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post #1 of 18 Old 07-06-2014, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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First Time Setup, advice appreciated

Hi everybody, first post here!

I'm building my first HT setup. Budget is (of course) a concern, but I'd like it to be relatively upgradeable--I'd rather spend a little more money now on a system that I can keep and/or repurpose rather than a little less money on something I'll have to toss.

So with that in mind I'm zeroing in on the Emotiva Fusion 8100 as a receiver (initially I was thinking separates, but the 8100 seems like the best of both worlds) and the Hsu Research Hybrid 2 or Hybrid 3 3.1 setup.

I just had a couple of questions that I was hoping to get some feedback on:

1) Is the Emotiva a good match for the Hsu system?

2) Right now the HT is in a fairly small living room, however as I mentioned I want to be able to expand over time, including into a larger space. So I don't need floorstanding speakers now; but will the Hsu speakers do well in combination with, say, a pair of Monitor 9 (or similar) floorstanding speakers, as satellites?

3) Assuming I do go with this setup, or at least with the Hsu speakers, I'm having a really tough time deciding between their VTF-2 and VTF-3 subwoofers. The difference between the two (in the package deals) is just $150, which seems worth it... but I'm curious what others have to say.
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post #2 of 18 Old 07-06-2014, 07:35 AM
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1. yes.
2. yes.
3. I agree with you.
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post #3 of 18 Old 07-06-2014, 07:36 AM
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Yes. You could use the HSUs for satellites.

Subwoofer performance is very much dependent on the total room size, including any additional open areas. Get the VTF-3 since it will work better in future spaces if they are larger.

I don't know anything about the 8100. I kinda doubt it's better then the Denon X2000 which is currently on sale. I'd use the difference in money and spend a little more on the Ascend CMT-340 SE and matching center.

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post #4 of 18 Old 07-06-2014, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help!

My understanding is the Denon lacks pre-outs. One of the reasons I like the Emotiva is that I can add a dedicated amp later for a 5.1 or 7.1 setup. The audio quality seems roughly comparable otherwise, although the current price on Amazon is admittedly a steal. (However I'm out of the country until the end of August, so who knows if it will still be available then).

The Ascend does look interesting, and I recently discovered EMP Tek. How might these compare to each other?
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post #5 of 18 Old 07-06-2014, 09:10 AM
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Depends on which EMP Teks you are talking about. The towers? Or the bookshelves?

As for the amp pre-out, could be the Denon's Audyssey MultEQ XT will work better than Emotiva's room correction, so you would get better SQ from the Denon. Could be worth the trade.

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post #6 of 18 Old 07-06-2014, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I am indeed talking about bookshelves--there isn't really space for towers in our current living arrangement. Also, I figure quality bookshelves in this price range will make fine surround speakers later on.

I have to say, I'm very impressed with what I've seen about the Ascends. Unfortunately trying both out is relatively out of the question, so I'm going to have to make a decision without an audition.

The main question I have about the Ascends (CMT-340) is that they seem to want a stand. How necessary is a stand, really? Would it be a problem if they're freestanding on the same level as the TV?
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post #7 of 18 Old 07-06-2014, 11:41 PM
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The CMT-340 SEs don't have to have a stand.

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post #8 of 18 Old 07-06-2014, 11:45 PM
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The Emotiva looks like it could be good. One thing to like about it is definitely the pre-outs. However there are other similarly priced receivers with pre-outs as well. The Hsu speakers are good ones, and everything I have heard about the Ascends sounds good too. I doubt you will need a separate amplifier for either. As for the VTF2 vs the VTF3, the VTF3 has roughly a 3 dB output advantage over the VTF2, which is 50% louder, so a 30% increase in subwoofer budget nets you 50% more performance, and that seems like a good deal to me. Note the VTF3's deep bass advantage is greater than 50% headroom advantage. Also note that the VTF15h offers double the performance of the VTF3, or a 100% performance increase, for 80% greater cost. It seems to me that the best performance/cost ratio belongs to the VTF3.

If you want a future proofed setup, one thing to keep in mind is the new Dolby Atmos enabled receivers which were announced recently. Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer, and Onkyo will be coming out with Atmos receivers. One thing to consider with Atmos is the need for ceiling speakers. As I noted recently, Hsu's speakers are ideally positioned for an Atmos system due to their in-wall speakers which look like they would function very well for in-ceilings for an Atmos system due to the properties of their speakers. The new Atmos systems support either two or four over-head channels, depending on AVR model. One thing you will not want with an Atmos system is bipole or dipole type surround speakers. Another thing to keep in mind about systems with built in Atmos is they will all have HDMI 2.0 specs, unlike the Emotiva which has 1.4. HDMI 2.0 supports 4k 3d and 4k at 60 FPS, two very nice features. The receivers with built in Atmos will come out in August and September.

Also, regarding the Ascend CMT340s, you do not need a mount for those, they are essentially bookshelf speakers, just large ones.
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post #9 of 18 Old 07-07-2014, 04:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback!

I'm not under any illusions of being able to "future proof"--expandability is enough. One of the main reasons I like the Emotiva is that its foundation is their UMC-200, so I can repurpose it as a straight-up 5.1 preamp (actually 7.1 but no PEQ on the rear surrounds) if/when the need arises.

On a related note, Atmos looks fantastic, but if I can afford a setup with in-ceiling speakers I'm sure I'll be in the market for a proper Atmos-enabled receiver (the same goes for 4K, which I simply can't afford right now). For $400 the Denon might be too good to pass up, but at its regular price point of $700 I think I'd prefer the Emotiva--my primary concern is sound quality. Do you have any other recommendations in this range?

Concerning speakers, the Ascends are very enticing. The only half-qualm I have is that the Hsu speakers are more competitively priced as a package. As far as I can tell, the VF-3 doesn't just have the best price/performance ratio in Dr. Hsu's lineup, it seems to be the best overall value in its class. The problem is, it's a fair bit more expensive to purchase on its own. Generally it seems like the best setup in this range is 2x340 mains, 1x340 center, and the VF-3.... but that runs a good $400/25% more than the Hsu package with the HB-1s. Of course, that is roughly the difference in price with the Ascends, which appear to be strictly superior speakers. So, maybe worth it. I suppose I could make up most of the difference if I spend a bit less for an SVS sub, which people seem to think highly of, but I kind of have my heart set on the VF-3.
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post #10 of 18 Old 07-07-2014, 08:26 AM
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Or you could get the Rythmik LV12R sub from Ascend. There's a package price that gives you a discount (throw it all in the cart and see).

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post #11 of 18 Old 07-07-2014, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raskolnik View Post
One of the main reasons I like the Emotiva is that its foundation is their UMC-200,

if I spend a bit less for an SVS sub, which people seem to think highly of, but I kind of have my heart set on the VF-3.
The Emotiva does look like a good option - and not everyone will prefer or desire Atmos

The HSU VTF-3 sub, is a good option

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post #12 of 18 Old 07-07-2014, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah after I wrote this, the Rhythmik crossed my mind. It's discounted by $30 combined with the 340's. And it ships for free (vs. $99 for the Hsu).

I saw one of your answers to a question on another thread, that you thought the Hsu "hybrid" design was a bit gimmicky. But in general it seems like the VTF-3 is a superior sub. Or is it? (Or, even if it is, is it $250 of superior?)
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post #13 of 18 Old 07-07-2014, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raskolnik View Post
Yeah after I wrote this, the Rhythmik crossed my mind. It's discounted by $30 combined with the 340's. And it ships for free (vs. $99 for the Hsu).

I saw one of your answers to a question on another thread, that you thought the Hsu "hybrid" design was a bit gimmicky. But in general it seems like the VTF-3 is a superior sub. Or is it? (Or, even if it is, is it $250 of superior?)

Yea. I think if you want a sealed sub, then you buy a sealed sub designed to be one, rather than a ported design which allows you to plug up the port.

The VTF-3 and the SVS PB-2000 would generally be considered to be the same class of subs. The LV12R would probably be a step below in overall max SPL, but similar in SQ and close in low end frequency extension. So yeah. The LV12R is really good for it's price; the others are a little bit better. Since you have a small living room, probably wouldn't notice the difference in SPL. If you move to a different place, then get another LV12R. Dual subs are where it's at for home theater since they have the potential to provide a smoother frequency response through a larger listening area.
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post #14 of 18 Old 07-07-2014, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the clarification.

The room is a little strange, the place is a loft so there is a lot of vertical space, and the living room opens out to both the kitchen (behind) and the upstairs bedroom. I would estimate something in the neighborhood of 800 square feet total contiguous ground area, but a deceptive 800 ft^2 because of the added volume. Do you think the LV12R would comfortably manage this kind of environment?
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post #15 of 18 Old 07-07-2014, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raskolnik View Post
Thanks for the clarification.

The room is a little strange, the place is a loft so there is a lot of vertical space, and the living room opens out to both the kitchen (behind) and the upstairs bedroom. I would estimate something in the neighborhood of 800 square feet total contiguous ground area, but a deceptive 800 ft^2 because of the added volume. Do you think the LV12R would comfortably manage this kind of environment?
If you can swing it, the VTF3 MK4 would be the best choice of the options already discussed, IMO. Output levels and tuning abilities give you the best possible options to get a good fit to your room (or any future room), which is a very difficult environment for good bass response. You might also consider near-field placement for the sub, so you can get the most out of it. However, if you do that, you will probably have to set the crossover at 60 Hz (to reduce the localization effect). In that case, be sure that your main speakers have bass response (-3dB) down to around 50Hz in order to get a good integration with the sub at that relatively low crossover point.

Dr. HSU is well known for customer support after the sale. Be assured that they will be very glad to help you tune it to your environment so you get the most out of your purchase.

Last edited by RayGuy; 07-07-2014 at 01:01 PM.
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post #16 of 18 Old 07-07-2014, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raskolnik View Post
Thanks for the clarification.

The room is a little strange, the place is a loft so there is a lot of vertical space, and the living room opens out to both the kitchen (behind) and the upstairs bedroom. I would estimate something in the neighborhood of 800 square feet total contiguous ground area, but a deceptive 800 ft^2 because of the added volume. Do you think the LV12R would comfortably manage this kind of environment?
What's the rough cubic feet? That's a factor to consider. It's volume that is more important than sq footage.

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post #17 of 18 Old 07-07-2014, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
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So in a weird way this may be decided due to a more or less totally random factor. My wife is Greek and there's a non-zero chance we'll be moving to Europe sometime in the next five-ish years. Which means I would prefer equipment that can handle both 120V and 240V, i.e. equipment that can handle an international relocation. The product information page over at Rhythmik makes a special note that the LV12R is not rated for 220-240V. I emailed the company and, sure enough, dual voltage is only available on their more expensive subs.

This isn't in and of itself a dealbreaker, but it is a concern. Similarly, the SVS PB-2000 (which looks like the other major option here) seems to not be properly dual-voltage.

I suppose I could take this question to the subwoofer subforum, but do you all have any insight on the PB-2000 vs. the VTF-3?
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post #18 of 18 Old 07-08-2014, 06:53 AM
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I think the VTF-3 is your best bet for dual voltage.

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