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post #1 of 21 Old 12-04-2013, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been reading through some of the speaker threads on here, but admittedly I'm not very knowledgeable about this topic, and I could use some help.

I'm looking to create a 5.1 surround system in my living room, which is approx 17' x 15', 8' ceiling, hardwood floors, townhouse-style condo (so neighbors on other side of either wall, but I don't mind pissing them off a little with some sound wink.gif)

So far, I've got a 51" Samsung 8500 plasma, a 3d blu ray player and a Denon E300 AVR. For the speakers, I'm hoping to stick under $500 for the whole group. I don't need anything with amazing sound, but I'd like to maximize the quality for my budget.

Right now, I'm kind of leaning towards the Pioneer SP-BS22-LRs for the speakers, and then a "matching" center channel and sub. The Polk RTiA1 also look interesting. I don't really want to get front speakers much bigger than 12" to 13" (smaller would be better, but I realize that sacrifices quality) if I do bookshelf ones, I could maybe do something floor standing, but would also prefer not to). Also, with either of those speakers (or something similar), is it possible to get smaller rears, or will that be a pretty significant drop in overall sound quality.

I've read things about whether or not an AVR can provide enough power to speakers, and all that kind of stuff, but I really don't know what to look for to make sure it works with my Denon, and could use some really beginner-level help.

Hope that all makes sense! Please let me know if you need any other info about my room or anything else, and thanks in advance for the help!
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-04-2013, 04:47 PM
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Listen to as many different speakers as you can.

The two things to look at in speakers are the ohm rating and the SPL (look it up). Make sure the speakers are 6 or 8 ohm (not 4 ohm) and the higher the SPL rating the better. Those Pioneers are 6 ohm and have a lower then average SPL but they should work with that Denon. It will just have to work a little harder. The Polks are 8 ohm and have a higher SPL. But sound quality also matters. Only you can decide which sounds best to you.

You don't need to match the subwoofer with the other speakers. You can get it from a company that specializes in subs. But the fronts and center should be from the same series. The surrounds too but they aren't as critical unless you listen to a lot of surround music.
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post #3 of 21 Old 12-04-2013, 05:05 PM
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-04-2013, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Cool, thanks for the info. How much does SPL matter if I'm not going to crank the system up to it's maximum volume? Unfortunately with where I live, I can't crank it up as loud as I'd want to, so is SPL that important? (Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what I read).

Also, I had been considering the Energy Take Classic 5.1s or some of the Polk satellite systems (like the RM705s or maybe the TL2 setup). Any thoughts on those? They're probably not as good as something like I mentioned previously, but size-wise they're closer to what I'm looking for.
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post #5 of 21 Old 12-04-2013, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazztalker View Post

Cool, thanks for the info. How much does SPL matter if I'm not going to crank the system up to it's maximum volume? Unfortunately with where I live, I can't crank it up as loud as I'd want to, so is SPL that important? (Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what I read).

Also, I had been considering the Energy Take Classic 5.1s or some of the Polk satellite systems (like the RM705s or maybe the TL2 setup). Any thoughts on those? They're probably not as good as something like I mentioned previously, but size-wise they're closer to what I'm looking for.

Do not worry much about SPL, the Cambridge will cover your needs - it will get loud - however, not extreme head-banger loud.smile.gif
The Cambridge will go down to 60hz in the bass - with all due respects, I do not consider the Energy or Polk in the same league
with the Cambridge. The Cambridge can surprise you - your call.

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post #6 of 21 Old 12-04-2013, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazztalker View Post

Cool, thanks for the info. How much does SPL matter if I'm not going to crank the system up to it's maximum volume? Unfortunately with where I live, I can't crank it up as loud as I'd want to, so is SPL that important? (Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what I read).

Also, I had been considering the Energy Take Classic 5.1s or some of the Polk satellite systems (like the RM705s or maybe the TL2 setup). Any thoughts on those? They're probably not as good as something like I mentioned previously, but size-wise they're closer to what I'm looking for.

If you're going to listen at moderate levels then SPL isn't as important. But the S30's SPL is 90 db vs. 85 for the BS-22's. A 3 db increase is supposed to produce twice the volume.

The TL's have 3 1/4" drivers and go down to 90hz. The RM705's have 2 1/2" drivers and only go to 140hz which isn't very deep at all. The subwoofer will have to produce those higher frequencies. Also, the subwoofer in the RM705 only plays down to 40 hz which isn't that deep either. Might be O.K. for a condo though but I'd rather have the 5 piece TL2 and a better sub then the RM705 5.1 package.

Those Cambridge speakers at ac4l do look like a great value. Never heard them myself but I've heard nice things about them.

The Energy 5.1 package has been around for a while and is regularly recommended. Also consider the Boston A2310 but I've seen it well below $449 in the past from Amazon, Newegg, etc. but not lately.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/BOSA2310HTSGBA/BOSTON-ACOUSTICS-A2310-HTS-5.1-Speaker-System-Energy-Take-5-Killer-Blk/1.html
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-04-2013, 09:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gene c353 View Post

If you're going to listen at moderate levels then SPL isn't as important. But the S30's SPL is 90 db vs. 85 for the BS-22's. A 3 db increase is supposed to produce twice the volume.
A 3dB increase is what you get when power input is doubled. It takes 10dB to sound twice as loud.
The main issue with very small drivers is their inability to cross over to the sub at 100Hz or less. That greatly complicates the sub placement, as ideally you don't want to be able to directionally locate it, and with higher than a 100Hz crossover, you will. A four inch midbass is as small as you can go for the L/R/C to reach down to 100Hz.
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-05-2013, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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This is good stuff... thanks guys!

I went to BB last night and listened to a few different things, and I'm glad I did. The 4 I listened to were the Polk T15, Polk TSx110, Pioneer SP-BS22, and the Klipsch KB-15. Of those, I liked the TSx110s and the Klipsch ones. I could definitely tell a difference in the type of sound between the Klipsch and the TSx110s, but I'm not sure which I liked better. My initial reaction was the Polks, but I'm wondering if the Klipsch would grow on me - the guy at the store said they were better for movies & sports, while the Polks were better for music.

As much as I appreciate the links to other options, after last night I think I'd be more comfortable with something I can hear in person.

Those two are both a bit out of my price range though at $230 and $250 a pair. Is there anything out there that sounds similar?

I'll worry about figuring out the sub once I've settled on my fronts and center.

Locally on Craigslist I can find, are either of these any good:

New Polk R150s $90 for the pair (or like new with stands for $90).
Polk Rtia1s - no price, just looking for offers.

Maybe I'd be better off getting something a little "lower" now and doing a 3.1 system and then move what I get now to the back once I can buy some better fronts to complete the system?

Sorry, lots of random thoughts in there.... told you guys - I need help!
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-05-2013, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Looks like Fry's is selling the RTi4 for $99/pair. That seems like a pretty good deal, any reason to not go with those? How do they compare to the TSX110s I heard?
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post #10 of 21 Old 12-05-2013, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jazztalker View Post

Looks like Fry's is selling the RTi4 for $99/pair. That seems like a pretty good deal, any reason to not go with those? How do they compare to the TSX110s I heard?

Buy them, enjoy them - and slow your mind down.

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post #11 of 21 Old 12-05-2013, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Buy them, enjoy them - and slow your mind down.

Ha! Probably the best advice yet smile.gif

Just realized the Frys are in-store only, and the closest store is about 150 miles away. Might still be worth hopping in the car for, unless I can find someone local to match (or a price close to that that would ship them).

These will work with my avr, correct?

What would be a good center to pair with those?

Those are also too big for my rears, so any recs on a good option to pair with them in the back?
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post #12 of 21 Old 12-05-2013, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Strike that, they don't have them at the store closest to me. The closest ones are 5 1/2 hours away. Back to the drawing board...
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post #13 of 21 Old 12-05-2013, 10:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazztalker View Post

the guy at the store said they were better for movies & sports, while the Polks were better for music.
That makes as much sense as saying it's better to wear a blue shirt to movies and sports events, and a green shirt to a concert. Buy what sounds good to you, and don't listen to clueless salesmen, especially when they try to bone you by getting you to buy expensive cables and extended warranties.
Get a center of the same brand as the L/R, preferably the same speaker as the L/R.
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post #14 of 21 Old 12-05-2013, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jazztalker View Post

Ha! Probably the best advice yet smile.gif

Just realized the Frys are in-store only, and the closest store is about 150 miles away. Might still be worth hopping in the car for, unless I can find someone local to match (or a price close to that that would ship them).

A speaker needs to be on a much higher level than the Polk RTi4, for me to drive 150 miles.

The Polk RTi4 can be nice for you, if it is in your region. Look for a CSi center channel for the
Polk Rti4 speaker. Like the CSi3
http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Center-Channel-Speaker/dp/B0000E6S12

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post #15 of 21 Old 12-05-2013, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

That makes as much sense as saying it's better to wear a blue shirt to movies and sports events, and a green shirt to a concert. Buy what sounds good to you, and don't listen to clueless salesmen, especially when they try to bone you by getting you to buy expensive cables and extended warranties.
Get a center of the same brand as the L/R, preferably the same speaker as the L/R.

I'm sure you're right. The Klipsch ones just sounded different. Not bad, just different. The Polks sounded fuller and the Klipsch sounded more acoustic (if that makes any sense?).

I'm definitely not going to get suckered in on expensive cables and extended warranties.

Thanks, Bill.
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post #16 of 21 Old 12-05-2013, 11:41 AM
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I have the sister speakers to the S30 Jim Z pointed out. I have them in the classifieds for sale.

If you have any interest LMK and we can work on numbers. This is if you are in the USA.

https://www.avsforum.com/t/1472898/4-mordaunt-short-carnival-2s-and-carnival-5-center
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post #17 of 21 Old 12-05-2013, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazztalker View Post

This is good stuff... thanks guys!

I went to BB last night and listened to a few different things, and I'm glad I did. The 4 I listened to were the Polk T15, Polk TSx110, Pioneer SP-BS22, and the Klipsch KB-15. Of those, I liked the TSx110s and the Klipsch ones. I could definitely tell a difference in the type of sound between the Klipsch and the TSx110s, but I'm not sure which I liked better. My initial reaction was the Polks, but I'm wondering if the Klipsch would grow on me - the guy at the store said they were better for movies & sports, while the Polks were better for music.

As much as I appreciate the links to other options, after last night I think I'd be more comfortable with something I can hear in person.

Those two are both a bit out of my price range though at $230 and $250 a pair. Is there anything out there that sounds similar?

I'll worry about figuring out the sub once I've settled on my fronts and center.

Locally on Craigslist I can find, are either of these any good:

New Polk R150s $90 for the pair (or like new with stands for $90).
Polk Rtia1s - no price, just looking for offers.

Maybe I'd be better off getting something a little "lower" now and doing a 3.1 system and then move what I get now to the back once I can buy some better fronts to complete the system?

Sorry, lots of random thoughts in there.... told you guys - I need help!

I'd pass on the Polk 150's for $90. The RTiA's are very nice speakers. They are listed in my area for $150-$200 on craigslist. The best values are still on the used market. You should be able to get a real nice 5.1 setup in your price range ($500). I sold a good-as-new Infinity 5.1 Primus Pack last year for $150 and Infinity Beta 40's 20's and a C250 for $475. Also look for Infinity Primus series speakers. They've been sold new on closeout at excellent prices for a while now and should be real bargains on the used market. Also various Paradigm models.

The internet does open up a lot more possibilities but you would be buying blind. Are there any other places near you to audition speakers besides BestBuy? I buy and sell used speakers/equipment for fun and I currently have half a dozen fine speakers and I'd be hard-pressed to pick just one. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. But as was previously mentioned, sooner or later you'll have to pull the trigger on something. Then, sit back and enjoy.
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post #18 of 21 Old 12-06-2013, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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So, here's what I've kind of pieced together, and I'd love some feedback:

Fronts: Monitor 30 ($100/pr), TSi100 ($130/pr) or RTi4 ($210/pr)

Rears: Monitor 30 ($100/pr)

Center: CSi3 ($100), CS10 ($100) or CS2 ($100)... whichever pairs best with the fronts I get

Sub: Mordaunt Short Carnival 9 10" ($150)



Depending on which fronts I get, that puts me $450, $480 or $660 total. I really want to do the RTi4s up front, but those stretch the budget a bit thin right now. I could try to get those R150s for the rear (maybe like $75/pr or so, but for a $25 difference, I'm guessing some of my other options will be better) and have a bit more $$$ for the fronts. Is there going to be much difference between the Monitor 30s and the TSI100s?

Or, do I just stop screwing with it and the get Energy Take Classics for $350?
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post #19 of 21 Old 12-06-2013, 02:47 PM
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If I had to choose from your list

Polk RTi4
Polk CSi3
Mordaunt Short sub

Save for the surrounds or get Monitor 30 for surrounds. The TSi
and Monitors are almost like Clark Kent and Superman.

For a tight budget, you do not need to brand match surrounds >
look at the Teac for surrounds
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/TEACLSH255BL/TEAC-LS-H255BL-2-Way-Speaker-System-Black-Pair/1.html

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post #20 of 21 Old 12-06-2013, 04:33 PM
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I agree that the Polk RTi4's are the best on that list but $210/pr is a bit steep to pay. Too bad Frys is so far away.
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post #21 of 21 Old 12-07-2013, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, here we go...

Front - RTi4 ($175, new from Polk on ebay) or RTi A1 ($230 new on Craigslist, might be able to talk down a bit)

Rear - TSi100 ($120, mfg refurb from Polk on ebay)

Sub - Mordaunt Short Carnival 9 10" ($150, new)

Center - CS1 ($80, new from Polk on ebay), CS2 ($120, new from Polk on ebay), CS10 ($100, mfg refurb from Polk on ebay), CS20 ($128, scratch&dent on Crutchfield) or CSi3 ($120, used on Craigslist).



Most likely going with the RTi4s, unless the RTi A1s are that much better. Need help picking out a center though. Given the fronts, price and source (mfg vs used from a private party), what would be my best option? From what I gather, the CSi3 is the best, but any concerns about buying it used? Do the rears I picked work ok with the rest of that setup? Will my Denon E300 run all of this ok?

Thanks!
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