Speaker Audition- 9 New Speakers - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Its time to write a review of the some of the thoughts I have after doing an audition with @Category5 with the following speakers:

LINK to @Category5 writeup
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...-thoughts.html

Emotiva T2 Towers
HSU CBB8s
Chane's A2.4
Def Tech D9
RBH R5E
PhilHarmonics AA
QA3020i
Emotiva B1
Elac Debut 2.0 B6

The only older model was Kef Q100

These thoughts are only mine and based on our listening preferences they will be different from @Category5

By the way, I didn't know Cat5 prior to this audition, great guy and good to meet somebody from these forums....

Let me start with the budget speakers:

Philharmonic AA's

These have been around you can read other reviews, notes, and praise. They are selling for $200 + a capped $30 shipping. Just crazy value for this price. Good low end, handles everything relatively well. If you have $200 this is an auto buy no questions to ask. I can say more but they speak for themselves

RBH R5E

imo the 2nd most disappointing speaker of the group. The price tag was over $400. It sounds exactly like the old RBH R5Bi so if you are familiar with this speaker, its signature, build is exactly the same.

Emotiva B1
Solid speaker, it did everything pretty well..doesnt handle high volumes that great, low end ok, mids good, highs ok, detail and clarity there but not my favorite of this budget group, but a solid speaker
A speaker that doesnt do anything bad, but doesnt do anything great. Decent soundstage & imaging. It didn't keep me, didn't inspire, excite me. But a good solid speaker.

Elac Debut 2.0 B6
As everybody knows from the shootout I did last year---I didn't like the Elac B6 at all
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...-1-winner.html

This year they are much improved, their dynamics, their signature, good low end, mids strong, highs a little break up/ high volumes a little rough, maybe a tad very small towards bright...
But they are really good speaker. Soundstage good, imaging much improved over last years B6. Clarity/detail improved but not at same level as my favorite speaker coming up next. I would definitely recommend these speakers for a budget set up. Performs like a $500 speaker. Good value. They created a much better version of the B6

Before I go into my favorite budget speaker I will briefly talk about the DefTech D9
How the heck can they demand $700 + from this speaker? $600? $500?
It was simply dull, uninspiring..lacked character, decent low end.....I would buy if $300, I would pass if over $300 so I passed. This was the most overrated speaker of the group by far.

MY FAVORITE BUDGET SPEAKER

QA3020i

Absolutely stunning!! Sound yes, but its build, You literally can buy this speaker as simply a house decoration. The build is glamorous. I'm going to go out on a limb....This might be the most beautiful speaker under $700 you can buy...Maybe under $1k
So the sound....

Weakness....while low end is much improved is falls short of the Elac...but not bad at all. If you have subs or buying subs...BUY this speaker you will be very impressed for the money.
So we got the bad out of the way....

But oh my the clarity/detail was pretty dam good for this speaker, it had dynamics, pretty good soundstage, very good imaging, handled highs well....I had the old QA3020 for my son's room and the difference is so much better with this model.
Here's the thing...You can always artificially low end via sub.....YOU CAN'T ARTIFICIALLY CREATE Clarity & detail.

My position:

1. I kept the QA3020i for my son's room replacing the old QA3020.
2. I kept the Elac B6 2.0 for my garage with a small stereo amp.
3. I kept the Emotiva B1s to work as surround in my "new" set up which I will discuss later


OK....now for the big boys

Emotiva T2 Towers:

I really liked the towers. They are good value no doubt. Low end is so good. In HT, watching mad max Road to Fury they excelled at everything. They didn't handle high volumes as well as the Chane's A2.4 but then again who does. I do like their looks...that seems to be controversial...but I like them.
They were more dynamic than the Chane's providing a little bit bigger soundstage...imaging was also very good. Mids very good...Highs pretty good. Good clarity/detail. Slightly less than Chane's I believe but still very very solid. Music I noticed did kind of "float" which is hard to describe but noticed it more than once...this was something pretty cool. I assume tweeter responsible.
They did have some issues with higher volumes. Overall I was really impressed with the Emotiva T2s. Very solid, clear, detailed, good imaging/soundstage speaker. Definitely a steal at this price I believe. THey feel more like $3k pair towers not $1K

HSU CBB8s-

Holy Guacamole....SLow down boy get back here...Relax, Breathe.....Lol
These things hold no mercy
Like Cat5 said like a bull in a China Shop
Cat5 likes aggressive, forward, little bright speakers.
I wont get into too much detail....but I did have several moments in music where they were fatiguing.. They are so in your face it was clear the Emotiva & Chane's more neutral. They were bright to me. High volumes a little rough. But BIG soundstage, good imaging. We didn't listen in HT too much but I'm sure they are very good. They performed Mids good, Norah Jones on highs first go around was some screeching.
They just aren't my type of speaker just like I don't think the Emotiva's or Chane's are Cat5's type of speaker. Very similar to SVS Ultra's. Would definitely buy these before the Ultra's.

Chane's A2.4

They are the silent killers. They don't look pretty, they have no special marketing, no fancy boxes...but man they just have so much clarity and detail. Their imaging is probably best of group. Soundstage is very good. Everything has been said before by other ppl.
They were the only speaker we cranked up the volume and handled it pretty well.
I do have A2.4s in LRC and A1.4s in Rear Surrounds.

I have replaced the Chane's A2.4 LRC & A1.4 Rear Surrounds with the Emotiva set of T2 Towers, C2 Center, and rear Surrounds B1s
WHY?

The Chane's A2.4s LRC & A1.4s Surrounds are a good value for a little over $1,100.
Emotiva set I have is approximately $1700.

Why am I keeping the Emotiva's if Chane's a better value?
Simple, I wanted to experience towers and I really think T2 BEST towers available. They are more dynamic with better low end than the Chane's. After listening/adding the Emotiva C2 center it has really given even more Ooomph to the Emotiva set up. It's really growing on me. I only have about 4 hrs of T2 listening time.

Overall, I do have some buyers remorse in the Emotiva's...NOT because they are not very good speakers, the whole set up is very very good...ONLY because it was stupid to spend $1700 more on a set of speakers when I had a pair less than 1 year old, and only played the Chane's a couple months due to Hurricane Irma and damage in my house.


FINAL THOUGHTS

All the budget speakers were good...I like the QA3020i the best but really you are splitting hairs. Put a sub into the mix and all of these speakers would do well.

As far as the big boys: CHane's, HSU, Emotiva's they all performed very good. My only advice is if you have a set of speakers under 1K, getting tired of them, think you need to upgrade know this..I have listened to 19 pairs on speaker ALL under $1,000 in the past year and within this class under $1,000 NO speaker is bad. They all have strengths and weaknesses. If you really want to hear a difference, you need to spend some big money. Be happy with what you have because not always is the grass greener on the other side.

CENTERS

Ok I’ve had some time to compare briefly the centers
Emotiva C1
Chane’s A2.4
Emotiva C2

I’m really liking the C2. Powerful, clear, detailed, big soundstage. Definitely more dynamic than the Chane’s A2.4.
It’s amazing!
C1 is very solid as well but the CHane A2.4 is a little better. But the C2 is a beast.
It’s completely making the HT experience shine with the T2s.


Will wait for @Category5 to add his thoughts

Picture 1 attached: Emotiva T2,C2 set up
Picture 2 attached: son’s room QA3020i & Emotiva C1 center

Cheers
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Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,

Last edited by mpk1970; 07-26-2018 at 03:32 PM.
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post #2 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 05:16 PM
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Comparing the A2.4 to the T2 for music, did you run both in 2.0? Sounds like a sub or two is necessary for good low end on the Chanes but maybe not so with the T2's?

Awesome write up
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post #3 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 05:16 PM
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Excellent write-up Mike! Lots of good info here for many to discern. We all know how much work both you and Category5 put in. Just know we all appreciate what you both have done. Basically, you guys rock!


Cheers,

Phil
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post #4 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 05:20 PM
 
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ive been looking at the emotivas t1s though, not 2s.


wonder if theres any difference other than bass? id go for the t1s because of pricing and because i have a subwoofer.
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post #5 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boschpants View Post
Comparing the A2.4 to the T2 for music, did you run both in 2.0? Sounds like a sub or two is necessary for good low end on the Chanes but maybe not so with the T2's?

Awesome write up
Yes....No subs were used for any of the speakers. You could get away with no subs for the T2s.
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Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #6 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 05:30 PM
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Excellent, thanks so much for comparing all these! Got a few A2.4's on the way now after reading your (and many others) recommendations, and gonna try them both as LR's and then try one as a center so I'm really interested to see how you think the C2 compares (for HT in particular) given that it's so much larger (and a little pricier).


Thank you both again for doing these shootouts, really makes these forums so incredibly useful!
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post #7 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewtoAVBob View Post
ive been looking at the emotivas t1s though, not 2s.


wonder if theres any difference other than bass? id go for the t1s because of pricing and because i have a subwoofer.
Good question. T2s perform way better than their price tag.

Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #8 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 05:33 PM
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very nice comp write up...i agree with you very much that the b1's strength lies in the mids..i find them extremely accurate in tonal quality.... one question ,, how did you like the q100s in comparison to the other $300 types?.. thanks for the time and effort , you did a great service for budget buyers.. you and catagory5 are to be commended for the effort as well as the quality of your write up....
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YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #9 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 05:45 PM
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Thanks for the detailed writeup..

For HT, what center to be selected with the Q3020i ?? Room size 13x12 with 14 foot ceilings ??
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post #10 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:01 PM
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Thank you for your time spent on this...very much appreciated...


Now I have to think and think about this....
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post #11 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:02 PM
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Reading this made my decision SO MUCH harder. I was torn between the Chane A5.4 towers and emotiva T2 towers with accompanying center and surrounds. Now I don't know which to buy.
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post #12 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:03 PM
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How did you toe-in the CCB-8's?
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post #13 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lp85253 View Post
very nice comp write up...i agree with you very much that the b1's strength lies in the mids..i find them extremely accurate in tonal quality.... one question ,, how did you like the q100s in comparison to the other $300 types?.. thanks for the time and effort , you did a great service for budget buyers.. you and catagory5 are to be commended for the effort as well as the quality of your write up....
Q100s we played either right before or after the Phil AAs. Very similar. Q100s decent low end. I didn't take mental notes really on Q100s since they have been out for awhile
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Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #14 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
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How did you toe-in the CCB-8's?
I let @Category5 toe them in...it was dramatic
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Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #15 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Spears View Post
Reading this made my decision SO MUCH harder. I was torn between the Chane A5.4 towers and emotiva T2 towers with accompanying center and surrounds. Now I don't know which to buy.
Agree...thats tough.
Are you using subs?

Both are winners
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Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #16 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpk1970 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Spears View Post
Reading this made my decision SO MUCH harder. I was torn between the Chane A5.4 towers and emotiva T2 towers with accompanying center and surrounds. Now I don't know which to buy.
Agree...thats tough.
Are you using subs?

Both are winners
Yea I am using subs. I know i don't need the towers but i just like the way they look and I could swing the extra money for the towers.
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post #17 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:43 PM
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Thanks for the writeup. Sounds like I'm going to stick with my Chane choice and pull the trigger then. I was sort of interested in the Emotiva but I'd be doing B1's all around and a C1 center. No room for towers right now and Chane fits the budget better than those towers (plus I don't think I have enough juice for them).

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post #18 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:56 PM
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Speaking of that. Would a conventional AV be enough power for the T2's and B-1's in a 5.2.4? (i.e. Denon x4300)
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post #19 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Speaking of that. Would a conventional AV be enough power for the T2's and B-1's in a 5.2.4? (i.e. Denon x4300)
Good question
I have a similar Marantz with Outlaw amp....
I think getting an amp would help....

Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #20 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyinion View Post
Thanks for the writeup. Sounds like I'm going to stick with my Chane choice and pull the trigger then. I was sort of interested in the Emotiva but I'd be doing B1's all around and a C1 center. No room for towers right now and Chane fits the budget better than those towers (plus I don't think I have enough juice for them).
if you are going to be using them for dual use the chane's should probably be better for ht and as good or better for music....if you were doing 90% music i would think the b1's might be a better value...
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YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #21 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 07:01 PM
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Yeah I'm running a 50W Marantz 1606. Definitely don't think it can push the Emotiva towers. Planning to upgrade it next year some time but for now it's what I have.
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post #22 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 07:03 PM
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Yeah I'm running a 50W Marantz 1606. Definitely don't think it can push the Emotiva towers. Planning to upgrade it next year some time but for now it's what I have.
that's another advantage of the chane's.... easy to drive

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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that's another advantage of the chane's.... easy to drive
Yeah it seemed to have no problem driving the one 2.4 I tested as a center channel for a week+. Ok I'm off to order before they sell out lol.
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post #24 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 07:25 PM
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Great review, thank you! If I'm buying a LRC right now, which would you recommend as budget LR speakers, the Chane 1.4s or the QA3020is? Was going to pick up a 2.4 as a center.

Or is it really worth it to get spend the extra money and get three A2.4s?
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post #25 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 07:29 PM
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First off, thank you so much for the review! Your timing couldn't have been any better!

I wanted to ask if you guys had any concerns with the QA 3090CI utilizing 4" speakers for home theater? It is the center channel for the 3020ci, which doesn't seem to be available in the US yet. At least, it's not showing up on their website atm. https://www.qacoustics.co.uk/q3000i-...e-speaker.html

I know it's hard to say without actually listening to them, but I'm curious if you guys had any thoughts/speculations on the matter. I'm looking at purchasing speakers in the next couple of months in the sub $300 range for HT, so I'd like to how the 3020ci's and the 3090ci stack up vs. some of the other budget options that were tested with their matching center channels having larger 5" & 6" speakers.

Thanks!
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Last edited by Brandon Smith; 07-25-2018 at 07:32 PM.
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post #26 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 07:31 PM
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Yeah it seemed to have no problem driving the one 2.4 I tested as a center channel for a week+. Ok I'm off to order before they sell out lol.
i would too....

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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Originally Posted by Rogco View Post
Great review, thank you! If I'm buying a LRC right now, which would you recommend as budget LR speakers, the Chane 1.4s or the QA3020is? Was going to pick up a 2.4 as a center.

Or is it really worth it to get spend the extra money and get three A2.4s?
Tough question. The QA3020i are really good and again look amazing. If you have sub its really a tough call.
The great thing about Chane's A2.4s is you future proof yourself for a few years.
But then again, upgradeitis is a common theme around here....

The A2.4 would be a great center for either....

What I would do, if you can afford, is buy them both demo and see which you like best. Return the loser which will probably be less than $75 shipping.

Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #28 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Brandon Smith View Post
First off, thank you so much for the review! Your timing couldn't have been any better!

I wanted to ask if you guys had any concerns with the QA 3090CI utilizing 4" speakers for home theater? It is the center channel for the 3020ci, which doesn't seem to be available in the US yet. At least, it's not showing up on their website atm. https://www.qacoustics.co.uk/q3000i-...e-speaker.html

I know it's hard to say without actually listening to them, but I'm curious if you guys had any thoughts/speculations on the matter. I'm looking at purchasing speakers in the next couple of months in the sub $300 range for HT, so I'd like to how the 3020ci's and the 3090ci stack up vs. some of the other budget options that were tested with their matching center channels having larger 5" & 6" speakers.

Thanks!
For the money....
I would probably try the Emotiva C1 or Chane's A2.4 as the center
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Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #29 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mpk1970 View Post
Tough question. The QA3020i are really good and again look amazing. If you have sub its really a tough call.
The great thing about Chane's A2.4s is you future proof yourself for a few years.
But then again, upgradeitis is a common theme around here....

The A2.4 would be a great center for either....

What I would do, if you can afford, is buy them both demo and see which you like best. Return the loser which will probably be less than $75 shipping.
Was just looking at the 3020i. You're right, they look great! Do you think I could use them with a 2.4 center, then move them to surrounds with LRC 2.4s if/when I upgrade in the not to distant future? Some people seem to think it's important to match speakers, and I've seen other people say it doesn't matter at all, especially with surrounds.
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post #30 of 118 Old 07-25-2018, 07:49 PM
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For the money....
I would probably try the Emotiva C1 or Chane's A2.4 as the center
If I did do the C1 or A2.4 as the center, would you recommend using their associated bookshelfs for l/r & surrounds or stick with the QA 3020's?

Sorry for asking hypotheticals, I know you really would have to test to be sure, but your hypothetical guess/suggestion would be a much more educated guess than mine!

I've seen it suggested in the forums several times to stick with the same line for l/r/c, which is why I'm asking. However, that suggestion may change when you're considering very low budget options as we're discussing here. Interested to here your thoughts. Thanks.
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