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Small Towers

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone!

 

I'm a long time follower, and have used your collective wisdom in various arenas in the past..

 

I just bought a Denon x3000 (upgrade from an old onkyo, and I was able to get the Denon on sale), and am fairly happy with it.

 

Next up is speaker upgrades. I'm going from an Energy take 5.0 setup (with an Onkyo- boomy, [crappy] sub), and now looking at BIC America (no need for the aucoustech, as my room is small and horns will blow it out [i've got tile and hardwood]).

 

What do you guys think? I like my Energy's (AKA want something similar; and those speakers are gonna end up upstairs in the other room) and I like the thought of BIC towers with a HSU sub (BIC center and surrounds to fill it out).

 

Bottom lime, I'm not a fan of 'store-bought' brands (polk, klipch, etc, so please dont recommend those)

 

Any thoughts on boston acoustics?  I know they're pricy, but I'm willing to consider

 

I really want quality (affordable). bottom line. 

 

Andy

post #2 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahughes03 View Post

Hey everyone!

I'm a long time follower, and have used your collective wisdom in various arenas in the past..

I just bought a Denon x3000 (upgrade from an old onkyo, and I was able to get the Denon on sale), and am fairly happy with it.

Next up is speaker upgrades. I'm going from an Energy take 5.0 setup (with an Onkyo- boomy, [crappy] sub), and now looking at BIC America (no need for the aucoustech, as my room is small and horns will blow it out [i've got tile and hardwood]).

What do you guys think? I like my Energy's (AKA want something similar; and those speakers are gonna end up upstairs in the other room) and I like the thought of BIC towers with a HSU sub (BIC center and surrounds to fill it out).

Bottom lime, I'm not a fan of 'store-bought' brands (polk, klipch, etc, so please dont recommend those)


Any thoughts on boston acoustics?  I know they're pricy, but I'm willing to consider

I really want quality (affordable). bottom line. 

Andy

Energy speakers are sold through Best Buy (Magnolia) and are made by Klipsch. I'm not sure where you draw the line regarding what qualifies as a "store bought brand." There's more nuance to it than that. How do you feel about Definitive Technology, GoldenEar, B&W, Martin-Logan? Consider that Andrew Jones-designed Pioneer speakers at Best Buy earned the praise of Stereophile magazine—and are what I use.
Edited by imagic - 12/6/13 at 1:23pm
post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post


Energy speakers are sold through Best Buy and are made by Klipsch. I'm not sure where you draw the line regarding what qualifies as a "store bought brand."

 That's news to me. Is that a newish thing (bought those speakers in 2008)? Do you have any thoughts on my theoretical BIC & HSU setup, cause otherwise your post is informative, but kind-of-not-helpful (super sorry if that made you upset).

 

"Store brought brand" means something that a person would buy when they walk into best buy, without any research or thought. I honestly feel that there are people out there who make products that wow us, and I want to endorse them.

post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahughes03 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Energy speakers are sold through Best Buy and are made by Klipsch. I'm not sure where you draw the line regarding what qualifies as a "store bought brand."
 That's news to me. Is that a newish thing (bought those speakers in 2008)? Do you have any thoughts on my theoretical BIC & HSU setup, cause otherwise your post is informative, but kind-of-not-helpful (super sorry if that made you upset).

"Store brought brand" means something that a person would buy when they walk into best buy, without any research or thought. I honestly feel that there are people out there who make products that wow us, and I want to endorse them.

BIC gets props for its subs, but I can't comment on its speakers. HSU subs have a solid reputation for being a great value and high performance—I feel your statement about avoiding "store bought" is very relevant to subwoofers, where ID brands have a strong presence.

I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't suggest the Pioneer SP-FS52 . That's what I'm using now and they are quite amazing for the money.
post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 

Hey thanks for the link!  I will honestly look into it. 

 

By ID, do you mean those common brands that don't quite preform (I'm honestly not familiar with ID)?

 

Just out of curiosity, have you heard a BIC sub?

 

In my ideal world, somebody would chip in with a direct HSU v BIC comparison :)

post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahughes03 View Post

Hey thanks for the link!  I will honestly look into it. 

By ID, do you mean those common brands that don't quite preform (I'm honestly not familiar with ID)?

Just out of curiosity, have you heard a BIC sub?

In my ideal world, somebody would chip in with a direct HSU v BIC comparison smile.gif

ID = independent distributor—like HSU

Unless you compare two subs in the same room with the same content, there's nothing to conclude because so many other factors affect bass reproduction. I have not had the chance to directly compare subs from those two brands.
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 

PS- after 5 minutes of checking your link out, I honestly might be swayed! 

post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post


ID = independent distributor—like HSU

Unless you compare two subs in the same room with the same content, there's nothing to conclude because so many other factors affect bass reproduction. I have not had the chance to directly compare subs from those two brands.

You're totally right, I feel like this one time in high school math class (15 years ago) were I made a comically dumb comment (it was literally, "oh, yeah, 5 and 2 does multiply to 10), and got a similar true-to-earth-reality-check comment back. Honestly, I really appreciate your help in this endeavor. Of course there is no honest way to compare subs, unless you're in the same room, using the same gear, with the same content.

 

I'm really excited to finally have the resources to start building something real/tangible (in terms of home theater). How long have you been in this mix? Any foibles/things to avoid? 

post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahughes03 View Post

Hey everyone!
Any thoughts on boston acoustics?  I know they're pricy, but I'm willing to consider

I really want quality (affordable). bottom line. Andy

What is your max budget for speakers - minus the HSU sub

Yes, Boston does make good quality speakers
post #10 of 34
Thread Starter 

I'd say keeping it under a grand for everything (minus the sub) would keep my wife happy-ish :) She's actually complained about the stupid-boomy sub, so that's our first, but I wanna roll-out "good" speakers quickly thereafter...

post #11 of 34
Since you want small towers - look at the HTD Level Two
They make nice stuff
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-two-speakers
post #12 of 34
In your budget range - Boston A series

A250

A225C

A25

http://www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/BOSTON_A_SERIES.html
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 

Thank you sooo much. I haven't heard of HTP before, so I'm honestly appreciative of the mention. Have you been able to sit down and compare those HTDs alongside the A250s? What should I be looking for (in case I'm able to 'taste-test'). I'm assuming clarity and openness (especially across the top), but are there other little things I should pay attention to?

post #14 of 34
Instead of boston speakers (which are essentially store speakers that you don't want) check out Arx speakers from theaudioinsider.
That way you can support the little guy.

If course I think my klipsch sound fantastic.
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahughes03 View Post

Thank you sooo much. I haven't heard of HTP before, so I'm honestly appreciative of the mention. Have you been able to sit down and compare those HTDs alongside the A250s? What should I be looking for (in case I'm able to 'taste-test'). I'm assuming clarity and openness (especially across the top), but are there other little things I should pay attention to?

As far as an in-home shoot out between the two, no.

I listen for how natural things sound to me, like the human singing and speaking voice - and how different
musical instruments sound. I want the sound to have good detail, definition and depth - I want imaging to
be life-like and the soundstage to be big. I want the bass to be tight, controlled and articulate. I do not like
a mushy/boom bass response. I also want good balance and dynamics with the movies.>>> The thing to
remember is, the speakers should also be properly set up in a friendly room.

All in all - to put it simple, if the speakers you are listening to, do not annoy or distract you - then that is
positive and a good beginning. You want something that will draw you into the source.

If you want to look at something to test your speakers with, then look at this
http://www.linkwitzlab.com/sound_picture_cd.htm
post #16 of 34
Just to note - I do not get caught up between the Retail and non Retail or ID side - it is the speakers themselves
that I look at, and their overall performace. Your call.
post #17 of 34
Thread Starter 

Those ARX's look super sweet, but fall just outside of my price-range (540+230+300 = 1070, eeeeehhhhh juuuuust barely, but I told my wife...).

 

I really appreciate the nod to the little-man that's going on in this thread!

 

Sorry if I offended with the Klipsch comment- I didn't mean to at all. Whoops!

post #18 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
All in all - to put it simple, if the speakers you are listening to, do not annoy or distract you - then that is
positive and a good beginning. You want something that will draw you into the source.
 

 

Zeig- I think this might be the most sane quote ever, when it comes to these sorts of things.

 

I agree, and really appreciate your take. I'm currently bugged by my Energys (I still love them, but they lack an openness/expressiveness across the top end that I'm really starting to notice), and I am looking forward to learning more about the speakers that have been brought up!

 

Honestly though, how esoteric is all this?! I sit down, put on a tv show, and immediately wonder if better speakers will give better headroom above the dialogue...

 

What's even worse is that I know it's the cable-network's audio compression that is the main culprit, as I can listen to vinyl all evening without complaints.... :)

 

Thanks bud!

post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahughes03 View Post

Honestly though, how esoteric is all this?! I sit down, put on a tv show, and immediately wonder if better speakers will give better headroom above the dialogue...

What's even worse is that I know it's the cable-network's audio compression that is the main culprit, as I can listen to vinyl all evening without complaints.... smile.gif
Thanks bud!

The key is to find speakers that do not have a some-what recessed midrange - and an open detailed tweeter, that is not
sharp/edgy or harsh - also the crossover network plays a big part in this.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahughes03 View Post

Those ARX's look super sweet, but fall just outside of my price-range (540+230+300 = 1070, eeeeehhhhh juuuuust barely, but I told my wife...).

I really appreciate the nod to the little-man that's going on in this thread!

Sorry if I offended with the Klipsch comment- I didn't mean to at all. Whoops!
Use your current speakers for surrounds for now and you're good to go. smile.gif
post #21 of 34
I would very much second the ARX speakers. They really excel for clarity and true reproduction of source material. They may be a little out of price range (also need to include shipping into your price) but they really do perform far above their price point. If interested the home theater shack has a pretty informative thread about their $1K speaker shootout where the arx a5 were pretty popular along with some other great options (a little higher than your price range but good reading for the similar speakers in the brands).

You could always start off with the bookshelves of whatever brand you go with and if needed move up to towers in the future (if you decide to go that route) and push the bookshelves to the back. I went from a energy classic to the arx a1b L+R in my basement setup and it's not even in the same ballpark as far as clarity and depth of response.

I would recommend if your doing the ID route to look at the ARX, HTD level 2 (or 3 if budget stretching), emp tek, and NHT. The pioneers get a lot of raves as well( especially for the price)

Whatever brand you go, I would suggest that you put the entire speaker budget into your front 3.0 and use your energy as the rears in the short term. Than if you want/can afford you can upgrade them down the road. The rears are important for HT but realistically are the least used portion and the content is a lot more forgiving than what will be broadcast over your front soundstage. I've found repeatedly in this hobby that it's better to put your budget into a really great single component and then save up for the next. rather than spread it across everything for a small upgrade across the system. You end up spending more money overall as the upgraditis is a nasty bug to beat....

For Subs I would definitely look hard at the usual SVS, HSU, and PSA. If possible, try not to skimp here as these can have the biggest overall impact on your system sound, especially for HT. I have an older SVS PB10-nsd and it's a beast that blends well with everything but isn't too overwhelming. The new PB-1000 is similar to this and the SB-1000 is a mighty mite that will blend in anywhere at the expense of some of the extension and wall rattling.

Happy Hunting!
post #22 of 34
Thread Starter 

Kini - while I'd love to, the whole Energy package is moving upstairs to out media room/office (I feel like a spoiled brat saying that). 

 

Zeig - that is really articulate info. I really appreciate when people can effectively utilize cogency. If I'm not mis-interpreting, I should be considering speakers that have a clear sense of 'availability' (or transparency) , without trying too hard. I'll continue the quest for a speaker that can effectively present itself as natural-enough to not be noticed :) (AKA the AVS quest for the holy grail).

post #23 of 34
Thread Starter 

Super-

 

wow, awesome info. I will totally consider your suggestion of investing in the front over a total package (I hadnt even considered this option). That might be a great way for me to stretch my grand a little further. 

 

Thanks guys!

post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahughes03 View Post

Zeig - that is really articulate info. I really appreciate when people can effectively utilize cogency. If I'm not mis-interpreting, I should be considering speakers that have a clear sense of 'availability' (or transparency) , without trying too hard. I'll continue the quest for a speaker that can effectively present itself as natural-enough to not be noticed smile.gif (AKA the AVS quest for the holy grail).

There really is no so-called holy grail or perfect speaker - just find one that you can live with, and is perfect for you, based
on your budget - even if it means a bookshelf speaker up-front. That way you can think about putting speakers like the ARX
on a short list.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahughes03 View Post

Hey thanks for the link!  I will honestly look into it. 

By ID, do you mean those common brands that don't quite preform (I'm honestly not familiar with ID)?

Just out of curiosity, have you heard a BIC sub?

In my ideal world, somebody would chip in with a direct HSU v BIC comparison smile.gif

I went from a BIC F-12 sub to a PL-200 and then went to a Outlaw LFM-1EX (HSU designed sub) and it BLEW them away!! I was running the PL-200 with the Outlaw and it was annoying. The BIC sub sounded so boomy compared to the Outlaw sub. Too bad you're just posting this, Outlaw just had a BF sale.

Where are you located?
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperFan View Post

I would very much second the ARX speakers. They really excel for clarity and true reproduction of source material. They may be a little out of price range (also need to include shipping into your price) but they really do perform far above their price point. If interested the home theater shack has a pretty informative thread about their $1K speaker shootout where the arx a5 were pretty popular along with some other great options (a little higher than your price range but good reading for the similar speakers in the brands).

You could always start off with the bookshelves of whatever brand you go with and if needed move up to towers in the future (if you decide to go that route) and push the bookshelves to the back. I went from a energy classic to the arx a1b L+R in my basement setup and it's not even in the same ballpark as far as clarity and depth of response.

I would recommend if your doing the ID route to look at the ARX, HTD level 2 (or 3 if budget stretching), emp tek, and NHT. The pioneers get a lot of raves as well( especially for the price)

Whatever brand you go, I would suggest that you put the entire speaker budget into your front 3.0 and use your energy as the rears in the short term. Than if you want/can afford you can upgrade them down the road. The rears are important for HT but realistically are the least used portion and the content is a lot more forgiving than what will be broadcast over your front soundstage. I've found repeatedly in this hobby that it's better to put your budget into a really great single component and then save up for the next. rather than spread it across everything for a small upgrade across the system. You end up spending more money overall as the upgraditis is a nasty bug to beat....

For Subs I would definitely look hard at the usual SVS, HSU, and PSA. If possible, try not to skimp here as these can have the biggest overall impact on your system sound, especially for HT. I have an older SVS PB10-nsd and it's a beast that blends well with everything but isn't too overwhelming. The new PB-1000 is similar to this and the SB-1000 is a mighty mite that will blend in anywhere at the expense of some of the extension and wall rattling.

Happy Hunting!

Super fan has some great advice in his post.  

 

I found the thread on the hometheatreshack for the $1K speaker evaluation and it was very very informative. After looking through it I'm seriously considering getting those ARX speakers and giving them a shot and I'm not even in the market for speakers right now.

 

I also agree with the subwoofer recommendations. I have the PSA XV15 and when I say it was the single best purchase I have made for my HT I'm not exaggerating. A good subwoofer has an incredible impact on you HT and it should not be overlooked. 

post #27 of 34
So, here is the thing...if you live near a best buy with a magnolia audio ...then you can hear the martin Logan motion 20' s...and if they sound great, then order the Arx 5 which HTS picked SD their top speaker under $1000 while saying it sounded very very similar to the Arx.

As for subs...the Svs has the 45 day try out policy. The hsu' s often get rated as the most musical and have a number of tuning options and the PSA has the most output for HT..and in reality, your room effects will probably make more difference than the brand.

These days, you don't have to spend a ton to get great sound.
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by RN2013 View Post

These days, you don't have to spend a ton to get great sound.

True. These are great days for home audio! We are truly the lucky to have all these great options available to us. :D

post #29 of 34
Thread Starter 

Super and Hop, thanks for the recommendation regarding the home theater shack $1000 speaker review. It was a great read.

 

I think I may follow Super's advice of starting with bookshelfs, a center, (and maybe adding a sub also) for the time being, and move the bookshelves to the back when ready to (if needed) go the way of towers. Looks like I'll be doing the Arx A1b for L+R, the Arx A2rx-c for my center, (thanks Kini for bringing ARX up in the first place) and I'm leaning towards the HSU STF-2, which should round out to around $850 before taxes and shipping, which will make my wife very happy, and probably help me with upgrades for years to come!

 

Thanks everyone!

post #30 of 34

That sounds like a great plan. Let us know how everything goes. Enjoy your new system. :) 

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