The usual question - What would you experts recommend given the following? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 04-12-2014, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Trying to level up my system, have been reading best of lists / reviews / threads endlessly but would appreciate some suggestions from the wise bunch here.

Budget: $3000 CAD all in for 5.1 speakers + receiver. Not averse to ID but impulse would like immediate gratification.

Room Characteristics: HT area is about 13 feet by 13 feet x 10 foot ceilings in 800 sqft condo/apartment with carpeted floors. Top floor / corner unit, but am somewhat conscious of disturbing neighbours with a system overpowered for the space - typically run at 33% volume using my current system.

Goals:Does this even matter at all in making recommendations or is this "I love free beer" kind of data? I'd like an absolutely superlative audio experience that makes me smile every time I listen and want to listen endlessly. Audio words I like are warm/rich/musical/smooth, expansive soundstage, detail & clarity that shows you new things but is not clinical / fatiguing / exposing flaws (do not like overly brightness at all), layers / depth to sound that encourages the same exploration, a visceral wow physical experience (i.e. not an in the head type experience with headphones).

Sources: Computer based/all digital (FLAC / V0 MP3), likely 70/30% split between music and movies in terms of time spent. I like to play music in x2 stereo doubled up between the front and back speakers. I think I would like matching bookshelves in the fronts and backs to keep a similar experience and balance.

Additional comments:
  • Current Setup: Right now my 5.1 speaker system is a Logitech Z-5500 - once you're done laughing, it has done the job for the years / space I've had it in and I never remarked to myself that the experience is disappointing for movies / music. But, haven't heard better in my place.
  • Bookshelves: I like what I have read about Paradigm's Atoms, before that PSB's Image bookshelves, but don't know if there is something else out that that will fit the above bill even better. Before that was looking at the NHT system recommended by the Wirecutter.
  • Subwoofer: Initially I was matching whatever sub rated well in reviews from either Paradigm (DSP-3200) or PSB (Sub Series 200) but I see a lot of love here for SVS, HSU, Rythmik etc. so am second guessing this approach.
  • Receiver: Trolling the best of lists I saw the Sony DNR1040 on a number of them, then opened up to the Yamaha A730 after visiting a local hifi shop and reading Sound & Vision's review. See love for Denon here but also wondering if I'm missing out on something better than these options.
  • Center: Think I want a proper center instead of a 5th identical bookshelf as currently I drive my center louder during movies to hear dialogue better.

    Headphones as references:
  • Jays Q-Jays IEMS are an example of an audio experience I really enjoy - detailed and always shows me something new about music I already know without being fatiguing, warm/smooth/musical presentation. I even geeked out and sent the fellow product manager responsible for these a love letter saying how great a job they did with this
  • Grado SR-80s: Really enjoyed the open soundstage of these but the high end brightness wore me out so I gave these away
  • Beyerdynamic DT-770 off a custom headphone amp: At the time I bought these 12 years ago, thought I wanted a headphone experience similar to my computer speakers and a slightly darker presentation. But I find these fatiguing to listen to in the bass impact and not all that engaging.
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post #2 of 29 Old 04-12-2014, 07:25 PM
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This may be helpful. It is a current/active thread for a guy who wants to set up an entire system with a $3k budget

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1526729/best-speaker-system-for-under-3k


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post #3 of 29 Old 04-12-2014, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you. I was looking through that thread earlier - it is interesting how you and several others suggest using the budget to max out a 2.1 etc. system first and then upgrade to 5.1 later. I can see the logic as you're getting more speaker for a given spend, but OTOH this is also basically expanding budget / deferring some expenditure and completeness until later.

How do you like your Pioneer and SVS combo? That Pioneer package seems pretty interesting with all the superlative praise in reviews for bang / buck.
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post #4 of 29 Old 04-13-2014, 05:27 AM
 
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Speakers: PSB and Paradigm both make great speakers. Speakers are personal preference but I don't think you can go wrong with either.

Sub: The internet companies give great boom for the buck but aren't always as clean sounding IME. I liked the Paradigm with PBK because it helped me find the best location for my sub and seating as well as EQ the sub. Many of the EQs in receivers don't show you the graphs to let you find the best position before you EQ. This made a huge difference to me. I didn't try the DSP3200 but the internet subs have more output. And if you like to play loud that may be the better choice.

Receiver: I like Anthem which their ARC which also lets you see the graphs so you can get positioning of speakers, subs and seating but I wouldn't spend that much with your budget. I'd spend less on the receiver and upgrade the speakers or sub. Go to the mini monitors over the Atoms or the next level of PSB, maybe a bigger sub. but you probably don't need that big of a sub for your room size. The Yamaha would be fine if you go with a sub that has PBK as the Yamaha does not EQ the sub except on their higher models. If you go with an internet sub than go with a receiver that does a decent job of EQing the sub likes the the Denon X-1000.
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post #5 of 29 Old 04-13-2014, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haloeight View Post

Thank you. I was looking through that thread earlier - it is interesting how you and several others suggest using the budget to max out a 2.1 etc. system first and then upgrade to 5.1 later. I can see the logic as you're getting more speaker for a given spend, but OTOH this is also basically expanding budget / deferring some expenditure and completeness until later.

How do you like your Pioneer and SVS combo? That Pioneer package seems pretty interesting with all the superlative praise in reviews for bang / buck.

Yes, it is essentially a budget expansion by simply deferring expenses to later. Many people's experiences indicate that that is what will happen naturally, though, and planning for it to go that way is more efficient than having to start replacing what you bought.

 

I am very happy with the Pioneer speakers. I don't have much to compare to, I came from using either built in TV speakers or a mix-and-match of cheap leftover HTiB level junk+ Polk PSW-10 for the past 5 years, and the Pioneers are a huge upgrade. The SVS sub is of course spectacular. Again I don't have much to compare to, but it kicks the crap out of the BIC F12 I used for all of two weeks before jumping to the SVS.

 

You'll have to decide if you would coast along with a full budget setup...or get upgrade-itis (and if you get upgrade-itis, if you can afford it...if in doubt, don't come to AVS any more after you get your new gear)

 

 I thought I was going to coast along with my 5 year old Sony AVR, the Pioneer speakers as 3.0, and my old Polk PSW10. Then I upgraded the sub to a BIC F12. Annnd then I upgraded my AVR to the Denon X1000. Annnnnnd then I sold a rifle I never shoot and used the money to upgrade the sub to the SVS PB-2000. 

 

And now I am fully intending to, by the end of summer, replace my front three speakers (with Polk RTi12 and CSi5, probably, which is $1,075 for the three) while also acquiring a second PB-2000. 

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post #6 of 29 Old 04-13-2014, 06:15 AM
 
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If you get bitten by the bug of this hobby I have some great references you will need. They are the Wall Street Journal, Money and Forbes magazine:) Try to stay within your budget and never come to this forum again if you want to keep your sanity:D

I can't count the number of different pieces of equipment I tested and the money spent and lost. Most would be happy with any decent system. You have a reasonable budget and can get something decent for it. The thing is determine what is important to you and find a system that meets your needs. Everybody has different requirements. A friend is a musician and he almost always listens to his speakers very loud. I value sound quality over loudness and most systems play plenty loud for me. We both have systems that meet our needs. If you are not an enthusiast get a decent system and don't look back. If you are enthusiast you'll probably get upgrate-itis and be like the rest of us.
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post #7 of 29 Old 04-14-2014, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks gents for your feedback and advice. I appreciate it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttlnb View Post

Speakers: PSB and Paradigm both make great speakers. Speakers are personal preference but I don't think you can go wrong with either.

I think this statement is becoming more apparent - as an inherent product geek / maximizer I could spend the rest of my life reading about great options when in reality there are lots that would satisfy instead of there being just one. That said I have been reading more about the Ascend Sierras and also considering the Pioneer bookshelves at the other end of the cost spectrum.
Quote:
Sub: The internet companies give great boom for the buck but aren't always as clean sounding IME. I liked the Paradigm with PBK because it helped me find the best location for my sub and seating as well as EQ the sub. Many of the EQs in receivers don't show you the graphs to let you find the best position before you EQ. This made a huge difference to me. I didn't try the DSP3200 but the internet subs have more output. And if you like to play loud that may be the better choice.

Thanks, this is very helpful re: the in room EQ - I wasn't sure if this would be a big deal so it's good to hear direct feedback. Interesting comment about the clean sounding bit - I thought reading about Rythmik / HSU / SVS that they are more musical / cleaner output than the same money put towards a retail brand.
Quote:
Receiver: I like Anthem which their ARC which also lets you see the graphs so you can get positioning of speakers, subs and seating but I wouldn't spend that much with your budget. I'd spend less on the receiver and upgrade the speakers or sub. Go to the mini monitors over the Atoms or the next level of PSB, maybe a bigger sub. but you probably don't need that big of a sub for your room size. The Yamaha would be fine if you go with a sub that has PBK as the Yamaha does not EQ the sub except on their higher models. If you go with an internet sub than go with a receiver that does a decent job of EQing the sub likes the the Denon X-1000.

Also very useful input - have been second guessing the fact that in some configs 4 x Atoms would be less than 1/3 the desired budget spend and that these whopper subs might be too much for the room size given my current sub is usually only turned to 1/3 the levels. I think the room equalization for the sub would help reduce some of the boom too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farley1 View Post

Yes, it is essentially a budget expansion by simply deferring expenses to later. Many people's experiences indicate that that is what will happen naturally, though, and planning for it to go that way is more efficient than having to start replacing what you bought.

This is good perspective. I would like a complete system I am satisfied with now rather than piecing the system over time - I know I usually like to buy the best I can up front and keep it a while with most purchases. Put another way I might go $6K up front rather than $3K now, $3K later.
Quote:
I am very happy with the Pioneer speakers. I don't have much to compare to, I came from using either built in TV speakers or a mix-and-match of cheap leftover HTiB level junk+ Polk PSW-10 for the past 5 years, and the Pioneers are a huge upgrade. The SVS sub is of course spectacular. Again I don't have much to compare to, but it kicks the crap out of the BIC F12 I used for all of two weeks before jumping to the SVS.

You'll have to decide if you would coast along with a full budget setup...or get upgrade-itis (and if you get upgrade-itis, if you can afford it...if in doubt, don't come to AVS any more after you get your new gear)

Heh. Yeah I learned with my foray into headphones stop reading the forums after you find something you like. Your experience with the Pioneers is interesting to me because their bang for the buck / punching above their weight class appeals to me, and I think they would be a good jump in quality over what I got right now as is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttlnb View Post

If you get bitten by the bug of this hobby I have some great references you will need. They are the Wall Street Journal, Money and Forbes magazine:) Try to stay within your budget and never come to this forum again if you want to keep your sanity:D

I can't count the number of different pieces of equipment I tested and the money spent and lost. Most would be happy with any decent system. You have a reasonable budget and can get something decent for it. The thing is determine what is important to you and find a system that meets your needs. Everybody has different requirements. A friend is a musician and he almost always listens to his speakers very loud. I value sound quality over loudness and most systems play plenty loud for me. We both have systems that meet our needs. If you are not an enthusiast get a decent system and don't look back. If you are enthusiast you'll probably get upgrate-itis and be like the rest of us.

Again good perspective. Lately I have been throwing around the idea of just buying a bunch of things to demo them at home for a while and pick what I like best. Personally I know I would rather focus on the listening experience than second guess whether or not the system is doing an adequate job of presenting it. I also prefer sound quality over loudness.
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post #8 of 29 Old 04-14-2014, 07:15 PM
 
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Listening at home I think is your best option. It is what I do and luckily there are some local dealers that accommodate me by letting me try at home. I have also bought equipment and returned it, mostly from big box stores and the internet. I think you get good service from the local guys if you have a good rapport. I tried many speakers, for instance I wasn't as fond of the Ascend Sierra 1 for the price but many love them. It certainly doesn't hurt to try them, YMMV. Their CBM-170 I think are a good value for the price. The Sierra might be better but there is more competition at that price point. If you raise your budget you'll have even more options to try and the point of diminishing returns apply.
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post #9 of 29 Old 04-14-2014, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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That's interesting you didn't like the Sierra - do you mind if I ask why (feel free to point me at a previous post). I ask because it seems a bit strange to me that there seemed to be a lot of buzz over these around 2007 but since I'm not seeing as much traffic nor mention in the publication best of round ups. Makes me wonder if there is a bit of a flash mob effect going on with audio gear. Not in the sense that it's engineered but definitely that there are favourites du jour for different periods in time.
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post #10 of 29 Old 04-14-2014, 08:56 PM
 
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I thought the midrange was not that good, not very natural. It is not that I didn't like it but I thought there was better for the money. I think internet direct is the flavor of the month on many forums and gets recommended a lot. I haven't always found it to be true that they are the best value. In theory it sounds good that by buying direct you cut out the middle man but I think some of these larger companies make up for it on economy of scale. Their manufacturing cost is less than the small guy or maybe the small guy is just making more profit not having a middle man. Who knows, you just have to try them. I don't have a preference either way.

There are some internet direct products I like. Like I said the CBM-170 for $350 a pair is a good value. I had SVS and tried HSU but found others I liked better but those did shake the house. I like the Mark Seaton sub and feels that it is a great value at its price point. Don't go down that rabbit hole if you want to keep your budget in check:-) And who can argue with Oppo for Blu-ray players.

The media is terrible IMHO and tough to get a good idea of what is truly good and how it compares. Something new comes out and they cover it but you don't know how it compares to models that have been out some time especially in speakers where they don't upgrade models every year. You could have a speaker of the year last year and have no idea how it compares to this years speaker of the year or other models. It is not like they say this is our top recommended model and would stay top rated until something beat it. I, of course read the media to see what is new coming out but I wouldn't rule out products that have been out a while especially in the speaker/sub department.
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post #11 of 29 Old 04-14-2014, 09:40 PM
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From Crutchfield Ca

3 ea Definitive SM-55 across the front
http://www.crutchfield.ca/Definitive_StudioMonitor_55_bookshelf_speaker_eac_p/735sm55.htm

2 ea Definitive SM-45 for surrounds
http://www.crutchfield.ca/Definitive_StudioMonitor_45_bookshelf_speaker_eac_p/735sm45.htm

You can always by a pair of the Definitive, to test their sonic signature out.

Crutchfield also has PSB - I prefer the Definitive
http://www.crutchfield.ca/PSB_Image_B6_Cherry_Pair_Bookshelf_Speakers_p/760imgb6c.htm

SVS sellls subs in Canada
http://www.sonicboomaudio.com/
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post #12 of 29 Old 04-15-2014, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks - Definitive Technology hadn't been on my radar at all and looking at the reviews it seems they should have been!
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post #13 of 29 Old 04-16-2014, 06:49 AM
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Definitive BP8040 towers. 3D, WARM, detailed, and literally a 360* soundstage.
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post #14 of 29 Old 04-19-2014, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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The more I read about the DefTech line up, the more it seemed like a slam dunk to me...thanks again for you guys who suggested it.

Went out to demo the A730, Atoms, DSP-3200 and Definitive Technology Studio Monitors today. Was keen on the StudioMonitor 45s but the local didn't have them in stock, did have a pair of SM55 floors.

My listening notes for anyone who might be interested and searching for other reviews as I did.

Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55:


Setup: Some high end CD player / processor / amp combo - didn't catch. My content off iPod and CD. Closed listening room approx 8-9 feet in a triangle.

Bass: Very obvious a strength. In spite of what's said about these not needing a sub, did feel like one was needed for electronic music - the physical experience was just partial, although more pronounced and more like a floorstander than a bookshelf. Midbass is definitely more pronounced / defined than what I'm used to and a strength. Bass impact more apparent at higher volumes, these seem to come more into their own when sufficiently loud.

Mids: The balance of mids were pretty interesting on a Rise Against track - vocals were clear in spite of mayhem going on in the lower end. Tori Amos, Aesop Rock sounded like the vocals were coming in a phantom center channel in spite of being just a 2.0 setup. Vocals consistently sounded like they were spatially in a phantom center channel. Does a great job with vocals, strings, keys - Guster's Satellite made me smile, Allegri's Miserere seemed well suited.

Highs: Felt too hot for my ears / not smooth. Cymbal crashes weren't a smooth wash, seemed bright / sibilant. Don't really like how drums and cymbals sounded - sharp and thin. Cymbals in later listens sounded smoother so this issue may have disappated somewhat and things were less harsh if listening off axis.

Spatial: The expansive soundstage / imaging is very apparent - sound seems like it's all over the place in just a 2.0 setup - at times holographic. Layering of sounds in 3 space is good. Rabbit in the Moon's remix of "Timebomb" sounded ****ing psychedelic and 3D, a holy **** experience.

Musicality / Raw Reactions / Experience: Ruby 81 nearly brought tears. Nativiwonder and other chunky tribal tracks are pretty wow. Did feel somewhat exhausted / assaulted overall - wasn't effortless to listen. Either SPL or bass or highs were difficult to take for extended periods of time. Didn't have an immediate "ahh" / "wow" reaction making me want to listen to everything / all my favs over again.

Conclusion: Some definitely impressive characteristics but overall didn't immediately / reflexively love these. Going to try and demo the StudioMonitor 45's next as these were the ones I'm interested in - reading reviews it seems some (e.g. Stereophile) think they have a slightly better balance / presentation than the SM55s.


Paradigm Atom Mini Monitor v7

Sources: Yamaha A730, Paradigm DSP-3200 sub for second half of demo, no sub for first. 7-8 feet triangle in 2.0 / 2.1 setup.

Bass: Bass is good, not overpowering, more controlled - was impressed, wasn't expecting it to be good without a sub. Midbass not as pronounced as SM55, but easy to listen to. Bass did seem to chunk at heavier demands in tracks and higher levels. Sub made overall sound more rich but didn't find the physical experience to be wow inducing.

Mids: Vocals, strings didn't stand out as much. Robyn's vocals definitely not as eminent. Didn't have the same reaction to Ruby 81. Neko Case's vocals just were not as engaging - a bit thin sounding, not rich or smoky.

Treble: Highs are definitely smoother, not fatiguing/harsh, easy to listen to. Surprised as was expecting more brightness. Easier to listen to the highs in drum & bass tracks. Yewminyst's cymbal wash was definitely easier to listen to than with SM55s, but still some sharpness. Cymbals didn't demand perceptual attention like the SM55s = more comfortable.

Spatial: Not on the same level of imaging and space as SM55. Reasonable detail. Soundstage is narrow, off axis listening definitely seems as though sounds are localized around the speakers. Spatial details and layering in 3 space ins't as good as SM55s.

Musicality / Reactions / Experience: Liked how these were balanced and uncoloured top to bottom. Thinner sounding, not as rich. Sounds even / neutral in presentation top to bottom of range. Engagement is more immediate and relaxed, didn't elicit a "too much" feeling like SM55s. Immersiveness isn't the same - the speakers never disappeared behind the sound as the DefTech SM55s, but overall the presentation was okay. Didn't have a superlative response to the sub combo even when turned up. Did notice impact more on kick drums. Sigur Ros' Saeglopur's piano bits sounded wonderful - although sounds were a bit mashed up in the middle parts, wasn't hearing things distinctly in terms of separation. Never lost sense of sounds coming from the speakers.

Conclusion: A more easy going, balanced presentation but didn't love the experience / want to listen to everything over again / feel like a huge step up from current standards. Going to demo others to build up my references.


Currently leaning towards

Rec: Yamaha A730 or Denon X2000
Speakers: 5x DefTech SM45
Sub: Rythmik LV12R, maybe HSU VTF2 MK4 or VTF1-MK2, SBS PB-1000/SB-1000
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post #15 of 29 Old 04-22-2014, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone else have any speaker recommendations given the above experience with the DefTech SM55s and the Paradigm Atoms? One of my local dealers will need to order in the DefTech SM45s and I'm just wondering if I should try to demo something else if available nearby.
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post #16 of 29 Old 04-22-2014, 09:25 AM
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See if there is a Goldenear seller nearby. The Aon 2/3 might be worth a look with their ribbon tweeter.
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post #17 of 29 Old 04-22-2014, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you - in reading posts yesterday night I started to question whether tweeter type is something I should be paying attention to, people say the Ascend Sierra's are easy to listen to / not bright and your suggestion makes me wonder more about this path of investigation.
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post #18 of 29 Old 04-22-2014, 11:22 AM
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Its almost an anomaly with all the praise for GE. Their speakers aren't recommended too often here in these forums but the GE thread is very enthusiastic from the owners themselves. Maybe it's subjective, maybe it's because they're fairly new company. Maybe Sandy Gross has a bunch of friends in the review business because they're certainly not short on positive reviews. I'm curious myself and am looking forward to hearing them when I get back to the states.
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post #19 of 29 Old 04-22-2014, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. It's kind of odd / funny how these guys found one company and then go to another - makes you wonder whether or not the previous retains any of the positive qualities previously achieved.

Appreciate any other easy to listen to / not bright suggestions.
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post #20 of 29 Old 04-22-2014, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quickly demo'd the PSB Image B5's tonight.

Setup: Off listening axis (beneath speakers). iPod connected via mini cable – didn’t go very loud, analysis held back by this.

Bass: Wasn’t that impressive – sounded thin, drums didn’t have impact. Thought it was due to the volume and setup – changing source to increase volume made things better, drums more apparent.

Mids: Vocals sounded in balance, maybe a little recessed but not overpowered by highs and lows. Strings and guitars didn’t really stand out with the lower volume.

Highs: Definitely out of the three so far were the easiest to listen to – smooth, not harsh. Didn’t invite to hear new details but smoothness was appreciated.

Spatial: Tough to get a rating on this given suboptimal listening setup. Sound staging wasn’t as expansive as DefTechs – probably accurate though. Speakers didn’t disappear or create a wall of sound.

Experience: Smooth overall, wasn’t hard to listen to. Even handed presentation, uncoloured, neutral. The easiest going out of the three so far. Kind of a flat experience though, not a whole lot of richness or engagement. Better with more volume but still an easy listen and neutral top to bottom. Didn’t seem to have a character.

Conclusion: Out of the three easiest to listen to but didn’t provoke a superlative response.
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post #21 of 29 Old 04-22-2014, 11:30 PM
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Thanks. It's kind of odd / funny how these guys found one company and then go to another - makes you wonder whether or not the previous retains any of the positive qualities previously achieved.

Appreciate any other easy to listen to / not bright suggestions.

Second the Golden ear suggestion. Look for other folded ribbon tweeters. Also, look for silk dome tweeters (pretty rare now).
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post #22 of 29 Old 04-23-2014, 04:22 AM
 
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Try the JBL LSR-305 or 308. They are active speakers and you would need a receiver that has pre-out but I think you will like their dynamics. You'll have to go to a music store to listen.
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post #23 of 29 Old 04-23-2014, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.

Demo'd the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR tonight to see what everyone has been talking about.

Setup: Not the same content (i.e. mine) but CDs fed through a Marantz 1604 receiver. No sub. Decent height and distance / listening triangle.

Highs: Not harsh, but definitely something a little hot in these. Could hear a tinge and bite I don't to.

Mids: Vocals more prominent. Midbass / guitars / piano okay, nothing special.

Bass: Good impact and weight to drums.

Spatial: Vocals centralized but don't throw the soundstage the DefTechs did. Sounded a bit more muddled in terms of layering. Some songs with more spatial placement sounded more interesting than the initial samples.

Experience: Demo'd mostly jazz and non-indicative songs for my library. Didn't love but was an impressive sound for the price - didn't sound tinny or cheap.

Conclusion: Didn't love - they were okay, but looking for something that invokes more of a response.
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post #24 of 29 Old 04-23-2014, 08:11 PM
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The Pioneer are one of the better cheap speakers you can buy. That doesn't change the fact that they are cheap speakers!

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub
Set up #3: JBL130, JBL120C and Klipsch synergy sub
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post #25 of 29 Old 04-23-2014, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah. I had to see what all the buzz was about. One of my requirements are things that punch above their weight class in terms of price performance ratio. Money isn't so much the issue as it is the rationalization that any fool can throw a dumptruck of money at a problem and get something remarkable. Feels smarter to maximize returns for money spent and that the relationship between cost and performance isn't perfectly linear. One review note about an investment banker who insisted on only buying these Pioneers appealed to me on that note.

How do you like your DefTech 450's Elihawk? Mentally the SM45s are in the lead for me but I've not yet demo'd them and unfortunately my local can't get them in just to do that, will have to buy but can try out at home for 10 days and return for full refund - which is probably better than demo'ing in store anyways.
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post #26 of 29 Old 04-24-2014, 12:53 AM
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Mentally the SM45s are in the lead for me but I've not yet demo'd them and unfortunately my local can't get them in just to do that, will have to buy but can try out at home for 10 days and return for full refund - which is probably better than demo'ing in store anyways.

You can buy a pair of SM-45 from Crutchfield, if you do not like them, then return them.
That is the best way to audition, and you can spend some time with them.
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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 #27 of 29 Old 04-24-2014, 06:25 AM
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The Def Tech SM450 are very good. Now, two disclaimers. I bought my pair new for 200 dollars about 2 years ago, and they are discontinue, so finding the matching center isn't easy and the 450s are becoming scarce. I have heard the newer SM series and I think they are better, but not by a large amount. If I was going to pay 200/pr for the SM450 of by the newer Sm series for 3-500 per speakers, it would be a no brainer, as long as I knew I could get the center!
I have also owned the 350s and they currently reside on a freinds RV, not a accoustically good space, but they also sound good!

Btw, when I bought my Polk M40s, I demo'd the Pionneer and Infinity Primus p163 (borrowed from a freind)...I rated the speakers P163 = M40 >> BS22 or whatever the first generation model was. Now, the Polk m40 I have are in a closet.
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Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub
Set up #3: JBL130, JBL120C and Klipsch synergy sub
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post #28 of 29 Old 04-24-2014, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your experience there too with other speakers. I'm keen on the SM45s because I read that they are more tonally balanced and for whatever reason I found the SM55's I demo'd to be a bit too bright to listen to / wasn't an instant win.
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post #29 of 29 Old 04-24-2014, 08:39 AM
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My impression of the new SM series is that it is 'brighter" than the onld SM series. My SM450s aren't bright at all!

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub
Set up #3: JBL130, JBL120C and Klipsch synergy sub
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