On a budget: Polk Monitor 50s for $80 used or Infinity Primus P163BK for $120 New? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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On a budget: Polk Monitor 50s for $80 used or Infinity Primus P163BK for $120 New?

Hi folks,

I've been a long time lurker. My trusty (but pretty crap) Logitech Z-5500 gave up the ghost and I just bought a Yamaha RX-V375 receiver as a replacement. I would also like to do a budget upgrade from my Logitech satellite speakers (Have two 5 month old twins so money is tight and gone are the bachelor days of splurging on gadgets ).

My max budget is $120 and at the moment, I have the option of purchasing 2, lightly used Polk Audio Monitor 50 speakers off Craigslist for $80 (maybe $70) or I could buy a pair of Infinity Primus 163BK Bookshelf speakers for ~$120 new.

I would appreciate opinions on which would be the better option. These will be in a relatively open kitchen/living room (15' x 30') and the speakers will be part of a 5.1 setup for my TV but these speakers will also be used quite a bit for listening to stereo music.

And I am well aware that there are always better options if I increase my budget by $X but I really wish to stick to a max budget of $120 since this is not a planned upgrade, and listening to audio on my TV speakers has been driving me up the wall!
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post #2 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 06:11 PM
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Infinity Primus, any day of the week. Polk Monitors have a tinny boxy sound and can be shrill at high volumes.
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post #3 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Infinity Primus, any day of the week. Polk Monitors have a tinny boxy sound and can be shrill at high volumes.
Thanks a lot for the quick reply! Would you also recommend the Infinity Primus speakers over the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf speakers?
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post #4 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 09:49 PM
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The Infinitys are a bit more forward. I would say they would be better for home theater, but a for music that would be more a matter of personal taste.
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post #5 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
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The Infinitys are a bit more forward. I would say they would be better for home theater, but a for music that would be more a matter of personal taste.
Thanks shadyJ. These are going to be used ~70% of the time in a HT and the rest of the time for music. Also they won't have a sub for now till I find a good deal on a sub. Finally, I've read that the Infinity center speaker is superior to the Pioneer center speaker, so if I chose to buy a center speaker later on to match these speakers, would the Infinity be the better choice? If you were in my shoes, which would you pick? I don't have the opportunity to check these out locally and my head is spinning after reading pages and pages of forum threads regarding both these speakers

Also, one question I had. I noticed the Pioneers are 6 ohm speakers. If my surround speakers are 8 ohm and the front speakers are 6 ohm, is that going to be a problem? I'm not sure if receivers let you set the impedance on a per speaker basis? (I do recall reading that the Yamaha receiver allows you to set the impedance but wasn't clear on whether it was a global setting or a per speaker setting)

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post #6 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 11:05 PM
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Infinity.

They are pretty good speakers for the price.
Really for the price for movies/TV their great. Not too bad for music personally I like a bit more refinement sound for music.
At $300 (Infinity retail price) or so you can do better.
At $120 you probably can't find something better that's brand new and not used there in a way unbeatable at $120.

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post #7 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 01:32 AM
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I think you would be happy with the Infinity speakers. I think the heavy-duty center speaker alone makes it worth it. Great to crank when that THX promo comes up.

As for impedance, whatever AVR you get will work fine with any of these speakers, I wouldn't worry about it unless you got into 4 ohm speakers, and even then it usually isn't a problem.
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post #8 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 05:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I think you would be happy with the Infinity speakers. I think the heavy-duty center speaker alone makes it worth it. Great to crank when that THX promo comes up.

As for impedance, whatever AVR you get will work fine with any of these speakers, I wouldn't worry about it unless you got into 4 ohm speakers, and even then it usually isn't a problem.
Thanks a ton! I really appreciate the help. I'll go ahead and order from Amazon while the price is still $60 per speaker. Quick question - You mentioned the heavy duty center channel speaker, is that the PC-351? How does the PC-251 compare if I'm on a budget?
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post #9 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 06:37 AM
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The PC351 is quite a bit better if you have the room and budget for it. But remember it is very large at 23-3/4"W x 7-3/8"H x 9-11/16"D.

It usually goes for $199 while the smaller PC251 can be had for around $105-$110.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...&condition=new

That's quite a difference when you're on a budget.

Or buy another PC163 for $60 and lay it on its side.

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post #10 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 09:33 AM
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I'm a big Polk fan, and would recommend them most any day, so it's saying something that I would recommend the Infinity over both the Monitor 50's and the Pioneers.

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post #11 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 10:45 AM
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I like the Polk RTi and am impressed with the measurements for the LSim, but I dislike the TSi and Monitor series, just in case you think I am blanket anti-Polk.
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post #12 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 11:02 AM
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I like the Polk RTi and am impressed with the measurements for the LSim, but I dislike the TSi and Monitor series, just in case you think I am blanket anti-Polk.
I had RTi A series before upgrade to LSiM series and like you said LSiM are impresive speakers, they are in another league in terms of SQ and craftsmanship.

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post #13 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input everyone! I've already gone ahead and placed the order for the 2, Infinity speakers. Now I gotta figure out how to accommodate the big speakers in my living room . Currently I'll have a Logitech z-5500 center speaker so I'm sure things will sound really weird in the HT setup, but I'll probably look to get a better matched center speaker for cheap soon.

Do you think a sub is necessary with 2 Infinity speakers? I'm not huge into bass heavy music or particularly keen on wall shaking HT effects when watching movies.
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post #14 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 01:16 PM
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I would get a sub, even if you don't care for heavy bass. It will make the sound much more fuller overall. It will also take a load off of the speakers. If you try to run the speakers full range, their woofers are driven much harder and they can be driven into distortion much more easily. If you just want some light bass to take the load of your mains, I would just go with a Dayton 1200.
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post #15 of 54 Old 06-22-2014, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the recommendation shadyJ. I'll keep an eye out for a deal on that sub. I appreciate all the help with my questions.
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post #16 of 54 Old 06-23-2014, 09:32 AM
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My P163s are great speakers though I'm using them as surrounds right now. I moved up from a Z5500 setup to a set of Infinity speakers (P363 x2, P163 x 2, PC351). Done right you can get them on crazy good sales. Maybe over time you can add a few more p163 to round out to 5. I was able to pick up the P163 from the recent amazon sale at $50/each. I did love the Z5500 (had the old Z-680 as well before that) and for 3" speakers they did a respectable job. But you just can't compare them to 6.5" woofers.

I will say that picking up an SVS PB-2000 (which I understand is out of the question, budget-wise) made a HUGE difference in the upgrade. It definitely does produce wall shaking HT effects, but some of us really like that on a good LFE track.

There is a whole budget subwoofer thread ($300 and under) you might peruse for ideas more in your budget. All I can say is I'm really glad I splurged. My sub thumps (pun intended) my brothers PSW505 and certainly holds it's own with my little brothers Klipsch RT-12d (12"x3) that cost 3x as much.
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post #17 of 54 Old 06-23-2014, 12:49 PM
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My P163s are great speakers though I'm using them as surrounds right now. I moved up from a Z5500 setup to a set of Infinity speakers (P363 x2, P163 x 2, PC351). Done right you can get them on crazy good sales. Maybe over time you can add a few more p163 to round out to 5. I was able to pick up the P163 from the recent amazon sale at $50/each. I did love the Z5500 (had the old Z-680 as well before that) and for 3" speakers they did a respectable job. But you just can't compare them to 6.5" woofers.

I will say that picking up an SVS PB-2000 (which I understand is out of the question, budget-wise) made a HUGE difference in the upgrade. It definitely does produce wall shaking HT effects, but some of us really like that on a good LFE track.

There is a whole budget subwoofer thread ($300 and under) you might peruse for ideas more in your budget. All I can say is I'm really glad I splurged. My sub thumps (pun intended) my brothers PSW505 and certainly holds it's own with my little brothers Klipsch RT-12d (12"x3) that cost 3x as much.
I'm coming from a similar situation as OP and Darknyt. Previously owned Logitech Z5500 (and the Z-680 before that) but did sell the Z5500 a couple years ago to upgrade to an Onkyo receiver and Onkyo SKS-HT540. Recently I moved into a new house and have a new loft area where I want to set up a 3.1 or 3.0 system and saw the Infinity Primus P163 deal. I thought about replacing my Onkyo speaker fronts with P163BK's and eventually the center with the PC351 and move the Onkyo speakers upstairs to my loft and use that as a 3.1 system. I'm considering this switch because my loft won't accommodate the size of the P163's but my living room would. Are these P163's significantly better than my current Onkyo speakers? Would mixing the P163's as fronts and my Onkyo center channel sound bad until I find a deal on the Infinity PC351 center channel?

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post #18 of 54 Old 06-23-2014, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Darknyt. I'm really looking forward to the upgrade in sound quality with the new speakers. My parents have a nice Sony HiFi system with some pretty nice bookshelf speakers and listening to music on them a month back made me realize how enjoyable it was to listen to music on a system with decent speakers. I'm going to miss my Z-5500 dearly though... I snagged it several years ago when in grad school for a steal at $180. I'm just kicking myself for not having sold it before it went bad. The sub and control pod sell for quite a bit on ebay!

As for subs, I think I'm going to take shadyJ's advice at wait for a deal on the Dayton 1200 sub (maybe the Dayton 1000). Looks pretty decent from the reviews and there is no way I can currently justify spending over $100-$120 on a sub .
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post #19 of 54 Old 06-25-2014, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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I wanted to report back with an update. My receiver (Yamaha RX-V375) and the P163 speakers were delivered yesterday and I managed to set everything up properly. Currently I have a 5.0 setup with the 2 P163 speakers as the Front speakers, and a Logitech z-5500 center and Surround speakers/tweeters.

Fronts are set to "Large" while the rest are set to small. Upped the levels on the center channel by a bit after YPAO and crossover is set to 160Hz (chosen by YPAO but makes sense due to the limitations of the Logitech speakers).

Music: I am really enjoying listening to Music on the P163s! I use Foobar with WASAPI to make use of Windows exclusive mode to essentially pass through the audio stream untouched to the receiver. I listen to the stereo music "STRAIGHT" so that it is only being played on the Infinity speakers. The music sounds wonderful and the bass from the speakers is punchy though obviously a bit lacking in the lows. Still, given the performance so far, I am in less of a hurry to procure a subwoofer for my system. As expected, the music sounds quite terrible if I use any DSP to send the Stereo music to all 5 channels. This is entirely due to the difference in audio quality from the Infinity speakers and the Logitech speakers.

Movies: I was expecting this to be pretty bad due to my crappy Logitech center speaker sitting in between the two Infinity speakers. However, after upping the levels on the center channel, things sound pretty good. I can still definitely discern where the center channel is lacking in comparison to the Infinity speakers and at the moment, I am going to prioritize finding a good deal on a center channel speaker over buying a subwoofer. However, the lack of a subwoofer is a bit more noticable when viewing movies since the Infinitys can only do so much when it comes to bass.

Questions: Now that I have had some time to play with my setup and think about upgrades, I had a questions going forward:

When I purchase a capable sub-woofer, I am a bit unsure about how to go about setting the crossovers. The Fronts (which I would set to "Small") ,can go down to around 49Hz according to the Infinity specs whereas the Logitech tweeters which will remain as my surround speakers for a while to come, start to fall off below ~160Hz. However, I don't want to have such a high crossover since I would prefer having the woofer cover the 20 - 60/80Hz range and the Infinitys covering the rest. The problem is that my receiver only allows a single crossover setting that applies to all Small channels. So if I set the crossover to 80Hz, the Logitech surrounds will also be driven at those frequencies and it can have adverse effects on the output of the satellite speakers.The other option I can think of is to set the receiver crossover to 160Hz, Infinity speakers to "Large" and then the subwoofer crossover to 80Hz, That way the subwoofer only plays upto ~ 80Hz and the Infinitys fill in the 80-160Hz gap. However, the only problem with this is that the Infinity speakers would be driven full range which would negatively impact their performance in the mid/high range and I would also have both the sub and the Infinitys producing bass in the 40-80Hz window. I'm not sure what is the best option and if there is any better option out there for this situation where I have multiple speakers with vastly differing frequency response.
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post #20 of 54 Old 06-25-2014, 10:44 PM
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Orion, it sounds like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Sorry, but there isn't any elegant solution to your problem. I would just get rid of the Logitech speakers and keep it simple. It sounds like they are not bringing enough to the sound to be worth having. Use a phantom center. Sell the Logitech stuff and buy a real center speaker and surrounds. The Logitech is horrendously mismatched with the Infinity Primus speakers. Remember to keep the front stage speakers from the same series speaker (Primus) so it will all be timbre matched. You can even use a p163 as a center, if you have room to stand it up vertically. A p153 would work as a center as well, vertically positioned. I don't think I would use a p143 though.
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post #21 of 54 Old 06-26-2014, 12:07 AM
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The other option I can think of is to set the receiver crossover to 160Hz, Infinity speakers to "Large" and then the subwoofer crossover to 80Hz, That way the subwoofer only plays upto ~ 80Hz and the Infinitys fill in the 80-160Hz gap. However, the only problem with this is that the Infinity speakers would be driven full range which would negatively impact their performance in the mid/high range and I would also have both the sub and the Infinitys producing bass in the 40-80Hz window. I'm not sure what is the best option and if there is any better option out there for this situation where I have multiple speakers with vastly differing frequency response.
As stated above - I would take the Logitech speakers out

Find a Primus option for your center channel - save for a decent sub - A good 3.0 or even
2.0 is better than a weak 5.0 > I would also skip the Infinity 143 for a center channel.

For when you do get a sub - the Infinity 163 bass starts rolling off at 70 hz - I would set them
to small, with an 80 hz crossover and let a good sub handle the lower bass for more rich sound.

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post #22 of 54 Old 06-26-2014, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I really appreciate the advice and you've convinced me (also my ears have done the same ) that I should look to get rid of the logitech speakers and replace them going forward. With that in mind, I have a few related questions that I was hoping I could bother you'll with:

1. Are there any smaller surround/satellite speakers that you could recommend for my setup to replace the Logitechs? The P163/163, bookshelf style speakers are a bit too large given my room layout and I don't really have a good spot/space to wall mount them.

2. For the center channel, I would like to go the route of getting another P153/163 speaker but I would like to lay it horizontally from an aesthetics and space perspective. But I've read that this is only a good idea if I rotate the tweeter by 90 degrees. However, it doesn't look like this is easy to do? I guess the other option would be to spend a bit more on the PC251 (PC351 seems to be really massive in size). Any suggestions?

3. Regarding the sub, shadyJ recommended the Dayton Audio 1200 sub which looks great for a budget sub. My only concern is that it is pretty big and might not fit in the space in my living room that I have clear for the subwoofer. Would I be seeing a drastic reduction in bass performance if I got the Dayton Audio 1000 (10") sub instead?

4. Any budget speaker mounts that you would recommend for my P163 fronts? They're on my bookshelves at the moment but my wife would prefer me not hogging a bunch of space in our bookshelves with the speakers
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post #23 of 54 Old 06-26-2014, 12:13 PM
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1. Some P153's would work as surrounds allowing for easy 80hz crossover for all spealers.

2. While PC351 would be the ideal center, A PC251 center would work.

3. You pick the subwoofer based on the size and dimensions of your room. What is the size of your listening room including ceiling height? Is the room open or closed off?

4. http://www.amazon.com/SYSTEMS-BF-24B.../dp/B00006JQ5N
or
http://www.amazon.com/SANUS-SYSTEMS-..._bxgy_e_text_z
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post #24 of 54 Old 06-26-2014, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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1. Some P153's would work as surrounds allowing for easy 80hz crossover for all spealers.

2. While PC351 would be the ideal center, A PC251 center would work.

3. You pick the subwoofer based on the size and dimensions of your room. What is the size of your listening room including ceiling height? Is the room open or closed off?

4. http://www.amazon.com/SYSTEMS-BF-24B.../dp/B00006JQ5N
or
http://www.amazon.com/SANUS-SYSTEMS-..._bxgy_e_text_z
Thanks for the recommendation with the stands Rob.

P153s still look to be a bit on the large side for surrounds , but I'll try to see if I can figure out a way to accommodate bookshelf size speakers for the surrounds.

With regards to my room size, unfortunately I have an open living area. The ceiling is 9ft high and the arrangement is something like shown below:

Code:
              <---  37' --->
------------------------------------------
|W                                        |
|                                         |  ^
|FR            ||                         |  |
|TV+C          ||    Dining + Kitchen     |  |~ 15'
|FL            ||                         |  |
|         ====                            |  v
|              ---   -----------   --- ---|
|             |
---       ----

W - Woofer location, || and = represent couches
The room isn't really closed off on the bottom side as there are open spaces on the other side. Certainly isn't ideal when it comes to the bass side of things. Also the right wall section behind the couch actually has a large sliding door to the yard so I can't mount the RR surround speaker on the wall there. The RL location is also a bit tight and has a shelf there but with not enough room for a largish bookshelf speaker.

Last edited by orion2001; 06-26-2014 at 12:47 PM.
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post #25 of 54 Old 06-26-2014, 12:58 PM
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I have the P163s for fronts and the PC251. If I had it to do over again, I would just add the P163 ($49 to $59) as a center. I'm in the same boat as you are with the rears. I have Energy classic speakers for the rears and I'm just waiting for the P143s to go on sale...I just can't pay the same price for P143s and P163s without getting the P163s which are too large for my stands.

I threw another sub (Polk $89) into the mix for the rear to help out the Energy speakers. The front sub is a cheap BIC f12 and together they provide enough bass for my large room.
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post #26 of 54 Old 06-26-2014, 01:07 PM
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Your room is huge and very open, almost 5,000 cu. ft.!!! What is your absolute max subwoofer budget? Even the Dayton Sub-1200 would struggle in your room.

Smaller speakers need a higher crossover as they don't go that low. You could try either the Infinity p143's or Polk OWM3's. They are better than the Logitech's and can go lower to around 100hz but they aren't perfect. You might be able to get away with a 80 hz crossover with them
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post #27 of 54 Old 06-26-2014, 01:34 PM
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Any budget speaker mounts that you would recommend for my P163 fronts? They're on my bookshelves at the moment but my wife would prefer me not hogging a bunch of space in our bookshelves with the speakers
VideoSecu mounts
http://www.amazon.com/VideoSecu-Clam...speaker+mounts

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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 #28 of 54 Old 06-26-2014, 06:01 PM
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I think Primus p143 could work fine as surrounds. They don't have much bass extension, but the surround channels rarely require any real bass output. Do not bring the sub's crossover point to meet the extension of the p143s. Do not run the sub above 80 Hz. As for the Sub 1200 vs the sub 1000, the 1200 is already pretty small. The 1000 is not much of a subwoofer. I would try to make the stretch for the 1200. Either sub isn't going to sound amazing, especially in that room you have outlined. No offense, but with that room and your budget, you are basically doomed as far as bass is concerned; you will not get much of it. However, since you say you do not really care for bass, you may still end up with a satisfying setup.

As for using the p153 or p163 horizontally, here is why I would discourage that:

That is the vertical axial response of the p162, which in performance is identical to the p163. That is a pretty rocky response, which is passable for a vertical axial response, but would be bad for a horizontal response, which would affect the overall sound a lot more. I don't believe rotating the tweeter is going to alleviate that very much, as I am guessing the issue is diffraction. If you can not accommodate a vertically standing p163 or p153, I would just go for a c251 or c351 (the latter if you can afford it).
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post #29 of 54 Old 06-26-2014, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
+1, you can not beat these for the price.
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post #30 of 54 Old 06-26-2014, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve1106 View Post
I have the P163s for fronts and the PC251. If I had it to do over again, I would just add the P163 ($49 to $59) as a center. I'm in the same boat as you are with the rears. I have Energy classic speakers for the rears and I'm just waiting for the P143s to go on sale...I just can't pay the same price for P143s and P163s without getting the P163s which are too large for my stands.
Thanks for the feedback steve. I feel the same way about the surrounds, though the Polk OWM3 that Rob linked to look interesting to me as they would be easier to wall mount at a more suitable location without being too obtrusive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425 View Post
Your room is huge and very open, almost 5,000 cu. ft.!!! What is your absolute max subwoofer budget? Even the Dayton Sub-1200 would struggle in your room.

Smaller speakers need a higher crossover as they don't go that low. You could try either the Infinity p143's or Polk OWM3's. They are better than the Logitech's and can go lower to around 100hz but they aren't perfect. You might be able to get away with a 80 hz crossover with them
Thanks rob. Yes, the living area is huge and my wife and I really love the open layout which is why we bought the house. Unfortunately it is pretty terrible for HT purposes! Max budget at the moment is around $100-$120. I could save up and push it to $300 at most though it's going to be hard to justify to my wife since she wouldn't notice the difference between a $50 sub and a $1000 sub. Heck, she doesn't notice/care about 1080p v/s SD video quality...and she has 20/20 vision!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post
+1, you can not beat these for the price.
Thanks for the recommendation. This looks great for the P163s. Do you think it would be okay to have the speakers clamped a bit towards their rear so they protrude further away from the wall? I need the speaker front to be 15" from the wall so that it isn't shadowed by a bookshelf and the TV.

shadyJ, thanks for the frequency graph plot showing the variation in response with off-axis angles. Looks like I'll have to go for something like the pc251 as my TV cabinet doesn't have the clearance to allow me to have the speaker sit upright, and having one upright above the TV is going to look pretty terrible from an aesthetics perspective.
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