Upgrading from vintage 2.0 to blended 3.1 (for now) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-20-2013, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I know I should probably do some more searching first, but I like to think my situation is somewhat unique. First I'm going to bore you with a story that will tell you about how infrequently I buy things, and how long I hold on to them.

Back in '04 I bought my first HD monitor: a 26" CRT 16:9 Panasonic. We still have it but it's in the bedroom. If someone hadn't bought us a bigger LCD as a gift, the Panasonic would still be in the living room.

In '05 I was unemployed, but couldn't pass up the fire sale the Onkyo TX-SR606 was on at Circuit City. Out came the plastic.

I had nothing left for a 5.1 setup, so I got a pair of Technics SB-K14 on Craigslist for $10. That's what I'm still using.

Lately I've got the itch for more out of the setup, and I have a $500 budget. My thought was to keep the Technics for now, and add a center and subwoofer. The Technics really don't produce much bass, though the bass is clean (for me). I'm guessing it's going to be impossible to get a center that matches the Technics? It has a 10" woofer and appears to be a 2" mid?

My gut choice was a BIC PL-28, but upon further research, I don't think I'll ever be able to stomach the cost of the matching PL-89 towers. I do want a good center though, as we like to watch TV/movies at modest volumes, but have trouble understanding the dialogue. My wife especially as English is not her native language and her left ear doesn't work so hot.

I keep going back and forth on the BIC F12 vs Polk PSW505, though I'm not looking to bring that debate to this thread, I'm leaning towards the Polk right now, as we listen to about 50/50 music/TVandMovies and the Polk is supposed to be more "musical". Also for reference, we listen to TV/movies at 32-40 to as high as 50 because of dialogue issues. When we "crank" our music, that's around 50.

I guess the first question is: Is keeping the Technics left and right for a while, while adding a center and sub on a $500 budget (total) a bad idea? Would I be better off to spend $300 total on a new left, right, and center? I do intend to eventually upgrade the Technics and add surrounds, but you've seen how long it might be 'til I get around to that. And I don't see myself spending more than 400-500 total on the front left/right speakers when that time comes. If you think I'm heading the right direction, is the PL-28 a good choice, and I just need to suck it up and start saving pennies for those PL-89 towers down the road? I'm open to other recommendations. Also looked at the CS10 (actually this whole itch started at Best Buy looking at that and a PSW10) but I feel like I want to spend more on the center for reasons previously discussed. Thanks in advance for your input. I hope my first post wasn't completely incoherent :-)
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-20-2013, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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And before you ask about my room setup; I've moved 5 times since I bought that old TV! All apartments. We are saving for a house though. So eventually these components will be asked to fill a larger space. Technics will probably get moved to zone 2 :-)
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-22-2013, 05:25 AM - Thread Starter
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OK...After further research, despite my desire to run with the underdog (used to be a big AMD processor fan, now considering BIC in similar light), now my gut is telling me to go with the value the big brand an provide. Right now I'm thinking about an all Polk setup.
CSiA4 center and PSW505 sub.
Later down the road I'll replace the fronts with an RTiA1 pair, or if I come into some money RTiA5. Being that 50% of our listening is music, and that's where we like the volume; I think floor standing speakers would be beneficial for us? I'm having a real hard time seeing myself paying more for one speaker than a pair though...

Last step I guess would be adding the surrounds. My OCD has me completing the match with F/XiA4 surrounds, but that's just insane to spend as much for surrounds as the fronts...right?

Am I on track here?
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-22-2013, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Am I underspecing the sub? I see I could pick up the DSWpro550wi on Polk eBay Direct for $300. That could still work into my budget.

Back to the speakers I guess I could start with the bookshelves as mains and if I decide to get A5's later the A1's could be my surrounds?
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-22-2013, 07:41 AM
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Go with one of the Internet-Direct brands for the sub, or perhaps the Klipsch RW-12d that is on sale these days.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-22-2013, 08:15 AM
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Sorry I missed this thread from when it was originally posted.

First: Please do not get anything related to BIC especially in the F12 type lineup. They are bad speakers/subwoofers in my opinion.

If i were limiting myself to the two brands/speakers you mentioned I would get Polk. Since I want you to consider other options I recommend that you look at Infinity Primus. They're not the newest or the best speakers but they're a whole lot better than the two you mentioned. Fry's Electronics had the P363 towers for $107 a few weeks ago, I got mine for $99 a few years ago so deals can be had. These two would fill almost any room with above average sound for the price. If you wanted a center (which I don't think you'd need before a subwoofer) they have a matching PC153 that is frequently on sale too.

I would highly recommend that you do NOT purchase that Polk subwoofer. The Klipsch RW12-D mentioned above is a significantly better option than almost anything Polk has made. You can also consider the NXG subwoofer. I think it'll be the best in your price range.

To sum it up my recommendation is as follows:
Infinity Primus - P363 (Wait for it to go on sale for about $100)
NXG - NX-BAS-500 ($259)
Look in the used market for an Infinity center if you really need one.
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-22-2013, 08:46 AM
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The Value2 package from HSU might be a good option for you. Capable horn loaded speakers should give you good dialog and dynamics even a lower volume. And HSU is known for value and performance in their subwoofer line.
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-22-2013, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your responses.

Could someone please elaborate on what is meant by an "Internet Direct" brand sub? The Klipsch is definitely out of my price range unless there are some serious deals I'm not aware of? Looking at $300 or less on the sub. Thank you for the recommendation of the NXG and HSU subs. Anyone feel free to throw your vote to either or recommend another.

The HSU systems look like a good enough value, but I'm not sure if they will play into my $500 budget. Let me know if this is a bad order to follow, but I was thinking to spend my $500 to add a subwoofer and center channel first, to address two issues we're currently experiencing with the vintage 2.0 Technics setup: lack of bass, and weak dialogue. Should I be replacing those Technics clunkers before adding a sub and center?

Do those Primus towers really go on sale for around $100 regularly? That sounds great as right now it looks like north of $300 at the usual suspects.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-22-2013, 11:00 PM
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Internet Direct means that they do not have a brick and mortar store to sell from. No mark ups, no distributors, no middle men in the way of getting you the best possible sub/speaker at the lowest possible cost.

The RW-12D is regularly on sale for $289 on newegg.com (there is an entire thread about it on the "Great Deals Found" page.

So... I don't think you should go center + sub. It is always proper to timbre match the center channel if possible that way you can achieve the best possible sound in your setup. I think the HSU horn speaker package would be magnificent in your price range with a 3.1 or 3.0 setup. I think NXG will still be the best option in your sub 300 range but RW12-D and the smaller HSU's are certainly capable in their own ways.

Primus towers are a best possible scenario for you (in my opinion). They were $107 at fry's this month and I got them for $99.99 from the same place. If you are patient this is the setup that would be most fulfilling in terms of reward for dollar and filling of your room. I hope you can wait out long enough to find one; if not the HSU bookshelf speakers + the center with the NXG sub would be my next option.
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-28-2013, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again Valtyr. I'm thinking about picking up the RW12-D, 3rd party refurbished from Cedar PC for $170. On second thought, with shipping (ouch) it's $218. Might be worth waiting on Newegg. If you're interested, you can see two forum members discussing this deal here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1442829/klipsch-rw-12d-on-sale-for-299-at-newegg-com-again-today/2490#post_23668407
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