Seeking guidance on best 3.1 Active speakers for US$2500-$2800 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 121 Old 07-07-2013, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all,

I'm new to the forum - but have been reading some of the threads and FAQs - which naturally leaves me a lot more informed and confused...

I'm an American expat presently in India and am looking to setup a home theater with a budget of about $600 towards the subs and about $2200 towards the speakers.
The above budget is based on the best/sale prices in the US. The piece of **** Indian govt – taxes these things to death, therefore including customs duty and transportation etc I might end-up spending close to $7000.

I'm not an audiophile - but do want a high quality system that I can be proud of and show my sensible and discerning taste. I realize there is a best buy in each price band and the improvement in quality vs price gets narrower as you go up the price ladder.
We get what we pay for but with some brands we end-up paying more for their marketing, brand equity and over-heads than you do for the components, performance and quality. I sometimes find it helpful to compare a brand’s position to the relative brand positions of various cars brands – For. Eg. Rolls Royce, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini etc are great but less than 0.001% of us can afford them – whereas the BMW 3 Series or the Subaru WRX etc are the perfect brands with good quality, styling, technology etc offered at a reasonable price point (IMHO).
I would like to hear the forum’s opinion on which Subs and Speakers are notionally equivalent to the BMW 3 series

I've narrowed down some requirements:
1. Need only a 5.1ch setup - I am fairly certain I'll never need a 7.1 setup or two zone ability.
2. The surrounds speakers will be added later - preferable wireless and active...Is there any point in considering wireless speakers for the surround speakers - as this will greatly increase the WAF. Is the potential loss of fidelity worth it? If so which brands and models do I consider and which receivers or attachments do I need for this?
3. All videos & music will be played via a desktop/laptop with HDMI out. I do not plan to use a Blu-ray player as it is already outdated with the new 4k player being released. Besides who has the space to store plain old discs - when I can have about 2000 movies on my 4TB harddisk.
4. Is THX-certified essential?
5. WAF: "Anything you want but not too loud, not too big and not too ugly..."
6. All speakers have to be rated for 220volt/50hz supply
7. The living room is about 15' x 16' & is open to the dining area which is 11' x 11'. Its a high rise apartment with good noise protection but need to consider WAF and NAF.
8. Prefer speakers that are actually made in North America, Europe or Australia...

Some brands of speakers I've been considering:
1. AVI, PMC, ATC
2. Genelec, Focal, Mackies, ADAM, Event
3. DynAudio, RCF, Behringer, M-Audio, KRK
Is the ranking/bracket about right?
any other makers? Which specific models?

I apologize for the long-winded post and thank you all for reading and never can thank you enough for any tips and guidance.
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post #2 of 121 Old 07-07-2013, 03:42 PM
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Regarding WAF, I find I turn the built in TV speakers up loud in an attempt to understand the dialogue. With better clarity, I believe separate speakers will actually result in a net decibel decrease (or at least permit the possibility).
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post #3 of 121 Old 07-07-2013, 06:31 PM
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you might look into ascend speakers we have ours with a Marantz receiver and its a geat combo
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post #4 of 121 Old 07-07-2013, 07:18 PM
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WAF is always a factor unless you have a man cave. Take a look at Aperion Audio. You could get the Intimus 5C center ($350), two 5T towers ($475 each) and a pair of Allaire Zona wireless speakers for surrounds ($399 for the pair). That leaves $800 for a sub. Lot of good choices in that range from SVS, Powersound Audio, Hsu, Outlaw, and Rythmik.

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post #5 of 121 Old 07-07-2013, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why am I inexorably drawn to the Bowers and Wilkins - Nautilus or the 800 Diamond series - much like dreaming about a Ferrari most men would like to own.
http://www.ehifi.com.au/brands/b-w/prestige-series/nautilus.aspx
http://www.thestereoshop.com/bowersWilkins800.php

Would I be wrong in going for their 600 series - the price of the following comes to about (684, HTM62, 686, ASW608 = USD 2700)

The WAF on the B & W could be higher than the Ascend - which looks good but I don't know if it looks as good as the B & W 600 series.
There is a local retailer in Bangalore for the B & W but need to locate one for the Ascend, Klipsch, KEF, Paradigm etc.
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post #6 of 121 Old 07-07-2013, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnsr View Post

Why am I inexorably drawn to the Bowers and Wilkins - Nautilus or the 800 Diamond series - much like dreaming about a Ferrari most men would like to own.
http://www.ehifi.com.au/brands/b-w/prestige-series/nautilus.aspx
http://www.thestereoshop.com/bowersWilkins800.php

Would I be wrong in going for their 600 series - the price of the following comes to about (684, HTM62, 686, ASW608 = USD 2700)

There's nothing wrong as long as you enjoy the way they sound. Whether others love them or hate them is inconsequential. All that matters is you love the way they sound.

Check out as many brands as feasible - B&W, Revel, KEF.
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post #7 of 121 Old 07-07-2013, 10:13 PM
 
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You definately want to go with controlled directivity horn tweeters if you want to watch alot of movies in 5.1.

I definately recommend the HSU with a VTF15H or a VTF 3.4 sub. Maybe you can give the JBL's a try as well.

If you are gonna be doing alot of listening of music rather than movies, I'd definately recommend the B&W's. When I heard them with music, they sounded pretty damn good.
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post #8 of 121 Old 07-07-2013, 11:07 PM
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Since you're looking for about the same thing as I am, I'll post my list of speakers I'm looking at:

  • Boston Acoustics A360
  • psb Image T5
  • psb Image T6
  • KEF Q500
  • Heco Aleva 400/500
  • Canton Chrono 507.2 DC
  • Canton GLE 496
  • Epos Epic 5
  • Magnat Quantum 657
  • Focal Chorus 716 V
  • DALI Zensor 7
  • DALI Lektor 6

These speakers, with their matching centers and rear surrounds, should about match your budget. Favs right now are PSB Image T6 or the Dali speakers.

If it comes to looks, the T6 and all of the B&W speakers are my favorites.

As for receivers, I was looking at Marantz SR5007 or Denon AVR 3313 or the new X2000/X3000 (all with Pre-Amp-Outs if I'm not mistaken). I've read the brands do sound differently, so personally I'm looking first for the front speakers, and choose a matching AVR from there.

And I'm guessing speakers within 1000 - 1500 $ a pair would somewhat represent a BMW 3 series, as they are by no means cheap hardware, but they are still affordable and, as far as I can see, have great value for their money smile.gif

Panasonic 55" VT50
PSB Imagine T2 / SVS SB12
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post #9 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 02:25 AM
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Can you get around some of the tax issues by buying used? There is a strong market for used high end audio equipment, especially speakers. People like to trade up speakers and they don't wear out or become obsolete like electronics do.
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post #10 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 04:34 AM
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How tall are your room/rooms? The total cubic feet of the sealed/enclosed space will provide a good idea as to how much subwoofer/speaker output you need.
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post #11 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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@NewHTBuyer - Checked out Aperion and they look nice - its also good that they have listed some convenient options for international shipping...

@AcuDefTechGuy - in Revel and KEF - which particular models should I consider - that are in the same league as B&W (684, HTM62, 686, ASW608 = Total USD 2700 excluding taxes, duty, shipping etc)

@Salamandro - nice to know you are looking for pretty much the same.. and agree with you on the looks of PSB - T6 (the T5 will do for me) being quite similar to the B&W 600 series. So why isn't the B & W 600 on your short list? Among the brands you listed - what is the total price running to for a basic 5.1 setup. If you are considering Marantz vs Denon - I believe they are from the same parent company - and I'm being lead to believe that Marantz gives slightly more serious and better specs than Denon. Do keep me posted on which of these speakers/receivers you finalized and why.. I may not have the option of the vast selection here in India but will try...

@GTA Beancounter - the ceiling is 10' high throughout and the floors are polished ceramic. The living room is about 15' x 16' & is open to the dining area which is 11' x 11'.
The system will be used primarily for movies or streaming videos played via PC or Hard-disk. Occasional Music too will be through bluetooth or via USB.

@BarnacleBill - I wish I could avoid the taxes but even for used items they charge some customs duty and even the new item I'd have to somehow try to see if it can be shown as used so as to reduce the duty... Needless to say I don't know of any place in India to find good used items for this kina hi-end audio - as the market is simply too small..
I am not comfortable ordering used, pay for duty, taxes, international shipping etc only to find out after it arrives that its not what was promised.
Similarly DIY especially for the subs is not an option - as I have the interest but do not have the time or tools that may be needed - although considering there are no good local hi-end speaker makers in India - this might be a good first step to start a sub and speaker company in India Anyways enough with the pipe dreams - back to reality...

WAF for noise is going to be a lot tougher than I imagined - the space is an aptmt Living/dining room and she may even say "why not a HTIB and be done with..." but I'd rather not have a HT at all than go with these puny HTIB setups. I want something that is somewhat of a driver's car like my BMW 3 series that I can rev, toss and turn into the curves when I'm driving alone or with my bros and can look classy and elegant when going with the family. I will have to go for something that can be accurate and amazing at low volumes and the only chance I'll get to crank-it up is when she is away...
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post #12 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 06:22 AM
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Revel F12

KEF Q900
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post #13 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 07:17 AM
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That's also in my excel smile.gif Keep in mind, these prices are Swiss Francs (CHF) and for a 5.0 setup. I'll probably be adding a SVS SB12 to that 5.0 setup.
Code:
Speaker              Price (Pair)    Price 5.0
Boston A360             1100            1766
psb Image T5            880             1850
psb Image T6            1230            2200
KEF Q500                1100            N/A
Heco Aleva 400/500      1340            2381
Canton Chrono 507.2 DC  1260            2187
Canton GLE 496          880             1576
Epos Epic 5             1400            2750
Magnat Quantum 657      1116            1974
Focal Chorus 716 V      1180            2150
DALI Zensor 7           1000            1664
DALI Lektor 6           1189            2046

As for B&W.. I'm not sure biggrin.gif I've read that you can get more bang for your buck than what the 684 offer, and I wasn't initially considering the 683 because they seemed out of my budget. Also, they seem a bit mainstream to me, but that's probably just because my roommate is such a big fan and has been going on and on about them. But by any means, do try them out if you like them!

Yes, Denon and Marantz are D&M(?), while Marantz is aimed a bit more at the audiophile community. The features fit my requirements and I really like the looks of the Marantz AVRs. Pretty much aiming for one.

I you'd like to follow my progress, here's my thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1474565/completely-lost-new-speakers-avr-sonos

Panasonic 55" VT50
PSB Imagine T2 / SVS SB12
Denon X4000
Sony BDP-S5100 / OUYA w/ XBMC
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post #14 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnsr View Post

@NewHTBuyer -
@GTA Beancounter - the ceiling is 10' high throughout and the floors are polished ceramic. The living room is about 15' x 16' & is open to the dining area which is 11' x 11'.
The system will be used primarily for movies or streaming videos played via PC or Hard-disk. Occasional Music too will be through bluetooth or via USB.

That's over 3600 cubic feet, you should probably budget $1000 US before duties/tax (or more) for your subwoofer/woofers alone and some would recommend much more. WAF may preclude it but with that type of space you would benefit from having a pair of subs to smooth out response.
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post #15 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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@AcuDefTechguy - Revel F12 seem quite good - will try to see if they have dealers in India
@Salamandro - thanks for the list and prices... wow I was thinking the same thing KEF - Q500 might fit the bill perfectly... however all these brands are challengers to the B & W 600 - as somehow in my mind it has set the benchmark that one of these brands will have to match or beat in looks, specs, performance and price.... also pl. let me know which speakers you are considering in each of these above listed brands for the center channel, surrounds and the subs.
@GTA Beancounter - I'm thinking to go easy on the subs due to WAF and NAF - subs can be heard from anywhere and that can bother the wife or be heard next door and can mean frequent interruptions.


To all those reading this thread:
I'm just curious as to how there are so many speaker brands out there...seems like something that a passionate and handy fellow can get started and create a brand...the barriers to entry seem low - except to establish a long standing reputed brand takes time and consistent quality..
If people here are recommending DIY for subs - I'm sure once you THINK you can do that.... the leap from there to floor standers is probably natural for those enterprising types...
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post #16 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Attached below is the Layout of my aptmt - flooring will be polished marble, brick walls covered with cement plaster, concrete ceilings with cement plaster.. not sure what wall/floor treatments will be needed...
Any guidance on speakerplacement - bipole-dipole etc would also be helpful...will have to see and if somehow I can keep the sound perfect within the sound-stage without it getting out of there I'm happy - as that can mean I can set it to a decent volume even when the wife is around somewhere in the house...

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post #17 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnsr View Post

@Salamandro - thanks for the list and prices... wow I was thinking the same thing KEF - Q500 might fit the bill perfectly... however all these brands are challengers to the B & W 600 - as somehow in my mind it has set the benchmark that one of these brands will have to match or beat in looks, specs, performance and price.... also pl. let me know which speakers you are considering in each of these above listed brands for the center channel, surrounds and the subs.
Sorry, can't really provide you with that. Mostly I was just looking at each line and pulled one of the smaller bookshelves and the matching center out. I think that's what you'll hear often here; stick to on line (timber match). Surrounds aren't all that important, so usually the smaller bookshelf from the same line will do...
Have not been looking too much at subs, since the SVS SB12 was highly recommended to me. No need to stay with the same line or even brand when it comes to subs...

Panasonic 55" VT50
PSB Imagine T2 / SVS SB12
Denon X4000
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post #18 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 03:31 PM
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If your floors are marble, you may want to stay away from bright sounding speakers ie those with metal dome tweeters. I think a rug is a must if you have marble floors.

It is my understanding that Wharfedales are somewhat popular in India, more so than they are in the states. The Wharfedale Diamond 10 is being discontinued, so there are bargains to be had. These speakers have a warm, but very clear sound that should work better with marble floors. I have heard the PSB Image and B&W 600 series, and I prefer the Wharfedales over the other 2. A pair of DIamond 10.7, a 10.CM, and a pair of 10.1 or 10.2 for surrounds should be around $2000. If you don't mind stand mounts, you can look into the Jade 1's or Jade 3's and matching center and use the 10.2 for surrounds. This should cost around the same as the Diamond floorstanders and give you much better performance when mated to a sub. Jade 1/3 plus sub : Diamond 10.7 plus sub :: M3 : 335i sport.

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post #19 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 03:52 PM
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If your floors are marble, you may want to stay away from bright sounding speakers ie those with metal dome tweeters. I think a rug is a must if you have marble floors.
.....

Metal dome tweeters are not necessarily bright. And bright speakers don't necessarily use metal dome tweeters. There might be a correlation between the two, but in general it's the implementation, not the tweeter type, that determines whether or not a speaker seems bright.
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post #20 of 121 Old 07-08-2013, 04:17 PM
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http://www.avsforum.com/t/1479450/energy-rc-speakers-set-up

I think this will be a good for you. A bang for a buck from your budget.

(2) Energy RC 70 towers(1) Energy Veritas 2.0C center(2) Energy Veritas 2.0R surrounds(2) Energy RC LCR back surrounds(1) Rythmik LV12R sub(1) Mirage Omni 12 sub(1) Denon 2112CI avr(1) LG 55" LM7600 tv
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post #21 of 121 Old 07-09-2013, 02:07 AM
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Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

Metal dome tweeters are not necessarily bright. And bright speakers don't necessarily use metal dome tweeters. There might be a correlation between the two, but in general it's the implementation, not the tweeter type, that determines whether or not a speaker seems bright.

Among the speaker brands that I've heard, the painfully bright sounding ones almost always had metal domes, but some with metal domes weren't bright to the point of being harsh... I say there is a definite correlation between bright sound and metal domes, as for causation, I'll admit that I'm not sure. But without being able to hear a speaker before buying, you can eliminate many speakers that may sound harsh up top simply by staying away from metal domed speaker.

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post #22 of 121 Old 07-09-2013, 03:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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@Brain323 - ".. go with controlled directivity horn tweeters if you want to watch a lot of movies in 5.1."
could you pl. explain that this means and which brands/models comes with these... and how will I know to check for these...

to all those in the group - so all "passive speakers" except subwoofers come without needing a power connection ... right?
I ask this because I just want to be sure before I order from the US and find that the 220v/50hz is not suitable for them...

@dannybenz - which brands are generally known as too bright - will try to avoid them...

@Salamandro just began considering the Dali and they look pretty good... any chance you've compared the Dali to B&W - 6 series?

Is there a general opinion on whether speakers and receivers are the cheapest in USD terms in the US as compared to the rest of the world - for eg. UAE or Singapore - generally considered shopping havens...for those living in this hemisphere...
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post #23 of 121 Old 07-09-2013, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

Metal dome tweeters are not necessarily bright. And bright speakers don't necessarily use metal dome tweeters. There might be a correlation between the two, but in general it's the implementation, not the tweeter type, that determines whether or not a speaker seems bright.
+1. The materials used to construct drivers have little to no effect on how they sound. How they are made does.
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post #24 of 121 Old 07-09-2013, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

+1. The materials used to construct drivers have little to no effect on how they sound. How they are made does.
Well, if the material doesnt contribute to the sound, then why are speaker drivers manufactures are so diverse with diaphram materials? Dont different materials have different damping ability. Doesnt that contribute to the sound in a way? For example, scanspeak illuminator used a paper and alluminum cone on their 7 inch driver. Why would they offer two types of drivers?
Polypropelene has very good damping ability and when use in midwoofer driver, generally are much flatter then metal diaphram made drivers.

Mind to share some of your views?smile.gif
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post #25 of 121 Old 07-09-2013, 06:19 AM
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All these tower speakers we are talking about are really just bookshelves atop bass modules that don't even produce as clean low distortion high output bass as many high quality subwoofers. The towers do have better aesthetic. But for the same amount of money, I think getting 5 identical bookshelf speakers plus 2 great subwoofers would sound better. You can even sit 2 of the bookshelves atop the 2 subwoofers on stands if needed.

So you could get five Revel M12 or KEF Q300 and two nice subs.

What are the available subs in your market?
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post #26 of 121 Old 07-09-2013, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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@AcuDefTechGuy - "All these tower speakers we are talking about are really just bookshelves atop bass modules..." does this apply to the B & W 684 - my heart is really set on this... so any serious input on this would be great...

Looks l may have found the perfect receiver with all the features I want - Sony - STR-DN1040

http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921666556859

Would the STR-DN1040 pair well with the B&W (684, HTM62, 686, ASW608), or Revel F12 or KEF Q500?
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post #27 of 121 Old 07-09-2013, 12:14 PM
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AMong those brands you listed and I have listened to, Paradigms, Klipsch, Polk were definitely bright, and Totem was also a bit on the bright side, but some may not agree on that one depending on taste and sensitivity to high frequencies.
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post #28 of 121 Old 07-09-2013, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by grnsr View Post

@AcuDefTechGuy - "All these tower speakers we are talking about are really just bookshelves atop bass modules..." does this apply to the B & W 684 - my heart is really set on this... so any serious input on this would be great...

Looks l may have found the perfect receiver with all the features I want - Sony - STR-DN1040

http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921666556859

Would the STR-DN1040 pair well with the B&W (684, HTM62, 686, ASW608), or Revel F12 or KEF Q500?

The B&Ws are not the most efficient speakers. But that AVR has pretty good power and should allow you to play louder than your neighbors might like or loud enough in your main listening area.

I would look elsewhere for a sub though. SVS, HSU, PSA, Ryhtmik- don't know if or how they do international shipping though.

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post #29 of 121 Old 07-09-2013, 04:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by grnsr View Post

@Brain323 - ".. go with controlled directivity horn tweeters if you want to watch a lot of movies in 5.1."
could you pl. explain that this means and which brands/models comes with these... and how will I know to check for these...

to all those in the group - so all "passive speakers" except subwoofers come without needing a power connection ... right?
I ask this because I just want to be sure before I order from the US and find that the 220v/50hz is not suitable for them...

@dannybenz - which brands are generally known as too bright - will try to avoid them...

@Salamandro just began considering the Dali and they look pretty good... any chance you've compared the Dali to B&W - 6 series?

Is there a general opinion on whether speakers and receivers are the cheapest in USD terms in the US as compared to the rest of the world - for eg. UAE or Singapore - generally considered shopping havens...for those living in this hemisphere...


Here is the informatin about horn tweeters. The Hsu's use the direct controlled horn tweeters so the honkyness or harshness (according to some) that are known to be existent with horn tweeters are tamed completely.


http://forums.soundandvisionmag.com/showthread.php?43995-Why-Horn-Loudspeakers

Horns used to be the only way to get any sound out of the feeble power amplifiers available in the 1920''''s. They were used in large spaces like movie theaters to make a few watts of power fill an auditorium. And, of course, they were used on acoustic phonographs to get any sound at all!

Is there an advantage in using them now? Well, let''''s see.

They are still used in movie theaters, stadiums, concert halls and any other place where the sound has to be very loud, and fill a large space. One of their chief advantages is that because of their sensitivity and efficiency, they can easily take the wide dynamic range of motion picture soundtracks, live music, etc. If you tried to push any all-direct radiator speaker to the sound presure levels encountered in filling a movie theater, it would self-distruct in no time. Also, horns can be made to any directional characteristic needed. They can be made to fill a very specific area of an auditorium, with no sound wasted from being directed where it''''s not needed.

None of the above advantages have anything per se to do with home theater, or sound quality in general. In fact, the above systems sound pretty darn bad by hi-fidelity standards!

Now, Paul Klipsch of Klipsch Loudspeaker fame recognized the advantages of horns for home use in the late 1940''''s and created the Klipschorn. He championed one unique advantage to horns that does have a direct bearing on sound quality. That is low doppler distortion, in addition to low amounts of harmonic distortion. Simply put, doppler distortion arises whenever the source of sound moves, relative to a fixed point (the listener in this instance). What is moving? Picture the cone of a 15" speaker moving back and forth by 1/2" as it reproduces a 30Hz tone at a loud volume. Now superimpose another tone of 1000Hz on top of that 30Hz tone. The speaker cone is now moving that 1000Hz tone nearer and farther from you at a rate of 30Hz! The effect is exactly as that of a car passing you by while honking it''''s horn. In that speaker, it will make the 1000Hz tone sound like it''''s ''''underwater'''', or ''''gurgly''''. You are literally frequency modulating that 1000Hz tone, and creating distortion sidebands in the process.

Paul Klipsch reasoned that since a horn is very efficient, it''''s moving parts (the diaphram of the horn) needed to move very small distances in order to create healthy sound pressure levels. Because of this, his horn speakers produced dramatically reduced levels of doppler distortion (and also lower levels of harmonic distortion, for the same reason). They sounded cleaner than what was available at the time.

This is still true today, and is one of the chief advantages of horn speakers.

Of course, speaker technology has marched forward since that time, and today''''s speakers are much better than they were in 1950. BUT - take any speaker system today with direct radiators and play a loud continous bass tone that the speaker can reproduce, and add another pure tone that will be reproduced by that same driver (that has not been crossed over to the mid-range speaker by the crossover network), and you will hear doppler distortion if the level is increased enough.

Does this still matter today? People who make horn speakers (like Klipsch) think so.

When hi-fidelity meant only two speakers and music only, all this was somewhat a non issue to all but a few crazies like myself. Now, with the advent of home theater, with it''''s requirement to reproduce all manner of explosions, gunfire and other acts of violence, maybe it does matter. There''''s no denying that horns reproduce movie soundtracks with more ''''punch'''' than direct radiators do. Those of you who have Klipsch speakers probably purchased them because they sounded good with movies. But does this make horns better?

That is a personal question. Any good speaker can sound wonderful. Speaker manufacturing technology has evolved tremendously, and today''''s consumer speakers sound WAY better than they did 20 years ago. But here are a couple points:

As discussed above, horns reduce forms of distortion like doppler, and also harmonic and intermodulation distortion because the moving parts have to move so little to create high sound pressure levels.

Because horns can have a very well defined directional pattern, they are very adaptable to the principles espoused by certification entities like THX. It is much harder to control directivity with direct radiators. The sound can be controlled and kept off walls, floors and ceilings to a greater extent before it reaches the listener. This has become important in home theater.

With a all-horn system, it is possible by nature of the length of a horn to achieve precise time alignment between the low and high frequency drivers by simply moving them in relation to each other, forward and back. Moving their relative position while looking at the reproduction of a square wave is a good way to achieve precise time alignment. This is not possible with direct radiator speakers, when the drivers are all mounted on one flat baffle. This limitation can be overcome however by slanting the baffle, or having stepped mounting surfaces for each driver.

Then, there is the characteristic ''''horn sound''''. This can be absolutely wonderful and ''''alive'''' sounding if the horn system is executed well. Horns can also have a unique way of imaging the soundstage. They can image well behind the speakers (in stereo) as most conventional designs can, but they also have the ability to image the performers well into the room and all around you, way beyond the confines of the speakers. I''''ve yet to hear a non-horn system that can do that as effectively.

Horns are unfortunately not executed well a good deal of the time, and the resulting horns sound simply "honky". Horn systems such as these, and horns used for PA applications have given them a bad reputation for some people.

As horn coverage is widened to encompass more of the audio spectrum, it becomes increasingly important to use tube amplification. This is because of the uniquely wide "class ''''A'''' window" these tube amplifiers afford.

Horns are used mainly for tweeters in consumer systems today. It is very expensive to make a horn. In fact, most all horns today do not make use of a very important component that complements the horn: THE COMPRESSION DRIVER. Most horns today could be more accurately described as horn-loaded tweeters. They use a conventional speaker driver with a horn in front of it. A compression driver has a diaphram that fires through a ''''donut'''' shaped magnetic structure. But before it reaches the throat of the driver, the sound passes through a ''''phasing plug'''' which corrects the phase of the signals that enter the throat from the various parts of the diaphram. Thus there is no phase cancellation from say , the sound coming from the edge of the diaphram and that coming from the center. The problem with compression drivers is that they are extremely expensive to make. They require machining of precision parts, and this makes them cost prohibitive for consumer use.

The makers of today''''s horn speakers have done an excellent job of working around some problems arising from the lack of a true compression driver. Some of the phase problems resulting from direct loading of a conventional driver remain, however.

As home theater has come into being, there has been a gradual shift upwards in the sensitivity of speakers. This is probably for two reasons. More sensitive speakers (especially horns) are more able to take the abuse of sound effects that exist in modern motion picture soundtracks. This is simply because the speaker elements do not have to move as much to generate a particular sound pressure level. Thus less likelyhood of damage to the drivers. Another reason is that higher sensitivity speakers makes it possible to lower the power requirements of the power amps that power them. This was not much of an issue when amplifiers only had two channels, but gets to be a very big issue when as much as seven channels are put into a single amplifier chassis. 7 times 1000 watts? Get ''''outta town!!


Should you consider a horn system? Well, that is a question only you can answer. Shop around and give the various horn designs a listen. There are only a couple firms that market all horn speaker systems currently, most systems having horn tweeters. Therefore, for better or worse, your selection, and therefore how crazy you can get with it, is somewhat limited. That is, unless you go with professional speakers....




For home theatre, you definately want to go with the Hsu's or the JBL's. But with the HSU's you can get a package deal getting a SUB. And Hsu has one of the best subwoofer available to market.
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post #30 of 121 Old 07-10-2013, 01:33 AM
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The Hsu's use the direct controlled horn tweeters so the honkyness or harshness (according to some) that are known to be existent with horn tweeters are tamed completely.

Not quite. Take a look at the frequency response graph



from this review:

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/article/review-hsu-research-hb-1-mk2
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