Putting together a 5.1 system for around $1500 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 02-09-2014, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey all, helping a friend piece together a 5.1 system for an average sized living room. Both from personal experience and reading on this forum I think the best way to go is the following:

Receiver: Newer model basic Denon or Yamaha, ~$250.

Sub: SVS PB12-NSD or Rythmik LV12R or HSU VTF-2 MK4, $699, $599, $529 respectively.

This leaves about $650 for the speakers which shooting from the hip would probably end up being around $300 for a pair of fronts, $200 for a center channel and $150 for a pair of surrounds. I was thinking towers for the fronts, but bookshelves would be alright as well. I don't think it really matters to him. His goal I believe will be weighted toward TV/movies with music being a distant second.

When it comes to speakers, I'm not really sure what to recommend listening to at this price point. From reading on this forum I feel like I've seen a lot of lower end, decent speaker lines like the Pioneer Andrew Jones line (looking for a step up from those, for example) and then there seems to be a pretty steep jump up in price when looking into some of the better brands; I'm sort of looking for recommendations in between.

I appreciate the help everyone.
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post #2 of 37 Old 02-09-2014, 09:22 PM
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I would do 2 pairs of Ascend CBM-170SE ($600 total)
1 CMT-340SE center ($300)
Rythmik LV12R ($600)

You'll be $200 over budget with your low-end receiver, but you will never need to replace those speakers when you upgrade your receiver.
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post #4 of 37 Old 02-09-2014, 09:45 PM
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The Ascends are a great recommendation. Last I looked they still had the thanksgiving sale on their site for 170's front, 340 center, 200's rear for $700 I think.

Another option is HTD Level 2 speakers with the Rythmik.

The lowest Denon you should look at is the 1613 which is now the e300 I believe.

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post #5 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 12:25 AM
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An Hsu Hybrid 2 5.1 package would be a great set. Arx looks like good speakers too.
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post #6 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Mark,

I'm not usually hugely influenced by looks, but those Cambridge speakers are a bit dull - they look like they're about 40 years old. I'm sure they sound good but looks wise I'm not sure I'd get past them.

That HSU package looks interesting... has anyone heard their speakers? I've always thought of them as a subwoofer go-to company but have not heard their other speakers.

Does anyone have opinions on bookshelves verses floor standers for the front L/R? I see both were recommended above. I think the Ascends look pretty good too from the above suggestions. I've always been personally a favorite of speakers with slightly larger drivers (like 6.5") just because they seem to have a bit more depth. Not to say a 5.25", quality speaker can't achieve that however.
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post #7 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrutalBodyShots View Post

Does anyone have opinions on bookshelves verses floor standers for the front L/R? I think the Ascends look pretty good too from the above suggestions. I've always been personally a favorite of speakers with slightly larger drivers (like 6.5") just because they seem to have a bit more depth. Not to say a 5.25", quality speaker can't achieve that however.

You can configure your subwoofer to crossover with your speakers at 80hz, thus eliminating one of the benefits of tower speakers (their lower bass extension), and in fact, might even want to use the same crossover if you have towers that can go much lower because a good sub like you are looking at can often do just as good or better than the towers.

If you had a large room space, there might be tower models within your budget that offer increased dynamics (ability to play louder) over bookshelves. Since you said you have an "average sized living room," better dynamics are likely less important unless you like to listen to your system really loud.

Also, multiple drivers and increased cabinet size do contribute to cost. So the components in a bookshelf of the same price could be higher quality.

One of the nice thing about the Ascends is that you could order just one pair of CBM-170SE and the CMT-340 SE center. See how it sounds. If you then decide you want increased dynamics, you could wait until you could afford a pair of CMT-340 SEs for your front, which would give you dual 6.5" drivers in each speaker, and move the CBM-170 SEs to surround duty.

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post #8 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrutalBodyShots View Post

I'm not usually hugely influenced by looks, but those Cambridge speakers are a bit dull - they look like they're about 40 years old. I'm sure they sound good but looks wise I'm not sure I'd get past them.

Does anyone have opinions on bookshelves verses floor standers for the front L/R? I see both were recommended above. I think the Ascends look pretty good too from the above suggestions. I've always been personally a favorite of speakers with slightly larger drivers (like 6.5") just because they seem to have a bit more depth. Not to say a 5.25", quality speaker can't achieve that however.

The Cambridge do look better in person

I prefer bookshelf with a good sub, over towers

Do not be surprised what a good 5-1/4 driver can do, compared to some larger drivers.
I for one know this.

Enjoy the adventure.

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post #9 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Bookshelves would probably work out just fine then; there's probably no need for towers.

That's a good suggestion about possibly moving the bookshelves to the surrounds down the line, but I have a feeling the person I'm helping out will just want to be one and done with this HT project.


Auceny, what is the difference between the Denon 1513 and 1613?
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post #10 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 09:06 AM
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Heres a good link about the Denon models. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1465528/the-official-2013-denon-e-series-x-series-avr-model-owners-thread-faq The 1613/e300 adds calibration, networking, etc. Not sure if pointed out yet but you can get them refurbished at good prices from accessories4less.

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post #11 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrutalBodyShots View Post

Mark,

I'm not usually hugely influenced by looks, but those Cambridge speakers are a bit dull - they look like they're about 40 years old. I'm sure they sound good but looks wise I'm not sure I'd get past them.

That HSU package looks interesting... has anyone heard their speakers? I've always thought of them as a subwoofer go-to company but have not heard their other speakers.

Does anyone have opinions on bookshelves verses floor standers for the front L/R? I see both were recommended above. I think the Ascends look pretty good too from the above suggestions. I've always been personally a favorite of speakers with slightly larger drivers (like 6.5") just because they seem to have a bit more depth. Not to say a 5.25", quality speaker can't achieve that however.


Do you feel the same way about...

http://www.htd.com/Products/level-two-speakers

http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers
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post #13 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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No, those HTD's both are a lot more visually appealing than the Cambridge ones IMO.
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post #14 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auceny View Post

Heres a good link about the Denon models. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1465528/the-official-2013-denon-e-series-x-series-avr-model-owners-thread-faq The 1613/e300 adds calibration, networking, etc. Not sure if pointed out yet but you can get them refurbished at good prices from accessories4less.

Thanks for the info. Can get the E300 for $244.44 at accessories4less refurb which is a few bucks less than the $249.99 for a brand new 1513. Seems like that's the way to go!
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post #15 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 03:03 PM
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Thanks for the info. Can get the E300 for $244.44 at accessories4less refurb which is a few bucks less than the $249.99 for a brand new 1513. Seems like that's the way to go!

Definitely. Audyssey MultEQ will help to smooth the in room response of your speakers and sub. That make it worthwhile over the 1513 even if you had to pay extra for it smile.gif

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post #16 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone have any recommendations at a price point between that of the Pioneer's / HTD speakers and the Ascends? Looks like about a $200 difference between either of the first two options and the Ascends.
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post #17 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrutalBodyShots View Post

Anyone have any recommendations at a price point between that of the Pioneer's / HTD speakers and the Ascends? Looks like about a $200 difference between either of the first two options and the Ascends.

And you consider the Pioneer better looking than the Cambridge?

I much prefer the Cambridge sound signature, over the Pioneer and HTD

And, I prefer the HTD sound signature over the Pioneer

I can not speak for Ascend - however, the word on them is nice.

There is a new speaker company worth looking into - Wave Crest Audio >>>
The word on them has been nice so far - buy by the pair, or each to complete a package
http://www.wavecrestaudio.com/products/hvl-1-two-way-loudspeaker-pair

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
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post #18 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by BrutalBodyShots View Post

No, those HTD's both are a lot more visually appealing than the Cambridge ones IMO.


Pics of the HTD Level three bookshelf..


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post #19 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 05:45 PM
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Pics of the HTD Level three bookshelf..



I agree. If one likes cherry finish (not my favorite), those would definitely have more sex appeal than the S30s. smile.gif

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post #20 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 05:47 PM
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The HTD cherry is pretty darn good looking. They have black also of course.

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post #21 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

And you consider the Pioneer better looking than the Cambridge?

I much prefer the Cambridge sound signature, over the Pioneer and HTD

And, I prefer the HTD sound signature over the Pioneer

I can not speak for Ascend - however, the word on them is nice.

There is a new speaker company worth looking into - Wave Crest Audio >>>
The word on them has been nice so far - buy by the pair, or each to complete a package
http://www.wavecrestaudio.com/products/hvl-1-two-way-loudspeaker-pair

Yes, I do. The Pioneer speakers aren't great looking or anything; they are completely average looking and look like a million other speakers on the market. The Cambridge ones however look like they belong in a museum to me. Like something my Grandfather would have from decades ago. Of course that's my personal opinion. And sound is what matters most, so if they sound great than I completely understand why someone would go with them.
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post #22 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
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The Cambridge ones however look like they belong in a museum to me. Like something my Grandfather would have from decades ago. Of course that's my personal opinion. And sound is what matters most, so if they sound great than I completely understand why someone would go with them.

Sound-wise, they are one of the most popular speakers around for the price.
And, they have been chosen over some bigger and more expensive, popular
name brand speakers.

However I understand - that for some people looks are important. - there are
options out there for every one.

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post #23 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Just realized that those Cambridge speakers come in black, not just dark oak. In black I don't think they look half as bad as they do in dark oak. Again, personal preference. In black I feel they pass the looks test and are worth of consideration against the others mentioned in this thread smile.gif
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post #24 of 37 Old 02-10-2014, 07:52 PM
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Just realized that those Cambridge speakers come in black, not just dark oak. In black I don't think they look half as bad as they do in dark oak. Again, personal preference. In black I feel they pass the looks test and are worth of consideration against the others mentioned in this thread smile.gif

I posted the oak because the black cost more at the moment, but I should have mentioned it anyway...
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post #25 of 37 Old 02-11-2014, 04:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I got ya. Interesting that the black finished speaker costs more money. Usually black unless it's piano gloss or some fancy finish is the lowest costing option.
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post #26 of 37 Old 02-11-2014, 07:33 AM
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I got ya. Interesting that the black finished speaker costs more money. Usually black unless it's piano gloss or some fancy finish is the lowest costing option.

It may have to do color wise, with the pieces of stock on hand - and wanting to move some inventory

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post #27 of 37 Old 02-11-2014, 08:44 AM
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I did this for my girlfriend's living room about 7 years ago. A Yamaha AVR as you suggest was used and is still in service. The speakers are the Fluance SX-HTB but I used a third tower for center and another pair of surround speakers to make it 7.1 with a JBL subwoofer. The Fluance speakers are still in service as well. We have been very happy with the performance for the price, in my case around $1,000. I do have an M&K sub I purchased used I am going to replace the JBL sub with when I get around to it but the Yamaha RX-V663 and Fluance speakers are staying until they die.
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post #28 of 37 Old 02-11-2014, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
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I got ya. Interesting that the black finished speaker costs more money. Usually black unless it's piano gloss or some fancy finish is the lowest costing option.

Also if you look at the pic the front of the S-series looks to be silver, I think I saw someone post about this.... I dont know for a fact, but someone did post he thought the whole speaker was black but it had silver somewhere on it.
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post #29 of 37 Old 02-11-2014, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Good to hear the positive feedback on the Yamaha receiver. I think the Denon 1613 though at the price of $244.44 is hard to beat. Anyone have any opinions on these receivers head to head?

Interesting regarding the color of those Pinoneer speakers in black... will have to research them a bit more for more pics.

Anyone else have any speaker recommendations in the range of $650 that would include the 5 speakers for a HT setup? Again it could either be bookshelves or towers up front... rears and center channel. Thx!
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post #30 of 37 Old 02-11-2014, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrutalBodyShots View Post

Good to hear the positive feedback on the Yamaha receiver. I think the Denon 1613 though at the price of $244.44 is hard to beat. Anyone have any opinions on these receivers head to head?

Interesting regarding the color of those Pinoneer speakers in black... will have to research them a bit more for more pics.

Anyone else have any speaker recommendations in the range of $650 that would include the 5 speakers for a HT setup? Again it could either be bookshelves or towers up front... rears and center channel. Thx!

I prefer Audyssey which the Denon has versus YPAO which comes on the Yamaha. Other than that, they are pretty similar.

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