Floorstanding speaker recommendations please -- budget $1500 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I have been a long time viewer and I am really grateful for the wealth of information available here. Thanks! This has given me a head start in my search for quality speakers for my medium-sized apartment living room. I will be moving to a much larger living room once my apartment lease expires later this year. So I am looking for a relatively long-term investment. My budget is $1500 (I can go over by ~200) for the pair, and I want to spend another $800 on a quality subwoofer. I currently own a Yamaha RX-V675 receiver. I will be using these speakers for 30% TV watching, 30% movies and the rest music. I mostly listen to classic rock, hard rock, and a little bit of metal. I also listen to current party hits when I have friends come over at my place on Friday evenings smile.gif. My priority is great value for buck! smile.gif.

I have shortlisted some models based on online reviews. I am not sure if I would be able to audition all of them given that I only have access to the Best Buy stores nearby. So here is the list of Floorstanding speakers I have liked so far, please let me know what you think.

1. PSB Image T6
2. KEF Q900
3. Monitor Audio Silver RX6 (not sure if RX8 is worth the extra bucks)
4. The new 2013 GoldenEar Technology's Triton Seven -- have seen great reviews online, not sure if it is available to order, but I can wait if they are really good.
5. Focal 726
6. NHT Absolute Tower
7. B&W 683 (can easily audition them here at Best Buy)
8. Paradigm Monitor 9 (can consider Monitor 11 if it is worth the upgrade)
9. Polk RTI A9
10. Revel F12

I am leaning towards the T6 based on the gamut of positive reviews I see everywhere, the Q900s are a close second. I am open to considering other options outside this list as well.

For the subwoofer, I am mostly looking to get the HSU Research VTF3, but I am also considering the SVS PB12-NSD, Rythmic F12, Power Sound Audio XS15, and the Epic Empire

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 11:59 AM
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The best speakers I've ever heard under $2000 a pair are only $695 a pair.
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post #3 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 12:00 PM
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#3 monitor audio


Emp tek have a very impressive midrange for the price.
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post #4 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. Wow, the Emp tek looks awesome for the price! Will take a look at it! The only other speaker I have heard in this price range is the ARX A5.
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post #5 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks losservatore... Do you think the RX8 is worth the extra bucks when compared to RX6?
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post #6 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 12:17 PM
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People usually buy the rx6 I think is because the Rx8 have problems with bass overblown bass hampers timing and rhythm.

Usually I don't recommend klipsch but in this case that you listen mostly to rock I recommend the klipsch for rock.

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post #7 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 12:20 PM
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At this price point you have a ton of options. I'm partial to the Monitor Audios because of their fit and finish. Many of the speakers mentioned are comparable in performance. It's a matter of which sound signature you prefer. If you're going with a good sub, I would just go with the RX6's and save yourself some money. One knock on the RX's is that the center channel is your standard horizontal MTM design, which has all of the flaws of such a design. This is something to consider if you eventually want to upgrade to a 5.1 setup

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post #8 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

People usually buy the rx6 I think is because the Rx8 have problems with bass overblown bass hampers timing and rhythm.

Usually I don't recommend klipsch but in this case that you listen mostly to rock I recommend the klipsch for rock.

I heard this was an issue with the RS8, but the RX8 I haven't heard of this at all

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post #9 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 12:29 PM
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How about going with a good bookshelf instead. Since you are buying a sub you won't miss out on anything and it's a good way to stretch your dollar further.

I would take a look at the NrT Sierra-1 from Ascend, and pair that with a sub from Rythmik. You get a discount when buying those products together, and the savings from bookshelves vs. towers lets you buy a better/second sub.

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post #10 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

How about going with a good bookshelf instead. Since you are buying a sub you won't miss out on anything and it's a good way to stretch your dollar further.

I would take a look at the NrT Sierra-1 from Ascend, and pair that with a sub from Rythmik. You get a discount when buying those products together, and the savings from bookshelves vs. towers lets you buy a better/second sub.

Good suggestion. Nrt Sierra-1's would be awesome if he's ok with bookshelves

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post #11 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menasor View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

People usually buy the rx6 I think is because the Rx8 have problems with bass overblown bass hampers timing and rhythm.

Usually I don't recommend klipsch but in this case that you listen mostly to rock I recommend the klipsch for rock.

I heard this was an issue with the RS8, but the RX8 I haven't heard of this at all


http://www.whathifi.com/Review/Monitor-Audio-Silver-RX8/

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post #12 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I am okay with the idea of using bookshelves -- is it better to use a pair of smaller subs or one big sub to go with the bookshelves?
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post #13 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 01:15 PM
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you can choose either one, I prefer floor standing speakers for stereo.

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post #14 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menasor View Post

At this price point you have a ton of options. I'm partial to the Monitor Audios because of their fit and finish. Many of the speakers mentioned are comparable in performance. It's a matter of which sound signature you prefer. If you're going with a good sub, I would just go with the RX6's and save yourself some money. One knock on the RX's is that the center channel is your standard horizontal MTM design, which has all of the flaws of such a design. This is something to consider if you eventually want to upgrade to a 5.1 setup
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you can choose either one, I prefer floor standing speakers for stereo.

I do want to upgrade to a 5.1 system in the future, could you please elaborate the MTM design issue that the center channel faces?
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post #15 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:06 PM
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Menasor to explain the vertical and horizontal topic ,I'm not going in to that now ,I use my center horizontally I don't care if it better vertically ,I just don't have the space to accommodate a center vertically and anyways 99.9%. Of the people with setups use horizontal center speakers.

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post #16 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

How about going with a good bookshelf instead. Since you are buying a sub you won't miss out on anything and it's a good way to stretch your dollar further.

I would take a look at the NrT Sierra-1 from Ascend, and pair that with a sub from Rythmik. You get a discount when buying those products together, and the savings from bookshelves vs. towers lets you buy a better/second sub.

Thanks for the suggestion! Do you think it would be a better sounding system if I use the NRT Sierra-1 bookshelves from Ascend and a higher grade sub from Rythmic such as FV15HP, than a system using two floorstanding speakers such as Ascend Sierra Towers with a slightly inferior sub like HSU VTF-3? I guess the first system with the bookshelves might still be cheaper in this case. But since I would be using these in a medium-to-large sized room I am not sure if I would miss the big sound-stage from a tower speaker, or the more powerful bass from a higher quality subwoofer if I end up taking the bookshelves. Thanks.
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post #17 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:09 PM
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Pair of NHT Classic 3s and a pair of whatever subs you plan to go with. IMO is would be better than any pair of $1500 towers and one sub, since two subs allow for placements to quell any room response issues plus an additional 3db of output.

And the NHT Classic 2 and 3 centers are three way designs to help avoid some of the MTM center channel issues.

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post #18 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:12 PM
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acousticdelight focus on your stereo setup and leave that topic for later.

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post #19 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:13 PM
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Thanks. Wow, the Emp tek looks awesome for the price! Will take a look at it! The only other speaker I have heard in this price range is the ARX A5.

EMP is the internet direct arm of RBH Sound. They are such a great deal because they are made in China and sold directly with no middle man markups. The only speakers I like better are in the $3000 and up price range.
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post #20 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by acousticdelight View Post

Thanks for the suggestion! Do you think it would be a better sounding system if I use the NRT Sierra-1 bookshelves from Ascend and a higher grade sub from Rythmic such as FV15HP, than a system using two floorstanding speakers such as Ascend Sierra Towers with a slightly inferior sub like HSU VTF-3? I guess the first system with the bookshelves might still be cheaper in this case. But since I would be using these in a medium-to-large sized room I am not sure if I would miss the big sound-stage from a tower speaker, or the more powerful bass from a higher quality subwoofer if I end up taking the bookshelves. Thanks.

I think the bookshelves with a better sub would be a better overall system since a good sub negates most of the benefits of having towers. If you want to listen to music in 2.0 stereo with no sub, then towers would be better.

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post #21 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:16 PM
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I wonder why towers is the first choice of stereo setups ,looks like there is no point of having towers anymore.

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post #22 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:17 PM
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For floor standers, you might think about a pair of these JBL Studio 580s. With JBL's engineering, they will sound very clean and even, and with a compression tweeter and a 90 dB sensitivity, those things will blaze when you want to crank them. Plus, they look great too. $1600 for a pair.

Another great option for you would be these Emotiva Stealth 8 monitors. It's self powered so you only need to hook it up to your AVR's pre-outs. Its amp is a lot more powerful than what your Yamaha could provide, and more efficient too, so every watt goes further with that thing than a passive speaker. It has a very heavy duty 8" woofer, and a very robust AMT tweeter that can get very loud- 115 dB at one meter. It's performance measurements are great, it is a very neutral speaker. A pair of those are $1500 shipped, right on the nose for your budget.

For the sub, my fav by far on your list is the Hsu VTF3. Massive output, very high sound quality, lots of adjustability to get the sound you want, extremely flat frequency response, and great customer service. Of your list, I don't think Epik is taking orders right now, you might want to double check the availability on that one. Another sub you ought to look at is the Dayton Dual woofer kit. It has two very high quality drivers, and a absolutely inert cabinet. The sound quality on that thing will be very high, and it won't be shy of output either. You do have to do a bit of assembly, but that is very easy, all you need is a screwdriver, some glue, and an hour of assembly time. It's shipped price will probably be closer to $1k, and it is pretty heavy, but I think that thing would rule.
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post #23 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

I think the bookshelves with a better sub would be a better overall system since a good sub negates most of the benefits of having towers. If you want to listen to music in 2.0 stereo with no sub, then towers would be better.

I would always like to use my sub even when I am listening to music. Thanks for your feedback. I am now reconsidering my decision to get the towers, and instead go with the idea of quality bookshelves with a better sub.
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post #24 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

I wonder why towers is the first choice of stereo setups ,looks like there is no point of having towers anymore.

Only if you have a sub wink.gif

If I listened to pretty much only music, I agree towers might be a better choice. If I had good towers I would probably prefer to listen in 2.0 mode, but good towers cost $$$$, especially if you want them to be flat to around 30hz, which IMO is needed in 2.0.

For the OP maybe the NHT 4 towers ( http://www.nhthifi.com/Four_Left?sc=12&category=3773 ) Rated to 27hz. Probably one of the less expensive towers with that kind of frequency response.

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post #25 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

Menasor to explain the vertical and horizontal topic ,I'm not going in to that now ,I use my center horizontally I don't care if it better vertically ,I just don't have the space to accommodate a center vertically and anyways 99.9%. Of the people with setups use horizontal center speakers.

A horizontal MTM center is not a huge issue unless you are pretty far off axis. When an MTM array is arranged horizontally, your horizontal off axis response suffers greatly. At 45 degrees or beyond off axis, you will get nulls in your frequency response. It's similar to being too high or too low from a speaker arranged vertically. To alleviate this problem, the best horizontal center channels have the tweeter and mids stacked on top of each other. Here's an example:

http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/1733/72882992.jpg

WTMW center channels (like in the pic) would have much better horizontal off axis response. If you are going to sit mainly on axis with your center channel, then maybe it's not a huge problem. The Energy RC-LCR has two mids diagonal above and below the tweeter to help with the horizontal off axis response. Just something to think about
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post #26 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:53 PM
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I would always like to use my sub even when I am listening to music. Thanks for your feedback. I am now reconsidering my decision to get the towers, and instead go with the idea of quality bookshelves with a better sub.

Depends in part on the size of your room. I run my towers with my sub for music, crossed at 60. And I think the setup sounds great, with the sub just helping out the low end. Generally speaking, a comparable monitor would not be able to fill my room with sound.

And, dont forget about how you want the room to look. Crazy talk, I know. I personally dont like the look of stands (and hate the idea of spending money on them) and am also averse to bookshelves or some other set up flanking the television.
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post #27 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:57 PM
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Depends in part on the size of your room. I run my towers with my sub for music, crossed at 60. And I think the setup sounds great, with the sub just helping out the low end. Generally speaking, a comparable monitor would not be able to fill my room with sound.

And, dont forget about how you want the room to look. Crazy talk, I know. I personally dont like the look of stands (and hate the idea of spending money on them) and am also averse to bookshelves or some other set up flanking the television.

I agree that towers definitely do look better than bookshelves on stands (as least to me). Towers also play louder (in general), so if you have a big room, they would be more fitting

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post #28 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 02:58 PM
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In my case I like to get all the possible bass that I can from my towers in conjunction with the sub.

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post #29 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by acousticdelight View Post

Thanks for the suggestion! Do you think it would be a better sounding system if I use the NRT Sierra-1 bookshelves from Ascend and a higher grade sub from Rythmic such as FV15HP, than a system using two floorstanding speakers such as Ascend Sierra Towers with a slightly inferior sub like HSU VTF-3? I guess the first system with the bookshelves might still be cheaper in this case. But since I would be using these in a medium-to-large sized room I am not sure if I would miss the big sound-stage from a tower speaker, or the more powerful bass from a higher quality subwoofer if I end up taking the bookshelves. Thanks.

Hey acousticdelight, here's a couple things for you to factor in your decision. First of all, as has been said, given the subwoofer will be handling the frequencies below 80 Hz or so, the extra bass extension you get from towers will be a moot point. However, often towers can have more headroom and can tolerate higher volumes than bookshelf speakers. How much louder they stay clean at would largely depend on the tweeter. Another thing, a lot of bookshelf speaker stands are pretty expensive, and many times you don't save much money going to a bookshelf speaker+stand over a tower speaker.

Second, since you are in an apartment and you are trying to get good bass in a largish room, one thing I would strongly recommend you look into is near-field placement. Near-field placement is where you place the sub very close to the listening position, like maybe an end table type placement or right behind your seat. There are a bunch of reasons for this. First of all, if you want a single sub to pressurize that whole room, that sub will need to get LOUD. Being in an apartment, your neighbors might have a problem with this, as they will hear it. With near-field placement, the sub doesn't need to produce nearly as much output for you to get the same loudness at the listening position. Second of all, if you are only going with a single sub, your room will likely play havoc on its frequency response. Room acoustics absolutely maul bass response. The closer you can get the sub to you, the less of an influence the room plays on the sound. Another reason near-field placement is good is because since the subwoofer doesn't have to work as hard to get loud, it undergoes less mechanical exertion. This gives you two benefits; less mechanical exertion means lower distortion playback, and it's also better for the long term reliability of the sub. Another advantage of near-field placement is it seems to add more physical punch to the bass sound, so you can feel the bass more than if the sub was placed further away.

The VTF3 makes a great end table subwoofer due to its side-firing driver, I have two flanking my couch firing inward toward the seating, and they pound the couch. I think that Dayton kit would make a great end table type sub due to its side-firing woofers as well. That Empire would have made a awesome end table subwoofer too.
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post #30 of 80 Old 08-29-2013, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Hey acousticdelight, here's a couple things for you to factor in your decision. First of all, as has been said, given the subwoofer will be handling the frequencies below 80 Hz or so, the extra bass extension you get from towers will be a moot point. However, often towers can have more headroom and can tolerate higher volumes than bookshelf speakers. How much louder they stay clean at would largely depend on the tweeter. Another thing, a lot of bookshelf speaker stands are pretty expensive, and many times you don't save much money going to a bookshelf speaker+stand over a tower speaker.

Second, since you are in an apartment and you are trying to get good bass in a largish room, one thing I would strongly recommend you look into is near-field placement. Near-field placement is where you place the sub very close to the listening position, like maybe an end table type placement or right behind your seat. There are a bunch of reasons for this. First of all, if you want a single sub to pressurize that whole room, that sub will need to get LOUD. Being in an apartment, your neighbors might have a problem with this, as they will hear it. With near-field placement, the sub doesn't need to produce nearly as much output for you to get the same loudness at the listening position. Second of all, if you are only going with a single sub, your room will likely play havoc on its frequency response. Room acoustics absolutely maul bass response. The closer you can get the sub to you, the less of an influence the room plays on the sound. Another reason near-field placement is good is because since the subwoofer doesn't have to work as hard to get loud, it undergoes less mechanical exertion. This gives you two benefits; less mechanical exertion means lower distortion playback, and it's also better for the long term reliability of the sub. Another advantage of near-field placement is it seems to add more physical punch to the bass sound, so you can feel the bass more than if the sub was placed further away.

The VTF3 makes a great end table subwoofer due to its side-firing driver, I have two flanking my couch firing inward toward the seating, and they pound the couch. I think that Dayton kit would make a great end table type sub due to its side-firing woofers as well. That Empire would have made a awesome end table subwoofer too.

Yes, I did not consider the cost of bookshelf speaker stands and also the loud levels of the towers. For now, I think I should stop ping ponging and stick with the floorstanding speakers smile.gif I have spent considerable time researching online in this segment.

As far as the woofer is concerned, would tower speakers plus twin subwoofer be an overkill for an apartment-type living room? I have about 20 feet between my normal listening position and the speakers.
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