Getting ready for a speaker shootout - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 29 Old 03-25-2020, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Getting ready for a speaker shootout

I have ordered 4 pairs of bookshelves from different manufacturers. I'll be making a thread for that with the contenders being from PSB, Ascend, Aperion, and Chane. I wanted to add Emotiva but they are out of stock. Hoping they will get them so I can add them into the fray. Yes there are others I could add, dozens of them in fact. My choices are based on reviews and measurements I have read.



In the interim I'd like to run my methodology by you and see if you have any input.


1. Run all speakers through a 72-hour break-in period. Probably around 80-85 dB pink noise run 24/7.
2. Arbitrarily pick 2 sets at a time to go head-to-head. Loser is returned.
3. Listen to the same base playlist then expand from there depending on what I hear. So, for example, if I listen to John Rutter's Requiem and question the choral sound maybe I'll put in something from Chanticleer or King's Singers to investigate more.

4. Take copious notes along the way of course.
5. Room setup: The actual theater needs to be painted and carpet installed so the setup will be my PC playing FLAC audio through an Integra 9.9 in a guest bedroom. Amp will be a Bryston 9BST, XLR connection to the Integra. I have some nice Analysis Plus Oval 12 wire that I'll use. I'll have to set the speakers on old end tables, something I'll cobble together to get the tweeters at ear height.

6. Level match using my trusty Radio Shack decibel meter.



Any opinions/changes/etc that you think I should consider before I start the fun?
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post #2 of 29 Old 03-25-2020, 08:59 PM
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IMO REW sweeps would be nice along with your impressions. Also, would playing music instead of pink noise be better for break-in?
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post #3 of 29 Old 03-25-2020, 09:06 PM
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Those are good choices for speakers, I also think the KEF Q150 is a great budget speaker and are 299 right now. As far as your methodology, the break-in isn't really necessary but you could play each speaker a couple hours if it gives you peace of mind. It all depends on how serious you want to take it but the more biases you can remove the better, level matching is good. I personally find it easier and simpler to compare speakers in mono now, just have some way of switching back and forth instantly. If you have some kind of brand bias you'll probably want to do it blind but if not I don't think it's as big of a deal as some make it.
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post #4 of 29 Old 03-25-2020, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary Mertz View Post
I wanted to add Emotiva but they are out of stock.

In the interim I'd like to run my methodology by you and see if you have any input.

1. Run all speakers through a 72-hour break-in period. Probably around 80-85 dB pink noise run 24/7.
2. Arbitrarily pick 2 sets at a time to go head-to-head. Loser is returned.

Any opinions/changes/etc that you think I should consider before I start the fun?
1. The Emotiva B1 is out of stock, but you could still get the T-Zero to hear the Emotiva house sound because even though it's a tower, it's only $400/pr so it's very close to the same price range as the other speakers you're considering (possibly less once the cost of stands is figured in). The fact that it's a a small tower while the others are bookshelves will be largely nullified if you do #3 .

2. Great instructions on speaker break in: https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/usa/e...w-run-speakers

3. If your system is going to have a subwoofer(s), then I would test the speakers WITH the subwoofer(s) turned on and with a standard 80Hz crossover. Why? Because otherwise your selection of which is the "better" speaker will be heavily biased by which speaker puts out the most mid-bass when running full range...which is completely useless if your planned system is going to have them running crossed over with a sub, not running full range.

4. When comparing speakers head to head, be sure to stagger them: A B A B not A B B A. This ensures that each pair will be the same distance from your main listening position.
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post #5 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 04:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Excellent points all. I think I will cross all of them over but without the sub. If the sub is in play I know I'll be distracted if it is not optimally placed. In my last theater I spent weeks upon weeks getting it just right and I really don't want to go through that right now especially since this testing is all going to be done outside the theater. There aren't really any speaker bias issues because I haven't heard any of them before. Im thinking of setting the speakers as different zones but I think I'll still need to level match and im not sure if I can set the integra to do that automatically from zone to zone. I'll have to look it up in the manual. I also like the idea of blind testing, which I will follow.
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post #6 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I meant also to add that the Emotiva suggestion was good too but they weigh 80 pounds for the pair and are larger of course. Return shipping would be quite expensive.
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post #7 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 06:57 AM
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I'd recommend the JBL 530 bookshelves....free shipping both ways.I just bought my second pair and they will be here in a few hours...

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post #8 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Mertz View Post
I meant also to add that the Emotiva suggestion was good too but they weigh 80 pounds for the pair and are larger of course. Return shipping would be quite expensive.
Maybe consider the HTD Level 3 bookshelves too, since these come with free return shipping.
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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 #9 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 09:29 AM
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I would come up with some fun/unique tests outside of your normal regime. maybe some sort of port wind or vibration test, best hear a pn drop test, best sound while balancing on head, largest spl from your kitchen....idk, something outside of norm...
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post #10 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 09:42 AM
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That will be an excellent analysis...I look forward to your impressions. What, you aren't doing a double blind study with NASA scientists (Harmon) and independant companies doing your data analysis!?
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post #11 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 12:28 PM
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That will be an excellent analysis...I look forward to your impressions. What, you aren't doing a double blind study with NASA scientists (Harmon) and independant companies doing your data analysis!?
I get your sarcasm. Nonetheless, I think an element of blind testing is very useful. Someone else mentioned removing as many biases as possible. I agree with this. The biggest bias that can be introduced is *seeing* which speaker is being heard. Making a portion of the testing blinded adds considerably to the complexity of the comparison. However, it would make the results much more interesting and useful, IMO.

Craig

Edit: I also agree with another poster that in-room measurements would be enlightening.
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post #12 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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All great ideas again. I ordered the JBLs so that will be 5 contenders. I'm keeping it to a max of 6 so I'm leaving that 6th slot open in case Emotiva gets their bookshelves in stock, and I hope they do.


Interestingly enough the last pair I ordered, the PSBs, showed up first today. Off I go to get the room set up. As soon as anything else comes in, let the listening begin! Again, I'll start a new thread for that and I may go ahead and set up the thread tonight or tomorrow just to get it started.
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post #13 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary Mertz View Post
I meant also to add that the Emotiva suggestion was good too but they weigh 80 pounds for the pair and are larger of course. Return shipping would be quite expensive.
speaking as an emo b1 owner, you don't need(imo) to include them right now..other good options out there.. one thing you may want to try ... if you can swing it , grab some elac dbr 62's.. i would think they would blow away the rest of that crowd ,, and probably be easily returned ..edit: the ascend cbm 170's are darn good if those are the ones you ordered.. i'll be interested to see how you like them..

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r Dennis Murphy modded emotiva b1's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... infinity alpha 20 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. ascend cbm 170 se... kef q100 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in

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post #14 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 03:30 PM
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speaking as an emo b1 owner, you don't need(imo) to include them right now..other good options out there.. one thing you may want to try ... if you can swing it , grab some elac dbr 62's.. i would think they would blow away the rest of that crowd ,, and probably be easily returned ..

Seconded. The Elac DBR 62, is definitely worth a listen. They have measured “very” well if you google for the review with measurements. There is a you tube video as well where Andrew Jones talks about about all the bracing in the cabinet and new drivers.
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post #15 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 03:48 PM
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speaking as an emo b1 owner, you don't need(imo) to include them right now..other good options out there.. one thing you may want to try ... if you can swing it , grab some elac dbr 62's.. i would think they would blow away the rest of that crowd ,, and probably be easily returned ..edit: the ascend cbm 170's are darn good if those are the ones you ordered.. i'll be interested to see how you like them..
That would be my pick as well, based on the Audio Science measurements, which suggest that Andrew might have finally got it right. Unfortunately, I believe they're out of stock now.
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post #16 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 03:51 PM
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elac dbr62
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post #17 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 04:16 PM
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That would be my pick as well, based on the Audio Science measurements, which suggest that Andrew might have finally got it right. Unfortunately, I believe they're out of stock now.
everything i've seen & heard leads me to believe that the db62's are going to sound a whole bunch like those b1's you modded with a better woofer and cab..i'm gonna grab a pair at my earliest opportunity..

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r Dennis Murphy modded emotiva b1's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... infinity alpha 20 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. ascend cbm 170 se... kef q100 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #18 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
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The Elacs are indeed out of stock. I can find them but I would have to pay shipping both ways if I return them and that's not a cost I'm willing to absorb on top of what I've already got out there on the 5 pairs I have coming.
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post #19 of 29 Old 03-26-2020, 04:32 PM
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The Elacs are indeed out of stock. I can find them but I would have to pay shipping both ways if I return them and that's not a cost I'm willing to absorb on top of what I've already got out there on the 5 pairs I have coming.
oh well there's always "next time"..you might get my review soon..

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r Dennis Murphy modded emotiva b1's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... infinity alpha 20 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. ascend cbm 170 se... kef q100 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #20 of 29 Old 03-27-2020, 01:30 PM
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everything i've seen & heard leads me to believe that the db62's are going to sound a whole bunch like those b1's you modded with a better woofer and cab..i'm gonna grab a pair at my earliest opportunity..
$600/pair.

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post #21 of 29 Old 03-27-2020, 02:33 PM
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$600/pair.
yep ..and the sierra 1's he ordered are about 675.. i would love to hear a head to head review on those 2.i'm likely going to get the elac's but the sierra 1's are an option as well

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r Dennis Murphy modded emotiva b1's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... infinity alpha 20 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. ascend cbm 170 se... kef q100 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #22 of 29 Old 03-27-2020, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Question about center channels: What would be the match for the Elacs and JBLs? The JBLs are coming, heavily interested in the Elacs.
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post #23 of 29 Old 03-27-2020, 05:21 PM
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Question about center channels: What would be the match for the Elacs and JBLs? The JBLs are coming, heavily interested in the Elacs.
The JBL 520c is the supposed "matching" center for the 530s. Opinion seems fairly split on them; some people find their 4.5" woofers underwhelming, some are fine with them. If ordering from JBL you'll get free return shipping though.

The ELAC's center has gotten slightly more mixed reviews.

If it were me, if I decided on either of them, I'd go with a mismatched center that's a proven performer like the Emotiva C1/C2, Chane A2.4 or Ascend 340SE.
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post #24 of 29 Old 03-28-2020, 05:58 AM - Thread Starter
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The JBL 520c is the supposed "matching" center for the 530s. Opinion seems fairly split on them; some people find their 4.5" woofers underwhelming, some are fine with them. If ordering from JBL you'll get free return shipping though.

The ELAC's center has gotten slightly more mixed reviews.

If it were me, if I decided on either of them, I'd go with a mismatched center that's a proven performer like the Emotiva C1/C2, Chane A2.4 or Ascend 340SE.

Good points, all, good feedback as always!
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Question about center channels: What would be the match for the Elacs and JBLs? The JBLs are coming, heavily interested in the Elacs.
I have not read much criticism of JBL or Elac centers on AVS.

To be honest the only center I can think of that consistently gets low marks is the Pioneer SPC 22.

Some prefer the Polk S30 to the S35 but most that have to settle for the soundbar like size of the S35 are pleased.

Geoff A. J., California
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Why are there two threads about this?

The dbr62's are in stock at music direct
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Why are there two threads about this?

The dbr62's are in stock at music direct

This thread started by me asking for input about my methodology to be input before I began and it went from there. My actual impressions, listening session results, analysis, and decision making process will be on the other thread.


Thank you for the tip on the dbr62s.
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This thread started by me asking for input about my methodology to be input before I began and it went from there. My actual impressions, listening session results, analysis, and decision making process will be on the other thread.


Thank you for the tip on the dbr62s.

Gotcha. Looking forward to your comparisons!

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Thank you!


Here is a question that I need help with. I need a few movie scenes to test these speakers. I do not need a bass test, the speakers will all be crossed over at about 60 to level the playing field. I'm looking for scenes that have high dynamic range with a lot going on in the mix. Something that will let me hear how the speakers can handle action/gunshots/explosions/general mayhem. These will be run in 2-channel stereo so I'm not looking for anything that would otherwise be designed for a surround spectacular.



Certainly any suggestions are appreciated. If I don't have it and there are enough suggestions I'll buy it no problem.
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