Arx A5 vs. HTD Level Three vs. EMP E55Ti tower shootout - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I am auditioning both sets of towers in the Houston, TX (near downtown). I have had the Arx A5 about a week while the HTDs come in today (hopefully). If anyone wants to come by and listen to them let me know. Just bring your own music (and any equipment you want to test with). My room is probably terrible acoustically with tile floors and bare walls, but at least it should handicap both at the same time. smile.gif
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post #2 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 08:12 AM
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Cool. Although I'm nowhere near TX, I'm looking forward to reading your impressions on each tower. We'll finally have some comparisons between two towers that are brought up on a regular basis under $1k.
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post #3 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 08:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Is there anything I can do to help those comparisons? Any listening material suggestions? Any measurements that would be useful--assuming I can get the equipment for cheap?
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post #4 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

Is there anything I can do to help those comparisons? Any listening material suggestions? Any measurements that would be useful--assuming I can get the equipment for cheap?

Get a SPL meter (RadioShack) and make sure you level match them.

Listening material, use music your familar with that you know well.

You can take measurements, but it won't do much good at least for those of use reading the thread, because its going to be based on your room interactions.
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post #5 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 09:11 AM
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And try to put some throw rugs down - while you are testing the speakers.

If you do not have rugs - then use some blankets

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post #6 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 10:29 AM
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Should be a great shoot out...at that price you *may* want to consider TEK as well... Very highly reviewed ...see the 2000-3000 speaker shoot out thread.
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post #7 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 11:00 AM
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... EMP Tek that is lol

Panny 65st60 / Denon / EMP e55ti / EMP e56ci / EMP e5bi / (2) e1010i
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post #8 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Should be a great shoot out...at that price you *may* want to consider TEK as well... Very highly reviewed ...see the 2000-3000 speaker shoot out thread.
You are referring to the Emp TEK right? I wanted to try the E55ti but they didn't have the color I wanted. Dammit, in for a penny in for a pound (as long as its a returnable pound tongue.gif). Ordered a pair as well.
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post #9 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 11:43 AM
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Wow looks like you have alot of work to do lol. Just remember to not let the trial periods expire before you make a decision.

Also let use know about finish quality, fit and finish, build ect... I would also try and drag in a large center rug or something, tile floors are bad for sound. Tile or hard flooring causes alot of reflection problems and overhang in the upper mid and treble. The Planar and Ribbon tweeters have an advantage due to less reflection floor to ceiling like domes have.
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post #10 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow looks like you have alot of work to do lol. Just remember to not let the trial periods expire before you make a decision.
I am really worried about this. It will definitely leave a disadvantage to the EMP speakers because they will have less time to be broken in before I need to return the Arx. I wonder if I can convince TAI to give me an extension?
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post #11 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

My room is probably terrible acoustically with tile floors and bare walls
IMO you're wasting your time. The world's best speaker won't sound good in a bad room, while a mediocre speaker will sound pretty good in an excellent room.

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post #12 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 01:45 PM
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Level match them for sure. I will say it makes a difference to my ears (sensitive ears though) if you don't have the grilles AND tweeter grille on the e55. Obviously you wouldn't want to remove the tweeter grille unless you kept them so I think not having the grille on would be about the same. Pretty much double grilled on the e55 tweeter lol

- Pictures
- Build Quality
- Finish & Overall Looks (your personal opinions here would be good too)
- Imaging and Depth (might be hard to really dig in here bc of finding placement with each, etc... Wouldn't want ya to go past the trial date)
- Break down each speaker into what you like and what it did well or poorly/not as good as another speaker



Not sure what else to add, but just trying to give an idea of a well laid out review so there aren't any questions or "I wish you would have... Blah blah".

Panny 65st60 / Denon / EMP e55ti / EMP e56ci / EMP e5bi / (2) e1010i
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post #13 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 01:47 PM
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What color e55's did you get btw??

Panny 65st60 / Denon / EMP e55ti / EMP e56ci / EMP e5bi / (2) e1010i
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post #14 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

You are referring to the Emp TEK right? I wanted to try the E55ti but they didn't have the color I wanted. Dammit, in for a penny in for a pound (as long as its a returnable pound tongue.gif). Ordered a pair as well.

Yep yep... E55ti. In that range I think you have all the players I would choose.

I mean there are Aperion (cant go for Grand but you can go for the one below that. Also, HSU research makes a heck of a package deal...

3.0 in black = 500
3.0 Rosewood = 600

Large bookshelf but you can go with their 3.1 and the sub is rockin.
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post #15 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

Is there anything I can do to help those comparisons? Any listening material suggestions? Any measurements that would be useful--assuming I can get the equipment for cheap?

Having just finished my own shootout, here are some suggestions.

I guess you will have three at once. Spend some time with each alone with the others off to the side. Work with positioning of each to find the best distance from the walls, distance apart, and toe in, so you have a good idea of how they sound. I did notice bass reinforcement when I put the speakers next to each other as compared to when they were by themselves.

When you do put them all out to compare, line them up

A B C......A B C

Not

A B C.....C B A

Try to figure out a way you can switch pairs with a remote, so you do not have to get up. It was much easier for me to notice differences when I could replay a short passage and quickly switch back between the two sets. My receiver allows me to switch speakers A and B on the remote. If you have that, you might want to not do all three at once, but instead start with A and B, then A and C, then B and C.

Or, even better, have someone else switch so you do not know which set is playing.

Some tracks I liked

Rodrigo y Gabriella. "Tamacun"
U2 "running to stand still"
Marcus miller, pretty much any track
Dire Straits Brothers in Arms disc
Sarah McLachlan "Fear"

Post pics for us too, so we can see the relative size and looks of each.

Have fun.

Ultimately, decide what sounds best to you with your favorite music

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post #16 of 125 Old 02-15-2013, 07:54 PM
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Excited to hear your impressions of these infrequently reviewed speakers. Well not the emp tek those have gotten a decent amount of reviews already.

Gear list: Main setup - Kef Q900, Svs sb12-nsd subwoofer, onkyo 609 receiver, epson 8350 projector, elitescreens sable 92" screen, mac mini htpc
bedroom setup: PSB Image B5, maverick tubemagic a1 amplifier, hifimediy sabre9023 dac, ZMF Fostex T50RP modded headphones
preordered gear: Light Harmonic Geek Pulse X dac and headphone amp
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post #17 of 125 Old 02-16-2013, 10:41 PM
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I bought one of these A/B switches (and some extra speaker wire) from Amazon to audition speakers - it works great. (Though if I had it to do over again I'd buy a switch with independent levels/volume control.)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0043JBLC0/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I found it very revealing to be able to go back and forth instantly between speaker options. It's also helpful how often music has repeating 4 or 8 bar patterns ; )
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post #18 of 125 Old 02-19-2013, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

Having just finished my own shootout, here are some suggestions.
This had some great ideas, thanks!
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Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

I bought one of these A/B switches (and some extra speaker wire) from Amazon to audition speakers - it works great. (Though if I had it to do over again I'd buy a switch with independent levels/volume control.)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0043JBLC0/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I found it very revealing to be able to go back and forth instantly between speaker options. It's also helpful how often music has repeating 4 or 8 bar patterns ; )

Great idea! I spent the weekend wishing it didn't take me so long to switch. By the time the speakers were switched it was hard to remember the exact detail I was looking to compare. Ordered a 4 speaker box so I could compare all 3 at the same time; it should arrive tomorrow.
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post #19 of 125 Old 02-19-2013, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

And try to put some throw rugs down - while you are testing the speakers.

If you do not have rugs - then use some blankets
Will do.
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Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

What color e55's did you get btw??
Black because they were out of the red burl (which is really what I wanted).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

IMO you're wasting your time. The world's best speaker won't sound good in a bad room, while a mediocre speaker will sound pretty good in an excellent room.
I have to work with what is available to me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

Get a SPL meter (RadioShack) and make sure you level match them.

Listening material, use music your familar with that you know well.

You can take measurements, but it won't do much good at least for those of use reading the thread, because its going to be based on your room interactions.
I have no idea how to do any of this. I have been using an iPhone SPL meter I saw recommended on another thread, but only as a curiosity.
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post #20 of 125 Old 02-19-2013, 09:48 AM
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Will do.
Black because they were out of the red burl (which is really what I wanted).
I have to work with what is available to me.
I have no idea how to do any of this. I have been using an iPhone SPL meter I saw recommended on another thread, but only as a curiosity.

Try to play a song or test tone with a steady sound and watch the meter. When you switch to another speaker, the level will be a bit lower or higher depending upon the sensitivity of each set. Then you can adjust the volume so that each set plays at the same level. If not, the louder speaker will have an unfair advantage. Once you know how many ticks up or down on the volume knob are needed, you can quickly adjust the volume when you switch to get the levels close to equal. It is not perfect compared to a dedicated level matching AB switch, but it helps.

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post #21 of 125 Old 02-20-2013, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks like the E55Ti will not arrive until next week. frown.gif
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post #22 of 125 Old 02-26-2013, 08:10 AM
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Look forward to reading about the shootout.
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post #23 of 125 Old 02-26-2013, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Got the EMP tek E55Ti today. I have unboxed them and hooked them up. I will take pictures tonight and start with aesthetic comparisons. I am waiting for the speaker selector with independent volume controls which should arrive tomorrow. Planning to have people come over Friday (and maybe a repeat on Sunday) although anyone in the Houston, TX are is welcome to drop by and check them out (assuming our schedules match).

I want to specially thank Jon Lane/TAI for allowing me 2 extra weeks with the Arx speakers specifically for the shootout!
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post #24 of 125 Old 02-26-2013, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

Got the EMP tek E55Ti today. I have unboxed them and hooked them up. I will take pictures tonight and start with aesthetic comparisons. I am waiting for the speaker selector with independent volume controls which should arrive tomorrow. Planning to have people come over Friday (and maybe a repeat on Sunday) although anyone in the Houston, TX are is welcome to drop by and check them out (assuming our schedules match).

I want to specially thank Jon Lane/TAI for allowing me 2 extra weeks with the Arx speakers specifically for the shootout!

Good to hear they're in! Hopefully they arrived perfectly so this comparison can be underway

That's nice of Jon. Seems like these 3 companies have some pretty stellar customer service

Panny 65st60 / Denon / EMP e55ti / EMP e56ci / EMP e5bi / (2) e1010i
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post #25 of 125 Old 02-26-2013, 01:34 PM
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Cool. Can't wait to see pics and hear what you think of them all.

Oh, you should edit the thread title and add Emptek,

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post #26 of 125 Old 02-26-2013, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

... I am waiting for the speaker selector with independent volume controls which should arrive tomorrow. ...

Curious which switch you got!
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post #27 of 125 Old 02-26-2013, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Curious which switch you got!
I got a Pyle one. It seemed like it would get the job done and here quickly. I think Monoprice had one that was cheaper, but hard to beat Amazon Prime.
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post #28 of 125 Old 02-26-2013, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, so here are a couple pictures. From left to right: EMP Tek E55Ti, HTD Level Three Tower, Arx A5, and (just for size comparison) the Andrew Jones Pioneer. The E55Ti's are refectively glossy black (that almost looks blue). The HTD is a light cherry. The wood grain is very light so it almost looks like a solid color, but not quite. The domes on the HTD's are an off-white while the E55TI's are a silvery white metallic. The Arx A5 is the simplest with a plain black which looks like the Pioneers; they are square instead of rounded, and taller. The grill on the HTD's is the thinnest and has the finest mesh. It is a bit shiny and thin; it looks like it might tear easily. The grill on the Arx looks thick but has been the easiest to smudge and pick up dust. The Emp grills are nice looking and between the Arx and HTD on mesh thickness.



I personally like the look of the HTD's the most. It has the nicest wood, and just looks well put together. I also like the look of it without the grill better but not sure if that is safe. I really wonder what the E55Tis look like in red burl. They are already super glossy and not sure that a red color would make it look better...although, it might decrease the reflectiveness. The Arx are the most boring, but probably also the likeliest to blend in. They are the smallest of the bunch (in every dimension) which might help it to blend in.
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post #29 of 125 Old 02-26-2013, 07:05 PM
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Good pic's, really shows the differences.

If you take yourself too seriously expect me to do the exact opposite
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post #30 of 125 Old 02-26-2013, 07:12 PM
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Nice pictures.

As small as the Arx is compared to the others, they are actually heavier than the other much larger towers. Probably due to the heavy driver motors and cast frames.
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