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Building a new Home Theater System, wanted advice

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
This is my first post and I was looking for a little advice, I recently bought an onkyo TX-NR818 receiver with two front Polk TSX550 loudspeakers and a Bic Acoustech PL-28II center. Did I make a huge mistake by not getting the same brand? I was also planning on getting the Bic PL-200 Acoustech Subwoofer in the future and either four of Polk's FXI-A4 or four of Bic Acoustech's PL-66. What are your thoughts on that set-up for a 7.1 system??
post #2 of 35
Well, it Is usually recommended that the center matches your front left/right! And it may be exaggerated by the fact that your center has a hybrid horn tweeter (not for sure about the bic)! Other than that, I cannot comment too much on your speaker choices, as I haven't heard them.
post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your response Elihawk
post #4 of 35
I will just reiterate Elihawk's comment that especially the front three speakers must be from the same brand and model line for proper timbre matching. However, if you're building a system from scratch the surrounds should be in the same family as well.

The subwoofer, however, does not have to come from the same brand. Just get the best sub you can get for your buck.
post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

I will just reiterate Elihawk's comment that especially the front three speakers must be from the same brand and model line for proper timbre matching. However, if you're building a system from scratch the surrounds should be in the same family as well.

The subwoofer, however, does not have to come from the same brand. Just get the best sub you can get for your buck.
.

Dan, do you have any comment on which setup would be best? The Polk line or the Bic Acoustech?
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by goshjosh08 View Post

.

Dan, do you have any comment on which setup would be best? The Polk line or the Bic Acoustech?

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the modern Polk sound (too thin and harsh), and the build quality isn't at the same level as in past years. But, I'm also not overly familiar with the BIC's either. What kind of budget are you working with? I might recommend others to look at besides these two.
post #7 of 35
I agree that you could do better elsewhere and will echo that I think you've got to timbre match your front three speakers otherwise you'll have sub par performance.
post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the modern Polk sound (too thin and harsh), and the build quality isn't at the same level as in past years. But, I'm also not overly familiar with the BIC's either. What kind of budget are you working with? I might recommend others to look at besides these two.

I don't really have a budget smile.gif I'm just trying to get a good deal on good speakers. This is my first "real" home theater system. I have had a couple HTiB before and was wanting an upgrade.
post #9 of 35
No budget? get Monitor Audio RS-6/RX-6. In my opinion they are the best speaker you can buy for the money you pay.

Significantly better than Polk and BIC. cool.gif
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valtyr View Post

No budget? get Monitor Audio RS-6/RX-6. In my opinion they are the best speaker you can buy for the money you pay.

Significantly better than Polk and BIC. cool.gif

Ha, ok I take that back, I just now created my budget, I don't want to spend over $2,300 for my two fronts, center, sub and surround
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by goshjosh08 View Post

Ha, ok I take that back, I just now created my budget, I don't want to spend over $2,300 for my two fronts, center, sub and surround

Okay, so now what sized room do you have? Dedicated or open to other rooms? Musical tastes, etc. Are you looking for big and dynamic sound for mostly movies (at the expensive of some realism), or are you wanting musical accuracy more than a punch you in the gut experience?
post #12 of 35
If you're not offended by the used market you can get RS-6's for $400 - $700, RX-1's for $400 - $600, and the RX-LCR for around $500. With Monitor you do not have to sacrifice realism or impact for HT. They are seriously amazing speakers! You should spend the remaining on a great Rythmik, SVS, HSU, or PSA sub!
post #13 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

Okay, so now what sized room do you have? Dedicated or open to other rooms? Musical tastes, etc. Are you looking for big and dynamic sound for mostly movies (at the expensive of some realism), or are you wanting musical accuracy more than a punch you in the gut experience?

My room is a mid sized open living room, there is the kitchen off to the side. I will get the exact dimensions when I get back home. This would be primarily for movies and video games, not musical accuracy. I was dissatisfied with my center before because I could barely hear the dialogue and there was wayyyy to much volume in the sound effects and music.
post #14 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valtyr View Post

If you're not offended by the used market you can get RS-6's for $400 - $700, RX-1's for $400 - $600, and the RX-LCR for around $500. With Monitor you do not have to sacrifice realism or impact for HT. They are seriously amazing speakers! You should spend the remaining on a great Rythmik, SVS, HSU, or PSA sub!

I've never tried the used market before.
post #15 of 35
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1491255/sale-on-bic-acoustech-pl-76-tower-speakers-pair-279-free-shipping-reg-430#post_23749040

This is a great deal. The Polks are overpriced imo. Save your money for a better sub. Are you able to take the Polks back?
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by goshjosh08 View Post

Ha, ok I take that back, I just now created my budget, I don't want to spend over $2,300 for my two fronts, center, sub and surround

My recommendation for a great high performance system on your budget is one from Ascend Acoustics/Rythmik. This system offers a loud, dynamic movie and gaming experience while also being very accurate.


CMT-340 SE Mains (pair) ............. $568
CMT-340 SE Center ..................... $298
CBM-170 SE Surrounds (pair) ....... $298
Rythmik LV12R Servo Sub ........... $589

If you add these to the shopping cart, total prices range from $1,726 for a 5.1 system, through to $2,458 for a 7.2 system.

To stick to your budget, I recommend dual subs in lieu of rear surrounds for a 5.2 system: $2,226 shipped.
If you feel you still really need rear speakers after you're all set up, give yourself a Christmas present of another CBM-170 SE pair!

An good alternative for dual subs are a pair of SVS SB-1000's for $949. These subs will have marginally less output capability than the Rythmiks, but would bring in the total 7.2 system cost at $2,347 shipped.
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post

My recommendation for a great high performance system on your budget is one from Ascend Acoustics/Rythmik. This system offers a loud, dynamic movie and gaming experience while also being very accurate.


CMT-340 SE Mains (pair) ............. $568
CMT-340 SE Center ..................... $298
CBM-170 SE Surrounds (pair) ....... $298
Rythmik LV12R Servo Sub ........... $589

If you add these to the shopping cart, total prices range from $1,726 for a 5.1 system, through to $2,458 for a 7.2 system.

To stick to your budget, I recommend dual subs in lieu of rear surrounds for a 5.2 system: $2,226 shipped.
If you feel you still really need rear speakers after you're all set up, give yourself a Christmas present of another CBM-170 SE pair!

An good alternative for dual subs are a pair of SVS SB-1000's for $949. These subs will have marginally less output capability than the Rythmiks, but would bring in the total 7.2 system cost at $2,347 shipped.

+1
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by goshjosh08 View Post

This is my first post and I was looking for a little advice, I recently bought an onkyo TX-NR818 receiver with two front Polk TSX550 loudspeakers and a Bic Acoustech PL-28II center. Did I make a huge mistake by not getting the same brand?

Not at that point. Mixing brands between the L&R speakers and the subwoofer can be a smart thing to do, because it seems like the best subs come from people who specialize in subs.

But, what you are doing, which is mixing brands among L&R versus your center channel speaker is pretty strange.
Quote:
I was also planning on getting the Bic PL-200 Acoustech Subwoofer in the future and either four of Polk's FXI-A4 or four of Bic Acoustech's PL-66. What are your thoughts on that set-up for a 7.1 system??

Your next moves along these lines should be a better sub which you seem to be doing. After that, I think you should give priority to a timbre-matched center channel speaker. There are two TSX series center channel speakers - the TSX150 and the TSX 250. Pick one depending on your budget.

Your center channel speaker often carries the weight in the system and has a lot to do in the all-important area of vocal and spoken word intelligibility. That's important whether you are listening to movies, TV or music. It almost seems like you may have gone overboard with that horn tweeter in your center channel speaker.

Once you get your front speaker situation under control, go after the surrounds. Timbre matching is less critical, here.

The TX-NR818 has Audyssey Multieq XT32 which is among the most powerful tools for consumers for optimizing the integration of your system. Are you exploiting it? I can imagine that you could use Audyssey to match the PL-28 center with the Polk L&R, is that what you are doing?

And, what are you doing in the all-important areas of speaker placement, orientation and room acoustics? Is it possible that you did what you did with your center channel speaker to overcome acoustics problems/ What logic did you use to pick the PL28, or was it a random choice or what?
Edited by arnyk - 9/19/13 at 4:53am
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by goshjosh08 View Post

This is my first post and I was looking for a little advice, I recently bought an onkyo TX-NR818 receiver with two front Polk TSX550 loudspeakers and a Bic Acoustech PL-28II center. Did I make a huge mistake by not getting the same brand? I was also planning on getting the Bic PL-200 Acoustech Subwoofer in the future and either four of Polk's FXI-A4 or four of Bic Acoustech's PL-66. What are your thoughts on that set-up for a 7.1 system??

 

In my view, it is important that the centre speaker matches the Left and Right speakers - ideally from the same manufacturer, even more ideally, three identical speakers. If there are any timbre changes between the speakers, when there is a left-right or right-left pan, you will notice the sound change as it passes through the centre speaker and this can be off-putting and spoil the immersion in the soundtrack which you are trying to create with a multichannel system.

 
Your AVR has Audyssey XT32 and this will make a reasonable job of trying to match the speakers timbrally to each other (by adjusting the frequency response of each speaker to match a specific 'target curve') but this is not, IMO, a substitute for having the three speakers physically matched. Most manufacturers of AV speakers include a centre channel speaker in their line-up which has been specifically designed to pair with the Left and Right speakers. I am not familiar with the Polk brand you have chosen but if they have a matching centre speaker, then that is what I would use. 
 
WRT to the sub, no there is no need to stick with the manufacturer of your main speakers when choosing a subwoofer. In fact, I would suggest you looked at companies which have built their reputation around the manufacture of good subs - eg SVS, Hsu, Seaton Sound etc. 
post #20 of 35
Audessey can attempt to level match and even out the frequency but in no way can it change the sound characteristics of a speaker. The horn tweeter will always sound like a horn tweeter.
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

Audessey can attempt to level match and even out the frequency but in no way can it change the sound characteristics of a speaker. The horn tweeter will always sound like a horn tweeter.

 

That's right. Audyssey can do so much, but it doesn't have magical properties. For a long time I have had 3 identical speakers across the front and that is the best way to go. Not everyone can manage this for all sorts of reasons, and in those cases, I'd suggest 3 speakers from the same manufacturer and, probably, from the same model line of that manufacturer if possible.  Having an 'odd' centre speaker doesn't make any more sense to me than having odd L and R speakers (although in the latter case the result would be much worse of course).

post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

That's right. Audyssey can do so much, but it doesn't have magical properties. For a long time I have had 3 identical speakers across the front and that is the best way to go. Not everyone can manage this for all sorts of reasons, and in those cases, I'd suggest 3 speakers from the same manufacturer and, probably, from the same model line of that manufacturer if possible.  Having an 'odd' centre speaker doesn't make any more sense to me than having odd L and R speakers (although in the latter case the result would be much worse of course).

Just for the knowledge, how does the Audyssey match the speakers ? The AVR does it automatically ? or do we need to manually do some settings?

Thanks
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by deids View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

That's right. Audyssey can do so much, but it doesn't have magical properties. For a long time I have had 3 identical speakers across the front and that is the best way to go. Not everyone can manage this for all sorts of reasons, and in those cases, I'd suggest 3 speakers from the same manufacturer and, probably, from the same model line of that manufacturer if possible.  Having an 'odd' centre speaker doesn't make any more sense to me than having odd L and R speakers (although in the latter case the result would be much worse of course).

Just for the knowledge, how does the Audyssey match the speakers ? The AVR does it automatically ? or do we need to manually do some settings?

Thanks

 

It's just part of the process. If you have one speaker that is, say, a little 'forward' in the mid-range and another speaker that is a little 'recessed' in that range, they would both ordinarily sound quite different - say with vocals.  When you run Audyssey, it attempts to adjust the frequency response of each speaker to 'flat' (or Audyssey's version of flat anyway). So, in theory, the differences between these two hypothetical speakers will be 'ironed out' and as a result they should then sound more similar. But don't get carried away with this - as Kini62 says, it won't compensate for significant physical differences between two different types of speaker. If the differences are marginal, say as with speakers from one manufacturer but two different model ranges, then Audyssey can bring them into line to some extent.

post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

It's just part of the process. If you have one speaker that is, say, a little 'forward' in the mid-range and another speaker that is a little 'recessed' in that range, they would both ordinarily sound quite different - say with vocals.  When you run Audyssey, it attempts to adjust the frequency response of each speaker to 'flat' (or Audyssey's version of flat anyway). So, in theory, the differences between these two hypothetical speakers will be 'ironed out' and as a result they should then sound more similar. But don't get carried away with this - as Kini62 says, it won't compensate for significant physical differences between two different types of speaker. If the differences are marginal, say as with speakers from one manufacturer but two different model ranges, then Audyssey can bring them into line to some extent.

Thanks for explaining kbarnes. So I am assuming that its a automated process, right ?
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by deids View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

It's just part of the process. If you have one speaker that is, say, a little 'forward' in the mid-range and another speaker that is a little 'recessed' in that range, they would both ordinarily sound quite different - say with vocals.  When you run Audyssey, it attempts to adjust the frequency response of each speaker to 'flat' (or Audyssey's version of flat anyway). So, in theory, the differences between these two hypothetical speakers will be 'ironed out' and as a result they should then sound more similar. But don't get carried away with this - as Kini62 says, it won't compensate for significant physical differences between two different types of speaker. If the differences are marginal, say as with speakers from one manufacturer but two different model ranges, then Audyssey can bring them into line to some extent.

Thanks for explaining kbarnes. So I am assuming that its a automated process, right ?

 

Yes - it happens automatically when you run Audyssey.

post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by deids View Post

Thanks for explaining kbarnes. So I am assuming that its a automated process, right ?

The only thing you have to do is move the mic to the various locations that it outlines for you.
post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post

My recommendation for a great high performance system on your budget is one from Ascend Acoustics/Rythmik. This system offers a loud, dynamic movie and gaming experience while also being very accurate.


CMT-340 SE Mains (pair) ............. $568
CMT-340 SE Center ..................... $298
CBM-170 SE Surrounds (pair) ....... $298
Rythmik LV12R Servo Sub ........... $589


I am constantly seeing this system pop up on AVS and I am very close to moving towards the Ascend Acoustics setup with SVS PB-1000 sub. If you choose this direction -- let us know how you like it!
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post

My recommendation for a great high performance system on your budget is one from Ascend Acoustics/Rythmik. This system offers a loud, dynamic movie and gaming experience while also being very accurate.


CMT-340 SE Mains (pair) ............. $568
CMT-340 SE Center ..................... $298
CBM-170 SE Surrounds (pair) ....... $298
Rythmik LV12R Servo Sub ........... $589

If you add these to the shopping cart, total prices range from $1,726 for a 5.1 system, through to $2,458 for a 7.2 system.

To stick to your budget, I recommend dual subs in lieu of rear surrounds for a 5.2 system: $2,226 shipped.
If you feel you still really need rear speakers after you're all set up, give yourself a Christmas present of another CBM-170 SE pair!

An good alternative for dual subs are a pair of SVS SB-1000's for $949. These subs will have marginally less output capability than the Rythmiks, but would bring in the total 7.2 system cost at $2,347 shipped.

+2

However, if you must wall mount your surrounds, then the HTM-200 SE's would be easier to deal with as they're thinner and un-ported (compared to the CBM-170's).
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

In my view, it is important that the centre speaker matches the Left and Right speakers - ideally from the same manufacturer, even more ideally, three identical speakers. If there are any timbre changes between the speakers, when there is a left-right or right-left pan, you will notice the sound change as it passes through the centre speaker and this can be off-putting and spoil the immersion in the soundtrack which you are trying to create with a multichannel system.

+1 with the caveat that 3 identical speakers won't be perfectly matched because they will each have a unique acoustical environment which changes the sound that they radiate.

In my case I also use 3 identical speakers for LCR, with the slightly odd twist that they are all 3 Infinity Primus PC 351 center channel speakers. I obtained several advantages from this choice - one being that all 3 speakers are mounted in the same orientation which is significant and beneficial because changes in orientation also changes a speaker's sound quality. The second advantage is that higher end center channel speakers are often more robust than the corresponding bookshelf speaker. The third advantage is that it turns out that the directionality of the 3-way PC 351 is more tightly controlled than the bookshelf speakers in the same series. Another advantage is that I avoided spending money on towers, which are generally a waste if you have a good subwoofer. As a rule even the most robust towers with multiple woofers aren't in the same zip code when it comes to the bass that is produced by one or more good subwoofers.

I also use the Audessey feature of my AVR, but it does not have to do a lot of correction (less than +/- 5 dB) because the speakers were already pretty flat as installed. Nevertheless this system may be the most natural sounding system that I've ever worked with with outstanding articulation of speech and music.
Quote:
 WRT to the sub, no there is no need to stick with the manufacturer of your main speakers when choosing a subwoofer.

+1
Quote:
In fact, I would suggest you looked at companies which have built their reputation around the manufacture of good subs - eg SVS, Hsu, Seaton Sound etc. 

+1 The recommendations I made above were intended to maximize sound quality while minimizing costs. If you are going to build a higher end system with all new speakers, then that is a whole 'nuther thing.
post #30 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your advice! IT has been very helpful smile.gif
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