L/C/R speakers for under $1k - Open to ID, Vintage, DIY, Used, Tower/Bookshelf, etc - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-07-2013, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

The last couple years I have gone through a smattering of speakers comprising pretty varied TV/Movie setups. Everything from 2.0 to 6.2 setups including a lot of 3 channel setups. The only matching setup I had was a Polk M70/M60/M40/CS2 setup which sounded great but I ended up trading off/selling the 70s, 60s, and 40s.

My current setup which I plan to build off -

HK AVR as preamp connected to Carver 5 channel (80wpc) amp
Polk CS2 center channel
2x 12" Sony 150w RMS powered subs
Constantly rotating cheap towers up front and sats/bookshelf speakers in the rear

My source material is either streamed HD content over Optical, or Blu ray over Coax. Room is a rectangle, with listening position centered on the long wall. Room dimensions are ~22.5' x 14.5' with 8' ceilings. I am open to purchasing speakers from just about anyone, I am OK with new, used, refurbished/b-stock/blemished, Internet Direct, Big box chain, Vintage, Do-It-Yourself, and any type/size/color of floorstander or bookshelf.

Possibilities I've considered:

-Keep the CS2 as center (Possibly upgrade x-over), and re-purchase a set of Monitor 70s refurb/used for ~$3-400. I like the M70/CS2 combo, but I feel that I would like better performance. I certainly do not want a setup that would perform worse than this combo did.

-Purchase a new center for $4-500 and save to eventually purchase the accompanying towers/bookshelves.

-Purchase matching LCR speakers. I like the thought of the front soundstage being seamless. I have looked at the Jamo and Energy LCR offerings and have been very intrigued. Probably looking for ~$2-300 each.

-Purchase 3 bookshelf speakers (using 1 as the center channel) for a total of $500-1000.

TL;DR - Looking to buy a new front 3 or build off Polk CS2 center channel.

Thanks again for any opinions/experiences you're able to offer, let me know if you need any more information

MrGlobe
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-07-2013, 10:28 AM
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The only matching speakers to the Polk CS2 are the Monitor series that you had. The front three need to be timbre matched for a seamless transition, and three identical speakers is even better. That said, I would upgrade all three, as the Polk is holding you back.

You have a lot of good options with $1000 for the front three.

You could get the HTD Level Three Bookshelves and Level Three Center for $500, then use the last of your budget to upgrade your sub to a SVS PB-1000. The difference in bass will be night and day.

Another option is EMP, you could get the E55Ti towers and E56Ci center for ~$1000, but they should be having a black fridays sale soon so I would wait on purchasing from them.

You could look at Ascend, three CMT-340SE would be under budget shipped, and would be an excellent front sound stage.

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post #3 of 7 Old 10-07-2013, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick and informative reply. I am definitely looking to keep the front 3 timbre matched. The last few setups I've used haven't been which at one point would have been sacrilege for me, but surprisingly enough I've had pretty good experiences so far. The current setup is even matching the fabric dome tweeter of the CS2 with the cone tweeters of the rack-system towers up front eek.gif. As for subs, I've got JBL, Jamo and Klipsch 10" powered subs, A couple Sony 12" models, as well as a few passive 12"ers with external amps that I mess around with. The bass hasn't been a concern for me yet as even with the budget subs I'm using now I only turn them up about half way. I'm sure I'm missing out on a handful of low notes, but as of now the sub-upgrade is close to last on my list.

Another option I remembered is a set of Monitor Audio Silver 5i towers I have. I could probably find the matching center for $2-300. I also have a set of PSB 500i's that I was thinking of testing out for HT duty.

HTD, EMPtek, and Ascend have certainly been on my list. I really like the size of the EMPtek E56Ci Center. The HTD Level Three, Aperion Intimus 5C, and HSU HC-1 MK2 all seem pretty similar to my Polk CS2 specs-wise so I'm not sure they would be worth the money to upgrade. The Ascend CMT-340 seems like it would certainly be a step up, and I've read good things about that setup. I have also looked at the NHT Classic Two. Add into all those choices the DIY route, Madissound and Partsexpress both have bookshelf and MTM setups that would work good for L/C/R.

It's good to see what others have chosen in this price bracket, It seems there are hundreds of choices and unfortunately few reliable and in-depth direct comparisons between models.

EDIT: Just wanted to add that the setup is for 80% movies and 20% split between TV and music. Since most of the usage is for movies, I've been mainly concerned with finding a center that is a big upgrade, and then I would purchase the matching L/R
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-07-2013, 11:58 AM
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Something important to keep in mind when center shopping is the driver layout. An Ideal arrangement is WMTMW, with the tweeter above the mids, this helps reduce lobing and is the next best thing to a vertical center. If DIY is an option, you can get a lot more bang for your buck, and I would seriously consider that if you have some tools and are handy.

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post #5 of 7 Old 10-07-2013, 04:53 PM
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Three of the same speakers. Its that simple. Tower or bookshelf.

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post #6 of 7 Old 10-07-2013, 05:32 PM
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There are some great values on the milder side of DIY, I am speaking of kits here. They can be very easy to assemble and offer a greater value than finished speakers. Here are a couple where an L/C/R would come very close to your $1k budget: SEAS Loki coaxial and Dayton RS722. Those are simple projects that don't require a lot of time or fancy tools and are proven good designs. If you can do something a bit more challenging, check out the SEOS kits, if you have the room for them. They can give you an honest to god THX Imax caliber of sound in your room (not including the low bass, you will need some heavy duty subwoofers for that).
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-08-2013, 05:33 AM
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and you need stands, etc. with bookshelf.

Three Klipsch, Polk, Deftech, B&W, JBL, Pioneer, Paradigm, etc tower type speakers will come under a grand.

1- you can return them
2- Made by a company that had long term success
3- Predictable response
4- Polished design
5- Public reviews/
6- Pro Reviews

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