Advice Needed - L/C/R for 3.1 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 26 Old 11-22-2019, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Advice Needed - L/C/R for 3.1

I currently have a soundbar, but I'm ready to go back to using a receiver and speakers. I will be using a HSU STF-1 sub and a Denon AVR-1913. Most likely, these will be upgraded and will probably expand to at least 5.1 in the near future. For now, I'm looking for opinions on bookshelf size speakers to use for left/right/center for a 3.1 setup. Some guidelines are:

- $500-600 total
- Trying to keep center at 6" high or less
- Mostly movies/TV and occasional music (85% / 15%)
- Room is about 11 x 16

I'm looking at either NHT (2 x SuperOnes with SuperCenter), or RSL (2 x CG3 plus CG23 or 3 x CG23), but I am open to other options. Any feedback or suggestions is greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 26 Old 11-22-2019, 11:07 AM
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I would go with 3xCG23's for the fronts. given the height restriction on the center that is probably one of the better choices.
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post #3 of 26 Old 11-22-2019, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by time2shred View Post
I currently have a soundbar, but I'm ready to go back to using a receiver and speakers. I will be using a HSU STF-1 sub and a Denon AVR-1913. Most likely, these will be upgraded and will probably expand to at least 5.1 in the near future. For now, I'm looking for opinions on bookshelf size speakers to use for left/right/center for a 3.1 setup. Some guidelines are:

- $500-600 total
- Trying to keep center at 6" high or less
- Mostly movies/TV and occasional music (85% / 15%)
- Room is about 11 x 16

I'm looking at either NHT (2 x SuperOnes with SuperCenter), or RSL (2 x CG3 plus CG23 or 3 x CG23), but I am open to other options. Any feedback or suggestions is greatly appreciated!
If you go with NHT, just do 3 x SuperOnes; that SuperCenter gets a lot of mixed reviews.

If you don't have room for a SuperOne on its side as your center, I'd go with RSL and do the 3 x CG23 if budget allows.

~ 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 #4 of 26 Old 11-22-2019, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by time2shred View Post
I currently have a soundbar, but I'm ready to go back to using a receiver and speakers. I will be using a HSU STF-1 sub and a Denon AVR-1913. Most likely, these will be upgraded and will probably expand to at least 5.1 in the near future. For now, I'm looking for opinions on bookshelf size speakers to use for left/right/center for a 3.1 setup. Some guidelines are:

- $500-600 total
- Trying to keep center at 6" high or less
- Mostly movies/TV and occasional music (85% / 15%)
- Room is about 11 x 16

I'm looking at either NHT (2 x SuperOnes with SuperCenter), or RSL (2 x CG3 plus CG23 or 3 x CG23), but I am open to other options. Any feedback or suggestions is greatly appreciated!
JBL new Stage series has some good reviews and they are on sale.

A135C center meets your height restriction and is $210.

A120 Bookshelves are $175/pair.

A130s are $210/pair.

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https://www.jbl.com/loudspeakers/JBL...8aAq-pEALw_wcB

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post #5 of 26 Old 11-22-2019, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
JBL new Stage series has some good reviews and they are on sale.
Huh, I thought they were just rebadged Arena series speakers? Do they actually have different drivers & crossovers?

~ 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 #6 of 26 Old 11-22-2019, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by time2shred View Post
I currently have a soundbar, but I'm ready to go back to using a receiver and speakers. I will be using a HSU STF-1 sub and a Denon AVR-1913. Most likely, these will be upgraded and will probably expand to at least 5.1 in the near future. For now, I'm looking for opinions on bookshelf size speakers to use for left/right/center for a 3.1 setup. Some guidelines are:

- $500-600 total
- Trying to keep center at 6" high or less
- Mostly movies/TV and occasional music (85% / 15%)
- Room is about 11 x 16

I'm looking at either NHT (2 x SuperOnes with SuperCenter), or RSL (2 x CG3 plus CG23 or 3 x CG23), but I am open to other options. Any feedback or suggestions is greatly appreciated!
Both are good options, but I'd go with the RSL unless you need to flush mount them to wall in which case NHT would be the better option. If you're going to be sitting dead center a majority of the time, you could forego the center and go with a pair of Chane A2.4's flanking the TV.

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post #7 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 08:55 AM
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Huh, I thought they were just rebadged Arena series speakers? Do they actually have different drivers & crossovers?
Aluminum dome in the Stage vs. textile in the Arena.

"JBL's new Stage series replaces the company's well-established Studio series from a few years back, and also overlaps somewhat with the still-current Arena series. With three floorstanding towers, two bookshelf models, two center channels, and two subwoofers, it's a pretty comprehensive lineup.

Stage A170 is a slam-dunk winner. While some other speakers overlay everything with their "sound," resulting in rather gray overall performance, this is a high-contrast transducer that conveys music in Technicolor, and its tidy presentation makes it easy to listen to over the long haul. The Stage A170 may have been born on the West Coast, but I'm thinking it must have gone to an Ivy League school back east at some point. Definitely recommended for big speaker performance at a small speaker price."

Read more at https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...WBbFdLSqXu9.99

Geoff A. J., California
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post #8 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 09:31 AM
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Aluminum dome in the Stage vs. textile in the Arena.

"JBL's new Stage series replaces the company's well-established Studio series from a few years back, and also overlaps somewhat with the still-current Arena series. With three floorstanding towers, two bookshelf models, two center channels, and two subwoofers, it's a pretty comprehensive lineup.

Stage A170 is a slam-dunk winner. While some other speakers overlay everything with their "sound," resulting in rather gray overall performance, this is a high-contrast transducer that conveys music in Technicolor, and its tidy presentation makes it easy to listen to over the long haul. The Stage A170 may have been born on the West Coast, but I'm thinking it must have gone to an Ivy League school back east at some point. Definitely recommended for big speaker performance at a small speaker price."

Read more at https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...WBbFdLSqXu9.99
Interesting. So it's definitely a step up from the Arena series, but it's not clear if this is supposed to be on par with the Studio series, or just sits in-between the Studio and Arena series?

I notice that the JBL website still has all the Studio series models, and have even brought back the Studio 530 which I had assumed was discontinued because it had disappeared over a year or two ago.

~ 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 #9 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 09:40 AM
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Interesting. So it's definitely a step up from the Arena series, but it's not clear if this is supposed to be on par with the Studio series, or just sits in-between the Studio and Arena series?

I notice that the JBL website still has all the Studio series models, and have even brought back the Studio 530 which I had assumed was discontinued because it had disappeared over a year or two ago.
I gave up trying to understand JBLs marketing "strategy" as it is often a bit bizarre.

The 500 series, for example, should have had a dual 5.25" center but curiously never did.

But Martin Logan is a bit the same with the "discontinued" LX16 which is identical to the more expensive Motion 15 with the only difference being that with the latter's sloping top you couldn't place an art object on top of it!

Just set up my friend's system who lost his house two years ago.

My ancient Sansui 881 stereo receiver that I had refurbished for them, LX16s in Cherrywood, (much nice than my gloss black), and a Sony Core sub I picked up at Best Buy for $99 as it has speaker level inputs and the little system sounds great despite their lofted ceiling space being very "live" as not much furniture in there yet.

63 watts, puny dual 5.25" speakers and a budget 10" 115watt sub and a space that is about 800 sq/ft and it will play louder than anybody could possibly want to listen.

The wife is amazed at the clarity and detail compared to the ancient Boston Acoustics, (or were they KLH or Advent), large bookshelves powered by a NAD setup that burned when they barely escaped with their lives in the middle of the night two years ago.

So much fun to make them happy again.

The Sony Core sub for $98 is an absolute steal.

It's actually very well made, quite heavy, and musical though doesn't dig super deep.

Maybe 35hz?

I'll check it out with some test tones and my SPL meter at some point.
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post #10 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 09:58 AM
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Interesting. So it's definitely a step up from the Arena series, but it's not clear if this is supposed to be on par with the Studio series, or just sits in-between the Studio and Arena series?
They seem to be on par with the older Studio 1 series, which is still lower level compared to the Studio 2 series .. hyped marketing is still in play. ... some former JBL names are Balcomy, Venue, and Arena -- so now we have the Stage series.
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post #11 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 10:03 AM
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The Sony Core sub for $98 is an absolute steal.

It's actually very well made, quite heavy, and musical though doesn't dig super deep.

Maybe 35hz?

I'll check it out with some test tones and my SPL meter at some point.
Wow, I'm tempted to pick up a pair of them to try out with my BMRs. The BMRs can go down to 35Hz but not with quite the same authority as when I had them hooked up to the RBH sub back in my old place.

~ 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 26 Old 11-23-2019, 10:06 AM
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Wow, I'm tempted to pick up a pair of them to try out with my BMRs. The BMRs can go down to 35Hz but not with quite the same authority as when I had them hooked up to the RBH sub back in my old place.
$98 each and easy returns.

Heck, why not!

As you know in my secondary room I use two cheap as chips Yamaha 8" subs that are light as a feather yet work very well for music IMHO.

I'm sure many on AVS think I'm out of my mind!

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post #13 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 10:19 AM
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$98 each and easy returns.

Heck, why not!

As you know in my secondary room I use two cheap as chips Yamaha 8" subs that are light as a feather yet work very well for music IMHO.

I'm sure many on AVS think I'm out of my mind!
I wonder how they compare to the Polk PSW10, which is also on sale, $114. Looking at the specs, I saw that the Polk is 5lbs heavier (26lb vs 21lbs) but has half as much power (50 watts vs 115) and is listed at 35Hz vs 28hz for the Sony. Of course, with Polk's notorious tendency to fudge specs the 35Hz might be closer to 50Hz in reality!

Oy, I guess I can rationalize this to my wife by saying, "Well honey, I promised no more speakers after the BMR but a sub isn't a SPEAKER!" LOL

~ 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 #14 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 10:26 AM
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I wonder how they compare to the Polk PSW10, which is also on sale, $114. Looking at the specs, I saw that the Polk is 5lbs heavier (26lb vs 21lbs) but has half as much power (50 watts vs 115) and is listed at 35Hz vs 28hz for the Sony. Of course, with Polk's notorious tendency to fudge specs the 35Hz might be closer to 50Hz in reality! The Sony being a sealed enclosure vs the Polk being ported is the other big difference...should be tighter more accurate bass, albeit less output?

Oy, I guess I can rationalize this to my wife by saying, "Well honey, I promised no more speakers after the BMR but a sub isn't a SPEAKER!" LOL
P/U one of each and send back the loser.

Of course, they both might lose!

What are you powering the BMRs with?

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post #15 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 10:30 AM
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What are you powering the BMRs with?
The same Pioneer LX502 as before. With CDs it's got plenty of headroom, with streaming music sources it requires a good bit more volume. Am tempted to add an external 2 channel amp on the Zone B pre-outs...

~ 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 #16 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 10:31 AM
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I wonder how they compare to the Polk PSW10, which is also on sale, $114. Looking at the specs, I saw that the Polk is 5lbs heavier (26lb vs 21lbs) but has half as much power (50 watts vs 115) and is listed at 35Hz vs 28hz for the Sony.
I would look at the Infinity
https://www.harmanaudio.com/infinity...RoCaccQAvD_BwE

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post #17 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 11:32 AM
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Hmmm, do you think one of the Inifnity is better than two of the Sony? This would be strictly music only, and the room is fairly big/open. Corner placement not being possible, I thought that having 2 would be a wiser idea.

~ 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 #18 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 01:00 PM
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Hmmm, do you think one of the Inifnity is better than two of the Sony? This would be strictly music only, and the room is fairly big/open. Corner placement not being possible, I thought that having 2 would be a wiser idea.
Same frequency response and two is better than one as two will give you a more even spread of bass and a +6db boost it headroom over just one.

I was wrong on the Sony price; they are $99.99 each at Best Buy.

Order on line and p/u (and return if necessary), at the store as they only had one out on the floor at my Best Buy and plenty more in the back so it'll save you time.
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post #19 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 02:31 PM
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Hmmm, do you think one of the Inifnity is better than two of the Sony? This would be strictly music only, and the room is fairly big/open. Corner placement not being possible, I thought that having 2 would be a wiser idea.
Try the Sony, and if it does not work out -- then test the Infinity .... free returns from both companies ... the word is good on the R12 for music
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post #20 of 26 Old 11-23-2019, 07:34 PM
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If you can squeeze a 7.5" high center channel, how about a pair of Ascend CBM-170 for L/R along with the CMT-340 center channel? Brings you in right at the top of your budget and should give you performance about as good as it gets in this price range.
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post #21 of 26 Old 01-14-2020, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone for the advice and comments. I ended up getting 3 x CG23 for the L/C/R. I'm just about through the recommended break-in time, but I'm pleased with the performance during a select few movie scenes and casual TV I've watched. They seem to blend well with the sub, and they look nice too. Also, I wanted to mention that Joe from RSL was very helpful and responsive to my emails. Looking forward to some more critical music listening and movie watching.
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post #22 of 26 Old 01-14-2020, 08:20 AM
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Ive been eying the RSL lineup for some time, and may have to give them a try on the next build!

Congrats!
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post #23 of 26 Old 01-15-2020, 01:11 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the advice and comments. I ended up getting 3 x CG23 for the L/C/R. I'm just about through the recommended break-in time, but I'm pleased with the performance during a select few movie scenes and casual TV I've watched. They seem to blend well with the sub, and they look nice too. Also, I wanted to mention that Joe from RSL was very helpful and responsive to my emails. Looking forward to some more critical music listening and movie watching.
Did you get the RSL sub too?

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post #24 of 26 Old 01-15-2020, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Did you get the RSL sub too?

No, I'm using a Hsu STF-1 that I've had for years. I'll upgrade the sub in the near future, probably after I get around to adding surround speakers. Once the time comes, I'll be looking at the Speedwoofer 10S or the new 12X for sure, along with some of the other subs that are highly regarded around here.
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post #25 of 26 Old 01-15-2020, 01:48 PM
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No, I'm using a Hsu STF-1 that I've had for years. I'll upgrade the sub in the near future, probably after I get around to adding surround speakers. Once the time comes, I'll be looking at the Speedwoofer 10S or the new 12X for sure, along with some of the other subs that are highly regarded around here.
IDK, that is a great sub.

I'd try to find a second on the used market to be honest.

My sister in law has one and I was very impressed with its punch and musicality.

My main sub is a 15" 1250 watt sealed servo and while the STF1 didn't dig as deep I was impressed.

Adding a used second one would be a revelation for you I would think.

I doubt the Speedwoofer would be any better to be honest.

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post #26 of 26 Old 01-15-2020, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
IDK, that is a great sub.

I'd try to find a second on the used market to be honest.

My sister in law has one and I was very impressed with its punch and musicality.

My main sub is a 15" 1250 watt sealed servo and while the STF1 didn't dig as deep I was impressed.

Adding a used second one would be a revelation for you I would think.

I doubt the Speedwoofer would be any better to be honest.

I have no issues with the STF-1, and it sounds great with both music and movies. The volume control is set at about 10 o'clock on the sub, and Audyssey (Denon X1500H) set the level to -2.5 dB. It is plenty loud with those settings. Maybe a second one would be a better option to smooth out the room response. All good stuff to consider.
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