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post #1 of 44 Old 01-26-2012, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I have an onkyo HT RC-160 receiver with the following speakers (total of 7):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882290113

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882290175

I stopped by my local home theatre store the other day and they were showing me some RIDICULOUS sound systems for a few thousand.


What can I do to get some more sound out of my system? I am not saying louder, just crisper, clearer, pure sound?

Thank you in advance.
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post #2 of 44 Old 01-26-2012, 07:53 PM
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Get real speakers (slap, slap). What I mean is to get a speaker system where the front three have better, larger drivers with a woofer at least 5-6" (or more) and the sub-woofer is a heavier, more substantial design. The Onkyo has marginal power abilities but should be adequate.

The other matter is setup. You need to place the speakers properly in your room and pay attention to the room's acoustics. I cannot advise you further without more details about those things.

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post #3 of 44 Old 01-26-2012, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Do you think my receiver is adequate? I don't know much about speakers. Why do the tiny bose speakers sound so amazing?

What should I look for in speakers? I currently have seven speakers setup. My center is above my tv pointing towards the center of the room. I have a left/right front angled towards the center of the room. Then you have your rears pointing towards the center. Lastly there is a left/right speaker pointed towards the center of the room.

I really enjoy hearing planes cars and the like whizz by me, and I love the boom doing car doors make, etc. I want the true surround experience but dont know enough enough about the specs of the tools to get there.

So if there is a tutorial written somewhere or anything of use reading I'm all ears, but could really use some guidance. Thank you
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post #4 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 03:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky View Post

...I stopped by my local home theatre store the other day and they were showing me some RIDICULOUS sound systems for a few thousand.


What can I do to get some more sound out of my system? I am not saying louder, just crisper, clearer, pure sound?

Thank you in advance.

Like with most products for the most part (except in cases like Bose) you get (the quality) what you pay for. If you expect a $20,000 Kia to ride/drive like a $100,000 Mercedes then guess what? If you want "RIDICULOUS sound system" quality then you will have to pay for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky View Post

...Why do the tiny bose speakers sound so amazing?...

They don't. They don't even sound as good as "crap". Your Polk's are as good or better. Also speaker sound is much more subjective than all other components.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

...The other matter is setup. You need to place the speakers properly in your room and pay attention to the room's acoustics....

You can almost certainly make your current system sound much, MUCH, MUCH better.
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post #5 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 05:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William View Post

They don't. They don't even sound as good as "crap". Your Polk's are as good or better. Also speaker sound is much more subjective than all other components.

So either it's subjective and therefore your view doesn't matter and your claims about sound quality are irrelevant, or it's objective and your view matters and is relevant. I don't mean to pick at nits; this just smacks of one of those "blind hatred" kind of anti-Bose rants. It can't be both ways.

I agree with everything that Kal said; regarding some tutorials or guides, try this perhaps:
http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/...ide/index.html

There's also some acoustics info available:
http://www.realtraps.com/video_setup.htm

Regarding new speakers, I agree with Kal as well. Regarding the question over Bose speakers - they aren't terrible, but they're still subject to the laws of physics. In other words, they're very small speakers - and like any other "very small speakers" they will have limitations in terms of frequency extension and output. Depending on the environment and the listener's personal taste, they can be quite suitable, but it's not generally a direction that I'd like to advise people in. Here's basically why:

The Polk speakers you already have fit into that "very small speakers" category as well; the Bose system will not overcome many of the limitations of that paradigm. Sure, it may be a slight improvement, but if you transitioned towards something different (say, Polk Monitor series bookshelves), you would "change the game" so to speak (you would have mains or satellites able to dig lower than around 200hz, for example).

I'm not saying they would sound exactly the same, just that you're not overcoming any of the problems with the "very small speakers" scenario.

If you're going to buy new equipment, I would look at the subwoofer and LCR first; get a subwoofer that can hit harder and dig lower, and an LCR setup that can do the same. Those Polk speakers are probably perfectly fine as your surrounds.
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post #6 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 05:04 AM
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What is your budget?
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post #7 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCbridge View Post

What is your budget?

Can I improve for around $1,000 or $1,500? I'm fine with using newegg, amazon, the usuals.

Only hard thing with purchasing speakers over the internet is obvious; you can't HEAR it; but if I knew what specs I'm looking for that would be helpful
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post #8 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 05:58 AM
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$1000 - $1500 will get you much higher quality front L/C/R speakers and that, after setup, should significantly improve your sound. Start reading in the speaker forum, checking reviews, and listening to what you can to narrow down your choices.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #9 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post

$1000 - $1500 will get you much higher quality front L/C/R speakers and that, after setup, should significantly improve your sound. Start reading in the speaker forum, checking reviews, and listening to what you can to narrow down your choices.

My only question on that is I don't want all the sound coming from the front, I like hearing it come from behind me as well. I like 5.1; don't see any huge need for 7.1/.2

Do you think my receiver is fine just upgrade my speakers alone and I'll be happy?
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post #10 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 06:04 AM
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The Onkyo RC-160 is rated at 80 watts per channel with 2 channels driven. Its a very modest receiver, so I recommend getting speakers with a very high sensitivity. Which means they will play louder with less power. If you buy less sensitive speakers that are hard to drive you might send your AVR into clipping.

Maybe look at BIC Acoustech Platinum Series, BIC America Formula Series, Klipsch, etc..... speakers that have a sensitivity of over 90db. The BICs are anywhere from 95db to 98db and Klipsch is in that range too. And yes there are many others.

Shawn
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post #11 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 08:04 AM
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Online retailers can seem somewhat dubious, but many larger online only companies have the reputation and the return policy that will work for you.

HSU, Emotiva, etc listed above tend to be worth looking at (mostly for subs). As well as other online only companies.

From Amazon/Newegg etc. I would recommend Energy as a starting point, maybe Klipsch if you are a big fan of forward sound (just moved on from these, I highly recommend towers over the bookshelves).

Smaller online companies will also sometimes do a 'tour' with them shipping their speakers to you for you to test out. Only one I can think of that is doing this is GR Research which is a DIY speaker build. I have the N2X coming to my house and all I have to do after a few days of testing is to send it to the next guy in line. If you can solder and/or build cabinets, this could be worth a look to for the most bang for your buck.
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post #12 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky View Post

Do you think my receiver is adequate?

Yes.

Quote:


I don't know much about speakers. Why do the tiny bose speakers sound so amazing?

They don't.

Quote:


What should I look for in speakers?


Good sound. We can break that down as:

(1) Smooth midrange with good bass and treble extension
(2) Good dynamic range and low distortion, particularly in the bass range.
(3) Control over the radiation pattern or directivity.



Quote:


I currently have seven speakers setup. My center is above my tv pointing towards the center of the room. I have a left/right front angled towards the center of the room. Then you have your rears pointing towards the center. Lastly there is a left/right speaker pointed towards the center of the room.

OK.


Quote:


I really enjoy hearing planes cars and the like whizz by me, and I love the boom doing car doors make, etc. I want the true surround experience but dont know enough enough about the specs of the tools to get there.

Speaker specs are iffy. As given they are generally incomplete.

Quote:


So if there is a tutorial written somewhere or anything of use reading I'm all ears, but could really use some guidance. Thank you

Continuing to ask questions here is a way to get turtored in some, individually designed pieces.
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post #13 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pureiso View Post

Online retailers can seem somewhat dubious, but many larger online only companies have the reputation and the return policy that will work for you.

HSU, Emotiva, etc listed above tend to be worth looking at (mostly for subs). As well as other online only companies.

Let me add to that list:
Aperion
Axiom
Outlaw
SV Sound

They offer quality products and audition/return policies.

Kal

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post #14 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 08:48 AM
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Some recommended reading about determining quality loudspeakers.

Also, the reviews on this site are among the best and most objective I have seen.

http://www.audioholics.com/education...y-loudspeakers
http://www.audioholics.com/education...eaker-cabinets
http://www.audioholics.com/education...abinet-bracing
http://www.audioholics.com/education...ics/crossovers

Also, some tweeks to get more out of your current or future loudspeakers are to:

1. Dampen the enclosure
2. Swap capacitors
3. Adjust placement
4. Apply room treatments

Plenty of resources on all those, but I can point you in the right direction if you have any specific questions.

Of course, looking at the speakers you currently have 1 and 2 are basically out of the question and, other than the cheap driver in those speakers, the first two are likely sources of the sound quality suffering.
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post #15 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky View Post

Can I improve for around $1,000 or $1,500? I'm fine with using newegg, amazon, the usuals.

Yes.

Quote:


Only hard thing with purchasing speakers over the internet is obvious; you can't HEAR it; but if I knew what specs I'm looking for that would be helpful

As I said in another post, loudspeaker specs aren't often that helpful.
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post #16 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I appreciate all the replies, and apologize for all the questions. Just trying to understand.

the audio store near my house told me my receiver is crap I needed another one. I'm fine with that if that is realistic information.

I would love to get by for under $500. I checked axiom's website, and their speaker sets are like $1800.00

Wish they made this easer heh.
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post #17 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky View Post

I appreciate all the replies, and apologize for all the questions. Just trying to understand.

the audio store near my house told me my receiver is crap I needed another one. I'm fine with that if that is realistic information.

I would love to get by for under $500. I checked axiom's website, and their speaker sets are like $1800.00

Wish they made this easer heh.

You can do what many do in a situation like this, buy either the fronts or the front and center channels. This way you can keep coasting the way you are for now and then slowly upgrade away. ~90% of movie soundtracks are localized in the center, making this the most important speaker for this. And the vast majority of music is in stereo. So this is hitting all the important bases for now, then you fill in with a upgraded sub and surrounds.
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post #18 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pureiso View Post

You can do what many do in a situation like this, buy either the fronts or the front and center channels. This way you can keep coasting the way you are for now and then slowly upgrade away. ~90% of movie soundtracks are localized in the center, making this the most important speaker for this. And the vast majority of music is in stereo. So this is hitting all the important bases for now, then you fill in with a upgraded sub and surrounds.

Thank you. This is my receiver: http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?m=...s=Receiver&p=f

I am definitely fine with that receiver right? You suggest I just buy the center, then the left/right then the rears then sub?

Just making sure I understand this correctly.

Thank you again.
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post #19 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 11:35 AM
 
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At least you are in a position to avoid making the mistake that the vast majority do...

Make sure that all 3 of the front speakers (L/C/R) are IDENTICAL. That also means that they are mounted identically as well - you do not turn one on its side!!!

And walk away if any salesperson tells you otherwise (and anticipate that they will...).
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post #20 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky View Post

Thank you. This is my receiver: http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?m=...s=Receiver&p=f

I am definitely fine with that receiver right? You suggest I just buy the center, then the left/right then the rears then sub?

Just making sure I understand this correctly.

Thank you again.

Generally, I recommend that all three speakers in the front are bought at the same time. This way if the speaker company phases out a line of products you are not wondering if everything is timbre matched correctly.

If this is not possible, then pick either center or fronts. Personally, I think the fronts are the most important since you can always run those as a phantom center channel and music will still be nice and punchy. But this completely depends on room layout.

Next, I would definitely upgrade the subwoofer next. Surround information does not really need to be accurate to still give the effect.

The receiver is perfectly fine for now.

The receiver looks fine to me, it will get you by until everything else is upgraded.
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post #21 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonfyr View Post

At least you are in a position to avoid making the mistake that the vast majority do...

Make sure that all 3 of the front speakers (L/C/R) are IDENTICAL. That also means that they are mounted identically as well - you do not turn one on its side!!!

And walk away if any salesperson tells you otherwise (and anticipate that they will...).

This is to ensure similar frequency response correct? I never have really looked into it...
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post #22 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 11:48 AM
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You can keep using the surrounds and backs, just upgrade L/R/C and you'll get a significnat boost in sound quality. A bett sub would help but for your price I would get the best L/R/C I could then upgrade the rest later.

The soundstage across the front is most critical as sounds are passed from L to C to R and back. You'd like the sound to not change as it moves across the speakers in front of you. Having those three match in timbre and such helps create a more seamless movie experience.

All IMO - Don

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post #23 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Let me ask this. . .

What should I *expect* to spend on each component for really good sound; not quite audiophile quality but really good sound?

I am even thinking of craigslist just don't know enough about what I'm looking for spec wise.
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post #24 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky View Post

Let me ask this. . .

What should I *expect* to spend on each component for really good sound; not quite audiophile quality but really good sound?

I am even thinking of craigslist just don't know enough about what I'm looking for spec wise.

That is the issue with audio, you have to set your pricepoint since you can get really good sound at a lot of different price points. Throw in DIY and used gear, your options are overwhelming.

Local ads, craigslist, audiogon, classified here, etc. are a great way to stretch your dollar but limit your choices. Also, you have no return policy if you do not like how it sounds in home.
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post #25 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 11:58 AM
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Specs will tell you very little about sound quality. Specsmanship is rampant. Read reviews in the speaker forums and go listen. Nobody can choose for you, but there is lots of help and reading material.

I would set a budget then listen to speakers at that point, a little below, and perhaps 2x that price. That way you can tell what you get for your money. Sometimes a little less money gets equivalent performance, and 2x the price hardly any better sound. Of course, the flip side can happen as well, and you'll be saving longer for even better speakers.

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post #26 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky View Post

I appreciate all the replies, and apologize for all the questions. Just trying to understand.

the audio store near my house told me my receiver is crap I needed another one. I'm fine with that if that is realistic information.
.

The advice is surely crap. Good reason to stay away from them in the future.

Once fairly minimal standard for electronics are met, its all about speakers and rooms.

The difference in loudness possible with a 100 wpc receiver over an 80 wpc receiver is minimal. And, you are probably not pushing the 80 wpc receiver all of the way.
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post #27 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

The advice is surely crap. Good reason to stay away from them in the future.

Once fairly minimal standard for electronics are met, its all about speakers and rooms.

The difference in loudness possible with a 100 wpc receiver over an 80 wpc receiver is minimal. And, you are probably not pushing the 80 wpc receiver all of the way.

How do I push it all the way? I've had my receiver turned up to max before; heck I did the audyssey EQ setup and have to run most things with the volume up to 50 just to hear it (no I'm not deaf) where max is 70.

Not saying I'm unhappy with my receiver, just at the point where I want more out of my system. I've had it this way for a few years now and though it was a good setup.

Now I want to go to the next level.

So if everyone says buy new speakers I'm prepared to get new ones. Think I'll stop by best buy see what I like and then search around online to compare prices.



Now here's a question; My receiver is capable of 80 watts per channel. I am glancing at these speakers: http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Mon...p_ob_e_title_0

Why are their specs saying peak power handling 275 watts. Does that mean of the 275 watts capable, that speaker will only use max 80 watts as fed by my receiver?

Also, will that 80 watts be further divided by the 4 speakers in that enclosure?


I'm good with numbers, I just need to put some logic behind this. Thanks again.
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post #28 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky View Post

Thank you. This is my receiver: http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?m=...s=Receiver&p=f

I am definitely fine with that receiver right? You suggest I just buy the center, then the left/right then the rears then sub?

Your receiver has Audyssey, which is a self-adjusting equalizer system that can effectively compensate for things like a center channel speaker that does not match the mains.

It can also enhance the sound of your system pretty dramatically.

Have you followed the procedure on page 45-46 of your owner's manual?
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post #29 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Your receiver has Audyssey, which is a self-adjusting equalizer system that can effectively compensate for things like a center channel speaker that does not match the mains.

It can also enhance the sound of your system pretty dramatically.

Have you followed the procedure on page 45-46 of your owner's manual?

yep; followed the manual to a T. Just plug in the mic setup starts put in the center of room then right then left.
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post #30 of 44 Old 01-27-2012, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozorowsky View Post

How do I push it all the way? I've had my receiver turned up to max before; heck I did the audyssey EQ setup and have to run most things with the volume up to 50 just to hear it (no I'm not deaf) where max is 70.

Not saying I'm unhappy with my receiver, just at the point where I want more out of my system. I've had it this way for a few years now and though it was a good setup.

Now I want to go to the next level.

So if everyone says buy new speakers I'm prepared to get new ones. Think I'll stop by best buy see what I like and then search around online to compare prices.



Now here's a question; My receiver is capable of 80 watts per channel. I am glancing at these speakers: http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Mon...p_ob_e_title_0

Why are their specs saying peak power handling 275 watts. Does that mean of the 275 watts capable, that speaker will only use max 80 watts as fed by my receiver?

Also, will that 80 watts be further divided by the 4 speakers in that enclosure?


I'm good with numbers, I just need to put some logic behind this. Thanks again.

You've over-thinking the numbers. Those speakers will (apparently) take a 275W maximum input (I'm skeptical they'll survive it, but that's another story - it would be far louder than you'd want anyways); your receiver will (apparently) provide an 80W/ch maximum output (I'm skeptical it actually does, but that's another story too - it would again, be far louder than you'd probably want). Don't worry about the per-driver power handling or anything like that; treat it like a black box. Those Polk speakers would be a fine upgrade.

The whole "you must have identical LCR or the world ends" reasoning has some validity, but it's very impractical in most situations - if you can't make it fit (physically), don't worry about it as much. Audyssey or other EQ systems won't change the design parameters or shortcomings of a given speaker, but it can help compared to doing nothing. I like the advice to buy all three at the same time (both to get stuff that's fairly well matched and in the event of things going out of production).

I agree with Arny about the shop - just walk out and never look back.
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