Cambridge SoundWorks HT setups - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 391 Old 02-04-2009, 04:32 PM
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Hi Boulder, yes I really do appreciate your very informative PM. It helped me decide to purchase the HT305-SE with a 10% off coupon. I also purchased some white S305s for $100/pair. The white blends in with my walls (don't have a dedicated home theater), so I am happy with their look. Their build quality is very nice too. And wow they sound nice! I feel these are excellent value for the money. I've been using a pair for stereo output while I wait for the 5.1 system to arrive. They output a wide frequency range and even give very satisfying bass.

Justin
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post #92 of 391 Old 02-04-2009, 06:23 PM
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Very nice, enjoy them. Please give some follow up comments once you've got the whole thing put together. Judging from your comments about the S305 (assuming you're using the monopole mode?), you're going to be very happy with the sound of the MC305. It's similar in tonal characteristics but much more "full" and dynamic.

What receiver are you using with this setup?
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post #93 of 391 Old 02-04-2009, 09:08 PM
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Yes, I've been using them in monopole mode for stereo listening. The rest of the speakers and subwoofer arrived today in three large boxes. Thank goodness UPS arrived late in the day and I was home to take them inside. Otherwise, they were going to leave them on the front porch!

I won't have time until this weekend to set them up. But yes, I am very impressed by the sound of the S305s. I am using a Yamaha v663 as the receiver.

Justin
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post #94 of 391 Old 02-05-2009, 01:12 PM
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Hi again guys,

I have a quick question about the MC305s. I just opened my boxes and all three MC305s are identical. But in the photo on their website, the center speaker has a CSW emblem its bottom. If I turn my center speaker sideways for placement, the emblem is sideways. What do your MC305s look like? Thanks!

http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/s...ry=hometheater

Justin
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post #95 of 391 Old 02-05-2009, 01:41 PM
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They came with the logo badges installed? They're supposed to leave them off because there are multiple placement choices for them (take the grilles off and you'll see the different places it can go). However, I'd suggest just leaving the emblem in place if it's already there because the pins they use leave holes in the cloth (they also break pretty easy). If it bothers you a lot you could call them and ask for a new grille/badge, I think they'd send you a new one.
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post #96 of 391 Old 02-09-2009, 02:13 PM
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Did you end up getting everything set up over the weekend Justin? How are the 305s?
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post #97 of 391 Old 02-11-2009, 05:34 PM
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Extremely satisfied is the word. I can only imagine that people pass over Cambridge Soundworks simply because they aren't aware of their quality. If only they knew what they were missing! Wow! And to answer Reye's question, yes the S305s sound very good! What is the trash talk you have heard people say? I have bought a total of 3 pairs now. They sound so good, I had to buy some for family members at the current price!

Justin
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post #98 of 391 Old 02-18-2009, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justlnluck View Post

Extremely satisfied is the word. I can only imagine that people pass over Cambridge Soundworks simply because they aren't aware of their quality. If only they knew what they were missing! Wow! And to answer Reye's question, yes the S305s sound very good! What is the trash talk you have heard people say? I have bought a total of 3 pairs now. They sound so good, I had to buy some for family members at the current price!

People are saying Cambridge has low end products with high end mark up.
I own a 2.1 computer speaker for about 9 years now. And is still sound really good.
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post #99 of 391 Old 02-19-2009, 05:55 PM
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I just ordered a pair of these. I wanted black and would have gone for the 305s, but these were the only ones still on clearance/sale. Actually I did not see 305s as a separate item at all. I have a circa 2000 center speaker from them with AR3a fronts. I am hoping I will be happy.

Someone noted above that there is little performance difference between the two. Just curious, are they the same drivers and such?
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post #100 of 391 Old 02-19-2009, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reye View Post

People are saying Cambridge has low end products with high end mark up.
I own a 2.1 computer speaker for about 9 years now. And is still sound really good.

Where are you hearing that? High end mark up? Their prices don't even approach high end. I have nothing negative to say about their products. I believe they are a "gem" in their price range.
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post #101 of 391 Old 02-21-2009, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alternety View Post

I just ordered a pair of these. I wanted black and would have gone for the 305s, but these were the only ones still on clearance/sale. Actually I did not see 305s as a separate item at all. I have a circa 2000 center speaker from them with AR3a fronts. I am hoping I will be happy.

Someone noted above that there is little performance difference between the two. Just curious, are they the same drivers and such?

The S200/205 may actually be better in the case that you prefer bipole or dipole. The 305 was different in that it was direct radiating speaker (4" woofer, 1" dome tweeter) flanked by 2" cone tweeters on either side for bipole and dipole modes. When either of these modes was engaged, the dome tweeter was shut off, so it was just the bass driver and the two cone tweeters, but when direct was selected, these two drivers weren't in use. So no matter what, something was being left out.

The 205 is a 4" full range front firing driver with a 2" rear firing cone tweeter. This configuration is much better for diffused sound IMO. The general rule of thumb I was told back when CSW had their stores was if you like gun fight movies and watch a lot of TV with ProLogic, the S200 (/205) was the better choice, but for 5 channel music and movies with lots of direct sound, the S300 (/305) was the one to go with.

Bob Hazelwood (the head engineer/designer at CSW) posted the crossover frequencies over at *************** a while back, I'll see if I can find them.

Edit: here's his post:
Quote:
S300:
Direct = 4" woofer + 1" tweeter, X.O. @ 2500Hz.
Bipole = 4" woofer + 2 x 2.5" in phase, X.O. @ 400Hz.
Dipole = 4" woofer + 2 x 2.5" out of plase, X.O. @ 400Hz.

S200:
Direct = N.A.
Bipole = 4" full range + 2.5" in phase, 2.5" high-pass @ 400Hz.
Dipole = 4" full range + 2.5" out of phase, 2.5" high-pass @ 400Hz.

For my money, I'd always go with the S300 for the Direct mode option. It's the best timbre match on discrete surround material. Dipole is good for pro logic or stereo to surround synthesis like Pro Logic 2 or Logic 7. Bipole is like all season tires - optimum for nothing, but not bad on anything. It's a good compromise choice for those who want to set and forget.

Bob

What he doesn't mention there is that the dipole mode is great for managing bad rooms. I have mine slightly forward of the listening position, with seating on the back wall, and the dipole mode just opens the rear wall up for me. Much better choice than direct speakers, IMO (and I have tried both).
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post #102 of 391 Old 02-22-2009, 03:51 PM
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I took some pictures of my setup if anyone is interested:











There are a few more here.
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post #103 of 391 Old 02-27-2009, 08:32 AM
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Does anyone know what's in store for the future of Cambridge Soundworks? I recently took advantage of their clearance sale and was a day too late to get my hands on the T205 towers. I ordered them over the phone only to get an email a week later canceling the order because they made a stockkeeping error.
When I called back they told me that they were removing tower speakers from their line all together. Likewise, the MC series will now and going forward top out at the MC305.
They didn't hint that they were going to release new models or lines but rather gave me the impression that they are reducing the speaker line altogether.
I sincerely hope this is not the case. I'd hate to think that such great sounding speakers would be killed by poor marketing.
Anyone know of anything?
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post #104 of 391 Old 02-27-2009, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boulderdashcci View Post

I took some pictures of my setup if anyone is interested:

Great pics! Have you bi-wired or bi-amped your M80s? Does it make a difference?
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post #105 of 391 Old 02-27-2009, 09:51 AM
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There is absolutely NO benefit to bi-wiring (except to the wire manufacturers in that you spend twice as much on their wires as you should). And even bi-amping has very limited utility, mainly for very large full-range speakers, and even then the utility is dubious.

As to why people ignore CSW, I think a large part of it is that CSW refuses to post specs on their speakers so it is very hard to compare them to other brands. I own a number of CSW speakers, and think some of their speakers can be a great value, but not all of their speakers are great and they don't help matters by stupidly refusing to give their more educated consumers the information they need to take the plunge on speakers that most people cannot hear before buying them.

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post #106 of 391 Old 02-27-2009, 10:16 AM
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I looked at their new catalog online and also noted there is not very much left. When I last went to their store outside of Boston they had way more of everything. Now that was 10 years ago or more. But the catalog is more like a flyer.
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post #107 of 391 Old 02-27-2009, 11:29 AM
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I did have my M80s bi-wired for a time; I did like this configuration best, but I haven't gone back since moving my stuff around. I did however replace the jumpers with speaker wire, which is a huge improvement.

Unfortunately they are scaling back it seems. Their original Newton line rivaled most other mid-level brands in terms of range.... 4 different towers (two over $1500 powered models), 3 bookshelfs, 7 different MC models, and like 6 different subs, not to mention the pretty large chain of stores in New England and northern California. They closed all but one store in 2005 or so, and ended up closing that one last June. The Newton IIs were a pretty big blow, cutting out a lot from the original Newtons, and now they've gotten rid of everything that aren't small satellites. From what I know, Creative bought them because they wanted in on the PC speaker market, which CSW lead at the time, but were pretty hands-off with the major speakers. I do think the Creative brand scared a lot of people off, but largely they were still their own company, just designing the PC speakers for Creative. Coincidentally, CSWs big decline starting early last year started when Creative switched back to making cheap PC speakers in house. I'm also pretty sure that I read that the head designer at CSW has left and started his own company (though as far as I know, it's a consulting firm and not a consumer speaker brand).



Tnilsson, I have read there is an impedance change taking place when bi-wiring. If it's enough to make an audible difference, I do not know, but I have tried it and thought it was better (or at least different) than single wiring. Maybe it's in my head, but I had the extra wire so it didn't cost anything, so I didn't see the harm in trying.

I'm also not sure why people complain about the lack of specs. They have publicly posted all the usual numbers since the introduction of the Newtons, I'm not sure what else you're looking for. I can't think of many brands, especially not in CSW's market, that post things like impedance curves or response graphs (SVS is the only one that comes to mind). And back when they had their stores, you could usually find that out anyway if you really wanted to know.

Edit: As I was typing this, I got an email for their Spring catalog. All of one mention of home theater speakers, and they're just the cubes. Sad, really.
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post #108 of 391 Old 02-27-2009, 12:01 PM
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I also get the impression that they are scaling back. It is quite sad. As I posted previously, I was fortunate to get in on the towers during their 20th anniversary sale. I had been looking for speakers for some time and was nervous about buying them before hearing them. I was on a budget and looking at definitive, paradigm, and energy. I tried them all at home and the decision was easy. The T205 towers were a steal. I ended up getting the towers, an MC405 center, 2 S305s, and the P205 sub for $999. In fact, when I purchased, the website stated I would get the MC305 center. To this day I still do not believe a better deal can be had in the under $2000 market.

I agree that the new catalog line is a shadow of what they used to offer. However, they never marketed any of their products. I only took notice when I was looking for a small table radio for the bedroom several years ago. I felt something was wrong when their prices began to drastically drop on most of their products. Poor economy? perhaps. Influence of a mass production company (creative)? More likely.
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post #109 of 391 Old 02-27-2009, 03:58 PM
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Has anybody heard the Model 6s? They're a decent price right now and I'm afraid these classics will soon be gone for good. I read nothing but good things about them but I have not heard them myself. How do they compare to CSW's other bookshelves or MCs?
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post #110 of 391 Old 02-27-2009, 04:24 PM
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I haven't heard the Model 6 in a few years. For the price, they're a really good speaker with good bass for their size (I've always been a fan of sealed enclosures over ported), but they don't image well though I've read of one person using really good electronics, tube amps if I remember correctly getting them to image well. Never heard this setup myself though. They are a very good speaker for someone starting out, or as an extra pair of speakers. I've always wanted to grab a set, but couldn't ever really justify paying for them because they've never fit into whatever setup I've had at any given time.

They did have their die-hard fans however. My last visit to the Needham store, the sales guy was saying how his favorite CSW setup was 5 Model 6s with a Basscube 8 or 10.
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post #111 of 391 Old 02-27-2009, 06:19 PM
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Anyone else seduced by the $99 clearance sale of white S305 pair who really wanted black? I spent less than a day converting mine. $5 for Rust-Oleum semi-gloss black latex paint (took 3 coats to cover) using $0.89 sponge brush, and RIT black dye for the grill, prepared with just one cup boiling water, salt, and detergent, applied with the same sponge brush. Look nice, sound nice on the dipole setting with my Axiom fronts and center.

Edit: Except, after a couple of months the dyed grill cloth turned splotchy gray. I re-dyed them, this time boiling the grills in RIT liquid dye mixture. They look okay now, after 2-3 weeks, though they're sort of charcoal instead of black.

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post #112 of 391 Old 02-28-2009, 12:36 AM
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Thanks for the info. I was going to do something like that and this gives be a head start. I missed the 305 but got white 205s.
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post #113 of 391 Old 03-04-2009, 03:20 PM
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Any update on your setup, boodledude?
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post #114 of 391 Old 03-04-2009, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boulderdashcci View Post

Any update on your setup, boodledude?

Its excruciatingly slow going...I just did all the finish work this past weekend, now all I'm waiting for is the carpet which is about two weeks out
The tv stand is on order with an eta of "end-ish of march".
i'm going crazy with all these goodies in the living room. Unhappily, I expect everything to be in place by the end of the month.
thanks for asking! I'll post some pictures of the room and what I have so far tomorrow.
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post #115 of 391 Old 03-04-2009, 10:24 PM
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Looking forward to the pics, good luck with the setup. I know it sucks waiting to get everything set up but it should be worth it in the end.

Oddly, CSW has set up a blog, which I can't see lasting too long. It's also pretty funny that all but one of the speakers in the logo banner have been discontinued...
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post #116 of 391 Old 03-06-2009, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boulderdashcci View Post

Looking forward to the pics, good luck with the setup. I know it sucks waiting to get everything set up but it should be worth it in the end.

Thanks for the encouragement. This is what I have so far:Attachment 135812

Attachment 135813

Attachment 135814

I just need to paint the trim and doors, add the door knobs and wait for the carpet.
The tv is going up against the wall with the door and I've wired for surround speakers against the wall with all the receptacles.
The living room is a disaster area I'm tempted to open everything up and break it all in so it'll be nice and ready when the project's done, but that would be cheating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boulderdashcci View Post

Oddly, CSW has set up a blog, which I can't see lasting too long. It's also pretty funny that all but one of the speakers in the logo banner have been discontinued...

I saw that too but I haven't checked it out. I wonder if they're going for a blog or forum type of thing. It may be nice to have a place for csw enthusiasts to come together and chat but I can't help but think that they're a little late. I mean, they've hobbled their speaker line by getting rid of all their really nice stuff. What is there now to attract the sound geeks?
LL
LL
LL
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post #117 of 391 Old 03-06-2009, 03:36 PM
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Oh, I didn't mention it before but I am excited to say that I've ordered a replacement pair of M85s. What happened was that one of the pair they shipped me was damaged. Looked like it had been dropped and kicked: the wood is chipped and scratched, the woofer's molding was cracked and loose. I was heartbroken. I called to report this and they told me that UPS would come and charge it off since CSW doesn't claim responsibility for shipping damage. Then they would send me a new set.
Well, after a few days and UPS still hadn't come I noticed that the M85s were no longer on the website so I called and they told me they were sold out, never going to have them again and there was nothing to be done but give me a refund and we'll go our separate ways.
Needless to say I was livid but they stonewalled me.
As a last resort, I thought I'd listen to them and see if I could live with the damage. At first I was afraid of plugging it into my receiver since there could have been any sort of internal damage that could do very bad things to my beloved Marantz 7002.
They both sounded fantastic, there was no perceptible difference between the two. So I decided to keep them both: the listening is what its all about anyway.
CSW was good enough to knock another 50 bucks off and that was that.
Then yesterday I saw they had the M85s back in stock and I, of course, called right away to order replacements and set up an exchange. The sales guy mentioned that they only had one pair and it was mine! Despite the great sound of the damaged speaker, I worry about future warranty or internal problems down the road.
I'm not going to send my current pair back until I have the new ones in hand as I've learned from past experience that just because you order something from these guys and they tell you they have them in stock, that doesn't mean you'll get it. The T205 towers were actually my first choice but a week(!) after I ordered them and my credit card had been charged, I got a form email telling me they canceled the order due to insufficient stock.
Its been a rollercoaster customer service experience; first they'd make some (in my mind) pretty big blunders (promising stock they don't have, not honoring their return policy, etc) then they'd make up for it by discounting the next best thing. I'll admit I'm impressed with the dedication of the sales and tech support team, they seem to genuinely want to rectify problems but they are limited by an inefficient support infrastructure.
When alls said and done, I'm paying $150 for a pair of brand new and defect free M85s. Not too shabby if they actually get here
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post #118 of 391 Old 03-06-2009, 03:45 PM
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Back around 2004-2005, they had a forum on ***************.com just for CSW speakers. There was a lot of talk on it about trying to get an official CSW hosted forum, but nothing ever came of it. None the less, quite a few of their sales people posted as did the previously mentioned Bob Hazelwood, head engineer over there. While the forum is now dead for the most part, there's still some great information on it (Mr. Hazelwood giving details on modding Model 6s comes to mind).

I do agree that it's too little too late. All of the products that the "enthusiasts" used for the most part have been discontinued. The closing of the stores were a major blow as well I think, as instead of talking to people who knew what they were talking about and knew their products, you talk to call center people who just read off the website.

I try not to let any of my thoughts about the steady downward decline of the company get in the way of enjoying my speakers though, because I do think they made (and still make, just in a much more limited form) a damn fine product with a distinct sound.

Besides all that, your room looks great. I do have some concern as it looks to be pretty square which can be bad for bass, but if you follow the advice of articles about dealing with square rooms, you should have a pretty awesome system. Have you done any more listening to the 85s? Any updates on your opinion of them?

Edit: just saw your second post. Sorry to hear about that. Back when they had the stores you would have been able to bring it in and get a new one on the spot...

About the T205s vs the M85, the general concensus was that these two were their best speakers (well, the T200 and M80). I only heard the T200 once and it was about 5 years ago so I can't directly comment as I don't quite remember what it sounded like, but I do know that those two were very well liked. I did hear the T300 on many occasions, which was a whole different beast (that was one of their two powered models), but I can't say I liked it as much as the M80s. To me the midrange was thin (they only used 2 4" drivers if I remember correctly), and they seem to try to compensate by over emphasizing the powered subs which made for almost too much bass (and didn't really help the midrange issue).

BTW, where in Boston are you?
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post #119 of 391 Old 03-06-2009, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
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I do have some concern as it looks to be pretty square which can be bad for bass, but if you follow the advice of articles about dealing with square rooms, you should have a pretty awesome system. Have you done any more listening to the 85s? Any updates on your opinion of them?

Ya know, I didn't even consider room dimensions when thinking about this project. I've just been taking this whole thing one step at a time.
I've just spent the last 20 minutes looking for info on subwoofer placement. The room is more rectangular than square (12x18) so I hope this will mitigate some of the standing wave effects. Also, I installed half-inch thick Homesote sound-deadening board from floor to ceiling along the long wall under the sheetrock. The sound-board, coupled with the carpet and pad should help with bass.

I don't really have a lot of leeway in where I can put the speakers but I have some flexibility with the sub. I was originally going to put it against the left wall about 10 feet away from the mains, behind the couch. I have 25 feet of cable and a lenient lady so there's a good possibility I can move it around a little.

I'm totally green at this sort of thing, but in what I've briefly read, openings in a room can act as 'bass traps' and give the soundwaves a place to go instead of canceling each other out. I have a stairwell in addition to two closets and a laundry room; I'll be sure to experiment with opening these doors along with moving the sub.

Do you think the Audessey calibration can help where placement fails?
Thanks for bringing this issue to my attention!

I haven't listened to the 85s since that first time, I'm itchin' to take 'em out again.

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Originally Posted by boulderdashcci View Post

BTW, where in Boston are you?

I live in beautiful Jamaica Plain
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post #120 of 391 Old 03-06-2009, 06:38 PM
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Ah, no, 12x18 should be excellent, especially with the Audessey setup. It was my mistake, just looked a bit square in one of the pics. Your room did come out really well, I like the look a lot.

What do you plan on putting the 85s on? If you're going the stands route, stay away from the Sanus wood stands. I ended up buying a set and while they work, they definitely aren't ideal. Very shaky and there's notable resonance (vibration) when playing anything.

I've got to hand it to you, you've got tons of self control to let all that stuff sit in boxes. Pretty sure I couldn't last, lol.
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