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post #1 of 48 Old 03-23-2012, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
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About a year and a half ago I put together the following system. IMO is sounds cheap. Where should I start tearing this thing apart first? Where will a simple change make the biggest impact? What can I salvage from this system?

Denon AVR-391
Polk Monitor50
Klipsch Synergy C-1 Center Channel Speaker
Polk Audio RC60i In-Ceiling
Polk Audio PSW10

Don't know the exact specs but my living area is open concept, high ceilings, and tile floors. Kitchen/Dining/Living all in the same space. I would estimate 25x25.
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post #2 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 01:43 AM
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What does "cheap" sound like?

The big, glaring issues I'm seeing:

- Probably no room treatments.
- That subwoofer is hilariously small for that large of a room (to properly deal with that room you need multiple subwoofers and each one will be fairly large).
- The center-channel is a bad match for the rest of the speakers.
- The Polk speakers are probably a bad match for the size of the room.
- The Denon probably lacks any meaningful room EQ/calibration features to help deal with any/all of the above.

With your massive 25x25 (by what? 12?) room, you'll need to look at two or four good-sized subwoofers (SVS, Hsu, Velodyne, etc), and I would probably go with some quality bookshelf speakers that are relatively sensitive; Klipsch RB-81 isn't a bad choice (as an example). Finally, a new receiver will probably make sense as well, something that's "smarter" and can better address the room. Oh, and look at room treatments of some sort.
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post #3 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 03:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starpup View Post

About a year and a half ago I put together the following system. IMO is sounds cheap. Where should I start tearing this thing apart first? Where will a simple change make the biggest impact? What can I salvage from this system?

Denon AVR-391
Polk Monitor50
Klipsch Synergy C-1 Center Channel Speaker
Polk Audio RC60i In-Ceiling
Polk Audio PSW10

Don't know the exact specs but my living area is open concept, high ceilings, and tile floors. Kitchen/Dining/Living all in the same space. I would estimate 25x25.

I agree with the other poster that the sub is ridiculously small for the size of the room unless you never crank 'er up.
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post #4 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 04:31 AM
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If your ceilings are really high you might also. Consider pendants instead of in ceiling. Poor surfaces can make an awesom system souNd like trash. Flat hard surfaces will makes things sound tingy, furniture will absorb your lows, examine these things as you reinstall. There is so much bass involved in home theatre that missing that portion can very dramatically affect the experience.
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post #5 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 05:52 AM
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Get some nice rugs to cover up the tile floor. That room is sure to have bad acoustics do to all the hard reflective surfaces. Especially the hard tile floor. I also agree with the rest, your system is lacking in the bass department. Polk makes nice speakers but they're subwoofers are lacking. Even if the sub you currently have was a good performer it's way to small for the size of your room.
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post #6 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 07:38 AM
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If I was in your shoes I would start by replacing the center speaker with a Polk
CS20. Your current center speaker is a major problem IMO.

The second thing I would do is get a decent subwoofer that is big enough for the room, such as a Rythmic FV12.

The tile floors are a big problem. At the very least you should get some area rugs 4' x 6'and put them in front of the main speakers to reduce reflections

Those two things should go a long way toward making the system sound better.

Then I would replace the the in-ceiling speakers (ugh) with Monitor 40 speakers.



Quote:
Originally Posted by starpup View Post

About a year and a half ago I put together the following system. IMO is sounds cheap. Where should I start tearing this thing apart first? Where will a simple change make the biggest impact? What can I salvage from this system?

Denon AVR-391
Polk Monitor50
Klipsch Synergy C-1 Center Channel Speaker
Polk Audio RC60i In-Ceiling
Polk Audio PSW10

Don't know the exact specs but my living area is open concept, high ceilings, and tile floors. Kitchen/Dining/Living all in the same space. I would estimate 25x25.

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post #7 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

What does "cheap" sound like?

The big, glaring issues I'm seeing:

- Probably no room treatments.
- That subwoofer is hilariously small for that large of a room (to properly deal with that room you need multiple subwoofers and each one will be fairly large).
- The center-channel is a bad match for the rest of the speakers.
- The Polk speakers are probably a bad match for the size of the room.
- The Denon probably lacks any meaningful room EQ/calibration features to help deal with any/all of the above.

With your massive 25x25 (by what? 12?) room, you'll need to look at two or four good-sized subwoofers (SVS, Hsu, Velodyne, etc), and I would probably go with some quality bookshelf speakers that are relatively sensitive; Klipsch RB-81 isn't a bad choice (as an example). Finally, a new receiver will probably make sense as well, something that's "smarter" and can better address the room. Oh, and look at room treatments of some sort.

Where would you start? Would you buy a new receiver? Or attack the sub issue?
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post #8 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Commysman, is this the center channel you would buy or is this the one you would buy so you can salvage the Monitor50's? I've read some reviews on this forum about my Denon so now I'm aware of Audyssey and knowing it doesn't have it as well as my receiver it "bottom of the barrel" and should NOT be bought if "you serious about HT".
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post #9 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starpup View Post

Where would you start? Would you buy a new receiver? Or attack the sub issue?

For room of your size I would start from scratch. Budget at least $3000 for speakers and electronics. Add another $1000 for room treatment.

Budget assumes you get all NEW components. You can save 30-50% if you buy used. But then you need to know what you are doing.
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post #10 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Would these be an BIG improvement over my monitor50s?

JBL ES80BK 3-Way, Dual 6 1/2" Floorstanding Speaker
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post #11 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 12:08 PM
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I would start with a new sub while you do some listening to consider replacements for your speakers. Begin with one SVS PB12-NSD, HSU VTF-3 MK4, or Outlaw Audio LFM-1 EX. Here are a couple of reviews:

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/s...fm-1-ex-review
http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/s...ofers/pb12-nsd

Note that Audioholics rated those two subs as good in rooms up to 5,000 cubic feet. I have an EX in a room of 6,000 cubic feet and it does OK located 11 ft from the listening position. HSU rates the VTF-3 MK4 as good in rooms up to 6,000 cubic feet.

If you must go cheaper, then get a Premier Acoustics PA-150, although it does not have quite the low frequency range output of those other subs. Acoustic Sound Design apparently will take a bid of around $350 for one.

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post #12 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone have any arguments with the following?

I'm going to keep the monitor 50's and Denon 391 for the time being.

Going to replace the center with BIC PL-28 and change the PSW10 to a BIC PL-200.

If it still doesn't stack up to my expectations going to add the PL-76 towers and replace the receiver with a Onkyo NR-609. If you guys know of compareables to any of these items I'm replacing that are in the same price area let me know.
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post #13 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

unless you never crank 'er up.

That's a good point; hadn't thought about that. Starpup, if you aren't trying to get "theater like sound" here, what you have is probably suitable; it really depends on what you ultimately want out of this room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by starpup View Post

Where would you start? Would you buy a new receiver? Or attack the sub issue?

I would start with the sub if you want a lot of bass impact/"theater like sound" (you need more displacement, more power, etc); then I would look at a new receiver and speakers. A pair of PB12s, five or seven good speakers (buy all the same model) like the RB-81, and a new receiver like the Yamaha RX-A2010 or Denon AVR-4311 and you'd probably be set-up quite well. Like ap1 said - couple thousand dollars.

Room treatments come after that (and cost extra).

Basically - start over and replace the entire system sans TV/source components.

Oh, and if you don't already have one - a nice universal remote!
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post #14 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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About the room treatments, my living area is carpeted about 13x15 and behind this starts the tile in the kitchen and dining room entrance to the house.

Does my blu ray player have an impact on the quality of my HT?
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post #15 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I would start with the sub if you want a lot of bass impact/"theater like sound" (you need more displacement, more power, etc); then I would look at a new receiver and speakers. A pair of PB12s, five or seven good speakers (buy all the same model) like the RB-81, and a new receiver like the Yamaha RX-A2010 or Denon AVR-4311 and you'd probably be set-up quite well. Like ap1 said - couple thousand dollars.

Room treatments come after that (and cost extra).

Basically - start over and replace the entire system sans TV/source components.

Oh, and if you don't already have one - a nice universal remote![/quote]

Looked at the price tag on those receivers, way over what my budget is. That's why I threw out examples such as the BIC, they appear to be good speakers with no serious complaints from users on this forum.
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post #16 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starpup View Post

About the room treatments, my living area is carpeted about 13x15 and behind this starts the tile in the kitchen and dining room entrance to the house.

Does my blu ray player have an impact on the quality of my HT?

Forgive me if this was covered earlier:

Is this basically a "warehouse" or "loft" style dwelling, where everything sits wide open with no boundaries except furniture/cabinetry and you're trying to set-up your theater in one section of this area?

You'll have to forgive me on the receiver/speaker suggestions - your post came at the same time as mine; didn't see it.

Here's what I'd suggest:

- Get the Polk Audio center to go along with the Monitor 50, I think both CS1 and CS2 are suitable (you could use a Monitor 30 or 40 bookshelf as well). The goal here is to match these speakers as closely as possible; BIC, Klipsch, etc are not going to accomplish that, the Polk speaker will have the same tweeter and midrange drivers (but a different box design, and generally we don't like horizontal MTMs, but they're usually born out of compromise) - it's "as close as possible" without adding another Monitor 50 in there (if it will fit and it doesn't bother you, go for it!).

- Go for either the BIC subwoofer, or the Polk PSW505 (or two, of either). There's also a Sony 12" that looks fairly similar to both of these, but I've not read very much about it; it costs a bit less though.

- Consider a new receiver that has a smarter room EQ/bass management scheme (if memory serves, the 391 is on the lowest "run" when it comes to Audyssey) - there's a number of options in the $500-$1000 (ish) range, like the Pioneer 1120, Yamaha 867, and Denon 3312.
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post #17 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks walbert I think I'm getting there.

The reason I wanted to buy the BIC center is because if the monitor 50's dont stack up I'm going to go BIC anyways. Don't want to buy the cs2 and than the BIC pl-76's know what i mean. guess it's easier if I just buy them now.

Do you have any complaints to an all BIC system as mentioned before? And what do you have against that onkyo receiver its $450 at fry's right now

The Denon has no audyssey, so anything would be a step up I guess. Are my Polk rc60i's salvageable?
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post #18 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starpup View Post

Thanks walbert I think I'm getting there.

The reason I wanted to buy the BIC center is because if the monitor 50's dont stack up I'm going to go BIC anyways. Don't want to buy the cs2 and than the BIC pl-76's know what i mean. guess it's easier if I just buy them now.

Do you have any complaints to an all BIC system as mentioned before? And what do you have against that onkyo receiver its $450 at fry's right now

The Denon has no audyssey, so anything would be a step up I guess. Are my Polk rc60i's salvageable?

The ideal system has the same speaker for every channel, since that's not practical for most people (even when budget is not an issue), you get as close to that ideal as you can. In other words, having speakers all from the same series from the same manufacturer, like all Polk Monitors, or all Klipsch Reference, or all B&W Diamond, that kind of thing. If you know you're getting the BIC, then doing it piece-at-a-time isn't a bad choice if you're financially limited. However it's not going to get you the best results to be "half way" in both directions - the BIC center is a bad match for the Monitor 50, and the Monitor 50 are a bad match for the BIC center.

If it was me, and I was on a tight budget, I'd probably consider making the Monitor 50 into the surrounds, and getting the Monitor 70 and a CS2 as the LCR. As opposed to buying five or seven new speakers, you're only buying three.

The in-ceiling speakers are an interesting predicament on their own; generally I hate in-ceiling speakers (yes, I used the word "hate"), but sometimes they're the only way to physically get speakers in one location. If the Monitor 50's could act as their own stands, and sit by your couch/chair/beanbag/whatever as your surrounds, that would very likely be more ideal.

Otherwise, go with all BIC speakers; see the problem now?

I have nothing against the Onkyo, apart from a general feeling of "poor reliability" with the brand (I've seen a number of them fail with my own two eyes, and read about many, many more - we used to have a CI posting here who shared some sales data on receivers, and from what I remember, Onkyo has something like 30 or 40% of the market, so it's not surprising more people have them fail; it's like Ford, they're everywhere and make everything, so even if they have the lowest failure rate on earth, they have more failed units than some manufacturers have total shipments in a year). Contrasted to Yamaha, which I've had great luck with (and, admittedly, I like CinemaDSP); I'm fairly indifferent to Onkyo on the whole, just like Pioneer and Denon. They all make quality products and generally do a good job delivering on their claims (And Onkyo usually does a very good job on delivering on it's power claims). That $450 bar is about where all of the products I mentioned (perhaps not the 3312) sit.
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post #19 of 48 Old 03-24-2012, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't have enough space so yeah gotta stick to the in-ceiling

There are a couple of options with the BIC in ceiling, is there anything I should be looking for to make sure they match up with the rest of the system?
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post #20 of 48 Old 03-25-2012, 08:29 AM
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The first thing you should be listening for is that the center speaker and the fronts and surrounds all sound the same at your listening position. They won't quite, but you need to get them close. This is usually done by getting five (or 7) speakers with identical drivers and internal crossover networks (what divides the sounds among the different drivers). That's why most speaker manufacturers sell speakers in sets. If you can, buy a center speaker which matches your ceiling speakers.

(For a large room, you need to buy efficient speakers: ones with a sensitivity of 90db or better. They'll make a big difference in how good things sound. Efficient speakers produce louder sounds with less powerful -- i.e. less expensive -- receivers. To drive inefficient speakers, you have to buy very expensive external amplifiers.)

To find out how similar the speakers sound in your room, you need to get one of the AV calibration discs -- Avia, Disney WOW, or Digital Video Essentials, for example. You might be able to borrow one from your local public library. They include audio test tones and instructions for configuring and calibrating your speaker system and your TV.

To first approximation, what Blu-ray player you have won't affect how things sound: they all produce the same digital audio signals. (Noticeable differences might be heard if you have a highly optimized audio listening room with all-analog equipment. Some Blu-ray players have very high quality analog outputs.) In your situation, how things sound is controlled by your speakers, your room and your receiver -- *if* the receiver includes room correction software like Audyssey.

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post #21 of 48 Old 03-25-2012, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starpup View Post

Going to replace the center with BIC PL-28 and change the PSW10 to a BIC PL-200.

Unlike your main 5.0 speakers where tonal match is important, there is no reason to match the sub brand with the speaker brand. And a single BIC PL-200 will be challenged in your size room. You might want to read this post and then research and seek recommendations in the AVS subwoofer forum before buying the sub. When you post, also share the new speakers you have selected.

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post #22 of 48 Old 03-25-2012, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

If it was me, and I was on a tight budget, I'd probably consider making the Monitor 50 into the surrounds, and getting the Monitor 70 and a CS2 as the LCR. As opposed to buying five or seven new speakers, you're only buying three.

+1

The Monitor70s will be an improvement over the 50s, and then using the matching center will be a big improvement for the front soundstage in HT usage. And even better if you have room for it and can afford it would be to use another Monitor70 as the center channel. That would be the perfect tonal match.

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post #23 of 48 Old 03-25-2012, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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I have the room buy my wife is pretty picky about the styling of the room. 100 percent confident she would not be ok with that, lol.

Ok guys I have an excellent offer put in for the PL-76 towers, PL-28 Center, and PL-200 Sub.I just want reassurance that this will be a BIG improvement over what I have now. Going to end up pairing with the pioneer receiver mentioned more than likely.
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post #24 of 48 Old 03-25-2012, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Thought this might help, do you still think the sub is too small?

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post #25 of 48 Old 03-25-2012, 10:37 AM
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Sub performance is related to the total cubic volume of the room (the air space) and any open areas. Since you originally indicated a space of 25x25 with high ceilings, yes. The BIC PL-200 will likely be challenged to produce the good low frequency bass effects for HT in that room unless you put it by the couch (and maybe not then). Even the HSU VTF-3 MK4 is only recommended in rooms up to 6,000 cubic feet by HSU (click on the loudness level icon on their product page).

Moreover, the BIC PL-200 peaks at 50hz and then drops in output from there. Thus in the 20-30hz frequency range, it will not be very loud compared to higher up the frequency range. This is one reason why most people on the AVS subwoofer forum recommend one of the 12" ID subs from HSU, Outlaw Audio, Epik, Rythmik, and SVS. They have much better output at the low end due to a flatter frequency response. Compare the output levels at different frequencies for the Outlaw EX, SVS PB12-NSD, and BIC PL-200 in this chart. See how much more output the SVS and Outlaw subs have in the 20-30hz range? That's where you get much of that great room shaking bass for HT.

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post #26 of 48 Old 03-25-2012, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for breaking it down for me, I appreciate the help. I think this will be a drastic improvement from my psw10, I mean I'll actually have a subwoofer on the list and that's good enough for me.

Still no one is answering my question

Will the BIC america system be a LARGE improvement over what I have now?
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post #27 of 48 Old 03-25-2012, 11:56 AM
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You are correct in thinking that the BIC PL-200 will be an improvement over the PSW10.

But room size does limit sub performance dramatically, and there will be significant (not just slight) performance benefits from getting enough sub for that big room. In fact, upgrading your subwoofer to the right subwoofer for your space would probably be more of an improvement for HT over putting the same money into a speaker upgrades, if you happened to already have the correct matching center channel.

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post #28 of 48 Old 03-25-2012, 05:38 PM
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One thing you might consider would be tactile transducers on the couch. They won't truly replace a sub, but you'll get more "impact" without having to go with some monster quad SVS-13 setup (or something else insane).

Regarding "will the BIC be an improvement" - it's hard to say; you may or may not like how they sound. They will match one another, so you'll get "The full experience" - but if you don't like the speakers, thems the breaks. The Monitor 70s are just a "bigger, better" version of the Monitor 50 by contrast; I'm assuming you like the Polk speakers (since you've already got them), but I could be wrong.
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post #29 of 48 Old 03-26-2012, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Alright guys, I'm ready to get this done this morning. I did some research on my receiver and it has 5x75 discrete amps so I'm not to worried about power, my worry is calibration, eq, etc. I have baptiq's guide to setting up my receiver manually so I'll get that as close as possible. I posted my room dimensions above, I have a lot of doubts concerning the polk 50's, but if you think there fine please mention it. So vote and let me know what you guys think.

Option 1- Budget friendly

Keep Denon AVR-391, no audyssey, eq, calibration.
Replace center with Polk CS2 to match existing polk monitor50's
Add PL-200 Sub.

Option 2

Same as Option 1 but getting the Denon out of there and putting in a Pioneer 1121.

Option 3

Pioneer 1121
PL-28 Center
PL-89 Towers
PL-200 Sub
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post #30 of 48 Old 03-26-2012, 08:54 AM
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