After looking at some of the replies, this will probably stick out like a misfit post, but I have yet to see any threads dedicated to budget HT speaker sets.
A little back story first. My PC is the hub of my entertainment system. I use it for Games, Movies, Internet, and TV. In 2004 I bought one of the better PC 5.1 speaker sets available, the Creative Gigaworks S700 5.1. It's 560 watts (RMS), with a very tight 8" sub, using over 200 of that wattage. The satellites are pretty heavy and have 3.5" (3" actual) mids, with 1" dome tweets. Recently I purchased a Yamaha RX-V371, and temporarily hooked the satellites of the S700 up to it. The sub however was ill equipped to handle such connectivity, and I lacked the knowledge to make a custom connection. I preferred to keep it unmodded to try and get better resale value anyway.
My search for a budget HT speaker set to replace the S700 kit lead me to looking at Definitive Technology, Martin Logan, Klipsch, Yamaha, Boston Acoustics, Onkyo, etc. It seemed most were severely downsizing the drivers (while hyping up the performance) of their budget HT speaker sets. I really don't like when I read a speaker's spec to be 3.5", and it ends up measuring only 2.5" to the outer edges of the surround. I don't care what tech or buzz words they use, a tiny speaker with a lightweight magnet just cannot produce even deep vocals well. They all sounded too digital with huge frequency gaps between the mids and sub.
Then one day I stumbled upon some forum chat links via Googling for good budget HT speaker sets talking about Jamo speakers. Some of the chat was wrong, saying they were Japanese (vs Danish) designs, but most seemed to say they were one of the best values in budget HT sets. Yesterday I'd had enough of HT without a sub, so I ventured down to my local Fry's to check out their Martin Logan MLT-1s. There was a mix up and apparently the info I'd gotten on the phone about them having several sets left was wrong, they had none.
Just when I was thinking the 1.5 hour drive in gridlock was a waste of time, along with a side trip to Video Only where they had an open box set of Def Tech ProCinema 400s they were willing to sell for 400 (which sounded like crap to me), I asked the guy at Fry's if they had any Jamo subs or 5 packs. Luckily they had 9 sets of S 426 HCS3s, and some SUB 210s. They had only the sub on display, saying they kept selling out of the 5 pack and demo every time they got a shipment in.
They quickly set up the 5 pack and the manager even checked for lower net prices to match in between working on other orders. Within 10 min they had the 5 pack set up and were playing a Harry Potter movie on them, which sounded amazing for it's ultra low $200 asking price. There are HT sat sets I've listened to at over twice the price that couldn't come close. There was no lower net price on the sats. They matched Vann's price on the sub at $100, $50 off their price. So for $300 I got a set that was actually $17 cheaper than my old Creative Gigaworks were 8 years prior, with more modern, better cabinets, and WAY fuller sound.
I got them home and found the packaging to be some of the best I've seen for any HT electronics. The corner rails of Styrofoam were thick, solid and smooth, the top and bottom caps sturdy, and the center and surround trays well placed and adequately stout as well. All the Styro was dense, hard and smooth, no flaking, breaking or shedding. The sats don't come with wire, but I already had some. The speaker binding posts are gold plated screw-on type, with the surrounds having spring clips, which fit my 16g wire adequately.
A few very minor nit picks are the sub doesn't have an external heat sink or grounded power cord, and though I was surprised to see it come with a gold plated RCA cable, it's WAY longer than need be. Like I said, minor. I plug everything into surge protectors anyway, and I just bunched up and tied the excess cable. Living in a hi rise apt, I also don't push my subs too hard, so hopefully heat build-up won't be an issue. The sat cabinets have rounded vs square corners, and a fairly nice synthetic wood grain finish that appears to be a thin HPL.
I set the sub to half volume, Auto power (for the 12w power down mode), 0 phase, and cutoff at what appears to be 110Hz. I trimmed my surround and center via the receiver sat EQ to drop the 63Hz band to 0, since they can't play that low anyway. Unfortunately my receiver only has small and large for speaker size options, but with the sub at 110Hz, it sounds best in the small size mode. Otherwise I'd have to drop the sub to 80Hz, which is too low for an 8" I feel I readjusted my receiver's dynamic range to max vs standard, which I used with my previous Ti tweets because they were a bit overly bright.
The speakers have what appears to be poly mids and 1" silk dome tweets,. There's two mids that are over 5" on each front, and roughly 3.5" on the center and surrounds. The fronts are floor standing with fairly stout ported enclosures. The center is 13" wide with two mids and one tweet. I played some of the Olympics on TV and Larry Crowne to start breaking them in. A lot of soft dome tweets in budget speakers sound a bit muffled, but these don't. They're fairly natural and detailed, esp for their price range. I got anxious and popped in a Nine Inch Nails Blu-ray concert disc a friend lent me, keeping the volume uder control as I was stil breaking them in, and WOW, just amazing.
For my needs, equipment, and tastes, this is everything I wanted and more, for only $300. The sound is so much more full and detailed than what I had before, and those Gigaworks are no slouches. I'd put even those up against a lot of HT speakers sets that cost way more. Despite this SUB 210 not being the matching one for this 5 pack (SUB 260), it sounds plenty seamless and powerful enough for a small living room like mine, esp at the volume levels I use. These speakers play very tight and musically, just what I wanted. I don't like ultra low continuous rumble. This sub plays low without being too low and muddy, and the sats easily blend with it in sound quality and frequency.
Klipsch now apparently owns Jamo. You don't even need register these speakers for warranty coverage, you just keep the receipt. They're also covered for 5 years. Amazing product, and Fry's has great service.
http://www.jamo.com/speaker-types/subwoofers/?sku=SUB210Edited by Hi Def Fan - 8/1/12 at 4:15pm