Reviews & Comparisons for MID-PRICED Speakers? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I've been looking to put together a modest 5.1/7.1 speaker system and have hunted for review, shootout/comparison resources.
So far, any I've found, with legit and UNBIASED testing, measurements, commentary all tend to be for AUDIOPHILE stuff WAY WAY out of my budget.

Anyone recommend resources for tests, comparisons of MODEST PRICED equipment?
Prefer some level of in-depth test/measurement methodology and, most important: UNBIASED results and recommendations...
Stuff like basic Cnet reviews that say: "buy this, I THINK it sounded best (beause the mfr paid us off)" need not apply!!!

Need relatively in-depth, but not overboard, for general consumer.
Covering wide range of mfr/models, focusing on basic consumer mid to low/higher priced stuff.
Speakers (system packages, separates, ect) * My budget is MAYBE $500/750-$1000 MAX
Receivers * Budget is MAYBE $650 MAX retail prices
** Total looking to spend NO MORE THAN $1500!!!

? Maybe someone could make recommendations, if not?

Thanks
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post #2 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 10:38 AM
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First, IMHO, your budget is out of wack! You are proposing to spend almost as much on a rec as speakers! What is your room size? Movies, music, games, etc,
my suggested budget, give or take a few dollars.

Rec: 300 dollars. You can get a good 5.1 reciever with room correction, plenty of power and enought bells/whistles to do what you want. Do you need Airpolay? 3D? 7.1?
Sub: 300 dollars. The Klipsch 12 inch sub has been on sale about every other week at New Egg for 299.00, shipped! Spend alittle more and get a great sub from SVS or HSU...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882780078
Speakers: 800 dollars At this price, there is a VERY large selection. HSU sells a 5.1 package that could take care of both your speakers and sub and would cost around 999.00 dollars
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/value1pkg.html

Again, just a ton of speaker available in this price range...Def tech..Cambridge Audio, Polk monitors, Pionneer, infinity Primus, to name a few
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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 19 Old 02-13-2013, 10:46 AM
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Hmm, for receivers may I recommend the Pioneer sc-1222-k. Check out the couple threads here on AVS for real world opinions and on hometheater.com for the review for the Pioneer Elite sc-61, which is basically the same avr minus a couple bells. Newegg has it on sale well within your $650 max receiver budget. With your $1500 max budget, also check Newegg and look into their specials on Definitive Technology, Polk and the like. Also check into Pioneers newer Andrew Jones series; VERY nice for the price point! Another resource is the classifieds here, ebay, and craigslist. Hope this helps!
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Samsung 51" Plasma E530, Pioneer SC-1222-K, Sony BDP-S5200, Roku 3, Custom HTPC/XBMC, KEF Q600c -center, KEF Q900- mains, Definitive Technology SM450- side surrounds, Definitive Technology SM350- rear surrounds, Custom sub 'end table' with 12" Oz Audio Matrix Elite, Crown XLS 1500 sub amp, Harmony 650 and IRule remotes
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post #4 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

First, IMHO, your budget is out of wack! You are proposing to spend almost as much on a rec as speakers! What is your room size? Movies, music, games, etc,
my suggested budget, give or take a few dollars.

+1

Keep you receiver budget to $300 to $400 and put the rest to speakers and sub. You'll get a much better sounding system that way.

The Klipsch RW-12d for $299 at Newegg (promo code EMCXVXN98) is one of the best sub buys at that price, and would be a good foundation to your system. Goes off sale today, but will generally be back on sale every month or so.
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post #5 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

First, IMHO, your budget is out of wack! You are proposing to spend almost as much on a rec as speakers! What is your room size? Movies, music, games, etc,
my suggested budget, give or take a few dollars.

Rec: 300 dollars. You can get a good 5.1 reciever with room correction, plenty of power and enought bells/whistles to do what you want. Do you need Airpolay? 3D? 7.1?
Sub: 300 dollars. The Klipsch 12 inch sub has been on sale about every other week at New Egg for 299.00, shipped! Spend alittle more and get a great sub from SVS or HSU...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882780078
Speakers: 800 dollars At this price, there is a VERY large selection. HSU sells a 5.1 package that could take care of both your speakers and sub and would cost around 999.00 dollars
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/value1pkg.html

Again, just a ton of speaker available in this price range...Def tech..Cambridge Audio, Polk monitors, Pionneer, infinity Primus, to name a few

Thanks for reaching out and your valuable time! smile.gif
Yeah, I'd suspected that my budget was 'out of wack'
The ONLY reason I'd entertained spending that much on receiver:speakers is fear of receiver becoming obsolete.
Several years ago, before HDMI and full video switching, I bought a Sony 5.1 125w (x5) receiver and NOW it's useless (I THINK) as far as using for modern HDMI switching 5.1/7.1
So now, I'm concerned with 1080p up-conversion and 4k future compatibility... Hence the higher budget allotment for receiver than speakers..

-My room size is approx: 16' viewing distance x 12' room width
and is a living room with carpeted floors.
- Couch will likely be up against far wall (opposite tv), so rear speakers will need to be smallish bookshelf or cube style.
- Room is offset w hallway (tv side) and entryway (opposite with couch on it) so actual 'centerable front sound stage' is reduced by the offset areas kinda
- May need rear speakers that are like onmipolar or the like, due to a recliner and loveseat that are not centered with main seating position, which is aforementioned centered couch (?)

- Will be playing a lot of games (xbox 360's and soon xbox 720)
- Plan to watch movies as well as comcast hd cable tv.
- Have a Panasonic 55" ST50 3D Plasma

- Would like receiver to have AT LEAST 6 HDMI inputs (unless hdmi switch selector can be used without screwing up ARC, ect?) Don't want to run short on HDMI inputs
? 1080p up conversion for SD Comcast Cable TV (even work for that?)
? Future proofing 4k up conversion/pass thru ** Worth the extra expense of higher end receiver taking from speaker budget????
- On screen GUI ect via HDMI would also be nice

Speakers-
Like the idea of Mirage omnipolar speaker package, BUT
included subs are only 65w and omni polar probably not best option for center channel!

Would like fairly deep strong sub as well as fronts and center channel....

> may create a new dedicated 'what should I buy thread', but would still love feedback here.

Still looking for review sources as per op...
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post #6 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 07:54 PM
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Check out the Pioneer speakers already mentioned-FS52 front L/R, C22 center, BS22 rears ($480 MSRP). You could also go with the Cambridge S30s for front L/R and rear surrounds and the S50 for the center ($538). Yet another option would be Ascend Acoustics with CBM-170SEs front L/R, CMT-340SE center and HTM200SEs for rear surrounds ($898). Add the Klipsch Rw-12d subwoofer and you'd be set.
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post #7 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 08:11 PM
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Reciever technology IS changing rapidly...speaker technology is not! So, your reciever will likely be "behind the technology" 5 yrs from now, but your speakers won't. The other point is, you can buy the best reciever money can buy, but have it power mediocre speakers and your system will sound mediocre! Your system will only sound as good as the speakers you own...
Speakers? Well, I think your budget will allow you to get better than the real budget speakers...(Polk monitors, pioneer Andrew jones, infinity primus). I really like the ascend acoust recommendation above and another thought would be Cambridge audio s30 fronts and s50 center....
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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 #8 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

Reciever technology IS changing rapidly...speaker technology is not! So, your reciever will likely be "behind the technology" 5 yrs from now, but your speakers won't. The other point is, you can buy the best reciever money can buy, but have it power mediocre speakers and your system will sound mediocre! Your system will only sound as good as the speakers you own...
Speakers? Well, I think your budget will allow you to get better than the real budget speakers...(Polk monitors, pioneer Andrew jones, infinity primus). I really like the ascend acoust recommendation above and another thought would be Cambridge audio s30 fronts and s50 center....

I agree. I haven't seen anything to make me think 4k media will be readily available within the next 5 years. 4k display devices are over $10k I mean Bluray and HDMI have been around forever and TV is still be broadcast at 720 p in many cases. 7.1 surround sound is still uncommon.

If one piece of your HT is disposable its the receiver. Speaker technology has been stable for awhile. Invest your money there. If you outgrow a $300 receiver you're not out as much cash as if you out grow $700 speakers.

Most here would recommend spend as much if your budget as possible on just the mains and slowly building up your system as you can afford it. I couldn't do it. Haha. I wanted 5.1 on day 1.

I did a Denon 2113 receiver BIC acoustech pl76s,pl26, and pl66 5.1 with a Klipsch rw-12d sub. The system also has 2 monoprice in ceiling speakers for a zone 2 in an adjacent room. That cost me about $1500. $420 of that was the receiver and I would have dedicated less to the receiver if I didn't want the ability of 7.1 plus a zone 2.
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post #9 of 19 Old 02-14-2013, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldengrey15 View Post

Hi,

I've been looking to put together a modest 5.1/7.1 speaker system and have hunted for review, shootout/comparison resources.
So far, any I've found, with legit and UNBIASED testing, measurements, commentary all tend to be for AUDIOPHILE stuff WAY WAY out of my budget.

Anyone recommend resources for tests, comparisons of MODEST PRICED equipment?
Prefer some level of in-depth test/measurement methodology and, most important: UNBIASED results and recommendations...
Stuff like basic Cnet reviews that say: "buy this, I THINK it sounded best (beause the mfr paid us off)" need not apply!!!

Need relatively in-depth, but not overboard, for general consumer.
Covering wide range of mfr/models, focusing on basic consumer mid to low/higher priced stuff.
Speakers (system packages, separates, ect) * My budget is MAYBE $500/750-$1000 MAX
Receivers * Budget is MAYBE $650 MAX retail prices
** Total looking to spend NO MORE THAN $1500!!!

? Maybe someone could make recommendations, if not?

Thanks

Heya,

I have found that with a multi-speaker setup, like 5.1, you really don't need a ton of big speakers. A large surround system is primarily for home theater. I've always found that stereo listening is best for music. But that's a preference thing. One thing I will say is that if you budget well and put a lot of thought into your receiver you can save yourself a lot of pain later and loss. A good receiver will last a long time, just as people are saying good speakers will. The thing is, you need a receiver that you can grow into. I would stress finding an entry to mid level receiver with pre-amp out capability and either 7.1 or 7.2 ability. You can get this for $400ish. This will let you grow a system much larger and more fun. This will let you add better amplification in the future should you climb into different speakers. This way you're not buying a $300 receiver that can't do anything or let you grow beyond what it is the first day you get it home. That extra $100 can get you that much more versatility and options. Well worth it. A good example is the Pioneer VSX 1121. And don't be afraid to buy second hand with this budget! If you don't want to go into pre-amp type units, here's a pretty nice starter that is 7.2: Onkyo TX-NR515 7.2.

From there, just get yourself two nice mains and a nice center. Also, get a nice sub. The surrounds, put less into. They're just surrounds. In movies, most everything is coming from the center channel and that subwoofer probably.

I would look at some Klipsch or Polk monitors perhaps. Klipsch are nice and efficient so you get a lot out of your receiver. Polk are nice and inexpensive too.

Some examples would be two Polk M50's, a CS2, a PSW505, and some M30's for surround. Find them on sale. Otherwise, look at the Klipsch RW12D or BIC F12.

Very best,
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Source: Pioneer VSX1121 (shopping for an amplifier(s))
Fronts: Polk Monitor 70's x 2
Center: Polk Monitor 70
Side Surrounds: Polk Monitor 50's x 2
Rear Surrounds: Polk Monitor 50's x 2
Subs: Polk PSW505's x 2
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post #10 of 19 Old 02-14-2013, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

I would stress finding an entry to mid level receiver with pre-amp out capability and either 7.1 or 7.2 ability. You can get this for $400ish. This will let you grow a system much larger and more fun. This will let you add better amplification in the future should you climb into different speakers. This way you're not buying a $300 receiver that can't do anything or let you grow beyond what it is the first day you get it home.

On the other hand, you might want to privilege buying a receiver that has Audyssey MultEQ or better (but not the 2EQ) version and get better SQ right now. Audyssey MultEQ will automagically EQ both the speakers and the sub. Most other room correction software doesn't have that (I think except YPAO's multipoint in the higher level Yamaha receivers). Subs typically need EQ help as much or more than speakers do in a room, so the bass response will improve with MultEQ. This is why a lot of people tend to go with Denons in this budget range.
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post #11 of 19 Old 02-15-2013, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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(Sorry for slightly delayed reply; @work too much!)
Very good stuff from everybody - thank you...

Until I can find someway to post room layout with living room dimensions for a new dedicated 'room/speaker config help' thread....
I've already got the 55" Viera plasma, am shopping for tv stand.
While I need plenty of room for components (comcast HD Box, 2x Xbox 360 [1 is modded, other is for xblive], Near future: receiver, bluray player, xbox 720 in fall '13....)
With med/small wall size available, need to make sure I don't get too wide a stand that I cannot spread Front L/R and sub appropriate distance from one another and away from center...

Wall size is approx 12.5 ft wide.
Opposite wall is approx 16.3 ft away - a couch as main seating. May be able to arrange 6in-1ft off wall for side/rear clearance between wall -
so seated distance approx 15.x ft away

I know different speaker designs, mfr/models likely call for different optimal relative placement distances, but, in general...
How far apart am I going to need Front L/R from each other, away from center, then optimal sub relative location?


Am looking at tv stands that are either 58/60" wide or 50ish" wide.
If I cannot fit components on wide stand, I'd almost be forced to use additional A/V rack or stand as a (bookshelf/monitor) stand, huh?
Then would need a second matching a/v rack or media stand exact same height and matching appearance
And both of those would need to, hopefully be approx same height as tv stand top which center will sit.
Just kinda thinking out loud, I know it's likely too vague and too many options for anybody to help too much from the web lol!

Would like advice on speaker placement relative to aforementioned room dimensions though smile.gif
And would surely love to hear any suggestions about av furniture, if able to follow mess I wrote above....rolleyes.gifrolleyes.gifbiggrin.gif

thanks again!
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-15-2013, 09:57 AM
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Glad to find this thread. I'm in a similar predicament. After reading the post it seems I too will have to increase my budget. I was looking to do Denon AVR-1913 in 5.1 mode and have zone B power 2 patio speakers (I already own).
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post #13 of 19 Old 02-15-2013, 10:40 AM
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+1 on the HSU option. I think you would be very happy.
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post #14 of 19 Old 02-15-2013, 11:19 AM
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Budget suggestion...whatever you spend on a receiver x 3 = speaker/sub budget!
Hsu would be a good choice, especially a sub! Def tech sm450s, Ascend acoust cbt170s, Polk m series, Pioneer aj series all would be options...
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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 #15 of 19 Old 02-17-2013, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, how far apart do you guys typically place your fronts, from one another?

I'd never heard of HSU or ASCEND, will look into.
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post #16 of 19 Old 02-17-2013, 12:06 PM
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Normally, 5 to 7 ft is an appropriate distance depending on the distance of the main listening position. Generally, the main listening position is at the vertex of an equilateral triangle. Sometimes the front speakers need to be "toed-in" to get the best soundstage. "Toed-in" refers to rotating each of the speakers slightly inward to point at the listener.
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post #17 of 19 Old 02-17-2013, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by postrokfan View Post

Normally, 5 to 7 ft is an appropriate distance depending on the distance of the main listening position. Generally, the main listening position is at the vertex of an equilateral triangle. Sometimes the front speakers need to be "toed-in" to get the best soundstage. "Toed-in" refers to rotating each of the speakers slightly inward to point at the listener.

Thanks!!

Now if anybody could throw me a bone for mid priced speaker/receiver review sources...?
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post #18 of 19 Old 02-17-2013, 07:13 PM
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For Ascend:

http://www.hometheatersound.com/equipment/ascend_cmt340se_cbm170se.htm

For HSU:

http://hometheaterreview.com/hsu-research-hb-1-mk2-bookshelf-loudspeaker-reviewed/

Just one review for each but you should be able to find quite a few more just doing a google search....

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post #19 of 19 Old 02-17-2013, 10:40 PM
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Review source: Audioholics would be a great place to start cool.gif
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