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Budget Gaming Towers for guys with Tatoos and soft shoes?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm at the half way point of fitting out my divorce cave ( I mean man cave). Maybe some of you can understand that maybe some others can't. But I have a 130" screen with an Epson 8350 projector and a PS3. I'm 42 with a stable job, I like to surf and have friends who often get arrested and love their Chevys. So far, things are getting tuned up, lots of new games, I 've learned how to snipe in MW3 and I'm porting the audio only through an old Bose Wave radio knowing audio Nirvana is on its way.

The room is 14' x 18' and has 8' ceilings. The seating area is 11' from the screen. Not polished, raw sheetrock and a fridge with a new pull out couch which already has something spilled on it. But the whole point is cozy and warm. The kind of place where you can spill your beer and not get arrested or the place where you can scream watching the game and feel like you can do it again.

So. Here is the deal. None of my friends have seen this place yet. I want to make sure that when I put them in the drivers seat of the PS3 with Gran Turismo split screen that they are scared to death. Scared for their lives in terms of two monster towers flanking the screen staring down at them with horns, tweeters and nasty looking cables. But, the key thing here is I don't want garbage, I don't want a Wal-Mart special, not something I "scored" from a pawn shop and I don't want to be loud but sound like garbage.

Basically I need a pair of floor towers + sub that look big and deliver the goods. I plan on taking the grill off the speakers and I want it to look like I mean business. For a long time I've been bent on the Outlaw sub, so despite its price I know in order to sleep at night I need that. I can't die and not own an Outlaw sub. But the speakers + receiver are up for grabs. Not including the Outlaw sub, the budget is $800-$1000 tops.

Any suggestions? Totally open to close outs, refurbished and blems. I get the Newegg newsletter every day and so far I've only seen the Polk Monitor 70 Series II for $398 that caught my eye. I can do better than this right? Denon 1612 receiver $225 refurb also keeps popping up.
post #2 of 19
Polk Monitor 70 would be a good speaker for what your looking for, I'd also throw in Infinity P363BK http://store.audioholics.com/speakers/tower-speakers/infinity-p363bk.html.

What your asking though is alot of these type of speakers depending on how loud you really want them to be. I would seriously look into pro audio type speakers or "party" speakers.

post #3 of 19
This guy definitely sounds like an Klipsch man. Problem is, decent Klipsch towers will eat up the entire budget by themselves. Powerline, you might try the BIC Acoustech PL-89, it is horn-loaded and has two 8" drivers, that is pretty beastly. The Infinity Primus p363 are also excellent speakers, well worth looking into for your criteria. I'm like you, I wanted speakers that look as mean as the music I am going to listen on them, so I bought some Hsu HC-1 speakers for my entire front stage and used the left and right speakers vertically, so basically they are monster bookshelf speakers (especially without the grills on). You might also consider Chase PRO-10, they are booskhelfs but they are monster bookshelfs, and will get you closer to commercial theater dynamics.

As for your fixation on the Outlaw sub, owning one is certainly a noble ambition, but you might check out the Hsu VTF3, it's a lot like the Outlas LFM-1 EX and it was designed by the same guy. The VTF3 has more features and more output in the deep bass (due to its larger ports), and it has a small discount going right which currently makes it about the same price delivered as the Outlaw. If you are not waiting for the Outlaw's renowned sales, there is no reason not to spring for the VTF3 instead. But, if you don't already know, Outlaw has some spectacular sales occasionally, and you may be able to get the LFM-1 EX for $599 shipped or the LFM-1 Plus for $499 shipped if you wait long enough. At that price, get two! No seriously, get two. I have two, they are awesome.

As for the receiver, if you don't intend to expand your system to 5.1, the receiver to get is the Harman/Kardon 3490. Use that "email me for a lower price" feature at J&R to get the price down to $300 delivered. That has a serious amplifier on board which will drive any speaker you hook up to it, which isn't quite the case with entry level surround sound receivers within your budget. The advantage with surround sound receivers is the HDMI connectivity though, but if you can get around that and just want monster 2 channel sound, the H/K receiver is the one.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm always amazed at the depth of knowledge on this forum. thanks for the responses.

The HsuVTF3 is new to me, but based on what you said I'll have to put that on the list. Larger ports would be a bonus and I'm thinking that deeper base will be better than louder bass. Big difference right?

I had no idea they made mid range "party" speakers that had decent fidelity. But here is a question? If these are made for loud parties, isn't the speaker giving up a ton of mid range response or sacrificing somewhere to make up for that? I think comparing the Polk 70 series II and the Cerwin Vega would be interesting.

Also on another note, forgot to add that I do watch movies sometimes here. The projector plays nice with HDMI as does the PS3, so having a multi-port HDMI receiver is important. If I'm ever rich enough to have a dedicated stereo receiver that HK 3490 would be the way to go ( will file this away when i build an outdoor BBQ and need some stereo action instead of multi-room ).

So which in the above is "bad ass" ? I think its the Cerwin's right? If the looks pass, I'll dig into the specs a bit and see what's shaking under the hood. Would welcome any more suggestions.
post #5 of 19
The VTF3 will have similar output levels as the Outlaw, the performance difference of a larger port is they will have a bit ore output at the deepest end of their tuning point, 16 hz.

CW's have a reputation for getting loud but with pretty dismal accuracy. Klipsch have a reputation for getting loud but keeping a flay frequency response and a nice level of detail, in other words accuracy. Of course, Klipsch cost more than CWs. I would say the CWs are the meanest looking speakers there. Its hard for me to recommend CWs due to their historic indifference to linearity. I'm not sure you could accuse any mid-range party speaker have having decent fidelity, but the closest speaker in there that fits that description to me is the BIC Acoustechs. I would expect the Acoustechs to have greater linearity than the CWs or MTX speakers, but that is just a guess on my part. I think any of those speakers will play more than loud enough for your purposes. I would expect the Infinity Primus speakers to have the smoothest FR and best off-axis performance, ie 'fidelity'. Sometimes they can go on sale at Fry's for as low as $100 per speaker, so if you have Fry's near you, that is something to think about.

Edit: Wow, I just checked the Fry's ad, they are on sale this week for $100 each, seriously don't think about it, go get some right now, they really are the best speaker there and now they are the cheapest. You could get a set of five for a whole surround sound system and still have room in your budget for a decent receiver, don't wait, get those bad boys NOW.
post #6 of 19
+1 for the Polk Monitor 70's, newegg or amazon usually have them at a good price. They are big, but for the price they sound very nice
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip on Fry's. I keep hearing about them more and more and now that our east coast version "Best Buy" is shutting down a lot of locations, its really hard to find any retail store with decent speakers.

Still making some measurements in the basement to see which speaker is going to fit best. The Cerwin speakers are far and above exactly what I'm looking for down there, but I have to find any review that says they are good for anything other than being loud. Sometimes they get halfway decent marks once they rack up 100 hours ( mostly for movies). The Polk Monitor 70s' and Primus 363's are on the front deck. So is the Denon 1912.

Thanks again for the responses.
post #8 of 19
These big-assed Peavey speakers should do the trick for about $300 a pop.


Pyle also makes a big speaker for $200 a pop.

post #9 of 19
Are you getting an Outlaw EX? If so, then towers will be more for show than go because you can set the crossover at 80hz. Don't you want it to sound like the Gran Prix race track with insane volume more than having tall speakers? Get highly sensitive HT speakers with great dynamics. The CHT SHO-10s coupled with the Outlaw sub are going to outperform most of the towers you are looking at. Research them, and you'll find that these are probably the most highly recommended speakers for a dedicated HT setup in your budget range, not towers. This is the bad ass setup you are looking for, it just won't look like it as much.

However, they have been out of stock, but I think they were supposed to have more ready to ship soon.

Edit: See this speaker shootout where the SHO-10s performed fantastic for their price: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1353217/speaker-shootout
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hey Cel thanks for suggesting something outside of the box that has nothing to do with my original post. I appreciate you knocking a FREAKING HOLE in my grand plans of scary ass speakers. But you know what? I went on YouTube and given that I was still hooked on the looks of Cerwin Vegas XLS 28's, for the videos where I saw people showcasing them, what they filmed most was the "thumping and bumping" of the red horns. I also saw cans of RedBull and pictures of rappers whose names I am not familiar with. Being the ever so sophisticated consumer that I am ( sarcasm here ) I'm thinking Cerwin's design is tailored to loud noise and booming base.

You sir may have given me an epiphany. Instead of the Primus 363's, maybe a pair of highly crafted SHO-10's paired with the LFM-1 EX will deliver the goods? I do like this idea alot. Also, the SHO-10 will have a more pleasant footprint and then I can hide the sub out of site. What I want to do is when playing Gran Turismo or Racing F1 I want the experience to be as close to the racetrack as possible without smelling gas and burnt rubber. That being said, wifey and the kids will be down there at times to watch a Blu-ray, so the speakers need to do a quick 180 and sound like in fact they weren't a waste of money.

Would you really set the cross over at 80Hz? Not 60Hz? Can you take a look a the specs below and give me a hint on how you would set this up on a Denon 1912?

Here is what a SHO / Outlaw set up would look like:


Frequency Response: 72 Hz – 18 kHz +/- 3 dB

1” compression driver tweeter feeding a 90 x 90 degree controlled dispersion waveguide
10” Woofer
Crossover Point: 1600 Hz [ <---- what does this mean? ]


Frequency Response:

one port plugged:

16Hz. -180Hz. +/- 2 dB

no ports plugged:

22Hz. -180Hz. +/- 2 dB

Crossover Type: Linkwitz-Reily 4th Order Low Pass Network

Crossover Frequency: 30Hz to 180Hz and Bypass [ <------ what do they mean by saying 'and bypass ]

And here is the Primus / Outlaw Set-up:

Primus P363 :


Frequency Response (±3dB): 38Hz - 20kHz
Recommended Power Amplifier Range: 10 - 200 watts
Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1m): 93dB
Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
Crossover Frequency(ies): 350Hz, 3,300Hz; 24dB/octave
Low-Frequency Driver: Dual 6-1/2" (165mm) MMD®
Midrange Driver: 4" (100mm) MMD®
High-Frequency Driver: 3/4" (19mm) MMD®


Frequency Response:

one port plugged:

16Hz. -180Hz. +/- 2 dB

no ports plugged:

22Hz. -180Hz. +/- 2 dB

Crossover Type: Linkwitz-Reily 4th Order Low Pass Network

Crossover Frequency: 30Hz to 180Hz and Bypass [ <------ what do they mean by saying 'and bypass ]
post #11 of 19
You might not be able to hide the SHOs that easily. The Cerwin Vegas you are looking at have 8" woofers. The SHOs have a 10" driver. So shorter, definitely, but as wide as the Cerwin Vegas. Check out this picture over at the CHT forums. Those are SHOs on the top shelf, with Outlaw EX's turned on their back underneath (see the subs with the ports?). Definitely probably bigger than you think biggrin.gif

The SHOs have 97db sensitivity. They will definitely play louder than the Infinity Primus and the Cerwin Vegas with the same amplifier, enough that doubling the power of the amplifier would probably not bring the Infinity or CW speakers up to the same volume. Also, if you intend to run the receiver hard with the speakers, the Infinity Primus might not be a good choice. Audioholics found that they really should be rated as 4 ohm speakers.

As for the crossover, the SHOs are designed for an 80hz crossover. See the +/-3db rating? That means they are already starting to roll off at 72 Hz.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Gee I missed that part on the 363's. I need to read more careful on this. 4ohm and the 1912 would be a disaster especially since I'll be asking a lot out of the speaker.

Do you think I'll be ok for a year or so using the 1912 and the SHO / LFM set-up? I know I'll get an amp down the road, just can't swing it now. Seems its advisable to get a low end receiver anyway and then just amp it as opposed to going super high end from the start. I hate 3D so I could even accept 1.3 HDMI as long as the PS3 connects!
post #13 of 19
Well, it might not be a disaster, but the 363s would run that receiver harder at high volumes.

The 1912 would work fine with the SHOs. And in fact, you'd probably find that it would be worth it to expand to 5.1 for gaming and blu-ray before worrying about an amp. Might even be better to go to 5.2 before an amp biggrin.gif
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Really took a deeper look on these SHOs and they just aren't going to do it. Perfect idea, love the company, excellent ratings and great design ( beefy = scary = perfect ) but the floor down there isn't very appealing so I'll need speaker stands ( especially to get the sound up a bit ). We can get 5-10 kids down there as word is out in the neighborhood that our house has a killer PS3 system with Gran Turismo on a projector and a huge screen. They'll eventually knock down speaker stands, so I need "durable" If the kids don't knock them down one of my friends will during the game.

I also have my heart set on some nice floor standing units, so I've taken on to find others like the SHO with that high frequency response to pair with the Outlaw sub. Came close with these pro units from JBL , but the price is a deal breaker ( $3,000 for the pair):


JBL SRX722 Specifications:

Dual 12", two-way, bass-reflex
72 Hz – 20 kHz
81 Hz – 20 kHz
75° x 50° nominal

Bi-amp / passive, externally switchable
1.2 kHz
Passive: 1200 W / 2400 W / 4800 W Bi-amp
LF: 1200 W / 2400 W / 4800 W Bi-amp
HF: 75W/150W/300W

135 dB SPL peak
97 dB SPL (passive mode)
2 x JBL 2262H 305 mm (12 in) Differential Drive woofer
1 x JBL 2451H 102 mm (4 in) voice-coil, neodymium compression driver

Passive: 4 ohms Bi-amp [ what the heck ? ]
LF: 4 ohms Bi-amp
HF: 8 ohms

dbx DriveRack, all models.
Settings available at www.jblpro.com
Trapezoidal, 15 mm, 11-ply birch plywood
5 x suspension points, M10 or fly track (SRX722F only)
2 x steel handles
Black DuraFlex finish
Powder coated, black, 16-gauge perforated steel with transparent charcoal foam backing. Removable JBL badge and punched JBL logo.

Going to hunt around for something like this. I can set them Bi-amp HF for 8ohm ( I may get lucky and find some used JBL SRX722's which would be ideal).
post #15 of 19
Those could sound extremely harsh in a small room, it has heavy-duty compression drivers meant for a large or outside venue. You may end up needing lots of acoustic room treatments and some serious EQing just to get those to be listenable in an ordinary sized room. Do you have a way to wall-mount bookshelf speakers? Maybe you could build some shelfing or some mounts so kids can't knock over some bookshelf speakers. If bookshelf speakers on stands wouldn't be safe in your room, probably ordinary towers wouldn't be either.
post #16 of 19
Andrew, shoot me a PM when you get a chance...I have a couple ideas that may work for you, but need some information on the room, etc.
post #17 of 19
Originally Posted by powerline777 View Post

Any suggestions?

You want high sensitivity numbers so based on your amplifier, you can get loud. +1 on what cel4145 posted regarding SHO-10's. I'm a Klipsch guy and would recommend RF-7 II's but even b-stock would be outside your stated budget and the SHO-10's, w/stands would meet both your specifications and your budget.

If the stands and kids/friends are a problem, drill holes in the basement floor and anchor those suckers down. Ya know ya want to.


Edited by BeeMan458 - 10/20/12 at 1:28pm
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quick follow up on this as I wanted to thank everyone for all of their help. I had the best time researching the options and going to all the auditions in my quest. I can't say how much I have appreciated all the posts in here and all of the messages from other members to answer my questions.

Ended up re-connecting with an old friend and was able to score a really nice package deal. I had to wait another two months to save up for the higher price point. I ended up going with the NAD 777 receiver and then the PSB T6 towers with the Image C5 center. The biggest factor in all of this was a visit to a local audio dealer where I was able to sit down at length and go side by side with the NAD series and then some of the equipment from Denon and Yamaha.

Speakers tested were:

PSB Image T6
Monitor Audio RX8
PSB Imagine T2
GoldenEar Triton 3
KEF R500
Wharfedale Daimond 10.4 ( used)

The one speaker that got away was the Adam Audio GTC88. Other than having a set shipped and then paying for the freight back, it was impossible to find anyone who had this local to demo.

One side benefit of this is that I now need more stuff. A decent sub, either a Roku or Apple TV hook-up, CD/DVD player, and finally a better screen than my DIY version. I'm also having an electrician come over and do some more wiring since with the heater and the system I've managed to trip the basement fuse box.

This stuff can get <<<<LOUD>>>>> to the point where it physically hurts your ears, which is what I wanted. The bonus, and again thanks to the board, is that at least I can maintain some fidelity on the higher volumes without it sounding like a college dorm. That was the bonus here, loud music and gaming and it still sounds good ( up to a point ).
post #19 of 19
I have a set of Arx A5's how did you like them? I assume when you said "speakers tested" you ordered them for in home and/or dealer demo (Arx online only)
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