Best 3.0 / 3.1 Movie & Music Bookshelf Speakers under $700 - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 48 Old 02-04-2014, 05:07 PM
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I would also recommend the Hsu setup here. Also, I'm not a big Klipsch fan, but with your hearing issues you might appreciate the horn tweeters that are too bright for some people.
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post #32 of 48 Old 02-04-2014, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

If going that route - in the future, all you need is another SM 45 for $199
true

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post #33 of 48 Old 02-05-2014, 08:52 AM
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With your layout and requirements, I’d lean towards 2.1.

A decent pair of bookshelf speakers should anchor dialog to the screen just fine, given that they are only going to be less than 5 ft apart. You could always add a matching center later, if you felt it was needed.

Your stand height does not appear to be tall enough to get the tweeters close to ear height when you’re seated. That could be a concern for hearing dialog clearly. You could improvise some short stands or tilt the speakers back to help with this.

Some 2.1 options in your price range (many already mentioned):

Sub:
SVS PB-1000 ($500)
Hsu STF-2 ($329)

Bookshelf:
HTD Level 3 ($300/pr)
HTD Level 2 ($200/pr)
ARX A1b ($300/pr)
Hsu HB1 ($320/pr)
Ascend CBM-170 ($300/pr)

Mounting speakers or installing in-walls to the left and right of the TV are also some options to consider.

I know you said “no towers”, but looking at your layout, a pair of slim towers could look pretty nice flanking your stand, perhaps better than 2 or 3 speakers on the stand plus a subwoofer on the floor. The towers would get the tweeters to the proper height and could provide adequate bass, without the need for a sub. Just something to consider.
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post #34 of 48 Old 02-05-2014, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Ziegl,
A nicer sub than a dayton or bic, and move up to a Hsu STF-2

Adam,
I guess i could entertain floor speakers, if they really would give enough bass for movie watching.

Main reason i didnt want floors was the size and my wife not liking them in the decor, but I suppose i should be open minded.

My couch is a modern low sitting couch. Ill go home tonight and measure where my ears are when im sitting down, and let ya know.

What towers would you suggest looking into?
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post #35 of 48 Old 02-05-2014, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by laanguiano View Post

Ziegl,
A nicer sub than a dayton or bic, and move up to a Hsu STF-2

A good option

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
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post #36 of 48 Old 02-05-2014, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laanguiano View Post

Adam,
I guess i could entertain floor speakers, if they really would give enough bass for movie watching.

Main reason i didnt want floors was the size and my wife not liking them in the decor, but I suppose i should be open minded.

My couch is a modern low sitting couch. Ill go home tonight and measure where my ears are when im sitting down, and let ya know.

What towers would you suggest looking into?
A good sub like the SVS or Hsu is going to provide more bass impact and depth than the towers below - no doubt. "Enough" bass is subjective though. And there are plenty of folks that would say that they don't feel they have enough bass with thousands invested in their subs. smile.gif

If deep bass for movies is a high priority, I'd say go for the 2.1 or 3.1 system. If you find that putting speakers on the TV stand is going to put the tweeters too low, an option could be to put them on speakers stands flanking the TV stand, or get towers and add a sub down the road.

Nonetheless, here are a few towers in the $400-800 range.

HTD Level 2
HTD Level 3
ARX A5
EMP E55Ti
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post #37 of 48 Old 02-05-2014, 06:20 PM
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My friend went through a similar process. I have a higher end system that he admired. Through our research, he went with the ARX A1b for the L and R, the ARX A2RX Center and a HSU STF-1 subwoofer.

I auditioned his system last weekend. When I got there, he was smiling ear to ear. Now I know why. This 3.1 sounded awesome, and the ARX are famous for needing fairly significant break in time.

Dollar for dollar the best that I have heard, and I have heard many. When I re-do the man/kid cave, I will be investing in a similar set up. Inexpensive, detailed similar to anything that I have heard at 2-3x the cost.

Good luck!
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post #38 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I figured I should give a followup on my trip to HTD in Plano.

I forgot to make an appointment for a demo, oops, but Mike Smoot heard the door chime and came to greet my friend and I. I told him what I was looking for and how I heard of them online. He proceeded to show me the products and differences, then had my friend and I sit down as we embarced upon a 1hr+ demo much to our delight.

I went in ready to hear the Level 2 Bookshelf, Level 2 Towers, and Level 3 Bookshelves. Since they were in my price range. Also heard the matching centers, 2 of their subs, and 2 of their inwall speakers.

First for no nonsense, non audiophile conclusion.
Level 2' Bookshelves sounded well until he turned on the Level 3 Bookshelves. Huge difference. For 100 bucks, its a no brainer. More detail, full soundstage, opened up the whole audio experience.
I then said, okay no more level 2 bookshelves, and started comparing to Level 2 towers. Now this was a close race. The level 3's won slightly with more crispness in the highrange due to the ribbon tweeters, but the Level 2's won with the warm midrange, and overall I think more accurate sound and lifelike sound on both movies and music. The Level 3's in a few scenes in U-571 when they are in the engine room, and all the bells and whistles, and metal were moving, it was slightly too much for me. But to others they may not think so. Also my room is already very harsh with hardwoods, tile, and no carpet anywhere, I think the Level 2's are better for me.

Mike played some Eagles Music & U-571 Blueray. He replayed scenes over and over for us, switching speakers back and forth during the audio, with and without subwoofer... too any normal person their patience would be done, but Mike Smoot was great. HTD has a super employee.

Only bummer of the trip was HTD is out of stock right now, so I left empty. They will be back in stock in a week.

Also made a trip to best buy. Loved the Definitve Tech 55 & 65, the 45's reminded me of the Level 2 Bookshelves. Good sound, untill I turned on the 55's.

Mike did say they are doing away with some of the Red Wood Finish, said it wasnt in high demand. Bummer, cause i saw it in person and it was beautiful.

So now im waiting, and thats making me research more, which is bad. I'm wondering now if I should get the JBL 530x2 and JBL 520; or the arx A2RX Center and either a pair of A1b or A3rx towers.

I dunno... maybe im thinking too much. But I did want to report on how great HTD Service was, and my initial impressions from my speaker experience.
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post #39 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 12:18 PM
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Nice write-up, enjoy the adventure.

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #40 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by laanguiano View Post

I listened to the Andrew Jones at best buy and they sounded good, but the instore ones didnt have the treble clarity i was looking for, they did sound very warm.  Could of been the demo or enviroment though.
You might tale a look at the Philharmonic AAL. It is a mod of the Pioneer speakers that essentially fixes and improves what you complained about. Other speakers worth looking into are Arx and Ascends. I would also look into some JBL Studio 500s, specifically the 530.
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post #41 of 48 Old 02-23-2014, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laanguiano View Post


Only bummer of the trip was HTD is out of stock right now, so I left empty. They will be back in stock in a week.

What speakers were out of stock? I see all the Level Twos in stock in black. I thought once they ran out of inventory with the dark cherry that finish is history?

I agree HTD has great CS.
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post #42 of 48 Old 02-23-2014, 10:47 PM
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Ascend CBM-170 x 2 and CMT-340 center ($600 total)
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post #43 of 48 Old 02-24-2014, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mark62 View Post

What speakers were out of stock? I see all the Level Twos in stock in black. I thought once they ran out of inventory with the dark cherry that finish is history?

I agree HTD has great CS.

Level 2 towers.

It says in stock until you select the color then it says preorder
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post #44 of 48 Old 02-24-2014, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by laanguiano View Post

Level 2 towers.

It says in stock until you select the color then it says preorder

Oh I see!
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post #45 of 48 Old 02-24-2014, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Chevypower View Post

Ascend CBM-170 x 2 and CMT-340 center ($600 total)

 

+1. You cannot go wrong with this option. You'll end up with a pair of bookshelf speakers you'll be happy to keep for life, whether in a home theater or home stereo set up. It sounds like you've heard some other good options, none of which I would disparage, but these CBM 170s are terrific. They are among the flattest, most neutral speakers you can find at any price, with a good soundstange and a sonic quality that will not get fatiguing. They are maybe not as nice looking as some of your other options, only downside. Two other thoughts from experience setting up small systems:

 

a) Yes, go for center channel over phantom center. A phantom works fine, and a lot of people enjoy it, but the improvement on dialogue is pretty substantial with a dedicated center. Most of what you view these days is engineered for a center.

 

b) Place the stereo pair as far apart horizonally as you can get them in that room. Putting them on the piece of furniture (which will mean all the speakers are less than 5' feet apart) is a waste of a good speaker. You wouldn't buy a Ferrari just to drive your kids four blocks through a school zone, would you? So don't buy a great speaker and push it against the wall all bunched up with its buddies.Ideally, since you sit 12 feet from the screen, you want these speakers about 10 feet from each other tweeter to tweeter - which may be impossible based on your wall dimensions. But you can get them further apart than 5 feet for sure! And you can always experiment with getting the couch closer, which may give you better visuals too and will make the ideal horizontal separation closer to the possibilities in the room.

 

c) Finally, whatever you buy, factor in how far it should be from the wall. Most of the speakers you've mentioned should ideally be out from the wall a bit on a stand. If you can't do this, either on stands or with floorstanders, you might just reconsider conventional bookshelves here and pursue another option, like a Gallo Diva spherical speaker, which is designed to be placed on the wall. Many people swear by their round Gallos. I've never heard them so can't say, but my point is there are some good speakers designed to be placed on a wall or closer to a wall, as opposed to conventional bookshelves which ideally have the tweeter 18-24 inches from the back wall. You might absolutely love the sound from something like the Gallos, and your wife might love the look. It seems better than taking a speaker that needs breathing room and smushing it against the wall. I suggest this not to be a PITA but just from experience. It's no fun seeing a $400+ set of bookshelf speakers and thinking, "I wish they were further out in the room where they'd sound better." So plan on optimal placement - or consider an option you can place optimally.

 

Just some thoughts - and your room looks great, so I can see why your wife has her biases.

 

Of course, a nice pair of floorstanders or monitors on stands would only make it look even nicer!


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post #46 of 48 Old 02-24-2014, 09:25 AM
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Hsu bookshelf speakers tend to suffer less from being placed close to a wall due to the horn design, and do not suffer from the brightness associated with klipsch horns.


AVR:       Yamaha RXV-375

Display:  Panasonic  TH-50PC77U

LCR:       Hsu HB1.2  HC1.2

Sub:       (2) PSA XV15se

Blu Ray:  Sony BDP-S5100

Apple TV

Harmony 650

miniDSP

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post #47 of 48 Old 02-24-2014, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
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Hsu bookshelf speakers tend to suffer less from being placed close to a wall due to the horn design, and do not suffer from the brightness associated with klipsch horns.
Since the horn only operates in the highs it will have no bearing on how the speaker sounds with regard to the wall. Where that's concerned the main problem is Allison Effect, which is the reflection of the wave off the wall behind the speaker meeting the original wave 180 degrees out of phase, causing a response null. That occurs when the speaker baffle is 1/4 wavelength from the wall. The cure is placement, but that's difficult, as 1/4 wavelength at 80Hz is 3.5 feet, so to have no cancellation above 80Hz the speaker would have to be more than 3.5 feet out from the wall. In general if you can't have the speaker far away from the wall then you want it as close as possible, placing the null where it will be less noticeable. A baffle to wall distance of one foot will raise the null frequency to 280Hz, which is much less obvious than an octave or more lower than that.

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post #48 of 48 Old 02-24-2014, 10:03 AM
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HTD Level 3, Ascend 170's/340, JBL 530's - all very good speakers at their respective price points. IMHO you'd likely be happy with any of them wink.gif
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