Originally Posted by Robert Cook
In my perspective, good speakers should be good for both HT and music, as they both have the same requirement, namely accurately reproducing recorded audio (within their size and cost constraints). That said, there is a common belief that HT speakers don't have to sound all that "good" as long as they're dynamic (play softly then loudly without effort), and that music speakers don't have to be very dynamic as long as they sound "good" (evident in the many modern designs that seemingly throw speaker sensitivity out the window). I won't strictly question the distinction made between HT and music speakers because it is an opinion, but I for one just happen to want a more even balance of both characteristics for both applications, and it's something to think about anyway.
Robert, it is hard to argue with anything you have written here. Good points all around.
As for these two speaker sets, I have not heard the HSU HB-1 MK2 (nor the first version), but in my opinion the SCS-01(M) (the original SVS center speaker modified for use as left and right mains) is a superb music speaker for its price. It doesn't have great efficiency or power handling by the specs, but within the capabilities of common receivers, it is surprisingly dynamic (I've heard better, but it's still good) and therefore suitable for HT as well. While I haven't had a huge amount of experience with them, these speakers seem very easy to drive--some speakers need high-end amplification to sound their best, whatever their specs might say (8 ohms and 90+ efficiency are hardly the whole story), but these don't. All points considered, I'll just say that the SVS speakers don't sacrifice much real-world HT capability for their music capability--mediocre-sounding but loud definitely does not describe them.
Now that I have received, setup, and calibrated my SVS SCS-01 speakers I agree with you 100%. And I never meant to imply that the SVS speakers were bad with music. Based on my very limited listening and testing so far I happen to find them solid with regards to music. As for HT use, they blow the Polk Audio speakers that I was previously using away IMHO. Better clarity, better imaging, better soundstaging, better highs. I really like the tweeter used in the SVS SCS speakers. I tested a number of speakers locally, some which cost more than the SVS by quite a bit, and I am really impressed with the SVS speakers and how much you get for the money. They are not as forward as the Klipsch speakers I auditioned, and I actually prefer that. For me, they offer a great balance and so to do many things very well.
Even though you thought for some reason that the SVS speakers would be better for HT?
Well, I prefer a sealed speaker design vs a ported speaker design in terms of placement options. I should have clarified a little further (although I believe I mentioned this). I am considering going with an acoustically transparent screen at some point, and my fear with the HSU speakers was that I may be more limited with placement, or I may find that their rear ported design may not be ideal should I do go down the AT path.
For other people, this may not be a concern and they may have ideal placement options for the rear-ported HSU speakers.
That's right, I've heard so many good things about both that neither is a wrong decision, unless you get them and happen not to like them, anyway. If so, then try the other one, but if you do like them, then don't worry about whether you made the right choice.
Agreed. After recieving, setting up and calibrating the SVS SCS speakers last night there is little to no chance that they will be going back. Is it possible that the HSU speakers will sound better or worse? Sure. But I am extremely happy with my purchase and don't want to pay the shipping costs, so the SVS are staying and I don't plan on looking back for at least another 5 years.
Obviously, I can't make a direct comparison, but there are some things that I've heard about the HB-1 repeatedly that mostly have to do with its design, namely its horn-loaded tweeter. For one thing, the higher frequencies will have more of a controlled dispersion than one would get with a regular tweeter. This would seem to be HT-oriented in that it helps avoid some room reflections (which may actually be favored in music-oriented speakers) and increases efficiency and dynamics, and indeed many have commented that it is quite a lively speaker. On the other hand, since the tweeter is more efficient than the mid-woofer, there is a danger of the former overwhelming the latter at high levels, and I recall at least one person saying that the speaker starts to sound shrill as it gets very loud. While I'm sure that there is some kind of compensation for this, there is only so much that can be done with passive circuitry. This is true of virtually every horn-loaded speaker I've ever listened to--eventually the high-frequency drivers overwhelm the low-frequency drivers. However, I doubt it's anywhere near as severe in this case--maybe not even a practical issue at all--because we're not talking about a compression driver (as found in public address and many Klipsch speakers) but rather a tweeter with an extreme form of waveguide.
Seems like a fair assessment. I auditioned several Klipsch bookshelf speakers recently (51's and 61's) and found their speakers to be a little too bright and forward for my tastes. I know people that love Klipsch horn-driven speakers, but I am simply not one of these people. They certainly did not sound bad to me, but I was coming from Polk speakers which are much more laid back. From what I gather the HSU MKII's are less bright than the Klipsch speakers and not quite as forward.
Now, that's an awful lot of talk for somebody who has not even heard the speaker
, but the point is that it really does have a different design from that of the SVS speakers. Another positive I've heard is that within the dispersion pattern of the horn, imaging and soundstaging are unanimously lauded as being absolutely fantastic, which is good for both HT and music. On the negative side, with regard to overall efficiency, the measurement was done in half-space instead of anechoic (or quasi-anechoic), which probably bumps up the number a dB or two, as well as at 2.83 volts instead of 1 watt, which at 6 ohms is another increase of a dB and a quarter, meaning that the speaker is not quite as efficient as it might appear (maybe half), although it's still about twice as efficient as the SVS speakers.
All I know is that I definitely recommend that people who have never spent time with a horn-loaded speaker go spend some time with them before buying them. It is a different sound than say a Polk or SVS speaker which is more laid back and neutral.
I hope to one day get a chance to listen to the HB-1 MKII's up close and personal. I have always been very impressed with HSU as a company. I called them several times when I was debating speakers and they were extremely accommodating. And like SVS, they seem to offer a ton of value for the money.