3.1 System Recommendations for $1200 or less (Polk / Elac / Chane) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 20 Old 09-09-2019, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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3.1 System Recommendations for $1200 or less (Polk / Elac / Chane)

I'm helping my parents put together a new 3.1 system for home theater / music use. It will go in a family room that's about 16x20 with vaulted ceilings that runs alongside a kitchen area that's another 16x15 or so. My mom doesn't want tower speakers but is down for a bookshelf speaker on a stand.

I've done a fair amount of research here, reddit, Wirecutter, etc. and I'm down to a few options and I'm curious what people on here would do with aprox $500-1000 for the LCR and $300-500 for the sub (cheaper the LCR the more I can spend on the sub obv) and these requirements. This thread is only about the LCR, but you can assume a decent 300-500 watt RMS sub. Oh, I have a Yamaha 685 powering this setup (90W per channel).

Cheapest system (Polk Signature):
LR: Polk Signature S15 - $170
C: Polk Signature S35 - $200
Total - $370
Pros - Amazing value, looks great, small

Cons - Weaker speakers

The Popular Kid (Elac Debut 2.0):
LR: Debut 2.0 6.2: $300 (although these have gone as low as $150 during last Christmas)
C: Debut 2.0: $280
Total - $580
Pros - Amazing value, will fill the living room / kitchen more easily than Polk system

Cons - Look like butt. People say these are power hungry - is a 90 watt per channel amp good enough to get the most out of them?

Dark Horse (Chane)
LCR: Chane A2.4 x 3 - $945 (after shipping and bundle discount) EDIT: or maybe Chane A1.4 x 2 with A2.4 Center, which is about $750.
Total: $945
Pros: Good value, best treble audio?


Cons - Looks like butt. Large. Most expensive.

I'm leaning toward the Chane because I'm obsessed with clear highs and I feel like the Chane planar leaf tweeter can't possibly be beaten by the other two on this front, but I'm not sure it's worth the price and size. I know audio is entirely subjective, but I'm curious what you guys would do for a 3.1 system made of bookshelf speakers where you spend less than $1k on the 3.0 portion. This is going to be 85% movies and 15% music.

Last edited by thinkthis; 09-09-2019 at 03:43 PM.
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post #2 of 20 Old 09-09-2019, 03:18 PM
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You’ll want phenomenal subwoofers if you watch 85% movies.

Something like the Ascend CBM170’s which are about half the price of the A2.4’s will do just as good, are just as efficient, and will have just as clear highs.

That leaves almost $800 for the subs.

100% get the HSU VTF3 MK5 sub which is on sale.
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #3 of 20 Old 09-09-2019, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
You’ll want phenomenal subwoofers if you watch 85% movies.

Something like the Ascend CBM170’s which are about half the price of the A2.4’s will do just as good, are just as efficient, and will have just as clear highs.

That leaves almost $800 for the subs.

100% get the HSU VTF3 MK5 sub which is on sale.
I get the value of a good sub - but do you really think those Ascend speakers are in the same class as a Chane A2.4? I definitely like the smaller size and lower price, but I don't see how that's possible.
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post #4 of 20 Old 09-09-2019, 03:29 PM
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I get the value of a good sub - but do you really think those Ascend speakers are in the same class as a Chane A2.4? I definitely like the smaller size and lower price, but I don't see how that's possible.

The equivalent to the A2.4 is the Ascend CMT340. Compare those.

I was saying you don’t need the extra woofer as the sensitivity increase isn’t all that great and they will sound the same.

Ascend CBM170’s compare to Chane’s A1.4.
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #5 of 20 Old 09-09-2019, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
The equivalent to the A2.4 is the Ascend CMT340. Compare those.

I was saying you don’t need the extra woofer as the sensitivity increase isn’t all that great and they will sound the same.

Ascend CBM170’s compare to Chane’s A1.4.
I've seen people argue it both ways for home theater use - getting smaller speakers and investing more in a decent sub vs widening the sound stage for the 80-100 hz stuff and putting less burden on the sub. My parents aren't blasting Terminator 4 at 100db or anything. That being said - I really appreciate your thoughts - I hadn't even looked at Ascend as a possibility. Is there a reason you like this over the Elac 2.0 or even the Chane A1.4?

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post #6 of 20 Old 09-09-2019, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by thinkthis View Post
I've seen people argue it both ways for home theater use - getting smaller speakers and investing more in a decent sub vs widening the sound stage for the 80-100 hz stuff and putting less burden on the sub. My parents aren't blasting Terminator 4 at 100db or anything. That being said - I really appreciate your thoughts - I hadn't even looked at Ascend as a possibility. Is there a reason you like this over the Elac 2.0 or even the Chane A1.4?
the chanes may sound a little smoother for music , but the ascends will be every bit as good in ht, i'm listening to the cbm 170 se's right now(music) , and i'll kiss your rear end if the chanes "outclass" the ascends.. take a look at the reviews..

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 #7 of 20 Old 09-09-2019, 04:06 PM
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3.1 System Recommendations for $1200 or less (Polk / Elac / Chane)

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Originally Posted by thinkthis View Post
I've seen people argue it both ways for home theater use - getting smaller speakers and investing more in a decent sub vs widening the sound stage for the 80-100 hz stuff and putting less burden on the sub. My parents aren't blasting Terminator 4 at 100db or anything. That being said - I really appreciate your thoughts - I hadn't even looked at Ascend as a possibility. Is there a reason you like this over the Elac 2.0 or even the Chane A1.4?

Well I’ll start out by saying I own the CMT340’s.

Next, you can compare the specs of them all. The Ascends have the flattest listening window (flat = neutral, and neutral speakers score better in blind tests). The efficiency is higher than both (takes less power to make them reach similar spl levels leaving headroom and lowering amplifier distortion).

And they have higher power handling if you wanted to run them at higher levels.

But the reason I suggested the CBM170’s is simply because a proper sub is everything! If you bought the Chane A2.4 set you’d be stuck with a measly 10” sub.

You’ll get greater satisfaction out of a great sub and okay speakers than an okay sub and great speakers in home theater. This is not to say the Ascends are okay, they are phenomenal.

And as a side note, Ascend builds their speakers here in the US in Southern California, Chane in China.
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)

Last edited by Russdawg1; 09-09-2019 at 04:14 PM.
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post #8 of 20 Old 09-09-2019, 08:13 PM
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I would aim for the Chanes

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post #9 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 12:26 AM - Thread Starter
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As an update I ordered the Chane A1.5 x 2 and A2.4 x 1 for the LCR and per someone's recommendation here (and good reviews all over) the VTF-3 MK5 HP for the sub. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm very curious to see if those Chane's can fill the massive space of the open floor plan. We shall see.
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post #10 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by thinkthis View Post
As an update I ordered the Chane A1.5 x 2 and A2.4 x 1 for the LCR and per someone's recommendation here (and good reviews all over) the VTF-3 MK5 HP for the sub. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm very curious to see if those Chane's can fill the massive space of the open floor plan. We shall see.
Massive open floorplan argues more for the A5.4s. If the 1.4s can't fill the place, then move them to surrounds and get the 5.4s.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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post #11 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 12:46 AM
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Massive open floorplan argues more for the A5.4s. If the 1.4s can't fill the place, then move them to surrounds and get the 5.4s.

84.5dB sensitivity! Geez.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #12 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Massive open floorplan argues more for the A5.4s. If the 1.4s can't fill the place, then move them to surrounds and get the 5.4s.
I was told no tower speakers allowed. The A2.4s were pushing it so I even cut back to the A1.5s. Fingers crossed.
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post #13 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 09:45 AM
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84.5dB sensitivity! Geez.

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It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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post #14 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 09:52 AM
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I was told no tower speakers allowed. The A2.4s were pushing it so I even cut back to the A1.5s. Fingers crossed.
the 2.4's may be a better fit(sound wise) ,, the ascends have better sensitivity as well , best of luck , i hope the 1.5's work well

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 #15 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkthis View Post
I'm helping my parents put together a new 3.1 system for home theater / music use. It will go in a family room that's about 16x20 with vaulted ceilings that runs alongside a kitchen area that's another 16x15 or so. My mom doesn't want tower speakers but is down for a bookshelf speaker on a stand.



I'm leaning toward the Chane because I'm obsessed with clear highs and I feel like the Chane planar leaf tweeter can't possibly be beaten by the other two on this front, but I'm not sure it's worth the price and size. I know audio is entirely subjective, but I'm curious what you guys would do for a 3.1 system made of bookshelf speakers where you spend less than $1k on the 3.0 portion. This is going to be 85% movies and 15% music.
How about a 3.1 system with free return shipping if not happy?

Only downside is that the subwoofer won't be available again until October.

https://rslspeakers.com/products/new...heater-system/
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post #16 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 12:05 PM
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don't forget to post your impressions!
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post #17 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 12:17 PM
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I was told no tower speakers allowed. The A2.4s were pushing it so I even cut back to the A1.5s. Fingers crossed.
Chanes are a solid choice.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #18 of 20 Old 09-11-2019, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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don't forget to post your impressions!
I will! I just have to wait now. Booo waiting.
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post #19 of 20 Old 09-12-2019, 09:15 AM
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The HSU MK15HP is a great sub. You're gonna love it..!

I run two of them in my theater and they play very nicely with the Rythmik FV25HP I have the the theater as well.

Keep us posted...

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post #20 of 20 Old 09-16-2019, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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The SUB is here! It's ridiculously big compared to any other sub I have bought or used (I personally use a GoldenEar SuperSub X, primarily due to WAF). My mom raised her eyebrows when she saw it, but I told her we were going to stick it behind the couch where you won't really see it. Some quick demos tell me that it hits freaking hard. I giggled. The Chane speakers get here on Wednesday and - sadly - the speaker stands get here on Friday. Once I have the bookshelves on stands I will run the Yamaha YPAO and post some final impressions.
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