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Help warm to neutral sounding replacements for the front and centre speakers - budget 8-12k

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Dear friends
I have been using a MA GS series based solution for HT in a 11.1 HT system.

Details of my gear are given here: http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2012/05/my-gear-5-2012.html

It's a small apartment, using the living room as the listenng area with a space about 10 W 10 H 16 L (feet) space with extensive room treatment and sound proofing so I can blast my system without the neighbours coming over.

I have recently swiped my dad's B&W 805s and HTM4s over, after having sold the older front three speakers.

This is a nice sound, with a smooth treble, forgiving of recordings, and you don't need to merely play "audiophile" recordings to make it sound good.

I do music / HT in a 20 / 80 ratio as I am a movie buff, but when I turn on the music, using either my Oppo 95 or the Apple TV, I would like to enjoy a good tune in the form of vocals or instrumentals.

My inital idea was to stick to the original brand - get new Monitor AudioGX 200 + 350 as a replacement.

Or move upscale and get the B&W 804D + HTM2D

Or the Dynaudio C1 + matching centre.

I fear that these three are not as smooth or neutral, with many reports of a brighter treble?

I am open to other ideas, but given the limited space, I can't have a stereo / HT system separately, and I would prefer a floorstander for some scale in my music.

BTW, if I go for the MA solution, it will leave me plenty of change for a new JL Audio F 113 sub as well.

Thank you.
post #2 of 28
3 x Triad Gold LCR's + 2 x Seaton Sound Submersives.

http://www.triadspeakers.com/products/irglcr.html ($2,150 ea. MSRP)
http://www.seaton-sound-forum.com/post/Product-Listing-Availability-Status-and-Pricing-3364736 ($2,195 ea. MSRP)

3 x $2,150 = $6,450
2 x $2,195 = $4,390

$10,840 + shipping, and that would be a *killer* system. That's how I would spend the money if it were mine.

Craig

Edit: Alternatively, you could go with 3 x Seaton Catalyst 8c's, ($2,495 ea. MSRP). They're self powered, so no need for amplification for the front 3. That too would be a *killer* system.
Edited by craig john - 9/5/12 at 8:08pm
post #3 of 28
There has been a lot of praise for SalkSound speakers, you might look at some of those. Philharmonics have received a lot of praise too, and a pair of those would leave you with money left over for another sub. The KEF Reference series are within your grasp at that price point as well, those are supposedly excellent. Those are just a few of the speakers I would look at in your budget, you will certainly have a lot of great options to choose from. Since you are using subs, you might just want to skip tower speakers and do bookshelfs or mini-towers, they will be a lot easier to cart around at least.
post #4 of 28
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks mates
Being in a tiny small part of the world I pay a premium for famous brands and that is if I can buy them so I can't access or audition the smaller brands..
Are any of these online companies ?

I can audition PSB but no Salk I reckon ..

But please keep the suggestions coming.

I will try small footprint floor standees if possible. A change from the 805s smile.gif

But I like that smooth sound.
post #6 of 28
I agree with the PSB rec. Wharfedale Jade is another good option

http://www.soundimport.com/jade.html
post #7 of 28
New Kef R series gets rave reviews and is more laid back then previous iterations. Much better than CM line IMO and much less money than 800 series. Kef does HT exceptionally well but still excels at music.
post #8 of 28
804D+HTM2D.

If you are already considering them and care about not just the sound but the looks as well as resale value, its a no brainer.
post #9 of 28
Another vote for Salk here. You'd have to audition them through a local owner, but they also offer a 30-day audition period, so if you don't care for them you simply send them back for a full refund.

http://www.salksound.com/hts%20-%20home.htm
http://www.salksound.com/veracity%20ht1%20-%20home.htm
http://www.salksound.com/soundscape%20m7%20monitor%20-%20home.htm

Other great choices that may fit your criteria:

Kef
Dynaudio (I don't think their treble is harsher than B&W's at all; just the other way around actually)
PSB

10x16 is a small space, so you may be better off looking at bookshelf-style speakers paired with very good subwoofers. Craig John's suggestions were great, by the way, albeit more the size of tower speakers. They are really nice, though.
post #10 of 28
The new Harbeth Monitor 30.1 or the Harbeth Super HL5 would fit your warm sound signature perfectly. The mid-range on these speakers is phenomenal. Bass reproduction is very good despite their small size. I actually preferred the sound of the Monitor 30.1 when I recently listened to both. Harbeth's Rosewood finish is the best I have ever seen as well. For a center channel you could use dual or single P3ESR.
post #11 of 28
You probably don't want to pay shipping from the USA or Canada to Australia. biggrin.gif

What are the brands available Down Under ?

B&W, Monitor Audio, Dynaudio.....what else ?

Revel, KEF, Focal ?

Just audition those brands available and buy the one that sounds best to you since everyone will recommend the brands they personally own or like. biggrin.gif

Some will prefer one speaker over another, but that doesn't mean you will agree. Everyone is different.
Edited by AcuDefTechGuy - 9/6/12 at 5:56pm
post #12 of 28
Spendor speakers are available down under. Check out the A-9's w/a C-5.2 center.smile.gif
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the recos, will be listening to the 804D and the GX 300 this weekend with my fav recordings.

I do like Spendor, the S6e was superb, just that the centre was poor and tiny. Likewise the Harbeths are nice, but I don't think they are HT speakers?

I really wish I had the wide selection you lot get!

There are some more brands in Singapore that I can try - not far from us...

I will also try and check out KEF and PSB sometime.

Another object of lust also popped up recently, the almighty JL Audio F 113, so it may be a thought to get less costly options for the front three, and upgrade my Rhythmik FV15HP to this...

Stay tuned and thanks very much for all the suggestions. I have heard nice things about Salk... Since I am visting USA in November, I don't supposed any of the US brands will fit into a 30kg weight allowance?

Anywhere in Chicago that sells good speakers?
post #14 of 28
You might want to check out Swan Speakers as well ( F2.2 series) . I believe there is a dealer in singapore .

http://www.swanspeaker.com/product/htm/mview.asp?id=357
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks, whilst doing my auditions, I have done something quite impulsive, and sold my Rythmik FV 15HP and bought a JL Audio F 113...

Will listen to the MA series, and see if I can save some money... but I have also been told to listen to Verity?

BTW, for subs, do I use it's own auto - EQ (ARO) first, then Audyssey?

Thanks
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

You probably don't want to pay shipping from the USA or Canada to Australia. biggrin.gif
What are the brands available Down Under ?
B&W, Monitor Audio, Dynaudio.....what else ?
Revel, KEF, Focal ?
Just audition those brands available and buy the one that sounds best to you since everyone will recommend the brands they personally own or like. biggrin.gif
Some will prefer one speaker over another, but that doesn't mean you will agree. Everyone is different.

Easy for you to say since you own just about every brand.biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif (I kid of course, just jealous wink.gif)

I have taken a small step towards an "AcuDefTechGuy setup". I now have Salks and Soundfield Audios in my system.biggrin.gif Perhaps I'll change my username to SalkFieldGuy!tongue.gif

(My apologies to the OP for being off topic. I just couldn't resist...)
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn94 View Post

Easy for you to say since you own just about every brand.biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif (I kid of course, just jealous wink.gif)
I have taken a small step towards an "AcuDefTechGuy setup". I now have Salks and Soundfield Audios in my system.biggrin.gifPerhaps I'll change my username to SalkFieldGuy!tongue.gif
(My apologies to the OP for being off topic. I just couldn't resist...)

ROFLOL! biggrin.gif
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by petetherock View Post

Thanks for the recos, will be listening to the 804D and the GX 300 this weekend with my fav recordings.
I do like Spendor, the S6e was superb, just that the centre was poor and tiny. Likewise the Harbeths are nice, but I don't think they are HT speakers?
I really wish I had the wide selection you lot get!
There are some more brands in Singapore that I can try - not far from us...
I will also try and check out KEF and PSB sometime.
Another object of lust also popped up recently, the almighty JL Audio F 113, so it may be a thought to get less costly options for the front three, and upgrade my Rhythmik FV15HP to this...
Stay tuned and thanks very much for all the suggestions. I have heard nice things about Salk... Since I am visting USA in November, I don't supposed any of the US brands will fit into a 30kg weight allowance?
Anywhere in Chicago that sells good speakers?

First, Most people say that Dynaudios are very smooth, neutral with a bit of warmth. Im not sure where bright comes from, the only speakers that ever get talked about their treble being tipped up are the Sapphires and Special 25s, but even those arent bright. If youre considering the C1s I think you would find them to your liking based on what youre saying.

In Chicago, look at this place for Dynaudios.
http://www.nextlevelav.com/
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

You probably don't want to pay shipping from the USA or Canada to Australia. biggrin.gif
What are the brands available Down Under ?
B&W, Monitor Audio, Dynaudio.....what else ?
Revel, KEF, Focal ?
Just audition those brands available and buy the one that sounds best to you since everyone will recommend the brands they personally own or like. biggrin.gif
Some will prefer one speaker over another, but that doesn't mean you will agree. Everyone is different.

precisely, audition, audition, audition.... youll find what you like the most.
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Something happened over the weekend...

Got a deal, and swopped out the Rhythmik FV15HP and got a JL Audio F113 (http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2012/09/jl-audio-fathom-f-113-review.html) ! The bass is better, and I also heard the GX 300 and 804D. Will post more on them soon, but suffice to say, the floorstanders had a scale that was nice and the 804D was significantly brighter (different setup so there are many caveats to this statement)... and the GX 300 were a well rounded speaker, albeit retrieving less detail.

I will audition the C 1 again, but the scale and bass offered by the two floorstanders was very nice and I am not sure if the C 1 can match that...
post #21 of 28
I am backing the B&W votes. Awesome gear!
post #22 of 28
Here you go:

https://www.avaustralia.com.au/brands/Anthony-Gallo.html?page=2&sort=featured

Gallo Ref 3.5s and a Strada Center

Cheers,

OldMovieNut
post #23 of 28
Have you checked to see if Sonus Faber is available there? I think, based on what you are looking at, you might want to consider their Cremona M. They are known for being great for music, and yet dynamic enough for home theater. I heard a set of their smaller models the other day, and it was very impressive.
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks to a friend, I had a chance to listen to the 804D:
http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2012/09/b-804d-speaker-review.html


Will post more about the other speakers I tried later on..In summary:
Quote:
So who should consider this speaker?

If you do not have a lot of space, but would like a floor-stander speaker, and like the B&W sound, you should consider this speaker. Just be prepared to upgrade the entire food chain, and swop out the amplifier, the cables etc before you regain Audio Nirvana. It is revealing, and needs careful partnering to avoid a harsh sound. Done well, the solid focus and clarity will shine through...
post #25 of 28
I am sure the 804Ds are amazing speakers but you should try to audition the Kef R700s before deciding. IMO Kef does HT better than B&W and the new R series has been described more laid back then previous iterations. I did not try them because they are rear ported and that won't work for my current room/layout. Many have said they are very close to the Reference Series and you can't say that for the CM series vs the 800 series.

You need to pick what you like, I believe you owe it to yourself to check out the R series. Might get the sound you want at much less cost. They are also less demanding of electronics than the Kef Reference or B&W 800 series.
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestion.
KEF also has a high mark up locally, but I am keen to try them, having owned the Q 30 and a Reference Centre before.

After listening to the B&W 804D, I then went onto the Monitor Audio GX 300.

I have placed my comments on the GX 300 here:
http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2012/09/monitor-audio-gx-300-speaker-review.html

My search continues, but the GX 300 were pretty impressive and not as bright as I imagined...

In summary:
Quote:

Now having heard the 804D on the same day, just an hour before the MA GX 300, it made for an interesting comparison.

There is a price gap equivalent to the price of another GX 300 between them, and the partnering equipment and listening room was certainly not the same, but the sonic characteristics were quite different.

The B&W 804D had loads of detail. The imaging and detail was amazing. It was significantly superior to the GX 300 in this respect but the key was that you needed to get the right gear to partner the 804D. Get it wrong and you could get a rather jarring experience.

The GX 300 lost out on details but it had a full range sonic experience that the 804D could not match. It dug deeper, and with this, it allowed the whole experience to sound wholesome. Furthermore, it was a bit more forgiving of electronics, and you will probably be using this with much less costly partnering gear.

So here are two speakers representing two different price points. One came from a superior range, and demanded you use better components to go with it. That meant that you will have to cough up money not only for the speakers, but also for better partnering equipment to make full use of these speakers.

On the other the GX 300 was aimed at a different level. For the price of the B&W, you can get the GX 300, plus the partnering centre and components with change.

This also meant you could have a very decent sound for a lot less money.

However the GX 300 needs room to breath and control that bass. In this respect the B&W 804D was more room friendly. But if you have the room, and could bring the GX 300 further into the room to allow this rear ported speaker some room to breath, it will reward you with amazing scale and still sufficient detail, whilst not embarrassing those pop cds. You don’t need to restrict yourself to only playing “audiophile” material with the GX 300. Even plebian low bitrate pop CDs can sound half decent and if you combine this speaker with the centre speaker and surround, you can be impressed with what you can get.

Now in earlier models the MA was much more value for money, but ever since the pound dropped in value, and we found no corresponding drop in prices, MA has losts it’s lead as value speakers, and you will find their prices almost as marked up as the B&W ones locally.

Ultimately, a long audition is needed to see what suits, and for smaller rooms the GX 200 may be a better choice. A pair of these gorgeous floorstanders will enhance most HT rooms, and will be a good upgrade for those coming from more budget setups.
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
I turned my attention to the C1 and C2 not long ago, and returned to audition the C1 again :
In summary:
Quote:
Like the B&W 804D, you need to invest in solid equipment, to make the best of the gear. And if you are spending most of your time in HT, then it maybe more prudent to invest in the best sub and other HT related gear.

But if you already have or are planning to invest in a solid two channel system, both of these speakers will impress you very well. The C1 is the better choice for most in small homes, but if you have the space, the C2 rewards you with a massive soundscape and scale that is hard to beat at any price. You just to spend a lot on the partnering components to achieve this.
......

So if you have the budget to buy a motorcycle you could instead buy a pair of one of these...

http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2012/09/dynaudio-confidence-1-and-2-reviews.html
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn94 View Post

Easy for you to say since you own just about every brand.biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif (I kid of course, just jealous wink.gif)
I have taken a small step towards an "AcuDefTechGuy setup". I now have Salks and Soundfield Audios in my system.biggrin.gif Perhaps I'll change my username to SalkFieldGuy!tongue.gif
(My apologies to the OP for being off topic. I just couldn't resist...)

********hee*******hee

LOL. biggrin.gif

Yeah, I like to be a fanboy of almost every brand. biggrin.gif

If I own most of them or like most of them, I can't be partial to a single brand or two.

The OP is auditioning speakers. One thing I want to say is that the equipment isn't as big a factor as the speaker placement, room acoustic, and processor setup itself.

I totally disagree with the statement that the 804D will only work with the right equipment. I think it is about the room, placement, and setup, not the actual equipment.

I mean if equipments really mattered, why not get a Classe or Mark Levinson CD player, preamp, and amp, instead of a relatively inexpensive Oppo and Emotiva amp?

And, what? Arcam RECEIVER? Wouldn't a separate high end stereo preamp from Mark Levinson, Classe, Parasound, Music Fidelity, etc, be "better" than any RECEIVER with all that impurity of digital audio and video circuits? biggrin.gif
Edited by AcuDefTechGuy - 9/17/12 at 10:39am
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