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post #1 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Advice Needed: SVS Package vs KEF LS50

Hi, all. I'm finishing a basement and plan to set up a 5.1.2 system. Mostly for HT and a bit for non-critical music listening. The room is large but towers are out of the question (WAF).

So, I'm deciding between two potential setups:

1) SVS Ultra L/C/R with prime satellites and tbd ceiling for atmos

2) KEF LS50 L/R w q600 center. Surrounds could be q100s or the KEF on wall t101 (which I haven't heard and can't find in store). Same ceilings

The KEF system is a little more expensive but the price drop on LS50s has made it very close.

I'd like to hear from folks who run the LS50s for HT use. Thanks
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post #2 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Also, bonus points if you can recommend a sub $700 receiver that can do 5.1.4!
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post #3 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ironmikey12 View Post
Also, bonus points if you can recommend a sub $700 receiver that can do 5.1.4!
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post #4 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Thx. But isn't this still 7-channel (so only able to do the one atmos pair)?
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post #5 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ironmikey12 View Post
Hi, all. I'm finishing a basement and plan to set up a 5.1.2 system. Mostly for HT and a bit for non-critical music listening. The room is large but towers are out of the question (WAF).

So, I'm deciding between two potential setups:

1) SVS Ultra L/C/R with prime satellites and tbd ceiling for atmos

2) KEF LS50 L/R w q600 center. Surrounds could be q100s or the KEF on wall t101 (which I haven't heard and can't find in store). Same ceilings

The KEF system is a little more expensive but the price drop on LS50s has made it very close.

I'd like to hear from folks who run the LS50s for HT use. Thanks
I've never heard the SVS, but I am a dealer of both KEF and Monitor Audio. For what you're describing I would actually look at the Monitor Audio Silver 1 http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/products/silver/silver-1 or the larger Silver 2 http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/products/silver/silver-2

Even the 8" Silver 2 is alittle lower cost than the LS50 and I think that, for mainly HT use, that would be a better speaker. Just something to consider.
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post #6 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 09:22 AM
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I loved the LS50s for music. I would never use them for HT, even if they cost $500 a pair instead of $1500 a pair.

If the majority of your usage is HT, with just a little critical music listening, you do NOT need to spend SVS Ultra or LS50 money to get it.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #7 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
I loved the LS50s for music. I would never use them for HT, even if they cost $500 a pair instead of $1500 a pair.

If the majority of your usage is HT, with just a little critical music listening, you do NOT need to spend SVS Ultra or LS50 money to get it.
So, to make sure I understand you correctly, in your opinion, the be all end all price point for premium, top shelf, it can get no better performance home theater speakers are $500 or less per pair? Regardless of room? And that just because a speaker is great for music it wouldn't be great for home theater use?

I'm trying to understand what you're saying here. The LS50 at $500 per pair ($250 each) would be a BAD speaker for movies? Compared to what other $250 speaker?

I would love to hear a more detailed explanation of your above post as it relates to the OP looking for high quality audio components.
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post #8 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm curious as well. So, price being equal ($500/pair) would you choose svs prime over the ultra or ls50? If so, why?
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post #9 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. No dealers close by... hmmm. They're incredible looking
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post #10 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by ironmikey12 View Post
I'm curious as well. So, price being equal ($500/pair) would you choose svs prime over the ultra or ls50? If so, why?
Even though I've enver heard them, I think that the SVS Ultra LCR would be the better speaker suited for a large room HT. They'll just move more air cleaner than the LS50, which is more of a finesse speaker in that regard with it's single 5 1/4" woofer.

I still like the Monitor Silver 2 with the 8" woofer and matching Silver Center.

Center: http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/produ.../silver-centre
Main L/R: http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/products/silver/silver-2

It just so happens that Monitor's 3 way in-ceiling CT256-IDC is one of the absolute finest ATMOS speakers for in-ceiling as well. This matches the Silver series sonically quite well and isn't ultra expensive. It's not cheap, but not nuts money, either: http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/produ...-200/ct265-idc

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Thanks. No dealers close by... hmmm. They're incredible looking
??? ^

Last edited by PrestigeAudio; 03-05-2017 at 12:07 PM.
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post #11 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PrestigeAudio View Post
So, to make sure I understand you correctly, in your opinion, the be all end all price point for premium, top shelf, it can get no better performance home theater speakers are $500 or less per pair? Regardless of room? And that just because a speaker is great for music it wouldn't be great for home theater use?

I'm trying to understand what you're saying here. The LS50 at $500 per pair ($250 each) would be a BAD speaker for movies? Compared to what other $250 speaker?

I would love to hear a more detailed explanation of your above post as it relates to the OP looking for high quality audio components.
I would take the $500/pair Ascend 340 over the LS50s for HT, any day of the week. The 340s have more detail, dynamics, a bigger soundstage, and higher sensitivity. I think most people would feel the same in a side by side comparison for HT.

Hell, I would take the $225/pair EMPTek R5Bi over the LS50 for HT when crossed over to a competent sub. The detail difference is not as obvious as with the Ascends vs LS50, but the much bigger soundstage would be, and I can think of any number of ways I'd rather spend the $1300 price difference.

For MUSIC, my personal preference would be for the LS50. For others, this is much more variable. Some people like neutral to bright sound signatures for both music and movies; for them, the "if a speaker is good for HT it will be good for music" cliche does apply. Not for those of us who prefer a warmer sound for music.

The SVS Ultras I haven't heard myself, but for HT I doubt the performance difference comes anywhere near the 100% price jump...maybe 10-20% tops and probably more noticeable during music listening than general HT.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #12 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrestigeAudio View Post
So, to make sure I understand you correctly, in your opinion, the be all end all price point for premium, top shelf, it can get no better performance home theater speakers are $500 or less per pair? Regardless of room? And that just because a speaker is great for music it wouldn't be great for home theater use?

I'm trying to understand what you're saying here. The LS50 at $500 per pair ($250 each) would be a BAD speaker for movies? Compared to what other $250 speaker?

I would love to hear a more detailed explanation of your above post as it relates to the OP looking for high quality audio components.
I would take the $500/pair Ascend 340 over the LS50s for HT, any day of the week. The 340s have more detail, dynamics, a bigger soundstage, and higher sensitivity. I think most people would feel the same in a side by side comparison for HT.

Hell, I would take the $225/pair EMPTek R5Bi over the LS50 for HT when crossed over to a competent sub. The detail difference is not as obvious as with the Ascends vs LS50, but the much bigger soundstage would be, and I can think of any number of ways I'd rather spend the $1300 price difference.

For MUSIC, my personal preference would be for the LS50. For others, this is much more variable. Some people like neutral to bright sound signatures for both music and movies; for them, the "if a speaker is good for HT it will be good for music" cliche does apply. Not for those of us who prefer a warmer sound for music.

The SVS Ultras I haven't heard myself, but for HT I doubt the performance difference comes anywhere near the 100% price jump...maybe 10-20% tops and probably more noticeable during music listening than general HT.

Thanks. The mini tower is probably a non-starter for the wife. Maybe I'll roll with the SVS primes which can be had for $199/ea in the outlet (at times).
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post #13 of 34 Old 03-05-2017, 03:57 PM
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Thanks. The mini tower is probably a non-starter for the wife. Maybe I'll roll with the SVS primes which can be had for $199/ea in the outlet (at times).
I've auditioned the SVS Prime bookshelves, they'll be ok for HT as long as the movie your watching doesn't have any music with horns or female vocals because they have odd treble peaks that are Klipsch-level screeching. Otherwise they're pretty dynamic and detailed.

The Ascend equivalent to the SVS Primes would be the CBM-170SE which is actually $350/pair new, and it's a much more neutral, accurate and well-behaved speaker. Its main challenge is WAF, because it does have a very peculiar square boxy shape that takes some getting used to (personally I like odd shaped things, like the now-discontinued Honda Element and Scion xB or Nissan Cube, but some people have strong reactions to them).

Better speakers that actually cost even less and have very high WAF would be the $250/pair Q-Acoustics 3020 and the $225/pair EMPTek R5Bi (those prices are for A-stock and include shipping). The QAs even have a white color option (albeit they charge you more for it), which would be the ultimate wife-pleaser, lol. As you might've guessed, I'm married too.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #14 of 34 Old 03-06-2017, 06:25 AM
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...I'm finishing a basement...towers are out of the question (WAF).
So if you get the SVS or KEF, are you mounting them on the wall? Because I doubt your wife would look much more favorably on stand-mounted small speakers.

What she really wants is in-wall/in-ceiling. Depending what you mean by "finishing" that might be doable very well, or impossible-are you building walls?

I was quite surprised, on hearing the KEFs at a local dealer, to not like them so much. Oh, they were good speakers and all, but they didn't sing to me particularly. So in the end, with no dealers, be sure to be from somewhere returnable. That might argue in favor of getting the SVS, and if you don't like, see if someone sells the KEFs like that. Meanwhile Sound And Vision April 2017 just gave a super positive review to the RSL CG3 5.1 system, whose satellites are very compact and therefore maybe even more amenable to your wife.

It's also possible your wife *might* accept some really nice looking slim towers like an RBH Sound R55TiB or such.
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So if you get the SVS or KEF, are you mounting them on the wall? Because I doubt your wife would look much more favorably on stand-mounted small speakers.

What she really wants is in-wall/in-ceiling. Depending what you mean by "finishing" that might be doable very well, or impossible-are you building walls?

I was quite surprised, on hearing the KEFs at a local dealer, to not like them so much. Oh, they were good speakers and all, but they didn't sing to me particularly. So in the end, with no dealers, be sure to be from somewhere returnable. That might argue in favor of getting the SVS, and if you don't like, see if someone sells the KEFs like that. Meanwhile Sound And Vision April 2017 just gave a super positive review to the RSL CG3 5.1 system, whose satellites are very compact and therefore maybe even more amenable to your wife.

It's also possible your wife *might* accept some really nice looking slim towers like an RBH Sound R55TiB or such.
This happens to me when manufacturers send me stuff all the time. I've NEVER heard a Paradigm speaker I've liked and I have tried a ton. The B&W 600 series, to me, is gross. Others love them. That's part of the fun of the A/V hobby!
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post #16 of 34 Old 03-06-2017, 08:45 AM
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Thx. But isn't this still 7-channel (so only able to do the one atmos pair)?
If I'm not mistaken, this receiver will do 5.2.4 or 7.2.2...you will need an amp for the last 2 channels and luckily for you, you have one already!

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post #17 of 34 Old 03-06-2017, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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I've auditioned the SVS Prime bookshelves, they'll be ok for HT as long as the movie your watching doesn't have any music with horns or female vocals because they have odd treble peaks that are Klipsch-level screeching. Otherwise they're pretty dynamic and detailed.

The Ascend equivalent to the SVS Primes would be the CBM-170SE which is actually $350/pair new, and it's a much more neutral, accurate and well-behaved speaker. Its main challenge is WAF, because it does have a very peculiar square boxy shape that takes some getting used to (personally I like odd shaped things, like the now-discontinued Honda Element and Scion xB or Nissan Cube, but some people have strong reactions to them).

Better speakers that actually cost even less and have very high WAF would be the $250/pair Q-Acoustics 3020 and the $225/pair EMPTek R5Bi (those prices are for A-stock and include shipping). The QAs even have a white color option (albeit they charge you more for it), which would be the ultimate wife-pleaser, lol. As you might've guessed, I'm married too.
Thanks - I'll check all of those out. I agree re Prime highs. I was a little annoyed by them when listening to the towers at a local store. Can't imagine that would improve as I listened over the course of a movie...

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Originally Posted by head_unit View Post
So if you get the SVS or KEF, are you mounting them on the wall? Because I doubt your wife would look much more favorably on stand-mounted small speakers.

What she really wants is in-wall/in-ceiling. Depending what you mean by "finishing" that might be doable very well, or impossible-are you building walls?

I was quite surprised, on hearing the KEFs at a local dealer, to not like them so much. Oh, they were good speakers and all, but they didn't sing to me particularly. So in the end, with no dealers, be sure to be from somewhere returnable. That might argue in favor of getting the SVS, and if you don't like, see if someone sells the KEFs like that. Meanwhile Sound And Vision April 2017 just gave a super positive review to the RSL CG3 5.1 system, whose satellites are very compact and therefore maybe even more amenable to your wife.

It's also possible your wife *might* accept some really nice looking slim towers like an RBH Sound R55TiB or such.
They will go on a pretty large built-in media center we're doing. So, basically, a true bookshelf. But because we are doing built-ins, we can't have towers in front (or stands).

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If I'm not mistaken, this receiver will do 5.2.4 or 7.2.2...you will need an amp for the last 2 channels and luckily for you, you have one already!
It will -- you're correct. But I don't have an amp .
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post #18 of 34 Old 03-06-2017, 03:52 PM
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It will -- you're correct. But I don't have an amp .
Ahhh...I thought you had an existing amp you were replacing. My bad.

eBay or Amazon for a cheap 2 shannel. Doesn't need to be fancy since it is just the Atmos part and it isn't like it is the front mains.

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post #19 of 34 Old 03-06-2017, 04:36 PM
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They will go on a pretty large built-in media center we're doing. So, basically, a true bookshelf. But because we are doing built-ins, we can't have towers in front (or stands).
Maybe give the EMPTek R5Bi a try then, they are rear ported but unlike other rear-porteds, have no problem with as little as 2-3 inches of rear clearance since they produce so little mid-bass to begin with...when blended with a good sub they blossom nicely though, amazing soundstage. Also, your wife will be quite pleased with the curved sides, shallow depth, and glossy finish!

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #20 of 34 Old 03-07-2017, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Maybe give the EMPTek R5Bi a try then, they are rear ported but unlike other rear-porteds, have no problem with as little as 2-3 inches of rear clearance since they produce so little mid-bass to begin with...when blended with a good sub they blossom nicely though, amazing soundstage. Also, your wife will be quite pleased with the curved sides, shallow depth, and glossy finish!
Thanks again - I'll give them a look
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post #21 of 34 Old 03-07-2017, 12:30 PM
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Thanks - I'll check all of those out. I agree re Prime highs. I was a little annoyed by them when listening to the towers at a local store. Can't imagine that would improve as I listened over the course of a movie...

Extra brightness is a positive for HT use (IMO of course). So if the main or only use is HT give the Primes a shot in your own home. They might sound quite different.

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post #22 of 34 Old 03-07-2017, 02:16 PM
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I have a slightly different slant on the music versus HT thought that Zorba proposed. I like as accurate and neutral of a speaker as possible for either...however, I have found that higher end speakers real shine for critical music, but sometimes that extra expense gets lost in the Umph of HT.
My own example...my EMPtek speakers are really good for HT, especially if you consider what I spent on them and compare to what i spent on my Phil- BMR speaker (this speaker pair cost me more that the 5 EMPs). For critical music listening, I prefer the Phil-BMR every day of the week and 4 times on the weekend. However, when I moved the Phil-BMRs to my theater for a quick trial, the difference in SQ wasn't as noticable. I think clarity and detail can get lost, or more accurate, overrun when listening to most modern HT soundtracks.
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post #23 of 34 Old 03-14-2017, 03:28 AM
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A week old thread, but I'll add something since I do currently own the SVS Ultra bookshelfs and had owned the KEF LS50s for a good 4 months. I've also done a lot of A/B testing between them in my own room, at my own space, on the volume I like.


I don't want this post to be super long so I'll try and keep it short;

Movies
I'll be extremely frank here, the tonality between the Ultra and LS50 are actually pretty damn close. Until the point where I could use one PEQ curve between them and they wouldn't sound too obviously different. It's only noticeable on some content and if I focus on the differences. Since movies are mated with a sub(s), I have my subs blend very seamlessly with either pair where it's difficult to tell the difference between Ultra and LS50 on the low-end, hell I think it's damn near impossible.

The Ultra does have a slight bit more forward presentation on the mids, I use the Ultra Center as my center for multi-channel movies so it applies generally to the bookshelf also. But on stereo content, the mids on the Ultras a little more in my face than the LS50. Neither is bad, it's just a preference thing. I personally like the Ultras more in this regard.

Tweeter wise, not much to split between them to be honest. On paper and technically speaking, the Ultras would sound brighter and more forward. But I found it wasn't the case in my room at least. The LS50 may or may not have more detail, but that's something movie content cannot really show. I'll get back to this with music...


Music
This is the only genre where I can differentiate them noticeably and even then, it's not very significant. In a 2.0 music only setup, the Ultras low-end is the definite winner in my books. It just hits harder, quicker, more accurate and it's just so, sooo clean. The LS50 lacks in this space and often times, I can hear a feint but noticeable reverb between the lowest octaves of a male voice and the mid-bass.

The tweeter, welp the KEF wins in this area. I'm fine with the Ultra's tweeter for movies, but on music... they too can sound a little too bright and yes I know what the hell bright is considering the Prime bookshelfs were my main drivers before either of these. There can be cases of sibilance on the Ultras that you know can only be remedied with a DSP to a certain extent.

The LS50 has a very detailed, smooth top end yet it doesn't lack that expressive energy that is an absolutely must have criteria in my book. I hate plain, dull tweeters that for the sake of not sounding harsh, becomes overly veiled.


Bonus: Games
Now I play A LOT of games. And games these days has gotten increasingly complex in how dynamic they can sound on the fly. Unlike a movie or a song, many parts of a game's aural experience derives proceduraly on the fly.

Both the Ultras and LS50 does fantastically well in games. The most important area to a game (audio wise) is accuracy of sound directionality. If I were to play a game in plain stereo, the LS50 would win every time in terms of the soundstage. I mentioned it earlier, its top end is just beautifully detailed and that translates into a very wide and deep gaping soundstage that effects are coming from areas from my wall and not just the screen. As an example, it's eerie to hear a train coming from the far left side of my wall and it hasn't even arrived on my screen yet.

That said, the Ultras aren't too far back either. They do have a wide soundstage as well, but it lacks some depth and instead has more width. But at the same time, the bass on the Ultras are just so forceful and fun to listen to that it makes the LS50 feel meek in comparison. I love how the Ultras always punch me in the gut, while the LS50s are more... "eh, here's some bass, I'll massage you with it."



The tldr though; I love both pair of speakers. I sold the LS50s because the Ultras to my ears are the best all-rounder (which was what I'm looking for) while the KEF LS50 is a little more focused on certain genres.

Hope that helps you out, even if it's a week old thread.

PS: One other thing, if you can get 3x LS50s and make them your LCR instead of mating the center channel to a Q600 (I loathe the Q series btw), that would be preferable instead. You can use the Q series speakers for surround if you want. But if you're set on getting a pair of LS50s, try getting a single LS50 for center. I'm sure you'll have jaw drop syndrome from the seamless blending on the front stage of your audio setup.

P/S 2: Yes. you can put the LS50 horizontally and there wouldn't be any dispersion issue (which is what I did). I know some crazy LS50 lovers actually bought 7 x LS50s just to have a seamless 7.1 setup.

- 7.2.4 Bedroom Theater -
SVS Ultra Bookshelf + SVS Ultra Center
Prime Bookshelf Surround with Prime Elevation
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Last edited by Ben Tan; 03-14-2017 at 04:16 AM.
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post #24 of 34 Old 03-14-2017, 07:34 AM
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I'm fine with the Ultra's tweeter for movies, but on music... they too can sound a little too bright and yes I know what the hell bright is considering the Prime bookshelfs were my main drivers before either of these.
Whoa, from reading other people's feedback who also owned both SVS series, I thought that the Ultras use a different tweeter than the Primes, and do not suffer from brightness at all?

I auditioned the Prime bookshelves and found them downright unlistenable for certain types of music (jazz horns and female vocals), but was told the Ultras had fixed those weird treble peaks.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #25 of 34 Old 03-14-2017, 08:02 AM
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Would someone please tell me where I can get a pair of LS50's for $500?

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post #26 of 34 Old 03-14-2017, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ben Tan View Post
A week old thread, but I'll add something since I do currently own the SVS Ultra bookshelfs and had owned the KEF LS50s for a good 4 months. I've also done a lot of A/B testing between them in my own room, at my own space, on the volume I like.


I don't want this post to be super long so I'll try and keep it short;

Movies
I'll be extremely frank here, the tonality between the Ultra and LS50 are actually pretty damn close. Until the point where I could use one PEQ curve between them and they wouldn't sound too obviously different. It's only noticeable on some content and if I focus on the differences. Since movies are mated with a sub(s), I have my subs blend very seamlessly with either pair where it's difficult to tell the difference between Ultra and LS50 on the low-end, hell I think it's damn near impossible.

The Ultra does have a slight bit more forward presentation on the mids, I use the Ultra Center as my center for multi-channel movies so it applies generally to the bookshelf also. But on stereo content, the mids on the Ultras a little more in my face than the LS50. Neither is bad, it's just a preference thing. I personally like the Ultras more in this regard.

Tweeter wise, not much to split between them to be honest. On paper and technically speaking, the Ultras would sound brighter and more forward. But I found it wasn't the case in my room at least. The LS50 may or may not have more detail, but that's something movie content cannot really show. I'll get back to this with music...


Music
This is the only genre where I can differentiate them noticeably and even then, it's not very significant. In a 2.0 music only setup, the Ultras low-end is the definite winner in my books. It just hits harder, quicker, more accurate and it's just so, sooo clean. The LS50 lacks in this space and often times, I can hear a feint but noticeable reverb between the lowest octaves of a male voice and the mid-bass.

The tweeter, welp the KEF wins in this area. I'm fine with the Ultra's tweeter for movies, but on music... they too can sound a little too bright and yes I know what the hell bright is considering the Prime bookshelfs were my main drivers before either of these. There can be cases of sibilance on the Ultras that you know can only be remedied with a DSP to a certain extent.

The LS50 has a very detailed, smooth top end yet it doesn't lack that expressive energy that is an absolutely must have criteria in my book. I hate plain, dull tweeters that for the sake of not sounding harsh, becomes overly veiled.


Bonus: Games
Now I play A LOT of games. And games these days has gotten increasingly complex in how dynamic they can sound on the fly. Unlike a movie or a song, many parts of a game's aural experience derives proceduraly on the fly.

Both the Ultras and LS50 does fantastically well in games. The most important area to a game (audio wise) is accuracy of sound directionality. If I were to play a game in plain stereo, the LS50 would win every time in terms of the soundstage. I mentioned it earlier, its top end is just beautifully detailed and that translates into a very wide and deep gaping soundstage that effects are coming from areas from my wall and not just the screen. As an example, it's eerie to hear a train coming from the far left side of my wall and it hasn't even arrived on my screen yet.

That said, the Ultras aren't too far back either. They do have a wide soundstage as well, but it lacks some depth and instead has more width. But at the same time, the bass on the Ultras are just so forceful and fun to listen to that it makes the LS50 feel meek in comparison. I love how the Ultras always punch me in the gut, while the LS50s are more... "eh, here's some bass, I'll massage you with it."



The tldr though; I love both pair of speakers. I sold the LS50s because the Ultras to my ears are the best all-rounder (which was what I'm looking for) while the KEF LS50 is a little more focused on certain genres.

Hope that helps you out, even if it's a week old thread.

PS: One other thing, if you can get 3x LS50s and make them your LCR instead of mating the center channel to a Q600 (I loathe the Q series btw), that would be preferable instead. You can use the Q series speakers for surround if you want. But if you're set on getting a pair of LS50s, try getting a single LS50 for center. I'm sure you'll have jaw drop syndrome from the seamless blending on the front stage of your audio setup.

P/S 2: Yes. you can put the LS50 horizontally and there wouldn't be any dispersion issue (which is what I did). I know some crazy LS50 lovers actually bought 7 x LS50s just to have a seamless 7.1 setup.
Thanks a million. VERY helpful.
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post #27 of 34 Old 03-14-2017, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Whoa, from reading other people's feedback who also owned both SVS series, I thought that the Ultras use a different tweeter than the Primes, and do not suffer from brightness at all?

I auditioned the Prime bookshelves and found them downright unlistenable for certain types of music (jazz horns and female vocals), but was told the Ultras had fixed those weird treble peaks.
The Ultras came out before the Prime. So if anything, the Ultra's tweeters were the "best" version of the aluminium dome SVS uses. The Prime's tweeter is identical on the outside, downright to the diffuser. But the internal components are different.

Going from the Primes to the Ultra, with no DSP or PEQ applied - the difference in the tweeter is instantly noticeable. At first I thought the Ultras were perfect, side by side to the Primes. But upon months of listening to more content, I found some content - particularly Jazz to still present a slight sibilance to the overall sound. It's by no means as fatiguing as the Primes, but I can still hear it. Thankfully, it's slight enough that some bit of EQing the top-end (5khz to 8khz) tames it out almost entirely.

I'm sure you remember how the Primes would also be obnoxiously fatiguing for female vocals right? I found that there's cone break up at around the 2-3khz area and that's the main issue causing the fatiguing female vocals to stand out like a sore thumb, at least that's what it sounds like to me. The Ultras do not suffer from this area so I found that voices for all kinds of content (even the 90s stereo TV shows like Friends) would sound pleasant to listen to.

- 7.2.4 Bedroom Theater -
SVS Ultra Bookshelf + SVS Ultra Center
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post #28 of 34 Old 03-15-2017, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Tan View Post
The Ultras came out before the Prime. So if anything, the Ultra's tweeters were the "best" version of the aluminium dome SVS uses. The Prime's tweeter is identical on the outside, downright to the diffuser. But the internal components are different.

Going from the Primes to the Ultra, with no DSP or PEQ applied - the difference in the tweeter is instantly noticeable. At first I thought the Ultras were perfect, side by side to the Primes. But upon months of listening to more content, I found some content - particularly Jazz to still present a slight sibilance to the overall sound. It's by no means as fatiguing as the Primes, but I can still hear it. Thankfully, it's slight enough that some bit of EQing the top-end (5khz to 8khz) tames it out almost entirely.

I'm sure you remember how the Primes would also be obnoxiously fatiguing for female vocals right? I found that there's cone break up at around the 2-3khz area and that's the main issue causing the fatiguing female vocals to stand out like a sore thumb, at least that's what it sounds like to me. The Ultras do not suffer from this area so I found that voices for all kinds of content (even the 90s stereo TV shows like Friends) would sound pleasant to listen to.
Never knew that...but it explains everything! SVS wouldn't want to undercut the Ultras by offering a speaker that performed equal or close to the Ultras yet sold for half the price. Makes perfect sense now.

I wonder how the Ultras compare to speakers in the $700-800/pair range, like the Ascend Sierra 1, Focal Aria 905, etc.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #29 of 34 Old 03-15-2017, 01:35 PM
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I wonder how the Ultras compare to speakers in the $700-800/pair range, like the Ascend Sierra 1, Focal Aria 905, etc.
Seems you have found your next "project".

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post #30 of 34 Old 03-16-2017, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Never knew that...but it explains everything! SVS wouldn't want to undercut the Ultras by offering a speaker that performed equal or close to the Ultras yet sold for half the price. Makes perfect sense now.

I wonder how the Ultras compare to speakers in the $700-800/pair range, like the Ascend Sierra 1, Focal Aria 905, etc.
Well FWIW, SVS did advertise the Primes to be "closer than we'd like to admit" to the Ultras. It's a blunder on their part, they're not close at all. But at the same time, the Primes certainly don't sound twice worse either.

I remember months ago I told you I was going to get an Ascend Sierra (either 1 or 2) for demo. Unfortunately that plan didn't turn out too well, since I don't live in the US. Shipping and import tax was a problem, where the Sierra 1 would end up costing more than the SVS Ultra in the end.

Maybe you can do an audition?

- 7.2.4 Bedroom Theater -
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Prime Bookshelf Surround with Prime Elevation
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