Setting up First 2.1/3.1 system Price: ~$1000 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 03-18-2013, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been putting this off for a while. I decided to finally get a nice Home audio system. I am currently renting and also have decided to piece it out a bit so I can buy some nicer speakers. Below is a diagram is where it is at. It will be in a giant living/kitchen/dining room area. I really only want to focus mainly in the area where the couch is. My budget is about $1000. I want to have a 5.1 receiver 2 bookshelf speakers (maybe a Center speaker as well) and a sub woofer. I know you have to spend money to get better things so I am willing to up to spend more as well.



I was orginally looking at the Pioneer Andrew Jones bookshelf; however, I was blown away by the Martin Logan motion 4 bookshelf (this was at a best buy maganolia room). I was thinking about spending about 400-500 on the speakers, $250-$350 on sub, and about 300 on a good reciever. This is what I have found right now:

Recievers:
Yamaha RX-V573 - $300
Marantz Slimline NR1403 - $400?

Speakers: (Red boxes is where they will be placed)
Martin Logan Motion 4 - $250 each ($500)

Sub: (Orange Box placement)
???

What I own:
Samsung UN55D8000 LED TV (Purple Line)
Samsung bluray player
Xbox 360
Samsung DVR

Movies/TV: 70%
Games: 28%
Music: 2% (mainly for parties)


Since I am new to this. I will appreciate any inputs/advice on which speakers are better options. Also if the Yamaha is worthwhile to get. It is on sale for 300.

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post #2 of 30 Old 03-18-2013, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HertzKnight View Post

I was orginally looking at the Pioneer Andrew Jones bookshelf; however, I was blown away by the Martin Logan motion 4 bookshelf (this was at a best buy maganolia room). I was thinking about spending about 400-500 on the speakers, $250-$350 on sub, and about 300 on a good reciever.

Those are rather small speakers and you'll be sitting at a good distance from them in a large room. I'm in a similar situation, and these work for me:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/cbm170/cbm170.html

They can take a lot of power and don't mind being played loudly (for their size--still on the small side, but better). If you could go with larger speakers, then consider these:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/cmt340m/cmt340m.html

Will they be on stands? What about the center speaker's placement, for future consideration?

As for the subwoofer, you're going to need a big one for that space. In the $250-$350 range, this may be the best bargain:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882780078

But it's probably not enough by some standards, so my recommendation would be to take the $120 you'd save by going with the CBM-170 SE (if you do that), add it to your $350 subwoofer budget, add just another $29, and get one of these:
http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/pb-1000

It's probably still not quite enough, but you could always add a second one later. wink.gif Or you could go with one of these if you could stretch your sub budget to $589:
http://www.rythmikaudio.com/LV12R.html

Regarding subwoofer placement, generally it should be placed wherever it sounds the best, which you'd find by experimentation. Simply place the subwoofer where the primary seat will be, play some familiar bass-heavy material, and walk around the room (close to the walls) until you find a spot where the bass sounds the best--not too "boomy" and not missing any bass that you know should be there. Once you find the best spot, that's where you should place your subwoofer.

And as for the receiver, Yamaha makes good ones, so if you like this one it should be fine, although I personally have a preference for Denon/Marantz, for what it's worth.
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post #3 of 30 Old 03-18-2013, 06:53 PM
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+1 to all of Robert's suggestions. The Ascend Acoustics and the subs suggested would be exactly what I would go with. I own the CBM-170 SE and use them in a 2 channel setup.

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post #4 of 30 Old 03-19-2013, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for the advice.

I am actually only concerning myself really with the area around the couch, which is only about 10 feet away. I know ideally you want to worry about the entire room; however, I am only renting and may move when the lease is up. I may have to reduce the budget a bit more though due to other things happening.

Any other recommendations for speakers to compare with? The ones Robert recommended seem like a great pair for me, but I always want to see what else is out before I go and buy something general. Also if I do go with the Ascend Acoustics, what kind of Receiver should I be looking at.

Any suggestions on receivers beyond the Yamaha (Since I forgot to buy it yesterday)? I was thinking about getting one of the Denons or Marantz(looking to spend under 300). Any suggestions on which ones to look at? I don't mind buying refurbished/used ones (not a fan of Craigslist though).

Those speakers are pretty interesting. I may go for more powerful speakers over sub woofer. I am not as big on Bass heavy things. Any opinions on the Outlaw M8 (I keep seeing these being said to be one of the best budget subs), Klipsch Sub-12HG(I found it for 300) and the BIC F12? I heard that Outlaw M8 might be coming out again this spring, so I could wait until they come back out. Also are the Lava Subs - LSP12 be something to consider?

ON another note, I have heard some place that will let you have a "trail run" aka a no shipping cost return in a certain day return policy. Do you know of any of these kinds of sites.
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post #5 of 30 Old 03-19-2013, 01:11 PM
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The problem is that a sub does see the whole room. The only way to avoid that is to put it nearfield--right next to your listening position. The M8 is a great sub for a small space, but would not keep up with the speakers at louder volumes in that room. You'd be running it very hard, if not past it's limits and eventually burning it out. If you want to save on the sub, the Klipsch RW-12d is often available at Newegg for around $300. Here's a discussion thread: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1442829/klipsch-rw-12d-on-sale-for-299-at-newegg-com-again-today . The RW-12d has a more linear response down to the 20hz range than the BIC F12 and the Lava SP12, something you'll appreciate with HT usage.

Meanwhile, the Ascend Acoustics CMT-340 SEs will take more power than your budget allows for receiver/amplifier, although I think you would be fine with the CBM-170 SE. No need to worry about more powerful speakers.smile.gif

For receivers, I recommend looking at the Denons at accessories4less.com. Good deals on factory refurbished/factory warrantied receivers.

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post #6 of 30 Old 03-19-2013, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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So that being said... Should I just save my money and not get a Sub at this point? I am not using one right now. and it sounds like the sub will be not that great of a purchase at this point, since I will only be getting one.

Also I saw those deals on Denons and got to say. Might as well go with them since they are extremely discounted. Would the 170SE be underpowered as well. I know that being underpowered can damage the speakers.
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post #7 of 30 Old 03-19-2013, 01:47 PM
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The Klipsch RW-12d has a lot of output and would do well in that room.

The CMT-340SE will be fine with one of those receivers. Just make certain you aren't running it to where the amplifier/receiver is clipping, where the sound is degrading.

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post #8 of 30 Old 03-19-2013, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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So I am probably going with this setup:

Denon 1613: $230 + shipping
Klipsch RW-12D: $290
CBM-170 SE: $380

That will total about $900 at the end of the day. So do you think I should spend the extra money and get the better speakers. I am a bit worried that I won't be able to fully power them. I probably be buying this this upcoming weekend and maybe even sooner. the Klipsch seems to be an amazing deal and the Denon is exactly what I need and in my budget..

Has anyone seen their B-stock and is it worthwhile to get. I don't mind a scratch or two her or them. I am fine with that.
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post #9 of 30 Old 03-19-2013, 02:34 PM
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My mom and my brother both have receivers from A4less. They were in perfect condition and have worked great.

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post #10 of 30 Old 03-19-2013, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah the Denon I was looking at is refurbished from A4Less. Actually I was talking about the speakers. It could save me about 40 to 60 bucks.
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post #11 of 30 Old 03-19-2013, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HertzKnight View Post

Would the 170SE be underpowered as well. I know that being underpowered can damage the speakers.

This only happens when you play them too loudly, beyond the ability of the receiver to provide enough power. These speakers are fairly efficient, so this should not be an issue, even for home theater.
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Originally Posted by HertzKnight View Post

So I am probably going with this setup:

Denon 1613: $230 + shipping
Klipsch RW-12D: $290
CBM-170 SE: $380

That will total about $900 at the end of the day. So do you think I should spend the extra money and get the better speakers.

If you're finding that you may need to tighten up your spending a bit, then perhaps not. The 170SE should serve you well, as it has my home theater for years now. Far be it from me to tell somebody else how to spend their money, though--I just recommend systems for certain budgets. wink.gif
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I am a bit worried that I won't be able to fully power them.

The efficiency of these speakers actually means that they don't require that much power, which is a good thing. They'll only use what they need, and that's less than many other similar speakers.

Now, the maximum amount of power these speakers can handle is on the high side for their types, which is a separate matter and also a good thing, regardless of how much power your receiver can provide. This is because even though you will not be running them at maximum power, which would be far too loud for most people in a home theater environment anyway, it means that the speakers' internal electromechanical parts won't get very hot, which in turn means that they won't become restrained or compressed very much while playing continuously. For example, if you keep pumping 60 watts into a speaker that can only handle 60 watts, it will get hot inside and start to struggle, while a speaker that can take 200-240 watts will stay cool and function normally under the same conditions. Do you see what I mean? It's kind of the opposite of what many people think at first. It definitely does not mean that the speakers require more power, just that they can handle more, and you can never have enough of that.
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Has anyone seen their B-stock and is it worthwhile to get. I don't mind a scratch or two her or them. I am fine with that.

I've not seen any Ascend B-stock personally, but I communicate with others in the Ascend community quite a bit, and have found that generally the speakers either have minor cosmetic imperfections (usually hard to notice) or are in virtually perfect condition, having been returned for whatever reasons (usually upgrades to larger speakers or the higher-end Sierra series--Ascend is good about taking trade-ins for reasonably recent purchases).
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post #12 of 30 Old 03-20-2013, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Cool thanks for the info. I am a bit curious about this though. Is Pinnacle good at all. I just saw that they are having a sale of them on woot? Sub for 300 and Bookshelfs at $200 and a center at

Links:
Pinnacle Speakers Baby Boomer 600W Dual 8" Subwoofer
Pinnacle Speaker BD 500 Audiophile 5.25" Bookshelf Speakers
Pinnacle Speakers S-FIT CTR 350

I was going to buy the subwoofer today, but this deal may be worthwhile... Opinions on this?
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post #13 of 30 Old 03-20-2013, 08:06 AM
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^ no

Where are you located? Have you checked your local Craigslist & classifieds here (and at other audio forums) to see if there might be a good deal locally?

Plenty of choices as far as bookshelves:

HSU
HomeTheaterDirect (lvl 2 or lvl 3...check b-stock)
Arx a1/a2 (can't remember)
Emp e5bi
Ascend cbm170
etc etc

I saw something about A4L so I thought I'd also add that I purchased my Denon from them and it's been working great so far (a few months).

Panny 65st60 / Denon X1000 / EMP e55ti / EMP e56ci / EMP e5bi / (2) e1010i
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post #14 of 30 Old 03-20-2013, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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So the pinnacle are not a great deal? Well, from the sounds of it, they are starting to look not too great. I can't really find any information about them at all. I probably get the sub-woofer (I found a few posts saying the pinnacle isn't as good as the Klipsch at the price range) and the receiver (seems everyone likes A4L and Denons).

Still trying to figure out which speakers I want (Thanks for some more things to look at). Thankfully most of the ones you guys suggested have a 30 day "trail" return period, which is great for me (first time buyer), though I don't think that applies to B-stocks though. This is great information. I was hoping to have this before Game of Thrones came out, but I may "suffer" waiting on the speakers.

I am located in Florida. I am not a fan of Craigslist to be honest.

Also how are HSU speakers and sub compared to the Klipsch sub and Ascend 170 SE? I may just go with the Value 2 3.1 package. It is a bit more than I wanted to spend, but I would get a center.
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post #15 of 30 Old 03-20-2013, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the double post. Can't figure out how to delete post.

I just realized that shipping will be very expensive for everything so instead of being 800 it is now 930. I would still get a center which would be nice, but I will be going more out of what I want to spend. So the real question is it is worth while to get the center and if the HSU can beat the other speakers?
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post #16 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 07:08 AM
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No. The HSU are not better speakers than the Ascends. Could be you would like the HSU better, but no way to tell short of demoing both in your home.

The one main advantage of the Ascends would be that you would be able to upgrade from there if you decide to expand to 5.1. You could switch the 170s to the rear and get the 340s for the front. Whereas with the HSUs, there are no other better models to choose from.

Given the size of your room, the RW-12d would be a better choice than the HSU STF-2. A 10" sub could struggle to perform in that space at higher volumes.

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post #17 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 07:22 AM
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cel4145, have you demoed the Hsus? I've been curious if someone here has heard both those and the Ascends. I liked the Hsus, and this guy gives some brief, informal impressions of each. Also fwiw, the upgrade path Hsu recommends is using their centers as bookshelves.
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post #18 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resonate View Post

cel4145, have you demoed the Hsus? I've been curious if someone here has heard both those and the Ascends. I liked the Hsus, and this guy gives some brief, informal impressions of each. Also fwiw, the upgrade path Hsu recommends is using their centers as bookshelves.

No. But I take that review with a grain of salt because I've owned the S30s and the Ascends, and I don't agree with his comparison of them.

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post #19 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I am glad I decided to go with the Klipsch last night. I got them for $290 and checked this morning they were at $350. Since I have saved a bit of money. Right now I am standing at $520. I been debating on just going big or go home and get the 340s from Ascend. I just have to find a nice wall mount for them (probably just get one from amazon). That would raise my budget a bit past the initial $1000. But hey. Either I can upgrade now or I can do it later... I rather do it now and save on shipping. Turns out a buddy has some old satellites, he will let me borrow if I want to go 4.1. Not sure who makes them or even if they work well (free is free).

So I got my Receiver (Denon 1613) and my Sub (Klipsch RW-12d). So unless there is something that compares to the Ascend CMT 340 SE around the same price range (~500, since I will be looking at B-Stocks to save that extra bit if they accept them as a return if I don't like them).
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post #20 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 11:46 AM
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I've been curious if someone here has heard both those and the Ascends.

I haven't compared them side-by-side, and I've only heard the Hsu on one occasion, so it probably wouldn't be fair of me to compare them. For what it's worth (take this with a grain of salt), the HB-1 MK2 has strong bass for its size, a smooth midrange (probably the hardest part to get right in this price range), and decent highs (which were said to be lacking in the previous version, so avoid that one). I can't point out anything that it does poorly, which is a very good thing, but I don't think that its midrange and treble are as clear, detailed, and "airy" in the case of the treble as those of the CBM-170 SE, with which I am extremely familiar (this gives me a relatively good "audio memory" with which to compare, but it's still not a direct comparison under the same conditions); the 170SE's bass also seems a bit cleaner and more articulate. These are the 170SE's strengths within this price class (along with dynamics for its size), and it doesn't give up much if anything to other speakers in other areas, in my opinion--neutral, refined, and transparent for its class. I think the HB-1 MK2 is a good speaker and is worth the money, but obviously I feel more comfortable recommending the 170SE, which is probably (as far as I can tell) a better speaker and a better value.
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I liked the Hsus, and this guy gives some brief, informal impressions of each.

He thinks that the Cambridge Audio S30 bests all of them. That's a very nice speaker, too, especially for its price and its size. The 170SE is more detailed, neutral, refined, and transparent, however (as well as larger, which helps with large spaces). This obviously doesn't necessarily mean that it sounds "better" or more pleasing to everybody, but it does mean that it sounds more realistic, for what that's worth. It is also less "forgiving" of source material, however, so if you play poorly-mastered pop CDs and MP3s they'll sound just as crappy as they are.
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But I take that review with a grain of salt because I've owned the S30s and the Ascends, and I don't agree with his comparison of them.

In comparison, the S30 is in need of additional refinement, which in this case would start with a full-fledged crossover circuit that would maximize the performance of its drivers (it has excellent drivers) and minimize their weaknesses, but this of course would increase its cost, which is one of its main selling points (in addition to sounding very good as it is). While I'd generally say that money is best spent on the drivers, they skimped big-time on the crossover in this case.

As for the review, interestingly the reviewer thought that the three speakers that are the most accurate and transparent to the source among the group tested--namely the 170SE, Monitor Audio M2, and Behringer TRUTH 2030P--are all "sterile" and "lifeless." Yes, I agree that these speakers do sound similar to one another, but I totally disagree that they sound sterile and lifeless (only if the source does). He's entitled to his opinion, of course, but I'm always left wondering what it is about this type of speaker that some people find so objectionable. I listen to a fair amount of live music on a regular basis--acoustic, not played on a PA system--so I'm familiar with what instruments sound like, and if anything this draws me toward the "studio monitor" type of speaker because they don't "color" the sound much, making them sound more realistic. To each their own.
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post #21 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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So last question. Do you think that the Denon 1613 is powerful enough for the 340 SE. I know you said that the it is for the 170 SE. Before I go and buy the receiver I just want to make sure.
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post #22 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by HertzKnight View Post

So last question. Do you think that the Denon 1613 is powerful enough for the 340 SE. I know you said that the it is for the 170 SE. Before I go and buy the receiver I just want to make sure.
The 340s are rated as a little more sensitive than the 170s, so in theory you should even be able to get a little more volume out of them than the 170
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In comparison, the S30 is in need of additional refinement which in this case would start with a full-fledged crossover circuit that would maximize the performance of its drivers...skimped big-time on the crossover in this case.
My ears disagree, and I'm not the first, second or third to prefer the S30 to what would appear to be better speakers. Did you run room correction when you listened to them? And remember, the later measurements were better:
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Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

The last pair I got in for a mod measured much better than the original--the midrange was more in line with the bass and didn't require as much baffle step correction. As I recall, I altered my mod accordingly. The stock crossover hasn't changed, so I can only conclude that there has been a change in woofer parameters, or that the early ones I got were just indiosyncratic. The current ones are a little hot in the highs above 10k, but that's not as audible as you might think. So I wouldn't look these gift horses in the mouth too closely. They're an excellent little speaker on their own, and probably not worth the hassle of trying to make small improvements.
Ster3ohead characterized the crossover work as "a step or two closer to the truth".
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post #23 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 08:53 PM
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My ears disagree, and I'm not the first, second or third to prefer the S30 to what would appear to be better speakers.

So you have listened to both the S30s and the 170s or 340s in the same setup and like the S30s better? Or are you just saying you like the speakers you own?

As a previous owner, I think the S30s are an excellent value for a $220 speaker. But the 170s are definitely better to me.

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post #24 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
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The 340s are rated as a little more sensitive than the 170s, so in theory you should even be able to get a little more volume out of them than the 170

Not sure if you actually answered my question or not. but I take that as a that it should be fine.
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post #25 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 09:17 PM
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So you have listened to both the S30s and the 170s or 340s in the same setup and like the S30s better? Or are you just saying you like the speakers you own?
As you know I have not heard the Ascends yet. I was responding to the, imo, heavy handed wording of Robert's technical critique. If I have to say I like the speakers I own to do so, then so be it.
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post #26 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 09:56 PM
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In comparison, the S30 is in need of additional refinement which in this case would start with a full-fledged crossover circuit that would maximize the performance of its drivers...skimped big-time on the crossover in this case.
My ears disagree, and I'm not the first, second or third to prefer the S30 to what would appear to be better speakers.

Well, there is no right or wrong to personal preference (even though we won't always understand the preferences of others). And as I said, a lot of people don't like the "studio monitor" sound (Ascend, Behringer TRUTH, Monitor Audio, NHT, et al.), while a lot of other people do.
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Did you run room correction when you listened to them?

No, I never do when evaluating speakers if I can help it, and I tend to listen to them in the near-field if possible, unless I'm auditioning a full home theater system in action.
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And remember, the later measurements were better:
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Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

The last pair I got in for a mod measured much better than the original--the midrange was more in line with the bass and didn't require as much baffle step correction. As I recall, I altered my mod accordingly. The stock crossover hasn't changed, so I can only conclude that there has been a change in woofer parameters, or that the early ones I got were just indiosyncratic. The current ones are a little hot in the highs above 10k, but that's not as audible as you might think. So I wouldn't look these gift horses in the mouth too closely. They're an excellent little speaker on their own, and probably not worth the hassle of trying to make small improvements.

Well, this sort of thing would be largely taken care of by room correction systems anyway, if you use one. I wasn't just talking about frequency response, but other things like detail and "smoothness" at which the S30 doesn't quite seem to measure up to more expensive speakers, in my opinion. It's very good, though, which makes me suspect that its drivers may be up to similar standards but could use some help from a more sophisticated, tailored crossover. If I remember correctly, the stock S30 only has a single capacitor and a single inductor in its crossover, which means that its drivers are very likely operating outside of their "comfort zone" where they perform with the highest resolution and lowest distortion. The graphs that Dennis posted in another forum clearly show an obvious untamed cone breakup mode, for example--I've seen worse, but the crossover ideally should do something about it. And the tweeter slope seems to indicate that it may well audibly distort, too, when the volume is turned up to a moderate level, as it reaches its resonance frequency--the 1st order slope is likely too shallow for the selected crossover point, but the designer had no choice given the cost limitations because it was either this or a more prominent midwoofer cone breakup mode, which would probably have made the speaker sound edgy and harsh. Steeper slopes from higher-order filters would have allowed for a more ideal higher crossover frequency (for these specific drivers) by taming the cone breakup mode, and this is exactly what Dennis' modded crossover does, reducing distortion and possibly increasing resolution and detail. These are refinements that must be addressed inside the speaker (when it's a passive, non-bi-amped speaker), and cannot be addressed by things like room correction.
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Ster3ohead characterized the crossover work as "a step or two closer to the truth".

Yes, I imagine that it would be, although I haven't heard the Murphy-modded S30. By most accounts, the S30 does step up at least a notch in overall quality with this mod, but it does cost some additional money (a more complex crossover means more electronic components). However, it is Dennis himself who apparently questions the value of his own mod in practice, which makes me wonder whether the drivers are as good as I had presumed.
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post #27 of 30 Old 03-21-2013, 10:33 PM
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So last question. Do you think that the Denon 1613 is powerful enough for the 340 SE. I know you said that the it is for the 170 SE. Before I go and buy the receiver I just want to make sure.

Yes, because the 340SE actually requires slightly less power--approximately 20% less, according to the published specs--than the 170SE to reach a given loudness level. Just because it can handle quite a bit of power does not imply that it requires a lot of power.
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So you have listened to both the S30s and the 170s or 340s in the same setup and like the S30s better? Or are you just saying you like the speakers you own?
As you know I have not heard the Ascends yet. I was responding to the, imo, heavy handed wording of Robert's technical critique. If I have to say I like the speakers I own to do so, then so be it.

Wow, I wonder what you're going to think about my last post, then. eek.gifwink.gif Actually, I don't feel that I was being heavy-handed in the least. I think the S30 is a fine, even admirable speaker that has a crossover that was very obviously and undeniably skimped on in order to save on cost. It sounds great--really great--for the price anyway, and some people prefer how it sounds to many more expensive speakers, including the 170SE, and that's OK, too.

For comparison, I should add that certain aspects of the Ascend SE speakers are skimped on as well. They are definitely lacking in the appearance and finish categories, which was a deliberate design choice that was made in order to save money and maximize value with regard to sound quality. Their crossovers are quite sophisticated and are tailored specifically for the drivers and other characteristics of the respective speakers, leaving virtually no stone unturned, so I wouldn't call it skimping, but they do use inferior polyester film capacitors in the direct signal path and even more inferior electrolytic caps in other places in order to reduce cost. While it is questionable whether people can easily hear the difference this makes (if at all), some people claim that they can, and these components definitely measure worse than other types of film caps in some respects. It's a compromise, just less so (much less so) than what was understandably done with the less expensive S30. All of these are high-value speakers, so generally a higher price means that fewer compromises to performance had to be made, and even a few bucks can potentially make a noticeable difference, as the modded S30 demonstrates (by most accounts).

If you think that I'm being overly harsh on or unfair to the S30, a speaker that I like a lot and have promoted on this forum on numerous occasions for its quality and value (despite having only heard it a little), then I have to question whether you are being objective here (no offense intended). What did I say that is patently wrong, aside from my personal opinions? There are better speakers than either of these that compromise less and cost more, but I don't think that many are as good a value, and that's another thing I like these for. I happen to like the 170SE more, coincidentally for reasons that are related to its additional refinement and the cost associated with that (smoother and more detailed means that it is better in some ways, even if you don't like it as much overall), but that's just my opinion.
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post #28 of 30 Old 03-22-2013, 09:01 AM
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Your opinion is your opinion, and objectivity is always a question when discussing speakers one has painstakingly identified for themselves as 'preferable'. My disagreement was in how you framed your critique. Instead of something like 'I think it could be improved in this regard...,' you said 'In comparison, the S30 is in need of refinement'; instead of something like 'I disagree with this design choice' you said 'skimped on big time'. What if the whole S30 'concept' was to design a speaker around a 1st order electrical, 2nd order acoustic crossover and make something special out of the driver overlap, minimal distortion and 'transient perfect' response? I almost skipped listening to the S30 because after plowing through the discussion leading up to the mod I was like 'why do I want a new speaker that needs to be fixed - why not just get a great speaker to begin with?' IIRC, all the related technical discussion on here was framed without any color, and it was still daunting. I am very glad I listened to the subjective reviews and gave the S30s a listen though - any reservations I had on paper went right out the window.

Fwiw Robert I'd say you are usually extraordinarily even handed in your comments and I have enjoyed and learned a lot from them.
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post #29 of 30 Old 03-22-2013, 11:18 AM
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Your opinion is your opinion, and objectivity is always a question when discussing speakers one has painstakingly identified for themselves as 'preferable'.

All true (for me, too--I didn't mean that as a personal criticism).
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My disagreement was in how you framed your critique. Instead of something like 'I think it could be improved in this regard...,' you said 'In comparison, the S30 is in need of refinement'; instead of something like 'I disagree with this design choice' you said 'skimped on big time'.

Alright, that's a fair criticism. Not to make excuses, but my statements were intended as informal, non-technical (then I got technical later wink.gif) descriptions of the extreme, in my view, nature of one of the design choices. I'm sorry if it seemed as though I was putting down the S30, but it is a noteworthy compromise in the design because of how extreme it is (outside of the ultra-cheap speaker price range).

Having said that, in all honesty I'm ultimately a bit "on the fence" about this design choice because the results are still so good. I understand why the choice was made, and maybe the lower price makes this choice worthwhile. It's still a bit frustrating that a speaker that is this good in other respects didn't get the "full treatment" that it deserves, and I think this was reflected in my comments as well.
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What if the whole S30 'concept' was to design a speaker around a 1st order electrical, 2nd order acoustic crossover and make something special out of the driver overlap, minimal distortion and 'transient perfect' response?

I suppose that is within the realm of possibility, but it's not what I see in the graphs, and most everybody who has heard the modded S30--which seems to embody a completely different design concept--agrees that it is better than the stock unit (by a little or a lot, depending on the individual). By the way, some of the concept that you describe is incorporated into the 170SE, for example, but then it has has an additional 2nd order filter on the midwoofer that specifically addresses the cone breakup mode that occurs at a higher frequency than the main midwoofer-tweeter crossover frequency. When you do stuff like that you can get improvements in distortion, smoothness, and detail--these may be subtle to most folks, but that's what I mean, in part, by refinement.

By the way, if the framing of my criticism sounded a bit rough on the S30 from your point of view, then one reason may have been that I was responding to a review that put down several very well designed speakers in no uncertain terms, but still, it was not my intention to make the S30 look bad. Note that I pointed out in another recent thread that Ascend SE speakers are considered by many to be ugly in appearance, and although I don't mind how they look myself, admittedly they look pretty crude up-close for their price class--not much refinement there, for sure, and yes I think that Ascend chose to skimp on their finish (vinyl wrap), big-time. Maybe I'm just a bit blunt sometimes? wink.gif
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I almost skipped listening to the S30 because after plowing through the discussion leading up to the mod I was like 'why do I want a new speaker that needs to be fixed - why not just get a great speaker to begin with?'

IIRC, all the related technical discussion on here was framed without any color, and it was still daunting. I am very glad I listened to the subjective reviews and gave the S30s a listen though - any reservations I had on paper went right out the window.

Well, I'm glad that you weren't turned away by all of the technical talk, but most everybody has been saying that it sounds great despite the crossover compromise, and it is a valid topic of discussion.
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Fwiw Robert I'd say you are usually extraordinarily even handed in your comments and I have enjoyed and learned a lot from them.

Well, thanks redface.gif, and I'm sorry if I came across as negative or heavy-handed.
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post #30 of 30 Old 03-22-2013, 02:31 PM
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...I'm sorry if I came across as negative or heavy-handed.
Likewise. You are a gentleman and a scholar, sir smile.gif
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