Originally Posted by Peterc613
I'm an integrator and recently completed a large 100ft x 200 ft back yard project for a very wealthy client in Beverly Hills who initially wanted "state of the art, whatever it costs!". His house backed into hillside on three sides creating the acoustics of a natural amphitheater. He wanted the system to do double duty for music and be a multi-channel backyard theater with an 18 foot screen and projector to be set up for parties.
I originally suggested fourteen Terra AC17e speakers and four Terra AC-Subs with eleven Crown amps ($17,500) for the music system and theater surround speakers supplemented by two actively powered QSC K-12's and two QSC K-Sub's for the main theater Center + R/L ($3,500). He decided he'd rather be more budget conscious and try to find the best sound for the best price. I had him purchase and audition one pair each of Def Tech AW6500's ($199-$250), PSB CS1000 ($225-$275), Klipsch AW-650's ($250-$350), and Terra AC16e ($350-$400).
We ran three dedicated 20 amp circuits to an equipment rack in a sheltered closet off his pool area with 12-4 oxygen free copper speaker wire runs (approx. 9-10awg each) to 6 spots on his house, 8 spots on the surrounding hills and 4 spots in corner locations for subwoofers. We purchased 7 Audio Source AMP 300's (150w x 2 @ 8ohm) for the speakers and 4 Dayton Audio Sub Amps (225w x 1 @ 8ohm) for the subs. We used 3 Sonos Connects (House, Hill, Subs) to feed stereo music to input 1 on the AMP 300's, and a Oppo BDP93 Blu Ray Player through an Emotiva preamp to feed the theater surround sound to input 2 on the AMP 300's.
After about four weeks of A/B listening to each pair of speakers in various locations we decided on the DefTech AW6500's for the house, Polk Atrium 8's for the hills and Polk Atrium Subs for LFE.
The Terra's had the most defined high's, clean midrange and the least amount of bass. However, they were 30-50% more expensive than next speaker considered. The lack of bass made a matching Terra Sub essential putting the combined price way above the competition.
The DefTech speakers were comparable to the PSB in midrange and slightly cleaner in highs. However, when the DefTech's were mounted on the roof eve with the tweeter/mid's facing out and the passive radiator facing the side of the house, the mid bass and bass were astounding for a speaker this size. It enabled the speakers to sound louder and fuller at less gain from the amps giving it an overall cleaner sound.
The Polk's had excellent highs almost to the level of the DefTech and midrange competitive with the PSB. Their bass was slightly stronger than the PSB's but less defined than the DefTech and less "punchy" than the Klipsch.
The Klipsch had good mid-bass and were more efficient so they played louder with less wattage. However, they had a harsher more "cupped horn" sound with a drop in midrange which seemed to disconnect the high's from the bass. When turned up to a volume sufficient for theater use they distorted and couldn't handle the power the Polk's and DefTech's handled with ease.
Overall, The DefTech had the best sound per dollar when mounted in a position to take advantage of their passive radiator. The Polk Atrium 8's had the best sound per dollar mounted freestanding in open space. They sound similar enough to compliment each other in a mixed installation providing a truly synergistic combination at reference levels for music, movie soundtracks and dialogue.
If I had a small to medium sized patio and enjoyed primarily jazz and vocals at moderate volume, the PSB's are an excellent choice. If I had a low wattage receiver the Klipsch are good contenders.