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Can I improve 5.1 set-up for $1000-1200?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

Have had some form of a stereo/5.0 set-up for 14 years or so. Recently, I've been in the process of upgrading components. Samsung LN40D630, Samsung BD, and, most recently, Denon 1712.

My 5.0 speaker set-up is old (8-14 years old). For $1000-1200, can I upgrade it significantly? What would be the recommendations? I have somewhat of an awkward set-up in a smaller room of an apartment. With that said, I'm not looking specifically for this room, but also something that we can move into a house (and, presumably a bigger room/better set-up) within a few years.

Right now, I have:

Fronts: JBL TLX171s
Center: Bose VCS-10
Rears: Bose doubles cubes

A couple of notes:

1) I certainly open to adding a sub. Just never have up this point.
2) We mostly watch TV and movies, with a little bit of music
3) I am open to replacing any or all pieces (or, adding, as is the case with a sub), as long it is within the $1000-1200 budget and I'll get an upgrade.
4) I'm not entirely unhappy with the system, but I did notice a significant upgrade when I replaced my old Sony Receiver with the Denon. I'm wondering if I can get the same type of upgrade replacing some/all of the speakers. Also, the rep at Electronics Expo did indicate that my speaker combo presented some challenges that the Denon should help to smooth out. I, also, seem to remember reading on the forums here that Bose speakers tended not to play that nice outside of their native set-ups.

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 15
I would replace the front three as a start. Shoot us an email and we can discuss what would work for you.
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post #3 of 15
You can definitely improve your setup, your front 3 speakers dont match and you also should get rid of the Bose cubes. I'm sure the AVS Sales guys can get you pointed in the right direction.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Any other suggestions, or brands to look at?

Mike was kind enough to exchange e-mails, and recommended Klipsch front and center speakers that will take up my entire budget. Is fronts and center the way to go right now? Get those consistent, then replace the rears and add a sub sometime down the line? Do I need the 82-IIs for the fronts and the 62-II as a center, or will a step down yield a significant improvement over what I currently have?
post #5 of 15
Practically anything would be an improvement over what you have now, but if you have $1000 to spend, those Klipsch speakers are a long way from the best you can do.

I suggest that you get a pair of Polk Monitor 60 speakers for $300 (Amazon), a pair of Polk Monitor 40 speakers for $170, a Polk CS10 center speaker for $130, and a Polk PSW505 subwoofer for around $300.

That will be a very great improvement in all respects compared to what you have now. The Bose speakers are worthless junk, but you should be able to sell the JBL speakers for a few bucks.





Quote:
Originally Posted by cxg331 View Post

Any other suggestions, or brands to look at?

Mike was kind enough to exchange e-mails, and recommended Klipsch front and center speakers that will take up my entire budget. Is fronts and center the way to go right now? Get those consistent, then replace the rears and add a sub sometime down the line? Do I need the 82-IIs for the fronts and the 62-II as a center, or will a step down yield a significant improvement over what I currently have?
post #6 of 15
HTD Level Three
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-th...shelf-Speakers

Level Three Center
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-th...hannel-Speaker

With the Epik sub listed below
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Boston A250
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...A-White/1.html

A225C Center
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...r-White/1.html

Epik Subwoofer
http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/legend.html

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HSU Hybrid Package
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid1pkg.html
post #7 of 15
I disagree with replacing your speakers first. I think a sub will have the most dramatic impact for you. Since you don't replace/upgrade very often, you want to do it right when you do make a purchase so my advice is to by the best sub right now and then save up money again down the road for replacing your speakers.

You have speakers, you don't have a sub so to me it makes more sense to get what you don't have. I know people will say that the speakers you have aren't very good, but they are better than the sub that you don't have!!
post #8 of 15
For that receiver I would keep it simple and run some klipsch quintets and a sw350. That'll keep it under budget, keep things on the same brand, and give you a great sound. If you want to go with larger speakers then I would recommend starting with some full range towers like the def tech 8020's and build from there but that might be a little much for the 1712. I am speaking from exp because I have the denon 1611 which is the previous years version on the 1712 and I just bought the 8040's and I am going to upgrade my receiver very soon.
post #9 of 15
I agree with carp... Buy a good sub first. Check out any of the Internet Direct brands: SVS, Rythmik, Hsu Research, Outlaw Audio, Epik, etc...

Also if you do get speakers klipsch are very sensitive speakers so your receiver should be able to do just fine. However if you want to stay cheaper look at BIC Acoustechs they are just as sensitive if not more so than klipsch and cheaper.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Epik Subwoofer
http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/legend.html

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HSU Hybrid Package
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid1pkg.html

The HSU and the Epik are both great subs and worth the money for your HT build. The Outlaw Audio Plus is only $499 shipped through May 4th, making it probably the best value in this class of subs at the moment.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cxg331 View Post

Hello all,

Have had some form of a stereo/5.0 set-up for 14 years or so. Recently, I've been in the process of upgrading components. Samsung LN40D630, Samsung BD, and, most recently, Denon 1712.

My 5.0 speaker set-up is old (8-14 years old). For $1000-1200, can I upgrade it significantly? What would be the recommendations? I have somewhat of an awkward set-up in a smaller room of an apartment. With that said, I'm not looking specifically for this room, but also something that we can move into a house (and, presumably a bigger room/better set-up) within a few years.

Right now, I have:

Fronts: JBL TLX171s
Center: Bose VCS-10
Rears: Bose doubles cubes

A couple of notes:

1) I certainly open to adding a sub. Just never have up this point.
2) We mostly watch TV and movies, with a little bit of music
3) I am open to replacing any or all pieces (or, adding, as is the case with a sub), as long it is within the $1000-1200 budget and I'll get an upgrade.
4) I'm not entirely unhappy with the system, but I did notice a significant upgrade when I replaced my old Sony Receiver with the Denon. I'm wondering if I can get the same type of upgrade replacing some/all of the speakers. Also, the rep at Electronics Expo did indicate that my speaker combo presented some challenges that the Denon should help to smooth out. I, also, seem to remember reading on the forums here that Bose speakers tended not to play that nice outside of their native set-ups.

Thanks in advance!

Hi, your fronts are capable, but a bit dated. They have good sensitivity and are three way speakers able to reach down to 35 Hz. How well they do that, I don't know, but they are good speakers.

The Bose cubes are not a good match for your existing speakers, I would think the center itself may be interfering with your overall system, since it doesn't match well with your fronts and may suffer from the known gaps in frequency response in Bose's later speakers. I don't know this center, though, so I would say that just the lack of tonal match with the two fronts would get a better response from some new speakers.

Right now you have no sub, and the low end is being handled by your fronts. They are efficient, but they are being asked to handle the low area usually owned by a sub, so freeing them from that responsibility may make the sound that they can deliver improve.

Since you're in an apartment, devoting your whole budget to the sub may be counterproductive, since you may not be able to use it to its full capacity yet. I'd get a good mid range (about $600) sub like the Hsu VTF3-MK4, which can provide what you need without buying more than you can use now. If and when you move to a larger area without neighbors (house), you can get a second, more powerful sub, since subs are not dependent on matching manufacturers, brands or models.

If you want to upgrade the speakers, then you have about $600 for a front three upgrade. If you have the room, you could move the JBL's to surround duty, and buy a front three as a matched set. As an example only, since I'm an Energy guy and as an alternative to the good suggestions you've already gotten, you could get: 2 Energy RC-10's at $299 (Vanns), a matched RC-LCR center at $249 (Vanns) and sell the Bose speakers. Bose has done a great job at marketing these, so you may get a good price for them.

That drops you into about 1200 for a very good apartment setup. The JBLs should perform well as surrounds, or sell them - you may get better value by holding on to them for now. Cross over the sub at 80 Hz, and you should be good.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by hernanu View Post

If you want to upgrade the speakers, then you have about $600 for a front three upgrade. If you have the room, you could move the JBL's to surround duty, and buy a front three as a matched set. As an example only, since I'm an Energy guy and as an alternative to the good suggestions you've already gotten, you could get: 2 Energy RC-10's at $299 (Vanns), a matched RC-LCR center at $249 (Vanns) and sell the cubes. Bose has done a great job at marketing these, so you may get a good price for them.

I agree. Nice speakers. I have some. Pair them with one of the 12" ID subs, and you'll see a great improvement. And I know $500-$600 might seem expensive for a sub, but with a subwoofer you are buying a speaker and an amp. And at this price point, there is a significant difference in overall SQ, low frequency extension, and SPL output over 12" budget subs below this in price.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Practically anything would be an improvement over what you have now, but if you have $1000 to spend, those Klipsch speakers are a long way from the best you can do.

I suggest that you get a pair of Polk Monitor 60 speakers for $300 (Amazon), a pair of Polk Monitor 40 speakers for $170, a Polk CS10 center speaker for $130, and a Polk PSW505 subwoofer for around $300.

That will be a very great improvement in all respects compared to what you have now. The Bose speakers are worthless junk, but you should be able to sell the JBL speakers for a few bucks.

Just for clarification, do you suggest that the Klipsches are a long way from the best that I can do because others speakers offer better sound for that money, or because I can get a complete 5.1 set-up with Polk that is within my budget?

....................................

Thanks for the answers from everyone else. If there are any others wishing to chime in, I would prefer towers in front rather than bookshelf style speakers.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cxg331 View Post

Thanks for the answers from everyone else. If there are any others wishing to chime in, I would prefer towers in front rather than bookshelf style speakers.

I understand where you're coming from, but towers at that price point if you still want a sub may not be practicable. You want the best sound at the price point, and a migration strategy for later. As an example again - the RC-10s are good sized bookshelves and produce very good sound with the RC-LCR. Soundwise, they are probably the equivalent or better than towers at $300 per pair.

If you think of the future, when you can do it, you could get towers when you have 1000+ that would match well with your system. For instance, I started with a hifi in the box system from panasonic that served until I wanted better sound. I then upgraded to RC mini speakers (5.1) while keeping the HTIB sub. The RC minis are great little speakers which were a great bargain at $90 each (MSRP is 225). Then upgraded with two RC-10's (MSRP was 600) and a new Energy ESW-V8 sub (apartment), moving the RC mini's to surround duty. The upgrade that followed a year later was to add two RC-50 towers ($300 each, a great deal, original MSRP was 800 each) for fronts, moving the RC-10's to surround and the RC minis to back. The final upgrade on speakers was to get the RC-LCR (original MSRP 650), a big boy center speaker, and add a second 8" sub (Energy S8.3).

So I've done the upgrade you're considering, dictated by money available. The RC-50's are now 400, so to get a reasonable pair of towers, you're probably talking 800 to 1000 just to replace your current towers. I thought more in terms of sound quality, knowing that the ultimate goal was probably towers at some point.

I'm talking Energy because that is what I know and probably some others have great systems for equivalent prices, but I'd be surprised if other towers would be significantly less for a visible upgrade in sound. Maybe Jamos?
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cxg331 View Post

Just for clarification, do you suggest that the Klipsches are a long way from the best that I can do because others speakers offer better sound for that money, or because I can get a complete 5.1 set-up with Polk that is within my budget?

Some people don't like the Klipsch sound because of the horn tweeters. They find them fatiguing. If you like the Klipsch sound, they can be an excellent choice for HT usage. The RF82-IIs have a very high sensitivity rating of 98db. That means they will play very, very loud with the same amount of wattage compared to other speakers.
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