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Help selecting small 3.0 setup for a small room, possibly 3.1

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi all:

I've had a decent 3.0 setup for quite a few years now: a pair Mirage OM-8s and an OM-C3 center. I've now rearranged my house a bit and have moved the TV area to a smaller space, and the OM-8s are just too big for it (really they were too big for the space they were in previously, but now it's like they're in Lilliput). Also, since I got the OM-8s I've moved into a row house in a city which shares walls with neighbors on both sides, so I don't really want or need to play things (mostly movies and TV, maybe 20% music) as loud as I used to. The better the new speakers sound at lower volumes, the better for me. I'll be driving them with a Denon AVR-790 for now. Here's the room, it's about 12' wide and 10.5' deep overall:



The TV is going to be mounted on the wall where it is in the pic, that cabinet it's sitting on is just temporary. I plan to build some roughly 1' deep shelves above, below, and next to the TV, to hold the speakers and other things. I've been thinking I need something no bigger than bookshelf-size for the L and R speakers, the center can be a little bigger but as you can see from my space, I don't have a ton of room. I don't anticipate adding surrounds to the setup anytime soon, maybe a sub if I feel like I'm missing bass but I'll wait till after I've had the 3.0 setup in place for a little while before making that decision. I'd like to keep the 3.0 setup under $750 or so, but I'm also not opposed to just getting the Andrew Jones-designed Pioneer bookshelves and center.

When I bought my current OM-8s, I really liked the Omnipolar sound, but I was trying to fill a larger space then. With this small space, I'm not sure if I would even see a lot of benefit from a newer, smaller OM set (like OS3-CC center and OMD-5 fronts) as opposed to a direct-firing speaker. My current Mirages still sound great after nearly 15 years, but then again I don't know if they build Mirages like they used to. I A couple other options that I've come across searching the forums include:

Pioneer's Andrew Jones-designed bookshelves and center (the previous generation is on sale at Newegg for very little money)
EMP Tek E5Bi bookshelves, E5Ci center (on sale right now)

Any advice would be most welcome.
post #2 of 13
The EMP looks like a nice option, with the Pioneer I would aim for the latest phase 2 speakers.

Another option with good bass - HTD Level Three
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Bookshelf-Speakers

http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Center-Channel-Speaker

This is my favorite budget speaker, and has good bass to 60hz >
Cambridge S30 - if you can give the rear port 3 inches.
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_779S30N/Cambridge-Audio-S30-Noir.html

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_779S50B/Cambridge-Audio-S50-Black.html?search=cambridge_s50&skipvs=T

However with the price so close - I would buy another pair of the S30, and use one of them
for a center channel.
Edited by zieglj01 - 11/3/12 at 8:21pm
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I hadn't thought of it till I saw the HTD Level 3s, but I guess I need to think about getting a speaker with the port in the front, I'm not going to have much space behind the speakers. I kept coming across the EMPs in my search mainly because they're having a nice sale on a full 5.1 set, but I don't think I'll be doing surround speakers in this setup.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacquestrapp View Post

Thanks, I hadn't thought of it till I saw the HTD Level 3s, but I guess I need to think about getting a speaker with the port in the front, I'm not going to have much space behind the speakers. I kept coming across the EMPs in my search mainly because they're having a nice sale on a full 5.1 set, but I don't think I'll be doing surround speakers in this setup.

All in all, I would aim for front ported or sealed speakers. The HTD Level Three are nice speakers.
post #5 of 13
In addition to the previously mentioned speakers, check out the NHT Absolute Zero and Center. Sealed speakers, so no port placement issues. However, you probably will want a sub with them.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

In addition to the previously mentioned speakers, check out the NHT Absolute Zero and Center. Sealed speakers, so no port placement issues. However, you probably will want a sub with them.

Do you think I'd need to add a sub if I were to go with the Classic Twos or Classic Threes with the TwoC center? It looks like I may be able to up the budget a bit, though the Threes may be pushing my size limits.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacquestrapp View Post

Do you think I'd need to add a sub if I were to go with the Classic Twos or Classic Threes with the TwoC center? It looks like I may be able to up the budget a bit, though the Threes may be pushing my size limits.

Depends on you. I think it's nice to have a sub for blu-ray watching. But the Classic Twos do specify a -3db point of 51hz. That's pretty good.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

But the Classic Twos do specify a -3db point of 51hz. That's pretty good.

That is a little optimistic on their part - however, they do sound nice and have decent bass.
The Level Three speaker will put out more bass >>> however for all speakers listed, you
will benefit from a subwoofer for movies.

Another nice option is the Focal 705V speaker - front ported and a good price.
http://www.dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/34397
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

That is a little optimistic on their part - however, they do sound nice and have decent bass.
The Level Three speaker will put out more bass >>> however for all speakers listed, you
will benefit from a subwoofer for movies.
Another nice option is the Focal 705V speaker - front ported and a good price.
http://www.dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/34397

Thanks, I'll probably hold off on the sub initially, adding it later if I feel bass is lacking (and after the bank account recovers). I like how the Focals keep the speaker grille off the tweeters, some reviews I've read of the Classic Threes note that the grille on them interferes with their high frequencies a little and that they sound better with the grille off. Not sure I'm into the "sharp" look of the Focals.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacquestrapp View Post

Thanks, I'll probably hold off on the sub initially, adding it later if I feel bass is lacking (and after the bank account recovers). I like how the Focals keep the speaker grille off the tweeters, some reviews I've read of the Classic Threes note that the grille on them interferes with their high frequencies a little and that they sound better with the grille off. Not sure I'm into the "sharp" look of the Focals.

Focal may have a sharp look - however, it is the sound that really shines for them.
I prefer them over HTD and NHT Classic Two speakers. Good Luck with whatever
you decide to chose.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your help both in this thread and in many, many others I read while trying to come to a decision. I ultimately had my eye on a pair of NHT Classic Threes and the TwoC center channel; the acoustic suspension design means I can put them very close to my wall, the size is just big enough to accommodate a 6.5 woofer (so I may not need a sub) and I've heard NHT's in the past (not these exact ones) and been impressed. NHT's Black Friday sale sealed the deal, and they're also giving away $200 in gift cards for orders over a certain total, so I'll have those to put towards a subwoofer later on if I need one.
post #12 of 13
That will be a very nice setup. smile.gif

Be sure to let us know how it sounds once you get them.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

That will be a very nice setup. smile.gif
Be sure to let us know how it sounds once you get them.
+1
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