My proposed system, can you recommend better for the money? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 02-17-2013, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok good news, I was able to sell my under powered receiver and cheap Sony speakers. I'm now planning my next system which will be an upgrade to "mid level" quality:

Onkyo TX-NR809 ($650)
JBL L830 bookshelf speakers ($360, pair)
JBL LC2 center ($280)

The rear surround speakers and powered sub will come later. Let me know what you think for the above 3 pieces in the ~$1300 total range. What else would you recommend as a similar package and why?

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post #2 of 29 Old 02-17-2013, 10:18 AM
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You should be able to get a better price on the NR809. It's last years model. They were selling under $500 just a couple of months ago.

You might also want to look at the Pioneer VSX-1222 which is pretty much the Elite VSX-61.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117412


The JBL's look to be a pretty good price, never heard them though.

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post #3 of 29 Old 02-17-2013, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gasdag View Post

Ok good news, I was able to sell my under powered receiver and cheap Sony speakers. I'm now planning my next system which will be an upgrade to "mid level" quality:

Onkyo TX-NR809 ($650)
JBL L830 bookshelf speakers ($360, pair)
JBL LC2 center ($280)

The rear surround speakers and powered sub will come later. Let me know what you think for the above 3 pieces in the ~$1300 total range. What else would you recommend as a similar package and why?

Have you auditioned the JBLs? What kind of sound do you like? Forward? Laid back? Edgy? Smooth? What is the percentage of music versus Home Theater you plan to use it for?

How big is your room and is it open to adjacent rooms?

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post #4 of 29 Old 02-17-2013, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Awesome questions. I haven't auditioned these exact JBL's. I need to hear them in person, first, I know. I had another pair of JBL's from 12 years ago, and they are still great, I am a fan of the brand. But also considering KEF C3's, but also haven't heard them yet. Best Buy is pretty much all we have here and they don't have a lot of great speaker selection. I like smooth sound but also I want a lot of volume. My last receiver was weak and so were the speakers, and i definitely want beefy wattage and decibels this time around. My favorite use of the speakers would be a DVD or Blu Ray of a music concert, like Pearl Jam or Radiohead. Also I like electronic, drum and bass, and some classical/instrumental music. So I would say 60/40 home theater to music. Also play PS3 on home theater a good bit.
As for the room, not sure yet. I will be moving and renting, and honestly I wouldn't know what size room it will be. Would you really suggest buying the system to match the room? What if I move every year, like I have been, and want to transfer the system every time? I want to buy good quality stuff to hold on to the next 5-10 year
Also good point on the onkyo price, thanks and I will take a look at that Pioneer. Looks similar but has 15 watts less per channel.

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post #5 of 29 Old 02-17-2013, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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.

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post #6 of 29 Old 02-17-2013, 11:50 AM
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15 wpc is insignificant - make the decision based on other features you may want/need. I'd look in the receiver section and see what people can suggest as the best for $500ish.

If you save a bit on the receiver, you can consider many other speaker choices:

a) go listen to the JBLs

b) consider refurbed PSB from Saturday Audio; B5 bookshelves ($360 pair) and C5 centre ($320); then when you save up you can get T5 for fronts and move the B5 to rears smile.gif

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post #7 of 29 Old 02-17-2013, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thx for the info on PSB's. Seen them for sale but probably overlooked due to the price. Not sure I would want refurbished speakers? Do they replace all the woofers and tweeters with new? Probably want to buy new. Just wondering about these jumps in price/quality. Does the $450 PSB B5 or $550 B6 really blow away a $350 JBL L830 ? I just don't know half of the brands these days and what's so great about one speaker or another, since everyone seems to say they love what they bought, probabaly because they want to feel good about their purchase in hindsight.

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post #8 of 29 Old 02-17-2013, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gasdag View Post

Awesome questions. I haven't auditioned these exact JBL's. I need to hear them in person, first, I know. I had another pair of JBL's from 12 years ago, and they are still great, I am a fan of the brand. But also considering KEF C3's, but also haven't heard them yet. Best Buy is pretty much all we have here and they don't have a lot of great speaker selection. I like smooth sound but also I want a lot of volume. My last receiver was weak and so were the speakers, and i definitely want beefy wattage and decibels this time around. My favorite use of the speakers would be a DVD or Blu Ray of a music concert, like Pearl Jam or Radiohead. Also I like electronic, drum and bass, and some classical/instrumental music. So I would say 60/40 home theater to music. Also play PS3 on home theater a good bit.
As for the room, not sure yet. I will be moving and renting, and honestly I wouldn't know what size room it will be. Would you really suggest buying the system to match the room? What if I move every year, like I have been, and want to transfer the system every time? I want to buy good quality stuff to hold on to the next 5-10 year
Also good point on the onkyo price, thanks and I will take a look at that Pioneer. Looks similar but has 15 watts less per channel.

Regarding the AVR - grab this Onkyo model (newer and cheaper right now) http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Onkyo+-+770W+7.2-Ch.+A/V+Home+Theater+Receiver/5732716.p?id=1218690243325&skuId=5732716 for $529.99 (normally 950!), plus it has 2 channel pre-outs for adding an external amplifier if you move down the road and end up in a larger room.

As far as speakers go, and I know I recommend these a lot, but while you're at Best Buy, give the Andrew Jones Pioneer loudspeakers a listen. You may be surprised at the sound you get for the money. Now, they are not super-efficient like Klipsch are so they will sound quieter than the Klipsch KF series on the same volume setting. If you can get over this initial difference, listen to the quality of the sound the Pioneers produce. You can build a 5 channel system for about $480, without any bundle deals. I would recommend passing on the available Pioneer sub that they offer to "match" the others. It is less than impressive, and you can certainly do better. At budget prices, I tend to recommend from a couple of Bic subs - the F12 or the V1220. They can both be had for under $200. This would put your investment at about $1200 tops, and you'd have a kick-ass system that performs well, and which is easily upgradeable for the future.

I hope that helps.

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post #9 of 29 Old 02-17-2013, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the advice. Now I'm thinking about the Pioneer VSX 1222 above. AirPlay with my Ipad3 sounds like a cool feature. Speakers, the PSB B6s and C5 center have all amazing reviews, but ill need to somehow find some in person to hear them first. That would put me at $1500ish without any kind of sale and full price from Crutchfield. Learning pioneer's mcacc would suck at first, as Audyssey on the onkyo was so awesomely easy. I could use my old JBL's as surrounds in the back for now, and weigh the idea of a powered sub in an apartment at a later time.

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post #10 of 29 Old 02-18-2013, 05:31 AM
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If you are considering the Pioneer SC-1222, then let me suggest the Inifinty Primus speakers. They do benefit from a more capable receiver, but they are very well liked and you can find a lot of great reviews on them. You can probably get the P363s and P351 for ~$600.

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post #11 of 29 Old 02-18-2013, 06:28 AM
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budget out of balance...you are proposing to spending as much on a rec as speakers (around 650)...if you were to get a more budget friendly receiver, maybe around 300, that would give you up to 900 to spend on speakers..which could get you a Ascend Acout CMT340 front stage and that would be better that the speakers proposed in this thread so far, IMHO!

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post #12 of 29 Old 02-18-2013, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

budget out of balance...you are proposing to spending as much on a rec as speakers (around 650)...if you were to get a more budget friendly receiver, maybe around 300, that would give you up to 900 to spend on speakers..which could get you a Ascend Acout CMT340 front stage and that would be better that the speakers proposed in this thread so far, IMHO!

+1

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post #13 of 29 Old 02-18-2013, 07:46 AM
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post #14 of 29 Old 02-18-2013, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [Irishman] View Post

Regarding the AVR - grab this Onkyo model (newer and cheaper right now) http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Onkyo+-+770W+7.2-Ch.+A/V+Home+Theater+Receiver/5732716.p?id=1218690243325&skuId=5732716 for $529.99 (normally 950!), plus it has 2 channel pre-outs for adding an external amplifier if you move down the road and end up in a larger room.

As far as speakers go, and I know I recommend these a lot, but while you're at Best Buy, give the Andrew Jones Pioneer loudspeakers a listen. You may be surprised at the sound you get for the money. Now, they are not super-efficient like Klipsch are so they will sound quieter than the Klipsch KF series on the same volume setting. If you can get over this initial difference, listen to the quality of the sound the Pioneers produce. You can build a 5 channel system for about $480, without any bundle deals. I would recommend passing on the available Pioneer sub that they offer to "match" the others. It is less than impressive, and you can certainly do better. At budget prices, I tend to recommend from a couple of Bic subs - the F12 or the V1220. They can both be had for under $200. This would put your investment at about $1200 tops, and you'd have a kick-ass system that performs well, and which is easily upgradeable for the future.

I hope that helps.

I would avoid the NR717, especially compared to last year's NR709... the NR717 drops from Audyssey MultEQ XT all the way down to 2EQ which does not EQ the sub... while this may not be a concern for the OP now, once he has a sub it will likely benefit greatly from equalization. If you do want to save on the AVR but ensure it has all the processing, room correction, switching, and outputs to be used as a pre-pro later on, the NR709 is (IMO) pretty much the sweet spot. I think there's a 20% off on refurbs directly from Onkyo for Club Onkyo members right now as well, bring it down to $350 or less (there are some other promos related to registering another Onkyo product you already own if possible). If you're not planning on adding an amp in the future, I'd consider the NR709 as the point-of-entry, even with the JBL speakers in question being fairly efficient... I don't think stepping up to the NR809 would be out of line, but maybe not an absolute necessity either.

In terms of the budget being unbalanced, I'd disagree to a certain extent since he's starting out with 3 speakers, not 5.1 or 7.1. I have no idea if this is part of the OP's upgrade plans, but the L830 bookshelfs could easily become surrounds later on with an upgrade to something like L880, L890, or even L820 mains. Once that, along with a subwoofer (could vary from something as low end as a BIC F-12 up to an SVS or monster DIY project) are considered, the budget balance isn't off at all. Even if he just adds another pair of L830s or L810s to the back and a sub, he's still not all that skewed on budget even with a $600 AVR.

The lack of subwoofer EQ within MCACC is my main reason for not recommending the Pioneer AVRs to most folks... other than that, the SC1222 and last year's VSX-1121 are extremely solid and beefy AVRs.

Speakers are so subjective I won't make a recommendation for something I think you would like, but will point out some bookshelf/center combos in/around your price range that you might want to consider:

- Polk RTi A3 and CSi A6 Center (also the older RTi6 when on sale)
- Infinity Primus 163/363 and PC351 Center
- Energy RC-LCR x 3
- HTD Level 3 Bookshelfs + Center
- Arx A1b + A2b Center
- Axiom M2 + VP100 Center
- Ascend CBM-170 + CMT-340 Center
- EMP Tek E5Bi + E5Ci Center
- Bic FH-65B + FH6-LR Center
- About a million others in the price range...

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post #15 of 29 Old 05-21-2013, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok I wanted to chime in on my system updates. Proposed system after much research, I'm down to PSB vs Ascend, spending the extra $ will be worth it. I heard some Infinity Primus 363s, and while they were loud and pretty kick ass, I wasn't thinking wow these are really sharp and clear. I want a step up in precision and clarity. I want to watch Blu ray concerts and hear every word at full volume, and every faint whisper from a fan in the audience.

AVR: Pioneer SC-1522-K. My local Costco sold out of this at the $599 price, so I now see them brand new on eBay for $7-800, guys trying to make a buck. I will probably buy one since its so much receiver for the money, and will provide me years of room to grow.

Speakers: Either PSB B6 bookshelves and a C5 center, OR Ascend CMT340SE mains and center.
The Ascend looks to require bi-wiring on the back terminals, and I will have to shell out additional $40/cable for their special bi wire cables. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Bad in that its a chunk of cash on a few 8ft long wires.
The two different front stages are similarly priced, though the Ascend look to give you more speaker for the money.

Any input on the comparison of this PSB vs Ascend front stage?

I will have some old JBL bookshelves running as my 2 rear surrounds, and a budget $300 sub for some bass, but I want the front stage to be loud and clear and amazing. Only the Ascend front stage would be bi-wired, so would that be an issue or conflict for only half of my 5.1 system being wired differently than the other half?

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post #16 of 29 Old 05-21-2013, 04:20 PM
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A couple of ideas. Don't spend that much to get the 1522 on eBay. Do you need 9.2? I doubt it. Look at the Pioneer 1222, or Yamaha A820, both for $500 at NewEgg. As far as bi-wiring, forget it, not necessary.
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post #17 of 29 Old 05-21-2013, 04:41 PM
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Crutchfield will allow you to demo the PSB speakers in your house for 60 days. I did this (pair of B6s) and ultimately went with another speaker. They charge a flat $7 for returns within 60 days. Ascend is not so easy. You would have to pay for the return shipping of the speakers (over $100 from east coast for me) however I'm fairly certain that if you had both sets in your room at the same time that you'd be paying the 7 bucks to return the PSBs.

I'll also throw these receivers into the ring:

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR2113CI/DENON-AVR-2113CI-7.1ch-Networking-Receiver-w/AirPlay-3D-Ready/1.html

and

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR3312CI/DENON-AVR-3312CI-7.2-Network-A/V-Surround-Receiver-w/AirPlay/1.html

Lastly, you don't need special cables for bi-wiring. They will come with jumpers for the speakers terminals - just plug regular speaker cable into either the top or bottom terminals and you're good to go.
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post #18 of 29 Old 05-21-2013, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gasdag View Post

Ok I wanted to chime in on my system updates. Proposed system after much research, I'm down to PSB vs Ascend, spending the extra $ will be worth it. I heard some Infinity Primus 363s, and while they were loud and pretty kick ass, I wasn't thinking wow these are really sharp and clear. I want a step up in precision and clarity. I want to watch Blu ray concerts and hear every word at full volume, and every faint whisper from a fan in the audience.

AVR: Pioneer SC-1522-K. My local Costco sold out of this at the $599 price, so I now see them brand new on eBay for $7-800, guys trying to make a buck. I will probably buy one since its so much receiver for the money, and will provide me years of room to grow.

Speakers: Either PSB B6 bookshelves and a C5 center, OR Ascend CMT340SE mains and center.
The Ascend looks to require bi-wiring on the back terminals, and I will have to shell out additional $40/cable for their special bi wire cables. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Bad in that its a chunk of cash on a few 8ft long wires.
The two different front stages are similarly priced, though the Ascend look to give you more speaker for the money.

Any input on the comparison of this PSB vs Ascend front stage?

I will have some old JBL bookshelves running as my 2 rear surrounds, and a budget $300 sub for some bass, but I want the front stage to be loud and clear and amazing. Only the Ascend front stage would be bi-wired, so would that be an issue or conflict for only half of my 5.1 system being wired differently than the other half?

No. The Ascends don't require bi-wiring. There's a bridge connecting the two negative terminals and another connecting the two positive, so you just run one set of wires. Use the same speaker wire as for your other speakers.


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post #19 of 29 Old 05-21-2013, 07:20 PM
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The Ascend looks to require bi-wiring on the back terminals, and I will have to shell out additional $40/cable for their special bi wire cables. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Bad in that its a chunk of cash on a few 8ft long wires.
Bi-wiring does absolutely nothing. Electrically it just moves the jumpers from the back of the speakers to the back of the AVR, which makes the result identical either way. And what cables are you buying that cost that much? You should never spend more than a dollar a foot for cables, and even that's at the high end of what you should be spending.

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post #20 of 29 Old 05-21-2013, 08:09 PM
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Gasdag, those speakers feature bi-AMPING, and stock they only use one set of ordinary speaker wires The second set is ordinary wire as well, which I would use with banana plugs. To bi-amp you just remove a simple connector on the speaker terminals. Quick and easy.

That Onkyo 717 which was not loved further upstream, is well loved by me, because I plan on bi-wiring my fronts, once I find the right speakers, which I was thinking about building. The Onk 717 will also allow you to use it as a pre-amp if you want to add more power in a dedicated amp later.

Right now, thanks to my reading of this thread, those Ascend CMT340's are looking pretty sweet.cool.gif

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post #21 of 29 Old 05-22-2013, 02:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Thx guys for the responses. I'm actually seeing the Pioneer 1522 for the $599 price on eBay, plus I'd save on sales tax, and pay a little for shipping. Yes I
could save $100 by getting the 1222 but the reason I want the 1522 is the 2 HDMI Ouputs, to be capable of running one hdmi to a zone 2 in my bedroom, or even connecting two screens in the living room and be playing PS3 along side football games. Plus the wattage bonus with the 1522. I previously had an 80wpc onkyo and crappy speakers, and this time around I want max wattage and quality speakers.

Thx for the info on bi wiring. So if I connect my regular speaker wire (14 gauge) to either the woofer or tweeter terminal, all frequencies will be heard, since there is a gold jumper connecting the high frequency to the low frequency? Ok, good to know! And yes I'll be getting the Ascend front stage and use my own speaker wires.
How do u think they will sound, power wise, the 1522 running the Ascend front stage?

Also do u know what B-stock is on Ascend's website? It sounds like open box or returns, or slight cosmetic damage, but they don't give you pics of what you'll actually be getting if you were to buy that discounted B-stock speaker.

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post #22 of 29 Old 05-22-2013, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvu80 View Post

Gasdag, those speakers feature bi-AMPING,
They don't. Bi-amping requires the addition of an electronic crossover prior to amplification, so that each amp only works within its own pass band, and removal of the passive crossover in the speaker. So-called 'passive bi-amping' is an oxymoron, and like bi-wiring it serves no useful purpose except to the marketeers trying to convince you to buy their wares.

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post #23 of 29 Old 05-22-2013, 06:53 AM
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I have only heard the Ascend CMT340s...but, man those are fantastic speakers which are very neutral, capable of playing clear at loud volumes and best, a very good speaker at low to moderate volumes!

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 #24 of 29 Old 05-22-2013, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Great to hear that. I emailed them about their B-Stock CMT-340SE that they have at discounted pricing. They say "very minor cosmetic flaws". But "acoustically perfect". I asked if they could send me pictures over email of the exact flaws that caused them to be put into B-stock. It's over $100 savings off the 3 piece front stage, so if its just a scratch on the back of the speaker box or something, I would have no problem. But if there is cut cloth or very visible scratches, it will affect my decision. I wish they would put photos on their site of the exact piece for sale, like eBay. You just have to trust that the flaws are really "minor", and when I'm spending close to a $G on some speakers, I would like some pics ya know?

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post #25 of 29 Old 05-22-2013, 08:55 AM
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If you check the Ascend SE Owners thread you find that everyone who ordered B-stock was very happy. Like many of the ID companies, Ascend's customer service is excellent and they're invested-in/proud-of their products.
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post #26 of 29 Old 05-24-2013, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gasdag View Post

How do u think they will sound, power wise, the 1522 running the Ascend front stage?
.

When I bought my Marantz receiver I was THRILLED with the difference in sound quality of my run-of-the-mill Sony receiver that I had for years. That being said, after adding my Rotel amp to the mix, I would never go back to just powering speakers with just an AVR. If I did it again, I would buy the cheapest AVR with all the features I needed and put the rest of my money towards good external amplification.

I think you'll be quite happy with the Ascend speakers. I've never seen a bad review on them. Good luck!
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post #27 of 29 Old 05-30-2013, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Latest plans, close to finalizing

Pioneer 1522 AVR, will find in the $5-600 range, new or like new
Ascend CMT340SE mains and center, B-stock, $800 shipped
Budget subwoofer, either a Dayton Sub-1200 or Klipsch RW-12d (may get 2 of them depending on room)

This puts me at 3.1
I have a pair of JBL bookshelves, I wanted to use as surrounds. They are HLS-810
Turns out these are 2 way with a horn tweeter and an 8" woofer. Had these since the 90's and they are loud and clear. Should I try to unload these on Craigslist and get a different pair of surrounds to make a 5.1 setup? Would it sound weird to use these old speakers with my brand new Ascend front stage? They have been good speakers for me, and I'd prefer to keep them, but if I can sell them for $100 and get something newer/more precise... I dunno if its worth it to go with some $300 Ascend 200SE etc. IMO in previous 5 speaker set ups, the 2 surrounds don't play that big of a role
51MFJ33Z3GL._AA300_.jpg

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post #28 of 29 Old 05-30-2013, 02:14 PM
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Run your old JBL's and see how they sound. If the horns are too much, sell them.
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post #29 of 29 Old 05-31-2013, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post

Run your old JBL's and see how they sound. If the horns are too much, sell them.

I agree, with an explanation. That Pio AVR the OP is considering is going to give him MANY more options for playback then he knows yet. If those horn driven speakers are too bright, the AVR is going to tame them somewhat. I would suggest he keep the old JBL's until he finds some music or movie he's listening to that scream to him "I hate these things!" Then make the change.

Symmetry pleases the eye, but it usually offends the ears where low frequencies are concerned. -Yoda Fitzmaurice
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