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post #1 of 40 Old 10-23-2019, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Compact Speakers for Small Room

Here's the story. The connection clips on my rear/satellite speakers (Polk RM7s) broke so I had to rig the speaker wire to get sound which is not reliable. I either need to replace them (Polk TL1's should match) or I COULD potentially upgrade.

The lay of the land:
Room: 10 L x 12 W x 8 H den that I use to watch TV (football and movies). It's partially open; one side has a pony wall on half of it.
Fronts: Polk Audio RM8's (sitting on floating shelves next to wall-mounted TV)
Center: Polk Audio RM8C (wall mounted below wall-mounted TV)
Rear/Satellite: Polk Audio RM7's (broken clips)
Subwoofer: Klipsch R-100SW
Receiver: Yamaha v373
Uses: family movie nights 2x/month, an occasional action flick since daddy is home alone, and occasionally for football.

My current setup is marginally satisfactory for the frequency of use; it's meh but gets the job done. However, I am getting older and vocals are getting a wee harder to understand.

Option 1: Replace just rears for $140 with Polk TL1's.
Option 2: Replace 5.0 for a little more, $270, and make a small upgrade to Polk TL2's. It just seems like a better value than option 1.
Option 3: Replace 5.0 or 5.1 with something that would improve vocals and richness, let's say $500 to $1000. I could go to $1500, but I'd rather not since that will cost some political capital (see constraints below).

Constraints: wife's opinion - she doesn't care for home theater and would get rid of it if she could. However, she tolerates speakers if they are small and cute. I take that to mean that 10" tall is ok if it's has a nice shape/aesthetics like a Focal Evo (i.e not just a box). She hates the sub, but oh well I can't change the laws of physics. The center channel needs to be wall mountable.

I need your help deciding between the options. If I end up leaning towards option 1, I'll just jump to option 2 since it's cheap. I doubt I would have regrets with choosing option 2 over 1. However, I could have regrets if I don't explore option 3 which is where I need your help. I've read all the posts on NHT SuperZeros, Polk S10s, larger driver is better, etc... However, I do have the constraint of small and cute unfortunately. What could I do for option 3?

Thanks in advance for the help!
Will
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post #2 of 40 Old 10-23-2019, 08:11 PM
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Good deal -- special price -- Focal Dome system
https://www.crutchfield.com/S-G52OET...hoCOmYQAvD_BwE

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post #3 of 40 Old 10-23-2019, 09:24 PM
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Given that your sub's upper -3dB point is 120 Hz, the very highest you'd want to have your crossover is 100 Hz. So, you will need speakers that have response to 80 Hz or below (-3dB). That rules out a lot of the small cute speakers your wife would like, such as the Minx Min or Q Acoustics 7000i.

You could sell your sub and get one that has better upper-bass frequency response, giving you more small speaker options ... I suspect that sub is a bit boomy in the room, which is probably why the wife hates the HT.
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It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

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post #4 of 40 Old 10-24-2019, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
Good deal -- special price -- Focal Dome system
This looks like a great deal for a Focal setup. I showed it to the "chairman of the aesthetics committee" and she's now waffling on how stringent the look is. While annoying, that's a great thing. So I think it's really just about the size and ability to mount.

Is there any concern with a center channel speaker with only one driver? I also need to ask Crutchfield if that "proprietary wire" is required. I assume it's not like bose where you have to use their wires.
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post #5 of 40 Old 10-24-2019, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamCannon View Post
This looks like a great deal for a Focal setup. I showed it to the "chairman of the aesthetics committee" and she's now waffling on how stringent the look is. While annoying, that's a great thing. So I think it's really just about the size and ability to mount.

Is there any concern with a center channel speaker with only one driver? I also need to ask Crutchfield if that "proprietary wire" is required. I assume it's not like bose where you have to use their wires.
You use your own wire -- and a center just like the front speakers is a good center for a system like the Domes -- way better than Bose ... and the Dome built in stand can be wall-mounted

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Last edited by zieglj01; 10-24-2019 at 08:16 AM.
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post #6 of 40 Old 10-24-2019, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamCannon View Post
This looks like a great deal for a Focal setup. I showed it to the "chairman of the aesthetics committee" and she's now waffling on how stringent the look is. While annoying, that's a great thing. So I think it's really just about the size and ability to mount.

Is there any concern with a center channel speaker with only one driver? I also need to ask Crutchfield if that "proprietary wire" is required. I assume it's not like bose where you have to use their wires.
The speaker wires are "normal" it is if you do not have an RCA sub out that you will need to use their proprietary cable with that sub using speaker level connections.

That is a fantastic deal for the Focal System IMHO.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #7 of 40 Old 10-24-2019, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamCannon View Post

Uses: family movie nights 2x/month, an occasional action flick since daddy is home alone, and occasionally for football.

Option 3: Replace 5.0 or 5.1 with something that would improve vocals and richness, let's say $500 to $1000. I could go to $1500, but I'd rather not since that will cost some political capital (see constraints below).

Constraints: wife's opinion - she doesn't care for home theater and would get rid of it if she could. However, she tolerates speakers if they are small and cute. I take that to mean that 10" tall is ok if it's has a nice shape/aesthetics like a Focal Evo (i.e not just a box). She hates the sub, but oh well I can't change the laws of physics. The center channel needs to be wall mountable.

Is there any concern with a center channel speaker with only one driver?
With your usage, I would choose a mismatched dual-woofer center speaker that you CAN wall mount, and whose glossy finish would blend with the Focals:
https://rslspeakers.com/products/cg2...enter-channel/

(Hell, if your wife can be convinced to go with 3 of them for the front stage that would be even better, but the center will be much more critical for your usage.)

The Focals are $800, the RSL center is $180 shipped, leaving you with $520 left in your $1500 max budget to get a real subwoofer that would make those action movies really kick butt...just hide the sub in a corner, with a lamp or plant on top to disguise it. If your wife enjoys action movies too she'll take a shine to it in no time.

Plus she'll be pleased that at least you did at least choose 4 of the speakers to be cute and small just for her.

~ 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 #8 of 40 Old 10-24-2019, 03:29 PM
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The RSL CG3 5.1 special Edition package is $999 and looks very good in white.

https://rslspeakers.com/products/cg3...ecial-edition/

Upgrading the center to a CG23 is $1079 total
and all CG 23 fronts will come in at $1239.

I would contact RSL and get their take. Their customer service is excellent with no pressure sales and a generous return policy if not happy.
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post #9 of 40 Old 11-02-2019, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the suggestions. I thought she was going to like the focal dome but she pointed out that we can set stuff on the sub. I looked at the RSL and think the center may be too tall.

The Polk S10s and S35 are on sale through tomorrow. Would that be a good cheap option? 4 S10s and a S35 for $659. The center S35 is not too tall. It is 6” deep so that would force me to run my wires behind the wall. The current center is only 4 inches deep and with the mounting block I made and the speaker bracket, it sets flush with the TV. The front of the TV is 6” off the wall.

Here is a shot of the space I’m dealing with. The floating shelves are 82 inches apart (on center).


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post #10 of 40 Old 11-02-2019, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamCannon View Post
thanks for the suggestions. I thought she was going to like the focal dome but she pointed out that we can set stuff on the sub. I looked at the RSL and think the center may be too tall.
The Polk S10s and S35 are on sale through tomorrow. Would that be a good cheap option? 4 S10s and a S35 for $659. The center S35 is not too tall. It is 6” deep so that would force me to run my wires behind the wall.
From what I've read, the S35 has decent voice clarity but lacks tonal fullness, meaning that male voices will not sound very "male" but rather androgynous or chipmunk-like. Not surprising given that it has only 3" woofers...physics is physics.

If i were you I'd bend over backwards to accommodate a taller center---the center does 70-80% of the HT/TV output so this is where you least want to cut corners.

~ 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 #11 of 40 Old 11-02-2019, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by WilliamCannon View Post
The center channel needs to be wall mountable.
This is the root of all your problems. Why can't the center simply sit on top of that nice wooden cabinet? You could even find a center that has a similar finish/color as the cabinet. You will be astounded at the quantum leap in performance you'll get, compared to rinky-dink little satellite type speakers. I think even your wife might relent once she hears it for herself...night and day difference.

For example, this center comes in a Rosewood option:
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/hc-1.html

~ 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 #12 of 40 Old 11-02-2019, 10:29 AM
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For a full 5.0 replacement, although it pushes the up against the budget, check out axiom audio in walls or on walls.

the M2 ( 548 /pr) and vp100 center( 384) might prove aesthetically more pleasing for the wife. it is the same price for on wall or in wall. then save up for a better sub.

The on walls have a unique hanger system that is secure. And they can come in a variety of colors.

other clean looking on walls to consider:

Golden Ear Super sat

Def tech Mythos 9 ( might be out of your budget)


good luck

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post #13 of 40 Old 11-02-2019, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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This is the root of all your problems. Why can't the center simply sit on top of that nice wooden cabinet?


For how little use it gets, I just didn’t want to pick that battle. However, you’re absolutely right. Maybe that’s the direction to go and I just cut budget to reduce the political expense. She just wouldn’t see the value if ascetics took a step backward. Could the S10s work for fronts and rears and do the s30 for the center instead? would that be a good value upgrade for under $700? Is there something else better for that price range?
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post #14 of 40 Old 11-02-2019, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by WilliamCannon View Post
For how little use it gets, I just didn’t want to pick that battle. However, you’re absolutely right. Maybe that’s the direction to go and I just cut budget to reduce the political expense. She just wouldn’t see the value if ascetics took a step backward. Could the S10s work for fronts and rears and do the s30 for the center instead? would that be a good value upgrade for under $700? Is there something else better for that price range?
Yes, the S30 would be an improvement over the S35, and if it's not you can always return it to Best Buy.

But for $722 shipped, no tax, I'd just get 5 of these instead:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...00/htm200.html
They're very plain, but also very small/compact due to the sealed cabinet design which means no rear port unlike the S10/S30 so you can easily wall mount them, and each speaker has dual 4" woofers instead of a single one like the S10 yet is barely larger than the S10.

There's also RSL: 4 x CG3 + 1 x CG23 would run you $740 shipped with free return shipping...the CG23 has dual 4" woofers but the CG3 are single 4" woofers. These are the highest WAF.

My personal choice would be Emotiva C1 center with 4 x B1 bookshelves for $700 shipped, but these would be a hard sell in the WAF arena.
https://emotiva.com/collections/loudspeakers
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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 #15 of 40 Old 11-03-2019, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamCannon View Post
thanks for the suggestions. I thought she was going to like the focal dome but she pointed out that we can set stuff on the sub. I looked at the RSL and think the center may be too tall.

The Polk S10s and S35 are on sale through tomorrow. Would that be a good cheap option? 4 S10s and a S35 for $659. The center S35 is not too tall. It is 6” deep so that would force me to run my wires behind the wall. The current center is only 4 inches deep and with the mounting block I made and the speaker bracket, it sets flush with the TV. The front of the TV is 6” off the wall.

Here is a shot of the space I’m dealing with. The floating shelves are 82 inches apart (on center).


That would work just fine crossed over to the sub.

Quite the upgrade compared to what you have now is my guess.

You are a bit high on pricing though.

$567 is what you would pay today, (but not tomorrow).

S35 is $209 for a very short time period at Best Buy.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/polk-au...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

Polk S10s are $179/pair but sale ends today.

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-U6aXqY...caApaHEALw_wcB

Geoff A. J., California
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post #16 of 40 Old 11-03-2019, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I like the idea of the ascend dual 4” driver. However the WAF factor is fairly low. Btw, I had to look up WAF and of course it points back to AVS. I busted out laughing and will be adding that to my vernacular.

How accurate are the frequencies listed? The Polk S10s say they go down to 67Hz while the RSL CG3s say 100 Hz. From what I read it seems I should try to cross over at 80Hz?
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post #17 of 40 Old 11-04-2019, 10:26 AM
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I like the idea of the ascend dual 4” driver. However the WAF factor is fairly low. Btw, I had to look up WAF and of course it points back to AVS. I busted out laughing and will be adding that to my vernacular.

How accurate are the frequencies listed? The Polk S10s say they go down to 67Hz while the RSL CG3s say 100 Hz. From what I read it seems I should try to cross over at 80Hz?
The CG3s you'd cross over around 120hz as their -3db point is 97hs, I'd cross the S10s over at 120hz as well because unlike RSL, Polk fibs on their bass extension by a ton.

Sound & Vision confirmed RSLs spec but, for example, Polk claim the S35 center played down to 53hz when in fact it was 99hz, and they claimed the S20 went down to 39hz when it went down to 52hz.

They didn't test the S10 but most, if not all, 4" bookshelves struggle to get much below 90hz.

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The CG3s you'd cross over around 120hz as their -3db point is 97hs, I'd cross the S10s over at 120hz as well because unlike RSL, Polk fibs on their bass extension by a ton.



Sound & Vision confirmed RSLs spec but, for example, Polk claim the S35 center played down to 53hz when in fact it was 99hz, and they claimed the S20 went down to 39hz when it went down to 52hz.



They didn't test the S10 but most, if not all, 4" bookshelves struggle to get much below 90hz.

Thanks fo confirming. That’s a bummer.

However, Amazon has the S10s for $129. So I could do an S10/S30 5.0 for $487. They offer free returns so I could try them out and see if it’s good enough for my needs. I have to imagine it’s going to be significantly better than my current setup which has 2.5” drivers.
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I have to imagine it’s going to be significantly better than my current setup which has 2.5” drivers.
That part is true

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamCannon View Post
Thanks fo confirming. That’s a bummer.

However, Amazon has the S10s for $129. So I could do an S10/S30 5.0 for $487. They offer free returns so I could try them out and see if it’s good enough for my needs. I have to imagine it’s going to be significantly better than my current setup which has 2.5” drivers.
Indeed.

Looking forward to your impressions.

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post #21 of 40 Old 11-04-2019, 02:29 PM
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The CG3s you'd cross over around 120hz as their -3db point is 97hs, I'd cross the S10s over at 120hz as well because unlike RSL, Polk fibs on their bass extension by a ton.

Sound & Vision confirmed RSLs spec but, for example, Polk claim the S35 center played down to 53hz when in fact it was 99hz, and they claimed the S20 went down to 39hz when it went down to 52hz.

They didn't test the S10 but most, if not all, 4" bookshelves struggle to get much below 90hz.
Are there charts somewhere showing this? This is the first I've heard of it.

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Are there charts somewhere showing this? This is the first I've heard of it.
As you can see the single 4" CG3 does not dig nearly as deep as the CG23 with dual 4" drivers which make the latter equivalent to the surface area of a single 5.7" main driver.

-3db points of 96hz and 54hz respectively.

https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...iew-test-bench

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post #23 of 40 Old 11-04-2019, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
As you can see the single 4" CG3 does not dig nearly as deep as the CG23 with dual 4" drivers which make the latter equivalent to the surface area of a single 5.7" main driver.

-3db points of 96hz and 54hz respectively.

https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...iew-test-bench
My apologies, I meant what you referring to regarding the polks. On their site, they usually list two frequency responses - total, and lower/upper -/+3dB limits. For some reason the FR specs aren't listed for the S35, but for the S20, they list the total FR as 39Hz, and the upper/lower -/+3dB limits at the 52Hz just like you cited. Personally, I always refer to their upper/lower -/+3dB spec.

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post #24 of 40 Old 11-05-2019, 10:59 AM
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My apologies, I meant what you referring to regarding the polks. On their site, they usually list two frequency responses - total, and lower/upper -/+3dB limits. For some reason the FR specs aren't listed for the S35, but for the S20, they list the total FR as 39Hz, and the upper/lower -/+3dB limits at the 52Hz just like you cited. Personally, I always refer to their upper/lower -/+3dB spec.
What is it for the S10?

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post #25 of 40 Old 11-05-2019, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
What is it for the S10?
They only list the total frequency response of 67Hz. The upper/lower -/+3dB spec, I'm guessing, is maybe around the 80-90Hz mark?
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Home Theatre: Onkyo TX-NR747 | Polk Audio RTi A3 Front L/R | Polk Audio CSi A6 Centre | Polk Audio RTi A1 Surround L/R | HSU ULS-15 MK2 Subwoofer | Sony XBR55X900E | PlayStation 4 Pro | Xbox One S

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post #26 of 40 Old 11-05-2019, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
They only list the total frequency response of 67Hz. The upper/lower -/+3dB spec, I'm guessing, is maybe around the 80-90Hz mark?
For s10, I did SPL falloff test in my room (not anechoic), which showed 100 Hz as -3 dB point at 70 dB at 1 m from speaker. So yes, sub crossover at 120 Hz makes sense. For what it's worth, I really like the sound of the s10 for music in 2.0 in a medium size room at medium to high volumes 70-75 dB. Great midbass and highs.
Sorry for multiple edits, just confirmed my previous test results record.
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Last edited by Vikram Iyengar; 11-05-2019 at 04:45 PM.
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post #27 of 40 Old 11-05-2019, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Yes, the S30 would be an improvement over the S35, and if it's not you can always return it to Best Buy.

But for $722 shipped, no tax, I'd just get 5 of these instead:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...00/htm200.html
They're very plain, but also very small/compact due to the sealed cabinet design which means no rear port unlike the S10/S30 so you can easily wall mount them, and each speaker has dual 4" woofers instead of a single one like the S10 yet is barely larger than the S10.

There's also RSL: 4 x CG3 + 1 x CG23 would run you $740 shipped with free return shipping...the CG23 has dual 4" woofers but the CG3 are single 4" woofers. These are the highest WAF.

My personal choice would be Emotiva C1 center with 4 x B1 bookshelves for $700 shipped, but these would be a hard sell in the WAF arena.
https://emotiva.com/collections/loudspeakers
I'd get the Ascends or RSLs ahead of the Polks.
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post #28 of 40 Old 11-05-2019, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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All really amazing advice, fellas.... Tks

I ended up buying the s35. It was the compromise between, “ can we get rid of the speakers” and a larger center speaker. Even my kid who loves super hero movies on the stereo took her side. First world problems I suppose.

However, I measured for the S30 and it would have looked overwhelming on the credenza since it’s over 10” deep and the credenza is only 18.5”. I can’t say I disagree with her opinion and I can wall mount it.

Either way, $129 pair S10s and a $199 s35s kept the cost under $500 including sales tax. I’m really excited. From what I read, vocal clarity is supposed to be great on the s35 which something I need.

I’ll keep you guys posted.
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post #29 of 40 Old 11-06-2019, 09:10 AM
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I love the SQ on my s30 but would be very happy with the s35 since I auditioned both and I'm actually not happy with the size of the s30. You made a great choice. Enjoy your new speakers. My daughter turns off the receiver just so she can listen to the TV speakers. Says the surround sound distracts from her YouTube shows! She also prefers watching on my smartphone to the 55" TV!
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post #30 of 40 Old 11-06-2019, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamCannon View Post
From what I read, vocal clarity is supposed to be great on the s35 which something I need.
This is true, it's the lack of tonal fullness/realism that some people seem dissatisfied with...but everyone has different expectations/standards. Good luck!
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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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