Athena AS-C1 x 5 & HSU VTF-3 MK2 System - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I just got a Athena AS-C1 speakers x 5 (so all matching L/C/R/SL/SR) and a HSU VTF-3 MK2 sub and really enjoy this setup. There is something to this having matching speakers all the way around as for clarity, levels, etc. and the HSU sub is amazing.

BestBuy.com had the Athena AS-C1 on sale for $ 87.99 + shipping, but now the price went back up to $ 144.99 + shipping (still a good deal at that price too).
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post #2 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 07:38 AM
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i tried using the C1's as L-C-R too, but i wasn't as happy about it as you are. just to let you know, you will get better bass response out of a B1 than a C1, when used as front or rear channel...

i figured that since there are 2 drivers in the C1, that it would get more bass response than the B1, but there are things about the speaker desgin that prevented that. it has to do with alot of things, primarily the crossover that they use in the cabinent, and the cabinet itself...

don't get me wrong, they did sound very clear, but they're primarily designed to be used as a center channel. yes, they can be placed on their side, but if you actually call Athena and ask them, they don't recommend it...

i tried the C1's as fronts for a few weeks, and decided to hook up a pair of B1's to see if they were right, to compare them. sure enough, i thought the B1's sounded better as fronts, and had better bass response. to make the decision even easier, a pair of B1's cost the same as a single C1. honestly, for $10 more, you can get an F1, which is exactly what i did...

i'm not posting this to say that you should change your set-up, or there's anything wrong with what you're doing, i'm just letting you know that there may be some better alternatives that you wouldn't think were better at first. when i first tried this, i started a thread here, and got mixed opinions about using the same exact speakers at L-C-R. i got replies saying that usually, when someone uses the same speakers either up front or all around, they use a bookshelf as a center, not the other way around...

and good luck with your new system...

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post #3 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 07:44 AM
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Why did you decide on using all C1s? Just curious....don't take offence by it.

I recently picked one up for my center, and at first it sounded pretty bad to my ears, but I THINK its starting to break in and sound less like as if it the voices were passing through a cone, nasaly maybe? I don't know why, but out of the box the C1 sounded much worse/different then the b1s and b2s do out of the box. Maybe it has to do with two midrange drivers breaking in??? Have you noticed this at all? Am I ruining your new speaker purchase; I hope not! Just enjoy.

And I agree about matching....when I tested with 2 B2s up front and 2 B2s as surrounds, it was really nice, but I've found just matching with the rest of the athena line is pretty darn good too.

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post #4 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 08:08 AM
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the C1 does take the longest out of any of them to break in. my F1's and B1's took about an hour to break in, but my C1 took much longer to break in, i couldn't believe how bright it sounded out of the box. give it a few days, if not longer, before you make a judgement about it...

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post #5 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 09:32 AM
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You know, i think i've noticed this myself. I've got b2s and a c1 up front.

C1 is not an equal match for the b2s i think. I'd prefer a b2 sized cone x2 in the c1 and a beefier box. Maybe athena will come out withsomething like that. The b2s sound fantastic.

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post #6 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIVE ONE SIX
i tried using the C1's as L-C-R too, but i wasn't as happy about it as you are. just to let you know, you will get better bass response out of a B1 than a C1, when used as front or rear channel...

i figured that since there are 2 drivers in the C1, that it would get more bass response than the B1, but there are things about the speaker desgin that prevented that. it has to do with alot of things, primarily the crossover that they use in the cabinent, and the cabinet itself...

don't get me wrong, they did sound very clear, but they're primarily designed to be used as a center channel. yes, they can be placed on their side, but if you actually call Athena and ask them, they don't recommend it...

i tried the C1's as fronts for a few weeks, and decided to hook up a pair of B1's to see if they were right, to compare them. sure enough, i thought the B1's sounded better as fronts, and had better bass response. to make the decision even easier, a pair of B1's cost the same as a single C1. honestly, for $10 more, you can get an F1, which is exactly what i did...

i'm not posting this to say that you should change your set-up, or there's anything wrong with what you're doing, i'm just letting you know that there may be some better alternatives that you wouldn't think were better at first. when i first tried this, i started a thread here, and got mixed opinions about using the same exact speakers at L-C-R. i got replies saying that usually, when someone uses the same speakers either up front or all around, they use a bookshelf as a center, not the other way around...

and good luck with your new system...
Bass response from the AS-C1 was not important as I am using the HSU sub for bass (and boy is there some bass..)


Quote:
Originally Posted by budgetman
Why did you decide on using all C1s? Just curious....don't take offence by it.

I recently picked one up for my center, and at first it sounded pretty bad to my ears, but I THINK its starting to break in and sound less like as if it the voices were passing through a cone, nasaly maybe? I don't know why, but out of the box the C1 sounded much worse/different then the b1s and b2s do out of the box. Maybe it has to do with two midrange drivers breaking in??? Have you noticed this at all? Am I ruining your new speaker purchase; I hope not! Just enjoy.

And I agree about matching....when I tested with 2 B2s up front and 2 B2s as surrounds, it was really nice, but I've found just matching with the rest of the athena line is pretty darn good too.
I went with the AS-C1 for several reasons:

1. Price
2. Good comments on their products
3. Cabinet size - not too big - not too small
4. Matching sound quality around the entire room
5. I wanted to elminate having floor standing speakers for the L/R front
6. Looks
7. Warranty
8. I thought they were made in Canada, but they are not - made in China :(


Quote:
Originally Posted by FIVE ONE SIX
the C1 does take the longest out of any of them to break in. my F1's and B1's took about an hour to break in, but my C1 took much longer to break in, i couldn't believe how bright it sounded out of the box. give it a few days, if not longer, before you make a judgement about it...
Bright ? I don't think the AS-C1 is bright at all. In fact I thought it was a bit flat sounding - which is fine.
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post #7 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 09:53 AM
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that's cool, i wasn't trying to rain on your parade, i was just sharing my experience with a similar situation...

like i said above, good luck with your new system...

i'm sure BB will fix the prices on their website, they made a similar mistake a week or 2 ago. they put the prices back up to what they were, then dropped them the next day. either that, or they're preparing for release of the new AS series. i'm not sure if they've been released yet, or if BB is even going to carry them...

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post #8 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 10:42 AM
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personally, I don't think all the complaints regarding the C1 are necessarily fixed with a larger woofer size, though 6.5" would be a nice upgrade. The B1 does a nice job with only one 5.25", and I've heard a few nice centers with 5.25" woofers. I think its 'just' a design issue ;) But 6.5" woofers don't hurt for sure.

I am reserving judgement on the C1 until I've spent enough time listening to it. I've been using it for a few weeks; and it definitely seemed to sound better after a few days of use. I have an extra set of B2s and B1s on standby should I decide I'm not happy with it. My issue with using a bookshlef as center is I want to orient them vertically as they should be under my screen, but then the woofer pulls dialogue down too far to the floor, and it looks kind of weird too. Also, the C1 does seem to bring out the dialogue a little better then the bookshelves; which I find good because some dialogue in movies can be difficult to hear even after turning up the center level a few notches. I don't really concern myself too much regarding music, as I mostly have the system for movies.

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post #9 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 11:30 AM
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the B2's are very good speakers, slightly better than the B1's, but you need to decide if the extra money you would spend on them is worth it...

for example, a pair of B1's is $89.99 at BB, a pair of B2's is $189.99 at BB, a single F1 is $96.99 at BB, and a single F2 is $179.99 at BB. do you think the B2's are $100 better than the B1's? also, the price of the B2's after you purchase speaker stands is actually MORE than the price of a pair of F1's.

i just find it strange that BB never really dropped the price of the B2's or the F2's...

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post #10 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 12:06 PM
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I just picked up a C1 open box this weekend for $45. They reduced the price to $65 and then I had a 30% open box coupon. I should have negotiated to buy the pair of open box B1's they had too. Maybe I'll go back.

Right now the prices on BB website are high. They did this a few weeks ago and reduced the B1's and C1 to $89. It'll probably happen again.

They still have F2 and B2 available in NY? Haven't seen them in California BB in 4-6 months.

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post #11 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 01:10 PM
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When is the new stuff supposed to come out? You'd think they were losing sales based on lack of availability alone - up here there are very few of any model left (no thanks to me :) ). I really wished i could have found some F2s in a non-open box.

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post #12 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIVE ONE SIX
the B2's are very good speakers, slightly better than the B1's, but you need to decide if the extra money you would spend on them is worth it...

for example, a pair of B1's is $89.99 at BB, a pair of B2's is $189.99 at BB, a single F1 is $96.99 at BB, and a single F2 is $179.99 at BB. do you think the B2's are $100 better than the B1's? also, the price of the B2's after you purchase speaker stands is actually MORE than the price of a pair of F1's.

i just find it strange that BB never really dropped the price of the B2's or the F2's...
Just for sh$ts and giggles, I emailed athena about the c1 and using the b1 and b2 as center channel...I assume I'll get some standard boring reply.

I've always found the argument of stand cost a bit irrelevant for me....a bookshelf is more versatile due to its small size (use as surround, center channel later). And making a speaker stand is not beyond most people's abilities, cost like $20us for a pair. Mind you I wouldn't necessarily pick a b2 over an f1 at the same price unless they sounded better to me...but I picked up b2s at significantly cheaper price then I've ever seen the f1s priced here in canada, cause in general we get hosed for some reason.....go canada! and, I do prefer the b2s over the b1s, they actually sound 'significantly' different to me.

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post #13 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 08:29 PM
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that's cool. i saw the B2's for the first time yesterday, they were in the Riverhead store out here in NY, and when i found out the price i was a bit surprised to say the least. like i said before, it's cheaper to get a pair of F1's than it is to get a pair of B2's and a pair of speaker stands, and based on that i would take the F1's...

honestly, if you really want to find out about the center channel thing, you should call Athena directly. i called them when i was going to use C1's as fronts, and the person i spoke to was very knowledgable about their products, i believe his name was John...

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post #14 of 23 Old 05-31-2005, 09:09 PM
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Starting to go off topic, but I am discussing the c1 center channel.

I swapped in my extra B2 as a center channel again tonight. The B2 has about the same amount of break in time as the C1. The B2 still simply sounds better TO ME, and not to mention blends in quite nicely with B2 fronts. I don't think the C1 has changed much over time, maybe its just in my head, cause I still hear the same signature sound I disliked when I first hooked it up. I can't imagine the C1 willl sound like the B2 in 100hrs. If the C1 does start to sound better after 100hrs, how many people will wait that long to find out? I'll run my C1 constantly on a seperate stereo and see if the bass picks up after further usage.

I have never heard the F1 or F2s....they've always been out of my price range so I stayed away from them, plus I don't trust listening rooms for judging speakers, I need to get them home. But I know they are quite nice, and certainly a steal at the price you can get them down there.

Thanks, maybe I'll call....

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post #15 of 23 Old 06-01-2005, 08:58 AM
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Since most all of true 5.1 HT systems direct all bass frequencies below 80hz or so to the sub, I'm a little confused about the comments on C1 vs B1/B2 & bass responses, but whatever..
As far as C1s not being a good candidate for LCR, pull off the grills on a B1/B2 & a C1 standing on one end. Notice anything similar? Yep, the tweeter is now aligned the same on both speakers, sort of a "horizonal" directivity versus the C1s normal "vertical" directivity.
If I recall correctly the Athena manual *does* mention that some break in time is required.

5-1-6 - what exactly did Athena say to you in regards to using C1 as LCR?

Athena speakers are *engineered* in Canada, but built in China. If Chinese-built products are repugnant to you, be prepared to be revulsed more & more, as many audio companies are going that route. Component quality has been improving dramatically, & you would be quite suprised to learn how many "high end" companies have their products built overseas. China is very capable of producing competetive products for today's market.
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post #16 of 23 Old 06-01-2005, 11:46 AM
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yes, athena recommends 50-100 hrs and thats not yet up on my C1. Sure, maybe it'll get a little better, but there seems to be a number of people complaining about the C1 on this forum. After further usage, I will definitely post my results.

But right now I don't enjoy the C1 very much...and can't bear to use it when I could be using the B2. After breaking it in with music, maybe I can use it again.

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post #17 of 23 Old 06-01-2005, 12:46 PM
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hey, at the end of the day, it's your ears that have to be happy!
btw, what 's the rest of your system consist of, electronics wise?
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post #18 of 23 Old 06-02-2005, 11:15 AM
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I have been using (5) AS-C1's with an AS-P400 sub powered by a Yamaha 5760 for about 8 months now.

There is simply no comparison between a system comprised of 5 IDENTICAL speakers, and a system that uses 5 different speakers. Even if they're from the same manufacturer's line.

If you guys have not yet heard a system of 5/7 identical speakers, do yourself a favor and go listen to one with some of your personal "reference scenes" that you now well and you will hear the difference.

As for the AS-C1 not having the bass response of the AS-B2, that was the complete opposite of the results that I found between the 2 while using both DVE and AVIA and a SPL meter. The C1 was able to play MUCH louder and far cleaner at 50hz than my B2.

I had (4) B2's as my L/R and surround's paired with a AS-C1 for the center. But I was never really happy with the LCR sound stage, especially when there was dialog out of the L/R like on Nemo and Monsters inc.

So, I replaced the (4) B2's with C1's and have never looked back. The sound stage on 5.1 DVD's and multi channel music is absolutely perfect. When there is dialog out of the left or right speaker it sounds the EXACT same as when heard from the center speaker.

That can not be said for the majority of systems that I have personally heard, and thats a lot, as I am an electrical contractor that also installs HT systems part time. (15-20 per year is all)

And the last point is, if your system is set up correctly it doesn't matter if the B2 did in fact have more bass response than the C1 (it doesn't), because your sub is handling everything below 60-90hz anyway.


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post #19 of 23 Old 06-02-2005, 12:00 PM
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I think we are agreeing about the C1 sounding different then the B2, and that's the problem I have. I hate the damn thing so far, but you like it and that's great.

Tthe difference in bass in the two is very obvious to me, and I'm really surprised we have exactly opposite opinions. All my testing involved swapping the C1 and B2 in the exact same position using the exact same setup, back to back. I'm still clinging to the dream that it will get better after more use. Have you noticed changes after usage?

Even though I agree about identical speakers being great, positioning within a room, etc still makes identical speakers sound different. Do you have all your C1s oriented vertically?

here's a graph showing measured freq response for the C1, which isn't all that great, not even that much better then my little non-ported R1. Not to mention the C1 specs from athena also state that the B2 goes lower. In the graph, the peak at 1k I think is what bothers me.

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/ass...2003154347.pdf

Anyway, we could argue all day about this I guess and get nowhere....you hear something different then I do, and that's that.

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post #20 of 23 Old 06-02-2005, 12:42 PM
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For me, my smile got bigger as each new DVD played, so maybe I did notice the C1 "breaking-in" and I just wasn't aware of it!

I have all of the C1's oriented vertically, except the center, it's horizontal on top of my direct view display. All of my speakers are towed-in towards my seated position and the center is aimed down to my seated position. (I used a laser level to get it right)

Also in terms of the bass between the C1 and B2, I played "The day after tomorrow" with the sub off and all speakers set to large, and then alternated between the C1 and B2. (In the same location, driven by the same receiver)

On the scene that has the ship floating through the streets of NY, it ends with a huge bass peak @ 30hz when the ship stops.

On that bass peak, the B2's distorted and bottomed out VERY loudly, while the C1's just kept asking for more and I could not get them to bottom or distort at even the most ridiculous volume setting.

Again, this was all large and the sub off, so all 5 channels were playing full range with the LFE folded into the left/right speakers.

The dialog out of my center channel sounds just like the actor is in my room, rather than from a "speaker". And the sound pans across my entire room are flawless.

I was going to go with (1) more B2 and use that as my center, because that would have been a lot easier than changing out and re-aiming the other 4 speakers......Then I did the "Day after tomorrow test" and I just loved the the greater dynamic capability (playing LOUD!) of the C1!

I'm sure it has to due with (2) 5 1/2" drivers and a larger cabinet when compared to the B2.

By the way, I still use (2) B2's in my shop and I love them as well.



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post #21 of 23 Old 06-02-2005, 01:50 PM
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perhaps a better description would be mid-bass maybe....voices sound thin and I think it's the big peak shown in the freq graph I linked to, hovering around 1k, is what it is.

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post #22 of 23 Old 06-02-2005, 02:09 PM
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that's strange. out of the F1/C1/B1 combo i'm using now, the C1 was the first one to distort at anything -10 or higher on my 1014, when the speakers were set to large. it was quite noticable...

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post #23 of 23 Old 06-02-2005, 02:11 PM
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About the bass, it depends on how you mount them. Speakers on a wall will have more bass reinforcement than the same speaker on a stand away from the walls. Center speakers are usually designed with less bass boost in the crossover because they are meant to be used on a TV or a wall. So they would be a good choice all around if all the speakers are wall mounted. Mounted on stands they might sound thin. Likewise if you take speakers meant to be on stands and wall mount them, they may sound fat.

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