sexy Internet Direct options? $1,000-$3,000 step up from Rockets/Divas? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 09-07-2013, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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So exactly 10 years and 1 month later since I bought my av123 Rockets 750/200C/300R (and gave them to my baby bro) the Home Theater bug has returned with a vengeance and I'm looking to "upgrade" to the next tier since 10 years is _forever_ in Internet time. While I'm a long time member slightly out of the "loop" here is the current [planned] budget for HT + Music + Gaming:

Display: Panasonic TC-P60VT60 (plasma, of course :-)
AVR: Denon AVR-3313CI
Sub: SVS PC12-PLUS (or PC12-NSD)
Speakers: partially undecided but need something sexy, preferably ruler flat (neutral), and inexpensive. ( yeah, yeah, the holy trinity of engineering for speakers :-)

Priority is:
* WAF: Weighting for front/main is 33% to as much as 50% The box / "monitor" look is a "last-resort"
* Quality: sound stage, clean fast bass, neutral - not too far laid back, not too far forward. I loved my original Rocket 750s -- I never heard the 760, 850 or 1000s but have spent many hours on avs reviews reading the latter series were better. I don't need full range as will be augmenting with a sub.
* Price: I don't need "reference monitors" quality but something "prosumer" in the $1K - $2K range is perfect for fronts/mains.

My first preference is rosewood tower / floor standing speakers. High gloss piano black is second.
Electrostatic speakers are an interesting mix if I knew who to consider!
Bookshelf speakers are OUT -- the SVS Ultra bookshelf is a notable exception.
BOSE is definitely OUT.

At the moment leaning heavily towards:
The Swan Divas 6.2F + 5.2C + 5.2R looks absolutely beautiful as they meet the WAF with flying colors. I don't even know if they are still even being sold (?? I've already emailed; waiting for response) but I'm pretty sure they are probably "surpassed" in this day and age. i.e. the old Rocket 850's beat them. I'm worried this is more of a "lateral" movement then stepping up to the next tier.

Center:
Looks like SVS Ultra Center for $699 is a great center speaker! Bonus is that it matches the SVS sub. Any other contenders?

Rear:
Would be nice to "match" front + rears but I'm not hung up on it.

I know Emotiva and Axioms are popular with all the cool kids these days but I'm looking for more then just a "box". So given these choices of ID (and others) ...

* Ascend Acoustics -- Sierra Tower -- maybe
* Axiom Audio -- M80 v3 -- maybe
* Aperion Audio -- Versus Grand Tower -- maybe
* Emotiva -- too plain jane black box
* JTR -- ugh, no. god, no. FUGLY.
* Home Theater Direct (HTD) -- Level 3 speakers -- maybe
* Salk - excellent quality but too tall and boxy. :-(
* Swan HiVi / Diva - nailed with it WAF but worried about availability + SQ / sound stage?
* SVS - Ultra Tower w/ Piano Black finish -- maybe
* NHT -- no

... what are my options for beautiful + great sounding speakers and what do people recommend for less then $3K?

Brick & Mortar would be option but Paradigm, B&W, etc. seem to be over-priced IMO.

Cheers

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post #2 of 45 Old 09-07-2013, 05:13 PM
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Swan spreakers are a Great bang for your buck choice. I'm not sure on the availability of the divas as they are an older design. However, I suggest checking out their high end line which is the next step up in their product line. I obtained a five speaker set for marginally more than the divas a couple years ago and they sound much better IMO and may hit the mark with your expectations. Cleveland plasma is a forum dealer that carries them.
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post #3 of 45 Old 09-07-2013, 06:02 PM
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Sonus Faber Venere? Focal Chorus 800 series (see post 5883 in Focal - JM Labs Owners' Thread for a discounting dealer)?
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post #4 of 45 Old 09-07-2013, 06:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post

Speakers: partially undecided but need something sexy, preferably ruler flat (neutral), and inexpensive. ( yeah, yeah, the holy trinity of engineering for speakers :-)

My first preference is rosewood tower / floor standing speakers. High gloss piano black is second.

... what are my options for beautiful + great sounding speakers and what do people recommend for less then $3K?

A sexy, internet direct, inexpensive, neutral, rosewood (well, red burl) tower:



For $700/pair** (plus shipping) and a 30 day in-home trial, I don't see how you can go wrong. If you don't like how they sound (or look) - send 'em back!

This is what Audioholics (Gene DellaSala) thought of them: http://www.audioholics.com/tower-speaker-reviews/emptek-e55ti

Quote:
Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post

Center:
Looks like SVS Ultra Center for $699 is a great center speaker! Bonus is that it matches the SVS sub. Any other contenders?
Always, wherever possible use a matching centre speaker from the same speaker brand and lineup. (There is no need to match the sub.) Fortunately, the matching EMP Tek E56Ci is a "monster centre".

Edit:
** I recommend you put part of the notional saving ($700 -v- $3000) on the mains towards dual SVS PC12-Plus's (or Ultras!). This is your most effective method of achieving loud, clean and smooth bass. Perhaps also step up to the Denon AVR-X4000, mainly for Audyssey XT32 + SubEQ HT.
.
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post #5 of 45 Old 09-08-2013, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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@Leger433 -- Thanks for the confirmation that the Diva's are a good choice!

@howaboutthat41 -- not bad -- not bad at all. Another possibility. The aesthetics are kind of interesting.

@Giegar -- WOW! Those look great and check out that price -- whoa! Fantastic! Somehow I forgot to check out EMP. Thanks for the review from Gene -- AudioHolics is a great "sister" site. cool.gif I'm having a blast reading that review.

I'm not quite "sold" on dual subs-- yet -- partially due to "limited" space, but you've given me something to think about -- especially with how inexpensive those EMP Tek 55 mains are! And as a "thinking man" that is the best gift anyone could give me. The recommendation about stepping up to the Denon AVR-X4000 is also much appreciated. Mmmm, SubEQ .... *dreams* tongue.gif

> wherever possible use a matching centre speaker from the same speaker brand and lineup.
Yes, that's what made this "request" kind of tricky to meet -- needed great sexy mains and hoping to get a good, big, matching center. The SVS mains were "close" but not quite there. The SVS center was a "compromise" -- though for a $700 center one really isn't compromising smile.gif


I just talked with my bro and he is moving. Unfortunately (for him) he can't take the Rockets with his family (long story) SO .... fortunately (for me) I _might_ be getting them back! biggrin.gif We'll see what develops in the next month or so.

Anyways, I have at least 3 great contenders to consider:

1) EMP Tek 55/56
2) Swan Diva's 6.2
3) Original Rockets

Thanks everyone! The biggest "frustration" with speaker "shopping" is narrowing the choices down. You've all helped immensely.

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post #6 of 45 Old 09-08-2013, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post

* JTR -- ugh, no. god, no. FUGLY.

LOL....they're not that ugly..lol
I will give you that they definitely aren't for everyone, but they don't look as bad in person. And they are available in some custom veneered options to help pretty them up in someone wants too.



But even with the standard finish they're are already over your budget.

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post #7 of 45 Old 09-08-2013, 11:10 AM
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Look at Selah Audio. great speakers.
Looks are in the eye of the beholder

 

It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that ain't so

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post #8 of 45 Old 09-08-2013, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milt99 View Post

Look at Selah Audio. great speakers.
Looks are in the eye of the beholder

Selah does have intriguing stuff, with terrific drivers. Great recommendation if the aesthetics work for the OP.
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post #9 of 45 Old 09-09-2013, 09:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post

@Leger433 -- Thanks for the confirmation that the Diva's are a good choice!
See if you have any luck with The Audio Insider for the Swan Divas. They don't seem to have the models you noted on the website though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post

I'm not quite "sold" on dual subs-- yet -- partially due to "limited" space, but you've given me something to think about -- especially with how inexpensive those EMP Tek 55 mains are! And as a "thinking man" that is the best gift anyone could give me. The recommendation about stepping up to the Denon AVR-X4000 is also much appreciated. Mmmm, SubEQ .... *dreams* tongue.gif
If you're not sold on subs yet and space is an issue, here's something else to think about... biggrin.gif



This is a fantastic sub IMO that is compact, looks great and currently on special for the same price (ex. shipping) as the SVS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post

Anyways, I have at least 3 great contenders to consider:

1) EMP Tek 55/56
2) Swan Diva's 6.2
3) Original Rockets
That's ideal Mick! You can get the EMP Teks on the 30 day "satisfaction guarantee" and directly A/B them with the Rockets. If you don't feel they're a reasonable step up - send 'em back! Your Rocket surrounds would probably do the trick with the EMP Tek front end anyway. Even more of the budget for subs! biggrin.gif
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post #10 of 45 Old 09-09-2013, 10:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrown15 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post

* JTR -- ugh, no. god, no. FUGLY.

LOL....they're not that ugly..lol
I will give you that they definitely aren't for everyone, but they don't look as bad in person. And they are available in some custom veneered options to help pretty them up in someone wants too.

But even with the standard finish they're are already over your budget.

Haha, that's great! Thanks jb, I missed the FUGLY bit!

Shame though... pound for pound, JTR's would slaughter any of the speakers mentioned in this thread so far.

One of my favourites: JTR Single 8HT...


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post #11 of 45 Old 09-09-2013, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post

Haha, that's great! Thanks jb, I missed the FUGLY bit!

Shame though... pound for pound, JTR's would slaughter any of the speakers mentioned in this thread so far.

One of my favourites: JTR Single 8HT...



Agreed, I think most people would just be plain out shocked what JTR speakers are capable of if and when they hear them in person. It doesn't matter if you're listen at 70dB or 125+dB they play crystal at any volume while most other speakers are crying mercy over 110dB.

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post #12 of 45 Old 09-09-2013, 11:35 PM
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I would go for some Pi Fours:

They have terrific on and especially off axis measurements and insane dynamics on the level of JTR or Klipsch Heritage. A nicely veneered pair with upgraded drivers would probably run you about $3k shipped.
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post #13 of 45 Old 09-09-2013, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

I would go for some Pi Fours:

They have terrific on and especially off axis measurements and insane dynamics on the level of JTR or Klipsch Heritage. A nicely veneered pair with upgraded drivers would probably run you about $3k shipped.

Have you heard any of them, or is this simply based off of what you've read about them?

Any time Pi speakers seem to be brought up in the DIY forums they seem to bring up a lot of controversy.

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post #14 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 02:33 AM
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I've only read about them. The measurements are very good though, and they are using some of the best drivers available. There isn't anything controversial about their performance, which is well known to be good. The only thing controversial about them is when they are compared to SEOS, because they are much alike. Those or JBL LSRs would be my first choice at $3k. No way the OP would go for some LSRs though.
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post #15 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 04:38 AM
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+1 on the EMP E55Ti's. I would say they are fairly neutral, the tweeter is a little laid back but Audyssey can adjust that. The mid-bass is the bread and butter and the imaging is impressive.

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post #16 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Just got official confirmation from Audio Insider that the Swan Divas are ...
Quote:
While we may explore another home theater line with Swan early next year, the Divas have been discontinued. ... After thirteen years it's just become time to freshen the brand.

The Swan Divas are (were?) IMHO the nicest looking speakers I've ever seen. Some nice alternatives in this thread!

Ironically (Synchronicity?) someone is selling the Original Swan Diva C3 (center) on Craiglist for a great price. Since it is going to be a be at least a month before I can go visit my brother and pick up "my" Rockets the Diva will make a very nice "backup" speaker. (Why do I get the feeling buying more speakers always starts out with these little innocent "justifications" -- I wouldn't be surprised if I end up with the EMPs as well! I'm very impressed with the looks, specs, and price.)

@Milt99 Checked out the Selah. a) Out-of-budget. b) Didn't like the looks. (Tacky?) Sorry.

@Giegar I'm not sold on dual subs BUT I _definitely_ will be getting a sub! I'm LOVING the SVS cylinder subs aesthetics & performance (specs) . Also looking into DIY "Sonosub". The Rythmik E15HP looks interesting. The JTRs don't "pass" the aesthetics. :-(

@ShadyJ Wasn't impressed with the aesthetics of the Pi speakers. :-/ i.e. the "plain" wood look is TOO "Plain Jane." Really looking for Rosewood + black Speaker Grill Mesh in speakers.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Exciting to see potential alternatives.

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post #17 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 12:34 PM
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I'm on my like 20th set of speakers and have found my holy grail. Try Monitor Audio's GX100 bookshelf speakers. Articulate bass, and incredible staging and imaging. A good discount can be had.
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post #18 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post

@ShadyJ Wasn't impressed with the aesthetics of the Pi speakers. :-/ i.e. the "plain" wood look is TOO "Plain Jane." Really looking for Rosewood + black Speaker Grill Mesh in speakers.

There is both different wood and finish options. You can get Ash, Birch, Maple, Walnut, Figured Walnut, Quilted Bubinga (whatever that is), and Birdseye maple. For the finish you can get polyurethane, lacquer, tung oil, or mirrored lacquer. Of course, these nicer woods and finishes do add to the cost.
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post #19 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 01:30 PM
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Personally I think any of the veneer options for the JTR speakers look nice then the Pi speaker options.

My Gear:

JTR Noesis 228HT (LCR)
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post #20 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVMAN1991 View Post

I'm on my like 20th set of speakers and have found my holy grail. Try Monitor Audio's GX100 bookshelf speakers. Articulate bass, and incredible staging and imaging. A good discount can be had.

You said good discount ? Is it on sale right now or what ? What is the regular price and how much discount is available right now ?
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post #21 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 04:34 PM
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You said good discount ? Is it on sale right now or what ? What is the regular price and how much discount is available right now ?

Retail on the GX100's is $2195. If I had to guess you could probably get 35-40% discount.

My Gear:

JTR Noesis 228HT (LCR)
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post #22 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 04:58 PM
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Your not going to get a 35-40% discount on new monitor audio. No way. Lol.

20% would be good on new.
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post #23 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 05:06 PM
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Your not going to get a 35-40% discount on new monitor audio. No way. Lol.

20% would be good on new.

Like I said, it was a guess. I just based it off of what typical discounts are on Klipsch and Paradigm.

My Gear:

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post #24 of 45 Old 09-10-2013, 06:12 PM
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Well, they're not internet direct, but you could certainly buy them on the internet.

To me, some of the most attractive speakers in your ranger are Monitor Audio Silvers:


They've got an entire line that is beautifully finished.
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post #25 of 45 Old 09-11-2013, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valtyr View Post

Well, they're not internet direct, but you could certainly buy them on the internet.

To me, some of the most attractive speakers in your ranger are Monitor Audio Silvers:


They've got an entire line that is beautifully finished.

Those are sexy! Just missing the speaker grill cloth tongue.gif

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post #26 of 45 Old 09-11-2013, 08:27 AM
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Since he wants smaller monitors, the GX100s would absolutely crush anything silver range. Side by side listening, the GX is 100x smoother and sweeter!
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post #27 of 45 Old 09-11-2013, 08:49 AM
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In the original post he says bookshelf speakers are out. The GX towers are $2200 each. Although I don't doubt for a second that the gold's are a significant improvement over silver, they may not fit the OP's need. Either way, Monitor Audio should be considered.
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post #28 of 45 Old 09-11-2013, 08:51 AM
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What about getting some Triad Silver LCR speakers? They retail for $850ea, and are great speakers.

http://www.triadspeakers.com/products/irslcr.html

Or if to wanted to push your budget a little the Gold LCR's are pretty awesome from what I've read in the Triad thread and some of the reviews floating around. All Triad speakers are custom ordered so you can literally get them in any color too so they have high WAF.

My Gear:

JTR Noesis 228HT (LCR)
Axiom Audio QS8 surrounds
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post #29 of 45 Old 09-11-2013, 08:54 AM
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I'm curious why you ruled out the Salks. I understand you state they're tall and boxy, but they're shorter than the EMPs.
The choices of custom wood is large too, albeit at an extra cost. To me (and this is just an opinion) they are some of the most beautiful speakers out there. Plus, according to the reviews, the sound and craftsmanship is incredible.
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post #30 of 45 Old 09-11-2013, 09:14 AM
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I'm not sure why you ruled out the Salk's either? Tall and boxy, really? Most of the speakers you have listed are nothing but "box speakers" and the Salk's are some of the most beautiful "boxes" you can get.
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