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School me on newer speakers

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I need some direction in avoiding jumping to what are surely some sketchy conclusions, based on the following:

My first quasi real speakers were Klipsch KG4's and I like them quite a bit over many, many years, even though I could tell they weren't the most refined speakers, they handled my rock/folk/bluegrass listening needs just fine.

A couple years ago, I moved them into the den with the TV and got some Monitor Audio Silver S6's and a Polk PSW10 sub, powered by an HK3490 for audio in the living room. These had quite a bit more clarity, particularly mid to high. Yes, very refined, but I missed the overall punch, especially on the low end, of my KG4's. Perhaps the sub and my setup was the problem, but the S6's, and the other modern tower box floorstanding speakers they have at big retailers all seem to have similar shortcomings. I now have a creeping scepticism of these narrow towers that have 'woofers' of 4-6".

In any case...our house burned down in a wildfire last summer, so I will soon be in the market for an entire new setup and clearly need some direction in speaker choice...any insights to offer?

BTW - my next floor speakers will go in a fairly large living room with wood floors, and I can go up to around $1,000-1,500 (I hope) for a pair, and perhaps some more on top of that for a sub.
Edited by BikeProf - 11/19/12 at 12:37pm
post #2 of 15
Sorry to hear about the fire! Speakers can be replaced, other things, not so much!

So you are talking $1-1,500.00 for a 2.1?

if so, large room, so get a good 12 inch sub. HSU, SVS, Epik are highly talked about and sometimes, you can get those brand subs for around 500 dollars. My personal pick would be to go with a Ascend Acoutst CMT340, 600/pr and then call it the start or a great system. The CMT340 is a very balanced speaker and really hits well in the low, mid, AND high freq and can get plenty loud. If you want to up your budget closer to 1500-2000, the Ascend Sierras towers, the EMP E55tis or the KEfIQ90s would be my choice.

However, I am not a fan of Horn/compression tweeters and you seemed to have a good experience with your Klipsch speakers of old. The horn tweeters are very forward and dynamic and if you like that, you may want to audition a new Klipsch model. Many speak of those speakers as being better for HT than music....
post #3 of 15
The Polk sub you had is pretty underpowered and pathetic; hardly worthy to be called a subwoofer at all. I can see why you didn't like the system with it in there.

If you can spend $1300 on a pair of speakers, the best one by far IMO is the PSB Image T6 speakers.

I had them for two years, and they were excellent; never heard a thing I didn't like from them. I suggest that you read the review that Stereophile did on them.

I have since moved on to some better and more expensive speakers in that system, but for $1300 the Image T6 is excellent.

The Monitor Audio Silver RX6 is similarly priced, but not quite as good IMO. That would be my second choice.

I used them with the NHT B12D subwoofer, which is $700. I think it is the best you can get for that price; very tight undistorted bass, and compact compared to its competition (I am still using it).

The fact is that there are very few halfway decent subwoofers for under $500. Klipsch makes a 12-inch with adequate power that can sometimes be found for around $400, but the NHT is much better IMO.

Make sure you get one with at least a 12-inch driver and 350 watts RMS power; no less.
Edited by commsysman - 11/19/12 at 2:19pm
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
thx...and on the sub, this comment off a stereophile review pretty much describes the experience I had (which is why I was liking my KG4's in comparison):

"Most subwoofer systems I've heard have been plagued by a familiar litany of sonic horrors: poor integration between subwoofer and main speakers, boom, bloat, tubbiness, slowness, excessive LF output, and an overall presentation that constantly reminds the listener he is hearing a big cone moving. To me, subwoofers often sound detached from the music, providing an accompanying thump that bears little relationship to the sound from the main speakers. Rather than revealing the music's harmonic underpinnings, subwoofers often obscure them in a thick morass of featureless boom. In addition, adding a subwoofer often destroys the qualities of the main speakers that made you buy them in the first place—just to name a few of my observations"
post #5 of 15
One mistake that many people make is not setting the rolloff of the subwoofer properly.

In the case of the Image T6 speakers, they put out solid bass down to 40 Hz; the subwoofer needs to be set so that it ONLY operates up to 40 HZ; no higher.

Too often the sub is set to go too high, and you get an overlap in frequency ranges betweeen the sub and main speakers that mucks things up.

You need to tweak the rolloff point control of the sub until you find the cleanest setting.

The NHT also has a phase control etc. which can help it work its best.

But the main thing is that the PSW10 is way way underpowered and too small and puts out mucho distortion; it just plain sucks.
post #6 of 15
Stereophile is good entertainment but other than that I would not get to carried away by their speaker reviews, you have to keep in mind that they think they can hear differences in speaker wires too.

I have found that if you have an AVR with bass management and set the crossover in the AVR to 80Hz, and the subwoofer is level matched to the speakers the subwoofer is undetectable in the system other than providing the bass that it is supposed to provide.

Unless you absolutely have to have a tiny sub the Hsu VTF series, outlaw LFM series, and the SVS PB/PC subs are all excellent choices.

The idea that a sub should be crossed over only at the lowest frequency the main speakers can produce is in a word silly.

Speaker choice is very personal, on a $1500/pr budget two strong contenders for me would be KEF IQ90 and the Paradigm Monitor 11.
post #7 of 15
^^^

good post...

paragraphs 2 and 4 cannot be emphasized enough...
post #8 of 15
I would Not use a Polk PSW10 sub with any speaker - they are really low key and a wimp. The
Monitor Audio would have done much better with a higher quality sub >> and properly crossed
over and level matched, with proper placement. 80 hz would be a good starting point.

The Monitor Audio RX-6 is a nice one, and will hold up well against some bigger speakers.
The KEF iQ speakers, would be a good one to look at. > PSB is also decent.

The word through the grapevine, is the Focal speakers at AC4L will have a Black Friday special,
That the pair of speakers and center will go for $1000, and new in the box.
http://www.accessories4less.com/index.php?page=brand&id=FOCAL

If you like Klipsch, then check the Reference series.

Hope that things work out for you.
post #9 of 15
I was just looking at Vanns and they are selling the IQ90 for $399 ea to the door.
At that price I would venture they are as good as you can get.
That would leave plenty of money to get your sub of choice as well as a center and surrounds if you you are so inclined.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
so here is a rather naive question...any speakers under 2K that you wouldn't bother adding a sub to?
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeProf View Post

so here is a rather naive question...any speakers under 2K that you wouldn't bother adding a sub to?

For music, sure, but not for TV or Home Theater use. I'll add the Kef Q900's to your list of recommendations within your stated price range. No matter what speaker you get, I'd pair it with a good subwoofer at some point (not that Polk one, no offense).

By the way, Commsysman's advice on subwoofer integration isn't factual. In theory it would be nice to cross the towers the subwoofer at the lowest frequency the towers play, but a crossover is not a brick wall (it's a roll off), and room interaction will play a large role in how things measure and sound. There is a lot more involved in integrating a subwoofer properly than simply setting it to play to the roll-off frequency of the towers, but that's a whole different topic.

P.S. Sorry about your house - that's awful.
Edited by Nuance - 11/20/12 at 8:48am
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
the KEF Q900's are on the list...along with PSB Image T6's and Klipsch RF 82ii's

I need to travel so I can demo first.

It would be nice to have a 2.0 system for music...the debate on sub integration helps to reinforce that inclination

[and certainly feel free to torch the prior sub choice - the upside of having one's house burn down is you have a Mulligan on everything you owned biggrin.gif ]
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeProf View Post

so here is a rather naive question...any speakers under 2K that you wouldn't bother adding a sub to?

Depending on YOUR needs for bass the Def Tech BP8060STs are $2k a pair and (for now) include a center and surrounds for free.

Also NHT has their Four towers coming up on sale for $799 each for black friday.
http://www.nhthifi.com/NHT-Black-Friday-Secret-Sale-Page

I know Yamaha speakers don't get any love here but for the price these would be worth a shot. I bet they would compare quite well with the Kef Q900/700s.
http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-NS-777-3-Way-Reflex-Speaker/dp/B0000W4U2C/ref=sr_1_11?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1353443307&sr=1-11&keywords=yamaha+speakers
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeProf View Post

so here is a rather naive question...any speakers under 2K that you wouldn't bother adding a sub to?
Sure.

But in most cases: I would not buy those speakers because, while the put out significant bass, they are lacking in other areas. (there may be some positive examples, but I can't think of any off the top of my head)

The used market is a different picture; but I assume you are asking new.

Alternately: There are many I would not run a sub for in a relatively low SPL environment or where I wasn't interested in the lowest of frequencies (running my SongTowers sans sub right now).
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

The used market is a different picture; but I assume you are asking new.

I would consider buying off of Audiogon (that is where I got the Silver S6's)...
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