Best 5.1 system for under $2000? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I'm going to probably purchase these speakers. KHT3005BL I just want to know what i'm missing OUT ON if i do. I wish that the web had a comparison website where i could "compare" like priced speakers, based on a technical spec level.

I'm not looking for certain types of speakers, so any and all input you want to give is great. The big thing with me is that i listen to a lot of rock, jazz, and comedy albums. I also need it to be a good movie system as well. If the mid range isn't there, i need to know, cause there is nothing worse to me then straining to hear Frodo say something and get knocked on my ass when they start battling in mordor.

You get the idea. I'd love to hear about online only retailers who ship to canada, different ideas.

Maybe the kef's are the best for the money? somehow i doubt it, but the sound they produced were fantastic.
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post #2 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 10:38 AM
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I'm not saying those are bad speakers, as I have never heard them. But I would have a hard time believing they would sound better them something like these

http://www.**********/products_produc...s&product=14.1

with this

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/stf-2.html

for close to the same money.
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post #3 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for those links. That is what I'm talking about, with the out of the box thinking.

I've read plenty of Kef lover postings, and i know they are good speakers.

I've actually yet to read something extremely negative about them.
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post #4 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 10:59 AM
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In your price-range you'll be doing yourself a disservice by buying a sub-sat system. I would highly recommend full-range mains, bookshelf surrounds, and a large powerful sub. Something like HTD Level 3 Tower mains, center, and bookshelf surrounds along with a PB12-Plus, SB12-Plus, or PB12-NSD/2 from SVS would go leaps and bounds beyond what the sub-sat system you're looking at could do. There are other great options like Swans, Rockets, Axiom, and Ascend as well.

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post #5 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superbnerb View Post

...I wish that the web had a comparison website where i could "compare" like priced speakers, based on technical spec level... there is nothing worse to me then straining to hear Frodo say something and get knocked on my ass when they start battling in mordor.

Comparing speakers based on technical specs might be an okay way to start but it should not be the sole determining factor. They are only a part of the story. If possible, you should listen to several brands before you buy.

Kef makes a great speaker. For your budget, you will get better sound if you piece together a system from the iQ series--maybe the iQ5's up front, iQ2 center, and iQ1 surrounds. Or possibly bookshelf's all around and get the better center speaker. That should give you enough left over for a sub from HSU or SVS--excellent values for subs.

Internet direct brands can be a good value, but the problem is that most people don't compare them directly to other brands. They purchase them, listen to them in their homes, like them and decide to keep them. If you can get opinions from people who have done actual A/B comparisons with some of the ID brands, then those are the opinions you should seriously consider...But again, listen yourself whenever possible.

I would recommend looking at speaker systems in your budget that include a center channel that will perform well both on and off axis. If you're struggling to hear dialogue and then being blown away but an action sequence following it, it's because the center channel isn't well designed.

With the said, I think KEF is a great choice. Their coaxial center speaker will sound great and consistent throughout your room.

Other brands to consider that meet this criteria (And in this price range, there aren't many):

Aperion Audio (An ID brand. The 5 and 6 series are well reviewed.)

Infinity Beta (With the 360 center)

Revel Concerta (Bookshelf's and center...might be slightly out of budget with sub.)

Little Loft Home Theater
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post #6 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 12:34 PM
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Almost forgot Paradigm...this package is close to your budget.

http://www.paradigm.com/en/paradigm/...-2-4.paradigm#

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post #7 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 12:43 PM
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Your in Canada and not considering one of Canada's best speaker manufacturers? http://www.axiomaudio.com/products.html

Dude, for 2 Grand, any of their systems would blow away this KEF package, as would most decent brands. If you want something for a computer that is one thing, but for a true HT setup, that is a whole different ballgame.

Axiom provides a 5% discount off regular prices if you order at least 5 items, and 10% if you order from the Factory Outlet, as most do....

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post #8 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 12:48 PM
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Since you mentioned dialogue intelligibility, the center speaker in whatever system you buy is going to be critical. Perhaps the most important speaker. After all, about 70% of what you hear will come through the center speaker.

If you're about to drop two grand, you owe it to yourself to read this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...channel+thread

Little Loft Home Theater
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post #9 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 01:18 PM
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Consider Athena audition series for the 5 channels. And then go with SVS for the sub.

Athena is very highly rated in the review literature. Canadian company. And an absolute steal at their prices. http://www.athenaspeakers.com

Future shop carries them and you can find retailers at the web site above.

I had Athena and sold them to a friend to move up to the Energy Veritas series. A huge step up in price. After that the Athena's impressed me even more. My friend has AS-F2's mains, the center, and the bipolar rears. They are hooked up to a Pioneer elite VSX-74TXi.

http://www.sonicboomaudio.com/ for the SVS in Canada. Spend a lot on your sub. Up to $1000.

If it were my money I'd go with athena and svs and not lot back.

Good luck.

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post #10 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 01:27 PM
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I'd say Athena is a step down in quality and price from others mentioned... they're great speakers, just not quite in the same league as many of the others mentioned here (and rightfully so as they cost much less).

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post #11 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 01:58 PM
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Also if your in Canada you should look into a PSB Alpha system. Great reviews.

http://www.psbspeakers.com/series.php?sId=4
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post #12 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 02:06 PM
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It get's pricey building a 5.1 system, considering many will recommend a good sub.


Stereophile rates the AS-F2 as competitive with with anyting less than $2000.

GoodSound rates them highly.

Having owned them and other's they are impressive.

The AS series can do very well.

Go for a listen.

kw....
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post #13 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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i am a huge homer, so a canadian manufacturer is going to win out (if the quality is there). Having said that, I listened to the Klipsch rf-10 and the paradigm monitor v7 front speakers, and i have to admit i didn't think they lived up to what i expected from $800 speakers. I didn't feel the vocal ooomph that i wanted from the movie i was watching. for music they both sounded good, although the salesman did play "father's eyes" by steve winwood or someone sh#tty like that.

I then listened to neil young on the kef system and that was amazing. I know it isn't fair to compare a 5 channel to a 2 channel, but we did switch to just the fronts playing and i was amazed.

So since everyone is telling me things like "on my budget...", for lack of a better word, what should i be spending to get great quality without going stupid crazy priced? play with my money here folks. tell me to increase the budget by $X for the fronts and get a good sounding speaker.

I'm going to report back on the links you've all kindly provided and let you know if they will meet my ears. I'm picky for the right vocals... maybe i should spend more on the centre speaker, so that i won't have this problem with crappy sounding movie dialogues?
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post #14 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 03:04 PM
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Maybe you want to consider energy RC series. The centre channel (LCR) is a top notch center channel. This will be pricier.

This is another canadian manufacturer
http://www.energy-speakers.com/v2/
Again you can dealer search.


There are lots of happy customers out there.

Here is an interesting review using 3 LCR's in a 5.1 system
http://www.hometheatersound.com/equi...3_cr3_s102.htm

It is the older version of that speaker.
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post #15 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 03:21 PM
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Being in Canada I would definitely give as many Canadian speakers a listen as you can... if I lived up there I'd probably end up with Studio 20s front and back, a cc590, and a Servo 15... though I might still bite the bullet and pay shipping/tax for an SVS.

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post #16 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwtoxman View Post

Here is an interesting review using 3 LCR's in a 5.1 system

is it possible to post the url so i can read the review. I'll check them out too. thanks kwtoxman.
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post #17 of 38 Old 05-06-2007, 03:55 PM
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Review is posted. Sorry about that.

The servo 15 believe it or not is a lot more expensive in Canada than the US.
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post #18 of 38 Old 05-07-2007, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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that axiom setup and website are pretty slick. to me that looks like a system i could live with. I'm going to do some digging on them, before i settle on the kef's.

once again, you guys rock.
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post #19 of 38 Old 05-07-2007, 02:59 PM
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The Kef center will outperform the Axiom center.

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post #20 of 38 Old 05-07-2007, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dftkell View Post

The Kef center will outperform the Axiom center.

do tell. Dem seems like fightin words son. :-) but seriously, what makes you say that? is it from a technical standpoint, or have you heard both?
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post #21 of 38 Old 05-07-2007, 06:28 PM
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Individuals have noted the Axiom center isn't as good as their other offerings. YMMV.

FYI, Joseph Clark in the Energy owners thread bought 3 RC LCR speakers as the front three channels in a 7.1 system a while back. His initial impressions were quite favourable.

My audio shop carried both KEF and Energy . IMO, the higher end KEF's were worth consideration but significant $$. I liked Energy for the mid priced gear.

kw.......
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post #22 of 38 Old 05-07-2007, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superbnerb View Post

do tell. Dem seems like fightin words son. :-) but seriously, what makes you say that? is it from a technical standpoint, or have you heard both?

I have heard the previous Q series from Kef. I have not heard the Axioms. Overall though, they appear to be well engineered.

My comment was in regards to both center channels--arguably the most important speaker in a home theater system.

The Kef center channel is a coaxial design. This will enable the speaker to sound good and consistent off-axis. So everyone in the room will hear good sound and clear dialogue from this speaker.

The Axiom appears to be a modified version of the popular MTM design center channel. This is where the tweeter sits in between two woofers in a horizontal layout. Most center channels in your price range are designed like this for marketing and economical reasons but none of them sound good. As you move directly off-axis, they will sound worse and worse.

(Search for a thread on called, "The Perfect Center Channel" It's very informative.)

Axiom has inverted the layout so that it is not an MTM design but rather a TMMMT design. But this will still create several midrange dips off axis. It will not sound consistent throughout the entire room.

A good center channel design will be a coaxial design or a three-way design where the tweeter sits vertically over the midrange and there are typically a woofer on either side.

(The best center channel is actually a speaker that is identical to your L and R speakers. Although in most living rooms, this is not possible.)

If you want to support the home team and buy Canadian, go with the new Paradigm speakers that I posted earlier. The center appears to be a three-way design that should avoid the lobing and suckouts caused by typical MTM designs.

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post #23 of 38 Old 05-08-2007, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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dftkell, honestly dude, thanks for the explanation. that post will go a long way towards me purchasing the proper speakers in the future (centre wise). I'll investigate with that knowledge, and make an informed choice.

I like knowing the WHY and not just going on gut.
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post #24 of 38 Old 05-08-2007, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwtoxman View Post

Maybe you want to consider energy RC series. The centre channel (LCR) is a top notch center channel. This will be pricier.

This is another canadian manufacturer
http://www.energy-speakers.com/v2/
Again you can dealer search.

Energy's are great Canadian speakers as well. The center channel in the RC series takes a modified approach to the MTM design, but still isn't as successful as a well designed three-way center (tweeter above midrange), a two-way where the tweeter is above the midrange/woofer (like the B&W 700 series), or a coaxial design.

UltimateAV measured the Energy RC center:

"...And while the off-axis response is also a little uneven, it is flatter than we have measured from any center channel design that only uses three drivers in a woofer-tweeter-woofer configuration. The responses at 15-degrees and 30-degrees off-axis, not shown here, show curves that are relatively close to the averaged on-axis response. Bottom line: the RC-LCR's unusual configuration is definitely more effective than any horizontal woofer-tweeter-woofer model we have reviewed (though less effective than the best center channel designs that use a vertically configured midrange and tweeter flanked by a woofer on each side)."

So basically, it measures well, just not as well as some of the aforementioned designs.

In the end, listen to as many systems as you can and go with what sounds good to you.

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post #25 of 38 Old 05-08-2007, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superbnerb View Post

i am a huge homer, so a canadian manufacturer is going to win out (if the quality is there).

On no, more Canadian Pride.
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post #26 of 38 Old 05-08-2007, 12:06 PM
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That's just being smart. Not only employing your countrymen, but also getting better value while you do it.

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post #27 of 38 Old 05-08-2007, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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So I'm digging this Axiom setup, http://www.axiomaudio.com/epic60_500main.html and thanks to the Home Theatre online tool for helping me choose!

dftkell, is this an example of the TMMMT design you were talking about?http://www.axiomaudio.com/vp150_main.html

and this is an example of a coaxial design, correct? (the same kef system i originally wanted.) http://2001audiovideo.com/product_in...KHT3005BL&clr=
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post #28 of 38 Old 05-08-2007, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superbnerb View Post

So I'm digging this Axiom setup, http://www.axiomaudio.com/epic60_500main.html and thanks to the Home Theatre online tool for helping me choose!

dftkell, is this an example of the TMMMT design you were talking about?http://www.axiomaudio.com/vp150_main.html

and this is an example of a coaxial design, correct? (the same kef system i originally wanted.) http://2001audiovideo.com/product_in...KHT3005BL&clr=

If you go with the KEF's and size is not a factor, I think you'll be much happier with putting together something with the speakers in the iQ range than the 3005's. They were listed on that link you sent. I think you could put something nice together in your price range.

Yes, the Axiom VP-150 is the TMMMT design. I saw a review and some measurements for it at:

http://www.audio-ideas.com/reviews/h...-60-500-2.html

Here's a quote:

"Moving down the chart, the third set of curves shows response of the VP-150 centre channel. Designed to avoid the midrange losses off axis of so-called D'Appolito designs (where the tweeter is flanked by a pair of woofer/midranges), it places the tweeters on either side of the lower frequency drivers. As can be seen, this is not entirely successful, either, the O, 15, and 30 degree curves diverging several dB in the midrange. However, the curve off axis by 30 degrees (the lower one at 4 kHz) is the smoothest, and should provide good centre fill for listeners seated at either end of the couch. Note also that the midrange dips on the various axes are all at different frequencies, which will smooth the average response, as seen in the SAR (top)."

I'm not saying the Axiom is a bad center speaker. I just think that the Kef iQ center will sound better throughout your room. Not just when you're sitting more or less in front of it. I'm saying this because it measures better off-axis. A lot of people think that that is negligible and it very well may be to their ears. But I do think it's an important distinction to make between speakers.

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post #29 of 38 Old 05-08-2007, 02:35 PM
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To throw another ID brand into the mix in your budget, these might be nice.

http://www.aperionaudio.com/product/...ema-HD,29.aspx

I would consider swapping out the subwoofer with an HSU or SVS though for an even better value. Unless packaging the Aperion sub significantly reduces the price.

Haven't heard them personally, but read good things about them.

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post #30 of 38 Old 05-08-2007, 05:39 PM
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what are you thoughts on the klipsch RF-52 or the RF-62

AC
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