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Accurate and dynamic speakers/subs for a mid to large room?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I’ve been researching, listening to big-box-store speakers, and reading posts in a variety of forum/magazines for some time now.. and found someone who's interested in my Aperion Audio setup, so it's time to upgrade!

Room Size: My room is small at 10x18 (with the entertainment center squeezed into half that space). I would like to use common sense and “buy big” in hopes of filling a larger room if needed.

Usage: One weekend it could be 100% Music, the following 100% HT/Gaming. We listen to a wide variety of music (not just Ukulele solos).

Goals: No extremes! I don't want to lean towards the ultra dynamic/high sensitivity OR low sensitivity/relaxed design philosophies. I understand that this is a game of compromises, but my ideal speaker should meet me somewhere in the middle. It should be able to play anything thrown at it with poise and accuracy – from elevator music volume to movies at 90+db at the listening position. Ideal characteristics would be typical flat freq response, minimal dynamic compression, controlled directivity, great off-axis performance, and non-fatiguing tweeters. I dont listen loudly often, but considering my new space, it has to be able to play loud and clean with out signs of strain or compression.

As far as the speaker type. I’ve noticed that enthusiasts typically start off with a “entry level” tower, then go up in the model line (at a huge expense) to gain more bass. I would like to scrap the bass-chasing game if possible..Either with a capable tower, or a Monitor+Multiple Sub combination.

My power source will be a Denon receiver. I don't really want to buy an additional amp or bass management but will down the line if its needed.

Budget: Realistic! I would rather start my speaker hunt with characteristics, rather than price range. I don’t believe there is a DIRECT correlation between price and performance in this hobby and don't want to shoot myself in the foot unnecessarily by overspending.

It would be a huge waste of money to get speakers designed for a very small room, and have to upgrade a few years down the line when I move. I would rather have a speaker where most of the costs go into the design/drivers than marketing or the cabinet.

Subwoofers: I'd like to lean towards the clean and sealed side.

So.... AVS.....What companies or speaker models and price range should I look into to achieve most or all of these goals?
Edited by Del Cosmos - 6/24/12 at 8:22am
post #2 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Cosmos View Post

Budget: Realistic! I would rather start my speaker hunt with characteristics, rather than price range. I don’t believe there is a DIRECT correlation between price and performance in this hobby and don't want to shoot myself in the foot unnecessarily by overspending. I would rather have a speaker where most of the costs go into the design/drivers, than the cabinet.

What companies or speaker models should I look into?

Welcome to AVS...

It's going to be tough to recommend brands without at least getting a general idea of how much you are planning to spend. Would you say it's somewhere between $500-$5000 and if so, which number is it closer to? Also--which big box brands have you listened to and like or dislike?

As you're probably aware Internet Direct (ID) brands are very popular around here and can offer affordable (but typically not free) in-home auditions.
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thank you! I only heard BB' speakers in the store and took it with a grain of salt. I'm big on "ID" companies knowing that I'd get much more value for my dollar - hence the Aperion Audio setup.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Cosmos View Post

Usage: One weekend it could be 100% Music, the following 100% HT/Gaming. We listen to a wide variety of music (not just Ukulele solos).
Goals: No extremes! I don't want to lean towards the ultra dynamic/high sensitivity OR low sensitivity/relaxed design philosophies. I understand that this is a game of compromises, but my ideal speaker should meet me somewhere in the middle. It should be able to play anything thrown at it with poise and accuracy – from elevator music volume to movies at 100 db. Ideal characteristics would be typical flat freq response, minimal dynamic compression, controlled directivity, great off-axis performance, and non-fatiguing tweeters.
As far as the speaker type. I’ve noticed that enthusiasts typically start off with a “entry level” tower, then go up in the model line (at a huge expense) to gain more bass. I would like to scrap the bass-chasing game if possible..Either with a capable tower, or a Monitor+Sub combination.
My power source will be a Denon receiver. I don't really want to buy an additional amp or bass management but will if its needed.
Budget: Realistic! I would rather start my speaker hunt with characteristics, rather than price range. I don’t believe there is a DIRECT correlation between price and performance in this hobby and don't want to shoot myself in the foot unnecessarily by overspending. I would rather have a speaker where most of the costs go into the design/drivers, than the cabinet.
Subwoofers: I'd like to lean towards the clean and sealed side.
So.... AVS.....What companies or speaker models should I look into?

JBL LSR6332 x 3 up front. You didnt say which model receiver you have, but you might need an amp. These are 4 ohm, but it's a pretty smooth impedance curve.

http://www.jblpro.com/catalog/General/Product.aspx?PId=26&MId=5

HSU ULS-15 x2

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/uls-15Dual.html

(the surrounds arent that important, use whatever you think fits)

You would basically get a reference type system for under $6k, and it's debatable whether spending more will get better performance outside of the subs. If that isn't even close to what you're willing to spend, then set a budget.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
I've read great things about the LSR6332 and the HSU ULS looks like a monster - maybe a bit much! What happened to the guy who recommended Revel F12's and KEFQ900s? The post just disappeared. Anyway KEF Q900's definitely impressed me in the past, although I'm reading mixed reviews about the R series.
post #6 of 29
With the ULS's being sealed subs, they have to be monsters in order to produce low frequencies at a respectable output level. The JBL's are a step or two up in performance from the other speakers you just mentioned.
post #7 of 29
Not to sound rude but I think your thought process is a bit off the mark.

Why not simply not worry about high efficiency or low efficieny or average type of speakers and simply listen to various type and see what turns you on?

When I first got into this process (mid/late '70's) I had zero idea about higher output speakers, planar or horns.... Perhaps my ignorance was a good thing. My wife would tell you I've yet to get over it eek.gifbiggrin.gif

I simply went into the showroom and listened to the various type and frankly, fell in love with the dynamics of horns. I loved the "see through" nature of planar type speakers where I could simply see the band as though I was looking through a window but, their dynamics (lack of) left me yawning compared to horns.

Horns it was and today, I still have not only those horn speakers (Klipsch LaScalas bought in 1979) but some larger ones as well.

To show you how outlandish I have it right now, I've got a pair of 2-way horn monster speakers, 109db/watt stuffed into my temporary 2-bedroom apartments living room / dining room area that I'm using as a single large space.

These things are capable of filling an audiotorium so they are clearly overkill as far as ability goes however, even at 11:00 PM listening levels with neighbors next door, they still sound excellent.


My advice to you would be to unclutter your mind of preconceptions and just go listen to various types of speakers and get those that really float your boat. After all, it's your ears that will be listening to them for years to come, regardless of what folks here might say.
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Coytee, the preconceptions have come from years of listening to speakers, making mistakes and learning form them. Although I've been out of the loop the past few years and was hoping to get some good feedback. Thanks for those who took it to PM I'll be responding shortly. I'm going to set my budget around 4-5K for LR and Subs, as it seems to be reasonable.
post #9 of 29
My room is the same size as yours, Del. I have a pair of Ascend Accoustics 170se bookshelf speakers on the way. Everyone who owns Ascends talks about how accurate they are. They are affordable and offer a 30 day trial period. Plus they are engineered and hand assembled in the USA, something that impressed me. I'm hoping to really love how they sound. If I love them I will complete my set up with a 340 center and a pair of the 200s for rear surround.
Dave, the owner, recommended either a system with the 170s or the Ascend 340SE. He said those are more dynamic and might be better suited for home theater. They would come in way under your budget.
Ascend also offers some really great looking tower speakers.

Del, you might want to add Ascend to your list.

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/

As for subs, HSU, Outlaw, SVS, Epik. , just to name a few.

You may want to consider a separate amp if you plan on cranking up the volume. Hopefully your AVR has pre-amp outputs.
Edited by Jeffer65 - 6/18/12 at 10:47am
post #10 of 29
+1. I've been a happy Ascend customer for a while and recently upgraded to the Sierra Towers. Hard to beat their customer service.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Cosmos View Post

Coytee, the preconceptions have come from years of listening to speakers, making mistakes and learning form them. Although I've been out of the loop the past few years and was hoping to get some good feedback. Thanks for those who took it to PM I'll be responding shortly. I'm going to set my budget around 4-5K for LR and Subs, as it seems to be reasonable.

Sounds like the perfect budget for a pair of LSR6332's and a pair of subs like the ULS wink.gif
post #12 of 29
You have tons of great options within your price range. For a little over $5,000, i'd go for a pair of Philharmonic 2 speakers and Captivator S2 subwoofer. The Phil 2s have some of the best drivers in the world designed by the highly toted, talented Dennis Murphy, while the sealed Captivator S2 with it's monolithic 2x 18" drivers is without a doubt one of the highest performing and accurate subwoofers you can attain at a very reasonable price (outside of DIY.) The ratio of the cost of drivers to selling price is pretty much unbeatable with this setup. The only downside is the wait time for both (1-2 months for the Phil 2s and probably 2-4 months for the Cap.)
post #13 of 29
I second Jay1's recommendation. You'll be hard pressed to beat that overall combo in that price range.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

Sounds like the perfect budget for a pair of LSR6332's and a pair of subs like the ULS wink.gif

Agreed, although I'd go with something custom from Funk Audio or Salk Sound with the LMS 5400Ultra driver for a subwoofer. smile.gif

Concerning ID brands, Salk Sound and Philharmonic are a great choice IMO. For B&M brands, check out Revel, Kef and Dynaudio.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Cosmos View Post

Subwoofers: I'd like to lean towards the clean and sealed side.

Then the obvious choice if you can stretch your budget is the Seaton Submersive (yes, the prices are listed in a forum area, but the subs are individually built for each order). Here are a few AVS member meetups where they compared the Seaton Submersive with other subs. The Submersive always seems to come out at the top overall, with the exception of the newly released--but pricier--JTR Captivator S2:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1335139/2011-kansas-city-subwoofer-meet-results
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1368326/subfest-2011-huskeromaha-and-desertdomes-subwoofer-showdown
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1387178/archaeas-kansas-city-blind-subwoofer-shootout-2012

The Submersive can also be ordered in a variety of different finishes if aesthetics are important (some examples here).
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

Sounds like the perfect budget for a pair of LSR6332's and a pair of subs like the ULS wink.gif

Why are you recommending two subs in a room of that size?
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Why are you recommending two subs in a room of that size?

Uh-oh. You aren't really going to start the "one better sub vs dual lesser subs" argument, are you? wink.gif
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Why are you recommending two subs in a room of that size?

Well he did say:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Cosmos View Post

I would like to use common sense and “buy big” in hopes of filling a larger room if needed.

so 2 ULS's would certainly be a viable option, but for his budget i'd still vote for either a Captivator S2 or Seaton SubMersive HP (or even a DIY sub with the TC LMS 5400 Ultra if he's up to the task.)
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Why are you recommending two subs in a room of that size?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Uh-oh. You aren't really going to start the "one better sub vs dual lesser subs" argument, are you? wink.gif

LOL, probably missing some back story here, but why wouldn't you not recommend two subs? It's pretty well documented that a multiple sub approach is superior for low frequency room optimization.
post #20 of 29
I'm asking as much for education as wonderment, but how about just one sub now that will accomplish what he wants, and buy a second sub if the "hopes" become reality. I have my reasons:

  1. Given the size of his room, might it not be best to guide the gentleman to better speakers with that additional $1k?
  2. He also said "Goals: No extremes!".
  3. The room is small, but the entertainment space is either 5'x18' eek.gif or 10'x9'. I'm not sure, but furniture may also be a requirement. smile.gif
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Over the past few weeks I've e-mailed several of popular ID companies (Ascend, Salk, Aperion, Soundfield Audio, Selah Audio, etc) as well as some PM's. I managed to hear the KEF 900's this weekend (thanks! Rob). I thought it had a big clean sound. Easy on the ears too. As for sub shopping... wow that's a whole other playing field. I really shouldn't have included Subs in this quest as the recommendations are all over the place...
post #22 of 29
The JBL LSR6332 would be fantastic setup, and a significant improvement from the Aperions right off the bat, that is raw performance for your money. That is what I would go with, except three of those would eat up nearly your entire budget. The Hsu ULSs are terrific too, they would pound hard in that space and sound sharp as a razor while doing it. If the JBLs are too ugly and expensive for you, check out the Soundfield Audio Monitor 1s, they have the same coaxial mid/tweeter driver as the KEFs and powered 8"s woofers in each. Those will no doubt sound very nice and leave more room in your budget for subs.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

I'm asking as much for education as wonderment, but how about just one sub now that will accomplish what he wants, and buy a second sub if the "hopes" become reality. I have my reasons:
  1. Given the size of his room, might it not be best to guide the gentleman to better speakers with that additional $1k?
  2. He also said "Goals: No extremes!".
  3. The room is small, but the entertainment space is either 5'x18' eek.gif or 10'x9'. I'm not sure, but furniture may also be a requirement. smile.gif

- A 10'x18' is not unusually small or anything, it's more like average sized

- It is debatable whether speakers costing twice as much as the JBL's would be better

- A pair of 600 watt sealed 15"s is anything but extreme. There's also an adjustable high pass filter on the HSU's to control the lower frequencies in a small room, making this sub extremely versatile.

- Dual subs that are not co-located smooth the in room response, and integrate better with the system, offering a noticeable increase in sound quality over a single sub. I fail to see how a single more expensive sub would do anything but offer extreme output

- As stated already, OP can achieve a reference quality system, without any serious compromises.
Edited by Jay1 - 6/20/12 at 11:03pm
post #24 of 29
You might want to check the used market. You can get really good value there. These for example. http://app.audiogon.com/listings/gallo-reference-3-1-black-on-black. For new you might want to check out Gallo's classico series: http://www.roundsound.com/classico.php. I believe they offer a 60 day in home trial. For subs you get really good value from a number of ID vendors. I have a CHT 18.1 that mates very well with my mains.
post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

The JBL LSR6332 would be fantastic setup, and a significant improvement from the Aperions right off the bat, that is raw performance for your money. That is what I would go with, except three of those would eat up nearly your entire budget. The Hsu ULSs are terrific too, they would pound hard in that space and sound sharp as a razor while doing it. If the JBLs are too ugly and expensive for you, check out the Soundfield Audio Monitor 1s, they have the same coaxial mid/tweeter driver as the KEFs and powered 8"s woofers in each. Those will no doubt sound very nice and leave more room in your budget for subs.

I really liked the KEF Coax which coincidentally led me to Soundfield Audio's page. From there I discovered Audiocircle and read positive reviews of the M1's appearance at shows. I emailed AJ and explained my requirements. We exchanged a bunch of emails and concluded that the M1 might not be best for my future space. AJ told me that he's currently working on adding a larger monitor to his line.

As for the 12" subs it seems that $1000/ea is the sweet spot for several ID brands. I might have to revisit the budget...
post #26 of 29
fwiw, just another suggestion to look at- the reference 3a mm de capo i speakers
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I'm demo'ing the KEF Q700 for 20 days (Amzzon!). I'll lbe listening to the Ascend Towers sometime this week also. My Aperion setup (Piano black) is for sale if anyone is interested (Tristate area)- Let me know!
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
I've been chatting around and absorbing user's speaker recommendations. To be completely honest, I felt uneasy with the amount of advertisements... the line was really blurred! I sent emails to several companies over the past few and my reactions were mixed. Some had a high-and mighty attitude, others didn't even respond! I even had one recommend against his product because I had wide tastes in music genre's. I wont bash anyone though.

So - I had a change of heart. It would be difficult to purchase the right speakers for a space that isn't a reality yet. So the budget is no longer $5k. I wanted to knock two birds in one stone but it just didn't work out that way. I had did have good experiences with Dave/Ascend and AJ /Soundfield though - both being honest, direct and responsive to my questions. I'll be giving the M1 and Towers a listen in the near future (along with KEF Q700s, and Revel F12 if I can coordinate it)
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Cosmos View Post

Thanks. I'm demo'ing the KEF Q700 for 20 days (Amzzon!). I'll lbe listening to the Ascend Towers sometime this week also. My Aperion setup (Piano black) is for sale if anyone is interested (Tristate area)- Let me know!

Don't forget to share your thoughts. I would be interested in hearing the comparison between the q700 and ascend towers.
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