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post #1 of 101 Old 09-09-2013, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I'm ready to make a purchase on some home theater speakers. My budget is $1500 for a pair of tower speakers and $600 for center. My use will be 80% movie and 20% music (pop, musicals, classics). I am upgrading from a 5.1 system consisting of (don't laugh) JBL ES80 tower, center, sub, small back speakers and a Pioneer VSX 1022k. The speakers will be installed in my loft which is16'x25'.

I have checked out the B&W 683 at Best Buy and they are nice. But I've read some of the threads here and the people who has them use them mostly for music. I will be using more for movies. So I would like to know what your recommendations are for the best speakers for a home movie theater experience.

Thanks!

Steve

PS I've been told that I can keep my Pioneer receiver regardless of which speakers I choose. Do you agree with that?
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post #2 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh I am using a projector and a 135" screen in the room. So just need the soul of the home theater system: great speakers!
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post #3 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 12:30 AM
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What about surround speakers?

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post #4 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
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The two rear speakers aren't that critical to me. It's the two front, center and sub. I was thinking of just keeping my two little jbl rear speakers. On this matter, I was thinking about keeping my cheapy receiver and JBL sub ES250PBK 12" 400 watt as well unless I've been told that I absolutely must replace them.
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post #5 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 12:51 AM
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It would help if you tell us what speakers you plan to use as surrounds. They are not as important as the front 3 but cannot be overlooked.
You will need a better sub or atleast a second one.

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post #6 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
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When you say surround sound ,do you mean the two back speakers? If so, it's my two little jbl speakers. I don't know their model at the moment but they measure about 4"x3"x3" perhaps. They're very little. I hope you are referring to these. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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post #7 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 01:15 AM
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When you have a 5.1 system, it consists of 2 fronts (primary), 1 center channel, 2 surrounds and a subwoofer (.1).
You are going to need better surround speakers than those little satellites. It would make no sense to get very nice front speakers and have super cheap surround speakers. The JBL ES80s will work well for surround duty and will save you some money. Is there a problem with that?

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post #8 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 01:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Do you mean use my ES80 as my surround speakers instead of the two little satellites speakers? If that's what you mean, yeah! They will be very giant surround but it saves money so sure!
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post #9 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 01:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundmusic View Post

When you say surround sound ,do you mean the two back speakers? If so, it's my two little jbl speakers. I don't know their model at the moment but they measure about 4"x3"x3" perhaps. They're very little. I hope you are referring to these. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

No, surround speakers are ideally placed at 90º to the viewing axis, like this (Ls & Rs):


Surrounds must be activated in a 5.1 system before the two back speakers (Lb & Rb) can be utilised for a 7.1 system. Some individuals place surrounds in a 5.1 system in positions closer to that shown for back speakers in the diagram, but this is not the correct position for movie reproduction.

Just thought I'd duck in show you that Steve. I'll come back later with a couple of B&M and ID speaker recommendations for you as well as some thoughts about your AVR.

Oh... and welcome to the world of AVS!
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post #10 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 01:24 AM
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http://www.hometheater.com/content/bw-683-surround-speaker-system

Something of interest.

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post #11 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundmusic View Post

Do you mean use my ES80 as my surround speakers instead of the two little satellites speakers? If that's what you mean, yeah! They will be very giant surround but it saves money so sure!
Good deal. That should work out well.

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post #12 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 01:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonessssb View Post

It would help if you tell us what speakers you plan to use as surrounds
You should read the whole thread before responding. smile.gif

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post #13 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 05:16 AM
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For home theater, the front three speakers ideally should be identical. This creates the best possible imaging and is what I would recommend. Now, is your screen accoustically transparent? If so, then you can get three speakers and stick them right behind it, otherwise, how much space is between the screen and floor?

I would consider three bookshelves, and then a pair of good subs. If we assume your budget is $2000 and you have surrounds already, spend $1200 on subs, and the rest on three bookshelves for the front sound stage.

I would recommend (3) Ascend CMT-340SE and (2) Rythmik LV12R. This puts your right at around $2000, and will give you an amazing theater experience. Take a look at the Ascend Owner's thread, they make fantasctic speakers and the LV12R is one of the best subs at it's price point. The reason I suggest dual subs is the size of your room (subs need to pressurize the room volume) and dual subs help even out your response and create more consistent bass in the room.
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post #14 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 07:17 AM
 
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^ +1 ^ That is a terrific recommendation! I was going to come back to make B&M and ID recommendations, but I can't top that for a ~$2K movie-centric system. That will be outstanding for both movies and music.

OP Steve: If you had your heart set on towers (or just prefer the look), Ascend also have matching pedestal stands (currently on sale) for the CMT-340SE's that provide the tower look. The recommended surrounds are the CBM-170SE's, which also happen to be on sale (hint).

That only leaves the question of the Pioneer:
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundmusic View Post

PS I've been told that I can keep my Pioneer receiver regardless of which speakers I choose. Do you agree with that?
No I don't, but that doesn't necessarily mean you need to replace it either.

The AVR needs to be able to power your speakers to your desired maximum volume levels without distorting (clipping), overheating, shutting down or otherwise misbehaving. The first aspect of this is being able to provide sufficient drive into the impedance load that the speaker presents. The VSX-1022-K is rated for 6Ω -16Ω speaker loads, so in the case of these Ascend's with a stated 8Ω average impedance, there's no problem.

The second aspect of this is the AVR being able to generate sufficient clean power for the speakers to play at your desired maximum level. This power requirement is dependant on a number of variables including speaker sensitivity, listening distance, room gain and of course, your listening preferences. For example, we know the Ascends sensitivity (90dB/1W/1m), so if you can give us an idea of listening distance, room characteristics and your desired maximum levels (relative dB master volume), we can have a crack at working through it with you.
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post #15 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

For home theater, the front three speakers ideally should be identical. This creates the best possible imaging and is what I would recommend. Now, is your screen accoustically transparent? If so, then you can get three speakers and stick them right behind it, otherwise, how much space is between the screen and floor?

I would consider three bookshelves, and then a pair of good subs. If we assume your budget is $2000 and you have surrounds already, spend $1200 on subs, and the rest on three bookshelves for the front sound stage.

I would recommend (3) Ascend CMT-340SE and (2) Rythmik LV12R. This puts your right at around $2000, and will give you an amazing theater experience. Take a look at the Ascend Owner's thread, they make fantasctic speakers and the LV12R is one of the best subs at it's price point. The reason I suggest dual subs is the size of your room (subs need to pressurize the room volume) and dual subs help even out your response and create more consistent bass in the room.


What do you think if the OP goes for (3) SHO-10's instead of (3) CMT-340SE's ?
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post #16 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 07:45 AM
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Will the JBLs work OK as surrounds with the Ascends?

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post #17 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by deids View Post

What do you think if the OP goes for (3) SHO-10's instead of (3) CMT-340SE's ?

AFAIK those are no longer available.

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post #18 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Bond 007 View Post

Will the JBLs work OK as surrounds with the Ascends?

They will work fine, it is not really necessary to match the surrounds as they only play limited content. If you listen to a lot of multi-channel music, then I might consider Ascend surrounds, but for HT purposes they will do well.

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post #19 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bond 007 View Post

http://www.hometheater.com/content/bw-683-surround-speaker-system

Something of interest.

Yes, these are the speakers that I have been checking out because they are the ones I can personally audition. I wish there were more stores that has lots speakers to audition.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tonessssb View Post

It would help if you tell us what speakers you plan to use as surrounds
From the above discussion, I would probably either use the jbl tower speakers or the little satellite speakers. As mentioned, I am concentrating more on the two front, center and sub. The backs aren't that critical to me at the moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

For home theater, the front three speakers ideally should be identical. This creates the best possible imaging and is what I would recommend. Now, is your screen accoustically transparent? If so, then you can get three speakers and stick them right behind it, otherwise, how much space is between the screen and floor?

I would consider three bookshelves, and then a pair of good subs. If we assume your budget is $2000 and you have surrounds already, spend $1200 on subs, and the rest on three bookshelves for the front sound stage.

I would recommend (3) Ascend CMT-340SE and (2) Rythmik LV12R. This puts your right at around $2000, and will give you an amazing theater experience. Take a look at the Ascend Owner's thread, they make fantasctic speakers and the LV12R is one of the best subs at it's price point. The reason I suggest dual subs is the size of your room (subs need to pressurize the room volume) and dual subs help even out your response and create more consistent bass in the room.

For sure I will keep the front three speakers the same manufacturer for they are the most important. My screen isn't acoustically transparent. However, I am considering bookshelves speakers as well if they provide that powerful theater sound that I want.

I would have about 2 feet clearance between the bottom of the screen and the floor.

Yes I do want to get dual subs either now or eventually but one for sure!
Quote:
Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post

^ +1 ^ That is a terrific recommendation! I was going to come back to make B&M and ID recommendations, but I can't top that for a ~$2K movie-centric system. That will be outstanding for both movies and music.

OP Steve: If you had your heart set on towers (or just prefer the look), Ascend also have matching pedestal stands (currently on sale) for the CMT-340SE's that provide the tower look. The recommended surrounds are the CBM-170SE's, which also happen to be on sale (hint).

That only leaves the question of the Pioneer:
No I don't, but that doesn't necessarily mean you need to replace it either.

The AVR needs to be able to power your speakers to your desired maximum volume levels without distorting (clipping), overheating, shutting down or otherwise misbehaving. The first aspect of this is being able to provide sufficient drive into the impedance load that the speaker presents. The VSX-1022-K is rated for 6Ω -16Ω speaker loads, so in the case of these Ascend's with a stated 8Ω average impedance, there's no problem.

The second aspect of this is the AVR being able to generate sufficient clean power for the speakers to play at your desired maximum level. This power requirement is dependant on a number of variables including speaker sensitivity, listening distance, room gain and of course, your listening preferences. For example, we know the Ascends sensitivity (90dB/1W/1m), so if you can give us an idea of listening distance, room characteristics and your desired maximum levels (relative dB master volume), we can have a crack at working through it with you.

Listening distances: I will be sitting about 14.5' to 15' away from the front speakers for
Room characteristics: not sure what you're looking for here but it's an open, spacious loft/bonus room. 8 feet ceiling. Carpeted flooring. Not acoustically treated to dampen sound.
Desired listening level: I'm at 50-60db desired volume level watching my movies.

Hope that helps.

Also, I've been looking into these speakers.
http://www.svsound.com/speakers/view-all

I'm looking at the bookshelves, center and dual subs PB1000. Their 45 day trial is quite hard to pass up.
It's either these or the B&W 638s and center.

Which do you think is better for a great home theater experience?
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post #20 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundmusic View Post


Yes I do want to get dual subs either now or eventually but one for sure!
Listening distances: I will be sitting about 14.5' to 15' away from the front speakers for
Room characteristics: not sure what you're looking for here but it's an open, spacious loft/bonus room. 8 feet ceiling. Carpeted flooring. Not acoustically treated to dampen sound.
Desired listening level: I'm at 50-60db desired volume level watching my movies.

Hope that helps.

Also, I've been looking into these speakers.
http://www.svsound.com/speakers/view-all

I'm looking at the bookshelves, center and dual subs PB1000. Their 45 day trial is quite hard to pass up.
It's either these or the B&W 638s and center.

Which do you think is better for a great home theater experience?

50-60db is like whispering. I'm thinking you have the hearing of a bat or you're listening louder than that. smile.gif

The SVS speakers got a great review in one of the online magazines, look great and are backed by a great company with a great warranty and guarantee.

It seems listening at near reference levels (really loud) is not a goal of yours so those speakers and your AVR would work very nice.

I'd take the SVS over the B&W, look better, less expensive and the aforementioned perks of dealing with SVS.

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post #21 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 06:44 PM
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I would wager that 50-60 is the volume on the receiver, so moderate volume but nothing near reference levels. This should be attainable with just about any speaker, but I would wager having nicer speakers will let him turn it up more and keep clarity, so take that into consideration.

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post #22 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

The 50-60 volume is on the receiver. It might have been a -50 to -60db. Either one, its quite loud where if I close most of the windows in the house and go outside, I can hear some of the sound coming through the fairly well insulated walls.

I've actually was able to locate some dealers close by that carries the Golden Ear, Paradigm and B&W speakers. Sadly, they don't have the SVS which is sold only direct. I will visit them tomorrow. I hope they have lots of models for me to audition. Will report back!
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post #23 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 09:35 PM
 
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^ The 50 - 60 is the absolute readout on a 0 - 100 scale (usually). It's not decibels. Do you have a setting in the Pio to select a relative volume readout? This will show volume as a negative (-) dB number on the Pio's display. For example, on my AVR a volume of 60 (absolute) equates to -22dB (relative); 70 equates to -12dB etc. Is "60", or its -dB equivalent the loudest volume you listen at? I suspect, like others, that once you get new speakers you will be cranking it up more. wink.gif
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post #24 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Guys, while waiting to audition the speakers tomorrow, I have a question. I spoke with the SVS guys today and they told me that the ultra bookshelves are just as good as the ultra tower and it's half the price. Assuming I can afford the towers which I can, I just have to work a bit harder but it's certainly doable, would you go for the bookshelves over the tower? The reason he steers me towards the bookshelves is because I will be watching mostly movies than listening to music and that the performance is the same as the tower if I have a very good center and a sub or a dual sub with the bookshelves.

Do you agree with their suggestions?
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post #25 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post

^ The 50 - 60 is the absolute readout on a 0 - 100 scale (usually). It's not decibels. Do you have a setting in the Pio to select a relative volume readout? This will show volume as a negative (-) dB number on the Pio's display. For example, on my AVR a volume of 60 (absolute) equates to -22dB (relative); 70 equates to -12dB etc. Is "60", or its -dB equivalent the loudest volume you listen at? I suspect, like others, that once you get new speakers you will be cranking it up more. wink.gif

Yeah I'm sure I'm going to crank it up when I get new speakers. smile.gif

I will check on my Pio tomorrow when I'm in front of it. Will let you know.
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post #26 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone have experience with http://www.hsuresearch.com/?
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post #27 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundmusic View Post

Guys, while waiting to audition the speakers tomorrow, I have a question. I spoke with the SVS guys today and they told me that the ultra bookshelves are just as good as the ultra tower and it's half the price. Assuming I can afford the towers which I can, I just have to work a bit harder but it's certainly doable, would you go for the bookshelves over the tower? The reason he steers me towards the bookshelves is because I will be watching mostly movies than listening to music and that the performance is the same as the tower if I have a very good center and a sub or a dual sub with the bookshelves.

Do you agree with their suggestions?

I asked the designer about bookshelves vs. towers. I can't quote him directly, but he said there are some advantages to the tower as far as integration of all the drivers and the fact that there are (2) 6.5 inch midrange drivers which allows them to be designed a bit different and play with lower distortion and thermal compression (again, I am paraphrasing). But, whether that difference is A) audible and B) worth an extra $1,000 is clearly a matter of personal preference. I own the towers but I use them mostly for music and without a sub. If I had a budget and I watched mostly movies, I would probably get 3 identical bookshelves across the front and spend the extra on either better subs or some good room treatments like bass traps etc. If budget and space was not an issue at all, I might go for 2 towers and a center channel (since you don't have an acoustically transparent screen) and still get the good subs and room treatments..then you could do 2.0 music if you choose to w/o any subs.

I haven't seen any direct comparisons of SVS vs. Ascend.

As far as Hsu, they are quite often recommended for their subs. I heard their speakers only once briefly at an audio show, but they sounded a bit shrill to me. It was only 1 scene from a movie though, so not really much of a sample.

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post #28 of 101 Old 09-10-2013, 10:39 PM
 
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Quote:
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Quote:
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^ The 50 - 60 is the absolute readout on a 0 - 100 scale (usually). It's not decibels. Do you have a setting in the Pio to select a relative volume readout? This will show volume as a negative (-) dB number on the Pio's display. For example, on my AVR a volume of 60 (absolute) equates to -22dB (relative); 70 equates to -12dB etc. Is "60", or its -dB equivalent the loudest volume you listen at? I suspect, like others, that once you get new speakers you will be cranking it up more. wink.gif

Yeah I'm sure I'm going to crank it up when I get new speakers. smile.gif

I will check on my Pio tomorrow when I'm in front of it. Will let you know.

OK great. What I'll do when you let me know is run through something like in this post to give an estimate of your AVR's power needs. The -10dBMV worked on in that post is subjectively more than TWICE AS LOUD as your preferred maximum "60" (-22dB) volume. Your lengthy listening distance of 4.6m is a bit longer than allowed for in that post and will make a marginal difference.

Coincidently, that example is for 90dB/1W/1m sensitivity speakers, which is what the Ascends published measurements show them to be. The measured sensitivity of the speakers from those scallywags at B&W turned out to be only 86dB/1W/1m! rolleyes.gif
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post #29 of 101 Old 09-11-2013, 11:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundmusic View Post

Also, I've been looking into these speakers.
http://www.svsound.com/speakers/view-all

I'm looking at the bookshelves, center and dual subs PB1000. Their 45 day trial is quite hard to pass up.
It's either these or the B&W 638s and center.

Which do you think is better for a great home theater experience?

I reckon, for a great home theatre experience the Ascend/Rythmik package recommended by Transmaniacon is superior to both of those options. Clearly better than the B&W's but a close call with the SVS bookshelf option. The Ascends measure superbly on-axis (and very good off-axis) and importantly will give your AVR 3dB (half power) of headroom in comparison to the others at the same volume level, therefore providing the potential for a more dynamic movie experience. The Rythmik LV12R is a step up in performance over the SVS PB1000. (The Rythmik's natural rival is the PB12-NSD, I believe.)

If you can afford to step up to the SVS towers, clearly that system would best the Ascends, and so you would expect at almost twice the price.* I also give points to SVS's centre channel implementation with the dedicated 4" midrange to address the issue of off-axis lobing common in horizontal MTM centres. They also look stunning, but the high gloss finish could create distracting reflections in a darkened room.

* And to be fair, probably should be compared to the Ascend Sierra Towers and Sierra Horizon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundmusic View Post

Guys, while waiting to audition the speakers tomorrow, I have a question. I spoke with the SVS guys today and they told me that the ultra bookshelves are just as good as the ultra tower and it's half the price. Assuming I can afford the towers which I can, I just have to work a bit harder but it's certainly doable, would you go for the bookshelves over the tower? The reason he steers me towards the bookshelves is because I will be watching mostly movies than listening to music and that the performance is the same as the tower if I have a very good center and a sub or a dual sub with the bookshelves.

Do you agree with their suggestions?

I asked the designer about bookshelves vs. towers. I can't quote him directly, but he said there are some advantages to the tower as far as integration of all the drivers and the fact that there are (2) 6.5 inch midrange drivers which allows them to be designed a bit different and play with lower distortion and thermal compression (again, I am paraphrasing). But, whether that difference is A) audible and B) worth an extra $1,000 is clearly a matter of personal preference. I own the towers but I use them mostly for music and without a sub. If I had a budget and I watched mostly movies, I would probably get 3 identical bookshelves across the front and spend the extra on either better subs or some good room treatments like bass traps etc. If budget and space was not an issue at all, I might go for 2 towers and a center channel (since you don't have an acoustically transparent screen) and still get the good subs and room treatments..then you could do 2.0 music if you choose to w/o any subs.

+1. Just to add to that for the OP... I'd bet the main difference will be the tower's composure at higher output levels due to the extra drivers (1 mid, 2 woofers) to handle frequencies below tweeter crossover. At casual listening or sedate levels (with subs engaged) there would likely be little to distingish between the towers and bookshelves. As the output level rises however, the towers would maintain their composure and sound strong and clean due to their superior power handling, while the bookshelves would begin to sound strained and somewhat congested. This will be the same regardless of whether the content is movies or music - it may just be more noticeable on music. The other aspects to keep in mind are: firstly, that movies contain plenty of music and it's some of the best sounding, best produced music you'll hear these days; and secondly, you may find (as I and many others have) that once you upgrade your speakers and subs, you find the balance of your AV time tips more towards stereo and multi-channel music, such as concert Blu-rays.

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Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

I haven't seen any direct comparisons of SVS vs. Ascend.

Among others, the SVS Ultra Towers and Ascend Sierra Towers (with RAAL ribbon upgrade) where run "full range" and directly compared at the NE Spring Speaker Shootout. Here is the results thread.
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post #30 of 101 Old 09-12-2013, 03:47 AM
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@GIEGAR what do you think about NHT Absolute Zero or PSB's for the OP ? I have heard they sound great.
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