Slim floorstanding speaker recommendations - MartinLogan Motion 40 vs ??? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I recently upgraded the rears in my home theater setup to a set of Definitive RSS III and this seems to have given me the bug to at least contemplate upgrade of my main and centers.

My setup is a room with some major constraints on placement. 90% of usage is for HT with occasional music listening, most of which is delivered via my Squeezebox or via Pandora from the Onkyo 818 that drives the setup.

I currently have a set of 15+ year old Boston VR950 speakers for mains. They are "okay" but I am just not feeling wowed by them. I have a matching VR series center and I have an Epik Empire as a subwoofer. One issue with the Bostons is that they have a front foot plinth that's a bit on the wide side, which inhibits me toeing them in a bit for better placement. It does have the advantage of making the speakers harder to knock over, which could be a concern with new speakers.

Considering auditioning the MartinLogan Motion 40s because they (like these Bostons) have a very narrow footprint. I really need to keep the width of the speaker, including any plinth, to a maximum of 8-9" as one of them is in a doorway area (see above comments on placement issues).

Very interested in any other recommendations.... again, if someone throws out a large speaker, I won't be able to consider it due to space constraints.

Layout can be seen in attached image. Many thanks.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, looks like Paradigm Monitor 9s are also a contender in this price range and would fit my space constraints. I would augment with the monitor 3 center if I went that route.
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post #3 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 01:22 PM
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I had been looking for a slim tower and there were a few that made my shortlist

NHT Absolute Tower ($1100/pr)
Cambridge Audio SL70
PSB Image T5

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post #4 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

I had been looking for a slim tower and there were a few that made my shortlist

NHT Absolute Tower ($1100/pr)
Cambridge Audio SL70
PSB Image T5

I agree with this list, except I'd substitute the Monitor Audio RX6 for the Cambridge audio model.
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post #5 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, the quality on the Cambridge rears that I recently replaced was pretty marginal and actually they couldn't even sell me a replacement set of grills for them, so I will be steering free of Cambridge from here on out.

The RX6 looks like a great speaker but it is far too wide with the plinth for the doorway that you see in the photo. The speaker would be intruding into the door area itself and would surely result in some stubbed toes.
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post #6 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I will amend that last a bit. If I really really thought that a slightly wider speaker (like the RX6) was worth it, I could remove the baseboard in that spot which would give me another inch to work with.
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post #7 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 03:58 PM
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I am quite a Totem Fan...

They have several speakers that are slim, beautiful and I really enjoy the Totem sound.

http://totemacoustic.com/en/hi-fi/columns/

Perhaps the Hawk or Forrest...

Rick

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post #8 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 04:26 PM
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The Ascend Acoustics Sierra Tower is only 7.5" wide.

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Like all things on the Internet, do your research, as forums have a good amount of misinformation.
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post #9 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 04:28 PM
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Salk songtowers are 8" wide (slightly wider with the plinth).
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post #10 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Ah, thanks for all of the additional recommendations. Looks like it might be quite difficult to find places to audition some of the more esoteric ones. I should also add that I'm trying to keep to a $2000 budget for LCR and will want to buy all three at once. It looks like that will put some of these (Songtowers for example and I imagine the Totem speakers) out of my price range.... I actually listened to some AudioPhysic speakers a year or two ago that were outstanding, and met my size requirements, but at $2500 for the pair plus another $800 for the center it was too much of a stretch (maybe if I ever have a dedicated theater/listening-room I can justify it).

The VR950 are actually pretty good (especially considering that I paid something like $500 for them 15 yrs ago), but the smaller VR series center I had to switch to in order to fit into the cabinet I have is underwhelming and I suspect I will get a very noticeable improvement by going with something more current that is probably quite a bit larger.
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post #11 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 10:42 PM
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Have you considered bookshelf speakers instead of floor standers? I.e. would using wall shelves (or mounts) with the LR mains gain you anything size wise? (Since most towers have bases that are larger/wider than the rest of the speaker.)

Another towers option in your price range: the Gallo Classico CL-3 towers and CL-C center. (The towers are only 7" wide, no base with extra width.)
http://www.roundsound.com/floor-standing-speakers/classico-cl-3-loudspeaker.html
http://www.roundsound.com/mini-monitor-speakers/classico-cl-c-loudspeaker.html

Gallo has a 60 day return policy, return shipping paid. They are a little under the radar but, to my ears, sound excellent. (There is a Gallo Acoustics Owners thread if you want more info.)
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post #12 of 29 Old 04-30-2013, 10:46 PM
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Most def tech speakers aren't very wide


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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post #13 of 29 Old 05-01-2013, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaomizzle View Post

Most def tech speakers aren't very wide


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The problem with Def Tech is that all of their better floorstanding models have low quality integrated subwoofers that I don't want to pay for, let alone power. My Empire crushes what those things can do.
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post #14 of 29 Old 05-01-2013, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

Have you considered bookshelf speakers instead of floor standers? I.e. would using wall shelves (or mounts) with the LR mains gain you anything size wise? (Since most towers have bases that are larger/wider than the rest of the speaker.)

Another towers option in your price range: the Gallo Classico CL-3 towers and CL-C center. (The towers are only 7" wide, no base with extra width.)
http://www.roundsound.com/floor-standing-speakers/classico-cl-3-loudspeaker.html
http://www.roundsound.com/mini-monitor-speakers/classico-cl-c-loudspeaker.html

Gallo has a 60 day return policy, return shipping paid. They are a little under the radar but, to my ears, sound excellent. (There is a Gallo Acoustics Owners thread if you want more info.)

I thought about going with bookshelfs, but the concern I have is that with stands they are going to get knocked over. Shelves will very possibly look strange sitting up on the walls as they would need to. Not to mention that many better quality bookshelf speakers are actually wider than towers.
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post #15 of 29 Old 05-01-2013, 09:32 AM
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I had a similar problem. I needed to get a floorstander with a narrow footprint, and my Paradigm Monitor 7's work great. I demoed a few different speakers (Polk, HTD, Klipsch), but liked the Paradigms best.
You'd be amazed at the bass that these things can kick out from how small they are. Definitely impressive.
In your budget, you could swing the Monitor 9's and the Center 3. That would make for a fantastic LCR setup.

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post #16 of 29 Old 05-01-2013, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nalow View Post

I had a similar problem. I needed to get a floorstander with a narrow footprint, and my Paradigm Monitor 7's work great. I demoed a few different speakers (Polk, HTD, Klipsch), but liked the Paradigms best.
You'd be amazed at the bass that these things can kick out from how small they are. Definitely impressive.
In your budget, you could swing the Monitor 9's and the Center 3. That would make for a fantastic LCR setup.

I did have some older Paradigm speakers in my bedroom back when I was a bachelor and (for music) I really enjoyed the Paradigm sound. I still regret selling them when I moved into the current house with my wife 8 yrs ago. I am going to try to audition the Paradigms and MLs and maybe a few others this Saturday.
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post #17 of 29 Old 05-01-2013, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

I did have some older Paradigm speakers in my bedroom back when I was a bachelor and (for music) I really enjoyed the Paradigm sound. I still regret selling them when I moved into the current house with my wife 8 yrs ago. I am going to try to audition the Paradigms and MLs and maybe a few others this Saturday.

The Version 7's have an all-new design from the previous few models... Better looks, different driver materials. They have a very bright (crisp) sound to them and respond very well to EQ tweaks. Love them for movies and electronic & acoustic music.
I've heard some people complain about older Paradigms sounding a bit muddy/muffled. Whereas these newer ones are completely different.

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post #18 of 29 Old 05-01-2013, 06:44 PM
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Philharmonic Audio is just beginning to come out with a slim tower speaker, 8.5" wide. Depending on your budget they should be considered.

I'm also a fan of Totem. This is the brand I was going to purchase before I learned of Philharmonic Audio speakers.

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post #19 of 29 Old 05-05-2013, 12:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Small update. I did get the opportunity to demo a few today. First I demoed the a monitor RX6 with matching silver center. I was perplexed after all of the great things I had heard as they sounded way too laid back to me. I really had to have them crank them up to get to a suitable listening level for movies and then they were fatiguing. This was a real letdown as I loved how they looked and the plinth would make them very stable in my location.

Next I went to audition the Paradigm Reference 9. Unfortunately this was a bust as the only dealer in the state recently moved out of their large showroom into a tiny retail space that is not even finished. Even if they set the speakers up for demo later as they have promised I am not optimistic about the experience as its going to be a ton of reverb in their demo area. They pointed out that the reference 7 and 9 are rear ported which would be a problem in my spot and tried to convince me that bookshelves on stands were the way to go.

Lastly I wound up at BB and demoed the "lowly" ML Motion 40 which sounded surprisingly good to me with a more open airy sound than I was expecting and the imaging was quite good. Unfortunately they only had the smaller Motion 8 center for demo.

I am hoping I can demo PSB, Focal and NHT speakers tomorrow.
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post #20 of 29 Old 05-05-2013, 08:07 AM
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ARX A5 towers are only 7.1" wide. They can be used with or without the base as it doesn't come attached to the speaker so if its too wide you don't have to use it.

http://www.theaudioinsider.com/manufacturers.php?mPath=13 $749 plus shipping would probably be right around your budget. A5s got some nice comments in the Northeast AVS GTG a month or so ago.
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post #21 of 29 Old 05-05-2013, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Well if I can't demo locally I can't consider it.
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post #22 of 29 Old 05-05-2013, 09:40 AM
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Just remember what it sounds like in a showroom will be different than when its in your room.
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post #23 of 29 Old 05-05-2013, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I understand that. It still beats purchasing speakers that I have never heard.
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post #24 of 29 Old 05-05-2013, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

I understand that. It still beats purchasing speakers that I have never heard.

Thats why internet direct brands offer no hassle returns 30days, 45 days and even 60 days no questions asked. Some will pick up the shipping charges and others will give you a good rate to ship back incase you don't like them.

Probably 90+% of people on this forum buy online only, better value, judge the speaker in your room and in a longer period, using your equipment and your souce material.

Listening in store will really only give you insight on what they look like, they could sound drastically different once you get them home for good or bad and then perhaps your stuck in arguing with the salesman to return them. Or getting stuck with store credit.


Aperion is a good one to try out http://www.aperionaudio.com/speakers/intimus-home-theater-speakers/intimus-5t-tower-speaker fits your size and budget requirements. Listen to them for a couple weeks in your home, if you like them keep them if not put them back in the boxes and setup UPS to pick them up and Aperion will give you a full 100% refund.
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post #25 of 29 Old 05-05-2013, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Just demoed the Image T5 and wasn't impressed. The Imagine T though was another story. It had a very pleasant sound and in a theater setup with the Imagine C center the reproduction of dialogue was outstanding. This is a dated speaker but clearly one worth considering. I also listed to the B&W CM8, which in stereo listening had a great laid back sound, but with the appropriate B&W center channel it could not produce the rich, deep and clear dialogue that the PSB center could produce.

PSB Imagine T and C center are a bit over my budget, but I might stretch for it.
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post #26 of 29 Old 05-07-2013, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Another little note... I did look into the Salk Songtowers and some of the other higher end products, but unfortunately in all cases so far, the center channel is too large to fit in the location I need to put it in.
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post #27 of 29 Old 05-07-2013, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

Another little note... I did look into the Salk Songtowers and some of the other higher end products, but unfortunately in all cases so far, the center channel is too large to fit in the location I need to put it in.
Jim Salk can make a CC to fit your needs, I had him make me one to fit a narrow slot between a fireplace and my plasma screen, came out great, no extra charge.
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post #28 of 29 Old 05-07-2013, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, I appreciate that information, however I would be even more uncomfortable about purchasing a one-off like that, in the event I ever wanted to resell it later. I will look into Salk owners in my area of the country to see if there's one who will demo them for me. Honestly, cosmetically I am not that impressed with them (and I showed pictures of them to my wife who was even less impressed), and that is a factor as this is not a "man cave" where I can put in whatever I want.... I have to keep my wife happy. She was okay with the looks of the Motion 40's and the PSB Imagine Ts.
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post #29 of 29 Old 05-12-2013, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Just wanted to tie this thread off. Auditioning Paradigm, KEF and Focal were all total misses. The KEF dealer isn't open at times that work particularly well, the Focal dealer wasn't even there when I walked around their dumpy store for 20 minutes (no one even came out to greet me that entire time, l probably could have loaded my car with 1/2 their merchandise) and the Paradigm dealer who insisted that they would set up a demo for me, never called or emailed.

I ended up doing some more head to head comparisons between the ML Motions and the PSB Imagine T (with C center) and ultimately decided to go with the PSBs. Price wise, it wasn't too far apart, and cosmetically the PSBs were much more pleasing to my wife. The ML towers also seemed a little bit more top heavy and "wobbly" and since one speaker is in a place where it can easily be knocked over, the more stable PSB T with outrigger feet was a bit of an advantage. The salesperson I was dealing with was actually a former co-worker from a previous life, and gave me a very generous discount on the PSBs that took them into the realm of "stretch but reasonable".

Burning them in now and so far quite happy that I've done the upgrade.

Thanks to everyone for the recommendations. If I had a dedicated listening room and more time on my hands I probably would have tried to audition some of the online only brands, and perhaps been more persistent about getting demos from Paradigm, KEF, and others, but I'm pretty happy with these PSBs, they are very neutral sounding which is great for home theater.
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