Looking to set up a quality 5.1 Channel system with 2 channel for Music. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-18-2013, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello There,

I am looking to set up a good 5.1 channel setup. I wanted to start off with speakers and buy an amp later (for the amp I am guessing I should post in the amp/receiver section?) So far I have purchased one center channel speaker on a whim. I had heard good things about AudioVector and this was a $1000 center channel speaker I bought for $50 so I thought it was quite a steal: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=121079838387 It's not the prettiest thing, and I don't know how much it matters that this match the other speakers I buy exactly, because I will ONLY be using this and the rear speakers for films and only those that had a 5.1 channel soundtrack encoded, otherwise I will be listening to 2 channel audio for music and 2 channel films...

My requirements are something that isn't made in China or outsourced to a developing country and something that is high build quality with a degree of aesthetics to it. I don't necessarily want form over function, but the design is just as important as the sound for me. I would LOVE to have something that would go well with my Loewe Aconda high gloss black TV. I want something that is used from the late 80s to early 00s, something that I can find for cheap now that was top of the line back then, similar to the steal I got on the AudioVector. I bought my Loewe Aconda for $40 which was originally a $3500 TV... Granted TV technology has changed a lot more than speaker technology, there are still great deals to be had from the used recent vintage speaker market.

Specifically I am looking for two tower speakers that are not too wide as I don't have much room (I will be sitting only a few feet away from the speakers). I really like the look of the B&O Penta speakers, they remind me of a cyberpunk blade runner type of theme, in fact I love all the beolab/beovox tower speakers as they seem to be nice and round and thin so would fit perfectly. Unfortunately due to the B&O name, they keep their value quite well and are therefore out of my price range. I would love something that shape/size and design. I know a lot of people on here would say they don't like B&O because of the name but those speakers are hand assembled in Denmark and the fact that B&O focuses a lot on beautiful designs is not a bad thing, I wish more speaker companies looked less utilitarian since you will be staring at the darn things all the time when in your house and I would rather admire the look rather than feel sick at the look of them.

My price range is in the $200-$300 range and so far I have found only a few speakers in that range that might fit my needs such as the KEF Q50/Q70, some Boston Acoustics and Polk Audios, etc... It would really be great if people could give me some suggestions that meet my requirements. I think if I try hard and long enough I might find some excellent speakers in my price range of a recent vintage. I just need a bunch of suggestions to look for. I quite like the look of the A/D/S speakers from the 90s, the Linn Tukan and others are incredibly beautiful with their gloss finish as are Vienna Acoustics and Dynaudio, but I haven't seen any in my price range yet... I would prefer a lesser known brand as like the ones I mentioned compared to something like Polk or Boston as I want something like I mentioned that is less mass produced, more artisanal and with a higher aesthetic quality to them (perhaps even a gloss sheen to match my Loewe).

Forgot to mention the types of music I will listen to the most: New Wave, TripHop, Dubstep/Chillstep, Modern Symphonic/Experimental (Ryuichi Sakamoto), New Age, Adult Contemporary, Chillout, World Music, some pop/alternative rock... I think really rich deep mids would be nice and lots of bass (although this is not a requirement as I can always use the system as 2.1 with a subwoofer)...

Thank you!
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-18-2013, 08:21 PM
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For a good 5.1 setup, it's important that your front left/right/center timbre match. This generally means buying three of the exact same speaker for the front three or getting the center channel designed by the manufacturer to match the front left/right. Otherwise, it's near impossible to guess which other speaker pair out there from another manufacturer would match your center channel.
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-18-2013, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

For a good 5.1 setup, it's important that your front left/right/center timbre match. This generally means buying three of the exact same speaker for the front three or getting the center channel designed by the manufacturer to match the front left/right. Otherwise, it's near impossible to guess which other speaker pair out there from another manufacturer would match your center channel.

I see your point. So the rears are not as important? In this case I need to buy AudioVector speakers to match... I guess I made a mistake in buying this center channel unless I buy a full AudioVector setup?
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-18-2013, 09:33 PM
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If music is your priority, I think you might be better off to focus on the front left/right and sell that center. But of course look for front mains that you can easily get a good center channel match. The problem is that more vintage 80s speakers will not have a center because it's before 5.1 surround. You would have to find a third of the same same as the left right. So it may be easier to look at speakers from the last fifteen years or so.
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-22-2013, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone have an opinion of these? They look great and are the perfect size (not sure about how the center channel will match though) and the price is right! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Monitor-Audio-R952-MD-Speakers-/171007985641?ViewItem=&ssPageName=ADME%3AX%3ARTQ%3AUS%3A1123&item=171007985641&nma=true&si=KmgmQcV%252BjjYPqPIhK%252Fw5IaDiB4E%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-26-2013, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
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So I went to listen to the Monitor Audio RM952/MDs today. They look amazing, high quality and brand new looking with original boxes and manual, etc... Unfortunately he had a pretty old amp from the 70s which only produced 60W per channel. It really didn't impress me at all. In fact, my Beosound Century/2000 sounds a million times better (actually better than anything I have owned) and it didn't even sound as good as my NHT bookshelves hooked to my Sony surround sound amp... Am I missing something? Maybe it's because he had an amp that wasn't so great and the speakers are capable of 180W? The size and looks were great but they seemed a bit small, almost like elongated bookshelves... At the price of $175 it sounds like a great deal but how do I know if it was the amp or the speakers? Will they sound amazing on my amp in comparison?
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-27-2013, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by BaronKatz View Post

I see your point. So the rears are not as important? In this case I need to buy AudioVector speakers to match... I guess I made a mistake in buying this center channel unless I buy a full AudioVector setup?

As surround technology is advancing towards object oriented audio in the next few years... I say that the surround speakers really do need to match the front three (maybe not the same speaker, but from the same model line) tonally. They should be matched anyway, even today, since sound effects are panned around the room and you want them to sound the same no matter their location. Also, there are multi-channel music recordings that require matched speakers all around.

If you have a discerning ear and are looking for U.S. made speakers and subwoofers that work great for music and dynamic movie soundtracks, I'd look at Oregon-based Triad Speakers. Many different price ranges, but the quality is high and they can do custom cabinet work as well. Quite impressive! If you don't have a dealer in the area, you might be able to purchase them from AV Science right here on the web. Triad can be pretty accommodating to get the sale.

Older vintage speakers may not be able to keep up with the demands of today's state-of-the-art digital soundtracks and music recordings, even if you can get them for a song.

Take a look at Emotiva and Outlaw Audio for decent amps at a reasonable price. Outlaw at least did sell U.S. manufactured amplifiers... hopefully, they still do. Emotiva is built overseas.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-30-2013, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

As surround technology is advancing towards object oriented audio in the next few years... I say that the surround speakers really do need to match the front three (maybe not the same speaker, but from the same model line) tonally. They should be matched anyway, even today, since sound effects are panned around the room and you want them to sound the same no matter their location. Also, there are multi-channel music recordings that require matched speakers all around.

If you have a discerning ear and are looking for U.S. made speakers and subwoofers that work great for music and dynamic movie soundtracks, I'd look at Oregon-based Triad Speakers. Many different price ranges, but the quality is high and they can do custom cabinet work as well. Quite impressive! If you don't have a dealer in the area, you might be able to purchase them from AV Science right here on the web. Triad can be pretty accommodating to get the sale.

Older vintage speakers may not be able to keep up with the demands of today's state-of-the-art digital soundtracks and music recordings, even if you can get them for a song.

Take a look at Emotiva and Outlaw Audio for decent amps at a reasonable price. Outlaw at least did sell U.S. manufactured amplifiers... hopefully, they still do. Emotiva is built overseas.

Thanks for this recommendation.

I have a pair of A400 bookshelves. Great little speakers. I am thinking of making a system with used early 90s NHT speakers. For example the VT1 series? The whole set I could get for around $400 for a subwoofer, tower speakers, center channel, and surrounds :-).

HOWEVER, I just received my amazing Audiovector center channel and it blows away almost anything I have heard. If I can find a pair of Audiovector tower speakers to match it that would be amazing. Most of you don't know the brand but it's a smaller handmade Danish maker, kind of a direct competitor to the more famous Dynaudio and quality wise often compared to them.

One problem perhaps someone can help me figure out: I biwired it correctly but for some reason sound comes out only from the left woofer and tweeter, nothing from the right woofer... Could this be a crossover issue or connection issue?
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-30-2013, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

As surround technology is advancing towards object oriented audio in the next few years... I say that the surround speakers really do need to match the front three (maybe not the same speaker, but from the same model line) tonally. They should be matched anyway, even today, since sound effects are panned around the room and you want them to sound the same no matter their location. Also, there are multi-channel music recordings that require matched speakers all around.

If you have a discerning ear and are looking for U.S. made speakers and subwoofers that work great for music and dynamic movie soundtracks, I'd look at Oregon-based Triad Speakers. Many different price ranges, but the quality is high and they can do custom cabinet work as well. Quite impressive! If you don't have a dealer in the area, you might be able to purchase them from AV Science right here on the web. Triad can be pretty accommodating to get the sale.

Older vintage speakers may not be able to keep up with the demands of today's state-of-the-art digital soundtracks and music recordings, even if you can get them for a song.

Take a look at Emotiva and Outlaw Audio for decent amps at a reasonable price. Outlaw at least did sell U.S. manufactured amplifiers... hopefully, they still do. Emotiva is built overseas.

Thanks for this recommendation.

I have a pair of A400 bookshelves. Great little speakers. I am thinking of making a system with used early 90s NHT speakers. For example the VT1 series? The whole set I could get for around $400 for a subwoofer, tower speakers, center channel, and surrounds :-).

HOWEVER, I just received my amazing Audiovector center channel and it blows away almost anything I have heard. If I can find a pair of Audiovector tower speakers to match it that would be amazing. Most of you don't know the brand but it's a smaller handmade Danish maker, kind of a direct competitor to the more famous Dynaudio and quality wise often compared to them.

One problem perhaps someone can help me figure out: I biwired it correctly but for some reason sound comes out only from the left woofer and tweeter, nothing from the right woofer... Could this be a crossover issue or connection issue?

I should mention that I am using VERY thin high gauge wire and the music seems to fade in and out a bit...
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-30-2013, 01:30 PM
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For starters, I wouldn't bother bi-amping or bi-wiring... a lot more hassle than results. The difference is usually miniscule. For all setups I usually use 12 gauge speaker wire. Good all around size. Don't have to spend a bundle to get good quality copper wire (expensive "audiophile" cable is snake oil).

If you're still having troubles after you've hooked the Audiovector up normally, it may be an internal cross-over board issue or an internal wiring problem (loose connection, a short, etc.). You might have received a bum speaker.
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-03-2013, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

For starters, I wouldn't bother bi-amping or bi-wiring... a lot more hassle than results. The difference is usually miniscule. For all setups I usually use 12 gauge speaker wire. Good all around size. Don't have to spend a bundle to get good quality copper wire (expensive "audiophile" cable is snake oil).

If you're still having troubles after you've hooked the Audiovector up normally, it may be an internal cross-over board issue or an internal wiring problem (loose connection, a short, etc.). You might have received a bum speaker.

Yup it's the crossover board or something electrical as the driver works when out of the box... Will have to test further..

I finally got the chance to listen to some ADS L1290s that were for sale in my budget range. WOW the best speakers I have ever heard in my life, they blew away my expectations. The bass was perfect, the mids were magical and there were even two tweeters that looked like they had been assembled by a wizard in some magical cave. Is it because they have two woofers and two tweeters that they sound so amazing? Besides the design and build quality which is top notch (way advanced for its time). Somebody grabbed it from under my nose unfortunately, but they sounded amazing even with the old Onkyo amp that was powering it and giving no more than 75Watts or so per channel. With my newer Denon 120W it would sound even better. This is what crystal clear transparency is all about I guess. Not even the KEF Reference Model One or Monitor Audios I had heard come close to that.

Unfortunately, even though they are musical, building a surround sound system from them might have been impossible. I don't think ADS ever made a center channel speaker, and even if they did it wouldn't be from the same line and therefore wouldn't match... I think I might have to go for the KEFs... I like them but still not as magic as the ADS... I don't think it will match well with the AudioVector as far as sound dispersal, etc...
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-03-2013, 11:14 AM
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Too bad about the Audiovector. Hope it doesn't cost a lot to have it fixed.

Yeah, you do want to match your theater speakers... even the surrounds.

Don't settle, keep listening to various speaker manufacturers if you're still unsure about the KEF's. Like I said, Triad is worth checking out too.

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post #13 of 15 Old 04-03-2013, 02:59 PM
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An old good quality speaker that can be had cheap because it has no reputation, right? Here's one: made by DCM, it's a KX12, Series 2, large floorstander 3-way with 12" woofer. Originally sold for upwards of $600, now worth very little. I have a pair that I bought off Craigslist for $35 (as best I recall). I'm not using it now, but I did use it for a year. It's bass-heavy, but it's not bad, and for $35/pair it's great. I'm mentioning it because I happened to see another DCM speaker for sale on Craigslist when I looked just now, so the chance that you would run across one for sale is greater than zero.

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post #14 of 15 Old 04-03-2013, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

Too bad about the Audiovector. Hope it doesn't cost a lot to have it fixed.

Yeah, you do want to match your theater speakers... even the surrounds.

Don't settle, keep listening to various speaker manufacturers if you're still unsure about the KEF's. Like I said, Triad is worth checking out too.

Unfortunately I can't listen to the Triads and I want floorstanders and they will most likely be over my $200-$300 price range.

I have seen a conversion into a center channel which you can see here: http://www.adsspeakersservice.com/#!gallery

But it might be a lot of work and might not be able to drive 5 speakers, even if two will sound good. Therefore I know the KEF Reference series in my budget is the only thing I found where I can match five speakers :tears: They sound good, but not amazing like the L1290s...
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An old good quality speaker that can be had cheap because it has no reputation, right? Here's one: made by DCM, it's a KX12, Series 2, large floorstander 3-way with 12" woofer. Originally sold for upwards of $600, now worth very little. I have a pair that I bought off Craigslist for $35 (as best I recall). I'm not using it now, but I did use it for a year. It's bass-heavy, but it's not bad, and for $35/pair it's great. I'm mentioning it because I happened to see another DCM speaker for sale on Craigslist when I looked just now, so the chance that you would run across one for sale is greater than zero.

Funny you should mention DCMs, I actually auditioned two today. One was a floorstander squarish DCM CX-27S which was selling for $100 a pair and a DCM Time Frame 250FT for $75. I didn't like the CX-27S that much but the Time Frames hit real low on the Bass as if it had a subwoofer inside, was pretty amazing to listen to but still not close to the A/D/S L1290s I heard... Overall not bad for the price but still not as clear as some other speakers I have heard...
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post #15 of 15 Old 05-03-2013, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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So I ended up going for the KEF Reference Model Ones with a KEF Reference 100C Center Channel and some NHT A400 rears for now... All together a whopping price of $365 (The retail for these put together would equal about $2700 back in the mid 90s so probably around $3500 in today's money) + $100 for a $1000 retail Denon AVR-3805. Quit cheap for a few thousands dollars worth of equipment, some of which was handcrafted...

Unfortunately I find the Kef's to be a bit too high pitched for me. I am quite sensitive to very high frequency sounds. Although they are quite revealing, is this high pitched sound what people refer to as too bright? It was similar to the Boston Acoustics VR40s I listened to but those were just Bright, these are not necessarily as bright as they are high pitched if that makes sense? Also there is hardly any bass at all (something mentioned often in reviews), so I will need to get a Subwoofer to accompany.

The ADS Lxx90s would be a perfect fit as well as the AVT/MVT series towers but I thought I would just wait until I stumbled across a pair of A/D/S or other speakers that I like as much as those... I knew it could take months of searching, so I needed something to use in the mean time and these are really high quality craftsman built reference speakers... I think these are actually harder to drive than the A/D/S even though people argue the opposite, since these KEFs 4ohms and the ADS are actually 8ohms for the Lxx90 series... Also oddly the KEFs don't take Banana Plugs, so I ended up using Bare Wire....

I also listened to some Linn Keildih's that were perhaps the most revealing speakers I have ever heard, very clear and clean, although not as exciting sounding as the ADS. The Linn Speakers also look like they are worth millions in terms of build quality and design they are at the very top, all handcrafted in Scotland, etc... Fit and finish is excellent, but they were a bit out of my price range of $300 unfortunately.

Anyway I am still open to suggestions if anyone knows what is even somewhat comparable to A/D/S and Linn in terms of sound as well as explanations for a newbie!biggrin.gif
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