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post #1 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking to venture into the world of hifi audio and would like some advice on speakers for a 2.1 setup. I am planning on using a NAD D 3020 as the integrated amplifier. The system will be 30% music, 30% movies, and 40% tv.

I am looking at spending under $600 for 2 speakers. I am open to bookshelf or tower speakers. Speakers I have been looking at include, EMP E5bi, arx A1b, or Polk monitor 55t.

Do you think these will be a good fit? Are there any other speakers I should take a look at as well?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
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post #2 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 01:04 PM
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You said you wanted a 2.1 system.

Does the $600 include the sub or is that budget separate?

Also, what is your room size?
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post #3 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 01:09 PM
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Although I've not listened to them myself, I've always heard good things about Ascend Acoustics speakers, and they have a number of models that would fit your price range. So you could add them to your list to check out.

I started out with a pair of Legacy Audio Studio speakers and built up from there, but the Studios are above your stated price range.

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post #4 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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The sub budget is separate and I'm thinking about an svs sub. The room is about 2400 cubic feet. I have heard good things about the ascend speakers too.
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post #5 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 02:43 PM
 
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Welcome to AVS KD!

Count another vote for Ascend Acoustics. Their price to performance equation is difficult to beat IMO. The CMT-340 SE's are right on your budget and would be my pick for the dynamic abilities of the twin 6.5" woofers.

SVS make great subs and you wouldn't be disappointed with them. I personally favour Rythmik subs though for their Direct-Servo tech and range of adjustments. A 2.1 system comprising a pair of CMT-340 SE's and a Rythmik LV12R Servo sub works out at just under $1200 shipped and is a good balanced spend between mains and sub.
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post #6 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 03:00 PM
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Go for the Ascends! After much research here and elsewhere, that's what I bought, and always glad I did!
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post #7 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 03:04 PM
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No one can speak for your ears - I would keep the ARX on a short list.

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post #8 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 03:08 PM
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Honestly, the Ascend Acoustics CMT-340SE, Arx A1b, and EMP E5bi are all great options. If you will be listening in a larger room the CMT-340SEs would be a better fit as they will provide higher output. Why not go with an AVR if the majority of your listening (70%) will be movies and tv?

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post #9 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Sounds like I have a couple of good options to try. Definitely want to try the arx's and ascends.

I was planning on going with a stereo amp because my demon avr died and my tv room does not lend itself well to surround sound anyway. There is nowhere to put surround speakers other than the ceiling. So, I think I'm best set with a stereo amp.
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post #10 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 04:30 PM
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You could always do a 3.1 setup.

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post #11 of 23 Old 02-15-2014, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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3.1 is always a possibility. I was thinking that may be future upgrade.
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post #12 of 23 Old 02-16-2014, 02:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdnorberg View Post

Sounds like I have a couple of good options to try. Definitely want to try the arx's and ascends.

I was planning on going with a stereo amp because my demon avr died and my tv room does not lend itself well to surround sound anyway. There is nowhere to put surround speakers other than the ceiling. So, I think I'm best set with a stereo amp.
The question of amplification leads to a point about the Ascends. Something you should weigh up is the comparative sensitivities of the speakers. The Ascend 340 SE's and say the ARX A1b and EMPTek E5Bi (to pick two others) have published sensitivities (anechoic) of 90dB/1W/1m, 86dB/1W/1m and 85dB/1W/1m respectively. The 4dB and 5dB deltas to the Ascends are not trivial. A 4dB gain requires 2.5x power and 5dB gain requires 3.2x power. In other words, to play at any given volume, the ARX's will require 2.5x the power and the EMPTeks will require 3.2x the power that the Ascends do to play at that level.

What does this mean in the real world? Say you wanted to play content quite loud with around 100dBSPL peaks from each speaker at say a 10ft listening position. With an average SPL loss of 3 to 4dB in the average residential room for each doubling of distance, or say 5dBSPL drawdown at 10ft, this would require the speaker to hit 105dBSPL peaks at 1m distance. In theory then, for the Ascends, this calls for 15dB (105 less 90) of gain from the amp or about 32W [dB = 10 * Log (Pout / Pin)]. The ARX's on the other hand would require 19dB gain or about 79W from the amp and the EMPTeks would require 20dB gain or 100W from the amp. Want to turn it up 5dB to "reference", or theoretical 105dB peaks at the listening position? In theory, the Ascends will need 100W, the ARX's 251W and the EMPTeks will need 316W for the peaks.

When you consider those numbers, the Ascend 340 SE's come into their own. For what is considered by many to be very loud levels, amplification required for the Ascends is well within the range of a mid-teir AVR or stereo amp and well within the power handling capabilities of the speaker (25%). Conversely, the ARX and EMPTek theoretically require very powerful amps to reach the same levels. The problem is though, these power levels are well beyond the claimed power handling capabilities of both these speakers. The ARX would likely be screaming for mercy (power compression; runaway heavy distortion) and the EMPTek would probably be mortally wounded by this point.

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Originally Posted by kdnorberg View Post

3.1 is always a possibility. I was thinking that may be future upgrade.
Yes, save it for a future upgrade. In the long run you'll end up with a superior system if you can allocate your current budget to a pair of speakers rather than try to stretch it over 3, 5 or 7 from day one.
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post #13 of 23 Old 02-16-2014, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdnorberg View Post

3.1 is always a possibility. I was thinking that may be future upgrade.

That is one thing to consider (3.1) when making a purchase.

Also, I do not determine my speaker purchase just based on loudness alone > most speakers
will get louder, than the level many care to listen to. > Unless you are an extreme head-banger,
your options are good. How loud something will go does not guarantee, that it will have the all
around better sound. The subwoofer will take some pressure off of the speakers and receiver.

Your option and choice - Enjoy the adventure

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post #14 of 23 Old 02-16-2014, 04:30 AM
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The NAD D3020 seems to be an awesome amp, with some great features, but if spending $500 on an amp leaves you $600 to spend on speakers - you might consider buying a different amp. The money will make a much bigger difference when spent on speakers or sub.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Sherbourn is also from Emotiva - 50 watts per channel - and comes with a remote
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/SHRBNPA250/SHERBOURN-PA-2-50-Stereo-Flex-Amplifier/1.html#!more
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post #15 of 23 Old 02-16-2014, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
 The NAD D3020 seems to be an awesome amp, with some great features, but if spending $500 on an amp leaves you $600 to spend on speakers - you might consider buying a different amp. The money will make a much bigger difference when spent on speakers or sub.
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Sherbourn is also from Emotiva - 50 watts per channel - and comes with a remote
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/SHRBNPA250/SHERBOURN-PA-2-50-Stereo-Flex-Amplifier/1.html#!more

Edited by buzzy_ - Today at 4:36 am

The Searbourn is also an option.  I was also considering the Emotiva min-x, which appears to be an almost identical product.  My concern with these was the lack of digital inputs (I know a DAC would solve this).  Is the lack of digital inputs something I should be concerned with?  I do think my tv has analog outputs.  

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post #16 of 23 Old 02-16-2014, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdnorberg View Post

The Searbourn is also an option.  I was also considering the Emotiva min-x, which appears to be an almost identical product.  My concern with these was the lack of digital inputs (I know a DAC would solve this).  Is the lack of digital inputs something I should be concerned with?  I do think my tv has analog outputs. 
It addition to being an excellent amp, one reason to buy the NAD is for the streaming features. If that's not important, one less reason to go that way.

The impact of digital inputs wouldn't trouble me, especially for TV. It's a bigger issue with laptops and desktop computers, they can have noisy, lousy analog outs.

But, if you have space for a receiver, that may be the way to go.
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post #17 of 23 Old 02-16-2014, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

The NAD D3020 seems to be an awesome amp, with some great features, but if spending $500 on an amp leaves you $600 to spend on speakers - you might consider buying a different amp. The money will make a much bigger difference when spent on speakers or sub.

I agree. Doesn't the NAD D 3020 run about $500? I'd spend less on the electronics and get the Teac A-H01, which can currently be had for about $300. Then put the rest of that difference towards your speakers/sub. The A-H01 has a good reputation with the Bang and Olufsen's ICEpower amp, and it has many of the features of the D 3020. In fact, I suspect that NAD is trying to directly compete with the A-H01.
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post #18 of 23 Old 02-16-2014, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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The 3020 is 500. I think the TEAC may lack the power I would like to get out of the system where the NAD has just enough power.

I understand trying to spend less on the electronics and putting the remainder into the speakers may be the way to go.

With that in mind a integrated amp like the emotiva mini sounds like the best option (I think it will pass the waf test).
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post #19 of 23 Old 02-16-2014, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdnorberg View Post

The 3020 is 500. I think the TEAC may lack the power I would like to get out of the system where the NAD has just enough power.

I don't understand what that means. Both are rated pretty similarly, and given that manufacturers don't exactly follow the same standards with their ratings, it seems unlikely one could know which has more power. Plus, you have to have double the amount of power to achieve 3db more volume output. It takes 10db more volume to achieve a perceived doubling in volumes. So whatever slight difference there might actually be between these two amps is going to be negligible.

In other words, counting watts trying to compare different amps just is not a productive activity unless there are huge differences between them.

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post #20 of 23 Old 02-19-2014, 04:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdnorberg View Post

3.1 is always a possibility. I was thinking that may be future upgrade.

That is one thing to consider (3.1) when making a purchase.

Also, I do not determine my speaker purchase just based on loudness alone > most speakers
will get louder, than the level many care to listen to. > Unless you are an extreme head-banger,
your options are good. How loud something will go does not guarantee, that it will have the all
around better sound. The subwoofer will take some pressure off of the speakers and receiver.

Your option and choice - Enjoy the adventure

Hi @zieglj01, I guess your post is intended as a counterpoint to my post above it.

While I agree in general terms with the points you've made, by way of clarification I'd like to point a few things out. It was not my intention to suggest that the speaker purchase should be based just on loudness capability alone. What I was doing, in the context of the discussion having moved to amplifiers, was to point out by way of examples, the performance gulf between the Ascends and a couple of the other speakers the OP was considering. This was not intended to be at the exclusion of all other considerations in selecting speakers, but another important (IMO) aspect to weigh up. I do agree that a subwoofer will take pressure off the speakers and AVR and thus actual power requirements would be somewhat lower than the theoretical figures I calculated.
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post #21 of 23 Old 02-19-2014, 04:57 AM
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I would spend $500 on a pair of Monitor Audio RX-1s, I believe these are in a tier above the current speakers being suggested. They are currently on closeout because they are being replaced by an updated version, but these are fantastic speakers at a very nice discount. http://www.audioadvisor.com/Monitor-Audio-Silver-RX-1-2-way-Compact-Loudspeakers/productinfo/MRSRX1/

The bigger brother, the RX-2, is $699 and packs a large woofer for better dynamics and SPL.

As for a sub, the PB-1000 is a great starting point, and spending a little more will get you the Rythmik LV12R.

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post #22 of 23 Old 02-19-2014, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post

Hi @zieglj01, I guess your post is intended as a counterpoint to my post above it.

While I agree in general terms with the points you've made, by way of clarification I'd like to point a few things out. It was not my intention to suggest that the speaker purchase should be based just on loudness capability alone. What I was doing, in the context of the discussion having moved to amplifiers, was to point out by way of examples, the performance gulf between the Ascends and a couple of the other speakers the OP was considering. This was not intended to be at the exclusion of all other considerations in selecting speakers, but another important (IMO) aspect to weigh up. I do agree that a subwoofer will take pressure off the speakers and AVR and thus actual power requirements would be somewhat lower than the theoretical figures I calculated.

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post #23 of 23 Old 02-20-2014, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Now I just need to find somewhere to listen to the monitors before I can make a decision. Thanks for the help.
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