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$2,000-3,000 Tower speaker comparison: Need help picking the contenders for a shootout - Page 6

post #151 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by BentZero View Post

Note to self: Whenever you meet Vic bring at least two friends. smile.gif

Great impressions guys. I had once eliminated the EMPs from my list since they didn't look "high end" enough but I may need to reconsider that. I'm mostly a HT kind of dude so the Phils and Gallos got knocked down a bit although I like the idea of having a transparent speaker like the Phils. Just not sure that I'd have the layout to pull them that far from the walls.

How do you think the Aperion Grand Towers would hold up against this lot?


Why ya knock down the Phils for HT? Just not low enough in Bass department? Again..goes back to my sub question.
post #152 of 241
More of a placement issue and the type of music I listen to. When I actually do listen to music it's typically rock, rap, and dub step. (yes go ahead and groan at the dub step).
post #153 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

.....

Also, I have heard Phil and word "pads" mentioned many times..and adjusting the high end with the pads...can someone edumikate me?

....

Here you go (scroll down to the paragraph about the deflector pads)

http://www.raalribbon.com/technology.htm
post #154 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

I know you guys are comparing apples to apples out of the box. Would any of your opinions change when you throw in a Sub? We all know that the SVS will go lower...its a given but if you plan on going with a sub...shouldn't that just make the phils the clear winner? (Again just askin)

Also, I would like some clarification if possible. Is it really required to pull the Phil's 2 ft. from the wall... Are you talking back wall or side wall. I need to go back and read but I "think" I remember Dennis saying that these are fine near a wall but shoudl be 2 feet from a side wall?

Also, I have heard Phil and word "pads" mentioned many times..and adjusting the high end with the pads...can someone edumikate me?

Really makes me wonder what you guys would have done with something like the Tekton Pendragons. I would so much like to see those thrown in the mix.

If I were voting, and space limitations weren't an issue, I'd go with the Phils and a sub. The Phils don't have to be 2 feet from the wall, but the open baffle at the top of the speaker should be approximately a couple feet from the wall if I'm not mistaken. The pads refer to foam pads connected to magnets which can be affixed to the ribbon tweeter to reduce brightness. I'll admit, I'm intrigued by the Pendragons and I've ordered a pair of M-Lores to audition in my 2 channel room.
post #155 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by BentZero View Post

More of a placement issue and the type of music I listen to. When I actually do listen to music it's typically rock, rap, and dub step. (yes go ahead and groan at the dub step).

Just to be clear, the Phils (and even the Gallos) can definitely handle rock, rap and dub step. I think the Phils would make a great base for a 5.2 or 7.2 HT setup. I have no complaints using the Gallos in my 5.2 setup.
post #156 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by VicTorious1 View Post

If I were voting, and space limitations weren't an issue, I'd go with the Phils and a sub. The Phils don't have to be 2 feet from the wall, but the open baffle at the top of the speaker should be approximately a couple feet from the wall if I'm not mistaken. The pads refer to foam pads connected to magnets which can be affixed to the ribbon tweeter to reduce brightness. I'll admit, I'm intrigued by the Pendragons and I've ordered a pair of M-Lores to audition in my 2 channel room.


Hi The Phil's don't "have" to be 2 feet from the back wall--it's just that the rear wave from the midrange will contribute the most to a naturally deep and open soundstage if the top of the back cabinet is that far away from the rear wall. If it isn't, the effect just won't be a great. Since conventional closed-back speakers don't produce any ambience in this fashion, the Phil's should have an advantage even if you slam the bass cabient right up against the rear wall. As for the pads, they do roll off the ighs on axis. But they also improve vertical dispersion, so the listener will just have to experiment to see what application is most pleasing.
post #157 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

Hi The Phil's don't "have" to be 2 feet from the back wall--it's just that the rear wave from the midrange will contribute the most to a naturally deep and open soundstage if the top of the back cabinet is that far away from the rear wall. If it isn't, the effect just won't be a great. Since conventional closed-back speakers don't produce any ambience in this fashion, the Phil's should have an advantage even if you slam the bass cabient right up against the rear wall. As for the pads, they do roll off the ighs on axis. But they also improve vertical dispersion, so the listener will just have to experiment to see what application is most pleasing.

Thanks for clarifying, Dennis. Someone on here or audioholics who has the Phil 2s or 3s (I can't remember) said he has his Phils approximately 2 inches from the wall and they sound great, so I don't want to suggest otherwise. To clarify, my space issue is due to my room size, I don't think the Phils or Ultras would fit with the 2 subs I have in my theater alcove.
post #158 of 241
Thread Starter 
Well, after many days of listening and much deliberation I finally made a decision. I decided to stick with the Ultra Towers. I spoke with Dennis today, and he was understanding and I appreciate the efforts he made to get me a pair of Phil 2s in my price range to audition. It was a very difficult choice, one that I will probably second guess myself a number of times as the months go by. I really loved both speakers, and they are quite different, so it was not really a matter of choosing which was the "better" speaker, but really which suited me better at this time, with my music, and my setup. I knew from the beginning that a sub in this room would not pass the WAF test, and despite revisiting that topic, the line never moved. It is really not an unreasonable request by her, since the master bedroom is right on top of the basement listening room and the floor is very thin. She has been quite supportive of my many months of shopping/browsing forums/taking time off work etc. (But, that did factor into the decision. Honestly, if I had planned to get a sub or 2 from the get go, I probably would have just got Salk Songtowers with upgraded tweeter and a pair of sealed subs, since I really liked the Salks at RMAF.)

So, it was more of deciding do I like chocolate or vanilla ice cream, rather than which of these 2 chocolate ice creams is better. Or another analogy, choosing between a sedan or an SUV.

I did one final brief session today, and I put in one of my favorite albums, Joshua Tree, and really just sat and tried to soak in the differences and think which I would miss more. On track 5(Running to Stand Still), it begins with some quiet and twangy guitar from the left, and the Phils were so detailed and clear. The Ultras still sounded great, with just a touch of detail lost and a smidge of maybe coloration. But as the song rolls on, and the voice and drums and other instruments start, I really favored the Ultras. On track 4(Bullet the Blue Sky), the kick drums and dynamics were very good on the Phils, but great on the SVS. Finally, Track 7(In God's Country) starts with a couple guitars strumming, and againthe Phils sounded better, but the bass line on the SVS is so good.

As Dennis posted, maybe the Phil 3s would have been the best for me, but at around $3500, I just could not pull that off at this time.

As a very minor factor, the finish on the Ultras is very nice for 2 grand.

As far as the placement of the Phils, I want to echo the comments above by Dennis and Vic. The Phils had an ambiance and soundstage out of this world, even at 10-13 inches from the back wall. I can only imagine how great they could open up in an even bigger room. I did not choose against them because of any placement issues at all.

I think the Phils with subs would be great for any music or a home theater setup. IMO, no matter how low a tower goes, you need a sub for a true HT, so that is not a knock on the Phils.

Someone above asked about the Aperion Versus Grand. I listened to those at RMAF and I slightly liked the Ultras better, but if I have learned anything from this it is that you need to listen for yourself. From what I remember they had a similar sound to the Ultras and EMPteks, with a low end more similar to the EMPs. They had a very nice and smooth midrange with vocals.

I plan to post a longer review of the SVS towers on their website in the next few days, so I will probably paste that here and the Ultra thread.

Thanks to all the AVS members who gave advice and hopefully you enjoyed my impression and pics. It was also great to meet some members in person. I am looking forward to settling in and now enjoying my speakers, at least until it is time for the next upgrade .....(insert evil laugh here) biggrin.gif
post #159 of 241
Has anyone seen any FR graphs for the Ultras? It would be instructive.

Please provide a link if there is one. Thanks.
post #160 of 241
I enjoyed following this thread. It reinforces that music is a personal taste and as such, we may have different preferences in speakers. Nice analogies by NewHTbuyer. While I admit that I am not an adventurous eater I would like to sample a great many speaker options.

Thanks to all who provided constructively to this thread.
post #161 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by VicTorious1 View Post

Thanks for clarifying, Dennis. Someone on here or audioholics who has the Phil 2s or 3s (I can't remember) said he has his Phils approximately 2 inches from the wall and they sound great, so I don't want to suggest otherwise. To clarify, my space issue is due to my room size, I don't think the Phils or Ultras would fit with the 2 subs I have in my theater alcove.

Right now my Phil3 are about 3 or 4 inches away from the front wall and they sound great.
post #162 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudslide View Post

Has anyone seen any FR graphs for the Ultras? It would be instructive.

Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. I hope they measure smoothly on & off- axis and within +/-2dB.

But no matter what the graphs show, in the end it's about which speakers the OP preferred subjectively.
post #163 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. I hope they measure smoothly on & off- axis and within +/-2dB.

But no matter what the graphs show, in the end it's about which speakers the OP preferred subjectively.

It's so true that there are horses for courses. To each his/her own. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the OP enjoys the typical British curve in his speakers' FR. He talks a lot about the bass and its affect on his preferred music (rock). That's a good reason for him to see an Ultra FR graph...to know what it is he likes to hear ... looks like. (Of course, there is always EQ boosting in those same areas. wink.gif Perhap could have his cake and eat it too. )
post #164 of 241
This has been a good thread. I've enjoyed the impressions and process. Congrat's on the speaker choice.
post #165 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

Right now my Phil3 are about 3 or 4 inches away from the front wall and they sound great.

I thought it was you who said that about the Phils. The setup that NHTB had for the Phils I thought was perfectly fine and they were not too far away from the wall.
post #166 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by VicTorious1 View Post

I thought it was you who said that about the Phils. The setup that NHTB had for the Phils I thought was perfectly fine and they were not too far away from the wall.

Yeah I agree with this, there setup was fine and not more then 2 feet from the wall which came close to the edge of the TV stand he had. Like I said for myself the Phil's where great speakers and the sound stage was unbeatable!!! With that in mine maybe my next pair of speakers will be the phil 3 to replace the songtowers. But as Rock fan (which some of us love more then classical) the SVS towers just had some thing special about them, and if it makes your ears happy go with them! Nice job NHTB!!!
post #167 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

Right now my Phil3 are about 3 or 4 inches away from the front wall and they sound great.

Don't forget we are talking about the upper box with the open mid. With the lower portion against the wall you are still something like a 16 inches (espececially with toe in) from the back wall to the mid section.

Correct me if I am wrong here?
post #168 of 241
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudslide View Post

It's so true that there are horses for courses. To each his/her own. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the OP enjoys the typical British curve in his speakers' FR. He talks a lot about the bass and its affect on his preferred music (rock). That's a good reason for him to see an Ultra FR graph...to know what it is he likes to hear ... looks like. (Of course, there is always EQ boosting in those same areas. wink.gif Perhap could have his cake and eat it too. )

I am interested in seeing how they measure. I would bet that they definitely dont do as well off axis as the Phil 2s, just based on how the sound changed with toe in.

Also, isn't a British speaker supposed to accentuate the highs? Maybe I had the wrong impression of what a British sound means. SVS did put a lot of research into the Ultra line and they are usually good about publishing measurements that match up well with 3rd party measurements. It will be interesting to see what reviewers say.

The difference in the sound between the Ultras and Phils was not just the ultra LFE that a sub would help, there was a different sound to the upper bass and midrange also (I am actually not exactly sure what each person would interpret upper bass and mid as, so what I mean is Tom-toms, male vocals, bass guitar, other percussion). Maybe it was the ribbon midrange that I was hearing compared to the cones on the Ultras. I am not sure. If I could combine the ribbon tweeter with the mid and low of the Ultras, that would be perfect. I wonder if SVS would consider a tweeter upgrade like Ascend and Salk offer.
post #169 of 241
In all fairness to Dennis, he did state that his speakers probably weren't the best choice for rock music, but congrats to you NHTB. You did it the right way and now you won't always have to wonder 'what if'?'. It would have been very interesting if the Aperion Versus Grands and/or the Sierra NrT towers were in the mix too.
post #170 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

I am interested in seeing how they measure. I would bet that they definitely dont do as well off axis as the Phil 2s, just based on how the sound changed with toe in.

Also, isn't a British speaker supposed to accentuate the highs? Maybe I had the wrong impression of what a British sound means. SVS did put a lot of research into the Ultra line and they are usually good about publishing measurements that match up well with 3rd party measurements. It will be interesting to see what reviewers say.

The difference in the sound between the Ultras and Phils was not just the ultra LFE that a sub would help, there was a different sound to the upper bass and midrange also (I am actually not exactly sure what each person would interpret upper bass and mid as, so what I mean is Tom-toms, male vocals, bass guitar, other percussion). Maybe it was the ribbon midrange that I was hearing compared to the cones on the Ultras. I am not sure. If I could combine the ribbon tweeter with the mid and low of the Ultras, that would be perfect. I wonder if SVS would consider a tweeter upgrade like Ascend and Salk offer.


I don't think you can say that British speakers in general accentuate the highs. Maybe a B&W here and a Proac there. Also, I don't think people found the main part of the midrange spectrum superior on the AVS. My read is that it was the upper bass on down, so that female voices sounded better on the Phil's, but some people preferred the extra body that the SVS's gave male voices and lower bass instruments. In any event, I'm quite pleased with the reception the phil's got. Although I doubt anyone would find the 2's
bass-shy on their own terms, the objective of the design was to combine accurate response with realistically deep and spacious soundstaging, and I think they met that goal. Also, I'm not terribly surprised that the SVS impressed with its bass performance--after all, the company does specialize in subwoofers, and the tower had two 8" sub-type drivers per side. I kind of knew I was in for a challenge in that department before I agreed to send the Phil's off for a comparo. In this price range, you just can't have everything.
In retrospect, I kind of wish that I had commissioned the Chinese cabinets for the 3's rather than the 2's--I just underestimated how many people would pay extra for the best possible woofer.
post #171 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

I don't think you can say that British speakers in general accentuate the highs. Maybe a B&W here and a Proac there. Also, I don't think people found the main part of the midrange spectrum superior on the AVS. My read is that it was the upper bass on down, so that female voices sounded better on the Phil's, but some people preferred the extra body that the SVS's gave male voices and lower bass instruments. In any event, I'm quite pleased with the reception the phil's got. Although I doubt anyone would find the 2's
bass-shy on their own terms, the objective of the design was to combine accurate response with realistically deep and spacious soundstaging, and I think they met that goal. Also, I'm not terribly surprised that the SVS impressed with its bass performance--after all, the company does specialize in subwoofers, and the tower had two 8" sub-type drivers per side. I kind of knew I was in for a challenge in that department before I agreed to send the Phil's off for a comparo. In this price range, you just can't have everything.
In retrospect, I kind of wish that I had commissioned the Chinese cabinets for the 3's rather than the 2's--I just underestimated how many people would pay extra for the best possible woofer.
Well no matter what the case is the Phil 2 where amazing and I think you made a fine fine product! I really do mean in the near future I see a part of phil 3 in my home if they have any where near as good as a sound stage as the 2's I will be happy and if they can hit the deeper notes I would be in aww to say the least. Thanks for sending a pair out to NHTB and letting us listen to them!
post #172 of 241
NHTB,

This thread has been fun and informative to read and follow. Congratulations on your choice.

I am considering buying a pair of towers under $1000 and considering the EMPTek E55T1 and the Focal Chorus 814V (which is the same as 716V). I know you heard the Focal 816V a few weeks back. Can you post your impressions on how they differ from the E55Ti? Given a choice between the 816 and the E55, which one will you prefer?

Thanks...
post #173 of 241
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by neelic View Post

NHTB,

This thread has been fun and informative to read and follow. Congratulations on your choice.

I am considering buying a pair of towers under $1000 and considering the EMPTek E55T1 and the Focal Chorus 814V (which is the same as 716V). I know you heard the Focal 816V a few weeks back. Can you post your impressions on how they differ from the E55Ti? Given a choice between the 816 and the E55, which one will you prefer?

Thanks...

I am almost afraid to answer since I heard those in a store back in December or even before that, plus I think i mostly listened to the 826v. Anyway, the EMPs almost certainly will dig lower. The Focals sounded brighter than the Dynaudios I compared them to, but in a good way. Also, the Focals are more sensitive, so they will need less juice. Without a sub at that price range I think I would choose the EMPs. On pure sound, the EMPs vs the more expensive 826 set would be interesting and I am not sure which I would choose.
post #174 of 241
Great thread all! It helped me decided after 3 months of going back and forth.

Phil 2's are what I am going with. 75% HT and 25% Music.

My setup when done will be:

Phil 2's
Custom Center 3 way made to match Phil 2's tone and timber (Woofer x 2, Mid and Raal Tweeter in a Tweeter above mid design.)
Rythmic FV15HP Sub (Most likely going for a near field placement directly behind couch.)

I will pair this with my Onkyo 818

Surrounds can wait another year...leaning towards something like the Aperion for surrounds ...but that debate can wait another year..and should be much easier on my pocketbook.

I agonized over this for a LONG time. I heard probably 20 sets of speakers in store. I liked one brand but they were just too expensive for me in the end...and although I did like them...I recognized the flaws as well.

This is a very very big investiment for me. I really don't go spend this kind of money often except to fix up my house... I probably spent 3 hours a day reading on forums and another weekend day going to audition speakers.
post #175 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

I am almost afraid to answer since I heard those in a store back in December or even before that, plus I think i mostly listened to the 826v. Anyway, the EMPs almost certainly will dig lower. The Focals sounded brighter than the Dynaudios I compared them to, but in a good way. Also, the Focals are more sensitive, so they will need less juice. Without a sub at that price range I think I would choose the EMPs. On pure sound, the EMPs vs the more expensive 826 set would be interesting and I am not sure which I would choose.

Thanks. I infer that that its a toss-up between the EMPs and the 826. So the EMPs should be better than the 814s. I do intend to buy a rythmic or an SVS sub eventually.
post #176 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

I am interested in seeing how they measure. I would bet that they definitely dont do as well off axis as the Phil 2s, just based on how the sound changed with toe in.

Also, isn't a British speaker supposed to accentuate the highs? Maybe I had the wrong impression of what a British sound means. SVS did put a lot of research into the Ultra line and they are usually good about publishing measurements that match up well with 3rd party measurements. It will be interesting to see what reviewers say.

The difference in the sound between the Ultras and Phils was not just the ultra LFE that a sub would help, there was a different sound to the upper bass and midrange also (I am actually not exactly sure what each person would interpret upper bass and mid as, so what I mean is Tom-toms, male vocals, bass guitar, other percussion). Maybe it was the ribbon midrange that I was hearing compared to the cones on the Ultras. I am not sure. If I could combine the ribbon tweeter with the mid and low of the Ultras, that would be perfect. I wonder if SVS would consider a tweeter upgrade like Ascend and Salk offer.

The "British curve" generally connotes something as typified by the old standard, the Spendor 3/5. Here is the Spendor FR graph from Stereophile. You have the bass hump with slightly recessed mids, and a bit of an elevated top end. This looks like a good example of what I expect the SVS's to show. It's too bad all manufacturers don't display their FR graphs. We consumers should demand them. Note that it does measure "flat" to +/- 3 dB. But it's anything but "flat". Some frequencies are accentuated over others.

post #177 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudslide View Post

The "British curve" generally connotes something as typified by the old standard, the Spendor 3/5. Here is the Spendor FR graph from Stereophile. You have the bass hump with slightly recessed mids, and a bit of an elevated top end. This looks like a good example of what I expect the SVS's to show. It's too bad all manufacturers don't display their FR graphs. We consumers should demand them. Note that it does measure "flat" to +/- 3 dB. But it's anything but "flat". Some frequencies are accentuated over others.

That bass hump in the Stereophile measurements is caused by their method of splicing in the bass output of the speaker. They cover it somewhere in the references.
post #178 of 241
Right If the bump isn't there, the speaker is bass-shy. The "BBC dip" is pretty much a myth. The bass tuning on the original BBC Rogers field monitor was a little ripe to disguise the lack of any serious bass, but the overall response wasn't contoured with a dip in the mids. The only British speaker I've seen that really did have a scooped out midrange in relation to the bass and high treble was a Proac Response tower speaker. The Spendor actually measures extremely well except for the little glitch at the crossover frequency. The more serious question would be whether the woofer can handle the very high crossover frequency of almost 5 kHz without losing dispersion off axis.
post #179 of 241
Okay, uncle. I'm sure you're all correct and I'm likely misinformed. Nevertheless, here is what John Atkinson said about his measurement...and is the idea I was following.
"The woofer is 6dB down at a reasonable 60Hz,with a 2.5dB hump between 120Hz and 180Hz this adding warmth and a semblance of power to orchestral sound."

Semantics, I guess.
post #180 of 241
Congrats on reaching the end of your journey, NHTB! I am happy for you buddy. smile.gif
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