Help me decide on a pair of bookshelf speakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I currently have the Polk Audio TL1 Blackstones in a 5.1 config.  I am getting the PSA XV15 in a few weeks to replace the mediocre sub that came with the TL1s.  I cannot replace the rear speakers due right now (ceiling mounted) and would like to only replace my two fronts.

 

With that said... I was thinking on getting the Polk Monitor 35B as I have seen them on sale for $99.  Any suggestions?

 

I would use these brackets to mount them:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002UV03MW/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

 

I really am not interested in spending $500 per speaker... price is very much the largest consideration here.  The SVS Ultra Bookshelfs are out for that reason!  Sorry I just don't have $1000 to spend on a pair of bookshelf speakers right now.

 

Please help me decide.


Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

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post #2 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 01:58 PM
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It all depends on what you want spend, doesn't it? (lol)

The Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers would be a big improvement in sound quality over the Polks...for $350/pair.

Also the KEF C3 speakers for the same price (the KEF C3 is also front-ported, which is mandatory for wall-mounting ).

The NHT B12D subwoofer outs out perfectly clean sound with none of the huffing and puffing of the XV-15; a much better -sounding sub IMO...and for the same price.

It also comes in a 14" cube with wonderful piano black finish; not the ugly unfinished box of the XV-15. The looks and performance of the XV-15 are crude. It goes a little bit lower, but not nearly as well.
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post #3 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 02:22 PM
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I can't tell from your initial post if you're using a center. If you are then the most important thing is that your front three LCR speakers timbre match. It would not be a good idea to just upgrade the LR front main speakers. (It would sound better for stereo music but worse for HT/surround.)
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post #4 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 02:49 PM
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[quote name="commsysman" url="/t/1517667/help-me-decide-on-a-pair-of-bookshelf-speakers#post_24353858").

The NHT B12D subwoofer outs out perfectly clean sound with none of the huffing and puffing of the XV-15; a much better -sounding sub IMO...and for the same price.

It also comes in a 14" cube with wonderful piano black finish; not the ugly unfinished box of the XV-15. The looks and performance of the XV-15 are crude. It goes a little bit lower, but not nearly as well.[/quote]

Jeeze! Will it never end? While the NHT sub is a nice sub it lacks any significant output below 30hz, making it far from ideal for HT and some types of music.

The XV15 is not known for port chuffing. I've yet to see a report of that happening.

While not beautiful the finish on the XV-15 is nice and functional.

In terms of overall output the XV-15 will walk all over the NHT at ANY frequency and still sound good doing it.

For the OP you really should consider replacing your front three. If going with Polk monitor series get the matching center too. Same as with any other brand speaker. Get all 3.
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post #5 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 03:03 PM
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"Audioholics" says- "CON: port noise with deep bass"

"Sound and Vision" says- "not for people who abhor big ugly boxes"

Guess someone didn't read those reviews....
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post #6 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post

  I am getting the PSA XV15 in a few weeks to replace the mediocre sub that came with the TL1s.  

That is a Smart/Good choice on the sub - some people look at little nit-picking things
and try to make a Big issue out of it. There are a Lot of happy owners with that sub.
So called perfection, will cost more.

I am not a Polk Monitor fan - so that is your call.

Enjoy the adventure.

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post #7 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 05:44 PM
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What is the max budget for the front two or three?
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post #8 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

"Audioholics" says- "CON: port noise with deep bass"

"Sound and Vision" says- "not for people who abhor big ugly boxes"

Guess someone didn't read those reviews....

Port noise happening only during one movie with an extremely difficult track for any sub to play let alone an $800 one. To wit, your NHT sub can't get within one octave of the pulse 16hz server scene, making that scene silent with your system. I guess XV-15 owners could hit the mute button to simulate how it would sound using a NHT sub.

As for looks, that is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

Perhaps if you did a little less regurgitating of said reviews and a little more time actually reading user reviews or listening to said speakers yourself, your posts wouldn't be universally considered driveling nonsense. wink.gif

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post #9 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 07:50 PM
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"For the OP you really should consider replacing your front three. If going with Polk monitor series get the matching center too. Same as with any other brand speaker. Get all 3."

Well where's he getting three speakers for a hundred bucks?
Let him get the two monitors for the front, and when he's ready and he has some more cash, he'll get the center.
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post #10 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

"Audioholics" says- "CON: port noise with deep bass

Guess someone didn't read those reviews....

And someone doesn't read the whole review. Audioholics says "Some compression of the output near vent tuning and a bit of port noise at full output is not unexpected with a single 4” port tasked with coping with a long throw 15” driver. However the flaring helps out a lot and other than with the certain scene in the movie Pulse I never heard any port noise during listening."

Pulse is known for providing an insane <20hz torture tests for subwoofers. Given the XV15 has a maximum long term output average of 108db, it won't reach port noise levels until after the NHT B12D driver has been fried. LOL

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post #11 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Audioholics says "Some compression of the output near vent tuning and a bit of port noise at full output is not unexpected with a single 4” port tasked with coping with a long throw 15” driver.
FWIW a single 4 inch port is not adequate with a 15 inch driver to get all that the driver is capable of delivering. A pair of four inch ports or one six inch would be the usual choice. The reason one would use a single four inch port is to keep the cabinet size down. If that's a greater concern than achieving maximum low frequency output it may be an acceptable trade off. Only the user can say for sure.

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post #12 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
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It's funny how this thread has resulted in a debate on the best single powered subwoofer.  I started a thread awhile back asking advice on a powered subwoofer and after much debate and consideration I decided to go with the XV due to the amount of output it can handle (I have a room over 4k square feet).  

 

Anyhow, I just got this idea of replacing the front LR due to the placement of them (they are basically where the wall meets the ceiling) and considering that it would be relatively easy to use those mounts I posted and facilitate bookshelf speakers there.  The rear LR need to be ceiling mounted... so I'm pretty limited on my speaker selection there unless I find some very heavy duty ceiling mounts.  I do like, however, the look of the Polk Blackstone's, especially the way they look mounted from the ceiling to the rear.  

 

The center channel speaker is right below the TV and the space there is seriously limited.  At this point I would prefer not to replace the center speaker.  If it doesn't make sense than I might as well just keep the whole set Blackstone's.... I just saw that these Polk Monitor's were on sale and thought it would be a good opportunity to try them out or any other bookshelf speakers.  $100 for the speakers and $50 for the mounts seems to me like a screaming deal for an upgrade.  The Blackstone's are very small and I think there low end is 90hz.  


Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

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post #13 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post

The center channel speaker is right below the TV and the space there is seriously limited.  At this point I would prefer not to replace the center speaker.  If it doesn't make sense than I might as well just keep the whole set Blackstone's.... I just saw that these Polk Monitor's were on sale and thought it would be a good opportunity to try them out or any other bookshelf speakers.  $100 for the speakers and $50 for the mounts seems to me like a screaming deal for an upgrade.  The Blackstone's are very small and I think there low end is 90hz.  

The choice is up to you - however, it would be a stretch for the T1 Blackstone to reach -3db at 120 hz

If you are restricting your placements - then you may be better off with the sats you have

Timbre (voice/tone) matching the fronts, would work better.

Your call

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post #14 of 45 Old 02-15-2014, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post


The choice is up to you - however, it would be a stretch for the T1 Blackstone to reach -3db at 120 hz

If you are restricting your placements - then you may be better off with the sats you have

Timbre (voice/tone) matching the fronts, would work better.

Your call

A few things that I am very ignorant and can't seem to find an answer to.  What is -3db at 120hz mean?  

 

Also, what do you mean by "Timbre (voice/tone) matching the fronts...?  

 

I am so clueless when it comes to home audio... getting better the more I visit this site... but still pretty ignorant. 

 

Thanks!


Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

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post #15 of 45 Old 02-15-2014, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post

A few things that I am very ignorant and can't seem to find an answer to.  What is -3db at 120hz mean?
That's where response sensitivity is down 3dB from average, below which sensitivity rapidly falls. In most cases you don't want to cross over lower than that.  
Quote:
Also, what do you mean by "Timbre (voice/tone) matching the fronts...?  
Using speakers that have very close to, if not identical, characteristics. That's best accomplished by using identical speakers.

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post #16 of 45 Old 02-16-2014, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post

A few things that I am very ignorant and can't seem to find an answer to.  What is -3db at 120hz mean?  

Also, what do you mean by "Timbre (voice/tone) matching the fronts...?  

I am so clueless when it comes to home audio... getting better the more I visit this site... but still pretty ignorant. 

Thanks!

This is always fun to hear - whether you know what hertz tones are or not!

http://www.ronelmm.com/tones/
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post #17 of 45 Old 02-16-2014, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post

A few things that I am very ignorant and can't seem to find an answer to.  What is -3db at 120hz mean?  

Also, what do you mean by "Timbre (voice/tone) matching the fronts...?  

From Bluray forum - Timbre
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p=4278584&postcount=3

A Sound glossary
http://www.head-fi.org/a/describing-sound-a-glossary

Most of us prefer bass to be at least -3db at 80 hz > for crossover with a sub

-6 db tends to be the max level preferred/usable

With-out a sub - we want it to be lower than 80 hz -3/-6 db

A frequency chart
http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm

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post #18 of 45 Old 02-16-2014, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok very good info.  I like the frequency reproduction.

 

Does anyone have any other great recommendations with explanations other than the Wharfedale's (of which I like... took a good look at their website they seem to have a lot of very high quality stuff).


Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

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post #19 of 45 Old 02-17-2014, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post

Ok very good info.  I like the frequency reproduction.

Does anyone have any other great recommendations with explanations other than the Wharfedale's (of which I like... took a good look at their website they seem to have a lot of very high quality stuff).
Look at Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE or HTM-200. I user here tried the Wharfedale's head to head with the CBM-170's and choose the CBM-170 SE in terms of sound.

Ascend Acoustics allows you to do an in home trial of their speakers so if you don't like the sound you can return them.

Another company with similar policy of letting you try the speakers in your home (which is the best place to demo speakers) is Home Theater Direct or HTD
You might want to look at their Level TWO Bookshelves or Level THREE if they fit in your room as they are both in your budget and highly regarded by most members here.

Try either the Ascends or HTD's with your new subwoofer and your will be in a different universe compared to the Blackstones from Polk.

As for Polk's You can get a decent deal on Polk RTi4's which are from a higher speaker line than the Monitors on Polk's offical Ebay store. Add a CSi3 or CSi A4 center and you are golden. (I am a Polk fan who has the RTi4's which replaced my Monitor 30's and I noticed a substantial improvement in over all sound reproduction and quality
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post #20 of 45 Old 02-17-2014, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Look at Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE or HTM-200. I user here tried the Wharfedale's head to head with the CBM-170's and choose the CBM-170 SE in terms of sound.

Ascend Acoustics allows you to do an in home trial of their speakers so if you don't like the sound you can return them.

Another company with similar policy of letting you try the speakers in your home (which is the best place to demo speakers) is Home Theater Direct or HTD
You might want to look at their Level TWO Bookshelves or Level THREE if they fit in your room as they are both in your budget and highly regarded by most members here.

Try either the Ascends or HTD's with your new subwoofer and your will be in a different universe compared to the Blackstones from Polk.

As for Polk's You can get a decent deal on Polk RTi4's which are from a higher speaker line than the Monitors on Polk's offical Ebay store. Add a CSi3 or CSi A4 center and you are golden. (I am a Polk fan who has the RTi4's which replaced my Monitor 30's and I noticed a substantial improvement in over all sound reproduction and quality

Thanks I will take a hard look at all those options.  The CSi3 center channel might be small enough to fit in the little space I have available for a center channel.  I like the small size of Polks Bookshelf speakers... it looks like it would be easiest to mount.  


Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

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post #21 of 45 Old 02-26-2014, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone recommend the PSB image B5's for a set?  


Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

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post #22 of 45 Old 03-01-2014, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Just saw this deal that seems almost too good to be true.  They are an authorized online retailer though:

 

http://wiredforless.com/products/nht-classic-two-speakers

 

$199/speaker plus free shipping.  Down from $329.


Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

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post #23 of 45 Old 03-01-2014, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post

Just saw this deal that seems almost too good to be true.  They are an authorized online retailer though:

http://wiredforless.com/products/nht-classic-two-speakers

$199/speaker plus free shipping.  Down from $329.

I think that I would like to know more about that website - I am not sure that I would buy through them

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
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post #24 of 45 Old 03-01-2014, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post

Just saw this deal that seems almost too good to be true.  They are an authorized online retailer though:

http://wiredforless.com/products/nht-classic-two-speakers

$199/speaker plus free shipping.  Down from $329.

Their Ebay reviews look OK.

I'd be more comfortable buying from them through Ebay than through their store. You might check and see if they have the NHTs.

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post #25 of 45 Old 03-01-2014, 10:00 AM
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I would put the MB Quart Alexxa B - on a short list
http://shop.mbquart.com/p/as-b1pb-pair?pp=24

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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 #26 of 45 Old 03-01-2014, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Well after a little bit of contemplation and searching the net, I bit the bullet and ordered four NHT Classic Twos. I ordered them from the site wiredforless for the astounding sale we saw.

I've been unlucky in the past regarding sales (waiting around) and have ended up missing out on a great deal this watching an item get sold out and go on back order in the past.

I'm not certain this site is 100% reputable. I'm leaning on and trusting in the fact NHT has them listed as an authorized online retailer.

After they arrive I'll order the TwoC center channel.

Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

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post #27 of 45 Old 03-01-2014, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post

I'm not certain this site is 100% reputable. I'm leaning on and trusting in the fact NHT has them listed as an authorized online retailer.

After they arrive I'll order the TwoC center channel.

It looks like they are authorized
http://www.nhthifi.com/US-Internet-Retailer

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post #28 of 45 Old 03-01-2014, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

It looks like they are authorized
http://www.nhthifi.com/US-Internet-Retailer

That's good. They are probably OK given that their Ebay approval percentage was the high 99+ percentile range.

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post #29 of 45 Old 03-01-2014, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
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That's what I'm thinking too... anyhow, given that I got such a great deal on them I am super excited... and a little nervous.  

 

I didn't intend to replace my entire set; however, since the NHT's seem like the easiest to mount via the ceiling out of all the 6.5 inch bookshelf speakers, I became infatuated with them over time the past two weeks.  I'll definitely report back as I'll be doing a lot of listening when they arrive.  The day they show up I'll purchase the PSA XV15 (that way I'll have a few days to a week to play around with just the NHT's).

 

Thanks for all your help everyone... went a long way from consider the Polk Monitors to deciding on the NHT's.  


Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

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post #30 of 45 Old 03-01-2014, 10:43 PM
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Come back and let us know how it sounds. Those are great speakers, so you should have fun with them smile.gif

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
HT: Energy RC-50, RC-LCR, Veritas VS Surrounds | Dual CHT SS 18.1s | Denon AVR-888 | Dayton SA1000 | Antimode 8033C
Desktop: CBM-170 SE | SVS SB-1000 | Audio-GD NFB-11 | HK 3390
Headphone & Portable HE-400 | K612 Pro | HP150 | DX50 | E12
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