Budget 5.0 setup: PSB vs Monitor Audio - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-27-2015, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Budget 5.0 setup: PSB vs Monitor Audio

I can either get PSB Alpha T1 towers + Alpha center + Alpha LR1 surrounds

or

4 Monitor Audio MR1 speakers + MR center for roughly the same price

Room considerations:
Small 14x13 ft room
I don't have much space for the front and center speakers so I have to mount them very close to the wall. Speaker depth concerns me.

Usage: 60% music, 40% movies.

I already own 2 10" powered subwoofers with nice output that I want to cross between 80-90hz

I auditioned B1 Alphas vs MR1's and found the PSB where slightly more detailed for dialogue, but lacked a bit of bass when compared side by side with the smaller bookshelf MA's.

Alpha T1's on the other hand have the same low frequency range (55hz) as the MR1's so I'm expecting them to have better bass than the B1's while retaining accuracy.

I have to decide asap since the PSB's are being discontinued and there's only 1 pack left at discounted price. I don't have access to many other options in this price range around here.

I did try the Cambridge S series (20, 30, 50, 70's). Liked them very much! I found them better value than the infinity Primus series. Those were my first option until I compared them to the MA's and PSB's and been doubting ever since.

I could also order some Definitive Tech 800's/1000's instead, but I have no where to audition them (I'm not sure if those are also suitable for music).
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-27-2015, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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My main concern is the proximity of the speakers to the room's front wall. If anyone has experience using any of the above options in a less than ideal setup please share your opinions. I'm still open to try other gear that could be better suited for my room.

I just came across an excellent deal for some Boston CS speakers, but they won't let me open the packages and try them. Are those a viable alternative worth considering?

Thanks
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-27-2015, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ro2207 View Post
I can either get PSB Alpha T1 towers + Alpha center + Alpha LR1 surrounds

or

4 Monitor Audio MR1 speakers + MR center for roughly the same price

Room considerations:
Small 14x13 ft room
I don't have much space for the front and center speakers so I have to mount them very close to the wall. Speaker depth concerns me.

Usage: 60% music, 40% movies.

I already own 2 10" powered subwoofers with nice output that I want to cross between 80-90hz

I auditioned B1 Alphas vs MR1's and found the PSB where slightly more detailed for dialogue, but lacked a bit of bass when compared side by side with the smaller bookshelf MA's.

Alpha T1's on the other hand have the same low frequency range (55hz) as the MR1's so I'm expecting them to have better bass than the B1's while retaining accuracy.

I have to decide asap since the PSB's are being discontinued and there's only 1 pack left at discounted price. I don't have access to many other options in this price range around here.

I did try the Cambridge S series (20, 30, 50, 70's). Liked them very much! I found them better value than the infinity Primus series. Those were my first option until I compared them to the MA's and PSB's and been doubting ever since.

I could also order some Definitive Tech 800's/1000's instead, but I have no where to audition them (I'm not sure if those are also suitable for music).
My room is identical in size so I don't understand the lack of room. As you can see from my signature I'm running a set of fairly large, rear ported towers and I have plenty of room. The rear of the speakers are about a foot to a foot and a half off the front wall.

If you're running a pair of subs that you like, don't worry about the bass from your speakers as long as they have good output to about 10-20hz below the crossover you select.

Don't know what you're budget is but there a lot of choices, some with free shipping and generous in home demo periods.

If you're not interested in the internet route get the ones you like best out of the ones you've listened to.

If it were me, I'd be looking at much larger speakers. All things being equal, bigger speakers = bigger sound.

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post #4 of 17 Old 02-27-2015, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ro2207 View Post
I just came across an excellent deal for some Boston CS speakers, but they won't let me open the packages and try them. Are those a viable alternative worth considering?
The CS Boston is decent - however, I would lean towards Monitor Audio

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post #5 of 17 Old 02-27-2015, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm auditioning ma mr1's vs alpha t1's vs Cambridge s70 using the Doors collection cd. For classic rock the s70s are the ones I like the most. I'm gonna try psb b5 now
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post #6 of 17 Old 02-27-2015, 11:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post
My room is identical in size so I don't understand the lack of room. As you can see from my signature I'm running a set of fairly large, rear ported towers and I have plenty of room. The rear of the speakers are about a foot to a foot and a half off the front wall.

If you're running a pair of subs that you like, don't worry about the bass from your speakers as long as they have good output to about 10-20hz below the crossover you select.

Don't know what you're budget is but there a lot of choices, some with free shipping and generous in home demo periods.

If you're not interested in the internet route get the ones you like best out of the ones you've listened to.

If it were me, I'd be looking at much larger speakers. All things being equal, bigger speakers = bigger sound.
I currently live in Mexico, I would need to have them shipped from the US (which is a hazzle and expensive when dealing with tower speakers). I'll be spending around $650 USD if I shop locally. Most stores here won't let you home demo. I think Best Buy might, but their speaker catalogue is not as extensive as what you find across the border. You can special order some stuff but you run the risk of not liking the speakers (Def Tech for example).

In terms of space, this is my bedroom we're talking about. I have several pieces of furniture around the room including a big working desk and a bed.
I can already make the walls vibrate with my subs, but that's not really my intention. I'm looking for a nice blend between easy going but detailed sound.

While I did like the strong bass sound output of the MA MR-4s I tried today, I'm sure they could easily be overwhelming for my enviroment. I also found the metallic tweeters on both PSBs and MAs just* a bit harsh for my liking. I'm probably used to the DLS 1" silk dome tweeters I have in my car.

From what I heard today, it's clear to me that the best choice if you're into electronic music is the whole MA line. Their outstanding speakers, very alive. Bass is tight, fast and in general they can get very loud- even the MR1's.
It wasn't until I used my own original Doors CD when I started to realize they were probably not the best option for my personal music taste.

The T1 PSBs sounded a bit more flat and natural, but I was slightly disappointed with the .75" aluminium tweeter that is also used in the B5 image. I did like the B5's midbass driver better (from all the listening done today).

The Cambridge suffers in the lowest end bass department, specially once you compare them to the MRs. The woofer seems to vibrate and distorts when it reaches its limits while I had a hard time trying to replicate this behaviour even with the MR1s. It´s funny how the monitor audio MR4s and MR1 speakers made evident the s70's and s30's flaws while the reverse was also true once I started listening to my own music. In the end, I think I'm willing to sacrifice some less refined bass in favor of a more pleasent (at least to me) silk dome tweet.

Maybe if the PSB B5/T5 had a better tweeter they would be ideal for me.
It was not easy to compare this speaker sets since every single driver excelled but was also a bit lacking in different areas. Superiority is very subjective and source dependant in this case.

I'm still curious about the Bostons mentioned above, but if I can't find somewhere to demo them I'm leaning towards the Cambridge for the time being.
My intention is to run S30's as center and surround speakers plus S70's as fronts.

The salesman wanted me to buy the MA's right from the start and not to give Cambridge a chance.
Do I have such a horrid taste for speakers?

Cheers
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post #7 of 17 Old Yesterday, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ro2207 View Post
I'm still curious about the Bostons mentioned above, but if I can't find somewhere to demo them I'm leaning towards the Cambridge for the time being.
My intention is to run S30's as center and surround speakers plus S70's as fronts.

The salesman wanted me to buy the MA's right from the start and not to give Cambridge a chance.
Do I have such a horrid taste for speakers? Cheers
I favor the Cambridge over the Boston

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post #8 of 17 Old Yesterday, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
I favor the Cambridge over the Boston
Hi zieglj01, do you think the s30 is a better option as a center speaker instead of the s50?

I will pick up my first s30 brand new boxed pair today. Will get the s70's on Monday but I have to determine what to run as a center. Has anyone compared the s50 and s30's side by side?

My fronts will be placed around 2.5 feet to each side of the center channel.
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post #9 of 17 Old Yesterday, 10:53 AM
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Hi zieglj01, do you think the s30 is a better option as a center speaker instead of the s50?
Go with the S30 for the center also.

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post #10 of 17 Old Yesterday, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
I favor the Cambridge over the Boston
So do I. Will need to work with the distortion issue at higher levels ... perhaps crossing over to the subs sooner?

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So do I. Will need to work with the distortion issue at higher levels ... perhaps crossing over to the subs sooner?
Depending on the loudness level - that could work.

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post #12 of 17 Old Yesterday, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
Depending on the loudness level - that could work.
I also wonder if there may be some cabinet resonance issues ... but not having heard the distortion myself, it's all a guessing game.

Last edited by RayGuy; Yesterday at 11:42 PM.
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I also wonder if there may be some cabinet resonance issues ... but not having heard the distortion myself, it's all a guessing game.
With the bookshelf none - the bass is clean and good to 60 hz.

There will be some cabinet resonance at high loud volume with the towers.

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I picked up a s30 pair yesterday. I've been testing them for a couple of hours now and I'm very pleased with their music performance. They sound and fill the room just as I imagined they would. I also hooked only one speaker to the center channel and watched a movie. I used the s30 along with 4 B&Ws LM1 speakers as fronts and rears and even though they obviously don't blend perfectly with the Cambridge, I got very satisfying results.
The dialogue was clear and I didn't need to crank the volume up as much as with my old setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
With the bookshelf none - the bass is clean and good to 60 hz.

There will be some cabinet resonance at high loud volume with the towers.
I did find some of that resonance vibration on the s30 when compared to the MR1s while listening to strong bass material at the store. This happened under full range signal conditions, once you add a sub to the equation and set the HPF >80hz the rattle may disappear for good. Since I'm breaking in my speakers I haven't really pushed them to the limit to verify. (BTW what's the recommended run in period for this set?)

As I said, I will pick up the rest of the set next week. I can still change my mind about the s70's a get another pair of s30's to use as fronts. My only concern is that the s70's could drown to some extent the volume of my s30 center,
particularly when watching live music BDs. For cinema it might be ok since the fronts are not as active all the time as with 5.1 multichannel music.

The s70's will cost me an extra 30% approx. vs the s30's. I won't upgrade from this set for several years, so it could end up in a larger space eventually. Since I'm hunting for the very last boxed S series speakers found around here, I might not get the chance to acquire the s70's later.

Are the s70's a good investment and suited for my needs? Are s30's all round a better choice?
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Since I'm breaking in my speakers I haven't really pushed them to the limit to verify. (BTW what's the recommended run in period for this set?)

As I said, I will pick up the rest of the set next week. I can still change my mind about the s70's a get another pair of s30's to use as fronts. My only concern is that the s70's could drown to some extent the volume of my s30 center,
particularly when watching live music BDs. For cinema it might be ok since the fronts are not as active all the time as with 5.1 multichannel music.

The s70's will cost me an extra 30% approx. vs the s30's. I won't upgrade from this set for several years, so it could end up in a larger space eventually. Since I'm hunting for the very last boxed S series speakers found around here, I might not get the chance to acquire the s70's later.

Are the s70's a good investment and suited for my needs? Are s30's all round a better choice?
There is no real break in period - the speakers are fine after 20 minutes.

There is never a guarantee - however, the speakers at the store may have
been abused some - I would not drive bookshelf speakers by themselves
to their max for long term use - max should only be short term, allowing
room for dynamic peaks in music and movies. For good all around loudness
and dynamics, they will work best with a sub crossed at 80 hz.

Some times vibration problems can occur with loose screws - it never hurts
to make sure the screws are tight if a problem occurs. However, never over
tighten the screws.

I would go all around with the S30 speakers and skip the towers. The S30
with a nice subwoofer will give a good all around performance.

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post #16 of 17 Old Today, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I would go all around with the S30 speakers and skip the towers. The S30
with a nice subwoofer will give a good all around performance.
The first time I heard the towers vs the bookshelfs 2 weeks ago I was surprised by the s30's capabilities. My first impression was that they actually sounded a touch more balanced than the s70's. I don't know if my mind was playing tricks with me since the s30's smaller size vs performance ratio was so unexpectedly good. Since then I have not auditioned the towers vs bookshelfs any further. My logic automatically pointed me towards the towers as the *better* option.

With a good subwoofer, would you still choose the s30's even if you could buy 3 s70's to use as fronts + center?
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post #17 of 17 Old Today, 02:27 PM
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With a good subwoofer, would you still choose the s30's even if you could buy 3 s70's to use as fronts + center?
Yes, I would still buy the S30

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