Emotiva Airmotiv 5 or Audioengine 5+? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 07-04-2013, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

I am currently in the market for some quality (budget) powered speakers and have pretty much narrowed my search down to the Airmotiv 5 and the Audioengine 5+ (though I am open to other suggestions). I would like some help deciding between the two.

The main use will be for listening to music but I will also use them as computer speakers for gaming, watching movies and maybe some mixing/recording. I pretty much listen to metal and rock music exclusively. Many posts and reviews I see say that the Airmotivs blow the Audioengines out of the water in terms of clarity and overall sound. However, I have also read that the Audioengines may be better suited for rock/metal music due to fuller sounding mids/bass.

I am really curious how the Airmotivs handle heavy metal/hard rock when directly compared to the audioengines and also how the two speakers compare when watching movies/gaming etc.

If anyone has some experience with either of these (or even better, both of these) speakers and could give me some advice, that would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 20 Old 07-05-2013, 08:16 AM
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I've had the Airmotiv 5's for about a year now. I don't listen to the new heavy metal stuff but the classic stuff from the 70's sounds good. The only thing I really plan on doing soon in the computer room is adding a DAC and an SVS SB1000 subwoofer to add a little more to the low end for movies. The 5's sound fine all by themselves, but I still want to try a subwoofer for explosions and such. The 5's are currently $409.

I did try the Audioengine 5+ and like the Airmotiv better, but I was looking for a more accurate speaker at higher volume levels. I figured I could always add a subwoofer under the desk if I want more bass. The Airmotivs are fantastic for classical/instrumental music. Only good metal disc I have that I can comment on is the Metallica DVD-A. Everything is nice and even but doesn't have the low-end kick ( kick drums ) that my main system with two 1800-watt subwoofers does. LOL

You'll probably want to add a subwoofer to ANY two-way speakers you go with.

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post #3 of 20 Old 07-06-2013, 04:43 AM
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I have a similar question as the OP. I currently have the Audioengine A5s (the version prior to the A5+) running with an inexpensive Infinity subwoofer, and I have been very happy with their sound for hard rock and metal. My complaint is that they have not held up terribly well with age, and I am starting to have some difficulty with the left speaker only working at certain volume levels and periodically shutting down when I adjust the volume. I have read that the A5+ speakers offer several improvements, so I am considering them. But like the OP, I've also read many glowing reviews in which the Airmotivs are described as sounding better. One disadvantage of the Airmotivs over the A5s is that it appears that a preamp would be required to add a subwoofer since I do not believe they offer a line-out like the A5s do. Like the OP, my question is which would be better for someone who listens mostly to hard rock and metal.
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post #4 of 20 Old 07-06-2013, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ed71 View Post

I have a similar question as the OP. I currently have the Audioengine A5s (the version prior to the A5+) running with an inexpensive Infinity subwoofer, and I have been very happy with their sound for hard rock and metal. My complaint is that they have not held up terribly well with age, and I am starting to have some difficulty with the left speaker only working at certain volume levels and periodically shutting down when I adjust the volume. I have read that the A5+ speakers offer several improvements, so I am considering them. But like the OP, I've also read many glowing reviews in which the Airmotivs are described as sounding better. One disadvantage of the Airmotivs over the A5s is that it appears that a preamp would be required to add a subwoofer since I do not believe they offer a line-out like the A5s do. Like the OP, my question is which would be better for someone who listens mostly to hard rock and metal.

This is one reason I prefer passive speakers + amp over powered speakers. When the electronics go in powered speakers, you are left with paying for repair or having to junk the speakers. This is unfortunate since the passive speakers can easily last for fifteen or twenty years.

I use Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SEs in my desktop setup. They are amazing for rock and metal because of an excellent transient response that gives them very detailed mids and mid-bass.
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post #5 of 20 Old 07-06-2013, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

This is one reason I prefer passive speakers + amp over powered speakers. When the electronics go in powered speakers, you are left with paying for repair or having to junk the speakers. This is unfortunate since the passive speakers can easily last for fifteen or twenty years.

I use Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SEs in my desktop setup. They are amazing for rock and metal because of an excellent transient response that gives them very detailed mids and mid-bass.

I checked out those Ascends and they look very appealing and I'm now considering them. I just had a couple questions regarding them. Do they work well enough without a subwoofer (I don't have the money to get a subwoofer for the time being) and do you have any suggestions for a budget receiver for them? I literally know nothing about what I should be looking for in a receiver.
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post #6 of 20 Old 07-07-2013, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ZanderOfPuppets View Post

I checked out those Ascends and they look very appealing and I'm now considering them. I just had a couple questions regarding them. Do they work well enough without a subwoofer (I don't have the money to get a subwoofer for the time being) and do you have any suggestions for a budget receiver for them? I literally know nothing about what I should be looking for in a receiver.

I find that they do moderately well with midbass down to about 50hz. Not heavy bass (there is some rolloff), but the midbass response is very tight. I have a sub but just don't run it.

I use an Indeed TA2021 t-amp (similar to the Topping TP21, but no headphone amp). Maxes out at about 25 watts per channel. Tried it with my SPL meter running pink noise, and was able to hit 100db from 2 1/2 to 3 feet away with the CBM-170s with some extra headroom left, so plenty of volume for desktop usage. I was running an HK 3390 before, but I much prefer the smaller size and 80%+ efficiency of the t-amp (less heat/less power usage).

Emotiva has a mini power amp, the mini-X a-100, for $189. Accessories4less.com has factory refurbished/factory warrantied Onkyo and Denon AVRs that are a good value.

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post #7 of 20 Old 07-07-2013, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I find that they do moderately well with midbass down to about 50hz. Not heavy bass (there is some rolloff), but the midbass response is very tight. I have a sub but just don't run it.

I use an Indeed TA2021 t-amp (similar to the Topping TP21, but no headphone amp). Maxes out at about 25 watts per channel. Tried it with my SPL meter running pink noise, and was able to hit 100db from 2 1/2 to 3 feet away with the CBM-170s with some extra headroom left, so plenty of volume for desktop usage. I was running an HK 3390 before, but I much prefer the smaller size and 80%+ efficiency of the t-amp (less heat/less power usage).

Emotiva has a mini power amp, the mini-X a-100, for $189. Accessories4less.com has factory refurbished/factory warrantied Onkyo and Denon AVRs that are a good value.

Thanks for the response! I just ordered the Ascends and bought an older, used 5.1 receiver off ebay. All in all, it costs about as much as buying the airmotiv 5. I'm excited to hear how it sounds.
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post #8 of 20 Old 07-07-2013, 07:12 AM
 
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You might want to consider some other active monitors as well. I have active monitors that I have been using for over 20 years without failures.  There are many advantages to an active design which has an active crossover and amplifiers for each driver compared to passive speakers.  The Audio Engines are not a true active design they are an amplifier added to a passive speaker.  You seem to be looking at the consumer market but you'll find many good active monitors on the pro side of things. You'll find many choices in your price range.  You might find it easier to demo many of these at local music stores to see which you like.  Here are some websites:

 

http://www.sweetwater.com/c405--Active_Monitors

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Studio-Monitors/ci/8617/N/4294550597

 

http://www.zzounds.com/cat--Active-Powered-Monitors--2863

 

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/studio-monitors

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post #9 of 20 Old 07-07-2013, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ZanderOfPuppets View Post

Thanks for the response! I just ordered the Ascends and bought an older, used 5.1 receiver off ebay. All in all, it costs about as much as buying the airmotiv 5. I'm excited to hear how it sounds.

Awesome. Be sure to post back with your experience with them smile.gif

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post #10 of 20 Old 07-22-2013, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Just got the Ascends a few days ago, and they are terrific. I can't really compare them to much since these are my first set of real speakers but to my ears they sound fantastic. My set up is really simple since I really only had money for the speakers. I just have the two Ascend 170 se speakers going into an old JVC RX-884PBK receiver I found on ebay for 40 bucks. I plug the receiver directly into my computer or ipod (no DAC, can't afford one right now). Still, it sounds amazing. I have some audio technica ath-m50s which are some great sounding headphones but its so much more fun listening to music with the ascends filling the room with sound. I can close my eyes and sometimes get this strange sensation like I'm floating in the music or the band is right in front of me. The Clarity is exceptional and I notice little things in the music that I never noticed before. I can say that with some music, they definitely could use a subwoofer for a some extra backup and "oomph" with the low end but they get the job done pretty nicely on their own. I also did some gaming (halflife 2 and back to the future game) as well and they worked great.

Thanks for the suggestions, I am very happy with my purchase.

- Zander
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post #11 of 20 Old 07-22-2013, 07:30 PM
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That's great that you got them. I have the ATH-M50s as well, and I definitely think that the 170s can keep up with the M50s on clarity. Good sounds smile.gif

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post #12 of 20 Old 12-28-2014, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jevans64 View Post
I've had the Airmotiv 5's for about a year now. I don't listen to the new heavy metal stuff but the classic stuff from the 70's sounds good. The only thing I really plan on doing soon in the computer room is adding a DAC and an SVS SB1000 subwoofer to add a little more to the low end for movies. The 5's sound fine all by themselves, but I still want to try a subwoofer for explosions and such. The 5's are currently $409.

I did try the Audioengine 5+ and like the Airmotiv better, but I was looking for a more accurate speaker at higher volume levels. I figured I could always add a subwoofer under the desk if I want more bass. The Airmotivs are fantastic for classical/instrumental music. Only good metal disc I have that I can comment on is the Metallica DVD-A. Everything is nice and even but doesn't have the low-end kick ( kick drums ) that my main system with two 1800-watt subwoofers does. LOL

You'll probably want to add a subwoofer to ANY two-way speakers you go with.
Hey, man, I hate to bring up an old thread like this but I literally registered to ask you, specifically a couple questions (was gonna do this in a PM but you apparently have to make 15 posts in order to PM on this forum)... I own a pair of Airmotiv 5s and am thinking of getting a sub to accompany them.

How did adding that sub work out for you? I'm looking to monitor music that I make and get the best ability to make it sound good with proper EQ and all that... I found the 5s lacked in the bass department, and I was hoping to get that better emphasized in my system (I want to know when my songs are thumping right and when I'm getting a nice deep bass sound from my applied EQ to kicks / subs and such). Is that still a subwoofer that you stand by and think is a good purchase?

Second and last question: What should I get to connect the Airmotivs and the woofer? I was gonna get this: emotiva. com/products/electronics/stealth-dc-1 but it doesn't have a spot to connect the woofer... How are you connecting your system to your computer? Does what your using have extra slots for other sound sources (i.e. turntables or tape decks)?
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post #13 of 20 Old 12-31-2014, 09:37 PM
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The Airmotiv 5 didn't have much presence. They felt very small and restrained.

To be fair, I was coming from powerful passive speakers.
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post #14 of 20 Old 01-01-2015, 05:54 PM
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Hey, man, I hate to bring up an old thread like this but I literally registered to ask you, specifically a couple questions (was gonna do this in a PM but you apparently have to make 15 posts in order to PM on this forum)... I own a pair of Airmotiv 5s and am thinking of getting a sub to accompany them.

How did adding that sub work out for you? I'm looking to monitor music that I make and get the best ability to make it sound good with proper EQ and all that... I found the 5s lacked in the bass department, and I was hoping to get that better emphasized in my system (I want to know when my songs are thumping right and when I'm getting a nice deep bass sound from my applied EQ to kicks / subs and such). Is that still a subwoofer that you stand by and think is a good purchase?

Second and last question: What should I get to connect the Airmotivs and the woofer? I was gonna get this: emotiva. com/products/electronics/stealth-dc-1 but it doesn't have a spot to connect the woofer... How are you connecting your system to your computer? Does what your using have extra slots for other sound sources (i.e. turntables or tape decks)?
I used an SVS SB1000 with the Airmotiv 5's. TBH, the sub really didn't help much, if at all, with the type of stuff I listen to... classic rock and classical music, which rarely have anything that goes below 40Hz. The sub DID have an impact on some of the pipe organ music I have and makes a big difference in electronica. I now have the Stealth 6 monitors and find that I need a sub even less, but I upgraded to the SVS SB2000. I have the DC-1 DAC and wouldn't have anything else for a DAC. The SVS subs have their own cross-over and is why I have them as opposed to other subs that don't have a crossover. With a normal PC audio setup, you'd run the audio to the sub then to the Airmotivs, setting the SVS crossover to 50Hz. With the DC-1, I use the XLR out for the Airmotivs and the RCA out for the sub. That way I keep the path to the DC-1 digital by using either USB, SP-DIF, or AES-EBU for pro gear. There is even a digital BNC input for one more input option. The analog input on the DC-1 is line-level RCA, so any turntable that is connected to it must be capable of line level output. Most TTs these days can do line-level as well as USB output.

A slightly more affordable DAC option would be the Teac UD-H01. It is a "half rack" design, like the DC-1 and should have a similar sound signature but it has less input options than DC-1 and no analog input.

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post #15 of 20 Old 01-05-2015, 01:31 AM
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I used an SVS SB1000 with the Airmotiv 5's. TBH, the sub really didn't help much, if at all, with the type of stuff I listen to... classic rock and classical music, which rarely have anything that goes below 40Hz. The sub DID have an impact on some of the pipe organ music I have and makes a big difference in electronica. I now have the Stealth 6 monitors and find that I need a sub even less, but I upgraded to the SVS SB2000. I have the DC-1 DAC and wouldn't have anything else for a DAC. The SVS subs have their own cross-over and is why I have them as opposed to other subs that don't have a crossover. With a normal PC audio setup, you'd run the audio to the sub then to the Airmotivs, setting the SVS crossover to 50Hz. With the DC-1, I use the XLR out for the Airmotivs and the RCA out for the sub. That way I keep the path to the DC-1 digital by using either USB, SP-DIF, or AES-EBU for pro gear. There is even a digital BNC input for one more input option. The analog input on the DC-1 is line-level RCA, so any turntable that is connected to it must be capable of line level output. Most TTs these days can do line-level as well as USB output.

A slightly more affordable DAC option would be the Teac UD-H01. It is a "half rack" design, like the DC-1 and should have a similar sound signature but it has less input options than DC-1 and no analog input.
Huh, so I really should never have gotten my XDA-2, and went straight for the DC-1... It was pretty short-sighted of me to do that.

Are you happy with the SVS sub? I'd be using it to play everything from electronic and hip hop stuff, to jazz and classical, to rock and drone type stuff.. I would basically just want something that would work with anything you threw at it and with much success. Definitely don't want a shortage of bass in my sound.. Given all of that, SVS is a good way to go?

Do you have an ADC? Could you recommend one?

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Originally Posted by ericc191 View Post
The Airmotiv 5 didn't have much presence. They felt very small and restrained.

To be fair, I was coming from powerful passive speakers.
Very true, but they most definitely have great accuracy in their playback from the source. Very good for mixing music! I just need more bass, really. Mids and highs are great on the 5s, I think.
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post #16 of 20 Old 01-05-2015, 09:45 AM
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Huh, so I really should never have gotten my XDA-2, and went straight for the DC-1... It was pretty short-sighted of me to do that.

Are you happy with the SVS sub? I'd be using it to play everything from electronic and hip hop stuff, to jazz and classical, to rock and drone type stuff.. I would basically just want something that would work with anything you threw at it and with much success. Definitely don't want a shortage of bass in my sound.. Given all of that, SVS is a good way to go?

Do you have an ADC? Could you recommend one?


Very true, but they most definitely have great accuracy in their playback from the source. Very good for mixing music! I just need more bass, really. Mids and highs are great on the 5s, I think.
XDA-2 is about the closest thing to the DC-1 and are very similar sonically. Only thing you are missing is the additional input options and the smaller form-factor. I almost went with the XDA-2 myself but my biggest deciding factor was form-factor. If you are familiar with the SG05 PC case made by Silverstone, the DC-1 fits very nicely on top of that PC case.

You won't need the sub for jazz or classical. The SVS SB1000 worked fine with the Airmotiv 5 but the room my computers are in is pretty small -- roughly 10' x 11'. The sub's gain was at about 50-60% of maximum, so there was still room left for more thump. You'll need more if your room is bigger and/or you are a bass-head. I now have the SVS SB2000 and that is plenty of sub for the 210w/speaker Stealth 6. Gain is set to about 40% on that sub.

I don't have an ADC, but I have been thinking about getting one so I can rip my vinyl to 24/192. Most TTs in my price range top out at 24/96 and most are 16/48. I don't have a whole lot of vinyl, so having them ripped for me is probably a more cost-effective strategy for myself.
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post #17 of 20 Old 01-08-2015, 12:04 PM
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The SVS SB1000 worked fine with the Airmotiv 5 but the room my computers are in is pretty small -- roughly 10' x 11'. The sub's gain was at about 50-60% of maximum, so there was still room left for more thump. You'll need more if your room is bigger and/or you are a bass-head. I now have the SVS SB2000 and that is plenty of sub for the 210w/speaker Stealth 6. Gain is set to about 40% on that sub.
+1

It really depends on how you are going to use it. If it's strictly for nearfield listening (3 ft away), the SB-1000 would be fine for most people. If to fill a room, might be a little challenged depending on how much bass volume you want and the size of the room.
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post #18 of 20 Old 01-17-2015, 12:51 PM
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[quote=jevans64;30504265]XDA-2 is about the closest thing to the DC-1 and are very similar sonically. Only thing you are missing is the additional input options and the smaller form-factor. I almost went with the XDA-2 myself but my biggest deciding factor was form-factor. If you are familiar with the SG05 PC case made by Silverstone, the DC-1 fits very nicely on top of that PC case.[QUOTE]
Currently have an XDA-2! It's nice, but I definitely want analog inputs as well as digital.

Like you said, there's no spot for connecting the subwoofer... I have no idea what to get that does that.

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You won't need the sub for jazz or classical.
I listen to tons of genres, including those as well as lots of reggae / dancehall, hip hop, beat stuff, electronic techno kinda stuff, avant-garde experimental stuff... Definitely need subs though for about 50-75% of the music I listen to, as even a lot of the ambient tape manipulation sort of stuff that I listen to has sections where the subs are supposed to ring out nice and strong (kinda how it does in movies during big action set pieces and the deep explosions and stuff like that)...

I also will be using these speakers for a room that size, as well.

My biggest issue at the moment is trying to find something that does everything the DC-1 does and also has a spot for connecting the woofer *and* my two airmotiv 5s. How are you connecting your sub and your stealth 6's to your computer? Does what you're using have analog input options as well?

Also, are the stealth 6's a huge improvement over the airmotiv 5s?

[QUOTE=cel4145;30624297It really depends on how you are going to use it. If it's strictly for nearfield listening (3 ft away), the SB-1000 would be fine for most people. If to fill a room, might be a little challenged depending on how much bass volume you want and the size of the room.[/QUOTE]
Say I wanted to fill a bigger room with bass for watching films, what sub would you recommend for that? Just trying to consider my options before I buy a sub.. My short-sightedness is already leading me to have to get another DAC as well as possibly replace my monitors with better ones within a year of ownership..
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post #19 of 20 Old 01-17-2015, 12:52 PM
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See the question in the post I just made :P
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post #20 of 20 Old 01-17-2015, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Found View Post

My biggest issue at the moment is trying to find something that does everything the DC-1 does and also has a spot for connecting the woofer *and* my two airmotiv 5s. How are you connecting your sub and your stealth 6's to your computer? Does what you're using have analog input options as well?

Also, are the stealth 6's a huge improvement over the airmotiv 5s?


Say I wanted to fill a bigger room with bass for watching films, what sub would you recommend for that? Just trying to consider my options before I buy a sub.. My short-sightedness is already leading me to have to get another DAC as well as possibly replace my monitors with better ones within a year of ownership..
I have the DC-1 DAC.

You'll need a subwoofer that has an active crossover. Most decent subs do. SVS subs have adjustable active crossovers, so that is the brand I went with. Both the XLR and RCA outputs are active on the DC-1. I have two options since I have the SVS sub. Option 1 is to run RCA from DC-1 to SVS sub, set the crossover to 50 or 60 Hz, and run another set of RCA from sub to the Airmotiv. Option 2 is to run XLR to Airmotiv and RCA to sub. I use option 2 since I'm not running two pairs of speakers.

Stealth 6 is obviously louder than Airmotiv 5. Stealth 6 are definitely flatter in response, which is what I'm looking for for accurate reproduction of the source material. It does take a little getting used to if you are coming from speakers that boost the mids. The Airmotiv line boosts the mids a little bit but that can be adjusted with the LF EQ adjustment. Stealth have the EQ adjustments as well, but I actually like them all set to 0 dB vs -2 dB I used for the Airmotiv low frequency. Stealth has more flexibility on EQ adjustments.

HD-DVD = 94
Blu-Ray = 120 ( 24 Warner red2blu )
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