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HSU HB-1 MK2 vs. Polk R150 for 2/2.1 channel home theater

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've been going around in circles with my research, so I thought I'd try asking. I'm looking to get a decent set of speakers for an upstairs crappy home theater space I'm building. I figure it will be about 50% movies, 25% TV, and 25% Video games. It's an odd space with sloping ceilings, but it is out of the way enough to use as dedicated space.

Currently I'm using the built in speakers in my Vizio - which are pretty terrible. Now that I'm going to actually use the room, I'm going to get real speakers. I've pretty much narrowed my research down to the Polk R150 and the HSU HB-1 MK2 (or basically, the best speakers I can find for 100$ vs the best at $300). I have a few questions:


1) Will I see a ton of difference in spending the extra 200$ on the HSUs? I realize that I am comparing two different tiers of speakers and that you get what you pay for, I just wanted to know how much of a jump there was. I will admit I'm a cheapskate, and getting away with spending only 100$ sounds nice.

2) Will the HSU speakers sound bad if I don't get the matching sub? I know HSU is a sub designer first, and that they are made to work together, but how bad would it be to hold off on the sub?

3) If I do need a sub, would it hurt to mix and match brands, or should I match them up because they are designed for each other?



The equipment is

A 42 inch Vizio LCD
Oppo BDP 93
Nuforce Icon amp (18 watt integrated stereo amp)
(looking at this list, I guess I like small American home theater companies that provide good value. Does that point me toward the HSU? smile.gif
post #2 of 12
Get the HSUs. Yes they are worth the extra $200.
post #3 of 12
Polk R150's are not that good, you'd be better off with the Hsu speakers.
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by scenemissing View Post

2) Will the HSU speakers sound bad if I don't get the matching sub? I know HSU is a sub designer first, and that they are made to work together, but how bad would it be to hold off on the sub?

I've got some HB-1s and also some Hsu subs. They definitely sound better paired with a sub and crossed over at 60-80Hz but, depending on the room and placement of the speakers, they aren't bad without a sub. If you are eventually going to get a sub, they will certainly be fine until you do.
Quote:
3) If I do need a sub, would it hurt to mix and match brands, or should I match them up because they are designed for each other?

You won't need to match them, no. Whichever speakers you end up with, I would recommend the Hsu subs over the Polk subs. They are much better value than a Polk sub in the same price range.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok, thanks for the advice everyone. I'm going to get the HB-1 MK2s, and probably hold off on the sub until I check out how they sound without it.
post #6 of 12
The Hsu HB1-MK2's are a very good choice. I bought 3 initially for the Left, Center ,Right and liked the sound of them so much I went ahead and picked up 2 more for the surrounds. The good thing is you have about 30 days to listen to them and if they don't work for you ship them back but I doubt you will.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
I put my order in late in the week, FedEx tracking says they will be here Thursday. Got 2 speakers, no sub for now. If I want to go beyond 2.1, I'll have to swap out the integrated amp I've got. The more I look around the more I know that you guys were right. Haven't found a bad review on the Hsu speakers yet.
post #8 of 12
A few tips to make them sound the best:
Don't block the rear ports completely. Leave at least a few inches back there, the ports produce lower-frequency sound.
Experiment with toe-in. Some people like the Hsu speakers when their axis is crossed in front of them, others prefer the axis crossed on them or behind them. It will affect the sound.
Some people think they sound better with the grills off. I can't tell the difference personally but there are those who think there is. You'll have to see for yourself on this one.
All speakers sound better with stand-off distances, the more space you give them, the less they will be affected by reflection, and the better they might sound.
Speakers sound better in a room with lots of damping. A lot of conventional things can help dampen the sound. Heavy curtains or drapes, thick rugs, soft-textured furniture, etc (ie. not hard, flat surfaces). A bare room is an acoustic headache, so the further you are from that, the better for the sound. Do the 'clap test' to check for reverb (and no, I don't mean get yourself checked out for STDs). I mean clap your hand once in the middle of the room and listen for the sound decay- reverb. The less of this you have, the better your system will sound.
post #9 of 12
hiya scene,

and welcome to AVS..

check this for Controlled-Directivity Waveguide Speakers ...

http://libinst.com/PublicArticles/Setup%20of%20WG%20Speakers.pdf

nutshell: toe them in so they cross over in front of you....I have them also...and that is also what Dr. Hsu recommends.

and everything else shadyJ said above. smile.gif
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
The HB-1s came in a day early. I had slacked off on ordering the speaker wire, so the good stuff isn't here yet. I had to hit up the local family owned hardware store and brave their old dusty-ass cable spools. My choices were *28* gauge speaker wire that was filthy and about as thin around as yarn, or 18 or 16 gauge lamp cord. Took the lamp cord, at least it's copper and not that clad aluminum junk. I realize using lamp cord is ghetto, but it will get me through the weekend and it was only 40 cents a foot!


A couple thoughts on the speakers:


1) Out of the box, they smell very strongly of fumes. Many people may want to let them air out for an hour or two or wipe them down with a dry cloth.
2) The black satin finish is really really nice. I wasn't sure how it would turn out from the pictures on the web site. It's a fully matte black and looks beautiful.
3) Hooking them up, the 5 way posts are designed to take massively thick wire. It looks like I could shove a pencil through the holes
4) The speaker grilles are fully magnetic, not the magnet+post holes you normally see
5) Dammmmmmm they sound nice. Very strong bass for a the size. Not really thinking that i'd need a sub with them, at least for now.
6) letting them burn in a bit. They handle everything I can throw at them so far with elegance.

Just testing music so far. Going to try TV games and movies over the rest of the week. Also this is my first run of the Nuforce Icon amp (2x18W). Really liking the combo so far.
post #11 of 12
nothing ghetto about 16 gauge lamp cord. the copper inside doesn't care about what the pricetag says... reminds me of a story of a speaker designer showing his new creation to a bunch of media types, but he forgot to bring cables with him... sent his assistant to the hardware store next door.... so he unveils the speakers, everyone is impressed... and one in the crowd asks " what is the brand of those orange speaker cables?"... and he responds... Black and Decker !!

Glad to hear you're happy with your new speakers.
Joseph
post #12 of 12
Copper is copper, lamp cord might look ghetto but it will sound the same as $1000 cables. I wouldn't use 18 gauge for long runs though, if it is over 20' length, I would get some 14 AWG speaker cable. Personally I find the Hsu speakers easy to listen to, if I am blazing some electro or dubstep, I don't get tired of it nearly as fast as I do my infinity speakers. They are my preferred choice for loud and punchy music.
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