For background, I’ve been playing around with an inexpensive, secondary 2.1 system in the gym area of the unfinished portion of our basement.
I also have a pair of Klipsch Forte in this area. They are wired to the main system, which is in the finished “media room” part of the basement. I don’t want my son to have to mess with the main system when he’s working out (this sometimes requires making speaker wire swaps), so I set up this 2.1 system for him to use. The 2.1 system also provides a venue to evaluate various bookshelf speakers I come across.
The system consists of the following:
AVR: Pioneer VSX-517 (low end pre-HDMI model found at thrift store for $20)
Sub: JBL 550P (currently on Amazon for $189)
Speakers: Polk S20 ($159/pr
refurbs), NHT SB3 ($125/pr
Craigslist). I also have a couple other pairs that I have not yet evaluated in this system.
I evaluated both the Polks and the NHTs. Both were set to small, calibrated with a SPL meter, and evaluated with 80Hz and 100Hz crossovers. BTW, the Polks are 4 dB more efficient, based on the calibration settings.
What I’ve noticed is that the NHTs seem to have a more coherent or seamless blend with the sub. The overall bass presentation seems more detailed too. With the Polks, I could always tell that I was listening to a 2.1 system, which is a bit distracting. With the NHTs, I am pretty impressed by what this inexpensive little system can do. The sealed NHTs and sealed JBL sub sound pretty good together, even with a lowly AVR.
So now I am curious about which speaker attributes aid in blending with a sub. Is there something to sealed vs. ported, or is it more to do with the frequency response of the speakers?
Anecdotally, my first 5.1 system was 4 NHT Super Ones, a Super Center, and a Velodyne 1210. I always felt that this system had a coherent sound with good sub integration. Maybe I’m having good luck with NHT and sub blending.