Advice on physically smaller speakers (5.1) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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After a ton of reading and searching these forums, I'm trying to get a little additional information before making a purchase that may wind up (by necessity) being a downgrade\sidegrade.

Currently I have:
4 BIC America Venture DV52SI (Surround)
1 BIC Venturi DV52CLR (Center)
1 BIC Acoustech H100 Cinema Series (Sub)
Yamaha V571 (Receiver)

Usage is 40% television, 25% movies, 25% video games, 10% music. The room is roughly 15 x 18 with a 10 - 15 ft vaulted ceiling and a large opening on one side into a hallway\kitchen.

The above setup has worked well for me for the last six years - to my ears it sounds great, and I never notice it struggling to fill the room, but I'm a technophile, not an audiophile, and I've never lived with people who cared about audio\video quality (seriously, my girlfriend and her daughter still claim they don't see a difference between SD and HD television).

My problem - the physical size of this system is just too big. My girlfriend hates the physical size, and even I wouldn't smaller, less intrusive speakers, particularly for the surrounds so they could easily be hung from smaller speaker stands (the DV52SI are too heavy for your basic speaker stand). So, I've been bouncing around all kinds of ideas. Energy RC Micros, Polk TL250 (with decent 10" sub) or RM510, Monoprice Energy Take clones, Def Tech Pro 600, Boston Acoustic Soundware XS 5.1, etc. Basically the $300 - $700 range (much prefer under $500, or $700 - $800 if I can package it all with a network capable 7.1 receiver).

Basically my questions come down to this:

1. Can anyone guess how significant a downgrade it would be going to one of the above mentioned systems from what I have now? Both in sound quality and ability to fill the room? The speakers I have now are good but not amazing, so I'm wondering if it would be more of a sidegrade (or potentially an upgrade if I went with a higher end small speaker?).

2. Is there a substantial difference between all these small sized speakers and surround systems? I mean, physics are physics, how substantially different will one 2 1\2 inch speaker be from another?

3. Does anyone have any recommendations for a physically smaller speaker, even if it means piecing something together? I don't mind buying separately , but in shopping around it seems you get more bang for your buck buying a package than piecing together these smaller speakers (presumably because anyone buying speakers individually or by pairs are buying real speakers, and not these pint sized speakers).
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by evancg View Post

Is there a substantial difference between all these small sized speakers and surround systems? I mean, physics are physics, how substantially different will one 2 1\2 inch speaker be from another?
There will be few differences, and the bottom line is that no 2 1/2 inch driver is worth using outside of a transistor radio. They serve their purpose, which is to satisfy those who don't care how they sound, so long as they're small. Good sound reproduction and 2 1/2 inch drivers are a no-go, and that's the physics of it. For that matter your DV52 are IMO barely adequate in terms of sound quality. I can't imagine going with less.

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The Laws of Physics aren't swayed by opinion.
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 11:44 AM
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Given the size of your room it is a noticeable downgrade in audio performance, upgrade in terms of ascetics.

Keep the speakers you have, save your money and take your gf and her daughter on a mini vacation with the money you saved. Soon as women hear you would have to spend money you were planning to spend on them, they change their tune.

I have found a substantial difference when I went from my Polk RM6750, to my Bookshelf setup, I would never look back unless I was in a smaller(10x12x8) closed off room.
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

There will be few differences, and the bottom line is that no 2 1/2 inch driver is worth using outside of a transistor radio. They serve their purpose, which is to satisfy those who don't care how they sound, so long as they're small. Good sound reproduction and 2 1/2 inch drivers are a no-go, and that's the physics of it. For that matter your DV52 are IMO barely adequate in terms of sound quality. I can't imagine going with less.

I appreciate you taking the time to chime in, but I've seen this line of thought from you in many of the threads I've been reading through, and no disrespect but it's really not helpful. I'm sure you can't imagine going with less than what I have now, but considering for my purposes, what I have now has been more than enough, going in a smaller (or just different) direction wouldn't be an end of the world situation for me as it might be for you.

If you can contribute by suggesting a physically small speaker (7~" x 5~" x 5~") with a larger than 2.5" driver that you think sounds good, that'd be great.
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post

Given the size of your room it is a noticeable downgrade in audio performance, upgrade in terms of ascetics.

Keep the speakers you have, save your money and take your gf and her daughter on a mini vacation with the money you saved. Soon as women here you would have to spend money you were planning to spend on them, they change their tune.

I have found a substantial difference when I went from my Polk RM6750, to my Bookshelf setup, I would never look back unless I was in a smaller(10x12x8) closed off room.

Thanks for the thoughts. I'm still not entirely sold on the idea of switching things up, and there's still the remote possibility I go another direction (if I do anything at all), like replacing the two fronts and sub with nice floor standing speakers. I was just hoping to get some comparison input between what I have now and the smaller systems, and seeing if there's a smaller system that might compete with what I have, since what I have is slightly lower end anyway (and it's the indoor\outdoor version, so it's ugly and almost any replacement speaker would be an aesthetic upgrade).
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 12:53 PM
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I have owned the Bic - and I can not digest them

If you have to go small - these two speakers are the smallest that I would go.

NHT Absolute Zero
http://www.nhthifi.com/Bookshelf-speaker-SuperZero-2-1?sc=12&category=3772

NXG Pro 4.1
http://www.amazon.com/Nxg-Satellite-Speaker-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B0044UHVOK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398365584&sr=8-1&keywords=nxg+pro+4.1

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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 #7 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 02:05 PM
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evancg View Post

I appreciate you taking the time to chime in, but I've seen this line of thought from you in many of the threads I've been reading through, and no disrespect but it's really not helpful. I'm sure you can't imagine going with less than what I have now, but considering for my purposes, what I have now has been more than enough, going in a smaller (or just different) direction wouldn't be an end of the world situation for me as it might be for you.

If you can contribute by suggesting a physically small speaker (7~" x 5~" x 5~") with a larger than 2.5" driver that you think sounds good, that'd be great.

It is not quite that small, but the PSB Image B4 is a pretty good speaker and is about 5 x 6 x 9".

It has a high-performance 4' driver and may sound much better than what you have now.

The Cherry finish on the cabinets is nice-looking too, which may help with the Female Acceptance factor.

Check the discounted prices at Saturday Audio.
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post

Haven't heard these, but Focal has been well reviewed here and elsewhere ...

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/focalsib51blk/focal-sib-cub3-home-theater-speaker-system-black/1.html#!specifications

Thanks, I forgot to include these - I've looked at them several times and even though they're not as small as I was aiming for, the fact that they're probably an acoustic upgrade has me really interested in them.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by evancg View Post

Thanks, I forgot to include these - I've looked at them several times and even though they're not as small as I was aiming for, the fact that they're probably an acoustic upgrade has me really interested in them.

If you are looking for smaller, you might peruse the Minx owners thread ...... but there are some sonic tradeoffs when you go that small.

Here's a review: http://www.whathifi.com/review/cambridge-audio-minx-s215-new
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post #11 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by evancg View Post

Thanks, I forgot to include these - I've looked at them several times and even though they're not as small as I was aiming for, the fact that they're probably an acoustic upgrade has me really interested in them.
Focal Sib
That would be a clear acoustic uograde

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post #12 of 12 Old 04-24-2014, 07:53 PM
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I agree with RayGuy

Check out the Cambridge Audio Minx 5.1 line up. I am using them right now. My room is 19x11x7.3 (about 1400 cu ft) with 2 big openings on each end of room. I can get 85db with ease at my seating area during movies and music. I have also owned the Polk TL250's with a PSW111 and DSW pro 550wi sub, Energy Take Classic 5.1 system, Martin Logan Motion series, Motion 4's fronts, Motion 2's rears, Motion 8 center with a Dynamo 700 subwoofer and none of these systems sound or look as good as the Cambridge Audio Minx S325v2 system. The Polk TL250 system was the worst of the bunch. Yes the Cambridge Minx line is more expensive but they truly blend into any room and they have a BIG wife approval!  The Minx Min21 Satellite speakers are truly something for there size and can be mounted on the walls as they come with key hole mounts or you can buy angle mounts for them or stand mounts. I can send you some picture if you like. They are very clean looking and small. They are very high quality!  I even bought a pair of Cambridge S30 bookshelfs and S50 Center for the 3 fronts and left the Cambridge Min21's for my rear surrounds to see how big of a difference there was. I had a NAD 748v2 receiver at the time and yes there was a difference in music playback but surprisingly during movies and TV it wasn't that much of a improvement. Especially when you take in consideration how much more room the bookshelf speakers take up with speaker stands compared to the Min21's mounted up on the wall. You mentioned you only listen to music 10% of the time so there you go. Not a big deal for you. I am not saying small speakers are the way to go "but" if size is a factor for you then you will be surprised at what a good Sub/Satellite system will do in a small to medium size room. Yes I have owned plenty of large speakers including Klipsch VF-35 towers, Klipsch SF-2 towers, Polk RTi A5 towers and my Klipsch KG 2.5 that I still use with a 2 channel receiver so I know what sounds good in my room compared to the Cambridge Min21's. I have also listened to Golden Ears super stats 3's and 50's with a sub which was nice sounding and the B&W M-1 satellites do a good job.


Living room; Samsung UN55F7100 3D LED, Marantz SR5008, Oppo BDP-103, Definitive Mytho 2's fronts, Definitive Pro Center 1000, Definitive Di 5.5R in ceilings, SVS SB-1000 subwoofer, Comcast DVR HD box.

Garage; Sherwood RX-4105 2 channel stereo receiver, Samsung DVD-C500 CD player, Klipsch KG 2.5 med oak speakers
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