Another one of those which ones should I buy questions... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 07-11-2014, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Another one of those which ones should I buy questions...

I have a new Sony STR-DN1040 amp that I bought to use primarily as a HDMI hub and basic home theater manager. So far, pretty good, using a 2.0 setup with a couple of fairly low end speakers, Energy CB-10s, that I borrowed.

So now, against my earlier more frugal impulses, I want to get a higher end speaker setup, though still modest and economical by the standards of many. I want two front/bookshelf speakers and probably a center speaker, too, to get to 2.1. I'm willing to spend up to about $350-375 for a pair of bookshelf speakers and maybe $300 for a center speaker. Not sure if that's an appropriate allocation of speaker funds in terms of front vs. center. I'm open to advice.

The usage is mostly TV via cable box, Roku, DVD with some, but not a lot of music. The kids play video games with an XBox and such, but that's not a huge priority. They're fine with any setup that I'll come up with. The programming runs from sports to HBO type TV series and the like. We watch some movies, too. Not a lot of adventure, high noise level, rattle the house kinda stuff. That's not our thing. It's more art films, cable series, sports, and a good variety of other movies, from popular to foreign to all sorts of stuff. Just, as mentioned, not a lot of volume and bombast. Some, not a lot. Music tends toward jazz, classical, Latin, singer/songwriter stuff, some pop and rock, but again, not on the heavy metal, ear-splitting side of things.

It's worth pointing out that playing at high volume all the time isn't what I'm looking for, either. Quite the contrary. So speakers that sound good at moderate volume would be great. I want a natural, neutral, clear sound, nothing excessively bright. I don't need heavy bass, but I'd like a good balance from low to high.

The room is smallish. Maybe about 18x14 or so.

I'm looking at something like the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 and one of the center speakers in that series, the CC or CS. I've never heard them, though. But it's a thought and in the price range.

Any recommendations as to which speakers I might look at for this purpose? It's not that easy these days to walk into a store and hear all this stuff.

I'm in the US, btw.

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post #2 of 31 Old 07-12-2014, 11:09 AM
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Wharfdale makes nice speakers, so the Diamonds are probably a good value at that price. A few others you might want to consider are:

  • XTZ 93.22 {these can be positioned horizontally or vertically, so you can use one as a center}
  • HSU HB-1 and HC-1
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post #3 of 31 Old 07-12-2014, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maigre View Post
I have a new Sony STR-DN1040 amp that I bought to use primarily as a HDMI hub and basic home theater manager. So far, pretty good, using a 2.0 setup with a couple of fairly low end speakers, Energy CB-10s, that I borrowed.

So now, against my earlier more frugal impulses, I want to get a higher end speaker setup, though still modest and economical by the standards of many. I want two front/bookshelf speakers and probably a center speaker, too, to get to 2.1. I'm willing to spend up to about $350-375 for a pair of bookshelf speakers and maybe $300 for a center speaker. Not sure if that's an appropriate allocation of speaker funds in terms of front vs. center. I'm open to advice.

The usage is mostly TV via cable box, Roku, DVD with some, but not a lot of music. The kids play video games with an XBox and such, but that's not a huge priority. They're fine with any setup that I'll come up with. The programming runs from sports to HBO type TV series and the like. We watch some movies, too. Not a lot of adventure, high noise level, rattle the house kinda stuff. That's not our thing. It's more art films, cable series, sports, and a good variety of other movies, from popular to foreign to all sorts of stuff. Just, as mentioned, not a lot of volume and bombast. Some, not a lot. Music tends toward jazz, classical, Latin, singer/songwriter stuff, some pop and rock, but again, not on the heavy metal, ear-splitting side of things.

It's worth pointing out that playing at high volume all the time isn't what I'm looking for, either. Quite the contrary. So speakers that sound good at moderate volume would be great. I want a natural, neutral, clear sound, nothing excessively bright. I don't need heavy bass, but I'd like a good balance from low to high.

The room is smallish. Maybe about 18x14 or so.

I'm looking at something like the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 and one of the center speakers in that series, the CC or CS. I've never heard them, though. But it's a thought and in the price range.

Any recommendations as to which speakers I might look at for this purpose? It's not that easy these days to walk into a store and hear all this stuff.

I'm in the US, btw.
Given your description, take a gander at NHT speakers. They tend towards a very neutral sound and may be what you are looking for.
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post #4 of 31 Old 07-13-2014, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maigre View Post
I have a new Sony STR-DN1040 amp that I bought to use primarily as a HDMI hub and basic home theater manager. So far, pretty good, using a 2.0 setup with a couple of fairly low end speakers, Energy CB-10s, that I borrowed.

So now, against my earlier more frugal impulses, I want to get a higher end speaker setup, though still modest and economical by the standards of many. I want two front/bookshelf speakers and probably a center speaker, too, to get to 2.1. I'm willing to spend up to about $350-375 for a pair of bookshelf speakers and maybe $300 for a center speaker. Not sure if that's an appropriate allocation of speaker funds in terms of front vs. center. I'm open to advice.

The usage is mostly TV via cable box, Roku, DVD with some, but not a lot of music. The kids play video games with an XBox and such, but that's not a huge priority. They're fine with any setup that I'll come up with. The programming runs from sports to HBO type TV series and the like. We watch some movies, too. Not a lot of adventure, high noise level, rattle the house kinda stuff. That's not our thing. It's more art films, cable series, sports, and a good variety of other movies, from popular to foreign to all sorts of stuff. Just, as mentioned, not a lot of volume and bombast. Some, not a lot. Music tends toward jazz, classical, Latin, singer/songwriter stuff, some pop and rock, but again, not on the heavy metal, ear-splitting side of things.

It's worth pointing out that playing at high volume all the time isn't what I'm looking for, either. Quite the contrary. So speakers that sound good at moderate volume would be great. I want a natural, neutral, clear sound, nothing excessively bright. I don't need heavy bass, but I'd like a good balance from low to high.

The room is smallish. Maybe about 18x14 or so.

I'm looking at something like the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 and one of the center speakers in that series, the CC or CS. I've never heard them, though. But it's a thought and in the price range.

Any recommendations as to which speakers I might look at for this purpose? It's not that easy these days to walk into a store and hear all this stuff.

I'm in the US, btw.


The Wharfedales are a very good choice. I suggest that you go to the Stereophile website and read their review of the 10.1 if you haven't already.

The 10.2 has a bit more bass extension, but if you will be using a subwoofer that may not be too important.
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post #5 of 31 Old 07-13-2014, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info, all three of you. Greatly appreciated. I'll look into all of the recommendations.

Would the Wharfedale 10.2 speakers be a significant improvement over the 10.1?

Some of the other recommendations are less pricey than the Wharfedales. Would they be of equivalent quality, though? I realize this is subjective and that the only way to know what really works for me is a side by side test. That's not happening, though, unless I order all of them and return what I don't want, something I don't really want to do.

Thanks, again.
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post #6 of 31 Old 07-14-2014, 10:47 AM
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All good suggestions.

It's all a matter of what you want. The more you spend - in this case of the choice of loudspeakers - the better they'll be.

No matter what you choose above, doubtful you'll send any of them back. If you're one of those - "this is good, I wish I had spent more money on the better product" guy - then dish out the money.
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post #7 of 31 Old 07-15-2014, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Good thought. Thanks.
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post #8 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post
Wharfdale makes nice speakers, so the Diamonds are probably a good value at that price. A few others you might want to consider are:

  • XTZ 93.22 {these can be positioned horizontally or vertically, so you can use one as a center}
  • HSU HB-1 and HC-1
JimWilson, do you have any quick thoughts about how the XTZ and Hsu speakers would compare to each other and the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers? Not so much a "which one is better" kind of thing, but more along the lines of how do they sound and such.
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post #9 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by maigre View Post
JimWilson, do you have any quick thoughts about how the XTZ and Hsu speakers would compare to each other and the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers? Not so much a "which one is better" kind of thing, but more along the lines of how do they sound and such.
I own some XTZ 93.21 speakers, which use the identical drivers found in the 93.22 (just in a different sized cabinet), so I can provide some insight on those. The other two I've never heard unfortunately, so I can't offer anything other than conjecture.

My 93.21's have a very refined sound, with a smooth overall presentation. They don't get bright or harsh, even when the volume is raised. There's a good amount of detail until you get really far off axis. You can configure them as either bass reflex or acoustic suspension, with the latter my general preference. Paint work is gorgeous and the cabinets are solid. For a center I use one laying on its side, which I've found works quite well.

I'm rather particular about sound quality myself, so I own a few different sets of speakers (rotating them when the mood strikes). The XTZ's definitely align with my preferences.

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post #10 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 02:17 PM
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Ever thought about flat-pack kit from DIYsoundgroup? You could get a rather nice setup for close to that price that would be better than anything in your range. The kits are easy to assemble and require minimal skill.

Just throwing it out there in case you didn't know about them.
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post #11 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Ever thought about flat-pack kit from DIYsoundgroup? You could get a rather nice setup for close to that price that would be better than anything in your range. The kits are easy to assemble and require minimal skill.

Just throwing it out there in case you didn't know about them.
I didn't know about the DIY stuff. I'll take a look. Thanks.

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Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post
I own some XTZ 93.21 speakers, which use the identical drivers found in the 93.22 (just in a different sized cabinet), so I can provide some insight on those. The other two I've never heard unfortunately, so I can't offer anything other than conjecture.

My 93.21's have a very refined sound, with a smooth overall presentation. They don't get bright or harsh, even when the volume is raised. There's a good amount of detail until you get really far off axis. You can configure them as either bass reflex or acoustic suspension, with the latter my general preference. Paint work is gorgeous and the cabinets are solid. For a center I use one laying on its side, which I've found works quite well.

I'm rather particular about sound quality myself, so I own a few different sets of speakers (rotating them when the mood strikes). The XTZ's definitely align with my preferences.
Sounds promising. Do you think there's much of a difference between the 93.21s and 93.22s? I like the idea of the smaller size. All tradeoffs there, I'm sure. I may give these a try. XTZ promotes themselves on their website as being open about doing a trial period. I don't expect to be disappointed in any of the recommendations here, but it's helpful to know that a return is not a problem if that's how it plays out.
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post #12 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post
Wharfdale makes nice speakers, so the Diamonds are probably a good value at that price. A few others you might want to consider are:

  • XTZ 93.22 {these can be positioned horizontally or vertically, so you can use one as a center}
  • HSU HB-1 and HC-1
How do the AJ Pioneer speakers (towers and bookshelfs) compare to these?
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post #13 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by maigre View Post
Sounds promising. Do you think there's much of a difference between the 93.21s and 93.22s? I like the idea of the smaller size. All tradeoffs there, I'm sure. I may give these a try. XTZ promotes themselves on their website as being open about doing a trial period. I don't expect to be disappointed in any of the recommendations here, but it's helpful to know that a return is not a problem if that's how it plays out.

The 22's can extend a touch lower, but the characteristics between the models will be far more similar than dissimilar. I can safely cross my 21's over at 60Hz, so I don't really need the extra few Hz. The only reason I didn't get the 22's is because my placement is such that the rear port would have been only about a foot from the back wall. Not ideal. The 21's have front ports, so if I ever opt to use them in the bass reflex configuration I'll be able to do so.

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post #14 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 04:43 PM
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OK, I am a wharfedale fanboy and love to see people buying the brand... be warned, lol...

What you are looking for is 3.1 thats a front left, front right, and center = the 3 and a single subwoofer hence the.1, a system with .2 such as 3.2 would have 2 subwoofer, .3 three subwoofers and so on... 5.1 adds a pair of side surround speakers, 7.1 adds a pair of rear speakers, and so on...


Now I love the diamonds they are a very nice speaker, since you will get a subwoofer the 10.1s are a good choice the 10.2s are also nic and so is the 10.0....
heres a good deal on a center and 10.2 in maple, you can call musicdirect to see if they have any other demo or clearence series 10's...
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-126565-...oto-shoot.aspx
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-116470-...erry-demo.aspx

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post #15 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Warner2Bruce View Post
How do the AJ Pioneer speakers (towers and bookshelfs) compare to these?
Andrew has done a remarkable job producing speakers that are inexpensive yet still sound good, but I have my reservations about whether they can effectively compete with the XTZ and Hsu's. Those two will more than likely be a step or so above the Pioneer speakers.

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post #16 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
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The 22's can extend a touch lower, but the characteristics between the models will be far more similar than dissimilar. I can safely cross my 21's over at 60Hz, so I don't really need the extra few Hz. The only reason I didn't get the 22's is because my placement is such that the rear port would have been only about a foot from the back wall. Not ideal. The 21's have front ports, so if I ever opt to use them in the bass reflex configuration I'll be able to do so.
OK. If I try these, I'll probably try the 22s, then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imcloud View Post
OK, I am a wharfedale fanboy and love to see people buying the brand... be warned, lol...

What you are looking for is 3.1 thats a front left, front right, and center = the 3 and a single subwoofer hence the.1, a system with .2 such as 3.2 would have 2 subwoofer, .3 three subwoofers and so on... 5.1 adds a pair of side surround speakers, 7.1 adds a pair of rear speakers, and so on...

Now I love the diamonds they are a very nice speaker, since you will get a subwoofer the 10.1s are a good choice the 10.2s are also nic and so is the 10.0....
heres a good deal on a center and 10.2 in maple, you can call musicdirect to see if they have any other demo or clearence series 10's...
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-126565-...oto-shoot.aspx
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-116470-...erry-demo.aspx
Thanks for the pointer, imcloud.

I'm not looking for a 3.1. I'm not going to buy a subwoofer at this point and maybe never. I'm going to do two front speakers and a center speaker.
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post #17 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by maigre View Post
I'm not looking for a 3.1. I'm not going to buy a subwoofer at this point and maybe never. I'm going to do two front speakers and a center speaker.

Fellas, what's the over/under on him coming back and wanting suggestions on a good subwoofer to buy? I going with 6 months...

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Haha.

I'm already spending way more than I'd intended, so anything's possible. Funny thing is, I haven't had anything other than the most simple audio components for years now, after this sort of thing being a higher priority when I was younger. And I was fine with it. I had no intention to get anything other than a basic amplifier and a $250 pair of speakers, if that, for this purpose. Then, once I got going...
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post #19 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 06:10 PM
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I'm not looking for a 3.1. I'm not going to buy a subwoofer at this point and maybe never. I'm going to do two front speakers and a center speaker.
This can be and is a good deal for you - $255 for the bookshelf and center.
The Philharmonic Audio AAL Monitor speakers (modded Pioneer speakers).

They are a clear step above the regular Pioneer speakers - and will compete
and hold their own - against speakers costing more.

I have tested the bookshelf speakers - and they are clean/clear, smooth and
dynamic - with good detail, definition and tight controlled bass.

I would for sure put them on a short list
http://philharmonicaudio.com/folio-m...ages/AALS.html

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post #20 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 06:20 PM
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I have two sets of the BS-22's in secondary systems. I like them quite a bit, I had no idea some company was modding them. I'm curious as to how they compare with each other.
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post #21 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 07:34 PM
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I have two sets of the BS-22's in secondary systems. I like them quite a bit, I had no idea some company was modding them. I'm curious as to how they compare with each other.
Here is my subjective review >>>
http://forums.audioholics.com/forums...a-speaker.html

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post #22 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 09:10 PM
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This can be and is a good deal for you - $255 for the bookshelf and center.
The Philharmonic Audio AAL Monitor speakers (modded Pioneer speakers).

They are a clear step above the regular Pioneer speakers - and will compete
and hold their own - against speakers costing more.

I have tested the bookshelf speakers - and they are clean/clear, smooth and
dynamic - with good detail, definition and tight controlled bass.

I would for sure put them on a short list
http://philharmonicaudio.com/folio-m...ages/AALS.html
He has good prices on the modified Pioneers. But, how much does it cost to ship out modified 22 bookshelfs, center, and towers? In that thread, it says shipping can get pretty expensive if you live far from the East coast.

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post #23 of 31 Old 07-17-2014, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Warner2Bruce View Post
He has good prices on the modified Pioneers. But, how much does it cost to ship out modified 22 bookshelfs, center, and towers? In that thread, it says shipping can get pretty expensive if you live far from the East coast.
It is according to Fedex rates - it is not that bad - he is on the East Coast, so it depends on your location.
The quality of the modded speakers are worth it - he does not make much on the speakers, it is about his
love for audio.

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post #24 of 31 Old 08-07-2014, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post
The 22's can extend a touch lower, but the characteristics between the models will be far more similar than dissimilar. I can safely cross my 21's over at 60Hz, so I don't really need the extra few Hz. The only reason I didn't get the 22's is because my placement is such that the rear port would have been only about a foot from the back wall. Not ideal. The 21's have front ports, so if I ever opt to use them in the bass reflex configuration I'll be able to do so.
JimWilson (or anyone), could you tell me about the differences between the 93.21 or 93.22 and the 95.24 that you reviewed? The seem to be about the same size, for whatever thats's worth. Also the difference between using something like the 93.22 and the 95.33 as a center speaker?

I've had a good chance to compare the 93.22 and the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 with the Wharfedale CS center speaker. Not having had prior experience with HT, I hadn't realized how dominant the center speaker would be. The brands are more similar than they are different for me. They're not identical, but some other comparisons would reveal much greater differences. Everyone here advised me well in terms of what would work for what I requested in the OP. The 10.2s have a little more low end and maybe a little more warmth. The 93.22s are clearer, maybe a little less volume with the same power, but forward and natural. Both are great; I'd happily live with either. But along the lines of "it's easy to keep upgrading," I'm curious if that step up with the XTZ line would make a significant difference, particularly with the center speaker.
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post #25 of 31 Old 08-08-2014, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by maigre View Post
JimWilson (or anyone), could you tell me about the differences between the 93.21 or 93.22 and the 95.24 that you reviewed? The seem to be about the same size, for whatever thats's worth. Also the difference between using something like the 93.22 and the 95.33 as a center speaker?
As you alluded to, the 93 Series have a very neutral sound. Smooth and clear, non-fatiguing. The 95.x is a different animal, with greater clarity and detail. The overall sense is of a speaker with more of an 'airy' sound, and a better soundstage. Because they are audibly different I would advise against mixing the 95 and 93 Series speakers in the front stage. If you wanted to do the 95's for the front three and the 93's for surrounds that would work fine, but the LCR shouldn't have disparate voicing.

Having a lot of first hand experience with both the 93 and 95 Series I can say this; from my perspective there was a noticeable difference between them. I really like my 93's, but I really liked the 95's.

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post #26 of 31 Old 08-08-2014, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Great, JimWilson. Thanks for the input. I was wondering about mixing the two series. I won't do that.
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post #27 of 31 Old 08-18-2014, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Fellas, what's the over/under on him coming back and wanting suggestions on a good subwoofer to buy? I going with 6 months...
OK. You got me. After not having good audio for years, I'm seeing what the value of it really is. And I'm ready for more. Didn't take anywhere near six months.

I'm keeping the XTZ 93.22s over the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2s. Both were great. The XTZs are a little greater. Thanks for that, JimWilson. As mentioned recently, I'm tempted to check into the XTZ 95 series stuff. But would I be better off getting a subwoofer instead of upgrading the front and center speakers from the XTZ 93.22s to the 95 series? Even with the subjectivity of it all, would that get me further than that series upgrade would without a subwoofer?

We're not into wall rattling music or action movies. There's a big variety, popular and contemporary is part of it, but earth shaking bass and volume isn't. I realize that we don't need to listen to that to get something out of a subwoofer and the broader spectrum of sound it'll give us.

Thoughts?

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post #28 of 31 Old 08-18-2014, 06:54 PM
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OK. You got me. After not having good audio for years, I'm seeing what the value of it really is. And I'm ready for more. Didn't take anywhere near six months.
I knew you would be back, it was just a question of when. Perhaps my 6 month guess proved to be optimistic, eh?


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I'm keeping the XTZ 93.22s over the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2s. Both were great. The XTZs are a little greater. Thanks for that, JimWilson.
You're very welcome. I've been talking with the director of the US office for XTZ about a few things, and he seems to be making progress on getting some long-standing issues addressed. I hope so because this company makes very nice speakers, and I've almost begun to think I'm the only one who knows that. It's nice to see others buying them.


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As mentioned recently, I'm tempted to check into the XTZ 95 series stuff. But would I be better off getting a subwoofer instead of upgrading the front and center speakers from the XTZ 93.22s to the 95 series? Even with the subjectivity of it all, would that get me further than that series upgrade would without a subwoofer?
The 95's are definitely better speakers -- that ribbon tweeter is really nice -- but it won't matter much if you don't have a good subwoofer. You'll be surprised how much the sound quality of your entire system improves with a sub. However, without knowing your budget no one will really be able to provide worthwhile suggestions.

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post #29 of 31 Old 08-18-2014, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
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The 95's are definitely better speakers -- that ribbon tweeter is really nice -- but it won't matter much if you don't have a good subwoofer. You'll be surprised how much the sound quality of your entire system improves with a sub. However, without knowing your budget no one will really be able to provide worthwhile suggestions. [/QUOTE]

I'm willing to spend $300-350 or so on a subwoofer. I could also convince myself to go with that and the increased cost to trade up to the 95 series, which would be a little over $200 more than the 93 series speakers I have now.

What's the nature of the sound difference, to your ear, between that ribbon tweeter and the one on the 93 series?
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post #30 of 31 Old 08-18-2014, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by maigre View Post
I'm willing to spend $300-350 or so on a subwoofer. I could also convince myself to go with that and the increased cost to trade up to the 95 series, which would be a little over $200 more than the 93 series speakers I have now.

What's the nature of the sound difference, to your ear, between that ribbon tweeter and the one on the 93 series?
In my opinion the ribbon provides more definition and precision. They have an "airy" feel, so the overall presentation has a more dynamic sound. The 93's are really good, but the 95's are really good.

If your sub budget is $300-$350 I would suggest you hold off for a bit and save a few more Benjamin's. Subwoofers in the $300 range may not be the right match for the XTZ speakers. Between $300 and $499 there aren't a lot of options available, so in this case I think you would need to spend at least $500 to find something that would properly compliment your speakers.

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