Best home theater fronts+center speakers for $2000 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Best home theater fronts+center speakers for $2000

Given:
- To be used for 100% movies
- 15sqm bedroom
- have SVS PC13 Ultra subs
- have surrounds
- have Denon 3312
- I want it to be able to handle loud volumes such that I won't be afraid that on loud scenes my speakers will get destroyed (hence people turning down the volume)
- I need the fronts to be bookshelves size (no tower)
- Max dimension for center = height(9.5") x depth(15") x width(25"). For monitors, width(8.8), depth(15"), height(any but not tower)

Need fronts+center. Thinking of paradigm but is there anything else better for the price?

Last edited by joms; 07-12-2014 at 06:15 PM. Reason: Added dimensions
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post #2 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 07:04 AM
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My first choice would be the PSB Image T6 speakers, with a C4 center speaker.

The T6 was chosen as Speaker of the Year by both Stereophile and The Absolute Sound magazines, and they are excellent.

I had them for two years, and they are hard to beat for the price range of under $2000.
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post #3 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 07:54 AM
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@joms , I noticed you've given your room area in metric. Where are you located?

Also, what make/model are your surrounds?
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post #4 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post
@joms , I noticed you've given your room area in metric. Where are you located?

Also, what make/model are your surrounds?
I'm from the Philippines. Surrounds are mission. I can't really touch the surrounds right now.

Anyway I want to change my mission fronts+center because I am having a very hard time listening to dialogue. I often turn up the volume during soft dialogues then turn it down again when action starts up.
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post #5 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post
My first choice would be the PSB Image T6 speakers, with a C4 center speaker.

The T6 was chosen as Speaker of the Year by both Stereophile and The Absolute Sound magazines, and they are excellent.

I had them for two years, and they are hard to beat for the price range of under $2000.
I'm sorry I forgot to say that I need the fronts to be bookshelf size. You think PSB is better than paradigm?
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post #6 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 09:01 AM
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A little over budget, but what about 3 KEF LS50's
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post #7 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by joms View Post
I'm from the Philippines. Surrounds are mission. I can't really touch the surrounds right now.

Anyway I want to change my mission fronts+center because I am having a very hard time listening to dialogue. I often turn up the volume during soft dialogues then turn it down again when action starts up.


Hi Joms, $2000 for the front speakers will give you plenty of options....especially since you are going with monitors. I see you already own an SVS subwoofer. The SVS Ultra Monitors go for $500 each, and the center channel costs around $800. That's $1800 total....not a bad route to take


The center channel is the most important speaker for Home Theater, aside from a Sub. It looks like your AVR has more than enough power to drive your system. Your AVR should have the functionality to increase the volume of each channel. Just raise the center up a few digits and you should be good to go. Let me know what you think...
Bri
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post #8 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joms View Post
Given:
- To be used for 100% movies
- 15sqm bedroom
- have SVS PC13 Ultra subs
- have surrounds
- have Denon 3312
- I need the fronts to be bookshelves

Need fronts+center. Thinking of paradigm but is there anything else better for the price?



Paradigm speakers are great, I had them for years ( studio 100s ) until I upgraded. There are other, perhaps better options, for the price though. Tons of choices available at your price point. I'm sure you will sift through an enormity of suggestions.....we're all glad to help!
Brian
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post #9 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 10:19 AM
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RBH, Revel, KEF, PSB, NHT, Atlantic Technology, Phase Technology.

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post #10 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by joms View Post
I'm sorry I forgot to say that I need the fronts to be bookshelf size. You think PSB is better than paradigm?

I do, yes... in most cases.

You could go with a pair of PSB Image B6 speakers, and a C4 center speaker.

In the US, that costs around $1000.

Another very nice combination would be a pair of Focal 706V or 806V speakers with a CC700 center speaker.
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post #11 of 29 Old 07-10-2014, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the posts.

crn3371 - I've looked into the Kef but it seems its more for audio than video? Would that fare well for pure home theater applications? Would it be able to handle very loud volume of a sci-fi or war film with bullets firing and such? I just want to enjoy and relax watching the movie without fear of turning down the volume thinking if the speakers would get damaged with the high sound.

commsysman - I checked out the PSB Image speakers and the C4 is only a 2-way speaker with two 4" driver. Why would you say that this is better than a big Paradigm center speaker which is 3-way and has 2x 7-inch woofer, a 4" mids and tweeter? If i'm going to use this for movies only (100% of the time), won't the bigger center speaker give me a huge advantage over the smaller ones? Specially when I watch action films and crank up the volume?

The reason I am looking at the Paradigms now (and the Klipsch) is because the first thing I did was to look for a company that offers big center speakers. I would go for the CC690 if it would only fit. (but sadly no). This is the right approach im doing right? Center speakers first as its the most important speaker for movies?

I will still research on the PSB that you've mentioned but i'm having a hard time believing that for home theater / movies purposes, a small center 2-way (4") would beat a very big center 3-way (7").

Thanks again.
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post #12 of 29 Old 07-11-2014, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joms View Post
Thanks for the posts.

crn3371 - I've looked into the Kef but it seems its more for audio than video? Would that fare well for pure home theater applications? Would it be able to handle very loud volume of a sci-fi or war film with bullets firing and such? I just want to enjoy and relax watching the movie without fear of turning down the volume thinking if the speakers would get damaged with the high sound.
I think you meant to say more for music than movies...don't worry about that. If you buy a good set of speakers it will sound good for both music and movies.

commsysman - I checked out the PSB Image speakers and the C4 is only a 2-way speaker with two 4" driver. Why would you say that this is better than a big Paradigm center speaker which is 3-way and has 2x 7-inch woofer, a 4" mids and tweeter? If i'm going to use this for movies only (100% of the time), won't the bigger center speaker give me a huge advantage over the smaller ones? Specially when I watch action films and crank up the volume?
You are correct.

The reason I am looking at the Paradigms now (and the Klipsch) is because the first thing I did was to look for a company that offers big center speakers. I would go for the CC690 if it would only fit. (but sadly no). This is the right approach im doing right? Center speakers first as its the most important speaker for movies?
Yes- You have awesome subs and need a potent front stage. About 80% of the movie's sound is delivered by the center. The center and fronts should all match as well. Surrounds are of lesser concern. ( tweeter should match )

I will still research on the PSB that you've mentioned but i'm having a hard time believing that for home theater / movies purposes, a small center 2-way (4") would beat a very big center 3-way (7").

Thanks again.

Hey Joms,


That $200 PSB micro center would sound like a mouse compared to the larger Paradigm Reference center channels. If you want to go with PSB as your front three....here's an option if just found:
Seems like an outstanding deal....these PSB's sell new for around $1300 EACH.

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/mon...arden-grove-ca


My friend upgraded to Paradigm's huge signature center....powered by a Rotel 500watt Class D amplifier. The jump in performance was dramatic over his previous gear.
His previous centers included Polk, Klipsch, and then a mid-level ( $500 ) B&W with twin 5.25" drivers. The B&W's performed well, but lets not forget the price difference. The B&W's were a fraction the cost of the 'digm. ( they sounded like a fraction of the cost too )

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post #13 of 29 Old 07-11-2014, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Deckard97 View Post
Hey Joms,


That $200 PSB micro center would sound like a mouse compared to the larger Paradigm Reference center channels. If you want to go with PSB as your front three....here's an option if just found:
Seems like an outstanding deal....these PSB's sell new for around $1300 EACH.

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/mon...arden-grove-ca


My friend upgraded to Paradigm's huge signature center....powered by a Rotel 500watt Class D amplifier. The jump in performance was dramatic over his previous gear.
His previous centers included Polk, Klipsch, and then a mid-level ( $500 ) B&W with twin 5.25" drivers. The B&W's performed well, but lets not forget the price difference. The B&W's were a fraction the cost of the 'digm. ( they sounded like a fraction of the cost too )
Deckard - Thanks. I'll look into it but i'm not really sold yet in getting PSB as my front three. So far, i'm still looking on alternatives to Paradigm CC590. Is this the best center for movies that cost below $1300 and dimensions not bigger than 9.5" height, 25" width, 15" depth?

Also if someone knows, is there a dramatic difference between a CC-590v3 and CC-590v5 ?

Thanks
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post #14 of 29 Old 07-11-2014, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by joms View Post
Deckard - Thanks. I'll look into it but i'm not really sold yet in getting PSB as my front three. So far, i'm still looking on alternatives to Paradigm CC590. Is this the best center for movies that cost below $1300 and dimensions not bigger than 9.5" height, 25" width, 15" depth?
Also if someone knows, is there a dramatic difference between a CC-590v3 and CC-590v5 ?




Thanks
I had owned the cc-590v3, and listed to the v5 in a showroom. Not much different.
What don't you like about that PSB deal? That's the best deal you can hope to find. Those speakers sell for over 1300 each,....and it will fit within your dimensions. I would do more research on those before someone buys them....and the 3rd monitor can be used as a center channel ( laid on its side )


let me know
B

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post #15 of 29 Old 07-11-2014, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I had owned the cc-590v3, and listed to the v5 in a showroom. Not much different.
What don't you like about that PSB deal? That's the best deal you can hope to find. Those speakers sell for over 1300 each,....and it will fit within your dimensions. I would do more research on those before someone buys them....and the 3rd monitor can be used as a center channel ( laid on its side )


let me know
B
The PSB CHS40 has a height of 11" when i lay it down as a center speaker. I can only afford upto around 9.5" height else it won't fit in the cabinet. If only my cabinet can fit 10" then I would definitely go with the Paradigm CC-690 right away.

Would you know how the CC590v3 compares to the CC570v3? I am looking at reviews of the CC570v3 as its the only one available in google.

Thanks again
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post #16 of 29 Old 07-12-2014, 05:10 AM
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The PSB CHS40 has a height of 11" when i lay it down as a center speaker. I can only afford upto around 9.5" height else it won't fit in the cabinet. If only my cabinet can fit 10" then I would definitely go with the Paradigm CC-690 right away.

Would you know how the CC590v3 compares to the CC570v3? I am looking at reviews of the CC570v3 as its the only one available in google.

Thanks again
Yes, the CC-690 is an awesome center speaker....and it's 3 feet wide. How were you going to squeeze that in?


Since you seem dead set on Paradigm, I'd go with one of theirs...they will all sound very good.
But I'd still get rid of the cabinet and get a huge CC-690.


Good Luck my friend!
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post #17 of 29 Old 07-12-2014, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joms View Post
- To be used for 100% movies


- I want it to be able to handle loud volumes such that I won't be afraid that on loud scenes my speakers will get destroyed (hence people turning down the volume)


- I need the fronts to be bookshelves size (no tower)

I'd approach this from a different perspective.
The above recommendations may be fine loudspeakers, especially for music. However hitting the stated objectives of 100% movies (where design attributes like pattern control, and dialog intelligibility are paramount), there's dramatically better suited offerings than suggested above.


Handling the demanding peak energy often associated with soundtracks, without fear of compression, harmonic distortion, or even burning up a driver, in a bookshelf sized loudspeaker, for a budget of $2k, I'd point you toward QSC's K8. I have four of them in surround duty. Prior to mounting them up high for surround use, I hooked them up in LCR fashion in a brief experiment. They blew me away with their smoothness, absolute total lack of non-linearity regardless of how loud I'd dare to play them.


Anyway, a brief experiment ended up being weeks ... and this is when I had my brand new Seaton Catalysts in the next room still in boxes. I enjoyed the sound of the K8s that much. Eventually, of course I set up my new LCRs, and moved the K8s to sides and rears.


You'll never worry about their robustness, bi-amplified, with 1kw on board and DSP aligned and contoured blending of the drivers, these would suit your stated objectives much better than any of the above suggestions. These would give you all the crystal clear dynamic capability you could ask for, with dialog clarity and the ability to handle the big explosive special effects without strain.


There's a different value proposition in pro audio offerings, relative to home audio products. The money is spent not on aesthetic concerns or marketing viability. The money is concentrated largely on performance, and if performance requirements trump appearance concerns, it's a win/win.




There's others that would suit these goals too. One that immediately comes to mind is JTR's single 8. It's passive, but it's well designed, very high quality driver and powerfully capable. Also, diysoundgroup's kits are extraordinary value and performers. AVS'er Erich, offers kits, where all you do is assemble CNC cut wood panels. These compete with products many times their price.




If you have any questions about QSC's K8s I'll be glad to help.
Best of luck

------------------------------------
Flat, Deep, Clean, Linear, and Loud
------------------------------------
Active 16.8kw, 7.3 system
(3)Seaton Cat12C up front, (4)QSC K8 sides/rears
(2)Seaton SubM-HP, (4)18" IB
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post #18 of 29 Old 07-12-2014, 11:48 AM
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I'd approach this from a different perspective.
The above recommendations may be fine loudspeakers, especially for music. However hitting the stated objectives of 100% movies (where design attributes like pattern control, and dialog intelligibility are paramount), there's dramatically better suited offerings than suggested above.


Handling the demanding peak energy often associated with soundtracks, without fear of compression, harmonic distortion, or even burning up a driver, in a bookshelf sized loudspeaker, for a budget of $2k, I'd point you toward QSC's K8. I have four of them in surround duty. Prior to mounting them up high for surround use, I hooked them up in LCR fashion in a brief experiment. They blew me away with their smoothness, absolute total lack of non-linearity regardless of how loud I'd dare to play them.


Anyway, a brief experiment ended up being weeks ... and this is when I had my brand new Seaton Catalysts in the next room still in boxes. I enjoyed the sound of the K8s that much. Eventually, of course I set up my new LCRs, and moved the K8s to sides and rears.


You'll never worry about their robustness, bi-amplified, with 1kw on board and DSP aligned and contoured blending of the drivers, these would suit your stated objectives much better than any of the above suggestions. These would give you all the crystal clear dynamic capability you could ask for, with dialog clarity and the ability to handle the big explosive special effects without strain.


There's a different value proposition in pro audio offerings, relative to home audio products. The money is spent not on aesthetic concerns or marketing viability. The money is concentrated largely on performance, and if performance requirements trump appearance concerns, it's a win/win.




There's others that would suit these goals too. One that immediately comes to mind is JTR's single 8. It's passive, but it's well designed, very high quality driver and powerfully capable. Also, diysoundgroup's kits are extraordinary value and performers. AVS'er Erich, offers kits, where all you do is assemble CNC cut wood panels. These compete with products many times their price.




If you have any questions about QSC's K8s I'll be glad to help.
Best of luck
The K8's look to offer astounding bang for your buck.


I bet you are a DIY guy..
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post #19 of 29 Old 07-12-2014, 12:06 PM
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I would throw the Monitor Audio Silver series into the discussion.
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post #20 of 29 Old 07-12-2014, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Deckard97 View Post
The K8's look to offer astounding bang for your buck.


I bet you are a DIY guy..
They're an ok value.
Most importantly they sound great, and are ideally suited for this application. They sound like a well executed HiFi loudspeaker, that stays clean and clear even at high SPL.

DIY guy? As one can see in my sig, only 1 out of 10 of my speakers are DIY. That can't be seen because its an IB sub, in my attic, with a manifold venting through my ceiling.

As both a FOH a engineer, and a lifelong audio enthusiast, attending trade shows etc, I've been very fortunate to experience systems of every conceivable size and type. In the studio, live sound, home music systems and of course incredible home theater systems.

I share that for a little context for my recommendation above. When I first encountered the QSC K8, and then an extended audition as LCRs in my system, I quickly realized that these are very well suited for home theater applications.

The high frequency compression driver, is acoustically loaded into a very shallow waveguide. This wave guide allows a seamless integration through the crossover region shared between the LF driver and the HF driver.

In other words, the shallow waveguide assures the same horizontal pattern control through the crossover region ... thus matching the upper octaves of the 8" LF driver with the lowest octaves of the HF driver. QSC offers this throughout this line, the K8, K10, and the K12, ... each possessing matching pattern control with three different waveguides.

Ok, the reason I shared that is due to the shallow waveguide, the K8 doesn't have any harshness or any of the typical artifacts or characteristics that often accompanies a poorly executed compression driver and horn. As stated, the waveguide is very shallow, and the high frequency sound is smooth and clear ... and will never encounter the typical compression and distortions of a dome tweeter at its limits.


Best of luck
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post #21 of 29 Old 07-12-2014, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FOH View Post
They're an ok value.
Most importantly they sound great, and are ideally suited for this application. They sound like a well executed HiFi loudspeaker, that stays clean and clear even at high SPL.

DIY guy? As one can see in my sig, only 1 out of 10 of my speakers are DIY. That can't be seen because its an IB sub, in my attic, with a manifold venting through my ceiling.

As both a FOH a engineer, and a lifelong audio enthusiast, attending trade shows etc, I've been very fortunate to experience systems of every conceivable size and type. In the studio, live sound, home music systems and of course incredible home theater systems.

I share that for a little context for my recommendation above. When I first encountered the QSC K8, and then an extended audition as LCRs in my system, I quickly realized that these are very well suited for home theater applications.

The high frequency compression driver, is acoustically loaded into a very shallow waveguide. This wave guide allows a seamless integration through the crossover region shared between the LF driver and the HF driver.

In other words, the shallow waveguide assures the same horizontal pattern control through the crossover region ... thus matching the upper octaves of the 8" LF driver with the lowest octaves of the HF driver. QSC offers this throughout this line, the K8, K10, and the K12, ... each possessing matching pattern control with three different waveguides.

Ok, the reason I shared that is due to the shallow waveguide, the K8 doesn't have any harshness or any of the typical artifacts or characteristics that often accompanies a poorly executed compression driver and horn. As stated, the waveguide is very shallow, and the high frequency sound is smooth and clear ... and will never encounter the typical compression and distortions of a dome tweeter at its limits.


Best of luck
FOH - thanks for the suggestion but QSC K8 are just too big specially if used as centers. I edited my initial post to include the max dimensions since I will be placing the speakers in a cabinet type enclosure.

By the way, I actually have a QSC K10 (pair) which I use in our living room when we sing karaoke/videoke during our parties. I set it up using a Shure Sb7 mic running to a Focusrite ISA One to a Presonus 16.0.2 mixer. Sounds nice and it can surely handle loud music. If only it were small enough to fit my enclosure.... =)

dbo - ill look into the monitor audio. thanks
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Originally Posted by FOH View Post
They're an ok value.
Most importantly they sound great, and are ideally suited for this application. They sound like a well executed HiFi loudspeaker, that stays clean and clear even at high SPL.

DIY guy? As one can see in my sig, only 1 out of 10 of my speakers are DIY. That can't be seen because its an IB sub, in my attic, with a manifold venting through my ceiling.

As both a FOH a engineer, and a lifelong audio enthusiast, attending trade shows etc, I've been very fortunate to experience systems of every conceivable size and type. In the studio, live sound, home music systems and of course incredible home theater systems.

I share that for a little context for my recommendation above. When I first encountered the QSC K8, and then an extended audition as LCRs in my system, I quickly realized that these are very well suited for home theater applications.

The high frequency compression driver, is acoustically loaded into a very shallow waveguide. This wave guide allows a seamless integration through the crossover region shared between the LF driver and the HF driver.

In other words, the shallow waveguide assures the same horizontal pattern control through the crossover region ... thus matching the upper octaves of the 8" LF driver with the lowest octaves of the HF driver. QSC offers this throughout this line, the K8, K10, and the K12, ... each possessing matching pattern control with three different waveguides.

Ok, the reason I shared that is due to the shallow waveguide, the K8 doesn't have any harshness or any of the typical artifacts or characteristics that often accompanies a poorly executed compression driver and horn. As stated, the waveguide is very shallow, and the high frequency sound is smooth and clear ... and will never encounter the typical compression and distortions of a dome tweeter at its limits.


Best of luck



It sounds like you know a tad more than me about Speakers.


During your trade shows and various experiences what do you think about PBN Montana Loudspeakers? They are always at CES and related shows so it's a good bet you have heard them. Do you think their speakers are worth the price? I'm considering upgrading my eps2's and going with the Compact reference.....but the jump in price is enormous.


If you had a $18,000 budget for main speakers what would you recommend? I listen to music and movies 50/50, my room is small 12' x 12'. The speakers need to be full range, I have no plans for a subwoofer. The towers would be powered by a recently refurbished Krell FPB300c. Let me know your thoughts...
thanks,


Bri
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post #23 of 29 Old 07-13-2014, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Deckard97 View Post
...

If you had a $18,000 budget for main speakers what would you recommend? I listen to music and movies 50/50, my room is small 12' x 12'. The speakers need to be full range, I have no plans for a subwoofer. The towers would be powered by a recently refurbished Krell FPB300c. Let me know your thoughts...
thanks,


Bri
I know the question was directed to FOH, but I'll bite...

1. Sell the Krell!

2. Take a holiday to Melbourne, Australia and return home with a pair of these:


Quote:
ACTIVE = MORE
More dynamics
More power
More transparent
More flexibility
More enjoyment

^ I think FOH will co-sign.
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Last edited by GIEGAR; 07-13-2014 at 04:56 AM.
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post #24 of 29 Old 07-13-2014, 01:51 AM
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I've had 3 ascend sierra 2's $2186 since monday... simply amazing. As good as they are for home theater I haven't been able to stop listening to music since they arrived. For the price I think the raal ribbons, and seas woofer are going to be pretty hard to beat. They blow away my swan diva 6.1 towers.

I agree with other sierra owners that these are excellent low volume speakers. I have no problem with dialog at low volumes. My diva c3 center is a much bigger speaker than the sierra, and I also had no problem with dialog through that speaker, but dialog through the sierra is much more natural sounding, and does not at all have hyped mids like the diva. In comparison the sierra sounds like someone is speaking in the room.

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post #25 of 29 Old 07-13-2014, 01:15 PM
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Have you considered JTR? Awesome speakers that really excel in the HT dept.
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post #26 of 29 Old 07-13-2014, 01:23 PM
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;-) /end of discussion.
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Krell Evolution 900e x 7

Bose Jewel speakers.

 

Jealous of my speakers?

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post #27 of 29 Old 07-13-2014, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions but I don't really like the sound of Bose. I'll look into JTR. =)
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post #28 of 29 Old 07-14-2014, 07:18 AM
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+1 on the JTRs (as I'd recommended in an earlier post)

The JTR Single 8 is highly capable. Unless things have changed, it's equipped with a superb BMS (Germany) point source coaxial driver, with a carbon fiber 8 inch cone. JTR products have an outstanding reputation, and they're equipped with the finest drivers available.

Jeff Permanium, owner of JTR, can customize the finish and offers the S8 in different size form factors ... afaik. Simply call him and find out his recommendations for your situation. He'll likely think of aspects that you've not considered, he does it every day ... great guy.

For a bass managed HT system, that needs clarity and power for demanding contemporary soundtracks, in a compact bookshelf size, ... they don't get much better than that.

My LCRs are equipped with an 8" coaxial section from ~200hz on up. Conical point source approach, possesses some nice inherent playback characteristics.


JTR is enjoying much success as of late.
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post #29 of 29 Old 07-14-2014, 07:50 AM
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Goldenear AON 3 and a SuperCenter XL.
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