Cambridge SoundWorks HT setups - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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This setup has peeked my interest lately. Searching the forum there are some happy CSW owners and some wanting more.
Some here know I am getting ready to start my HT construction (Cabinet guy has pushed his part back 6 months! ) and am all over the map with speaker choices. The short list is Orb, CSW, Ascend, Onix X-sls/X-ls, Paradigm Cinema 110. There are a few clingers like Axiom, but that is pretty much where I am this morning. I would throw Usher on there if I had a reasonable shot at ever hearing any.
Well this thread is at the prompting of a respected member, lets talk CSW, especially if it is in comparison (SQ, Price, Overall Perf) with others on my short list.
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(3 of these) A compact but powerful speaker, the MC300 uses two 4-inch midrange drivers and a 1-inch reinforced silk dome tweeter. Its MTM (Midrange-Tweeter-Midrange) design produces a robust, wide-range, well-dispersed output with outstanding musical accuracy. The MTM array results in smooth, seamless transitions across the home theater's soundstage.

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(2 of these)A 3-way, 4-driver surround speaker, the S300's Multi-Mode implementation offers three dispersion patterns for optimum performance with any surround sound program material. The Dipole mode provides a diffuse dispersion pattern that seems to be coming "from all directions." The Bipole mode retains the broad dispersion of the Dipole mode, but adds a center focus ideal for synthesized surround applications. Monopole (direct) mode employs a front panel-mounted two-way system of superb fidelity for precise rear speaker imaging on programs featuring a larger amount of complex rear channel sound (like many DTS or Dolby Digital® concert recordings and soon-to-be-available DVD-Audio recordings). The modes are chosen via a convenient selector on the underside of the speaker enclosure.

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The P1000 Powered Subwoofer is one beautiful beast of a subwoofer--capable of rock-solid, ultra-high-output bass response down to 22Hz. Yet the P1000's richly finished cabinet is only 15.5" x 15.25" x 14". The cabinet encloses an awesome 1,000-watt B.A.S.H.® (Bridged Amplifier Switching Hybrid) digital amplifier and dual 10-inch subwoofer drivers. The Cambridge SoundWorks Subwoofer Control Module keeps the controls and connections conveniently near your equipment. You can even adjust bass output using an infrared remote controlno more crawling on your knees to adjust bass when you switch from music to movies! The P1000 competes in performance and features with exotic subwoofers selling for twice its price and more.

The separate Subwoofer Control Module used by Newton Series powered subwoofers gives you ultimate control and wiring flexibility. Connect the Module to your amplifier or receiver using either line outputs, speaker wire outputs or the subwoofer output of a Dolby Digital® receiver. The module allows you to adjust both the subwoofer output level and the crossover frequency (variable from 50Hz to 150Hz). It also allows you to equalize the output of the subwoofer to match your room acoustics. You choose an equalization "center point" anywhere between 20Hz and 60Hz, and then adjust output up or down 6dB in that range. If you place the sub in a corner and it produces too much bass, you can cut the output. If the sub is placed away from a wall and produces too little bass, you can boost output for full, rich low-frequency sound.

Not sure what I would buy to make this system a 7.1, suggestions?
LL
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post #2 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 07:55 AM
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I have a setup similar to that one: it includes 5 MC300s, two MC200s for the back surrounds, and dual NHT U1 subs for the bass. Compared to the Orbs I would term the sound a little rounder and softer on the high end, and slightly to the warm side of neutral (whereas the Orbs are a little on the brighter side of neutral). They are very easy to listen to for long hours: the octave to octave balance (a CSW hallmark since the days of the late and great Henry Kloss) is very smooth. I think it best to cross over at 100hz to get the ultimate output capability from them as two 4" mid-woofs are huffin' and puffin' to reach 80. B-Stock (which is really A-Stock, PM for details) make the deal even sweeter. They are a about twice the size of the Mod2 and about 4 times the weight if that's important.

There are some smart guys who work at CSW including Bob Hazlewood who worked for ADS and Apogee (the ribbon guys not the pro audio guys) among others. They don't have a huge following here since they are mainly a New England and Northern California brand (that's where all their stores are) but they offer free shipping and are certainly worth an audition.

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post #3 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Free shipping, 45 day return policy, and 12 month interest free. All things I like (I am an interest free junkie).
Why not the S300's?
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post #4 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 08:12 AM
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I prefer direct radiators, particularly in a 7.1 setup. My listening is 80/20 music/HT and prefer the timbre matching of direct radiatiors and have no need for the dipolar/bipolar switch.

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post #5 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 09:16 AM
 
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I've been using CSW speakers for years, starting with the original Ensemble system that I purchased back in 1987. They offer a very nice sound for the money, especially if purchased B-stock. The MC300/P-1000 combination is great, it was my HT system until I bought my Swans/Onix setup. There was a very favorable review, I forget where, google the speakers and it should pop up. The S-300s offer alot of choices, can't go wrong with a surround that offers dipole/bipole/direct options!
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post #6 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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FPB, what size room did you have them in, and which swans/onix combo did you switch to.
My room is just over 3500 cuft. Receiver will be a Pioneer 84.
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post #7 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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How about this setup for $1400 + 2 of these for another $260. Would be a 7.4 system for $1660.
Tony you have both, please give your thoughts. I know I have to hear them myself, and probably will. Regardless, will be placing a 5.1 mod1 in future leisure room, but for HT in 3500+ cuft, whatchaya think?
Of course those with the X-LS, Ascend, and Paradigm Cinema 110 system, feel free to chime in, PLEASE
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post #8 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stubeeef View Post

How about this setup for $1400 + 2 of these for another $260. Would be a 7.4 system for $1660.
Tony you have both, please give your thoughts.

I already have.

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post #9 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonygeno View Post

I already have.

Actually the link was to a different CSW system than the original post. but I can infer from your previous thoughts. Thanks!
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post #10 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stubeeef View Post

Actually the link was to a different CSW system than the original post. but I can infer from your previous thoughts. Thanks!

The tower system is a completely different animal. Personally, I prefer sat/subs because the sub can be placed where it works best and the sats can be placed where they work best. A tower kind of has you locked in to one position, typically good for the upper ranges, often not good for the bass.

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post #11 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually I was just doing measurements for a possible system and the Towers didn't work with the cabinet position. On the viewing wall I will have 45degree cabinets in each corner left and right of the screen, and a run of cabinets underneath.

Looking at 2 P500's, 5 MC300's, 2 S300's for a Cambridge set, or 1 P1000, 5 MC300's, 2 S300's. Tony, I noticed you don't use the CSW sub, did you listen to either the P500 or P1000?
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post #12 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 05:38 PM
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I have heard the P1000 but not in my house. I had the NHT subs prior to the MC300s which is why I didn't try the Cambridge sub at home.

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post #13 of 391 Old 07-30-2006, 07:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stubeeef View Post

FPB, what size room did you have them in, and which swans/onix combo did you switch to.
My room is just over 3500 cuft. Receiver will be a Pioneer 84.

The system was used in my HT room, which is a converted living room. It's about 12 by 20, with 8 foot ceilings.I'm running a front projector with a 96" diag screen, and I'm still using my CSW subs. I now have Swan 5.1's for mains, a C3 Swan center, Onix ELT dipole surrounds, and ELT monopole back surrounds. I use twin P-1000's for the bass, and have a pair of P-500's that I use in my family room. When I used all CSW I had three MC-300's across the front, and 4 MC-200's for surrounds. At that time I used all 4 subs, using pre-outs and setting all my speakers to large. I now have 2 of the MC-300's doing surround duty in the family room, along with 3 M-80 bookshelf speakers across the front. It still sounds great, but with a 32" TV it just doesn't have the same effect with movies as my big screen!

edit: Too bad you don't live in Florida, I could make a deal on some of my excess speakers, the wife says to unload some!
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post #14 of 391 Old 07-31-2006, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floridapoolboy View Post

The system was used in my HT room, which is a converted living room. It's about 12 by 20, with 8 foot ceilings.I'm running a front projector with a 96" diag screen, and I'm still using my CSW subs. I now have Swan 5.1's for mains, a C3 Swan center, Onix ELT dipole surrounds, and ELT monopole back surrounds. I use twin P-1000's for the bass, and have a pair of P-500's that I use in my family room. When I used all CSW I had three MC-300's across the front, and 4 MC-200's for surrounds. At that time I used all 4 subs, using pre-outs and setting all my speakers to large. I now have 2 of the MC-300's doing surround duty in the family room, along with 3 M-80 bookshelf speakers across the front. It still sounds great, but with a 32" TV it just doesn't have the same effect with movies as my big screen!

edit: Too bad you don't live in Florida, I could make a deal on some of my excess speakers, the wife says to unload some!

Thanks for the info, my room will be 16.5x27' (roughly) and I am not a huge sub fan, but do want the lfe. Was thinking of 2 subs, one for the 7.1 and another for lfe. 2 p1000 are too much $$ for my budget, was thinking one p500 for 7.1 and the other for lfe. What do you think?
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post #15 of 391 Old 07-31-2006, 09:44 AM
 
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The P-500's are great little subs, but you may require more in a room that size. The P-1000's seem much more powerful than their little brothers, at least to my ears. All things considered, unless you get a great B-stock deal (like I did) you might be better off with an Hsu or SVS sub for LFE.
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post #16 of 391 Old 07-31-2006, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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FPB, where do you have your crossover set to using the 300's? Would a 400 or 500 be significantly better or marginally?
Am thinking of ordering a bstock 300 system with the p1000 and adding a pair of 400/500's for the mains (ya think that would overpower the 300 center?). And picking up a second p1000 for a bday!
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post #17 of 391 Old 07-31-2006, 10:05 AM
 
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I would set the x-over at 100hz, which should be ideal. If the subs are too easy to locate you could try 80hz, but that might make the 300's sound a bit thin in the midbass. I once had an mc-500 as a center along with the T-500 towers, it's a very large and heavy speaker. I don't think you would get much benefit from a mismatched front trio, I would stick with the same model. 3 MC-300's make for seamless front pans, and offer the best bang for the buck. I've read favorable reviews for the MC-400's, but I haven't heard them myself.
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post #18 of 391 Old 07-31-2006, 11:18 AM
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My setup is

M80 fronts

MC500 Center

S300 Surrounds

and finally the Basscube 12s

I love it. Some claim that CSW subs are not as punchy, but it'll still rattle the fillings The clarity of the fronts is amazing. Dialog is clear and never muddy (unless the mix is really bad).

I've been a long time CSW listener, and buy my stuff B stock that's new, never opened items. I've never understood that, but it's to my benefit. I think I spent $1100 total- still a lot for speakers, but I'll have them forever and I like the sound.

Check ebay for hifi.com's store. If they don;t have what you want today, just wait a week. Things change.
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post #19 of 391 Old 07-31-2006, 12:03 PM
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I also don't care for bi-polar or di-polar speakers. And I think that a bookshelf/sub system is the way to go for HT (as you'd need a sub with floorstanding fronts for movies anyway). I'd only recommend floorstanders if you were a 2-channel music fan as well.

I have CSW's Newton-50 speakers and they are really amazing speakers for the price. While they are just a touch too warm to be described as absolutely neutral for classical and jazz music, they are perfect for rock music and movies. And while I am not a big fan of the slate-grey look of some of CSW's speakers, I suppose it is the sound that matters the most and not the look. They are a great value in sound.

I also have a CSW sub, but I must say that while okay, and much better than a lot of other subs I have heard, I don't think it is as good a value as a sub by SVS, HSU, or Outlaw Audio. If I could, I'd get a CSW speaker system without a sub and then add a sub from one of those other makers.

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post #20 of 391 Old 07-31-2006, 05:33 PM
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I really like CSW, and have at one time owned the MC200, MC300, MC400, MC500, M50, M60 and M80 as well as the P500 and P1000 subwoofers (combination of their liberal upgrade policy and my obsessive personality). I think they are a great bang for the buck, but my only problem, was that there was not a perfect match between the center channels and the M series bookshelf speakers. For my room the MC300's weren't big enough, and I didn't like the look of the MC400 positioned vertical as main speakers. I tried a lot of different combinations, and couldn't get the panning between the M's and the MC Centers quite right.
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post #21 of 391 Old 07-31-2006, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redskin View Post

I really like CSW, and have at one time owned the MC200, MC300, MC400, MC500, M50, M60 and M80 as well as the P500 and P1000 subwoofers (combination of their liberal upgrade policy and my obsessive personality). I think they are a great bang for the buck, but my only problem, was that there was not a perfect match between the center channels and the M series bookshelf speakers. For my room the MC300's weren't big enough, and I didn't like the look of the MC400 positioned vertical as main speakers. I tried a lot of different combinations, and couldn't get the panning between the M's and the MC Centers quite right.

Was this cured with other speakers or a different receiver? How big was/is the room? What was your opinion on the subs?
Thanks?
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post #22 of 391 Old 08-01-2006, 11:20 AM
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That's interesting as I have no tonal or volume issues with panning between the M80's and the S500 center. I find it to be really impressive in my space. I compared the sound in store- the benefits of being in the Boston area before I bought. I liked the M80's better thatn towers in the same price range.

I put them on stands to get them up to listneting level as I'm using them in a FP setup. THe mahogony finish does not hurt either. Gray is so boring...
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post #23 of 391 Old 08-01-2006, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stubeeef View Post

Was this cured with other speakers or a different receiver? How big was/is the room? What was your opinion on the subs?
Thanks?

My room is about 3100 cubic feet. It is not a fair comparison, but now I own Monitor Audio Gold speakers (GR10, GRLCR, and GRfx) which are in whole different price level. I also had better success with M&K speakers as far as timbre, but they were too bright for me.

Don't get me wrong, I really like CSW and I am being really overly nitpicky with my criticisms. I think for me, I couldn't get the right combination to meet my needs. For example, I really love the T300 towers, but the matching center is the MC300, which in my opinion is too small of a center for the performance you get with those towers.

I like the M60 bookshelves, but neither the MC400 or the MC500 was dead on for me. Tcable, I owned the M80's with the MC500's for a while, and it was my favorite combination of them all, but the M80's (while georgeous), were a little too big for me. With that size monitor, I would rather go with a tower. By the way, at extreme volume levels, the M80/MC500 combo was the only one that held together in my size room.

I think three MC500's or three M80's would be a killer combination, but just were not right for me.

Greg
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post #24 of 391 Old 08-01-2006, 01:33 PM
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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the subs. I think the P500 and P1000 are really quality subs. I have not listened to a lot of subs that sound as musical as they do. Very tight and powerful. I think they may not be ideal for large rooms at high volume levels, but will do fine for most. If you wanted to maintain their size in a different sub, you could get more power with things like the Paradigm Seismic12 or Velodyne SPL1200, but they are much more pricey. I would up going with a larger sub (the Axiom EP500), and it performs better, but the tradeoff is a much larger cabinet size. I thing the CSW P series subs are really underated.
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post #25 of 391 Old 08-01-2006, 04:35 PM
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The beauty for me is/was that size was no object. I could have gone with tower speakers if I desired. I just liked the sound for the M80's better. I also only had one shot with my wife to do this, so it needed to be what I wanted right away. They are large for a bookshelf, but I'm extremely pleased and would by all menas do so again.

Granted, one you are in home not comparing speakers, it's easey to feel good about what you've bought. In my case there are no apparant 'holes' in teh sound, just occasional tweking of the sub for programming.

I have Ensemble 2's in my FR upstairs that I still ike quite a bit. Not nearly as much presence or punch, but good for the application there.

I am one that actully changes the settings on the surrounds depending on the programming.
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post #26 of 391 Old 08-01-2006, 04:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcable View Post

The beauty for me is/was that size was no object. I could have gone with tower speakers if I desired. I just liked the sound for the M80's better. I also only had one shot with my wife to do this, so it needed to be what I wanted right away. They are large for a bookshelf, but I'm extremely pleased and would by all menas do so again.

Granted, one you are in home not comparing speakers, it's easey to feel good about what you've bought. In my case there are no apparant 'holes' in teh sound, just occasional tweking of the sub for programming.

I have Ensemble 2's in my FR upstairs that I still ike quite a bit. Not nearly as much presence or punch, but good for the application there.

I am one that actully changes the settings on the surrounds depending on the programming.


I agree that the M-80s offer a great value, especially when purchased B-stock. The M-80 midrange and tweeter are plate mounted, allowing a 90 degree turn if you chose to use one horizontally as a center. Three M-80s across the front sound awesome, and with a P-1000 to deliver the lows, they rock! I went with Swans mainly due to the increased dynamics (more efficient speakers), and because the Swans in rosewood just look unbelievable! The wife is very happy, she was never thrilled with the slate gray look. Three MC-300s also sounded great with the P-1000, but they don't have the midbass that the M-80s do. Of course, they are MUCH smaller, allowing a cleaner, more "invisible" look, and yet they still sound great. Choices choices...
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post #27 of 391 Old 09-02-2006, 08:40 PM
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Hi guys, I've been looking into getting some cambridge soundworks speakers and I was wondering how they compare to other brands within theyr price range? I was thinking M80's front then mc300 for rear or T200 for rear. If you had an option would you get for front M80's or T200's? I am planning to do a 5.1 system maybe 7.1 with some sony satelites I own.
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post #28 of 391 Old 09-03-2006, 02:56 PM
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I'm planning to pick up some MC400's for the front/center (maybe MC500 for center). But I want to install in-wall for the surround and in-ceiling for the rear (7.1).

Does any have any experience with the A50/A60 and/or A52/A62's?

Thanks!
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post #29 of 391 Old 10-14-2006, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking hard at the CSW speakers again, and have an awesome deal on a great HT setup used from a member.
Here are some questions for the experienced here.
3 MC500's across the front.
4 MC200's
and either 2 CSW P200 or 2 P500 Subs or switch over to AV123 for 2 ULW-10's

The room is tile floor, rugs, 7'11" demensional drop ceiling, R-13 and R19 insulation behind 3/8" drywall and two walls including the wall for the screen and LCR speakers, are cinderblock at the core. There is over 3600 cuft.
I am very interested in MC500 comments and mix and match of subs with the CSW's. The planned placement of the subs are in left and right corners of the room at the front, inside the base of custom corner cupboards facing the room at 45 degrees or maybe 60 degrees. The angle makes me think forward firing like the p200's and ULW-10 vs the side firing dual 8" in the p500.

Help, my mind is melting...................
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post #30 of 391 Old 10-14-2006, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
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of course the argument is also, 3 M80's across the front or 3 mc500's or will 3 mc300's do it?
Lord I need to sleep! I can't stop with this all. The other problem is size, anything over 8" wide (mc500 and m80) cuts into the screen width available and knocks a 110" screen to 106".
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