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post #1 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Another help me chose thread....

I recently upgraded my TV and now have been bitten by the upgrade bug. My current HT setup is
Samsung 65" KS8500
Oppo UDP 203
DIRECTV HR44
Denon AVR X3000
Polk monitor 15C center
Polk monitor 65T Front LR
Polk RC80i in ceiling 2 front height and 2 rears
DIY 4cf 14hz ported box with SI HST 18" sub powered by an iNuke 3000
My room is roughly 23x20 8' ceilings with a stairwell on the left of the room and a double door size opening in the rear of the room. Layout is sketched below.
There is also a large table and chairs behind the couch if that matter.

I am only looking to upgrade my front stage FCR speakers with a budget of $1500. Mainly HT use but with occasional music listening. I have looked at KEF Q500/Q700 and ELAC UNI FI 5. Are these good choices? And are there any other mid tier speakers I should look at? I'm limited on the center channel size so nothing too huge there.



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post #2 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 09:54 AM
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What don't you like about the Polk's or trying to improve upon? Too bright, lacking clarity?
What are you dimension limits on the center?

Kef Q100 FL/FR, Kef Q200c center, JBL Loft 40 surrounds , JBL SP 150 & Bic F12 subs, Denon AVR710Ws, , Panasonic 50" Plasma, Samsung cable box, Xbox One, Toshiba laptop.
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post #3 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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The Polks are ok but dialogue is not always the best and I'm tired of their fake cherry wood vinyl wrap. I've only had them for 3-4 years now.
For the center channel I'm looking at an opening size of 7.75"x22" but the cavity does open up to 8.5" behind a brace. I have taken into account with the Elac UC5 being 7.87" and can make it work by tucking it back some into the cavity or modify the shelf or brace to squeeze out that extra 1/8" needed to make the speaker work for me.
But I'm still interested in other options too.


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post #4 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamecock24 View Post
The Polks are ok but dialogue is not always the best and I'm tired of their fake cherry wood vinyl wrap. I've only had them for 3-4 years now.
For the center channel I'm looking at an opening size of 7.75"x22" but the cavity does open up to 8.5" behind a brace. I have taken into account with the Elac UC5 being 7.87" and can make it work by tucking it back some into the cavity or modify the shelf or brace to squeeze out that extra 1/8" needed to make the speaker work for me.
But I'm still interested in other options too.


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I suggest you check out something from Klipsch. they are amazing. the uni-fi have great reviews too
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post #5 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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With my dialogue issue I have tried cranking up the dialogue in the AVR and while does work it also throws everything else out of balance. Maybe that is when the speaker is too bright but I'm not sure.


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post #6 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamecock24 View Post
With my dialogue issue I have tried cranking up the dialogue in the AVR and while does work it also throws everything else out of balance. Maybe that is when the speaker is too bright but I'm not sure.


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Having the center crammed in a cubby hole could be the issue. Have you tried sitting on top of the cabinet?
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post #7 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 12:26 PM
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Look at Q Acoustics. Their center is small enough to fit easily. Pair with a couple of 3020s or 3050s and you will be home free. If you are feeling spendy, you could upgrade to the Concept series. Check out the Q Acoustics USA site (not the European site) and the dedicated Q Acoustics thread for lots of info, including forum members' reviews.
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post #8 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
Having the center crammed in a cubby hole could be the issue. Have you tried sitting on top of the cabinet?


I do have the center channel pushed out flush with the cabinet and the is about 8" of free space behind the speaker for the rear facing port. I wouldn't exactly say it's crammed in.
If I do pull it out the cabinet and set on top the cabinet the speaker would block a 3-4" portion of the TV so that's not a good option for me. Plus in the photo you see how the cherry wood wrap looks next to the dark brown stain on my cabinet, not exactly cohesive.


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post #9 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Look at Q Acoustics. Their center is small enough to fit easily. Pair with a couple of 3020s or 3050s and you will be home free. If you are feeling spendy, you could upgrade to the Concept series. Check out the Q Acoustics USA site (not the European site) and the dedicated Q Acoustics thread for lots of info, including forum members' reviews.


I will check them out for sure.


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post #10 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamecock24 View Post
The Polks are ok but dialogue is not always the best and I'm tired of their fake cherry wood vinyl wrap. I've only had them for 3-4 years now.
For the center channel I'm looking at an opening size of 7.75"x22" but the cavity does open up to 8.5" behind a brace. I have taken into account with the Elac UC5 being 7.87" and can make it work by tucking it back some into the cavity or modify the shelf or brace to squeeze out that extra 1/8" needed to make the speaker work for me.
But I'm still interested in other options too.
For just about $1K you can get a pair of these:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...m/cmt340m.html
with these:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...stlcmt340.html
and identical center:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...c/cmt340c.html

Hell, just replacing your Polk center with the Ascend center might be enough.

Do a google search as well as a forum search for the Ascends, pretty much impossible to find anyone not liking them.

Only possible drawback is their plain-Jane looks, but you'll be paying for the internals not the exterior packaging.
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~ 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 #11 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
For just about $1K you can get a pair of these:

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...m/cmt340m.html

with these:

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...stlcmt340.html

and identical center:

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...c/cmt340c.html



Hell, just replacing your Polk center with the Ascend center might be enough.



Do a google search as well as a forum search for the Ascends, pretty much impossible to find anyone not liking them.



Only possible drawback is their plain-Jane looks, but you'll be paying for the internals not the exterior packaging.


Zorba thanks for the tip in the Ascends. I did look at the 340's and saw what you mean about them being plane Jane. However the Sierra 1 is a available in an expresso finish which I think would compliment my cabinet very well and would be under budget at just under $1200 for the speaker. I wasn't really wanting bookshelf speakers but with those stands they look more like towers. These are on my short list.


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post #12 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 03:04 PM
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Time to graduate from the Polk Monitor series -- the voicing is mass market entry level.

Look at NHT, they make good stuff -- and the color will match your electronics.

NHT C-LCR center
https://www.nhthifi.com/products/165...c-series#specs

The C-3 bookshelf sold each
https://www.nhthifi.com/products/165...68128-c-series
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post #13 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 03:28 PM
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My 8" tall center (PSB) was in the same location as yours plus I had a solid-front coffee table between it and the couch. The base of the center speaker was the same height as the coffee table so at 12' away I thought it would not hinder the center channel that much. I was naively astounded at how much fuller and clearer it sounded when I placed it on top of the stand (12" higher) which is about ear level.
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post #14 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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My 8" tall center (PSB) was in the same location as yours plus I had a solid-front coffee table between it and the couch. The base of the center speaker was the same height as the coffee table so at 12' away I thought it would not hinder the center channel that much. I was naively astounded at how much fuller and clearer it sounded when I placed it on top of the stand (12" higher) which is about ear level.


If my TV was wall mounted that would free up the space on top of my cabinet for the center channel bringing it more in line with ear level. Currently it sits around 14" below ear level. The tweeters on the towers however are really close to ear level. The elevation difference can be seen here. So off axis listening is present but if I sit in the floor with the center channel at ear level the dialogue is not what I think it should be.


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post #15 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
Time to graduate from the Polk Monitor series -- the voicing is mass market entry level.



Look at NHT, they make good stuff -- and the color will match your electronics.



NHT C-LCR center

https://www.nhthifi.com/products/165...c-series#specs



The C-3 bookshelf sold each

https://www.nhthifi.com/products/165...68128-c-series


I like those. And they look to be 3way non ported. Unfortunately the layout of my room dictates the L/R be relatively close to the wall so rear facing ports aren't ideal for me. That's why I mentioned the C3's looking to be sealed enclosures.


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post #16 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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How does Monitor Audio Bronze series compare to all these others mentioned so far?


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post #17 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 06:07 PM
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I stepped up to ascend acoustics and love them. If I were you I would go with some DIYSoundGroup 893 or 1099. NOBODY complains about dialogue issues with those lol

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post #18 of 37 Old 05-17-2017, 06:12 PM
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I like those. And they look to be 3way non ported. Unfortunately the layout of my room dictates the L/R be relatively close to the wall so rear facing ports aren't ideal for me. That's why I mentioned the C3's looking to be sealed enclosures.
they are 3-way and are sealed, both bookshelf and center -- and I would keep them on a short list.

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post #19 of 37 Old 05-19-2017, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I've begun my comparison. Does anyone make spreadsheets to do comparisons or am I just weird like that?
I have the speakers that was interested in and that been suggested. I'm sure I will get some suggestions will you see I'm willing to blow my budget by $1k up to $2500 for NHT front stage with the C4's. I considered adding MA Silvers 6 to the list but I read they can be picky with their power source and I'm not really wanting to upgrade the AVR just yet.
My wife says I am going further down the rabbit hole with the HT.


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post #20 of 37 Old 05-19-2017, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Gamecock24 View Post
My wife says I am going further down the rabbit hole with the HT.

She's not wrong ...
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post #21 of 37 Old 05-19-2017, 12:58 PM
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I've begun my comparison. Does anyone make spreadsheets to do comparisons or am I just weird like that?
Naw, I do comparison spreadsheets like that too sometimes...just not for speakers.

PS. If you go with the Ascend Sierras, there's no need to get the $180 OEM stands...they'll work fine of course, but are mainly designed for the Ascend 340s. Personally I wouldn't spend much over $50 for a pair of stands, like these:
https://www.crutchfield.com/p_051BF3...c&awug=9002004

~ 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 #22 of 37 Old 05-19-2017, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Gamecock24 View Post
My wife says I am going further down the rabbit hole with the HT.
Spread sheets are like increasing the speed on the merry-go-round! It is the overall sound quality (sonic sound signature) that counts. With Monitor Audio, I would not go any lower than the Silver series. Your Denon will have no fear of the Silver series.
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post #23 of 37 Old 05-19-2017, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Another help me chose thread....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Naw, I do comparison spreadsheets like that too sometimes...just not for speakers.



PS. If you go with the Ascend Sierras, there's no need to get the $180 OEM stands...they'll work fine of course, but are mainly designed for the Ascend 340s. Personally I wouldn't spend much over $50 for a pair of stands, like these:

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_051BF3...c&awug=9002004


I do like the look of the Ascend stands but they are pricey for what they are. I could build my own if I go with Ascends. I wish the Ascend Sierra towers weren't so pricey but from what I've read they are worth it too bad they are way more than I want to spend.


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post #24 of 37 Old 05-19-2017, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Spread sheets are like increasing the speed on the merry-go-round! It is the overall sound quality (sonic sound signature) that counts. With Monitor Audio, I would not go any lower than the Silver series. Your Denon will have no fear of the Silver series.


I know the numbers aren't everything but the analytical side of me needs to see them. As for the Silvers I will have to add them. I see the Silver 6 are 8ohm but the Silver 8 are 4 ohm. I think that could be a problem for the Denon. The Elac are also 4 ohm so same concern. If it comes down to Elac vs MA Silver I think the wood veneer on the MA goes a long way since they will be in my living room. I still can't find any professional reviews on the C series NHT, what's the deal with that? And today I saw Walmart of all places sells NHT, well at least they do online.


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professional reviews on the C series NHT, what's the deal with that? And today I saw Walmart of all places sells NHT, well at least they do online.
NHT is competitive with your list -- The C series is a replacement upgrade from the Classic series (their higher end line) -- thinking about Walmart will keep you on the merry-go-round. I have owned some NHT speakers in the past -- and they make good stuff, and put a lot of work in them.
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post #26 of 37 Old 05-19-2017, 02:24 PM
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I would advise to choose your center first, find one that looks good and fits, and sounds great. Then get the matching mains. I and a few others have had serious issues around this. I got the kefs, q300, and they sound great, but the q200c which would fit for you, is impossible to find, and the q600c is huge. I also was interested in dali zensor, so i got the vokal for my center, and while it does the job, it doesnt sound nearly as good as the kefs. I would also recommend perhaps the deftech sm65. I really liked the way they sounded, and you can get three, with one to use horizontal as the center, in your price range...you can demo them at bb too.
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post #27 of 37 Old 05-19-2017, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I actually saw a q200 on Amazon today and considered it because I liked the way the q500/700 look with the walnut. But I read several bad reviews on there about damaged and defective speakers being delivered with poor customer service from KEF to address their problems so that kind of turned me off on them even though they are very attractive speakers. And yes the q600 is way too big for my cabinet.
I had planned on demoing the center channel like you mentioned and then picking my mains. But I started looking on Audiogon and found a good deal on a pair of MA Silver 6 so I jumped on it. I'll be buying the MA Silver center channel next.


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post #28 of 37 Old 05-19-2017, 07:19 PM
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But I started looking on Audiogon and found a good deal on a pair of MA Silver 6 so I jumped on it. I'll be buying the MA Silver center channel next.
Good call
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post #29 of 37 Old 05-19-2017, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamecock24 View Post
I've begun my comparison. Does anyone make spreadsheets to do comparisons or am I just weird like that?
I have the speakers that was interested in and that been suggested. I'm sure I will get some suggestions will you see I'm willing to blow my budget by $1k up to $2500 for NHT front stage with the C4's. I considered adding MA Silvers 6 to the list but I read they can be picky with their power source and I'm not really wanting to upgrade the AVR just yet.
My wife says I am going further down the rabbit hole with the HT.


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Anytime I do anything it goes in a spreadsheet. #fullnerd
Anyway, I did something similar to you but ended up deciding to buy used and I am glad I did. I still have a warranty on my Ascend acoustics Sierra IIs and saved a ton vs new. The seller was great and the speakers are amazing. 10/10 would do again..

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post #30 of 37 Old 05-20-2017, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Another help me chose thread....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeTRON250LM View Post
Anytime I do anything it goes in a spreadsheet. #fullnerd
Anyway, I did something similar to you but ended up deciding to buy used and I am glad I did. I still have a warranty on my Ascend acoustics Sierra IIs and saved a ton vs new. The seller was great and the speakers are amazing. 10/10 would do again..

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Yea used is the way to go. I'm glad I found that deal that I did on Audigon.com. I did compromise on the finish i wanted just to save money but in the end I got a pair of MA Silver 6 with only 20hrs on them for less than a new pair of MA Bronze 6. The walnut would have looked good but I think black oak will look good too.


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