Speaker advice requested for a new HT setup - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 03-26-2013, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

My makeshift home theater setup with a Logitech z-5500 finally died. Well, more accurately, the setup cannot use HDMI signals, and I now have a need for that. Anyways, I have been putting off getting a real setup for too long, and now is the time. I am looking to spend $2000 or less. For that price, I would like to get an AVR, and a 5.1 speaker setup. My room is roughly 18'x14' with 9' high ceilings, and I will be using the setup for almost exclusively for watching movies. I have been doing some preliminary research, and I have a few initial thoughts. Please keep in mind that I am by no means an audiophile (as evidenced by my previous setup wink.gif)

AVR: Denon AVR-1913
This may be a bit overkill for my current needs, but it seems like a pretty good option. The only features I would really use are
  • 2-3 HDMI Inputs
  • 5.1 Speaker Amplifiers (obviously tongue.gif)
  • Maybe the analog to HDMI conversion/upscaling if I decide to plug in an older consloe or a *shudder* VCR player.

Speakers:
I have read good things about several speaker sets in this price range

Ascend Acoustics: Total: $848 (with package discount)
I would probably also need to get the stands for the LR speakers, which would add ~$130 to the total.

HSU Research: Total: $1259 (Package deal with sub)
As with before, I will probably need stands for the LR speakers.

ARX:
  • Center: A2c - $209
  • LR and Surround: A1b - $299 (per pair)

Sub:
For the above sets that don't include a sub, I have been hearing pretty good things about the Klipsch RW-12d. Which can be had for ~$300 on a semi-regular sale.

Am I on the right track here? There are so many options for these things, it is a bit overwhelming. Are there any other brands I should look at? Do any of these options stand out as significantly better than the rest? I guess the best way to decide would be to get one set of each and test them, but I am pretty busy and I don't know it I would get around to that.

Any comments or suggestions would be welcome.
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post #2 of 40 Old 03-27-2013, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone? I may just have to order a few different kinds, but I would like some sort of sanity check before I start ordering a bunch of speakers.
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post #3 of 40 Old 03-27-2013, 01:49 PM
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Those speakers are regularly suggested for the budget you seem to have. People will come here and give their opinions of these speakers, possibly even tell you which they prefered out of the three, but their opinions aren't yours.

If you're able to, the best option is to get a pair of each speaker and test them yourself, in your home. This would give you control over which speakers you end up with.

The HSU package looks pretty promising though. Mostly because it has the VTF-2.4. That would be significantly better than the Klipsch I'd say.

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post #4 of 40 Old 03-27-2013, 02:00 PM
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My budget and room were similar to yours and I recently, after a month of research, went with Ascend Acoustics 340SE's for LCR and 170SE's for surround with a Klipsch RW-12D sub.

Couldn't be happier with this choice and Ascend was a joy to deal with.

I ran into a Yamaha 673 on sale for $400 so I went with that...but could have easily jumped on the Pioneer 1222k when it drops down on sale or any Denon.
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post #5 of 40 Old 03-27-2013, 02:06 PM
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If you went with the Ascend's, I'd get the CMT-340 mid towers and the stands on sale rather than the CBM-170 bookshelfs. That would move you passed your overall budget by a relatively small amount, but it would be worth it. Get the sub a little later.

The HSU package also looks good for the money.

The Denon AVR-1913 is about the lowest level receiver model I would go with. Some have also seen the Pioneer SC-1522-K for $600 at Costco (a steal considering its MSRP, and hopefully decently built). A lot more features for a couple hundred bucks more. It's a 9.2 channel receiver with a full array of pre-amp outputs (great for adding more powerful amps down the road). Also includes basic DTS Neo:X post processing. The only thing it really lacks is Audyssey calibration that the Denon has. The Denon does not include pre-amp outputs... except for the subwoofer.

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post #6 of 40 Old 03-27-2013, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

If you went with the Ascend's, I'd get the CMT-340 mid towers and the stands on sale rather than the CBM-170 bookshelfs. That would move you passed your overall budget by a relatively small amount, but it would be worth it. Get the sub a little later.

The HSU package also looks good for the money.

The Denon AVR-1913 is about the lowest level receiver model I would go with. Some have also seen the Pioneer SC-1522-K for $600 at Costco (a steal considering its MSRP, and hopefully decently built). A lot more features for a couple hundred bucks more. It's a 9.2 channel receiver with a full array of pre-amp outputs (great for adding more powerful amps down the road). Also includes basic DTS Neo:X post processing. The only thing it really lacks is Audyssey calibration that the Denon has.

Why would the Denon 1913 be the lowest level model you would go with?

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post #7 of 40 Old 03-27-2013, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louquid View Post

Why would the Denon 1913 be the lowest level model you would go with?

Quality of components, amp power rating, and price range. You start to get into some fairly cheap stuff at the lower price points. Never pays to go cheap. As I mentioned, the Pioneer at Costco has pre-amp outs and a lot more features. At over half off its MSRP, it might be worth taking a look.

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post #8 of 40 Old 03-27-2013, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

Quality of components, amp power rating, and price range. You start to get into some fairly cheap stuff at the lower price points. Never pays to go cheap. As I mentioned, the Pioneer at Costco has pre-amp outs and a lot more features. At over half off its MSRP, it might be worth taking a look.

I see. Was pure curiosity. It's not so much a "features" thing, but rather an overall build quality, functionality, and features thing.

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post #9 of 40 Old 03-27-2013, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Louquid View Post

I see. Was pure curiosity. It's not so much a "features" thing, but rather an overall build quality, functionality, and features thing.

It seems like the Pioneer, at least the upper tier Pioneer's, are pretty good quality for the money. The SC-1522-k is in that upper tier line up.

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post #10 of 40 Old 03-27-2013, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

It seems like the Pioneer, at least the upper tier Pioneer's, are pretty good quality for the money. The SC-1522-k is in that upper tier line up.

Gotcha.

Do you think the Pioneer is a bit overkill for the OP's budget? If for example, he didn't plan to upgrade beyond 5.1 any time soon.

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post #11 of 40 Old 03-28-2013, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies.

Regarding the Ascend CMT-340s for the LR speakers. I have considered this, and if I go with Ascend, I will probably do this. What is the difference between the CBM-170 and the CMT-340 in terms of sound quality? Subjective I know, but I would be interested in hearing opinions about it.

On a related note, what is the difference between the CBM-170 and the HTM-200? Would the CBM-170 make a better surround speaker?

Regarding the AVR: That Pioneer looks nice, but then again, it should for more than $1000 MSRP. It seems like a bit overkill for my usage, and I don't have a Costco membership so I would have to pay close to MSRP. I was planning on getting a 7.1 channel AVR, in case I want to add a few more speakers later, but I highly doubt I will need any more than that any time soon. Someone mentioned the Yamaha RX-V673, which is on sale for ~400. Would this be better than the Denon? It has an extra sub output (which I probably wouldn't use) and 4K upscaling (it will be a while before I get a 4K TV). No pre-outs, but I don't see myself using that anytime soon, and if I want to in the future, I will probably not mind getting a new AVR.

The Pioneer equivalent appears to be the VSX-1123-K which is ~$600. If I don't care about 4K upscaling (I don't), then I could probably go down to the VSX-1023-K for ~$440. Is Pioneer a better brand than Yamaha?

Regarding the sub, what makes the HTF-2 MK4 better than the RW-12d? I assume it is (that extra $250 should be paying for something tongue.gif) but the specs look pretty similar. This is probably a dumb question, but as I said, I don't know much about audio stuff.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, it looks like I have more research to do...
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post #12 of 40 Old 03-28-2013, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilikecake2 View Post

Thanks for the replies.

Regarding the Ascend CMT-340s for the LR speakers. I have considered this, and if I go with Ascend, I will probably do this. What is the difference between the CBM-170 and the CMT-340 in terms of sound quality? Subjective I know, but I would be interested in hearing opinions about it.

On a related note, what is the difference between the CBM-170 and the HTM-200? Would the CBM-170 make a better surround speaker?

Regarding the AVR: That Pioneer looks nice, but then again, it should for more than $1000 MSRP. It seems like a bit overkill for my usage, and I don't have a Costco membership so I would have to pay close to MSRP. I was planning on getting a 7.1 channel AVR, in case I want to add a few more speakers later, but I highly doubt I will need any more than that any time soon. Someone mentioned the Yamaha RX-V673, which is on sale for ~400. Would this be better than the Denon? It has an extra sub output (which I probably wouldn't use) and 4K upscaling (it will be a while before I get a 4K TV). No pre-outs, but I don't see myself using that anytime soon, and if I want to in the future, I will probably not mind getting a new AVR.

The Pioneer equivalent appears to be the VSX-1123-K which is ~$600. If I don't care about 4K upscaling (I don't), then I could probably go down to the VSX-1023-K for ~$440. Is Pioneer a better brand than Yamaha?

Regarding the sub, what makes the HTF-2 MK4 better than the RW-12d? I assume it is (that extra $250 should be paying for something tongue.gif) but the specs look pretty similar. This is probably a dumb question, but as I said, I don't know much about audio stuff.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, it looks like I have more research to do...

I haven't heard either of the Ascend speakers, but I would imagine the 340's to have a bigger soundstage. That typically seems to be the way it works between speakers and their more expensive siblings. The 340's may sound a bit more open and clearer. Someone with experience with these would be more helpful than me, I'm sure.

I would personally go with the 170's for rears if I had 340's up front.

For receivers, either the Pioneer 1023, Denon 1913 or Yamaha 673 would be fine. It's up to you which one you would prefer to go with. All should perform nearly identically. They do have different auto eq programs, as the Pioneer has MCACC Denon has Audyssey, and Yamaha has YPAO. I like Audyssey, haven't really used the others, but I've read many people state that Audyssey is the best to go with.

Look at the feedback for each receiver and determine which you'd prefer. All would suit you well in terms of SQ. Features and product reliability are really the only things to sway your decision here.

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post #13 of 40 Old 03-28-2013, 11:27 AM
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Regarding the Ascend 340 and 170:

I have both but haven't tried the 170 as a front LR.

Many folks told me I could easily have went with the 170's up front. I decided on the 340 for several reasons- Future planning( if I end up in a bigger space the 340 will more easily fill it) plus I really like the looks of the TP24 stand Ascend supplies for these. Also I really liked the idea having LCR all the exact same, although the 170's do pair really well with a 340 center.



I went with the 170's over the HTM-200 for surrounds simply because they were onsale for the same price at the time. I was also thinking of using the 170's for a zone 2 in the future. The 200's have the advantage of no port which is better for wall mounting if that is a consideration.
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post #14 of 40 Old 03-28-2013, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilikecake2 View Post

Thanks for the replies.

Regarding the Ascend CMT-340s for the LR speakers. I have considered this, and if I go with Ascend, I will probably do this. What is the difference between the CBM-170 and the CMT-340 in terms of sound quality? Subjective I know, but I would be interested in hearing opinions about it.

On a related note, what is the difference between the CBM-170 and the HTM-200? Would the CBM-170 make a better surround speaker?

The CMT-340s have a little better midbass output, will get louder before losing composure, will be a little louder for the same amount of amplification (a little better sensitivity), and will probably be better at filling a large room with sound (bigger sound).

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #15 of 40 Old 03-28-2013, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

The CMT-340s have a little better midbass output, will get louder before losing composure, will be a little louder for the same amount of amplification (a little better sensitivity), and will probably be better at filling a large room with sound (bigger sound).

Yeah, definitely stick with the 340's up front.

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post #16 of 40 Old 03-28-2013, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

Yeah, definitely stick with the 340's up front.

I would agree, unless it means going cheaper on the sub than the RW-12d.

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post #17 of 40 Old 04-02-2013, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
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So I ordered the RW-12d sub today. It is currently on sale for ~$280, so that was hard to pass up. I am pretty close to ordering the rest of the speakers as well, but I am not sure about the surrounds. Since I already murdered my budget a bit, wink.gif I was considering the benefits of the CBM-170 over the HTM-200 for the surrounds. The price difference is not very much, but my concern is mounting. I will be wall mounting the surrounds, and therefore will probably not be able to get more than 2-3" of space behind the speakers. Is this a problem for the rear ported CBM-170s?

Regarding the AVR, it turns out one of my friends has a Costco membership, so I will try to get the Pioneer SC-1522-k mentioned earlier in the thread. According to the hot-deals thread, the Costco in my area will get them in stock this weekend, so the timing works out pretty well. If I cannot get the SC-1522-k, I was looking at the Yamaha RX-V673. It looks like from the specs that is has nicer features (4K upscaling, 7.2 channel outputs) than the Denon AVR-1913 that I was originally considering. One question however: is the Denon room-correction software (Audyssey) better-enough than the Yamaha version (YPAO R.S.C.) to warrant getting the Denon? The prices are pretty similar, but I like the specs on the Yamaha a bit better.
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post #18 of 40 Old 04-02-2013, 02:32 PM
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If mounting the CBM-170s is a concern, then go with the HTMs. They are designed to be easily wall mountable.

Audyseey MultiEQ also uses filters on the sub to smooth the in room response. As I understand it, you have to get a model of YPAO that is specified as multipoint to get that benefit. To me it's worthwhile because the sub often needs as much EQ help in a room as the speakers, if not more.

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post #19 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I will probably buy the speakers today then. I guess I will stick with the HTMs.
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post #20 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 09:16 AM
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The Denon 1913 is fine for your needs. That said, this is what Batpig (one of our Denon heros on AVS) has to say:
Quote:
Batpig's Buying Advice: As with last year, the 2113ci seems like a no-brainer for the additional $70 over the 1913. It remains to be seen what "street price" looks like but last year the gap was even closer than msrp from many retailers. If only for the upgrade to MultEQ XT and the third year of warranty it is well worth it. After that, I would only recommend going beyond the 2113ci if you will specifically use the extra features found in the next model up. Do not do it because you want more power or better sound quality!

You can find the full thread here. I just spent several hours evaluating the latest Denon and other brand receivers for a 2-channel setup, I'll probably be getting the 2113CI, as it also has pre out for some added scalability.

Cheers.

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post #21 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louquid View Post

Why would the Denon 1913 be the lowest level model you would go with?



For what it's worth if your only looking for 5.1 setup, I would go with the denon avr 1713.. It comes with audyessey xt which is better then the audyssey that comes with the 1913. and saves you a little money smile.gif
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post #22 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 11:18 AM
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For what it's worth if your only looking for 5.1 setup, I would go with the denon avr 1713.. It comes with audyessey xt which is better then the audyssey that comes with the 1913. and saves you a little money smile.gif

The 1713 is a bit underpowered. If you can find a good deal on the 2113ci, I'd go with it... Unless you have a Costco that has the Pioneer SC-1522k on sale for about the same price. It has DTS Neo:X and pre-amp outputs too.

Denon seems to be skimping more and more on features for the money. Though a good brand, they have been slipping on the price vs. what you get front compared to some other brands.

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post #23 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 11:31 AM
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IMO the pioneer 1522k sounds better than the Denon 1913.

I can't say if it is the difference between the processor, amp, etc. I do not know.

But I could hear an immediate difference between the two while listening to music in 2.1 stereo.
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post #24 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Goride View Post

IMO the pioneer 1522k sounds better than the Denon 1913.

I can't say if it is the difference between the processor, amp, etc. I do not know.

But I could hear an immediate difference between the two while listening to music in 2.1 stereo.

Could also be an improvement in the digital-to-analog converters being used. The 1522k is supposed to be similarly outfitted as one of their Elite models (sans gold plated jacks).

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post #25 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goride View Post

IMO the pioneer 1522k sounds better than the Denon 1913.

I can't say if it is the difference between the processor, amp, etc. I do not know.

But I could hear an immediate difference between the two while listening to music in 2.1 stereo.

Was that without or without the room correction properly setup and engaged? Just curious. Not trying to disagree with you smile.gif

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post #26 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Was that without or without the room correction properly setup and engaged? Just curious. Not trying to disagree with you smile.gif

Both.

I tested my denon 1913 with and without audyssey. I preferred with audyssey.

I then tested the 1913 with audyssey against the pioneer 1522k without MCAAC. I preferred the 1522k without MCAAC.

Later I tested the 1522k with and without MCAAC. I preferred the 1522k with MCAAC.

This was done in the same room with the same speakers.

Again I do not know what specifically was making the 1522k sound better (whether is was the DAC, more powerful amp, class D amp, etc.). I just know it made a fairly drastic difference in the presence and clarity of the ambiance sounds in music.

Also, for what it is worth, I did not expect there to be much of a difference. I mainly upgraded to the 1522k because I wanted preouts, and with the Costco deal it was cheaper than the Denon 3313. (I also considered the Marantz 5007 which, refurbished, was same price as the 1522k. But I also liked the idea of the 1522k allowing me to manually adjust EQ settings). I honestly did not expect it to sound better right off the bat. But it did.
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post #27 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 12:46 PM
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Hello everyone...newbies here! I got the pioneer sc-1522-k reciever. So now, i need a professional advice which speakers package should i get for 5.1,7.1 set up. I'm thinking klipsch icon kf-26 for floor stander, and kc-25 for center. Or pioneer sp-pk52fs? Any suggestions better than this. My living room size is 12'x16'x8' hardwood flooring. Thank you in advance.
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post #28 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 03:48 PM
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A couple of years ago, on a very limited budget, I started checking Craigslist for speakers with brand names I recognized. I ran across an Axiom 7.1 set for $1100. The listing was a few days old, so I called and offered $700. I think that's the only offer the owner got -- Axiom is not a very well-known name. The offer was accepted, so $700 got me quality speakers with a new price well over $3000. So my advice is to try Craigslist and look for brands you know about but others probably don't. Make lowball offers.

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post #29 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jon2x View Post

Hello everyone...newbies here! I got the pioneer sc-1522-k reciever. So now, i need a professional advice which speakers package should i get for 5.1,7.1 set up. I'm thinking klipsch icon kf-26 for floor stander, and kc-25 for center. Or pioneer sp-pk52fs? Any suggestions better than this. My living room size is 12'x16'x8' hardwood flooring. Thank you in advance.

Speaking as one person's opinion only and one who has experienced a few Klipsch product ranges... I'd only get their THX certified monitors and on up (if you're a newbie... that can get spendy). The lower stuff that you normally find online and in a Best Buy is not what I'd call neutral or warm in the slightest. Grating and fatiguing would be my two best adjectives.

What kind of budget are you thinking about? Would you be willing to get a bit at a time?

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post #30 of 40 Old 04-03-2013, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Goride View Post

Both.

I tested my denon 1913 with and without audyssey. I preferred with audyssey.

I then tested the 1913 with audyssey against the pioneer 1522k without MCAAC. I preferred the 1522k without MCAAC.

Later I tested the 1522k with and without MCAAC. I preferred the 1522k with MCAAC.

This was done in the same room with the same speakers.

Again I do not know what specifically was making the 1522k sound better (whether is was the DAC, more powerful amp, class D amp, etc.). I just know it made a fairly drastic difference in the presence and clarity of the ambiance sounds in music.

Also, for what it is worth, I did not expect there to be much of a difference. I mainly upgraded to the 1522k because I wanted preouts, and with the Costco deal it was cheaper than the Denon 3313. (I also considered the Marantz 5007 which, refurbished, was same price as the 1522k. But I also liked the idea of the 1522k allowing me to manually adjust EQ settings). I honestly did not expect it to sound better right off the bat. But it did.

Thanks for explaining smile.gif

Yeah. Could be the whole electronic signal path--DAC, preamp, and amplification--is better. That doesn't mean that the Denon 3313 wouldn't be comparable. But for the money, sounds like you got the killer deal biggrin.gif

The one thing that MCAAC doesn't do is EQ the sub the way that Audyssey does. But you could always watch for a used Antimode if you want that.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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