Seeking help with $500 budget 5.1 setup in Hawaii - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Seeking help with $500 budget 5.1 setup in Hawaii

Hello and thanks in advance for your opinions. I need some opinions on speaker selection for a $500-600ish budget (might be willing to up it a bit for the right stuff). I do already have a SVS sub, so this budget is purely for fronts, center, and surrounds. Another thing...I live in hawaii which complicates the budget a bit. Down here, it's not quite as simple as looking at online prices with free shipping. Often times there are hidden shipping charges for AK and HI residents. For example, I was looking at HTD level 2's and in order to ship here they add an extra $375! Amazon and Crutchfield both ship to hawaii with no extra charges though and we have a best buy in town. That said, I'm looking at the following for a 10x15 room with 10' ceilings:

Fronts: Klipsch r-15m, or Polk s15 (amazon or best buy)
CTR: Klipsch r-25, or polk s30 (amazon or best buy)
surrounds: Micca MB42X (amazon)

If anyone knows of other speakers I should be considering, I'm all ears. I'm very open minded, except for used speakers that I can't audition...and the local craigslist scene right now isn't great.
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post #2 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Borg View Post
Hello and thanks in advance for your opinions. I need some opinions on speaker selection for a $500-600ish budget (might be willing to up it a bit for the right stuff). I do already have a SVS sub, so this budget is purely for fronts, center, and surrounds. Another thing...I live in hawaii which complicates the budget a bit. Down here, it's not quite as simple as looking at online prices with free shipping. Often times there are hidden shipping charges for AK and HI residents. For example, I was looking at HTD level 2's and in order to ship here they add an extra $375! Amazon and Crutchfield both ship to hawaii with no extra charges though and we have a best buy in town. That said, I'm looking at the following for a 10x15 room with 10' ceilings:

Fronts: Klipsch r-15m, or Polk s15 (amazon or best buy)
CTR: Klipsch r-25, or polk s30 (amazon or best buy)
surrounds: Micca MB42X (amazon)

If anyone knows of other speakers I should be considering, I'm all ears. I'm very open minded, except for used speakers that I can't audition...and the local craigslist scene right now isn't great.
Polk Signature setup from Crutchfield. https://www.crutchfield.com/shopsear...signature.html

4 S10s at $300 and one S35 at $250 or S30 at $200. IMO about the best you're going to do for $500.
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post #3 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borg View Post

Fronts: Klipsch r-15m, or Polk s15 (amazon or best buy)
CTR: Klipsch r-25, or polk s30 (amazon or best buy)
surrounds: Micca MB42X (amazon)

If anyone knows of other speakers I should be considering, I'm all ears. I'm very open minded, except for used speakers that I can't audition...and the local craigslist scene right now isn't great.
I'd skip the Klipsch rs, and rps will be too expensive for you.

Other options:

JBL 230 + 235 (amazon, or if JBL will ship to you free, $550)
Go with whatever cheapos you can find as surrounds, daytons, used CL, etc.

Sony Cores ($120 set x 3, use a single as a center, Core center, or go for a mismatch)

You may like the Polk signatures better, just throwing out other options for you to consider. JBLs at their sale price are a decent deal though.

Edit: And if you want to splurge, and get lucky with them still being in stock, a pair of JBL 580s at $520 --
https://www.amazon.com/JBL-Studio-58...rum-convert-20

Worry about the center/surrounds later, or go with a phantom center for now. By the time you read this, they may already be out of stock again though... going quickly at that price.
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Last edited by Doe Doe; 08-24-2017 at 06:12 PM.
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post #4 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 06:12 PM
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we have a best buy in town.
Here on Maui we do not even have that...
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post #5 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 06:44 PM
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Between Klipsch R and Polk S, I'd take Polk S for sure.

However, you can get JBL Studio 230 pair with Studio 235C from Amazon for $550 shipped. (JBL site is out of stock of both.)

Which is your best bang for the buck and a significant step up from the first 2 options. Use the remaining $50 for whatever surrounds can fit (Dayton B652?) or wait and get the JBL B15 for $130 shipped from Amazon later for surrounds.
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post #6 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post
Polk Signature setup from Crutchfield. https://www.crutchfield.com/shopsear...signature.html

4 S10s at $300 and one S35 at $250 or S30 at $200. IMO about the best you're going to do for $500.
Thanks. Couple questions: Are you recommending the S10 vs S15 purely for budget, or do you feel the S15 is not worth the $50 extra? Also, I figured the S35 would be a compromise in audio quality IOT fit under a TV vs the S30. True or no? I looked for a head to head comparison but couldn't find any.

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Here on Maui we do not even have that...
Sorry...But your island is also more laid back with less people and congestion....trade-offs...

Thanks for the JBL recommendations...I hadn't been considering those (my knowledge is old and for whatever reason I seem to remember that JBL wasn't great) but I'll add them to the list and do some research. A preliminary search on local CL turned this up: https://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/...197348871.html
The S38 is older but I found a couple favorable reviews. Anyone have experience with with those models?
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post #7 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 08:32 PM
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Sorry...But your island is also more laid back with less people and congestion....trade-offs...
Yup! Your are correct...
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post #8 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 08:52 PM
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Check out Pioneer speakers designed by Robert Jones. He's well known in the audio world as a guy who knows how to design inexpensive speakers that sound great. I have his Pioneer center channel speaker. It sits between two Martin-Logan electrostatic speakers. I'm very pleased with the sound and cost of the speaker.
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post #9 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DennyM View Post
Check out Pioneer speakers designed by Robert Jones. He's well known in the audio world as a guy who knows how to design inexpensive speakers that sound great. I have his Pioneer center channel speaker. It sits between two Martin-Logan electrostatic speakers. I'm very pleased with the sound and cost of the speaker.
Thanks, I'll check it out
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post #10 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 09:27 PM
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Thanks, I'll check it out
Yeah, I wouldn't go with the andrew jones pioneers, to be honest. They are a decent budget speaker, at least for music (not for HT in my opinion) but you aren't going with quite that low a budget. Bookshelves sometimes go as low as $68, center about the same.

JBLs or Polk S would be a better option. You can also do Qacoustic 3020s + 3090 (or concept) center if you want, although amazon doesn't give you any discount, so you'd pay a bit more from them.

or KefQ 300s, but you'd have to find a center for them, as the Kef series center would sort of bankrupt you.
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post #11 of 51 Old 08-24-2017, 10:12 PM
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CNET reviewed this $550 six speaker home theater combo.

The Good The Pioneer SP-PK52FS breaks new ground for quality sound at a budget price. The 5.1 speaker system is highlighted by two tower speakers in the front, plus a 100-watt, 8-inch powered subwoofer completes the system. And although it's not stylish, the curved wooden cabinets look better than a cheap boxy speaker.

The Bad The speakers are bulkier than many alternatives and the large center channel can be difficult to place. Black wood-grain vinyl is the sole finish option and might not be a good fit for every living room.

The Bottom Line If you've got the space for it, the Pioneer SP-PK52FS is simply the best-sounding, budget-price home theater speaker package you can buy.


CNET Editors' Rating



9.0 Overall

  • Design 7.0
  • Performance 10.0
  • Value 10.0
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post #12 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 12:31 AM
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CNET reviewed this $550 six speaker home theater combo.
Reviews like that is what originally led me to buy a set of Pioneers.

Let's just say I don't exactly agree with them. Pioneers are fine as budget speakers, mainly for music. I wouldn't choose them for home theater though, or if I had a $600 budget.
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post #13 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 02:50 AM
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Reviews like that is what originally led me to buy a set of Pioneers.

Let's just say I don't exactly agree with them. Pioneers are fine as budget speakers, mainly for music. I wouldn't choose them for home theater though, or if I had a $600 budget.
Given the budget the OP has. What speakers in this price range have you listened too and would recommend?
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post #14 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 02:58 AM
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I found two reviews that had very positive things to say about the Pioneer six speaker system for $550. Here's one of them: https://www.digitaltrends.com/speake...pk52fs-review/

And the other positive review: http://www.audioholics.com/tower-spe...neer-sp-pk52fs

I'm getting ready to convert our garage into a spare bedroom. I'm looking into a inexpensive surround system. I plan on listening to the Pioneer system. I already own the center channel speaker. It's a very good speaker for a small amount of money.

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post #15 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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For my setup, the pioneers come out to $350 (don't need the sub), whereas the JBLs are about $670. Given what I've been reading on both, I'd be very surprised if the pioneers outperform the JBLs. Those are some good reviews, but I tend to be wary about reviews from sites that are making money. Not that what they say aren't true, just that (like scientific studies) they can sometimes be biased based on the funding source--or in this case if the speakers were provided free for review.
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post #16 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 10:33 AM
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Given the budget the OP has. What speakers in this price range have you listened too and would recommend?
I have heard the Cores and Polks (I think they were signatures, brief listening test), but both in store settings. Anyway, I'd say both were better than the Pioneer AJs, which I did own for a while. The Cores I listened to more, and without a doubt to my ears they were better. The only speakers I have heard that are worse than the Pioneers for HT use would be Polk T/Rs.

Based on reviews + feedback here from others, I'd say the JBLs may be the best option. Although Qacoustics, Kefs, and so on all have gotten good reviews too. So that may simply come down to the OP's preference.

If I was just handed $600 though and told I needed to buy speakers, personally I'd get the JBL 580s at $520, splurge a bit for the matching center, and use whatever $20-$25 cheapo speakers I could find on CL as surrounds. I haven't heard the JBLs before, but I think it's a safe bet they'd destroy the Pioneers. But there could be other factors for the OP, such as aesthetics and bookshelves vs towers.
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post #17 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I have heard the Cores and Polks (I think they were signatures, brief listening test), but both in store settings. Anyway, I'd say both were better than the Pioneer AJs, which I did own for a while. The Cores I listened to more, and without a doubt to my ears they were better. The only speakers I have heard that are worse than the Pioneers for HT use would be Polk T/Rs.

Based on reviews + feedback here from others, I'd say the JBLs may be the best option. Although Qacoustics, Kefs, and so on all have gotten good reviews too. So that may simply come down to the OP's preference.

If I was just handed $600 though and told I needed to buy speakers, personally I'd get the JBL 580s at $520, splurge a bit for the matching center, and use whatever $20-$25 cheapo speakers I could find on CL as surrounds. I haven't heard the JBLs before, but I think it's a safe bet they'd destroy the Pioneers. But there could be other factors for the OP, such as aesthetics and bookshelves vs towers.
The local best buy here has the cores...I'll have to go check them out. I wish I could get the JBLs locally but that's a no go...it'd be nice to be able to return them if needed. As far as aesthetics go...performance and value are WAY more important in my book. I'm looking at bookshelves mainly due to the fact that they most often provide more value than towers (I already have a couple stands).

Are you saying the Cores are better than the pioneers or polks, or both? And what polks were they, the s15 or s20?
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post #18 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 11:04 AM
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The local best buy here has the cores...I'll have to go check them out. I wish I could get the JBLs locally but that's a no go...it'd be nice to be able to return them if needed. As far as aesthetics go...performance and value are WAY more important in my book. I'm looking at bookshelves mainly due to the fact that they most often provide more value than towers (I already have a couple stands).

Are you saying the Cores are better than the pioneers or polks, or both? And what polks were they, the s15 or s20?
Buy the Polks; owners on AVS have said they live up to the positive Sound and Vision Review.

Return them if not happy.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #19 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 11:14 AM
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Are you saying the Cores are better than the pioneers or polks, or both? And what polks were they, the s15 or s20?
Cores are better than the Pioneers (to my ears). They aren't necessarily better than the Polks.

The Polks I gave an extremely brief listen to, so can't really give a detailed opinion on. I can't say what model they even were. Basically it was a 'stroll through the store' sort of listen. I know some folks here really like them.

While in Best Buy, also listen to Def Tech sm 45/55/65s, if they have them out. They may sort of be in your budget. A bit bright for some though.

The buy/return thing always works, like Geoff mentioned.

As for the JBLs, I assume they won't do the free return shipping thing for you? If you buy direct, I believe they do have free returns... but not sure if that applies to Hawaii.
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post #20 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 11:38 AM
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Since you have a Best buy, you should listen to the Definitive Technology - StudioMonitor 45. Pretty good speakers for both HT and music and also reasonably priced.
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/definit...?skuId=4756469

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post #21 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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As for the JBLs, I assume they won't do the free return shipping thing for you? If you buy direct, I believe they do have free returns... but not sure if that applies to Hawaii.
Nope...and they charge extra for shipping I'm pretty much stuck with amazon for those...no auditioning and will likely have to pay return shipping if I dont like...

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Buy the Polks; owners on AVS have said they live up to the positive Sound and Vision Review.

Return them if not happy.
Do you have the polk sig series? Big difference between the S15 and S20?...are they worth $50 more? Also, S30 or S35 for center?

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Since you have a Best buy, you should listen to the Definitive Technology - StudioMonitor 45. Pretty good speakers for both HT and music and also reasonably priced.
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/definit...?skuId=4756469
I certainly will, thanks!
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post #22 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 12:08 PM
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I would go for the Sony Core speakers -- and a no-brainer for $120 a pair

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post #23 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 12:25 PM
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Do you have the polk sig series? Big difference between the S15 and S20?...are they worth $50 more? Also, S30 or S35 for center?


No I do not own the Polks but the AVS reviews have been very favorable by owners and the Sound and Vision frequency response charts don't show anything untoward.

For a larger space the larger S20s +S15 rears might make more sense but for a medium sized space the S15s+S30+S10 for rears would be fine.

If I didn't have space for the S30 I'd get the S35 but not if I had the space for the large drivers in the S30, (the S35 would need a 120hz crossover).

Geoff A. J., California
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post #24 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borg View Post
Hello and thanks in advance for your opinions. I need some opinions on speaker selection for a $500-600ish budget (might be willing to up it a bit for the right stuff). I do already have a SVS sub, so this budget is purely for fronts, center, and surrounds. Another thing...I live in hawaii which complicates the budget a bit. Down here, it's not quite as simple as looking at online prices with free shipping. Often times there are hidden shipping charges for AK and HI residents. For example, I was looking at HTD level 2's and in order to ship here they add an extra $375! Amazon and Crutchfield both ship to hawaii with no extra charges though and we have a best buy in town. That said, I'm looking at the following for a 10x15 room with 10' ceilings:

Fronts: Klipsch r-15m, or Polk s15 (amazon or best buy)
CTR: Klipsch r-25, or polk s30 (amazon or best buy)
surrounds: Micca MB42X (amazon)

If anyone knows of other speakers I should be considering, I'm all ears. I'm very open minded, except for used speakers that I can't audition...and the local craigslist scene right now isn't great.
These may be an option, depending upon your situation and taste.

https://www.amazon.com/Acoustics-700...ds=Q+Acoustics

This assumes that the sub has good response up to 150Hz and can be placed in the front of the room. Also, the room itself would need to be small to medium sized and that you sit relatively close. The advantage of these is that all 5 speakers are only 23 lbs, shipped, which should save you a bundle on shipping costs.

Bear in mid that there may be some compromises in the crossover region, if the speakers are not wall mounted (for bass reinforcement) or the sub is deficient in the upper bass regions. In addition, you can't expect earth-shattering volume levels from a speaker of this size.

From a sound quality perspective, these would be better than the entry-level Klipsch and Polk offerings, especially for music.
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post #25 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 01:34 PM
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Thanks. Couple questions: Are you recommending the S10 vs S15 purely for budget, or do you feel the S15 is not worth the $50 extra? Also, I figured the S35 would be a compromise in audio quality IOT fit under a TV vs the S30. True or no? I looked for a head to head comparison but couldn't find any.



Sorry...But your island is also more laid back with less people and congestion....trade-offs...

Thanks for the JBL recommendations...I hadn't been considering those (my knowledge is old and for whatever reason I seem to remember that JBL wasn't great) but I'll add them to the list and do some research. A preliminary search on local CL turned this up: https://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/...197348871.html
The S38 is older but I found a couple favorable reviews. Anyone have experience with with those models?
Budget, since you wanted to stay at $500. Combined with a good sub I don't think you'd notice a difference. Based on S&V's review the S35 does not compromise the audio quality. It reviewed and tested well, even off axis.

I'm on the Big Island. I pretty much order all my audio gear from Crutchfield, occasionally Amazon.

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post #26 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 01:40 PM
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Based on S&V's review the S35 does not compromise the audio quality. It reviewed and tested well, even off axis.
.
Unless there is something inherently lousy with the S30, I'd say go with the S30 over the S35, if the OP can fit it.

S35 is good for those with space issues. No space issues, go for the bigger drivers.

And yeah, the sub can make up for some of the bass issues with the S35. But that also means deep male voices may sometimes come out of his sub instead of the center.
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post #27 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Doe Doe View Post
Unless there is something inherently lousy with the S30, I'd say go with the S30 over the S35, if the OP can fit it.

S35 is good for those with space issues. No space issues, go for the bigger drivers.

And yeah, the sub can make up for some of the bass issues with the S35. But that also means deep male voices may sometimes come out of his sub instead of the center.
My center has 5.25 drivers but I still cross it over at 120hz. Never noticed any issues with deep voices seeming to come from my subs, even LOTR talking trees which were really low. Not saying that some of the voice was not coming from the sub, it may well have, but I couldn't tell. Ignorance is bliss.

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post #28 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post
My center has 5.25 drivers but I still cross it over at 120hz. Never noticed any issues with deep voices seeming to come from my subs, even LOTR talking trees which were really low. Not saying that some of the voice was not coming from the sub, it may well have, but I couldn't tell. Ignorance is bliss.
120 seems kind of high there, at least to me, assuming it's a normal-sized center. Even with my small-ish centers, I tend to go with 80-100.

But yeah, if you can't tell if voices are coming from your sub, all is good. May depend on positioning too. If your sub is close to your center, it may be harder to notice. If the sub is in the corner of the room... might be noticeable.
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post #29 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
These may be an option, depending upon your situation and taste.

https://www.amazon.com/Acoustics-700...ds=Q+Acoustics

This assumes that the sub has good response up to 150Hz and can be placed in the front of the room. Also, the room itself would need to be small to medium sized and that you sit relatively close. The advantage of these is that all 5 speakers are only 23 lbs, shipped, which should save you a bundle on shipping costs.

Bear in mid that there may be some compromises in the crossover region, if the speakers are not wall mounted (for bass reinforcement) or the sub is deficient in the upper bass regions. In addition, you can't expect earth-shattering volume levels from a speaker of this size.

From a sound quality perspective, these would be better than the entry-level Klipsch and Polk offerings, especially for music.
Thanks...worth considering for sure. My sub is a SVS PC12, so shouldn't have a problem up thru 150hz.

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Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post
Budget, since you wanted to stay at $500. Combined with a good sub I don't think you'd notice a difference. Based on S&V's review the S35 does not compromise the audio quality. It reviewed and tested well, even off axis.

I'm on the Big Island. I pretty much order all my audio gear from Crutchfield, occasionally Amazon.
I'm not hard set on $500, just would like to target something in the area of 500-600, but if there is incredible value to be had I'm up for a bit more. I just want to avoid the pricing area where the price/performance curve flattens out. I like shopping in the "sweet spot" where extra dollars spent equal big performance gains. Have you ever had to return anything to crutchfield from here? If so is their $10/pkg policy valid for here too?
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post #30 of 51 Old 08-25-2017, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Borg View Post
Thanks...worth considering for sure. My sub is a SVS PC12, so shouldn't have a problem up thru 150hz.



I'm not hard set on $500, just would like to target something in the area of 500-600, but if there is incredible value to be had I'm up for a bit more. I just want to avoid the pricing area where the price/performance curve flattens out. I like shopping in the "sweet spot" where extra dollars spent equal big performance gains. Have you ever had to return anything to crutchfield from here? If so is their $10/pkg policy valid for here too?
I've ordered quite a bit from them and I've never had to pay to return anything. It could be that things I returned were replaced with something else from them so more like an exchange than a plain return. As for the $10 charge I'm pretty sure it applies, but just give them a call. I know the 3 day shipping is awesome. I get stuff from them usually well before stuff I order from Amazon even begins the shipping process.

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