Recommendation for 5.1 speakers under $10k - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 52 Old 03-17-2019, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Recommendation for 5.1 speakers under $10k

Was leaning towards Paradigm Prestige but looking for other ideas for a LCR and surrounds under $10k. Already have a Hsu VTF3mk5, so no sub needed, though I may end up getting a second one. Leaning towards Yamaha 2080 for AVR. This is for home theater mostly, occasionally used for party music. May add atmos in ceiling speakers as well - was planning it as a future upgrade, but would consider now (either 2 or 4 if within budget)

Room is 14x21', 8' ceilings, mostly open on one side in open floor plan.

Tell me what I should get instead of those prestiges (85F, 55C, 25s vs 15B surrounds)

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post #2 of 52 Old 03-17-2019, 10:49 PM
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A common theme on AVS is over spending.

Quick question, have you heard those Paradigms? If so and you loved them, have you heard anything else?

Many people can be just as satisfied spending $10000 as they can $2500. Because diminishing returns is real.

With all that said, I highly recommend Revel. With a budget of $10000, you could easily do a Performa3 setup, and still have money left over. In fact with that kind of a budget you could do a full blown system, with subs and Atmos channels.

Another good choice would be the Kef R series. 5 channels is easily done under budget, as they are basically same cost as the Revel Performa3. That is not to say that they are similar, in fact they are voiced quite differently as many comparisons have concluded. It’s a matter of taste.

An interesting suggestion would actually be the Klipsch RP series. While not nearly as expensive as the others, they could perform just as well. A full blown 7.X.4 system could easily be done within budget.

Also, a big part of any theater is bass. I highly suggest you grab another VTF3. This will not only increase output capability but smooth over room modes and provide a much more even bass across the room. Multiple subs is a must when you have multiple seating positions. Easily one of the better ways to spend your budget surprisingly.

Instead of that Yamaha, I’d actually recommend the Denon X6500H. It’s an 11 channel receiver with Audessey XT32 which is a better room EQ software and also allows you to EQ subs individually instead of as one. This also improves bass integration and room response. I also just so happen to like the looks of the Denon better

Good luck!

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #3 of 52 Old 03-17-2019, 11:10 PM
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Paradigm Prestige have very funky looking frequency response. What drew you to them, looks?

The aforementioned Kef R series has pretty similar decor as Paradigm Prestige while measuring much better for home theater. Revel Performa 3 is great too.

Also if you are willing to buy ID, Ascend or Salk are great brands as well, with some monstrous center channels that would do very well for home theater (I believe some very high percentage of audio in HT goes through the center channel, like 70% or so, so definitely focus on a good center).

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post #4 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 04:55 AM
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Take a look at Triad.

Hand built speakers made in Portland, OR. Triad is a favorite of custom installers and has won numerous industry awards. The company is known for its in-wall and in-ceiling products and they will paint match their speakers to match your walls and ceiling. Aesthetically minded spouses want them and "audio-centric" people love their performance and availability at numerous price points.

www.triadspeakers.com

Visit the Triad thread here at AVS.
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post #5 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Horse View Post
Was leaning towards Paradigm Prestige but looking for other ideas for a LCR and surrounds under $10k. Already have a Hsu VTF3mk5, so no sub needed, though I may end up getting a second one. Leaning towards Yamaha 2080 for AVR. This is for home theater mostly, occasionally used for party music. May add atmos in ceiling speakers as well - was planning it as a future upgrade, but would consider now (either 2 or 4 if within budget)

Room is 14x21', 8' ceilings, mostly open on one side in open floor plan.

Tell me what I should get instead of those prestiges (85F, 55C, 25s vs 15B surrounds)
Are you in the US?

If so where as there are many boutique manufacturers scattered across the Country worth considering, especially if they are close to you.

As mentioned already, if you like "bright" speakers the Prestige might be a good choice assuming all share the rising treble from 2khz to 10khz that the 15bs have.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153

Geoff A. J., California
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post #6 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 11:50 AM
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Last year I started a thread titled "What speakers for a $10k budget?" Got lots of great feedback. You might find that an interesting thread to read.

FWIW I wound up with Revel F208's, a C208 and a pair of M106's for surround duty. I already had a sub and it has integrated well.

On the M106's, just a heads up. I was on the cusp of going with F206's for the rears and it looks like that would have been a better choice. Overall the M106's are great but there are times, with some material, that as sound moves from in front of you to the rears their lack of LF reach means a less smooth transition.

Regardless, it's a pretty nice system and I still like it quite a bit a year later.
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Just one more upgrade and things will be perfect.
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post #7 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
Quick question, have you heard those Paradigms? If so and you loved them, have you heard anything else?
Yes I have heard them and liked them. I also auditioned some other paradigms (premiere line and last gen signatures). Also recently auditioned some of the KEF line, including the R700. In the past I've heard some B&W, dynaudio, polk, etc.


Quote:
With all that said, I highly recommend Revel. With a budget of $10000, you could easily do a Performa3 setup, and still have money left over. In fact with that kind of a budget you could do a full blown system, with subs and Atmos channels.
I will look into Revel, thanks.

Quote:
Another good choice would be the Kef R series. 5 channels is easily done under budget, as they are basically same cost as the Revel Performa3. That is not to say that they are similar, in fact they are voiced quite differently as many comparisons have concluded. It’s a matter of taste.
I heard the R700s with a nice signal chain. I really wanted to like them. Based on my reading I thought I would. They were nice, but lacked impact/slam/whatever. They were in a large fairly dead room, though, and the prestiges were in a more live room. But the prestiges had a pretty natural tonal signature (when listening with music I know very well), and could play loud and clean with detail. Which is what I need for a home theater/party speaker.

Quote:
Also, a big part of any theater is bass. I highly suggest you grab another VTF3. This will not only increase output capability but smooth over room modes and provide a much more even bass across the room. Multiple subs is a must when you have multiple seating positions. Easily one of the better ways to spend your budget surprisingly.
Yeah, I plan to get a second one.
[/QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by driedmango View Post
Paradigm Prestige have very funky looking frequency response. What drew you to them, looks?
I don't care about looks. I read about it as a good bang/buck home theater speaker. I want a speaker that's pretty efficient (so I can run off a standard AVR, I'm not getting high end amps) and can play loud/clean. I do care about sound quality, in case it's starting to sound like I don't. I am not an "audiophile" but I do have good ears (was into recording/studio audio for a while). My current LR are vandersteen model 2c so that's what I'm used to (as well as the sound of powered studio monitors).

Quote:
The aforementioned Kef R series has pretty similar decor as Paradigm Prestige while measuring much better for home theater. Revel Performa 3 is great too.
I will look into the Revels. I found the R700 very smooth/warm and pleasant, but lacked impact. I think i'd like them for music but not sure they'd be ideal for HT for me.



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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Are you in the US?
Yes in SF Bay area

Quote:
As mentioned already, if you like "bright" speakers the Prestige might be a good choice assuming all share the rising treble from 2khz to 10khz that the 15bs have.
I don't think of myself as liking bright speakers in general. Strangely, I didn't find the 95F (the only prestige I've heard) to be bright. I was expecting it to be based on reviews, as well as from having those shiny metal cones staring back at me. However It was a very neutral speaker, especially compared to some other speakers/headphones I've listened to that have a huge upper mid spike in order to convey a sense of "detail". I don't think the 95Fs were doing that to that extent. I didn't hear them back to back with the KEFs, but i don't think they were SOOO much brighter. A little more clinical, maybe. I listened to the R700, reference 1, and the Blades. The reference and blades had better imaging and were higher resolution, but wasn't a dark speaker by comparison. Again these were in different rooms, but on the same day and with same source material.
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post #8 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Horse View Post
Yes in SF Bay area
NHT is in Benicia; their C4 tower looks like a contender for you.

They have a showroom there as well but give them a ring.

https://www.nhthifi.com/products/165...-tower-speaker

NHT Offices

533 Stone Road Suite B

Benicia, California 94510

U.S.A.

Tel 1: (707) 747-0122

Tel 2: (800) 648-9993 x 700


Also, Lavish Audio in Santa Rosa has some excellent brands in their showroom near downtown.

https://www.lavishautomation.com/pro...fidelity-audio

Geoff A. J., California
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post #9 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 01:07 PM
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Dynaudio should be on your listening agenda. Also, Totem is a must hear option for you, IMO. These should be closer to your music listening taste (Vandys and Mission), while still providing good HT performance. Sonus Faber would be a good option, as well.
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post #10 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Horse View Post



I will look into Revel, thanks.


There are several dealers in our area.

https://revelspeakers.com/where-to-buy-revel.html

And, of course, Crutchfield carries them and many other great brands with $75/pair returns on tower speakers within 60 days.

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post #11 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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OK looks like I will have to get up to the city and check out audio vision and music lovers SF - can try a few of these brands and see what I think.

There's not a particular "signature" I'm looking fore. I really want a neutral sounding speaker that is efficient and can play loud with ease. I'm not doing a lot of critical listening in this room - it's just streaming movies and party music, that's it. So the ultra high resolution audio that big money buys isn't a high priority for me (although I can appreciate it - those high end kefs were amazing). Natural frequency response and lack of distortion is though.

I really do want to get the "right" speaker for me, as I'm not a hobbyist who changes speakers out every couple years. My last setup is almost 20 yrs old and I expect to stay with my next setup at least that long.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Horse View Post
OK looks like I will have to get up to the city and check out audio vision and music lovers SF - can try a few of these brands and see what I think.

There's not a particular "signature" I'm looking fore. I really want a neutral sounding speaker that is efficient and can play loud with ease. I'm not doing a lot of critical listening in this room - it's just streaming movies and party music, that's it. So the ultra high resolution audio that big money buys isn't a high priority for me (although I can appreciate it - those high end kefs were amazing). Natural frequency response and lack of distortion is though.

I really do want to get the "right" speaker for me, as I'm not a hobbyist who changes speakers out every couple years. My last setup is almost 20 yrs old and I expect to stay with my next setup at least that long.
I'm the same way.

The only reason I went to towers 10 years ago was because my cats kept knocking over my stand mount speakers!

The only reason I'd make a change would be a natural disaster or theft.

See if you can get to visit NHT though.

Their older Classic Three measured very very well so I'd expect the C4 to be even better.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me...classic_three/

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...=16&Itemid=140

Geoff A. J., California
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If curious about a good implementation of an air motion tweeter, check out Legacy speakers. A very different presentation than your usual piston-driven designs.

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post #14 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driedmango View Post
Paradigm Prestige have very funky looking frequency response. What drew you to them, looks?

The aforementioned Kef R series has pretty similar decor as Paradigm Prestige while measuring much better for home theater. Revel Performa 3 is great too.

Also if you are willing to buy ID, Ascend or Salk are great brands as well, with some monstrous center channels that would do very well for home theater (I believe some very high percentage of audio in HT goes through the center channel, like 70% or so, so definitely focus on a good center).
Do you know where to find that frequency response? Was it for the 95F?
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post #15 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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If curious about a good implementation of an air motion tweeter, check out Legacy speakers. A very different presentation than your usual piston-driven designs.
My studio monitors (Adam) have ribbon tweeters. I generally like them and wouldn't be opposed to them in a home theater application at all.
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post #16 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Horse View Post
OK looks like I will have to get up to the city and check out audio vision and music lovers SF - can try a few of these brands and see what I think.



There's not a particular "signature" I'm looking fore. I really want a neutral sounding speaker that is efficient and can play loud with ease. I'm not doing a lot of critical listening in this room - it's just streaming movies and party music, that's it. So the ultra high resolution audio that big money buys isn't a high priority for me (although I can appreciate it - those high end kefs were amazing). Natural frequency response and lack of distortion is though.



I really do want to get the "right" speaker for me, as I'm not a hobbyist who changes speakers out every couple years. My last setup is almost 20 yrs old and I expect to stay with my next setup at least that long.

Paradigms have been known to be on the brighter side rather than neutral. Kef and Revel on the other hand...

I think the Kef’s were given a disadvantage in their store setup, I’d suggest you find a local dealer to let you audition them in home, that is the best way to listen to them. BTW, the change between the 300 to the 3 has been said to be not significant but audible, so I’d say give them a listen and see.

Almost all of the speakers mentioned could easily be end game speakers, especially those Performa3’s. I’d probably take the Kef over them if using them in a theater setup however.

Another great (sorta local) brand is Ascend Acoustics. They are here in SoCal. Their Sierra Towers w/ Raal are supposedly some of the best, punching well above their asking price of $2700. But those brands like Kef and Revel become much more competitive when you get a dealer to give you 20, 30% off.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #17 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 03:15 PM
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Do you know where to find that frequency response? Was it for the 95F?



Here is the 95F, measured by Stereophile. Pretty nasty response. Port, Woofer, and Tweeter all laid out individually to get a better idea of how is sounds.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #18 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Horse View Post
OK looks like I will have to get up to the city and check out audio vision and music lovers SF - can try a few of these brands and see what I think.

There's not a particular "signature" I'm looking fore. I really want a neutral sounding speaker that is efficient and can play loud with ease. I'm not doing a lot of critical listening in this room - it's just streaming movies and party music, that's it. So the ultra high resolution audio that big money buys isn't a high priority for me (although I can appreciate it - those high end kefs were amazing). Natural frequency response and lack of distortion is though.

I really do want to get the "right" speaker for me, as I'm not a hobbyist who changes speakers out every couple years. My last setup is almost 20 yrs old and I expect to stay with my next setup at least that long.
These two criteria, unfortunately, are extremely rare in retail speakers. Some choices that are accurate and neutral(if you do your homework) and will sound great with music, very very few that are accurate and high efficiency.

You are the perfect candidate for a set of PSA speakers. They are 95-98 dB efficient, which is around 10dB more efficient than most any other speaker....so they only require 1/10th of the power for a given SPL.

Less power, less distortion, less compression, less heating of crossover and voice coil, all equals better accuracy and ability to handle the big dynamics of loud home theater. Most retail 85-88 dB speakers can't come anywhere close to clean reference level home theater playback.

https://www.powersoundaudio.com/coll...oducts/mtm-210
https://www.powersoundaudio.com/coll...roducts/mt-110

A fairly detailed review of the 210 on Home Theater Shack.

Ironically, these relatively low cost speakers that will run circles around almost any retail speaker regardless of price in terms of clean, low distortion playback, are also higher fidelity than many over priced audiophile speakers. LOTS of high dollar speakers that are anything BUT high fidelity with terrible measured response and lack of accuracy. Sometimes a fancy finish and brand name matter more.

The 98dB 210's for LCR and 95dB 110's for surrounds come in just under $4k with 60 day in home trial, 5 year warranty. They are also made in the USA.

Im in a similar boat as you, I am looking for speakers that are accurate and high efficiency. Unfortunately, the PSA are both too large(depth) for my space and out of budget. But I just ordered a pair of speakers for L/R that match my needs and budget. Center channel coming soon.
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post #19 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I think the Kef’s were given a disadvantage in their store setup, I’d suggest you find a local dealer to let you audition them in home, that is the best way to listen to them. .
Totally agree. I really want to A/B the kefs with some paradigms, as well as other speakers in the same room. Having a tough time though finding a dealer where that can happen. The shop that had the R700 I begged them to let me take them home for a trial (offered to buy them with return policy). He wouldn't do it - he actually didn't think they were right for me. But I still want to hear them in my space; they sounded great, just ... small.


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These two criteria, unfortunately, are extremely rare in retail speakers. Some choices that are accurate and neutral(if you do your homework) and will sound great with music, very very few that are accurate and high efficiency.

You are the perfect candidate for a set of PSA speakers. They are 95-98 dB efficient, which is around 10dB more efficient than most any other speaker....so they only require 1/10th of the power for a given SPL.
Never heard of these. I'd love to check them out but I just can't bring myself to buy a set of speakers that I've never listened to. The whole ship/return business is a real PITA in my mind.
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post #20 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 06:08 PM
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Golden Ear Triton One.r and new SuperCeneter XXL Reference for LCR. Could use AONs for surrounds. $8,500 MSRP

Revel is another good option.

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post #21 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
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Totally agree. I really want to A/B the kefs with some paradigms, as well as other speakers in the same room. Having a tough time though finding a dealer where that can happen. The shop that had the R700 I begged them to let me take them home for a trial (offered to buy them with return policy). He wouldn't do it - he actually didn't think they were right for me. But I still want to hear them in my space; they sounded great, just ... small.



Never heard of these. I'd love to check them out but I just can't bring myself to buy a set of speakers that I've never listened to. The whole ship/return business is a real PITA in my mind.
Maybe so...but maybe not much harder than driving to a showroom, buying them, bringing them home, and having to drive them back. Just saying. Zero effort to get them TO your house. And maybe less effort to send them back than driving to a dealer/showroom. You'd be out return shipping but honestly, if your objective is an accurate, neutral, high efficiency speaker, good measurements will tell you that better than listening to a speaker in a showroom with all sorts of bias and unknown setup.

Check out the PSA website and pop into chat with Tom...he's one of the two owners...in addition to making a good product...they offer the best customer service you are likely to ever encounter.

Regardless, good luck with your search. You certainly have the budget for a great setup, will be interesting to see where you land.

I recently began researching speakers extensively after getting my subwoofer setup "perfect" for me. Realized my speakers and subs were orders of magnitude apart in terms of quality and capability. I wanted clean, accurate, low distortion, uncompressed output at any level I might ever listen to for both music and movies. After doing a little simple match using speaker efficiency, power, and distance, I realized that there are not many average efficiency retail speakers out there that could meet my objectives without either running into distortion, compression, being limited on power, clipping, or a combination of these. In my mind, the first step to good sound quality is being able to play back at ones desired levels without distortion, compression etc etc. And its a taller order than most people realize. This steered me towards higher efficiency speakers, and there just aren't many. Klipsch advertises it, but subtract 5 dB or more from any of their ratings. It rubs me the wrong way, I just can't purchase from a company with blatantly false advertising.

Here's what I took a look at:

Reference level requires 105 dB peaks from each of your main speakers.
Speaker sensitivity is rated at 1m distance(3 feet). Each doubling of distance reduces SPL(in theory) by 6 dB. In room might be closer to 4-5 dB. Lets say 4.5. So at 12 ft listening distance, SPL is reduced by 9 dB. So an 87 dB speaker will produce 78 dB at 12 ft with 1 watt.

To increase SPL, we must double power for every 3 dB increase in SPL, assuming the amp has the headroom, and the speaker can handle the power without distortion or compression, heating of voice coil, crossover components etc.

Lets assume we want to listen at -10MV, or 10 below reference. We need 95 dB peaks from our mains for this. We have to double power almost 6 times in order to hit the 95 dB peaks with the above example. So 2,4,8,16,32,64. So if the loudest you ever want to watch a movie is -10 MV, you only need 64 watts to the speaker. I'd be willing to bet that most speakers would be running fairly high distortion by this point. This makes things uncomfortably loud..not just because its loud, but because distortion, compression, and clipping are objectionable. A high efficiency speaker of 97 dB efficiency would achieve this SPL with only 6 watts, low distortion, clean, accurate. More listenable at the same volume. Most folks who switch to high efficiency speakers find that they can easily increase their listening level by 5dB or more, and listen more comfortably than they could with standard retail speakers.

Anyways, just some food for thought. And if your interested, the above math can easily be applied to your specific situation to see if the speakers you are interested in are capable of clean playback at your desired levels.

My speakers are rated at 88 dB efficiency and 250 watts RMS. Well, my 105 watt receiver has them hitting distortion levels too high for my tastes before 95 dB. It's no wonder its not comfortable to try to let an action movie rip at -10 MV...I'm already exceeding the clean output capabilities of my system.

My solution isn't for everyone, or probably even for many, but the only way for me to get the clean, accurate, uncompressed playback, excellent sound quality with stellar on and off axis performance, is to build my own. Sort of. Really just gluing together an expertly engineered design from DISYG.
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post #22 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Revel is another good option.
Man, that's a lot of recs I've seen for Revel. Can't believe I've never really been aware of them. They are top on my list. Anyone know if they generally sell for retail or below? Or is that just a dealer-specific thing.
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post #23 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 07:24 PM
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Man, that's a lot of recs I've seen for Revel. Can't believe I've never really been aware of them. They are top on my list. Anyone know if they generally sell for retail or below? Or is that just a dealer-specific thing.

Generally retail. It’s hard to find sales on them, at least in my experience. Although, there are plenty of dealers on the forum and some may offer below retail pricing on them if you ask nicely.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #24 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 07:33 PM
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Totally agree. I really want to A/B the kefs with some paradigms, as well as other speakers in the same room. Having a tough time though finding a dealer where that can happen. The shop that had the R700 I begged them to let me take them home for a trial (offered to buy them with return policy). He wouldn't do it - he actually didn't think they were right for me. But I still want to hear them in my space; they sounded great, just ... small.



Never heard of these. I'd love to check them out but I just can't bring myself to buy a set of speakers that I've never listened to. The whole ship/return business is a real PITA in my mind.
The 95F's have 8" drivers vs 6.5" drivers on the R700's and in different rooms so it wasn't really a fair fight. The R900's vs 95F or 85F vs R700 might yield different results. The new generation R series (R7, R11) is said to have made noticeable improvements over the older models (R700, R900) so may be worth checking out. You still may prefer Paradigm in the end, but auditioning both in the same environment would be the best way to know for sure.

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post #25 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 07:47 PM
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You have a musical audio land in your back yard. More than most.

Audiovision has been a long staple in my life. They also have a slew of trade in speakers in outstanding condition. You just need to go check things out.

http://www.audiovisionsf.com/?page=loudspeakers

Dynaudio has a new line landing anytime now replacing the Excite line.

https://www.dynaudio.com/home-audio/evoke

There is Dali and Focal at AVSF. KEF.
The KEF line you list is now discontinued and the R700 is replaced by R7. The entire line is closer to Reference.

Totem is another I suggest. Have fun and get to a few places out there.

Revel is also a very nice speaker no doubt but sometimes I think there’s a bit of parrot syndrome here and people repeat what they read over what they’ve heard.

But so many options. I would look into the new Dynaudio line but you may need to wait a month.
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post #26 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
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You have a musical audio land in your back yard. More than most.

Audiovision has been a long staple in my life. They also have a slew of trade in speakers in outstanding condition. You just need to go check things out.

http://www.audiovisionsf.com/?page=loudspeakers

Dynaudio has a new line landing anytime now replacing the Excite line.

https://www.dynaudio.com/home-audio/evoke

There is Dali and Focal at AVSF. KEF.
The KEF line you list is now discontinued and the R700 is replaced by R7. The entire line is closer to Reference.

Totem is another I suggest. Have fun and get to a few places out there.

Revel is also a very nice speaker no doubt but sometimes I think there’s a bit of parrot syndrome here and people repeat what they read over what they’ve heard.

But so many options. I would look into the new Dynaudio line but you may need to wait a month.
Yeah I'm going to be making the rounds soon. Listen to as much as I can. Will check out the new Kef R line. Trying to find a dealer for Revels - musiclovers is listed on revel's site, but they aren't listed as a carried brand on the dealer's website. I'll have to give them a call.
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post #27 of 52 Old 03-18-2019, 08:50 PM
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OK, I’ve been beating the bushes for a year on HT with a budget similar to yours, and have listened to quite a few speakers. You also are a buyer like me. I don’t have audio ADHD and will be living with this system for years to come.

My observations and opinions:

I’m listened to the whole Paradigm Prestige line. They’re pretty. The sweet spot in the lineup is the 85f. My local AV seller has a complete HT room with all Para Prestige speakers, so I’ve actually heard the whole deal, anchored by a Marantz AVR/amp, including their incredibly overpriced subs. My opinion is that they are very good, but not necessarily a good value. The 95f isn’t worth the $1k premium over the 85f, and both are eclipsed by other speakers. But if I was buying Paradigm, it’d be a system around the 85f. It disappears in an HT, is gorgeous and has an unmatched midrange at $4k.

Just listened to a pair of Revel 208s the other day, in a Revel HT. Mind that they are the same price as the Para 95f and are three times the speaker. No contest between the two, but I also didn’t necessarily think the 208s were all that, sonically. Better bass, better soundstage, gorgeous cabinet. Waaay more speaker than the 95F, but not perfect. But definitely worth a strong consideration.

Listened to some KEFs, but they didn’t do it for me. They were a lower trim than the others though, so do not write them off.

You really should listen to some GoldenEar Triton Ones. I have a pair set up for two channel and for $5k they would anchor a flipping awesome HT system. Powered subs in the towers, ribbon tweeter. They are super versatile. If I wasn’t building two separate systems and just building a HT, they would be it every day and twice on Sunday.

I ended up deciding on Focal Arias for my HT. They are in your price point (don’t overlook the kickass Electras which can be had a big discounts as they have been discontinued). It was the right combination of detail, soundstage, crunch and price for my purposes. Either group is worth your consideration. Mind that an Electra HT would get pricey.
Focal Aria 936s punch above their weight. Both can be had at substantial discounts.

Anyway, my .02. Happy hunting.
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post #28 of 52 Old 03-19-2019, 10:44 AM
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The shop that had the R700 I begged them to let me take them home for a trial (offered to buy them with return policy). He wouldn't do it.
What an idiot dealer.

That was exactly how I auditioned the floor samples at home while they were closed for two days.

Returned them first thing after they opened, and ordered the same speakers in a different finish.

Sadly that Santa Rosa dealer sold to another.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #29 of 52 Old 03-19-2019, 12:22 PM
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OK, I’ve been beating the bushes for a year on HT with a budget similar to yours, and have listened to quite a few speakers. You also are a buyer like me. I don’t have audio ADHD and will be living with this system for years to come.

My observations and opinions:

I’m listened to the whole Paradigm Prestige line. They’re pretty. The sweet spot in the lineup is the 85f. My local AV seller has a complete HT room with all Para Prestige speakers, so I’ve actually heard the whole deal, anchored by a Marantz AVR/amp, including their incredibly overpriced subs. My opinion is that they are very good, but not necessarily a good value. The 95f isn’t worth the $1k premium over the 85f, and both are eclipsed by other speakers. But if I was buying Paradigm, it’d be a system around the 85f. It disappears in an HT, is gorgeous and has an unmatched midrange at $4k.

Just listened to a pair of Revel 208s the other day, in a Revel HT. Mind that they are the same price as the Para 95f and are three times the speaker. No contest between the two, but I also didn’t necessarily think the 208s were all that, sonically. Better bass, better soundstage, gorgeous cabinet. Waaay more speaker than the 95F, but not perfect. But definitely worth a strong consideration.

Listened to some KEFs, but they didn’t do it for me. They were a lower trim than the others though, so do not write them off.

You really should listen to some GoldenEar Triton Ones. I have a pair set up for two channel and for $5k they would anchor a flipping awesome HT system. Powered subs in the towers, ribbon tweeter. They are super versatile. If I wasn’t building two separate systems and just building a HT, they would be it every day and twice on Sunday.

I ended up deciding on Focal Arias for my HT. They are in your price point (don’t overlook the kickass Electras which can be had a big discounts as they have been discontinued). It was the right combination of detail, soundstage, crunch and price for my purposes. Either group is worth your consideration. Mind that an Electra HT would get pricey.
Focal Aria 936s punch above their weight. Both can be had at substantial discounts.

Anyway, my .02. Happy hunting.

If you think the Revel 208s are 3 times better than the 95F and still not that impressive I think you might need to start looking at 5 or even 6 figure priced speakers to be impressed lol.
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post #30 of 52 Old 03-19-2019, 01:10 PM
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I wouldn’t say I didn’t find them impressive. They’re totally worth the money and they’re gorgeous to boot. But I found their mids a little masked. But that could very well have been the amplification. I’d want to hear them through a dedicated amp/preamp first. But no, they were very high on my list. But I suppose I can be picky. It’s OK—I don’t expect perfection from any speaker.
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