New to Hifi in Newton MA. Looking for advice - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 23 Old 04-24-2018, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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New to Hifi in Newton MA. Looking for advice

I am a novice audiophile and looking to invest in a good hifi system.
This is the room layout where I am planning to add speakers. The important question for me is now is selecting the right speaker type and size given the location and room layout (not the actual furniture but very similar). The room is 26’ by 15’ by 8’. There is a fireplace right opposite the TV. So I will need a set which does not force me to the exact sweet spot which will be in front of the fireplace all the time. I may do it sometimes when I want to just purely listen.
My considerations are to eventually move to a 5.1 system but right now start with a 3.0 system. I am not too fussed about sound for movies as I watch mainly detective dramas and documentaries. But sometimes I watch action flicks or cool nature documentaries.
I really like jazz (small bands with good horns and rhythm section, female vocalists), classical (chamber orchestras), indian classical with percussion and flute/strings, acoustic rock/folk, rock and roll in roughly that order. Favorite albums/artists: Tenor/alto/trump sax (getx, Coltrane, Lester, Louis, Hodges, Pepper, Desmond, Sonny Rollins), Billie, Ella, Madeleine Peyroux, Bach/Vivaldi, Steely Dan’s especially can’t buy a thrill, Pink Floyd, Allman brothers.
I was quoted the Paradigm prestige 75f for 2800/pair which was a bit too rich for my budget. I am looking for 1500/pair tops and one with limited fussing with amps etc.
I have a back up room (15 by 15) where maximum width apart is 9 ft and the room length is 15’. Carpeted but opening out into a kitchen. I may do a soundbar for TV and keep the music system in the back up room which may mean smaller speakers then what I need for the big room. And this maybe fits in my budget. I have attached sketches of the room and a mock up of the room with furniture in the pdf file.

So any help on what kind of speakers and brands/models will be super helpful.
cheers
RR
Attached Files
File Type: pdf audio_HIFI_inquiry.pdf (884.8 KB, 39 views)
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post #2 of 23 Old 04-24-2018, 09:28 PM
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The very best thing you can do to ensure a good choice, one that you will be happy with for a long time, is to go listen to a wide variety of speakers. Find your local purveyors ("home theater design" will often get you non Best Buy options), take some of your most familiar music (in CD or better format) and just listen. The more you listen the more you will come to understand your likes and dislikes, thus allowing you to make an educated decision, one you can live with for a long time.

Be sure to sample all the current tweeter designs. Horns, soft domes, metal domes, planars, ribbons. If you find a favorite, that will allow you to cull out a lot of the options, so you can focus on just a few.

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post #3 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 04:42 AM
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I just want to say if you plan on 5.1 then start with your center channel and don't worry about massive left/right towers. The left and right can be whatever, but don't spend 1500$ on left and right mains and then spend 300$ on the center channel that 70-80% of dialogue comes out of. In a 2.0/2.1 system that's fine, moving to 5.1 uses the center more then the left/right.

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post #4 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 06:43 AM
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I suggest you proceed slowly as you learn what you like. You might think about going used or open box so you can sell them if your tastes change.

It would bother me some of the time (if I was paying attention) to listen to music from one side or the other, away from the center, so as you say you may want a music setup in the other room.

There are some shops in the area: Audio Lab and Q Sound in Cambridge, Goodwins High End in Waltham, Natural Sound in Framingham. More mentioned here:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...rs-boston.html

Brands: Revel, Dynaudio, Paradigm, Monitor Audio, Wharfedale, lots more.

Or just buy this and take your time thinking about upgrades:
https://boston.craigslist.org/bmw/el...545851705.html

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post #5 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 07:49 AM
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Good to see a fellow Newtonian on the forum. Agree with ^ poster. Definitely head to Goodwins in Waltham for an in-store audition and then likely an in-home audition. They are very good about letting you demo products in your environment. However, there will not be many options in the sub $1500 there. But you can find a style/brand that you like that fits your room and then start used shopping on the various audio websites if their offerings are not in your price range. I assume the same applies to Natural Sound in Framingham. I've only been in there once and a salesman was kind enough to chat with me about my system for about 30 mins. Was pushing some high end McIntosh solutions, but not overly so and I wasn't buying anyway.

I'd also suggest heading to the Framingham Best Buy/Magnolia and listen to the new B&W 700 series. This new line has been pretty highly regarded by many users, albeit mostly B&W devotees. The reports are that the highs are nicely detailed and they do a nice job in the upper midrange, which seems to be crucial for your taste in music. The older B&W 683S2's are in your price range and are a great value at around $1700/pr. You can probably negotiate a little, and it's possible the 600 series is going to get a refresh sometime soon, so clearance sales will get that down a few hundred (I got near mint floor model CM10S2's for $2700 and those retailed for $4400 IIRC). They have a good selection of amps to approximate what type of power you're using and definitely bring your own selection of music. While you can't do in home demo, BB's relatively reasonable return policy gives you options.

Good luck!

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post #6 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 08:46 AM
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Good to see more folks from MA here. It sounds like you are not in a big rush and want to take your time to invest in something you will enjoy for a long time.

The two posters above me gave good advice on actually going to listen to some speakers to see what you like... however this can be tough as many of the places may push for options well out of your budget as they want a cut as a middle man. It's still good to go and get a feel for what you like in a speaker though. I'd also recommend auditioning speakers at owner's homes per this thread: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...ts-thread.html

For your budget and tastes in musics, I would recommend starting with 2x Chane A5.4 and and a 2.4 for a center. (https://www.chanemusiccinema.com/a-series-speakers/A5.4 and https://www.chanemusiccinema.com/a-series-speakers/A2.4 )

They are currently out of stock but IMO are well worth the wait. Here are links to information on when they will be back in stock, and to get on a waitlist to buy: ( http://www.chanemusiccinema.com/foru...018-Chane-A5-4 and http://www.chanemusiccinema.com/foru...the-Chane-A2-4 )

I used to own previous versions of these speakers and they have incredible value as they compared favorably to speakers costing much more. Over the past few years I've gravitated to JTR speakers, another internet-direct company which is great, but in a higher price and performance range.

You can read up on the Chane speakers here: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...a3-a5-etc.html

I'd also recommend investing in a quality sub from JTR or Rythmik when your budget allows- but getting the two A5.4 and a 2.4 would be a great start.

Buy my awesome gear so I can buy more awesome gear! ...please...
Will get around to listing soon, PM me if interested: barely used Crest Audio CC4000 Amplifier, Crown XTI 2002 Amplifier, barely used Emotiva Basx A-500 Amplifier
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post #7 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 09:26 AM
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I'm in Mass and have visited both Natural Sound and Goodwin's High End. I will never be "buzzed in" at Goodwin's ever again. I revealed that I had recently bought KEF R series speakers and was looking for options on an integrated amp. Guy plops down a Hegel H360 at $5600 after I'd specifically said my budget was "in the neighborhood of $2500." Looked down his nose at me the whole time I was there.

Natural Sound people were quite a bit better. My business, however, went to the place that really treated me the best...Audio Video Therapy just a mile over the line in Nashua NH. BTW, go there and listen to KEF R series. On sale now for about 30% off! They also have Paradigm, B&W, Martin-Logan, PSB, Totem, Klipsch, Aeriel, and more. Nicest people you'll ever encounter in the business, and no sales tax.

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post #8 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71fulkerson View Post
I am a novice audiophile and looking to invest in a good hifi system.
This is the room layout where I am planning to add speakers. The important question for me is now is selecting the right speaker type and size given the location and room layout (not the actual furniture but very similar). The room is 26’ by 15’ by 8’. There is a fireplace right opposite the TV. So I will need a set which does not force me to the exact sweet spot which will be in front of the fireplace all the time. I may do it sometimes when I want to just purely listen.
My considerations are to eventually move to a 5.1 system but right now start with a 3.0 system. I am not too fussed about sound for movies as I watch mainly detective dramas and documentaries. But sometimes I watch action flicks or cool nature documentaries.
I really like jazz (small bands with good horns and rhythm section, female vocalists), classical (chamber orchestras), indian classical with percussion and flute/strings, acoustic rock/folk, rock and roll in roughly that order. Favorite albums/artists: Tenor/alto/trump sax (getx, Coltrane, Lester, Louis, Hodges, Pepper, Desmond, Sonny Rollins), Billie, Ella, Madeleine Peyroux, Bach/Vivaldi, Steely Dan’s especially can’t buy a thrill, Pink Floyd, Allman brothers.
I was quoted the Paradigm prestige 75f for 2800/pair which was a bit too rich for my budget. I am looking for 1500/pair tops and one with limited fussing with amps etc.
I have a back up room (15 by 15) where maximum width apart is 9 ft and the room length is 15’. Carpeted but opening out into a kitchen. I may do a soundbar for TV and keep the music system in the back up room which may mean smaller speakers then what I need for the big room. And this maybe fits in my budget. I have attached sketches of the room and a mock up of the room with furniture in the pdf file.

So any help on what kind of speakers and brands/models will be super helpful.
cheers
RR
In testing dome tweeters vs my Martin Logan LX16s I found the AMT tweeter in the Martin Logans to deliver just a hair more detail for the style of music you listen to.

May want to give those a listen though it seems you have some excellent independent shops in your area carrying some excellent brands.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #9 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 03:20 PM
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I cordially invite the OP to come over to my home to listen to my system. It's about a 50 minute drive west on the Pike, less time than it might take for him to get to the North end of Boston most days.
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Last edited by KenM10759; 04-25-2018 at 04:44 PM.
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post #10 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hobbes4444 View Post
Good to see a fellow Newtonian on the forum. Agree with ^ poster. Definitely head to Goodwins in Waltham for an in-store audition and then likely an in-home audition. They are very good about letting you demo products in your environment. However, there will not be many options in the sub $1500 there. But you can find a style/brand that you like that fits your room and then start used shopping on the various audio websites if their offerings are not in your price range. I assume the same applies to Natural Sound in Framingham. I've only been in there once and a salesman was kind enough to chat with me about my system for about 30 mins. Was pushing some high end McIntosh solutions, but not overly so and I wasn't buying anyway.

I'd also suggest heading to the Framingham Best Buy/Magnolia and listen to the new B&W 700 series. This new line has been pretty highly regarded by many users, albeit mostly B&W devotees. The reports are that the highs are nicely detailed and they do a nice job in the upper midrange, which seems to be crucial for your taste in music. The older B&W 683S2's are in your price range and are a great value at around $1700/pr. You can probably negotiate a little, and it's possible the 600 series is going to get a refresh sometime soon, so clearance sales will get that down a few hundred (I got near mint floor model CM10S2's for $2700 and those retailed for $4400 IIRC). They have a good selection of amps to approximate what type of power you're using and definitely bring your own selection of music. While you can't do in home demo, BB's relatively reasonable return policy gives you options.

Good luck!
I really appreciate all the good advice and detailed feedback I received so far. Sorry if I am not able to get to thank you all individually. I do have to visit some of the places mentioned here. Nice to get some recommendations from a fellow Newtonian.


RR
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post #11 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hobbes4444 View Post
Good to see a fellow Newtonian on the forum. Agree with ^ poster. Definitely head to Goodwins in Waltham for an in-store audition and then likely an in-home audition. They are very good about letting you demo products in your environment. However, there will not be many options in the sub $1500 there. But you can find a style/brand that you like that fits your room and then start used shopping on the various audio websites if their offerings are not in your price range. I assume the same applies to Natural Sound in Framingham. I've only been in there once and a salesman was kind enough to chat with me about my system for about 30 mins. Was pushing some high end McIntosh solutions, but not overly so and I wasn't buying anyway.

I'd also suggest heading to the Framingham Best Buy/Magnolia and listen to the new B&W 700 series. This new line has been pretty highly regarded by many users, albeit mostly B&W devotees. The reports are that the highs are nicely detailed and they do a nice job in the upper midrange, which seems to be crucial for your taste in music. The older B&W 683S2's are in your price range and are a great value at around $1700/pr. You can probably negotiate a little, and it's possible the 600 series is going to get a refresh sometime soon, so clearance sales will get that down a few hundred (I got near mint floor model CM10S2's for $2700 and those retailed for $4400 IIRC). They have a good selection of amps to approximate what type of power you're using and definitely bring your own selection of music. While you can't do in home demo, BB's relatively reasonable return policy gives you options.

Good luck!
I really appreciate all the good advice and detailed feedback I received so far. Sorry if I am not able to get to thank you all individually. I do have to visit some of the places mentioned here. Nice to get some recommendations from a fellow Newtonian.


RR
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post #12 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

thank you very much for all the helpful information.
I also appreciate the offer from KenM1079 to drive to central MA to check out the system. very generous but one that I may have a tough time achieving with my schedule.
I have some actions now and will update later.
I do have a question given my room size 26 by 15 by 8. and speakers will be along the longer wall in the middle of the room.
Can I get away with bookshelf speakers?
thanks
RR
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post #13 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
In testing dome tweeters vs my Martin Logan LX16s I found the AMT tweeter in the Martin Logans to deliver just a hair more detail for the style of music you listen to.

May want to give those a listen though it seems you have some excellent independent shops in your area carrying some excellent brands.
I was thinking the same about your (OP) music tastes and the AMT tweeter. My music tastes are similar to yours, and I enjoy the AMTs in my Emotiva Airmotiv B1s.

I'm out in the Springfield area.

Cheers
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post #14 of 23 Old 04-25-2018, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71fulkerson View Post
I do have a question given my room size 26 by 15 by 8. and speakers will be along the longer wall in the middle of the room.
Can I get away with bookshelf speakers?
Yes, given your diagram the listening positions are about 10 feet from the speakers, or less.
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post #15 of 23 Old 04-26-2018, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71fulkerson View Post
Hi all,

thank you very much for all the helpful information.
I also appreciate the offer from KenM1079 to drive to central MA to check out the system. very generous but one that I may have a tough time achieving with my schedule.
I have some actions now and will update later.
I do have a question given my room size 26 by 15 by 8. and speakers will be along the longer wall in the middle of the room.
Can I get away with bookshelf speakers?
thanks
RR
I'll see if I can send you a PM, because I don't know if you can send one until you've got a few more posts.

If you don't listen at terribly loud levels and do anticipate having a subwoofer, a pricier stand mount speakers can offer options for higher quality sound than a lower-priced floor-standing speaker. It's often not a cost savings because one should invest in good stands, but can worth the expense.

When I went shopping I wanted to buy a pair of KEF R300's at about $1800, plus stands for perhaps $200. Instead I went home with a pair of R500 floor-standers for $1800, the dealer's demo speakers. Those same speakers are on sale now, new for $1900. The dealer probably has their demo models of R700 on sale now for nearly the same price.

The KEF Uni-Q driver at this level is hard to tell as being a metal tweeter. No one who's been to hear my system has ever commented that it's a "metal sound", quite the opposite I've been asked if it's a soft-dome tweeter.

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post #16 of 23 Old 04-26-2018, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71fulkerson View Post
The room is 26’ by 15’ by 8’. There is a fireplace right opposite the TV. So I will need a set which does not force me to the exact sweet spot which will be in front of the fireplace all the time. I may do it sometimes when I want to just purely listen.

My considerations are to eventually move to a 5.1 system but right now start with a 3.0 system. I am not too fussed about sound for movies as I watch mainly detective dramas and documentaries. But sometimes I watch action flicks or cool nature documentaries.

I really like jazz (small bands with good horns and rhythm section, female vocalists), classical (chamber orchestras), indian classical with percussion and flute/strings, acoustic rock/folk, rock and roll in roughly that order. Favorite albums/artists: Tenor/alto/trump sax (getx, Coltrane, Lester, Louis, Hodges, Pepper, Desmond, Sonny Rollins), Billie, Ella, Madeleine Peyroux, Bach/Vivaldi, Steely Dan’s especially can’t buy a thrill, Pink Floyd, Allman brothers.

I was quoted the Paradigm prestige 75f for 2800/pair which was a bit too rich for my budget. I am looking for 1500/pair tops and one with limited fussing with amps etc.

I have a back up room (15 by 15) where maximum width apart is 9 ft and the room length is 15’. Carpeted but opening out into a kitchen. I may do a soundbar for TV and keep the music system in the back up room which may mean smaller speakers then what I need for the big room.
Room size has nothing to do with speaker selection, only listening distance does. (Room size however has everything to do with SUBWOOFER selection, if looking to do an LFE-intensive HT setup which you are not.)

Your musical tastes are similar to mine, as are your movie tastes (not into detective dramas, but dramas in general which are mostly dialogue not flashy sound effects).

IMO there are two types of music listeners: analytical, and emotional. The analytical listener wants to hear every last detail in the music, and loves to somewhat detachedly observe specific audio attributes in music: soundstage and imaging, attack and decay, etc. The emotional listener is more focused on getting "the soul" of the music---on a presentation that is first and foremost EMOTIONALLY INVOLVING, where he can effortlessly sit and listen for long periods at a time, with zero listening fatigue or effort.

I started out as an analytical listener and was big into highly accurate, detailed and "neutral" speakers at first.

Then one day I heard a "warm" speaker and was blown away. Have never looked back...the way I look at it, I want to see and enjoy the forest, not fixate on and micro-examine the trees.

So, during your trips to shops to listen to various speakers, first figure out which type of listener you are. THEN come back for specific recs.
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #17 of 23 Old 04-28-2018, 11:13 AM
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check out the Hsu research CCB-8's you coudl do very well in budget with this set up: http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hybrid1-CCBpkg.html

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post #18 of 23 Old 04-29-2018, 05:52 AM
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I've been a customer of John at AV Therapy for over 20 years. And they will give you great deals. I was in recently and they had 2 pair of Aerial 6's for around $1200.Excellent shape. I had these speakers for about 10 years until I upgraded to the new Aerial T series this past summer. Very room friendly and they don't take up any more space than a bookshelf w/stands.
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post #19 of 23 Old 04-29-2018, 11:21 PM
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You asked about bookshelf speakers and if they’d work, yes they would. Given your space and furniture it would probably be better to get those over towers. It usually recommended to get 3 identical speakers up front and in your case it certainly would fit to get a 3rd bookshelf speaker as your center channel as it appears all or most of your listening will be off axis, a 3rd bookshelf speaker will provide better and wider dispersion then any MTM (2-way) or even a WMTW (3-way)center channel will.

Depending on the brand some will and some won’t assist with that. Some brands like Dynaudio or Totem (I’ll use them since I know them) will but the single speaker is built to order as a special so it may take a few weeks to receive. For Dynaudio since I’m a fan of their brand you could order the Emit 10 and use either the center channel or a 3rd Emit 10 and they’d fall right into your $1500 budget for a 3.0 setup. Or the Excite X14 for a little less then your budget for 2.0.

Best thing to do is audition as many brands as possible to see what you like to you ears. There’s honestly too many good brands out there but by auditioning several of them you’ll start to find your preference. Have fun doing it and don’t let it stress you.
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post #20 of 23 Old 04-30-2018, 10:59 AM
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Audio Video Therapy just a mile over the line in Nashua NH. BTW, go there and listen to KEF R series. On sale now for about 30% off! They also have Paradigm, B&W, Martin-Logan, PSB, Totem, Klipsch, Aeriel, and more. Nicest people you'll ever encounter in the business, and no sales tax.
+1 to Audio Video Therapy. No pressure at all, every employee seemed to be content nerding out about av equipment.
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post #21 of 23 Old 04-30-2018, 12:59 PM
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+1 to Audio Video Therapy. No pressure at all, every employee seemed to be content nerding out about av equipment.
John R (owner of AV Therapy) is a good guy. I have been in a few times and bought a processor from him. Their opinions seem honest, even over equipment they don’t carry, which is rare these days. Also Audio Innovations/John Herbster in Danvers MA is also very good, especially with the custom install area... as well as C4/Crestron installs.

On the high end side of speakers and particularly 2 channel, Perfect Note Audio in Westborough is also very good.
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post #22 of 23 Old 04-30-2018, 07:19 PM
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John R (owner of AV Therapy) is a good guy. I have been in a few times and bought a processor from him. Their opinions seem honest, even over equipment they don’t carry, which is rare these days. Also Audio Innovations/John Herbster in Danvers MA is also very good, especially with the custom install area... as well as C4/Crestron installs.

On the high end side of speakers and particularly 2 channel, Perfect Note Audio in Westborough is also very good.
I Googled "Perfect Note" and it seems to be a simple house on a side street in Westborough. I take it there's no showroom and it's a custom installer. Well, Audio Video Therapy is also a very good custom installer. They employ a fellow and that's all he does.

KEF R500, R200C, R100, R50, SVS SB2000 sub, NAD T758v3 AVR, LG UP875 4K BlueRay, Samsung UN55JU6500F 4K LED TV, KEF M500 headphones, Sony CDP-CE500 CD changer. Office: NAD M10, KEF LS50, KEF Kube 10b, Pro-Ject RPM1 TT w/ Ortofon 2M Red. Guest room: Hafler 300 L-R, KEF Reference Model 100 center, KEF iQ10 surrounds, modded M&K V-90 sub, Bluesound Vault 2.
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post #23 of 23 Old 04-30-2018, 08:12 PM
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Perfect Note is a small boutique Audio company with an audio room in his house and another location in Newton. There is one demo room at each location. His lines tend to be very high end though. Speakers: Egglestonworks (my speakers), Joseph Audio, Proac and possibly Dali. Amps and Pre: Solution, Ypsilon, Accuphase and Arcam.

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