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post #1 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Introduction
By way of introducing myself to the AVS Forum, I will post a few pictures of my setups that to this point have been something I had worked hard to find the best deals and have obtained through the years. While I've spent years researching this forum and asking the Search Bar questions I've found recently that most of the posts and questions I've been looking for answers to are quite old. That is what lead me to finally register and ask for guidance and share my story.

First setup - Infinity Primus
My first set up I acquired as a younger man and have enjoyed for many years but I feel the time has come that I would like to upgrade. Fry's Electronics had a sale on Infinity P363's a few years ago that allowed me to get the two towers for $99 a piece. I also purchased a Yamaha RX V565 7.1 receiver at the time. They've served me well, but because of my past interest in playing sports in the house I have damaged the bottom driver on both of the speakers. They're still serviceable but the popping of the right speaker's lower driver became so bad that I had to remove it completely and the left lower driver is simply unplugged. Anyway, I added some P163's on the wall right behind the couch and also a PC 153 Center Channel under the TV. I loved this setup and erroneously referred to myself as an audiophile because I had better speakers than my friends. While I added the center and the P163's I also bought a BIC F-12 sub woofer and loved it...

Here is a picture of my living room setup:




Second setup - Cambridge S30's
After my first setup I found it hard to listen to tinny speakers on my television and I came back to AVS Forum to see what I could find for a bookshelf speaker. I have to thank zieglj01 so much for his review on the Cambridge S30's. I know they're a budget speaker but in my master bedroom it has been such an amazing listening experience and have made me realize how little definition I can hear on my other system. When I purchased the S30's I also purchased a Denon 1713 to power them and designed and built some of my own speaker stands to hold them at my listening level. Somewhere down the road I also built an AV Stand too. I still had the new speaker itch and thanks to JimWilson's fine posting I purchased my first major audio item and it was an SVS SB1000. Although it is the lowest of their collection it was the biggest and best in my house. Well, with better listening experience and being able to hear Glen Gould breathe and hum to his own music,. I also added an Audio Technic turntable so I could listen to Miles Davis and could enjoy everything I wanted more...

Here is the bedroom setup:




Here is how I built the speaker stands:


One of my other passions in life outside of music and Audio Video Science is watches. I am a moderator on Watch Talk Forums and took a fun picture to share. I wonder if these two passions coincide with anyone else?



I debated whether or not I should create a new thread for my questions or just post them here. Since I'm close to pulling the trigger I'll just ask here:

I am looking to upgrade the aforementioned Infinity towers (for now) with one of the following:
Kef - Q500 (I found this grossly mispriced for more than $200 less than they should be; brand new, in rosewood).
Swans Diva - 6.1 (I've loved the Swan line for years but could never justify their price).
Focal Chorus - 716v (I like the look, and many people recommend them).
Monitor Audio - RS6 (Unfortunately one of the older posts I found lead me to this but it is a discontinued model. I love how these look though and the reviews look incredible).
I am also open to any suggestions, but I have a strong preference to purchase on Amazon because of a copious quantity of gift cards.

About my home, price range, preferences, and musical tastes: My living room is 16' x 27' x 8'. I can spend more than $1000 but I'd have difficulty justifying it with myself. I love the look of symmetrical speakers... When I say that, I mean a speaker design I do not like (although I yearn for the brand) is the Salk SongTowers. I listen to Classical, Jazz, Rap/Hip Hop, Thrash, Black/Viking metal and recently some Pop music. Because the TV is better in the living room I'd estimate that more movies would be watched there on the PS3. The PS3 Media Server makes it easy to listen to music too so I'll have unlimited access to .FLAC and 320kbps audio. I have a sub now and will be upgrading that to another SVS some day but for now I'd just like advice on the towers.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 12:11 PM
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One thing to point out, your left Infinity tower should be pushed out wide on the outside of your window, just like the right tower is. The speakers should then be pulled forward around 12", and angled in toward the listening area.

You mentioned building your speaker stands... There is an entire world of DIY audio, you can build extremely high quality speakers/subs for a moderate cost. As soon as you move above the ultra budget commercial price range anyway (nothing can compete with a $200pr 3 way like your P363).
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post #3 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Jay,

Thank you very much for your prompt and candid reply. Although I am capable of woodworking, I am unclear if anything I produce would be on par quality with anything available in my list.

I have the speaker there to hide the wires behind my stand when I enter the house. I tried your suggestion of moving the speaker over on the other side of the window and found that the speaker would be playing into the small corner wall and also showing the mess of wires.

Anyway, given the damage to the 363's, are your thoughts still the same on them being the best?
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post #4 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 12:42 PM
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Nice BREITLING!

My self I wear a LUMINOX stanless steal and love the fact no matter how dark it is you see the time perfectly.

Funny, I said the same thing as Jay1 about moving the left speaker on the show your speakers thread.

Ray
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post #5 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 12:44 PM
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With your speakers damaged, no they are not going to produce good results.

There are dozens upon dozens of DIY kits, where you get enclosure plans, crossover diagram (sometimes already wired), and all the parts you need. You just build the box to spec, and wire up/install everything. Questions can be brought to one of the many DIY forums (including the one here at AVS).

http://meniscusaudio.com/kits-c-133.html

http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/speaker-kits/

http://www.parts-express.com/cat/speaker-kits/286

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits.html

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/speaker-kits.html

That doesn't include the 100s of designs posted not sold as a kit (like my designs). The above is a lot to digest at once, here is a setup to focus on

http://meniscusaudio.com/swope-tower-pair-p-1334.html

http://meniscusaudio.com/swope-center-p-1335.html

http://meniscusaudio.com/swope-pair-p-1304.html
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post #6 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you Ray! I love watches. It sounds like you've got a great one. Does it have the Tritium lume?

Either way, I will try the speaker positioning and see how it works during the baseball game today!



Thank you for another reply Jay. I reviewed your site and love your designs and work. Thank you very much for your thoughts.
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post #7 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valtyr View Post

Thank you Ray! I love watches. It sounds like you've got a great one. Does it have the Tritium lume?

Either way, I will try the speaker positioning and see how it works during the baseball game today!



Thank you for another reply Jay. I reviewed your site and love your designs and work. Thank you very much for your thoughts.

You do know your watch.
Mine says T25 for Tritium 25 strenght, no sure what is "lume".

Also I do agree with Jay1 about DIY, he did give you a list of some nice kits.

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post #8 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Tritium is a gas tube they use in the form of a small bar on the hands and indices. Traditional "lume" is the glow in the dark paint that they paint on hands and indices. Yours means it will never need sunlight to charge the gasses inside are illuminated forever. Very cool concept and it is something I really like in a watch.

So to the DIY recommendations.

I see a lot of kits, I'm familiar with that silk dome tweeter in one of the links and I believe that is what my S30's have. If I wanted to make something that was comparable quality to a Kef or Swan how much would it cost to make a reference grade system on my own?
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post #9 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valtyr View Post

Tritium is a gas tube they use in the form of a small bar on the hands and indices. Traditional "lume" is the glow in the dark paint that they paint on hands and indices. Yours means it will never need sunlight to charge the gasses inside are illuminated forever. Very cool concept and it is something I really like in a watch.

So to the DIY recommendations.

I see a lot of kits, I'm familiar with that silk dome tweeter in one of the links and I believe that is what my S30's have. If I wanted to make something that was comparable quality to a Kef or Swan how much would it cost to make a reference grade system on my own?

Thanks for the explanation, I knew about the the little tube but just never heard the term lume.
Back to speakers I would estimate about 1/3 of the price of speakers sold at a store, most ID (not all) company do have a better price to quality ratio.
But if your are handy, DIY is a very good way to go.


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post #10 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 01:19 PM
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Kits that will compete with commercial speakers in the $5k - $20K price range?

http://meniscusaudio.com/statements-pair-p-1338.html

http://meniscusaudio.com/er18mtm-ribbon-pair-p-1323.html

http://meniscusaudio.com/finalist-pair-p-1364.html

http://meniscusaudio.com/kairos-pair-p-1380.html

http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/3-way-speaker-kits/b741-scan-speak-kit-pair-by-peter-noerbaek/

http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/2.5-way-speaker-kits/zaph|audio-zrt-2.5-way-revelator-tower-parts-only-pair/

http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/3-way-speaker-kits/zaph|audio-sb12.3-sb-acoustics-12-dual-midrange-3-way/

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits/alpha12-kit.html

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits/fusion12-kit.html

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits/seos-deltalite-kit.html

Your box construction and finishing skills will make a large impact on comparing these kits to "uber" speakers, but from a sound quality standpoint, they're all going to hold their own. You can build any of the bookshelf speakers into a tower, you just have to keep the baffle width, and driver proximity to the top of the speaker the same, as well as keep the internal volume the same, which is as simple as closing off the lower portion of the box with a solid piece of wood.
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post #11 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 01:26 PM
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Just for an example, here is someone who built the SEOS Fusion 12 Tempest as a very nice looking tower speaker


http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?236775-Just-finished-a-high-WAF-Tempest-build-%28Eminence-SEOS-Econowave-style%29&highlight=seos

The beauty of DIY, you have the ability to make what you want.
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post #12 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Ray and Jay - I may not be nearly as handy as my tools indicate, I bought all of the tools this years specifically do do my molding and speaker stands/av stand. I might do DIY on a pair of bookshelf speakers to try it and see how hard it is. I've never done any electrical work and I worry about it. I should have a reasonable skills to make a speaker box though.

May I ask for opinions on the speakers I mention in the original post to see where they rank in quality and everyone thoughts on them?

BTW guys, I have moved the speakers to your requested positions and I notice an improvement over what I had but all I hear is muddy blurred sounds because of the damage frown.gif
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post #13 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 01:36 PM
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I suggest you look at these

http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/2.5-way-speaker-kits/zaph|audio-za5.5-tall-tower-2.5-way-pair/

Crossover is wired, within your budget, and very good performance.
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post #14 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 01:54 PM
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Starting out with a simple TM, these are from the same line as the mmtmm I just posted

http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/2-way-speaker-kits/zaph|audio-za5.2-tm-2-way-pair/

Would be a simple upgrade path.
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post #15 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Very intriguing, so the enclosures they show on the Zaph website are what I'd build... To work this kit... I understand that; however, what makes this set better than the rest. Speaker quality component quality? I'd assume it all matters. You think making the larger kit with reasonable build quality would be much better than KEF/Swan/Focal/Monitor?

I'd like to give the smaller one a shot to see how well I can do it. $200 isn't much to try a project. I just want to make sure that it is a substantial upgrade over both the Infinity speakers as well as the Cambridge S30's.
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post #16 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 02:24 PM
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Yes to both.

Zaph uses drivers that have very low measured distortion, but are low cost. Bang for buck is very high. That is essentially the same tweeter PSB uses in their top speakers because of its very high performance for a low price.
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post #17 of 23 Old 07-28-2013, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valtyr View Post

Ray and Jay - I may not be nearly as handy as my tools indicate, I bought all of the tools this years specifically do do my molding and speaker stands/av stand. I might do DIY on a pair of bookshelf speakers to try it and see how hard it is. I've never done any electrical work and I worry about it. I should have a reasonable skills to make a speaker box though.

May I ask for opinions on the speakers I mention in the original post to see where they rank in quality and everyone thoughts on them?

BTW guys, I have moved the speakers to your requested positions and I notice an improvement over what I had but all I hear is muddy blurred sounds because of the damage frown.gif

Good to hear you did notice an improvement.
As Jay1 said the quality of the cabinet depend a lot on your skill/patience to do it right.
Is is not a fast process but once done you will enjoy a lot since you know you did it yourself.

I had my DIY for 10 years and never did I wanted or needed to change them.
I just did a few months ago with the aperion Verus Grand series because I needed a change after so many years and I knew I could not match the finish and have to time to do DIY
Am I happy with my decision, absolubtly.
But it cost me some pretty pennies, but more lest than at a store.

Ray
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post #18 of 23 Old 07-29-2013, 05:08 AM
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If you are replacing your towers, I would also suggest your replace the center too. You need a timbre matched front sound stage to get proper imaging. Given your budget, I am not sure there would be a lot of significant upgrade options over the Primus P363 (when they were 100%). DIY is a great way to get more bang for your buck, but note you also need to build a center as well.

If you decide against DIY, here are some options that would probably be a slight upgrade:

EMP E55Ti + E56Ci
HTD Level 3 towers and center
Arx A5 + A2c
Ascend CMT-340SE LCR
Axiom M50 V3 + VP100 V3
Polk RTiA7 + CSiA6 (Polk Ebay Store)

Living Room
Samsung PN60F5300 | Denon DBP-1611 | Roku 3
Denon AVR-1713 | EMP E55Ti | EMP E56Ci | EMP E5Bi | BIC F-12

Computer
Topping TP23 | NHT SuperZero 2.0 | Velodyne DEQ-8R
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post #19 of 23 Old 07-29-2013, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your reply!

I hadn't looked at EMP or HTD. I'm surprised that most of these speakers aren't a significant improvement when the 363's were 100%.

What price point for non DIY speakers does a significant difference occur?
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post #20 of 23 Old 07-29-2013, 06:35 AM
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There is definitely an improvement, just maybe not a huge one in my opinion. I have heard the P363s and like my EMPs better, but I am not sure what kind of improvement you are going after. If you want something that makes you say "wow what a difference", then maybe you should save a little more for something in the $1000/pair range.

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post #21 of 23 Old 07-29-2013, 07:28 AM
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post #22 of 23 Old 07-29-2013, 08:50 AM
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Valtyr, it seemed to me, you already compared what an improvement would be. If I read this right, you said Cambridge S30 gave you "more definition" than P363's. If this improvement worth it? That's up for you to decide.

Speakers (towers) like P363 give you a good full range quality for its price. Since you are crossing them with a sub that takes over lower frequencies, then what you hearing from that P363 are the frequencies north of 80-100hz. In that range, you'll find similar priced bookshelves that deliver better quality. Also, the SB1000 is reviewed as delivering better definition/articulation F12, so that may factor in your listening experience.

Where is your primary listening environment (living/bedroom)? Before you buy anything, I would try moving your bedroom (bookshelves/sub) set to your living room (assuming that is your primary listening environment) and try out and see if you noticed improvements. If you do, then speakers recommended by Transmaniacon are good options. I'd replace HTD Level 3 for HSU bookshelves. I think it was zieglj01 who dumped his HTD level 3 for the S30.

Lastly, what is your primary listening position in your living room? Is it the sofa against the wall? If it is, I don't think your wall mounted speakers are properly placed either. They should be firing toward each other on your sides. The wall mounted placement firing to the front is supposed to work when they are behind you.

Always, make sure you run YPAO to make sure you are correcting room acoustics to make sure you bring the best in your speakers.

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post #23 of 23 Old 07-29-2013, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for your replies...

hdnewbie21: I had always just used my PS3 to stream music and movies as well as play games and blu ray. In the bedroom I have a WD TV Live and the better speaker/sub setup so my high quality music as well as movies all have been happening in the bedroom. Cable watching happens in the living room and everything else (for now) happens in the bedroom. Ideally I'd love to have nice systems in both rooms but living room would be ideal with better (non-damaged) towers.

Interesting development: While I was posting and reading about speakers I happened to come across a set of Monitor Audio PS-6 towers and put a bid on them. I just won them today and actually paid less than half of what any of my other options cost. $400 for speakers that are used but in near mint cosmetic condition. I hope all is fine internally but the seller was very honest about the entire transaction. Here is a picture of the actual speakers. Please share your thoughts.



I think the following will happen: I think the P163's will go to my bedroom and rest on the shelves I made where the S30's are. I think the S30's will go into the living room with the new PS-6's and the Primus towers will go into a closet and go to waste. The center channel isn't timbre matched but should suffice for now. I'll also move the Denon 1713 and the SVS SB1000 into the living room. I think that is the best possible mix and match variety I can obtain.

I plan on making some bookshelf speakers to try my skill and see if I can beat the P163 sound. The best thing is that I have plenty left to buy whatever I want when I need it.
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