Seeking Advice for Budget 3.0 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi-

I recently (finally!) got a Denon 1713, based on recommendations from these forums. Now it's time for speakers. I'm on a pretty tight budget and will start with two fronts and a center channel.

I've done a lot of reading and feel like I'm not making any progress.

Basically,we'll use the speakers almost entirely for movies and TV (80%), with some music (20%).

My wife hates the thundering base, so that is something to consider, but I do watch a lot of Sci-Fi so I don't want to lose the base completely.

But we want to be sure the dialogue is really clear, especially during action scenes and when the volume is low.

So I had posted last November or so and was advised to consider HTD level two fronts and center channel as well as Cambridge S30s and S50 center.

These seem fine, but as I read more I am not convinced a horizontal center is necessarily the best option for a tight budget, and was leaning towards using three vertical bookshelf speakers. But I am finding it hard to find three vertical speakers, everything seems to come in pairs (like the S30s).



I understand that what sounds best is somewhat subjective, but given what I laid out above in terms of what are uses will be, I'd like to hear people's thoughts on some solid options.

We have a pretty big room 15x15 with high ceilings, and I would like to keep the costs down to around $350, a little higher is fine if it is going to make a huge difference long term when I can finally add the rear speakers.

Thank you in advance
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post #2 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 04:36 PM
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Your thread title mentions 3.1 -- which implies a subwoofer as well -- yet you don't mention a sub. Are you looking for 3.0 or 3.1?

The horizontal center debate has raged for a while. Convenience makes them far easier to integrate into most peoples HT then a vertical center. Are they terrible? Doubtful, since most people end up using them anyway. Perhaps not ideal, but certainly usable nonetheless.

The HTD and CA suggestions you got last year are still valid, so I wouldn't summarily dismiss them. The Arx speakers are very solid as well, so perhaps they're worth investigating.

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post #3 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Jim-

You're right, I'm looking for advice on 3.0. I changed the title of the post to 3.0, sorry about the confusion. I will check out the Arx speakers you mentioned.

I am not out right dismissing the HTD or CA suggestion I received last year but after reading, I wondered whether it would be more budget friendly to get three verticals.

I guess the question is how bad is a horizontal center anyway? I've seen the wave diagrams, but I've never really read anyones detailed description of just what is lost.

Anyway part of my confusion arose from the fact that it wasn't easy to find 3 vertical bookshelf speakers to use. All those recommended to me came in pairs (HTD, CA) or were no longer available (Energy RC-10). I did come across the Infinity Primus P163BK for a good price at Crutchfield, but had no idea whether 3 of these would be any better than the HTD level 2+ horizontal center or Cambridge Audio S30+ horizontal S50.

Thank you for taking the time.
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post #4 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 06:33 PM
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Ascend acoustics Cbm 170s are nice. The bass it there but its blended well and perhaps the least emphasized part of the speaker. The mids and highs are crystal clear and in no way fatiguing. I think it would have the waf in the sound department. The 340 center is awsome to!

From what I hear they have a slightly more live and forward sound then the arx but the arx has a little more bass although its not atvall thunderous and would prolly still get the waf

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post #5 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. The Ascend Acoustics look good, but the price is starting to creep up a little to high. Would speakers like these ever go on sale?
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post #6 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 07:01 PM
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Ya they were just on sale for 50 dollars off for like a month

Yamaha rxv373

Ascend acoustics cbm 340se mains
Ascend acoustics 340se center
Ascend acoustics 170se rear SS

Rythmik lv12r
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post #7 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laserGene View Post

Hi-

I recently (finally!) got a Denon 1713, based on recommendations from these forums. Now it's time for speakers. I'm on a pretty tight budget and will start with two fronts and a center channel.

I've done a lot of reading and feel like I'm not making any progress.

Basically,we'll use the speakers almost entirely for movies and TV (80%), with some music (20%).

My wife hates the thundering base, so that is something to consider, but I do watch a lot of Sci-Fi so I don't want to lose the base completely.

But we want to be sure the dialogue is really clear, especially during action scenes and when the volume is low.

So I had posted last November or so and was advised to consider HTD level two fronts and center channel as well as Cambridge S30s and S50 center.

These seem fine, but as I read more I am not convinced a horizontal center is necessarily the best option for a tight budget, and was leaning towards using three vertical bookshelf speakers. But I am finding it hard to find three vertical speakers, everything seems to come in pairs (like the S30s).



I understand that what sounds best is somewhat subjective, but given what I laid out above in terms of what are uses will be, I'd like to hear people's thoughts on some solid options.

We have a pretty big room 15x15 with high ceilings, and I would like to keep the costs down to around $350, a little higher is fine if it is going to make a huge difference long term when I can finally add the rear speakers.

Thank you in advance

You sound like a prime candidate for a vertical bookshelf center. Low budget, dedicated horizontal centers usually more pricy. You also say you want crystal clear dialogue. But who knows, maybe you don't care so much.

I would guess 95% are satisfied here on AVS with horizontal dedicated centers. I however am not. I would at least go for a W(TM)W center if you pass on the vertical bookshelf route.

Yes, most bookshelf are sold in pairs, it sucks.

Here are some that aren't:
Infinity p163
Hsu hb-1
Ascend cbm-170se

I forget which others there are, I have searched before. I had contemplated getting the kef q300 pair and selling one off too. You should think about that option as well.
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post #8 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laserGene View Post

I guess the question is how bad is a horizontal center anyway?

They aren't bad. The vast majority of people use them -- and virtually every manufacturer produces them -- so if they were really a problem you can be assured that wouldn't be the case.

The "issue" is a phenomenon called 'lobing', which essentially means the two midranges (in a MTM setup) can interfere with each other. It might be something that can be measured, but whether or not it's audible is a matter of debate. I suppose there are those who have sensitive hearing, like csgamer who may be able to detect it, but he would be a rarity. You're virtually assured to not be one of them who can.

BTW... I did a review on the Arx speakers if you want to get one viewpoint on them. Another candidate that just came to mind are the RSL Speakers. I found them to have very clear dialog as well.

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post #9 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks-

I am looking for clear dialogue, but crystal clear? Who can say. I tried to explain my expectations: clear dialogue during action scenes so I don't have to crank up the sound to hear what is being said during an explosion or car chase and clear dialogue when the volume is lower.

These recommendations you give coincide with what I've read, and some consensus is always good.

But are the Infinity P163 in the same class as the HSU and Ascend?
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post #10 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 09:56 PM
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For movies, the dynamic volume will shift depending on how the movie was recorded. I can easily hear whispers and clear dialogue with my vertical bookshelf center setup, but when it shifts to a loud scene, the speakers will still get loud. As it should with all setups. No extra center boosting necessary here, no problems hearing whispers. Some actors may mumble, but that is the actor's fault for you not understanding, not the speakers fault. You can tame the action scene peaks with audyssey dynamic volume if you wish to do so. For night time viewing, I usually turn it on.

For me, it seems like a vertical bookshelf is a no-brainer for clear dialogue. But browsing this forum, it is clear that I'm in a minority.

I see people complaining all the time about dialogue and looking for bandaid solutions such as boosting the center channel level with their avr. Then they try to get bigger and wider centers to fix their problems. They may place their centers in a bad location too and try to fix their problem with a more expensive center. Positioning is a lot, do not neglect that. I could improve my setup as well with a wallmount, but I'm satisfied for now.

Honestly, I don't know why there are not more supporters for vertical bookshelf. It is a cheaper and most likely superior to the dedicated center in the same line.

Is the infinity p163 in the same class as the HSU and Ascend? I have never listened to the HSU and Ascend myself, so I have no opinion on it. Many will straight recommend things without ever hearing them. I do not do that anymore. I only suggest taking an audition of something if I feel it has potential.

However, many have recommended both brands. Also, ascend seems to tout being a neutral speaker, which I tend to lean towards. I myself am beginning to lust after some ascend cbm-170se as I'm looking for some nearfield bookshelf speakers for my desktop and think it might be a good option.

But again, I have not heard the HSU and Ascend. I did listen to the kef q300 I mentioned earlier. Not in-home but for a good while in the audio store, sitting in a perfect triangle from the speakers for a good 30 minutes with the avr in direct mode. I can comfortably say that I would prefer it over my infinity p163.
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post #11 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 10:22 PM
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What about the pioneer Andrew jones speakers ,you can get this speakers at your local bb.

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post #12 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Jim-

Thank you again. I read your detailed reviews and these were helpful.

I think your view on horizontal centers are very reasonable and from what I've read, I would agree that they are good enough.

Having said that, I remain open to the possibility of a vertical center speaker.

I'll check out the Arxs to get an idea of price.

I appreciate your input and thank you again for taking the time.
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post #13 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
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csgamer-

Thank you for the thoughtful response. I guess for most people, a horizontal center is sufficient even though a better solution may be available.

Regardless, I'll keep an open mind and try to find the best solution for my price range. If that ends up 3 identical vertical bookshelf speakers, I'll have no problem making the purchase.
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post #14 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 11:06 PM
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If you were interested in the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE, then check out the Wave Crest Audio HLV-1 which will fit your budget and you can buy three. They are designed by Dave F. of Ascend Acoustics. Here is a review: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1473975/wave-crest-audio-hlv-1-ascend-designed-budget-bookshelf#post_23501698

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post #15 of 39 Old 07-24-2013, 11:44 PM
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Here is a very good inexpensive speaker, the Behringer 2030p. The p163s are good speakers too. If you want something with some bass, you might try the Behringer 2031p (not to be confused with the 2030p) or the Hsu HB-1, they both have pretty good bass for cheap bookshelf speakers, although the 2031 is large for a bookshelf speaker. Another idea is this very inexpensive kit from Madisound, it would be very easy to assemble and has a knowledgeable designer. I think it could sound very nice for that price. If you are willing to put a bit more elbow grease into a project but still keep it simple and relatively easy, check out this kit from DIY Sound Group, it's only $100 per speaker, and I don't think it would be bad at all.
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post #16 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi cel4145-

These look good and the review was helpful. I will definitely look into these. Do you have an idea about how these compare to the Cambridge S30s or HTD level 2s?

Thank you very much.
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post #17 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi shadyJ-

These look intriguing. And while I like the idea of building my own with a kit, time is not on my side right now. But I will keep these in mind in the future.

Thank you.
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post #18 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

What about the pioneer Andrew jones speakers ,you can get this speakers at your local bb.

+1 for the Andrew Jones speakers. Kinda surprised it took so long for someone to mention them. You could get a pair of the SP-FS52 floor standers for the LR and the matching (though horizontal) SP-C22 center channel for exactly $350+tax. You could also get a pair of the SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers for your LR and the matching center for $230 and still have some room for a very budget sub. Or two pairs of the bookshelf speakers and matching center to get a 5.0 system for $360+tax.

As far as your wife not wanting thundering bass, I completely understand because my wife is exactly the same way. However, a well matched subwoofer doesn't necessarily mean that everything will suddenly become loud. IME, a good subwoofer that is well matched sub or well EQ'ed mains will not be boomy, just fuller sounding and more natural. Also, getting a low-quality sub or mains that can't properly handle the lower frequencies may actually make bass seem louder even if it's a lower volumes. When the drivers start to distort, it can seem like they are playing too loud when really they are putting out a lot of distortion.
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post #19 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 03:27 PM
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Looks like you have a square shape room, not the best shape for bass frequencies.

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post #20 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 04:06 PM
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If you live near a Fry's Electronics and are considering the Infinity Primus P163, they are going for $59.99 each right now. You can always buy them and see if they fit your needs. If not, Fry's has a generous 30 day return policy.
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post #21 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

If you were interested in the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE, then check out the Wave Crest Audio HLV-1 which will fit your budget and you can buy three. They are designed by Dave F. of Ascend Acoustics. Here is a review: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1473975/wave-crest-audio-hlv-1-ascend-designed-budget-bookshelf#post_23501698

+1

I should have thought about recommending them before. I haven't heard em but I know Dave is very passionate and hard working when it comes to his speakers. I'm sure for 230 bucks you would have a phenomenal speaker for the price. Also I'd have to guess they will have a lot of the same attributes as the cbms just with a more budget friendly design

Yamaha rxv373

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Ascend acoustics 340se center
Ascend acoustics 170se rear SS

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post #22 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't see that price on-line. Do I have to go there to get that price?
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post #23 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

Looks like you have a square shape room, not the best shape for bass frequencies.

Ya I shave story about square rooms lol. Mine was 12x12x10 and the bass was strong in comers only, then almost dead in the center and some other spots of the room. One end of my couch pounded with bass and the other almost dead. IT was so bad I couldn't even tell the diffrrnce in sound quality between my lv12r and my previous sub (a pro sub 600) ya that's how bad it was! It actually made my initial impressions of the lv12r not that great because of my room acoustics.

Now I'm in a new house with a rectangle room and I can't belive the difference in sound now!

Yamaha rxv373

Ascend acoustics cbm 340se mains
Ascend acoustics 340se center
Ascend acoustics 170se rear SS

Rythmik lv12r
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post #24 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 04:46 PM
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fwiw, pair of infinity p363's $214 and a p163 for center $60 at frys

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #25 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laserGene View Post

I don't see that price on-line. Do I have to go there to get that price?

http://www.frys.com/ads/page4#AdNavi

And yes, it's the in store price only.
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post #26 of 39 Old 07-25-2013, 06:45 PM
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Oh okay so you want only 3 front speakers no sub ,I was a little confused ,I think that small bookshelf with out sub will not give a good satisfaction ,you will get a better movie experience from big bookshelf or floor standing speakers. They have a more full sound.

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post #27 of 39 Old 07-27-2013, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Are these Andrew Jones speakers in the same class as the HTD level 2s, Cambridge S30s or HLV1s?
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post #28 of 39 Old 07-27-2013, 08:02 PM
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We are talking about budget speakers ,sound quality will be about the same, the difference from each speakers is that each brand have their own signature sound/ timbre.

Here are some of the many good reviews ....


http://www.hometheater.com/content/pioneer-sp-bs22-lr-speaker-system

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/pioneer-sp-bs22-lr-loudspeaker/

http://www.stereophile.com/content/pioneer-sp-bs22-lr-loudspeaker

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post #29 of 39 Old 07-28-2013, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laserGene View Post

Are these Andrew Jones speakers in the same class as the HTD level 2s, Cambridge S30s or HLV1s?

I did a review on the HTD Level TWO speakers and found them to be a pretty solid value. The AJ and CA speakers I can't really help with though because I've never heard them myself.

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post #30 of 39 Old 07-28-2013, 08:27 AM
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Very good recommendations so far. If I were to rank the AJ Pioneer speakers, S30s, and Ascend CBM-170SEs it would be,

1. Ascend Acoustics CBM-170SE
2. Cambridge S30
3. AJ Pioneer BS22

All are fantastic for the price with each offering just a bit better SQ as you go up the list. I have not listened to the HTD speakers or the Arx but have read the Arx are comparable in class to the Ascend CBM-170SEs. The Infinity 163s are also quite good. IMHO, they are comparable in quality to the CA S30 but I would give the slight edge to the S30.

Just a thought, but if you were to buy two pairs of speakers you could always use the ¨extra¨ speaker in a surround back configuration.

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