Recommendations on a mid-level 7.2 set of speakers and subs? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm in the process of finalizing my HT design and am now down to the speakers. I was originally going to try to reuse my Bose Acoustimass 15 setup in some fashion, but from much reading on this forum I see that's not possible / recommended - so here I am smile.gif

Some AV Room Details
1) Room Dimensions: 18'8" x 10'4"
2) Receiver: Denon AVR-X3000

A couple of constraints I have:
1) Speaker Size: Smaller profile the better, must be 6" or less from the wall when placed against the wall (speakers, not subs)
2) Cost: My 'mid level' roughly translated to 1k - 1.5k, which by many others definition may be "low level" biggrin.gif Is it possible to get a good sounding set of speakers / subs in this range?

Would appreciate the thoughts, thanks!!
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post #2 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drandersoninc View Post

I'm in the process of finalizing my HT design and am now down to the speakers. I was originally going to try to reuse my Bose Acoustimass 15 setup in some fashion, but from much reading on this forum I see that's not possible / recommended - so here I am smile.gif

Some AV Room Details
1) Room Dimensions: 18'8" x 10'4"
2) Receiver: Denon AVR-X3000

A couple of constraints I have:
1) Speaker Size: Smaller profile the better, must be 6" or less from the wall when placed against the wall (speakers, not subs)
2) Cost: My 'mid level' roughly translated to 1k - 1.5k, which by many others definition may be "low level" biggrin.gif Is it possible to get a good sounding set of speakers / subs in this range?

Would appreciate the thoughts, thanks!!

Did you already buy that receiver? IMHO, I would spend about half or less on the receiver and put the savings toward your speaker and subs.

Also, your room is not very long, how much do you have behind the seating position for the rear two speakers?
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post #3 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Did you already buy that receiver? IMHO, I would spend about half or less on the receiver and put the savings toward your speaker and subs.
?

I've got to strongly echo the comment on downgrading the receiver to free up some money for speakers. If you carefully buy a receiver, you can get a nice one for $300…. at about $500 you start hitting the law of diminishing returns pretty quickly. But at $2k for 7.1 speakers would be a minimum… you might even consider going 5.1 for a while.
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post #4 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Did you already buy that receiver? IMHO, I would spend about half or less on the receiver and put the savings toward your speaker and subs.

Also, your room is not very long, how much do you have behind the seating position for the rear two speakers?

Thanks for your response, to your questions:

1) The receiver choice was based on the primary criteria. I haven't been able to find another meeting all the characteristics for a substantially cheaper price - are there other options in this area / lower price range I am not aware of?
  • I need it to support a 7.2 system, not just a 7.1. This alone seems to raise the AVR by a couple hundred dollars right off the bat
  • Denon has a solid reputation in quality and durability. I would like this to be around and working over the next decade
  • At least 100w per channel
  • Signal upconverting (nice to have)
  • Converting non-digital sources to digitial sources to limit the cabling required to the PJ (nice to have)

2) In regards to speaker positions, here is the layout that I have at this point based on discussions in another thread
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post #5 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by D54Smith View Post

.... But at $2k for 7.1 speakers would be a minimum… .

Assuming the receiver is not part of the equation for now, what are recommendations for 7.2 speaker packages / manufacturers with a good 'bang for the buck' that I can take a closer look at and consider pricing?

Thanks
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post #6 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drandersoninc View Post

Thanks for your response, to your questions:

1) The receiver choice was based on the primary criteria. I haven't been able to find another meeting all the characteristics for a substantially cheaper price - are there other options in this area / lower price range I am not aware of?
  • I need it to support a 7.2 system, not just a 7.1. This alone seems to raise the AVR by a couple hundred dollars right off the bat
  • Denon has a solid reputation in quality and durability. I would like this to be around and working over the next decade
  • At least 100w per channel
  • Signal upconverting (nice to have)
  • Converting non-digital sources to digitial sources to limit the cabling required to the PJ (nice to have)

2) In regards to speaker positions, here is the layout that I have at this point based on discussions in another thread

I assume you already purchased this receiver? It is a nice receiver, I am a fan of Denon myself and own one myself (although it is sitting in one of their repair facilities for about the fourth week now but that is another story).

Okay, the biggest limitation I see is only having 1' behind your screen for speakers. That is not much room at all, and ported rear speakers should be out of the equation, and most speakers need a good 2' or so pulled out from boundary walls. Is there any way to pull that false wall forward another 6" at least?

If not, have you considered in-wall speakers? That would give you back some more space and allow for more optimal placement (which is what I have, in-wall speakers behind an Seymour AV AT screen)? You would have to stretch the budget closer to $2K, but it is doable.
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post #7 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 07:10 PM
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I'd prefer to leave the specific recommendations to the guys who are more frequent posters in this forum - I don't follow the speaker market that closely - but there may be some expectations and requirements that will be hard to meet.

I know from your other threads that you have allowed for the screen to be 1 foot from the wall, and you've been instructed that the speaker face shouldn't be closer than 6 inches from the back of the screen. This was a reasonable space limitation for the soundcubes, but it's going to make anything other than in-wall designs very difficult to fit. There are good in-wall designs if that's the way you decide to go, but that should be a carefully made decision. In-walls are not going to be readily adjustable in terms of position or upgrade-able in the future. On the other hand, re-positioning the screen at this point in your design process may have extensive ripple effects - maybe not.

Strictly speaking, you don't need to have a receiver or processor that's advertised as 7.2 in order to operate 2 subs. It's nice to use one like that, because it may (or may not - you'll need to do specific research, and I don't know about the receiver you've listed) allow for independent calibration settings within the receiver itself. On the other hand, more complete calibration settings can be made with the use of dedicated outboard processing, but that can add significant complexity and expense. Still, subs with on-board (or separate, if one is provided for each sub) amps can provide their own basic calibration settings from the same output signal. That is to say, most sub amps have gain, phase, and high-pass (and sometimes other) filters built into them. You can use a simple splitter to feed each amp the same line-level signal from the receiver/processor and adjust the subs independently through their amps.

100W is nice power to have, but consider the way you'll use that power and how much difference a watt makes. The logarithmic nature of sound means that increasing sound pressure level by 3dB requires a doubling of input power to the loudspeaker. For a typical bookshelf speaker you could find at a major electronics store (or most any pace you buy speakers) you might expect that 1W input could produce around 85 dB spl at a distance of 1 meter. This, or some similar methodology describes the speaker's sensitivity. Listening at 1 meter distance, you'd need 2W for 88dB, 4W for 91dB, 8W for93, 16W for 96, 32W for 99, 64W for 102, and 128W per channel (all seven driven) for THX reference 105dB. Similarly, sound levels tend to drop off by about 3 dB with every doubling of distance. So listening from 2m is like cutting your power in half (or doubling your power needs). Your listening distance is closer to 3 meters which makes for harder math, but the trend is pretty clear, right? For a variety of reasons, you may not want THX reference level, but here's the point: the difference of 10 or 20 watts power on your amp is hard to get excited over, because it will only make a dB or two difference. Further, the way to getting satisfyingly loud movies without hundreds of watts is through higher sensitivity. Speakers designed specifically for home theater tend to have sensitivities above 90-92 dB, some fairly common designs are around 96 dB, and there are those over 100.

Don't let this description be the only thing driving a selection decision, but I think it needed to be laid out there.

Fred
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post #8 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

I assume you already purchased this receiver? ....

.....Is there any way to pull that false wall forward another 6" at least? ....

I have not, so if there are other options that meet the characteristics I would be interested in hearing them. I am also open to an AVR (as HopefulFred was alluding to) that is a 7.1 meeting the criteria but with the consideration of the additional cost for the required amps in that setup?

I may be able to squeeze another 6" away from the wall, if I can you said you might have some speaker recommendations?
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post #9 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by drandersoninc View Post

Assuming the receiver is not part of the equation for now, what are recommendations for 7.2 speaker packages / manufacturers with a good 'bang for the buck' that I can take a closer look at and consider pricing?

Thanks
There are a lot of variables and bias (on my part as well). For this level of speaker, my personal favorite is the NHT, certainly there are other good choices. A lot depends upon your listening style. In this range of speaker they can play well, but have weaknesses. Of course, even a $5k speaker has imperfections as well. For your size of room, I would get bookshelf speakers and pair a decent sub. $350 x 3 + 4*100+500 for sub is 1950. I prefer the direct firing speaker. It save money and in a 7.1 system will work great. This is with Absolute Two for the L/R and Absolute Center and the Super Zero .1 for the 4 surrounds. And a B-10D subwoofer.

There are other good choices… but this is where I would start at this price point.

BTW, I paid about $300 for my 100 Watt 7.1 Channel receive, Onkyo 616. The Denon is probably a better receiver…. but sonic differences will be very small.
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post #10 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 09:19 PM
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As mentioned, if you are intending to hit near reference levels, just make sure to get high efficiency speakers. As long as your seating distance isn't too far from the speakers, any of the mid-range Denon receivers should do, power-wise. I have the Denon 1912 which does 90 watts per channel when running 5.1 (running 7 channels, I think it can do 65 WPC or so) keep in mind though that your surrounds probably won't be pushing that much sound at regular intervals, so your reciever probably won't have to use near the max rating for all channels simultaneously very often. As far as using 7.2, I have heard of people using a splitter to run 2 subs from the .1 channel on the reciever. Since the LFE material is generally mono in nature, there shouldn't be an issue with this configuration.

Also, if power becomes an issue due to efficiency, it is also fairly common practice to run additional amps to help power the main speakers and sometimes the center speaker, since those are the speakers most used in movies. Using this method, you should never run out of clean power for your mains and simply use the AVR to power your surrounds since those usually don't require nearly as much power as the mains and center.

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post #11 of 38 Old 05-14-2013, 09:28 PM
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If your up for some used speakers I saw someone here selling a year and a half old black ash studio 60s v5 and cc590 v5 mint condition 1800 plus shipping right here on AVSforum. His name is 'The_Spyder'
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post #12 of 38 Old 05-15-2013, 05:07 AM
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Bang for buck speakers on a budget I would look at the BIC America Formula series speakers or the BIC Acoustech Platinum Series speakers. They are very efficient speakers requiring very little power and they sound great for HT. These speakers have a 1" aluminum dome tweeter loaded in a 6.5" square horn which is what makes them so efficient and helps bring out the clarity in dialog.


http://www.acousticsounddesign.com/brand/index.cfm?bid=46

http://www.acousticsounddesign.com/brand/index.cfm?bid=67

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post #13 of 38 Old 05-15-2013, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred View Post


100W is nice power to have, but consider the way you'll use that power and how much difference a watt makes. The logarithmic nature of sound means that increasing sound pressure level by 3dB requires a doubling of input power to the loudspeaker. For a typical bookshelf speaker you could find at a major electronics store (or most any pace you buy speakers) you might expect that 1W input could produce around 85 dB spl at a distance of 1 meter. This, or some similar methodology describes the speaker's sensitivity. Listening at 1 meter distance, you'd need 2W for 88dB, 4W for 91dB, 8W for93, 16W for 96, 32W for 99, 64W for 102, and 128W per channel (all seven driven) for THX reference 105dB. Similarly, sound levels tend to drop off by about 3 dB with every doubling of distance. So listening from 2m is like cutting your power in half (or doubling your power needs). Your listening distance is closer to 3 meters which makes for harder math, but the trend is pretty clear, right? For a variety of reasons, you may not want THX reference level, but here's the point: the difference of 10 or 20 watts power on your amp is hard to get excited over, because it will only make a dB or two difference. Further, the way to getting satisfyingly loud movies without hundreds of watts is through higher sensitivity. Speakers designed specifically for home theater tend to have sensitivities above 90-92 dB, some fairly common designs are around 96 dB, and there are those over 100.

Don't let this description be the only thing driving a selection decision, but I think it needed to be laid out there.

Fred

Just to throw out my 2¢ worth again. Fred's calculations for db SPL levels are correct. However, real world numbers don't quite match up… because your speakers are in a room and there are reflections, which means the SPL doesn't drop quite as fast as you get further from the speaker as indicated. Also, in a Theater, you have multiple speakers firing at you… so you don't need 128W to get 105db. I could be wrong on this.. but I believe if you have two speakers with each creating 100db at your listening position, your total SPL would be 103db. Which is probably why my little 100W/channel receiver is THX certified.

Just a word of caution. Recently I was reading a thread by a designer who was putting together a high efficiency theater speaker. The woofers that he is using are rated at around 96db. His measurements indicated it was more like 90-92. The 'Audiophile' speakers that he usually designs are usually around 86-88db. While, I will agree that high efficiency is a good thing for home theater… I wouldn't let it be the final word in what you buy. Manufacturer efficiency specs are suspect IMO.
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post #14 of 38 Old 05-15-2013, 06:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the inputs, I'm looking further into the NHT, black ash and BIC recommendations right now. If there are any other recommendations, please send them on. Thanks!
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post #15 of 38 Old 05-15-2013, 06:10 AM
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My personal inclination was toward the HSU sets - they have in-walls and bookshelf designs. Note that there is no need for specially designed (horizontal) center channel speaker in your application. Something like this perhaps http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid1pkg.html
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post #16 of 38 Old 05-15-2013, 06:13 AM
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I would think three Ascend 340's across the front and 4 of the HTM200 surrounds would be a very nice system for the money:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/purchase/advisor.mv#bottom

I think Ascend will sell you a matching third CMT 340 SE since you should really get a matching third vertical speaker vs the horizontal center. That said, you are going to need more room behind the screen since the 340's are rear ported. I would ask Ascend how much space you need from the rear boundary wall.

This should be right around $1400. This leaves you $600 for a subwoofer and lots of choices in that range from SVS, Hsu, Rythmik.


You could go with three of these:
http://www.amazon.com/Infinity-Primus-P363-Three-way-Floorstanding/dp/B0046A8R3M/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1368622266&sr=8-4&keywords=infinity+primus#productDescription

And four of these:
http://www.amazon.com/Infinity-Primus-Two-way-Bookshelf-Satellite/dp/B0045NCB32/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1368622266&sr=8-2&keywords=infinity+primus

This would put you right at:
$937 shipped and would give you budget for something like dual PB1000 subs:
https://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/pb-1000

The issue, again, is your depth behind the screen. These P363 speakers are 13" deep. They are front ported so are going to be more forgiving in terms of placement near boundary walls.

Hsu, also have some nice speakers as well. They are rear ported, but I remember Hsu saying you only need about 4-6' from the wall, and these speakers are not too deep (8"):
http://www.hsuresearch.com/speakers.html
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post #17 of 38 Old 05-15-2013, 12:20 PM
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3 Pair of Arx A1b bookshelfs and a single A1b center would leave you about $800 for a subwoofer. Something like SVS PB12 NSD or PowerSound Audio XS15 would be a pretty nice setup. Might have enough to squeeze in a pair of SVS PB1000s instead.



http://www.theaudioinsider.com/manufacturers.php?mPath=13
http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/pb12-nsd
http://www.svsound.com/dual-subwoofers/dual-pb-1000
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post #18 of 38 Old 05-16-2013, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the late reply, too much going on at work ATM...

This will be somewhat premature as I have not had a chance to research all of the following 'setup' options in regards to porting / standoff from wall, dimensions, warranty, etc, but I wanted to at least get this out there now for folks inputs. I took many of the recommendations from above and attempted to build out 7.2 setups and put a cost to them for an initial comparison. I stayed within the offerings of the manufacturers for the most part as I really don't know enough to swap in different subs, etc.

I'd like folks thoughts on the below list, what would rank as the 'best bang for the buck' out of this list, or if there is another setup that would fall into these price ranges (yes, I am now in the 2k to 2.5 area wink.gif ). I'd like to take these inputs, with the pending research I need to do per the above, to rank out what speakers I would like to go hear in what order. Thanks again for all the help!

BTW: I talked to all of these manufacturers to attempt to determine if any of these were manufactured / assembled in the US and they are not frown.gif However ARX said they are planning a new line that will be Made in the USA within the next calendar year, so I will be keeping an eye out for that and thought others might be interested in that as well.


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post #19 of 38 Old 05-16-2013, 03:14 PM
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I doubt you'll find anything made in the USA within your budget. Maybe 4x-5x you budget would get you something, made in the USA but then its probably still going to have about half of the components sourced from over seas. The Arx models made in the USA from what I hear will be high premium finishes of maybe the A5, a Arx LineArray and maybe a larger MTM WWW tower.

With your Arx setup, I would replace the A3c with a pair of A1b bookshelfs and up your subwoofer. The Bic PL-200 and H-100 and PSB Sub125 is NO WHERE near the performance level of the HSU VTF3 MK 4 or the VTF 15H. PB1000 would also be ahead as well.

You don't have to stick with matching brand subwoofers.
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post #20 of 38 Old 05-16-2013, 03:19 PM
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At this price point you are not likely to find much made in the USA. Up your budget a bit and there are things you can get which are assembled in the USA, but even then many of the components will be made in China.
From that list, go for either of the Hsu packages, their subs will annihilate any of those others, it isn't even close. Make sure you have room for them though, they are pretty large. But you don't really have to match subs with speakers. The most critical parts that should match are the front stage speakers. It's not too important that the surround speakers match the front stage either.
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post #21 of 38 Old 05-16-2013, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drandersoninc View Post

BTW: I talked to all of these manufacturers to attempt to determine if any of these were manufactured / assembled in the US and they are not frown.gif
Did you call Ascend Acoustics(mentioned by ack_bk) about their products being assembled in the US? They are hand assembled and tested in California.

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post #22 of 38 Old 05-16-2013, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by drandersoninc View Post


BTW: I talked to all of these manufacturers to attempt to determine if any of these were manufactured / assembled in the US and they are not frown.gif However ARX said they are planning a new line that will be Made in the USA within the next calendar year, so I will be keeping an eye out for that and thought others might be interested in that as well.

Yea, in this price range…. most are made/assembled overseas. Salks are assembled in the US…. but the lowest price I would recommend for a home theater that they make is the Song Tower, which is $2k for a pair and up. Especially since I think you are more heavy Movies than Music.
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post #23 of 38 Old 05-16-2013, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Did you call Ascend Acoustics(mentioned by ack_bk) about their products being assembled in the US? They are hand assembled and tested in California.

Sorry, I didn't mean to look like I ignored the suggestion. My concern was this:
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That said, you are going to need more room behind the screen since the 340's are rear ported. I would ask Ascend how much space you need from the rear boundary wall.

I'm already going to be pressed to squeeze another 6" out from behind the screen in additional space. I didn't have a chance to contact Ascend to see if I could make it work before posting, I'll try to do that tomorrow and advise.
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post #24 of 38 Old 05-16-2013, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drandersoninc View Post

Sorry for the late reply, too much going on at work ATM...

This will be somewhat premature as I have not had a chance to research all of the following 'setup' options in regards to porting / standoff from wall, dimensions, warranty, etc, but I wanted to at least get this out there now for folks inputs. I took many of the recommendations from above and attempted to build out 7.2 setups and put a cost to them for an initial comparison. I stayed within the offerings of the manufacturers for the most part as I really don't know enough to swap in different subs, etc.

I'd like folks thoughts on the below list, what would rank as the 'best bang for the buck' out of this list, or if there is another setup that would fall into these price ranges (yes, I am now in the 2k to 2.5 area wink.gif ). I'd like to take these inputs, with the pending research I need to do per the above, to rank out what speakers I would like to go hear in what order. Thanks again for all the help!

BTW: I talked to all of these manufacturers to attempt to determine if any of these were manufactured / assembled in the US and they are not frown.gif However ARX said they are planning a new line that will be Made in the USA within the next calendar year, so I will be keeping an eye out for that and thought others might be interested in that as well.


LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Since you have an accoustically transparent screen, I would strongly recommend going with a matching vertical center channel (same speaker as your left and right) vs the horizontal center channel.

This graphic Bill Fitzmaurice posted a little while back explains better vs words:



As you can see, you get much better off-axis response as the sound has a wider soundstage.

And if you would like to read why:
http://www.audioholics.com/education/loudspeaker-basics/vertical-vs-horizontal-speaker-designs
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post #25 of 38 Old 05-16-2013, 06:22 PM
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Sorry, I didn't mean to look like I ignored the suggestion. My concern was this:
I'm already going to be pressed to squeeze another 6" out from behind the screen in additional space. I didn't have a chance to contact Ascend to see if I could make it work before posting, I'll try to do that tomorrow and advise.

Keep in mind if you cannot squeeze some more room behind the screen, I think it would eliminate a number of other speakers from your list. If space is of a premium behind the screen, I would strongly recommend in-wall speakers. If you get a properly engineered in-wall it can compete very well with the in-room speakers. There are advantages to in-wall speakers and disadvantages. Just something I would keep in mind if you don't have much flexibility with your wall.

Here is mine behind the screen:


Here are the speakers with the screen off:
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There are a lot of variables and bias (on my part as well). For this level of speaker, my personal favorite is the NHT.... This is with Absolute Two for the L/R and Absolute Center and the Super Zero .1 for the 4 surrounds. And a B-10D subwoofer..

Looks like I left this one out too inadvertently, I'll get that added into the list.

In the meantime, how does the B-10d compare to the other subs in the list? i.e. should that one also be swapped out or is it decent comparatively?
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post #27 of 38 Old 05-16-2013, 06:29 PM
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Looks like I left this one out too inadvertently, I'll get that added into the list.

In the meantime, how does the B-10d compare to the other subs in the list? i.e. should that one also be swapped out or is it decent comparatively?

NHT is nice stuff, but their subwoofer, IMHO, is not on the same level as Hsu, SVS, PSA, and Rythmik. The specs pretty much confirm it.
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BTW: I talked to all of these manufacturers to attempt to determine if any of these were manufactured / assembled in the US and they are not frown.gif

The Ascend Acoustics speakers that ack_bk mentioned are assembled in California, if that helps. Given the size of your room, Ascend CBM-170 SEs across the front would work well.

Your room is what, about 2,000 cubic feet? In that size space, you don't need a VTF-15H. For that matter, an HSU VTF-2 MK4, SVS PB-1000, Outlaw Audio Plus, or Rythmik LV12R would all have sufficient output. Rather than looking at more bigger, more powerful subs from there, look at duals of one of these subs. Duals can typically help to create a smoother in room response.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
HT: Energy RC-50, RC-LCR, Veritas VS Surrounds | Dual CHT SS 18.1s | Denon AVR-888 | modified Dayton SA1000 | Antimode 8033C
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And if you would like to read why:
http://www.audioholics.com/education/loudspeaker-basics/vertical-vs-horizontal-speaker-designs

Will check that out, thanks
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NHT is nice stuff, but their subwoofer, IMHO, is not on the same level as Hsu, SVS, PSA, and Rythmik. The specs pretty much confirm it.
Actually, I would probably agree…. just putting together a what if….. I bought something other than NHT sub when I bought my NHT system…. I lean to the Rythmik…. but mostly because companies like Ascend and Salk partner with them. I'm not sure how much weight that should have.
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