Crazy to consider a 2.0 full tower setup for movies? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Crazy to consider a 2.0 full tower setup for movies?

Been there, done that, full HT setup, subs, etc. wires everywhere, hours spent agonizing over components and then tweaking them.

So ... I'd like to go simple this time around: a full tower 2.0 speaker setup. OK, maybe 3.0 with a center speaker, though I'd like to start with a 2.0

I currently have a Denon 3808 AVR with a full 5.1 Definitive Technology ProMonitor 800 setup, but it's getting moved to a different room. I used to have a B&W CDM SE setup -- ah what a mistake to sell them (not by choice though).

I'm looking for good full tower speaker recommendations that could offer a decent movie watching experience. To give you an idea, I'm looking at the likes of HTD Towers Level 2 or 3, the Pioneer SP-FS52-LR Andrew Jones and ... what else should I be considering?
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post #2 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 07:45 AM
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Hardly any L/R is capable of true full range for movies. The SVS towers reach down to about 28hz, but that's still quite short of true full-range. For music, sure, you don't require a subwoofer, with those SVS towers.

These are full-range speakers

http://www.grande-utopia-em.com/en/u...nde-utopia.php

My LR mains reach down to about 45hz. About £2000

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post #3 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post
Been there, done that, full HT setup, subs, etc. wires everywhere, hours spent agonizing over components and then tweaking them.

So ... I'd like to go simple this time around: a full tower 2.0 speaker setup. OK, maybe 3.0 with a center speaker, though I'd like to start with a 2.0

I currently have a Denon 3808 AVR with a full 5.1 Definitive Technology ProMonitor 800 setup, but it's getting moved to a different room. I used to have a B&W CDM SE setup -- ah what a mistake to sell them (not by choice though).

I'm looking for good full tower speaker recommendations that could offer a decent movie watching experience. To give you an idea, I'm looking at the likes of HTD Towers Level 2 or 3, the Pioneer SP-FS52-LR Andrew Jones and ... what else should I be considering?
Consider the PSB Imagine series. Wonderful, small form factor towers.
We did just what you are contemplating - went down to 2.1. No regrets. Higher quality sound from a smaller number of speakers wins. Not to mention the hassle factor.
In our case we used PSB Imagine monitors (wall mounted) with a PSB sub, but the towers (could) eliminate the need for the sub. My concern was that dialogue would be washed out and we would have to get a center. Not the case. Dialogue is better than ever. I attribute this simply to sound quality.

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post #4 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 07:53 AM
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Imagine's biggest tower still only reaches down to 36hz +/- 1.5dB. And I bet a good subwoofer would outclass the speakers, plus setting it to full range puts more strain on your amp. Only have a AVR not dedicated power amplifiers.
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post #5 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Does a center channel really help with dialogue in movies? I've seen it mentioned in some threads that some get better results out of the L/R speakers in "phantom" mode.

Are the HTD towers worth considering? My wife likes their glossy look, rather than the more classy wood look of other speakers.

What about some full tower speakers that have built-in subs? I think Def Tech used to offer something like that though I'm sure there are others too.
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post #6 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 08:23 AM
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Yes centers are VERY important they lock speech to the middle, and help in panning.

As for glossy speakers, they look nice but relfections might be distracting. As for towers with subs, you have problems of multiple bass sources, and require sending full-range to the speakers, so the amp is still reproducing full range. I do know Def Tech have floorstander with sub design. I would probably prefer something like Kef R500 with dedicated sub, rather than Def tech BP 2006

I would buy a decent sub to compliment your mains, whether you have floorstanders or standmounts. I own standmounts and towers, both hifi and home theatre have subs. I would say in music system, a sub isn't essential if your mains go down low enough and right type for the room. ie booshelf speakers in a large room with no sub would sound very bass shy, you'd need a sub. But towers, in a medium sized room (for music) should be fine. But when it comes to home theatre, always add a sub.

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post #7 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
Yes centers are VERY important they lock speech to the middle, and help in panning.

As for glossy speakers, they look nice but relfections might be distracting. As for towers with subs, you have problems of multiple bass sources, and require sending full-range to the speakers, so the amp is still reproducing full range. I do know Def Tech have floorstander with sub design. I would probably prefer something like Kef R500 with dedicated sub, rather than Def tech BP 2006

I would buy a decent sub to compliment your mains, whether you have floorstanders or standmounts. I own standmounts and towers, both hifi and home theatre have subs. I would say in music system, a sub isn't essential if your mains go down low enough and right type for the room. ie booshelf speakers in a large room with no sub would sound very bass shy, you'd need a sub. But towers, in a medium sized room (for music) should be fine. But when it comes to home theatre, always add a sub.
For the most part I agree about the center channel and for single a sweet spot a phantom center channel can work. A poorly placed center channel is often the weak link in a HT setup.

There are very few true full range speakers. The ones in my setup play very strong down to 15hz but that extension comes at a price (size). In other words, they aren't good for small HT or living room deployments ...

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post #8 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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So a full tower speaker with a sub, where would you cross them? Or do you set the speakers to full anyway and get bass from the speakers and the sub too? I think I have my ProMonitor 800 crossed at 100Hz but of course those are small speakers so the sub does all the work. Would a full tower be a "waste" if you pass the lows to the sub anyway? But I'll have to go full tower, the Mrs. wants something that looks more like furniture than speaker stands.

Not sure how the "room" will affect my setup as it's actually not a room, a very open living room area that leads to the family room, plus has a couple of hallways. So for good sound it's probably far from ideal, but that's OK I learned to stop obsessing over the perfect sound or setup and instead enjoy the content with a decent enough setup.
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post #9 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 09:03 AM
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Depends on the speaker and room. But I'd probably set Kef R500 to small 60hz, with the sub set to that as well.

Quote:
Would a full tower be a "waste" if you pass the lows to the sub anyway? B
No because crossover isn't a brick wall. Also you may want to cross lower than a standmount. And when using pure direct, you have mains to full-range with no subwoofer.

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post #10 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 10:43 AM
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Every room and every listener is different. For me in my room I settled on running my towers as full with the sub set to LFE plus (double bass in some avrs).
In my room it sounded the best after trying multiple different crossovers.
So there is no hard set rules for setting up your speakers.
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post #11 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post
So a full tower speaker with a sub, where would you cross them? Or do you set the speakers to full anyway and get bass from the speakers and the sub too? I think I have my ProMonitor 800 crossed at 100Hz but of course those are small speakers so the sub does all the work. Would a full tower be a "waste" if you pass the lows to the sub anyway? But I'll have to go full tower, the Mrs. wants something that looks more like furniture than speaker stands.
What is your real max budget - and can you really do a sub with a tower?

Full towers are expensive and claiming to go low, and being able to do so is another thing.
Some towers with built in subs, can be boomy and mushy sounding.

How you cross a tower to a sub, is subjective and would also be preference.

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post #12 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Budget ... I'm flexible, let's say around $800-$1000 for a good speaker setup with or without sub. Speakers I think are worth "investing" in, they can last for many years, they don't need to be upgraded because standard X or Y has arrived (e.g. HDMI 2.0, 4K, 3D, etc.) I had a very nice set of B&W CDM SEs about 10 yrs ago and I think they would have been fine to this day if well cared for. I miss them, but life took me to living in smaller places and didn't want to just put them in public storage, they were BIG, the center channel was a monster sitting on top of a Sony XBR CRT TV -- the good old days :-)
For an AVR to go with them something around $400-500. But I'd like something modern with the current features, I usually keep my gear for many years so it's not worth buying used with older features (my Denon 3808CI is 7+ yrs old and still going strong -- fingers crossed).
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post #13 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 02:04 PM
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Check out this HSU package: http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid2pkg.html

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post #14 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 02:09 PM
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Budget seems to be around $1500 for 2.1 - and you have a small room

I would look closely at these options

Boston M250 towers - sold each - and are new in the box, with a real good price
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...h-black/1.html

http://www.accessories4less.com/mas_...8/9/3/6291.Jpg

http://www.accessories4less.com/mas_...8/9/4/6292.Jpg

HSU VTF-2 subwoofer - in satin black
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-2mk4.html

Denon X2000 - new in the box - a real nice price
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_033AVX2...N-Command.html

Your call

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post #15 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 02:40 PM
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+1 on the above posts, go with a 2.1. The Hsu VTF2 mk4 package would be great as well as a Rythmik LV12r/Ascend CBM170 package. The Boston Acoustics towers linked to by Zieg is an especially good deal at the moment. Infinity Primus p363 are at a very good price at Amazon as well
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post #16 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 02:52 PM
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I just picked up a Mitsubishi WD73840, which has that array of 18 tiny speakers at the bottom of the set. I was curious, so I set up the Emotiva Stealth 6 monitors and set the TV speaker array to center channel mode. While it didn't image as well as my full 9.2 setup, it was good enough as a fall-back when I sell the AVR before the high-end Denon AVR with Atmos becomes available. I can certainly live with the downgrade for a few months so I can get top-dollar for the upgraded Denon 5308ci.

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post #17 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Interested in the Boston M250 and Infinity Primus P363. How do I know which center channels pair with them, should I decide to get one?

Subs don't seem to be that affordable :-( I'm not sure I want to spend $500 on a sub.

I have the Def Tech ProSub 800, I wonder if I can make use of it and get some cheaper sub for the room where the old setup is going. What's a good budget sub to look at? Another ProSub 800? To me it was plenty, I don't need couch shaking subs, plus with full towers they may be able to help too, or do they?
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post #18 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post
Interested in the Boston M250 and Infinity Primus P363. How do I know which center channels pair with them, should I decide to get one?

Subs don't seem to be that affordable :-( I'm not sure I want to spend $500 on a sub.

I have the Def Tech ProSub 800, I wonder if I can make use of it and get some cheaper sub for the room where the old setup is going. What's a good budget sub to look at? Another ProSub 800? To me it was plenty, I don't need couch shaking subs
For something like the Boston, I would not go anything less than the HSU STF-2 subwoofer
It will out perform the Definitive Pro 800 subwoofer.
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/stf-2.html

For the M250 - and a center channel >>

1 ea Boston M25, if you can place vertical
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...ck-each/1.html

If you can not go vertical - then the RS244c center channel - it will have the same
tweeter type as the M series speakers
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...r-black/1.html

The regular horizontal Boston M-center has a BMR tweeter, which I am not a fan of - plus it
is expensive. The speakers with the EWB dimple dome tweeter would be the preference.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For Infinity - the centers are >>

The PC351
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-IcHs8fe...mus-PC351.html

The PC251
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_108PC25...mus-PC251.html

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Last edited by zieglj01; 08-31-2014 at 07:39 PM.
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post #19 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I keep going back to the HTD site, I kinda like that Macassar Ebony finish, at least in pictures, not sure how nice it is in practice. Sound wise, am I crazy to consider a package from them: Level 2 towers, center and their sub just to match them all? I'm reading very positive things about their customer support and service and I do like to support such companies as opposed to the big names that send you canned support answers, if you are lucky to even get a reply.
And at some point, I may be able to add two rears in-wall from them, when we are ready to do some painting in the room and make a mess with the in-wall install (hang the flat screen on the wall at the same time too).

Of course, I could just start with their 2 towers and see how I like them and perhaps add the rest later, though would I do the towers injustice if I don't have a center and a sub to help them?

Last edited by SirDracula; 08-31-2014 at 07:59 PM.
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post #20 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post
I keep going back to the HTD site, I kinda like that Macassar Ebony finish, at least in pictures, not sure how nice it is in practice. Sound wise, am I crazy to consider a package from them: Level 2 towers, center and their sub just to match them all? I'm reading very positive things about their customer support and service and I do like to support such companies as opposed to the big names that send you canned support answers, if you are lucky to even get a reply.
HTD is nice - their customer support is good - they are built well and sound good.

For me, Boston is my preference due to the high quality sound level and performance
you get, with the real good special pricing.

However, you will not lose with HTD or Infinity - and I prefer HTD over Infinity.

Your call

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post #21 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your great feedback zieglj01, tough choices to make without being able to listen to the setups. As for the receiver, I want something current, I think the Denon S line should be enough for me. accessories4less seems to have it for $299 which sounds like a great deal -- is that site reputable to order from? I haven't heard of them until now.
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post #22 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 09:23 PM
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I had full towers, no subs and ran that way for a while. Eventually I ended up with a center channel but I preferred phantom mode with no center channel unless I had guests over who were sitting off axis. There are truly very few real full range towers that don't need subs. That said, you can always get towers and cross over your bass lower.

For good movie playback though, you would want to have surrounds. Even the best towers in the world will not create a good surround field.
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post #23 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
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I think the Denon S line should be enough for me. accessories4less seems to have it for $299 which sounds like a great deal -- is that site reputable to order from? I haven't heard of them until now.
They are a good site, and a lot of us buy from them.

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post #24 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I wonder how much I would miss a sub -- I have kids who go to bed early and don't want to wake them up while watching movies. I'm not into window shaking bass anyway. I'm just after something that sounds decent, a step above the speaker bars + sub setups which I'm sure the Mrs would be OK with too, but I'm not.
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post #25 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 09:44 PM
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If you want the bass effect without disturbing the kids, get a tactile transducer like a Crowson (my personal favorite) or a buttkicker. You can turn down the bass a bit and have the transducer cover the low end, giving you the effect without keeping the rest of the family awake.
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post #26 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post
I wonder how much I would miss a sub -- I have kids who go to bed early and don't want to wake them up while watching movies. I'm not into window shaking bass anyway. I'm just after something that sounds decent, a step above the speaker bars + sub setups which I'm sure the Mrs would be OK with too, but I'm not.
Start with some new speakers - and use the sub you have for now, if you desire.

It is not about what people want for you - it is what you can live with, and is all
around best for you.

You can always expand to a new sub in the future.
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post #27 of 60 Old 08-31-2014, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post
I have kids who go to bed early and don't want to wake them up while watching movies.
Denon's Dynamic Volume or Dynamic EQ could help with that.

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post #28 of 60 Old 09-01-2014, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post
I wonder how much I would miss a sub... I'm not into window shaking bass anyway. I'm just after something that sounds decent, a step above the speaker bars + sub setups which I'm sure the Mrs would be OK with too, but I'm not.

This might be blasphemous here, but I could probably live without subs

... at least in my tower system.

Don't get me wrong. I have four subs in different systems.

I guess it depends on how much you focus on low bass. I'm more into the chest slam than the rumble. Several months ago, all the talk about going sub-20Hz lead me to wonder - how low do theaters go. So I started searching for threads. From what I read on most of them, our home theaters go lower than the average commercial theater. So I guess if the theater is low enough for you, you could probably get towers that come close to that. I couldn't go back to a center-less system though.

Here's the most informative thread on theater bass I read.
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post #29 of 60 Old 09-01-2014, 07:10 AM
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I'm going to go back to the basics, assuming the decision to buy has not been made just yet.

Stereo or Surround Sound - Decide. If this is primarily a Music system with secondary movies, then buy a music system, and by that I mean - a Stereo. A stereo will give you the best possible quality for a fixed budget.

However, if this is primarily a movie system, and you don't mind diluting your budget, then an AV system might make sense. Though if you don't intend to use Surround Sound, it seems a bit of a waste.

Next, what is the Size of the Room? (dimensions) Generally, the bigger the room, the bigger the speakers, though it is more complex than that.

Next, believe it or not, for good full range tower speakers, you budget is pretty lean. Though for about $1000/pr there are some fair choices out there. To get more focused on specific speaker, we would need some sense of the type of sound you want.

Polk Audio has a couple large models that fit reasonably within your budget. Though fitting your budget doesn't mean you will like them.

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107TX44...ry.html?tp=185

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107TX55...ry.html?tp=185

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107RTIA...ry.html?tp=185

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107RTIA...ry.html?tp=185

Excellent price on the RTi-A7 speakers. The RTi series is one above the TXi series.

Also, the Klipsch RF series. Some people don't like the Horn drivers thinking they sound too tinny or too tizzy. Myself, I like horns; in the case of the Klipsch RF the high efficiency horn really cut through the clutter. I suspect they would be very good for movie watching for just that reason.

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_714RF62...ck.html?tp=185

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_714RF82...sh.html?tp=185

High output - good bass.

On the issue of bass, though it doesn't always hold true, it is generally consistent; if you want to estimate the -6db response, which is still very usable sound, subtract 5hz to 8hz from the rated -3db response.

I would start with something like this, then decide later if you want to add a Center and a Sub. If you are not going to add a center and a Sub, there is little point in getting an AV Receiver. But again that depends on specifically how you will use they system.

In my case, Music is the highest priority, so I choose a music system, meaning a Stereo system, so I can concentrate my money on the best quality speakers and amps I can afford. Plus my movie watching is not really lacking. With my deepest speaker going down to 28hz at -6dB, I still get bass impact so strong I can feel the upholstery on my chair flex under the impact. During "Flags of our Fathers" I swear I could feel my hair ruffle and bullets whizzed past my head.

So, consider your Priorities and Preferences? Consider how you will use the system? Consider whether it is worth it to get an AV amp if you are not going to have Surround Sound? Though of course, you could always change you mind on the Surround Sound aspect. You might not want to start there, but eventually you may want to end up there.

Consider that bigger speaker with larger drivers are going to give more impact to the sound, but there is a limit to how big you can go in any given room. You wouldn't put big 15" 3-way speakers into a small bedroom. Though there is great deal of flexibility there.

What I am encouraging, is that you think long and hard about what it is you want to achieve in the end. Myself, I'm perfectly content to watch movies in stereo. While at the same time understanding the encompassing enveloping sense that comer from Surround Sound. I just don't presonally think it is worth diluting my equipment to get it. When I win the Lottery, then I'll consider Surround Sound. When I can do it up right. Still that is just me. I use myself as an example of how my priorities guided my decisions. But, for yourself, you'll have to make your own decision.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #30 of 60 Old 09-01-2014, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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The room is a bit of a problem: it's not really a room dedicated to listening or movie watching. It's the living room area, setting up a "corner" for movie watching. The area is fully open on one side to the dining area, then in the back fully open to a small area that leads to the front door of the house and then there are a couple more openings to the bedrooms. So it is very open and if I were to measure it I'd probably conclude that I need industrial strength gear. But ... movie watching (which is about 90% of the activity) will happen in a "corner", I'm not looking to cover the entire area with sound, I guess I need more "directed" sound if there is such a thing.

I think I need an AVR rather than a stereo receiver for 2 reasons: it would allow me to add speakers in the future should I decide to and also I have a few HDMI sources and I like switching inputs via the AVR and not worry about a TV with enough inputs or buying an HDMI switch box.

I'm starting to reach the conclusion that I should maybe start with a 2.0 setup, add a sub (or reuse the Def Tech ProSub 800 that I already have for now), add a center channel and then at some point when we paint maybe even put 2 surround speakers in ceiling.
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