I've had the same speakers more or less for about 15-20 years, and I've been lurking on the DIY forums for quite some time. I wasn't unhappy with the Paradigm's peformance (other than dialogue being difficult to discern from center channel on some sources) but I had the upgrade bug and wanted to do something different. So I decided to go DIY for my first major speaker upgrade in a long time.
My room is approximately 16x22, I have a 135" DIY spandex screen, and current speakers consist of Paradigm Monitor 7's, CC-350, Axiom QS8's for surrounds, 1 Hsu VTF3mkIII and 1 AV123 MFW-15 for subs, and Micca ceiling speakers for Atmos. Usage is 99% movies. I really wanted 3 identical speakers for my front sound stage, and dynamics and efficiency were also important.
So I chose 3 HTM-12's for my front sound stage. This will not be a build thread since I basically copied everything everyone else has already written about. But as always I should mention that Erich was great to work with, the kit was packaged exceptionally, and all components and parts were top notch. I Duratex'ed the cabinets which I will discuss more in the next post.
I was originally going to put these behind the screen but I decided that I couldn't spare the room. I was also a little concerned about the "utilitarian" looks of the HTM-12's, but after having them out I REALLY like the way they look. They are a simple yet attractive design in person, and without grills they really look like they mean business (and they do!). So I'm liking having them "exposed".
Even before rerunning Audyssey the difference in sound quality was immediately noticable. The first thing I noticed was a substantial improvement in cohesiveness, even among the rears. Everything just sounded more balanced and I realized I was focusing less on where the sound was coming from and just enjoying being immersed in the movie. Big wall of sound. Dynamics and clarity were superb and as everyone knows, these things get crazy loud even on receiver power. It definitely helps having 3 identical speakers. Pans were seamless and I didn't have that "center speaker" sound anymore. Midbass was much improved from my previous speakers...low brass instruments had a significant heft and depth that just wasn't present before. They simply sound great.
After rerunning Audyssey things got even better. I also built little 7 inch speaker stands and raised and tilted them so they're pointing right at the MLP. This really opened the soundstage up quite a bit. Overall, I'm really really pleased with the sound of these--very "cinema-like" and I would imagine there's not a whole lot of things I would want these speakers to do that they couldn't. Highly recommended if you have the room and you like movies.
**The more I listen to these the more I like them. I've definitely adapted to the more "in your face" sound (Paradigms were fairly laid back) and prefer it over the Paradigms. These are just great great speakers.
I liked these so much I ordered 2 Volt-8's for side surrounds, and I can't wait to see how that improves things even more. Thoughts on Duratex below.