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~$2000 budget fronts (for 5.1 build up)

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,

I'm new here, hopefully this post is alright as a first time poster, but I've been scouring this forum and the web for info and advice regarding a home audio set up. Budget is about 1500-2000. Looking at fronts with either a center or sub. May hold off on both of those at the moment as well. But mid to long term plan is to build up to a 5.1 set up. I'd rather buy good speakers slowly than a bunch of "ok" speakers up front. I'm planning on going into a local shop today or tomorrow to listen to some speakers.

Use: ~50/50 home theater/music (various types), maybe a slight tip towards theater.

Driven by: Picked up a Denon 3312 AVR.

Room: Odd shaped and most likely poor acoustics. Front of the "room" is about 15 ft, back of the room is about 12 ft. The "room" is about 15 ft long/deep. One side has 90 degree wall, other side is at angle (so like a trapezoid). The "room" continues on for another ~25 feet into the kitchen. All open. Ceilings are a good ~16 feet throughout. It's overall a large space, but I'm really looking to set it up or maximize sound in the "room" rather than the whole space. I should also say that I'm using a projector and have plenty of space so I was considering another main as a center.

Budget: Like in title, around 1000-1500 dollars for a set of fronts. Bumping it up to 2K. My plan is to build up. So that amount could either include a front or sub or not at the moment. I was thinking one of those $300 on sale Klipsh subs from newegg. I'm open to new or used - you can get more speaker for your dollar buying used.

EDIT Speakers I'm considering: Wharfedale 10.7 or EVO 2 30's, Aperion Grands, Ascend Sierra Tower, Paradigm Studio 60's, B&W 683/4, CDM9MT. I'm also open to suggestions on something else.

Concerns: Driving the speakers, will the 809 or similar be enough? I've thought about bookshelves and a sub combo, but I've always like an impressive pair of floorstanders. Also as far as the center/sub, which to get first? I'm leaning towards the sub. I'm also thinking about a main as a center due to the lack of space restrictions.

Rather new to mid-fi/hi-fi, used to have a sony system for a while, with some sony+techniks speakers. I've been reading up on the technical stuff too (just cause that's the way I am) but feel like I've got a bit of a way to go with some of the higher knowledge stuff.

Thanks gals and gents.
Edited by BigBuga - 3/3/13 at 6:30am
post #2 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBuga View Post

Hey everyone,

I'm new here, hopefully this post is alright as a first time poster, but I've been scouring this forum and the web for info and advice regarding a home audio set up. Budget is about 1000 to 1500 dollars. Looking at fronts with either a center or sub. May hold off on both of those at the moment as well. But mid to long term plan is to build up to a 5.1 set up. I'd rather buy good speakers slowly than a bunch of "ok" speakers up front. I'm planning on going into a local shop today or tomorrow to listen to some speakers.

What are you going to listen to tomorrow? What have you heard that you like or dislike?



Use: ~50/50 home theater/music (various types), maybe a slight tip towards theater.

Driven by: I'm pretty set on an Onkyo 809 but open to suggestions in the $500-$600 range. Seems like there are some good deals on the 809 now for power vs features. the Audessey room thing sounds good to as the room is odd shape. I'm also thinking the pre-outs are worthwhile down the road if I decide to go that route. Don't care about zone 2/3 stuff, or even the fancy upscaling so much.

Room: Odd shaped and most likely poor acoustics. Front of the "room" is about 15 ft, back of the room is about 12 ft. The "room" is about 15 ft long/deep. One side has 90 degree wall, other side is at angle (so like a trapezoid). The "room" continues on for another ~25 feet into the kitchen. All open. Ceilings are a good ~16 feet throughout. It's overall a large space, but I'm really looking to set it up or maximize sound in the "room" rather than the whole space. I should also say that I'm using a projector and have plenty of space so I was considering another main as a center.

Budget: Like in title, around 1000-1500 dollars for a set of fronts. My plan is to build up. So that amount could either include a front or sub or not at the moment. I was thinking one of those $300 on sale Klipsh subs from newegg. I'm open to new or used - you can get more speaker for your dollar buying used.

Speakers I'm considering: Paradigm Monitor 9, Studio 60's, B&W 683/4, CDM9MT, Matrix 804, PSB Image 6 (hard to find), and the EMP tek E55ti (eh.) I thought about the Polk Rti A7/9 too, but it sounds like you can get better speakers for the money and that most people here are not too excited about polk. I'm also open to suggestions on something else.

Based on past and more recent reviews, the e55's are more on par with the Studio's from Paradigm. Many here like PSB also. I've heard the RTi like and was not fond of them. Treble had to much fake edge and midrange was just meh. There are plenty of speakers in your range that are currently getting solid reviews.

EMP e55ti
HTD Lvl 3
Ascend CMT's/Sierra's
Aperion Verus Forte (or grand if you want to up the budget and build a lot slower)
Focal 814v at A4L.com
+ those you've already mentioned. I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but that should get you started.


Concerns: Driving the speakers, will the 809 or similar be enough? I've thought about bookshelves and a sub combo, but I've always like an impressive pair of floorstanders. Also as far as the center/sub, which to get first? I'm leaning towards the sub. I'm also thinking about a main as a center due to the lack of space restrictions.

I've always like floorstanders also. The cost isn't too much more by the time you factor in stands. Many preach about not needing floorstanders if you have a good sub, but there are many more factors than just that. I'd much rather have less excursion and lower thd at a given spl at say 80hz from towers than a bookshelf working its butt off to give you the same spl at 80hz. Again..just another trade off. Every speaker has different characteristics related to distortion, etc so it's a crap shoot to say one or the other will be better. Up to you. You're already trying to audition so you're headed in the right direction.

As far as a center or sub first.....you'll get a lot of mixed comments on that one. I personally say that if you have say $500 left over and that's what you only want to spend on a sub...then buy the sub. If you even think you might be able to spend a little more on a sub, buy the center and save a little more. The center is likely not going anywhere since you want to get one from the same line within the same company for timbre match.

Rather new to mid-fi/hi-fi, used to have a sony system for a while, with some sony+techniks speakers. I've been reading up on the technical stuff too (just cause that's the way I am) but feel like I've got a bit of a way to go with some of the higher knowledge stuff.

Thanks gals and gents.
post #3 of 48
Going with your list of speakers:

Paradigm Monitor 9, Studio 60's, B&W 683/4, CDM9MT, Matrix 804, PSB Image 6 (hard to find), and the EMP tek E55ti

My own .02

Paradigm and PSB just dont do it for me. No wow. Heavy bass muddles the entire speaker on Paradigm. PSB sound stage seemed thin and non-emersive.

B&W... I liked them a tad fatiguing in the high range...nothing really bad though. I like my sound a tad bright and these were a tad more than a tad.

Never heard CDM9MT or the Matrix 804.

EMP tek... Way to go out of all these.

The 1k to 1.5k budget limits you a fair amount.. Speakers in the 2k range you have a TON of choices.

What type of music do you like most? Can you push your budget to the 2k range?

Also... What is pushing you to the Onkyo 809? Plenty of choices in the 500-600 range or less than have same level of room correction so I was wondering what really drew you to those.

If you can go up to 2k... I think you will be much happier, but we all have budgets and the EMP is a great speaker.
post #4 of 48
Newbie gave you good advice...but if your building over time upping your budget to 2000 for mains will make you happier in the long run.For me at 2000 I chose definitive tech 8060-st bipolar towers.They have a 10 inch sub in them...and since I'm a big movie and music fan they fit the bill for me...they sound great.There are so many great speakers out there just audition as many as you can and make the best choice according to your ears and tastes...smile.gif
post #5 of 48
Newbie saying b&w speakers are bright is a first. I had them for a decade and wanted something livelier so I got some tekton oriels for 850. They also have the lore model for a grand. Amazing sounding and super efficient at 98db. They take a long time to deliver them to you bit their worth the wait. Good luck.
post #6 of 48
Really... I obviously am not a B&W expert but when I heard the 683 a few times (all at the same shop mind you)..although different models in the lineup as well...there was something about their upper end that just set me a tad off.

Let me put it this way... Everything was semi laid back...but when something hit a a real high note...its not that they were forward or bright per say...they were still generally characterized as nuetral or laid back..but a tad shrill at the top top end... Does that make sense? So I guess the word bright isn't correct. In that the whole upper range was not dynamic or forward ...but at the highest end of the high...it seemed shrill...not bad but somewhat.

Best I can explain it. Of course, with everything, it could ahve been room, amp or the phase of the moon. If I am the only one that has heard this...then it was obviously something besides the speakers.
post #7 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Going with your list of speakers:

Paradigm Monitor 9, Studio 60's, B&W 683/4, CDM9MT, Matrix 804, PSB Image 6 (hard to find), and the EMP tek E55ti

My own .02

Paradigm and PSB just dont do it for me. No wow. Heavy bass muddles the entire speaker on Paradigm. PSB sound stage seemed thin and non-emersive.

B&W... I liked them a tad fatiguing in the high range...nothing really bad though. I like my sound a tad bright and these were a tad more than a tad.

Never heard CDM9MT or the Matrix 804.

EMP tek... Way to go out of all these.

.

You might want to listen to PSB again. 10 million audiophiles can't be wrong.
EMP is a value line speaker made by RBH, but I'm sure you knew that.
post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin_R View Post

You might want to listen to PSB again. 10 million audiophiles can't be wrong.
EMP is a value line speaker made by RBH, but I'm sure you knew that.

One persons opinion is just that.....HIS OWN opinion. He stated what he liked and why. There really isn't anything else you can say that should or can persuade the OP. I agree with him on the B&W's, but I heard the CM9's. Granted it was in Magnolia booth (pretty quiet room, but a ton of **** around so reflections were likely horrible). Just because 10 million people like it doesn't mean OP will. There are sooo many factors that there just isn't much we can do to help someone pick out something that is so subjective. His ears do not hear exactly what yours hear. Hence why there are 10 million OTHER people that like something other than PSB
post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin_R View Post

You might want to listen to PSB again. 10 million audiophiles can't be wrong.
EMP is a value line speaker made by RBH, but I'm sure you knew that.

Lol... Not only did I not like the PSB...I didn't like them...AT ALL. I listened to 3 different models of them in two different lines.

No right or wrong here...just one person's opinion. Heck ...tons and tons people love Paradigm (I am not one of them), Klipsch Referance Series (Didn't do it for me) and about 50 other brands I could list.

That doesn't make them wrong and me right..or vice versa.

I really really liked the Sonus Fiber Venere ...tons have people looked at me strange telling me Sonus Fiber is for looks..they just sound average.

Just my two cents... Take it for that.
post #10 of 48
Not sure where you are looking but the studio 60s are well above 1500.

That said I am extremely happy with mine. I actually believe the bass is pretty tame, and does not in any way cover up the mids and highs.

I actually rejected other speakers that I thought did just that (focal 816). Also listened to the psb imagine t and was not impressed

Also listened to the 683/4, however they were being compared to the cm8, the studios etc., so not really fair
post #11 of 48
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all suggestions and input. Lemme see if I can get everyone's thoughts here.

The 2000 dollar mark is definitely something I noticed as well, a nice jump after 1500 where it puts you into a lot of the "mid-grade" speakers from these manufacturers and also into some really nice ones.
As far as auditioning, looks like today is a bust, however, this is my first foray into mid to hi fi so I'm still somewhat unfamiliar with what to expect from any of these speakers as well as the manufacturers. My plan was to walk in and just start listening to whatever is there (which will include some of those listed) to help hone down my list. I'm thinking neutrality and balance is nice. And it's gotta have a nice tight bass, muddy is annoying. Sub may help out with that in the mid-run.

Music-wise I'm into a whole array - but mostly a lot of rock and folk I'd say, some metal and punk rock. I'm thinking I might get more into classical with a set of nice speakers as well.

As far as the PSBs, I'm leaning away from those because I just haven't seen them around.

I've also now am considering Wharfedales, either the D 10.7, or there's a set of EVO 2 30s floating around for about a grand.
Also Revel F12 round a grand as well.

Studio 60's for a grand are V3.

I will consider $2000 most upper limit.
post #12 of 48
When you listen try to take in material you've are familiar with and/or will likely listen to
post #13 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Also... What is pushing you to the Onkyo 809? Plenty of choices in the 500-600 range or less than have same level of room correction so I was wondering what really drew you to those.

Oh, as far as the Onkyo 809, I'm leaning towards it for power + features (Spotify, audessey, android compatability, pre-outs) for the price. What else were you thinking? I
I looked at the Denon 2313, 2113, 2312..
Some HK...
post #14 of 48
I have an HK 2 channel receiver and love the sound for music, but wouldn't give up Audyssey on my Denon in my HT setup for for an HK. I've never heard people get excited about HK's room correction software. I think you are on the right track with Audyssey because it will be able to help smooth the sub response. Yamaha YPAO will EQ the sub, too, IF you get up the higher models with their multipoint version.
post #15 of 48
Rock without a sub now... I feel compelled to point you to the SVS Towers. I have not heard them but heard tons of good stuff. Free shipping both ways with 45 day trial.

Dont like them bye bye.

Also...try the Aperion Grand's...2k ..shipping both ways...lots of good reviews.
post #16 of 48
Thread Starter 
that klipsch sub is on sale again for $300...
post #17 of 48
Thread Starter 
triple post eek.gif wtf! mad.gif
my bad
post #18 of 48
Thread Starter 
double post
post #19 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Rock without a sub now... I feel compelled to point you to the SVS Towers. I have not heard them but heard tons of good stuff. Free shipping both ways with 45 day trial.

Dont like them bye bye.

Also...try the Aperion Grand's...2k ..shipping both ways...lots of good reviews.

Just ordered the Aperions, should be here in about a week. I was thinking about also ordering a set of the EMP's for their trial just for kicks.
post #20 of 48
^ do it!

Did you get the Grand Bookshelves or Towers?
post #21 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

^ do it!

Did you get the Grand Bookshelves or Towers?

Towers
post #22 of 48
I don't think that comparison has been done yet. Granted its only one's opinion, but still pretty cool to see what differences you find, if the cost is worth it over the EMP's, etc. The Grand Towers look amazing and I'm definitely jealous of them. I'm sure they'll best the EMP's, but just how much will be the question.
post #23 of 48
Thread Starter 
^ yeah, that's what I was thinking too. I mean looks wise the Aperion's have it IMO. But I'm really curious as far as the difference between the two, especially considering how much the EMP's have been talked about and the huge price difference. I'm not sure if I'll go through with it or not yet...

Since I bumped up my budget, I've also realized that now the Salk's Song Towers are more or less in the running (I think shipping puts them over 2K). In any case, these sound interesting in the sense that they seem to be a product of love and singular vision. I like the idea of my towers having some woofers in them...but supposedly they sound great. May have to wait on those for down the line or some of their higher priced stuff.
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBuga View Post

^ yeah, that's what I was thinking too. I mean looks wise the Aperion's have it IMO. But I'm really curious as far as the difference between the two, especially considering how much the EMP's have been talked about and the huge price difference. I'm not sure if I'll go through with it or not yet...

Since I bumped up my budget, I've also realized that now the Salk's Song Towers are more or less in the running (I think shipping puts them over 2K). In any case, these sound interesting in the sense that they seem to be a product of love and singular vision. I like the idea of my towers having some woofers in them...but supposedly they sound great. May have to wait on those for down the line or some of their higher priced stuff.

I was not able to tell from Salk's website if the Song Towers are $2000 each or $2000/pair.
post #25 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DerKaiser View Post

I was not able to tell from Salk's website if the Song Towers are $2000 each or $2000/pair.

yeah...I think they just redid their site cause a couple weeks ago it was set up different. It was 1998/pair (I think) for standard veneer outside of black. Black was 100 bucks cheaper.
post #26 of 48
I believe the new SVS towers are right there too. And the Sierra Towers
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBuga View Post

yeah...I think they just redid their site cause a couple weeks ago it was set up different. It was 1998/pair (I think) for standard veneer outside of black. Black was 100 bucks cheaper.

You're right. The standard SongTowers are $2000 for the pair, shipping is extra.
post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Really... I obviously am not a B&W expert but when I heard the 683 a few times (all at the same shop mind you)..although different models in the lineup as well...there was something about their upper end that just set me a tad off.

Let me put it this way... Everything was semi laid back...but when something hit a a real high note...its not that they were forward or bright per say...they were still generally characterized as nuetral or laid back..but a tad shrill at the top top end... Does that make sense? So I guess the word bright isn't correct. In that the whole upper range was not dynamic or forward ...but at the highest end of the high...it seemed shrill...not bad but somewhat.

I don't want to derail this thread, but you're not the only one who has said this about B&W 600 series speakers. Look at this 2-page thread and see if its similar to what you heard.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1371247/looking-for-less-fatigue-warning-rant-ahead
post #29 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quick question regarding receivers....

New Onkyo 809 for $610 or Open Box (with Factory warranty) Denon 3312 for 640?
Edited by BigBuga - 2/26/13 at 10:28am
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBuga View Post

Quick question regarding receivers....

New Onkyo 809 for $610 or Open Box (with Factory warranty) Denon 3313 for 640?

Denon. Having owned both, I am sold on Denon. Onkyo quality control seems to have gone to the toilet in recent years.
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