and a THX speaker is supposed to hit 20khz at -6db. My subs will do 18hz -2db and speakers will do 23khz -3db.

I would agree with the posters above about getting an internet direct sub or 2. And if you want THX speakers that's fine but know that you don't have to buy THX stuff to get good performance. If you have hearing loss I would look for speakers that are known for producing crisp highs (treble) and clean defined midrange sounds as those are probably the areas you have most of your hearing loss in. I'm thinking speakers with horn loaded tweeters may be good for your application eg: Klipsch, BIC America, BIC Acoustech, HSU Research.

Any particular systems from Klipsch, BIC America, BIC Acoustech, HSU Research? I'll be honest, I don't know what I'm looking fore in speakers as far as speaker ranges. You are correct about my hearing loss being in high frequencies.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and opinions.
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post #14 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 09:18 AM
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From HSU something like this with maybe another VTF15 H sub. http://hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid15pkg.html

From BIC Acoustech any of the combos of the Towers, center, and surrounds (keep the woofer size the same for the towers and center) http://www.acousticsounddesign.com/brand/index.cfm?bid=67

From BIC America go with the Formula series speakers any combo of speakers from that serhttp://www.acousticsounddesign.com/brand/index.cfm?bid=46

If you don't go with the HSU package: Check out Outlaw Audio LFM-1 Plus or LFM-1 EX subs and go with 2 if you can. OR SVS makes excellent subs.

Shawn
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post #15 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 09:36 AM
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Just a heads up, The Crystal Acoustics speakers were reviewed by Secrets of Home Theater and HiFi... and surprisingly well. When I first came across them on Amazon and eBay my gut reaction (based on aesthetic design choices and marketing methods) was WHITE VAN, but that seems to have been an incorrect assumption. You might want to check out the reviews below:

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/surround-sound-speaker-systems/surround-sound-speaker-systems-reviews/crystal-acoustics-tx-t3se-home-theater-speaker-system.html

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/bookshelf-speakers/bookshelf-speakers/crystal-acoustics-tx-b1-bookshelf-speakers.html

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/subwoofers/subwoofers-reviews/crystal-acoustics-tx-12sub-thx-ultra2-certified-subwoofer.html

That said, I too would probably expect a higher level of performance from Atlantic, but I would completely discount Crystal Acoustics either... I would say it's quite likely that both will perform commensurate to their price levels and the THX certification should be less of a concern. If THX certification were not the basis of the comparison, it's unlikely the two would come up in the same conversation.

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post #16 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 09:43 AM
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THX is just not about response but also dynamics and the ability to play reference with that response. This is where THX really shines are the ability to play loud and clean. Original THX or now the THX ultra are the only way to go. Now, there are speakers out there that can do the same for cheaper. I would look into CHT SHO-10's for one example. As for subs, there are even more choices.
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post #17 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 10:06 AM
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I would strongly look at the JTR Single 8 HT or the CHT SHO-10 speakers for yourself. Especially if you want to hit reference levels or more with no distortion.

fyi, it looks like the CHT speakers are out of stock.


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post #18 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 11:19 AM
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I second ifor's suggestions. How are your DIY skills? Would you be comfortable building a speaker from a kit?

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #19 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 11:25 AM
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If you decide you might be interested going DIY, check out the SEOS project at diysoundgroup.com. They have flat-pack kits that can be assembled with as little as wood glue and masking tape along with some very basic soldering for the crossover.

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post #20 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I second ifor's suggestions. How are your DIY skills? Would you be comfortable building a speaker from a kit?

My electronic skills are OK. But i've never built a speaker. I'm sure I could learn but I have never tried before.
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post #21 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ifor View Post

I would strongly look at the JTR Single 8 HT or the CHT SHO-10 speakers for yourself. Especially if you want to hit reference levels or more with no distortion.

fyi, it looks like the CHT speakers are out of stock.

Would I buy 5 or 7 of these speakers? Or would I use these as L / R and SL / SR? What would I match these up for a good center channel?

Thanks again for your input.
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post #22 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 12:40 PM
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Well, as large as your area is I would go 5.2. The room itself is a bit small for 7 speakers but your bass energy is going to be transmitted outside the room because it isn't enclosed so I would go for two larger subs if you can. Get the same center channel to match the left and rights.

Get three larger ones across the front and then you could do some smaller ones for surrounds.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #23 of 23 Old 02-13-2013, 04:46 PM
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You could get 3 of them for the fronts. We don't know how your surrounds are going to be mounted, in-ceiling? on-wall? in-wall?
If you want to wall mount them, you could get the Single 8HT-lLP speakers for the surrounds. If you want in-ceiling surrounds, you could use the JBL Control 226c speakers as they are very similar to the JTRs.


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