Budget build front speaker advice - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-27-2013, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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First post. I apologize in advance for the length. I’m a LTWFTW to the forums, so I’ve read a lot of info, but couldn’t quite nail this one down. I’ve put together my first HT, a low-cost setup for under $200, and while I'm happy about it given the price point, the sound is, unsurprisingly, underwhelming. I’d like to replace my “center” and mains with a budget of around $100 (don’t gasp). I could go to $200 (maybe a little more), but we’re saving to buy a house by EOY, so extra funds are limited. Sometime after we move, I'll upgrade all of the speakers, but I'd like to buy something now with reuse value that sounds decent.

The Setup:
Receiver: Pioneer VSX-1120-K
Sub: Logitech Z-5500 Sub
Mains: Old speakers from my Philips FWP78 (3-way 75W RMS, 6 Ohm, advised against here)
Center: Pair of Insignia NSSP211 3” Bookshelves stacked (160W max, will be returned)
Surrounds: Pioneer S-H052S-K

The Space:
The room is about 13x14. It’s actually about 25-30’ in one dimension, but the space for the HT is only on one end and the rest gets pretty much used as my daughter’s downstairs play area. Size will change with move.

The Issue:
I’d like to get a set of Polk Monitor 30s as the mains and a matching center (CS10?), since this seems to be the go-to suggestion around here for budget fronts, and though a little over budget the reuse value and price-performance seem ideal. The problem is my TV stand won’t house most centers. I can fit a center that’s either 20”x5.5” or 9.5”x7” (WxH) given the layout of components.

The Questions:
Are there suggestions on smallish centers that might fit in my budget, especially if I can find them used? Thoughts on the Bic DV32CLR, Polk TL2, Mordaunt Short Carnival 5? What about mains? How important is it to match the center to the mains? Is it possible to get a center this size that will last through the next upgrade (new sub, new new mains, old new mains become surrounds)? Should I try going for bigger mains (Polk RTi10 like here?) and try phantom until I upgrade to a better TV stand?
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-27-2013, 03:44 PM
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There are options for mounting your center on top of your TV, especially smaller center channel speakers.

It is very important to match your center to your mains - many think the only way to go is with 3 of the exact same speakers up front. Admittedly, this isn't a possibility for most of us. Matching L/C/R from the same manufacturer and the same line of speakers is the way to go.

Phantom center is a possibility if you listen alone and your MLP is centered between your front L/R speakers. Phantom center can work very well in this configuration.

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post #3 of 10 Old 03-27-2013, 03:58 PM
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Newegg have the polk monitor 35b and 45b on sale. The also the monitor 15c.
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-28-2013, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P View Post

There are options for mounting your center on top of your TV, especially smaller center channel speakers.

I thought about mounting on top, but with a 55" TV, this puts the bottom of the speaker at least a foot overhead. Wouldn't this change the sound by basically sending a lot of the details in an area where we can't hear it? I notice that since my bookshelf speakers point the tweeters slightly upward, when I stand I hear a lot more than when I'm sitting. Beyond that, I think the WAF drops when setting a giant speaker on the TV.
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Originally Posted by Alan P View Post

Phantom center is a possibility if you listen alone and your MLP is centered between your front L/R speakers. Phantom center can work very well in this configuration.

I didn't realize Phantom was restricted to a narrow MLP. At a minimum it'll be my wife and I, but also guests. The question really is would the RTi10s suffice say for a year until we move get settled and I can begin another upgrade?
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Originally Posted by wronganswer View Post

Newegg have the polk monitor 35b and 45b on sale. The also the monitor 15c.

I like those speakers, but the problem is the 15c is too big for my TV stand (assuming I don't mount above TV). Are there options for a smaller speaker? Are any of the ones I mentioned any good? I hear good things about the TL2, would that pair well with the Polk Montiors?
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-28-2013, 12:50 PM
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Just bought the Mythos 8 speaker from NEwegg yestterday. $250 a piece. When they were still being made they were $750

Onkyo TXSR607, Mythos 8 Center, Studio Monitor 350's, Klipsch S-10 surrounds, Bic F12 sub

Epson Home Cinema 8100 Projector
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post #6 of 10 Old 03-28-2013, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Sutliff View Post

Just bought the Mythos 8 speaker from NEwegg yestterday. $250 a piece. When they were still being made they were $750

Unfortunately, that pretty much breaks every constraint I set. Price, width, and height. I'm sure it sounds great, but it won't work me right now.

Edit: I've read great things about their Pro Cinema 6 or something to that effect and I think they fit in my size window. A little above budget now though.
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-28-2013, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VitoHGrind View Post

I thought about mounting on top, but with a 55" TV, this puts the bottom of the speaker at least a foot overhead. Wouldn't this change the sound by basically sending a lot of the details in an area where we can't hear it? I notice that since my bookshelf speakers point the tweeters slightly upward, when I stand I hear a lot more than when I'm sitting. Beyond that, I think the WAF drops when setting a giant speaker on the TV.

Well, with the center mounted below the TV it's got to be at least a foot below your head, right? wink.gif Whether your center is mounted above or below your TV, the speaker should be angled up or down so the tweeter is firing directly at your head. Same goes for your FL/R speakers.

The speaker on top of the TV can look pretty good IMO, meets up to my WAF. biggrin.gif
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I didn't realize Phantom was restricted to a narrow MLP. At a minimum it'll be my wife and I, but also guests. The question really is would the RTi10s suffice say for a year until we move get settled and I can begin another upgrade?

Personally, I don't think you'll be satisfied with a phantom center with more than one listener. If you are off center by just a few inches, the "center image" just falls apart into the left or right speaker (whichever you are closer to).

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post #8 of 10 Old 03-28-2013, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P View Post

Well, with the center mounted below the TV it's got to be at least a foot below your head, right? wink.gif Whether your center is mounted above or below your TV, the speaker should be angled up or down so the tweeter is firing directly at your head.

Touché. I guess I felt that most centers are made with a natural upward projection as many appear to "lean back" with tweeters pointed just above horizontal.
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Originally Posted by Alan P View Post

Personally, I don't think you'll be satisfied with a phantom center with more than one listener. If you are off center by just a few inches, the "center image" just falls apart into the left or right speaker (whichever you are closer to).

I can see that happening, I tried phantom last night with my current setup and when I was centered it sounded great, but off-center it exhibited some l/r bias. I attributed this more to low-quality speakers and less to limitations of the setup.
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-28-2013, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VitoHGrind View Post

I can see that happening, I tried phantom last night with my current setup and when I was centered it sounded great, but off-center it exhibited some l/r bias. I attributed this more to low-quality speakers and less to limitations of the setup.

Nope. Don't matter how good your speakers are, you have to be relatively centered to get a good phantom image. Although speaker dispersion angles and the room itself can have an influence on this.

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post #10 of 10 Old 03-30-2013, 04:34 AM
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Why not buy used? I am not endorsing my stuff but I have three prs of speakers selling locally on /craigslist that are far better than you are looking at new. try CL.
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