Need help over the finish line: EMP Impression vs. Focal Chorus vs. HTD Level Three (5.1 setups) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-07-2014, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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After a fair bit of research, I'm stuck and hoping a few opinions might help push me to a decision.

I'm setting up a 5.1 system with a Denon AVR-X1000. Will be in a 12x15' living room, opening onto a galley kitchen and foyer (13' ceilings, hardwood floors).

Use is mostly TV/Bluray, fair bit of music, some video games.

I've narrowed it to three options (sub TBD - suggestions welcome):

- EMP E55Ti towers
- EMP E56Ci center
- EMP E5bi bookshelf
- Total: ~$1200 shipped

OR

- Focal Chorus 716V/717V towers
- Focal Chorus CC700/701 center
- Focal Chorus 705V bookshelf
- Total: ~$1500 shipped

OR

- HTD Level Three towers
- HTD Level Three center
- HTD Level Three bookshelf
- Total: ~$1200 shipped

I appreciate that these options are likely placed comparably enough to come down to subjective preference, but any guidance would be very much appreciated.
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-07-2014, 08:18 AM
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This is a very tough call, honestly you would need to hear all of them to make a decision. Maybe order a pair of bookshelves from each and audition them. From what I have read, the HTD L3 and EMPs are very similar sounding, and I have seen several people find the Focals a little bright. Regardless of which one you choose, you will have a great sounding system.

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post #3 of 10 Old 02-07-2014, 08:55 AM
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The Focal do not sound harsh/edgy to me, and I like their tweeter > and for some speakers - the complaints
about speakers can be due to having ear problems, as some people do not have perfect vision. > Also, room
set-up ( floor, walls, furniture) and speaker placement, can play a part.

The idea about testing bookshelves is a good one - Also, your room can handle some bookshelves with a nice
subwoofer.

My recommendation for towers, will take you over budget.

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-07-2014, 09:30 AM
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Here's a hint. Both EMP and HTD are manufacturer (or rather importer) direct. That means you get way more value for the money.
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-07-2014, 10:12 AM
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There's quite a bit of auditioning info over at HomeTheaterShack on the HTD's and Focal's.....some of it from the same person/same room. Obviously your room, ears, preferences, etc are different but that's the best you're going to do without ordering each yourself.

I agree in that what I've read seems to suggest the HTD's and EMP's have a somewhat similar sound signature. I can't help think that SOMETHING is coming down to the EMP's from RBH and to the Focal's from their upper lines. Not to say they're better than the HTD's, but just a thought. Doesn't really mean much honestly. In the $1,000 shootout over there they had the Focals and a few thoughts about them. Seems they're good, but possibly a little edgy to most. There's someone that has that EMP setup and has had the Focals also and prefers the EMP's. Again, doesn't mean much given all the factors.

Good luck lol. Choosing speakers is a PITA for most

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post #6 of 10 Old 02-07-2014, 10:19 AM
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I never put all my eggs in one basket - regardless of who or where the review comes from.
No one can guarantee you anything, and that goes for both the ID and the Retail side.

No one can speak for your ears and personality - everything is subjective.

For me, I prefer the Focal sound signature over HTD - however, find a way to audition, and
see what is best, and fits for your needs/requirements.

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Who and Where - is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-10-2014, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for your help. Would've loved to audition for myself, but would have been difficult to manage.

I've decided to go with the EMP set-up, and an Outlaw M8 sub (apartment compromise). The Focals seemed interesting, but I'd rather apply the extra ~$300 elsewhere. And given the general consensus that EMP and HTD have a similar sound signature and value, I'd be lying if I said it didn't come down to aesthetics (which, for me, was no competition between the two). Thanks again.
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-10-2014, 08:48 AM
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Have fun and enjoy

__________________________________________
Who and Where - is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-10-2014, 10:04 AM
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I have only heard the EMP's and the HTD Level Three. The EMP's have more bass emphasis which you may like for movies/television, but that is less noticeable with a decent sub. The HTD has clearer dialog and a smooth but forward treble.

I agree that you are better off testing all three bookshelves and keeping the line that you like. HTD and EMP have 30 day trials. HTD offers free return shipping for bookshelves ( first order only) making it a truly risk-free trial.
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

My recommendation for towers, will take you over budget.

Out of curiosity, what would be your recommendation for towers?
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-10-2014, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

Out of curiosity, what would be your recommendation for towers?

JBL Studio 580 or 590

__________________________________________
Who and Where - is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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