Speakerquest (so far...) - Page 22 - AVS Forum
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post #631 of 2205 Old 04-11-2008, 07:08 AM
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Has anyone heard Helicons, Strata Mini, and SongTowers?

I was at a store about a month back and heard the Helicon 300. I fell in love. I can't stop thinking about them. If it weren't for price, I would have bought them on the spot. I can get them at 30% off, but they are still expensive (to me).

A week ago I bought a used set of Strata Mini. They are very good, but do not have the midrange clarity I want and are just too big for my application.

When ever I think about what I want, I always end up at the Helicon, except I don't think the 300's would have the output capability I want and Helicons are expensive! Now I'm thinking of the SongTower, because they are supposed to have awesome midrange and I love the idea of having speakers custom built for me.

If you've heard Helicons, Minis, and/or SongTowers, please let me know how you thought they compared!
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post #632 of 2205 Old 04-11-2008, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loose View Post

Has anyone heard Helicons, Strata Mini, and SongTowers?

I was at a store about a month back and heard the Helicon 300. I fell in love. I can't stop thinking about them. If it weren't for price, I would have bought them on the spot. I can get them at 30% off, but they are still expensive (to me).

A week ago I bought a used set of Strata Mini. They are very good, but do not have the midrange clarity I want and are just too big for my application.

When ever I think about what I want, I always end up at the Helicon, except I don't think the 300's would have the output capability I want and Helicons are expensive! Now I'm thinking of the SongTower, because they are supposed to have awesome midrange and I love the idea of having speakers custom built for me.

If you've heard Helicons, Minis, and/or SongTowers, please let me know how you thought they compared!

I believe funkmonkey has heard the Dali's and the Song Tower's, and I have heard Song Tower's and Mini's. In my opinion, the Mini and the Song Tower's are a totally different beast. The Mini's have a slightly laid back but smooth presentation while the Song Tower's are more open and airy sounding. The Mini's do have that smooth Ribbon tweeter, but it was almost too smooth for my tastes. However, to be fair my audition length was very short and the Mini's weren't set up as ideally as they should have been, plus they are a very finicky speaker when it comes to placement. If I had to chose between the two of them I'd certainly need to have a direct comparison. They are both very good speakers with the Song Tower being more dynamic and needing less power to drive. For double duty home theater and music listening the Song Tower would probably be my choice due to the better dynamics, but for 2-channel music it would be a very tough decision, one that should be left up to you.

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post #633 of 2205 Old 04-11-2008, 12:18 PM
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Thank you for your thoughts! I think the SongTower would be better for my room as the tweeter is lower and they perform better near the wall. The big question though is how much better, and if it's worth the money over my used Minis ($1300).

I am eagerly waiting for Jim to email me back on shipping costs to Canada, and that might have a big bearing on what I do.

In the long term, I want a product that I will be satisfied with for years to come, regardless of price. Unfortunately, the Mini's aren't fulfilling my neeeds. I *think* the SongTower might be what I want, but it is very hard to decide without being able to hear them, and I don't want to shell out an extra $1000 for little or no improvement.
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post #634 of 2205 Old 04-11-2008, 02:19 PM
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Congrats ChicagoTC.... that is really awesome...
They are just gorgeous looking and I'm sure they sound fantastic as well..
I would love to get a chance to listen to them some time....
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post #635 of 2205 Old 04-11-2008, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warpdrv View Post

Congrats ChicagoTC.... that is really awesome...
They are just gorgeous looking and I'm sure they sound fantastic as well..
I would love to get a chance to listen to them some time....

Warp, your next trip to Florida you just need to make a little extra time
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post #636 of 2205 Old 04-11-2008, 02:42 PM
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Yeah, I will be down there again next week, for a wedding in Jacksonville. But I'm afraid that just like that last trip, which was nothing but a big time consuming chasing around back and forth from Ft. Meyers beach to Key West, I doubt I will have the time. It was unfortunate that I ran out of time, but I truly thank you for the generosity of the Invitation.

After that, Florida will be the last place I will be heading for vacation if I can help it... No offense to Floridians, I just need to make plans for other destinations that are on my sight seeing list other then being forced on a pseudo vacation out of obligation.

ChicagoTC is alot closer, and I'm sure as he has stated in the past the offer is open to come down. It will make for a great Cycle ride from here...
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post #637 of 2205 Old 04-11-2008, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warpdrv View Post

Yeah, I will be down there again next week, for a wedding in Jacksonville. But I'm afraid that just like that last trip, which was nothing but a big time consuming chasing around back and forth from Ft. Meyers beach to Key West, I doubt I will have the time. It was unfortunate that I ran out of time, but I truly thank you for the generosity of the Invitation.

After that, Florida will be the last place I will be heading for vacation if I can help it... No offense to Floridians, I just need to make plans for other destinations that are on my sight seeing list other then being forced on a pseudo vacation out of obligation.

ChicagoTC is alot closer, and I'm sure as he has stated in the past the offer is open to come down. It will make for a great Cycle ride from here...

We'll need to plan a nothern IL/southern WI GTG. I'd be more then willing to host once we get out of our tiny Chicago Georgian. The wife and I decided it's time to grow up and move to the burbs All I care about is a 2.5 car garage and a big unfinished basement, the rest of the future house is hers.
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post #638 of 2205 Old 04-11-2008, 04:46 PM
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^ Sign me up for a piece of that, Chicagco!! My house is small, but I do live in the "burbs." I cannot wait till we purchase "the one" and I can have a dedicated home theater room (probably in the basement).

Until then, Warp, you and myself will have to GTG and take a listen to the Song Tower's, Studio 100 V4's and the Dali's. Win Win there as all three speakers rock!

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post #639 of 2205 Old 04-11-2008, 05:28 PM
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Lets not forget the Sig S4's....

Nuance, did your Emotiva have Balanced outs...?

EDIT !!!! DUDE, I see that you placed your order for the SongTowers... SWEET !!!!!! Congrats... !!!!!
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post #640 of 2205 Old 04-12-2008, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warpdrv View Post

Lets not forget the Sig S4's....

Nuance, did your Emotiva have Balanced outs...?

EDIT !!!! DUDE, I see that you placed your order for the SongTowers... SWEET !!!!!! Congrats... !!!!!

Thanks bro! I am very excited!

Does the Emotiva have balanced outs...? That's a good question buddy. I want to say no, but I could be wrong.

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Dr. Olive's Blog

 

 

No matter what measurements tell us, a loudspeaker isn’t good until it
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post #641 of 2205 Old 04-12-2008, 08:59 AM
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This one does: http://emotiva.com/xpa2.html

$799
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post #642 of 2205 Old 04-12-2008, 10:10 AM
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Thanks PAD, but I already have a D-Sonic Amp, I was curious if Nuance's Pre-Amp had Balanced outs.
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post #643 of 2205 Old 04-12-2008, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Loose,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

I believe funkmonkey has heard the Dali's and the Song Tower's...

I have. I liked the tweeters/high-end of the Helicons better. Cymbal reproduction is the singular driving reason that I prefer ribbon tweeters. Ribbons are the most convincing in their reproduction, and the Helicon series tempers theirs with a dome. I heard a little glare with the Dali's, but that could be because when the dealer set them up, he toed them in a little.

The SongTowers excel in the midrange. Their mids are lush and full, where I thought the Helicon 300's mids were unexceptional. Not bad in any way just not amazing. In the Dali's defense I heard them full range, so crossing over with a sub should open up the mids a bit.

In the bass department the edge would have to go to the Salks. It's no secret that I am a huge fan of the transmission line designs, and the ST's do really well with it. They provide a fullness and a resonance that I don't get from a cone alone. I think they are both rated similarly low but to my ear, there would be no contest here. The SongTowers are much tighter and controled on the bottom end, though the 300's are no slouch here, I like the Salks.

Between the two speakers running full range, no sub I would choose the SongTowers. If you are planning to introduce a sub into the mix, the decision would be much more difficult, and I would want to hear how much the Dali's midrange improved before making it. Though I haven't heard the Helicon 400's I think they would be my preference over the SongTowers, but I think they retail at 3X the price!

Actually, a tough decision you have to make. ( LOL- I sound like Yoda, "Hmmm, a tough decision, you have to make, my young padawon learner" ) It seems that you like the Helicon sound, and coming from a current ribbon tweeter owner, I am not surprised. If midrange is your main concern, I would order a set of SongTowers. But keep in mind that you will be sacrificing a little bit in the upper stratosphere of sound, mainly with the freq's that you don't necessarily hear but the overtones that you may "feel." Both The Helicon 300, and the SongTowers are outstanding speakers and since you can get the Helicon's at 30% off your choice is even more tricky, but I think the ST's still have an edge in the "bang for buck" category.

The last factor that you mentioned was the "custom" aspect of the Salks. I think that is the "icing on the cake." If they didn't sound so good, I would consider the custom finish option to be their strongest appeal. But, they sound fantastic! The Helicon series is also a very hansom speaker, I think they are one of the best looking speakers out there, especially the newer MK2 versions, but you only have one or two options for finish. With Jim's speakers your options are nearly infinite. Even though my wife had had enough of my "Speakerquest" by the end of my auditions, she was reluctantly helpful in picking out a veneer that we both loved, and though she won't admit it she had fun being involved in the search for that.

Good luck Loose, you have two very strong contenders to consider, both were in my top 6 out of everything I have auditioned. Hope this helps a little and doesn't confuse you further. I was facing the same decision about a month ago, but add the Totem Hawks, used Arial 7B's, T+A's, and Usher Be-718's in there and you have my cunundrum (Money vs. performance vs. looks) which I solved by listening to the HT3's!!!!!!!!

Cheers,
Funk

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post #644 of 2205 Old 04-12-2008, 01:32 PM
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I just thought I'd throw myself into the mix if you guys are doing a Northern Illinois/Wisconsin GTG. I've never done anything of the sort before, but I could try to pitch in... I'll soon have a 5.1 SongTower/Center/Surround set, NHT Power5 amp, and probably (I'm very indecisive) the Marantz AV8003 pre-amp when that comes out around June.

Justin
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post #645 of 2205 Old 04-12-2008, 01:56 PM
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Justin -

That is awesome! You're gonna have one heck of a setup. When we have our next GTG we'll be sure you bring you up.

My journey to find the "perfect" speaker
Dr. Olive's Blog

 

 

No matter what measurements tell us, a loudspeaker isn’t good until it
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post #646 of 2205 Old 04-12-2008, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYSportz View Post

I just thought I'd throw myself into the mix if you guys are doing a Northern Illinois/Wisconsin GTG. I've never done anything of the sort before, but I could try to pitch in... I'll soon have a 5.1 SongTower/Center/Surround set, NHT Power5 amp, and probably (I'm very indecisive) the Marantz AV8003 pre-amp when that comes out around June.

Justin

Awesome, how big is your place ?

My Dalis are scheduled for delivery on Weds, unfortunately I'm ran into the same delays warp did with the D-Sonic amp. That plus I'm out of town from the 19th through 27th means no setup until the 28th
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post #647 of 2205 Old 04-12-2008, 06:09 PM
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Hey, I'll be back in town before you are, I would be happy to take delivery of those extraordinary looking Dali's for you if you would like....

Hey BTW, thanks alot for the continuous posting of the Dali's...
Just a serious work of art...

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post #648 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 12:20 AM
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Ha, I live in a relatively small 2BR condo in Bucktown (Armitage exit off 90/94) but I'm more than happy to host if a place is needed. I'll probably post pictures once I get my speakers. I just hope all my stuff comes in alright, and hopefully the Marantz arrives not too late... late June most likely? I'll hook the speakers up before then anyway.

It'll be fun to meet up with you guys. Definitely let me know if you start planning anything. I look forward to seeing/hearing the Dalis and everything else.

Justin
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post #649 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Those Dalis are nice....
here's another bit of speaker porn from Dali:

25th Anniversary Limited Edition Helicon 400MK2

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post #650 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 12:41 PM
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I saw that when they were posting back a few threads about it... Sexy !!!!!

But I definately prefer the Rosenut you picked out... exceptional.. !!
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post #651 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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So, after much searching and some disappointment not being able to find an East Indian Rosewood veneer that looked as nice as the web-shot I found earlier, I was able to find something that I think is going to work even better. Here are a couple of pictures of the actual veneer and what the company selling the veneer had to say about the tree it came from: "This 50 year old surviving specimen plainly displays it's painful history upon it's breath-taking beauty. The grey/black "charred" streaks indicate that the log was one of the Rosewoods left standing when the forests were burned to make way for city sprawl in Brazil. Not just a piece of gorgeous wood-it's a piece of history."


Since Jim is a custom speaker builder, I asked if it would be possible for him to make my HT3's in a rectangular cabinet. (my wife thinks that the stock cabinets look like coffins, and from what I have read she's not the only wife to think so. I had never even thought of it until she brought it up. She flat refused to let me get them because of that, she didn't care how good they sound.) Jim graciously said that he would build a one-off for me. He did warn me that this would effect the dispersion a little, but that chances are that while it would be a measurable difference, it may not be an audible one. Since this is the only way I would be allowed to get the speakers I fell in love with, it is a compromise I am willing to accept.

Jim has been very patient with me and my indecision regarding upgrades like blackhole5 and Sonicaps. After a conversation with Jim, and another with Dennis I decided to only do the Sonicap upgrade in the tweeter section, more for peace of mind and to eliminate the "what if" factor. I decided to pass on the Blackhole treatment as the HT3's have a very well braced cabinet and I am already spending way more than I had planned on. Jim also said that he was currently out of the silver woofers, and was waiting for an already paid for backorder to come in, but he had a pair or two of the black woofers that were unspoken for. I like the silver so I told him I would wait. He also told me that he is going to be using a new supplier for the woofers and that the new ones will have some improvements over the old, offering even lower distortion levels. I responded that I would definitely wait for something like that!

So now that my order is finalized I am playing the waiting game. Luckily I have been working 70hr weeks so I am too tired to get impatient, and I will be able to pay for the rest of my speakers when they are ready without dipping into my savings.

Now I am looking into amps and pre/pros. any suggestions that would mate well with HT3's? I know a couple have been mentioned earlier in this thread but my head wasn't there yet. Now that I have decided on the veneer I am ready to explore my options for a suitable front end. I could probably swing a couple of grand for both (not each). Eventually I will be adding a center channel and surrounds, and perhaps a sub so pre/pro should be 5.1 w/ HDMI.

Thanks for all the help and support throughout my quest for outstanding audio.

Cheers,
Funk

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post #652 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Warp (or Dennis), did I read somewhere that Dennis Murphy is the man behind the D-Sonic amps? They have really caught my attention in the past couple of days (since I started lookin') Can anyone comment on how they would pair up with the HT3's?

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post #653 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 01:36 PM
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No, that was a mistake. They just both happened to be named Dennis.
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post #654 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 01:37 PM
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Funk, I will be glad to help. Can you give me an idea of budget and how many channels you are looking for? Also, will this strictly be a 2 channel setup or a combo wit HT?
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post #655 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkmonkey View Post

Hey Warp (or Dennis), did I read somewhere that Dennis Murphy is the man behind the D-Sonic amps? They have really caught my attention in the past couple of days (since I started lookin') Can anyone comment on how they would pair up with the HT3's?

I've been looking into some IcePower amps myself (D-Sonic amps use the B&O IcePower amp modules), and the only thing concerns me about class D amps it that there are often comments that the treble sounds a bit flat, even rolled off and that the decay of treble notes is truncated. Class D amps have to use a low pass filter to get rid of the noise generated by the digital switching carrier sigal, so this makes sense. If this is true, you may not get all of the delicate treble that the ribbons in the HT3 are capable of. I'm not jumping to any conclusions, but I do think that this type of amp more than any other would need an in-home audition.
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post #656 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rydenfan View Post

Funk, I will be glad to help. Can you give me an idea of budget and how many channels you are looking for? Also, will this strictly be a 2 channel setup or a combo wit HT?

$2,000 for (5.1) pre-pro + 2 channel amp would be ideal. Yes, it will be doing double duty for 2 channel and HT. I won't have the rest of the speakers for a while so a Stereo set-up that is easily upgradable to a 5.1 system would fit the bill. The pre-pro needs to be HDMI 1.3 compliant so I can grow into it as I get the rest of the system. I figure I would be waiting until the mid 2008 pre/pro models come out this summer before I commit, but it's not too early for me to start looking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

I've been looking into some IcePower amps myself (D-Sonic amps use the B&O IcePower amp modules), and the only thing concerns me about class D amps it that there are often comments that the treble sounds a bit flat, even rolled off and that the decay of treble notes is truncated. Class D amps have to use a low pass filter to get rid of the noise generated by the digital switching carrier sigal, so this makes sense. If this is true, you may not get all of the delicate treble that the ribbons in the HT3 are capable of. I'm not jumping to any conclusions, but I do think that this type of amp more than any other would need an in-home audition.

Thanks Tim. Do you have any suggestions? I have seen some "Red Dragon" amps when I was auditioning that looked cool if nothing else, I don't know anything about them other than they made it seem like Bruce Lee was kickin' @$$ inside the box

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post #657 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 02:04 PM
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Funk, why not buy a dedicated 2 channel pre-amp that has home theater bypass? That will give you waaay better sound and then you can just add a pre/pro when you are ready for 5.1 and HDMI.
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post #658 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 02:08 PM
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Funk, if you want to keep it simple this is an awesome Musical Fidelity integrated. this would work great for a stereo setup.

http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ran&1210722719
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post #659 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rydenfan View Post

Funk, why not buy a dedicated 2 channel pre-amp that has home theater bypass? That will give you waaay better sound and then you can just add a pre/pro when you are ready for 5.1 and HDMI.

OK, what?? I am still very low on the learning curve here, but that approach sounds interesting, though I'm not sure how that would work.

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post #660 of 2205 Old 04-13-2008, 02:18 PM
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It is pretty simple. Even that musical fidelity I just showed you has it. Instead of running interconnects directly from your pre-amp to the amp, you run the the two front channel IC's from pre-amp to the HT Bypass input on the 2 channel piece and it passes the signal untouched. This will give you a world of options and much better sound for 2 channel listening even we you add home theater stuff.
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