LCR floorstanding speakers for apartment living room? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-04-2020, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
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LCR floorstanding speakers for apartment living room?

Hi, folks! I'm looking to build my first speakers and am trying to figure out which design to use. Any recommendations?

This is for use in an apartment; I'm looking more for something that'll sound great at low to medium levels than something that'll rattle my windows.

Sources:
Primarily video games (more RPGs than FPS) and TV/movies. For music, ranges from power/symphonic metal to EDM to bluegrass to folk to indie rock.

Room:
Main room in a 1BR apartment. Roughly 12' x 25', with the kitchen on the other end. Seating is two couches in an L shape, with the large couch facing the TV across that 12' distance.

Current Gear:
Front channels: Athena Technologies AS-B1-1 and AS-C1-1 center
Rear channels: Polk Audio RTi4
Subwoofer: BIC V1020 (10" down-firing ported)
Receiver: Denon AVR-S730H

Priorities:
  • Aesthetics. Partly WAF (well, girlfriend), but that matches my acceptance factor. It's a living room, I want something that's going to be pleasant to look at and not massively obtrusive.
  • Off-axis listening. L-shape to seating, plus all that other space. I need something that'll sound decent if we have guests for a movie or a dinner party.
  • Audio quality. I'm looking for something that will sound good across a range of genres. Loud is not a priority.
  • Midrange audio quality. I tend to have issues hearing dialogue with my current setup.
  • Low-volume audio quality. I want to be able to do quiet listening at night.

Budget:
Probably $1500ish for all three.

Thoughts:
  • I'll be keeping the sub (and eventually building my own), so these don't need to be full-range. Presumably crossover around 80 Hz?
  • I need to be able to drive these with my receiver, not buy separate amps. But this is for regular TV volumes; I don't need 150 dB massive theater insanity.
  • Aesthetically, I prefer floorstanders. I'd like something decently slim rather than the enormous cabinets of yore. These will be paired with a 65" TV, maybe eventually a 75" or 80". I'd like them to complement it, not dwarf it.
  • Available flatpack would be nice for convenience and time savings (and for working on them way sooner), but not critical. After lockdown, I'll eventually be have access to a CNC router and could make cabinets in Baltic Birch.
  • MDF, I'd plan to veneer. Baltic Birch I might leave as is.

Current Impressions:
  • DIYSG Elusive 1099. Reasonable price, flatpack is a bonus. Love the design. Seems huge.
  • Jim Holtz Anthology. Doesn't seem much smaller than the 1099. Good speaker, not sure if there's a reason to pick it over the 1099.
  • Zaph Audio ZDT 3.5. Aesthetically, much closer to what I'd prefer. Reasonably slim.
  • Troels Gravesen CNO-GRANDE. Looks great, perfect size. And also $2,800 plus shipping for components for two. Nope.

Any other builds I should be looking at? Thoughts on the 1099 vs. Anthology vs. ZDT 3.5? Dangit, if only there were an Elusive 799.

I prefer sealed or front ported over rear ported for some reason, but that's more vague aesthetics that I can't put my finger on. It's not actually a factor, just a nice bonus.

Thanks for reading!
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-04-2020, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Whoops. Apparently I'm confused on terminology, and LCR refers to a single speaker, not a set of left/center/right? I'm looking for three distinct speakers, not a single.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-04-2020, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulrin View Post

This is for use in an apartment.

Primarily video games (more RPGs than FPS) and TV/movies. For music, ranges from power/symphonic metal to EDM to bluegrass to folk to indie rock.

Off-axis listening.

Probably $1500ish for all three.

I need to be able to drive these with my receiver.

I prefer floorstanders. I'd like something decently slim rather than the enormous cabinets of yore.

Thanks for reading!
https://www.diysoundgroup.com/home-a...e-mtm-kit.html

I think this ticks most all your boxes and you will still have money left over. It’s not officially a floor stander but you could easily build a stand that looks just like the speaker. You may not find a lot of reviews but what you will find is that the Helix always gets compared to very high quality expensive speakers way above the price you will pay.
I would really consider these for your apartment.
I have htm and ht series for my theater but my next build would be these for everyday living room listening.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-05-2020, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiophile75 View Post
[Helix]

I think this ticks most all your boxes and you will still have money left over. It’s not officially a floor stander but you could easily build a stand that looks just like the speaker. You may not find a lot of reviews but what you will find is that the Helix always gets compared to very high quality expensive speakers way above the price you will pay.
I would really consider these for your apartment.
I have htm and ht series for my theater but my next build would be these for everyday living room listening.
Thanks! I hadn't thought about it, but... that could work well! Which would also put the Cobalt and Apollo in the running. You'd pick the Helix over those two for living room use focused on home theater over music?

Also found Matt Grant's Nexus MTMWW and Paul Camody's Classix 2.5. Ah, decision paralysis.

Apparently Erich is rather responsive to emails? I'm finding it tricky to find a comparison between the DIYSG models for home theater use that focuses on quiet and broad dispersion (y'know, for a living room) rather than narrow dispersion and going super loud.

Folks seem to really like the DIYSG models in general, and I appreciate that Erich (and at least one of the designers) is active on here.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-05-2020, 08:50 PM
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For your low volume, clear dialogue, front ported and off axis priorities, I’d look no further than the DIYSG “HT” models for the three front speakers. I use an HT-12 as a center and Cinema-10 for L/R and they’re great together. The 1099 fits the bill if you need the more conventional horizontal center speaker, albeit large, and they’re supposed to be excellent for dialogue too.

If you can’t fit these or they don’t pass the WAF then a second vote for the Helix MTM for L/R and a Helix MT for center if you can fit it this way. Turning a traditional vertical MTM on it’s side as a center is a compromise, it works but suffers off axis. The 1099 design helps to reduce these affects by mid drivers located under the waveguide. A HT model (or MT speaker otherwise) as a center is always best.

You’re using a subwoofer so you don’t need the low end the Apollo offers. The Helix Dome is reported by many to be a great sounding speaker. The Cobalt MTM as a center is likely better by design than Helix MTM on it’s side though. Something to consider if a Helix MT doesn’t fit as a center for you.

Last edited by Bur05XP; 05-05-2020 at 08:56 PM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-05-2020, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulrin View Post
Whoops. Apparently I'm confused on terminology, and LCR refers to a single speaker, not a set of left/center/right? I'm looking for three distinct speakers, not a single.
Generally it's Left, Center, Right as you think. There is a usage "LCR" I saw just once, where the poster was referring to speakers of a high sensitivity, designed to match with a subwoofer (they gain sensitivity by losing low bass per "Hofmann's Iron Law").

Meanwhile, seems to me 3 of these
https://www.diysoundgroup.com/home-t...aker-kits.html
would be within your budget. Are you sure you can't cozy up to their looks?
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-05-2020, 09:50 PM
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1099's. Then read lots of build threads here for ideas on how to make them pretty and fit the decor. Why? Efficiency and dynamics.

“You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.” Chuck Palahniuk
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-06-2020, 05:04 AM
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The Anthologies would be beautiful speakers, but one note is that they have an open back mid. There's a tunnel that runs from the mid range driver to the back which is open, and as a result, they need to be placed out from the walls at least 18", and I think more is better for them. Not sure where you would be able to find a flat pack.

Since loud is not your priority, I would do 3 MT speakers like the Helix or Cobalts, or maybe look at something like the Amiga kit at Parts Express. Honestly, it would be hard to go wrong with any of the recommendations above.
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-07-2020, 04:42 PM
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Maybe it’s my first good speaker but classix ii or classix 2.5. Just got my classix ii’s back together after refinishing them and damn did I miss them. They do great for movies as well as music I think.

Just remember, placement matters.

- MIRAGE OM-C2 Center, MIRAGE M490 L/R, 4 JBL 8330a surr , 8 x JBL 12" subs w/Inuke 6000. JVC RS420, Denon x4000, Sony x800 -
Classix ii's + building Paul Carmody Sunflower Redux for 2 channel
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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There was talk of Erich bringing back the 893 (possibly in a 9.5" x 39" format, which would be perfect), and a DIYSG site update from January 2019 says that a TuxedoCivic high-end 3-way with a Motus 8" woofer, Morel midrange, and Fountek ribbon would be going up for sale shortly. Would anyone happen to know what's happened with either of those?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bur05XP View Post
For your low volume, clear dialogue, front ported and off axis priorities, I’d look no further than the DIYSG “HT” models for the three front speakers. ...

If you can’t fit these or they don’t pass the WAF then a second vote for the Helix MTM for L/R and a Helix MT for center if you can fit it this way. Turning a traditional vertical MTM on it’s side as a center is a compromise, it works but suffers off axis. The 1099 design helps to reduce these affects by mid drivers located under the waveguide. A HT model (or MT speaker otherwise) as a center is always best.

You’re using a subwoofer so you don’t need the low end the Apollo offers. The Helix Dome is reported by many to be a great sounding speaker. The Cobalt MTM as a center is likely better by design than Helix MTM on it’s side though. Something to consider if a Helix MT doesn’t fit as a center for you.
I was planning on something horizontally-oriented, since my TV will be going on top. Of course, none of these will fit in the TV stand I was planning to buy, so I'll have to build my own. Which will be far more involved. DIYSG does say that the Helix MTM can be used as a center by laying on its side. Do you know how badly it suffers?

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Originally Posted by head_unit View Post
Meanwhile, seems to me 3 of these ... would be within your budget. Are you sure you can't cozy up to their looks?
Ha! Y'know, I was contemplating an infinite baffle subwoofer. I don't think the building would appreciate me drilling through concrete and putting it in the apartment above me, though.

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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
1099's. Then read lots of build threads here for ideas on how to make them pretty and fit the decor. Why? Efficiency and dynamics.
Does efficiency yield anything besides loudness? I'm not looking to hit reference levels. Dynamics are more of a priority. That said, all the nice veneering or white paint isn't going to solve the fact that they're physically huge boxes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottvalentin View Post
The Anthologies would be beautiful speakers, but one note is that they have an open back mid. There's a tunnel that runs from the mid range driver to the back which is open, and as a result, they need to be placed out from the walls at least 18", and I think more is better for them. Not sure where you would be able to find a flat pack.

Since loud is not your priority, I would do 3 MT speakers like the Helix or Cobalts, or maybe look at something like the Amiga kit at Parts Express. Honestly, it would be hard to go wrong with any of the recommendations above.
Yeah, 18" or more wouldn't work for my needs. The Helix is rear ported but only needs something like 8", right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by trilkb View Post
Maybe it’s my first good speaker but classix ii or classix 2.5. Just got my classix ii’s back together after refinishing them and damn did I miss them. They do great for movies as well as music I think.

Just remember, placement matters.
Placement is a definite concern for me. I don't really have any options for where to place the speakers (they'll have to flank the TV, max 8-12" or so from the wall), which is part of the need for good off-axis performance.
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post #11 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 10:33 AM
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Here's a thought, take something like the Helix or Apollo MTM's and build them into a tower with the bottom half of the tower housing a sub. With a tower height around 40 inches you would have almost a cubic foot of airspace to work with and enough room for a side firing 10 or 12.
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post #12 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulrin View Post
Fountek ribbon...horizontally-oriented...Helix MTM can be used as a center by laying on its side. Do you know how badly it suffers?...need for good off-axis performance.
M-T-M layouts theoretically suffer from "Venetian blind" hot and null spots. I can't refer to much data offhand, but with typical crossovers and wavelengths thereof versus physical driver layouts, well, I prefer 3-way centers. My recollection of vertical dispersion tests of vertical MTM speakers is yes there are hot spots and nulls. Meanwhile, ribbons *can* be rather narrow, certainly the ones my old roommate used and the new Evo towers are. Which Fountek? Are there any dispersion curves available?

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Does efficiency yield anything besides loudness? I'm not looking to hit reference levels. Dynamics are more of a priority.
Paul Klipsch pretty vehemently believed efficiency related to dynamics. Now I've heard some small speakers that sound quite nice, but I also feel all the tiny speakers just lack something and maybe that's dynamics. I don't think of efficiency yielding loudness so much as avoiding amp clipping compared to less efficient speakers (which yes is a tool to get to louder volumes). If you want to play REALLY loud it is just hard to do it with inefficient speakers unless you buy truly gigantoid amplifiers which they may or may not handle well (for example, thermal power compression)
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post #13 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 10:51 AM
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You may also want to look at the other Curt Campbell speakers. MiniStatements and Statement Center Channel if you don't mind building your own.


http://speakerdesignworks.com/index_page_2.html
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