Need help determining optimal speaker upgrade for around $1,500 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 22 Old 04-29-2020, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Need help determining optimal speaker upgrade for around $1,500

Hi everyone,

I recently moved with the promise of being able to upgrade my current 3.1 setup (Q Acoustics 3020's L&R, Def Tech CS8060HD Center, RSL Speedwoofer10S with Denon AVR-3312CI) once the new room was set up in accordance with the wife's preferences of course. I originally planned to upgrade from the bookshelf front to floorstanders and use the Q's as rears. Unfortunately the new room layout allows for the TV to be mounted above the fireplace in the center of the room (15'Wx8'Hx18'L) but no place to mount the Def Tech center (too deep). My wife would also love to get rid of the sub, and minimize cables on the wood floors so my priorities are:

Best Performance for the Money (around $1,500 (40% Movies/40% Gaming/20% Music)--total budget of $2,000
I appreciate innovation and aesthetic, don't care about brand
Possible Active or Wireless Speaker/Wireless conversion to passives floorstanders?
Clear enough highs that I don't need to replace the center channel if possible -- Am I going to miss the sub and center going from 3.1 to a 4.(2) setup? (2 towers with enough low end that a subwoofer is not needed)
Future Proof - Dolby Atmos enabled*

My current short-list includes:
Def Tech 9060's (Active 10" Subs x 2 might be enough to replace the RSL sub? + higher sensitivity so easier to push with smaller wireless amp) - Worst Looks but small footprint, Dobly Atmos Enabled
SVS Prime Pinnacles (I appreciated the design and the bass would likely be enough except for at the extreme low end)
Monitor Audio Silver 300's (open box/on sale) - Highly rated and nice design aesthetic
Canton Chrono SL 596 (On Sale for $1500/pair at accessories4less, high quality for value, good design, should be enough bass)
Canton Chrono 509.2 (On Sale for $1300/pair, high value, good design)
Q Acoustics Concept 40 or 3050's - probably not enough low end to get rid of the sub, but would timbre match the 3020's I already have and are visually appealing and I could buy a wireless conversion kit for RSL sub for more discrete placement.

Sorry for the long post, and thank you in advance for all advice!
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post #2 of 22 Old 04-29-2020, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Totten View Post
Hi everyone,

I recently moved with the promise of being able to upgrade my current 3.1 setup (Q Acoustics 3020's L&R, Def Tech CS8060HD Center, RSL Speedwoofer10S with Denon AVR-3312CI) once the new room was set up in accordance with the wife's preferences of course. I originally planned to upgrade from the bookshelf front to floorstanders and use the Q's as rears. Unfortunately the new room layout allows for the TV to be mounted above the fireplace in the center of the room (15'Wx8'Hx18'L) but no place to mount the Def Tech center (too deep). My wife would also love to get rid of the sub, and minimize cables on the wood floors so my priorities are:

Best Performance for the Money (around $1,500 (40% Movies/40% Gaming/20% Music)--total budget of $2,000
I appreciate innovation and aesthetic, don't care about brand
Possible Active or Wireless Speaker/Wireless conversion to passives floorstanders?
Clear enough highs that I don't need to replace the center channel if possible -- Am I going to miss the sub and center going from 3.1 to a 4.(2) setup? (2 towers with enough low end that a subwoofer is not needed)
Future Proof - Dolby Atmos enabled*

My current short-list includes:
Def Tech 9060's (Active 10" Subs x 2 might be enough to replace the RSL sub? + higher sensitivity so easier to push with smaller wireless amp) - Worst Looks but small footprint, Dobly Atmos Enabled
SVS Prime Pinnacles (I appreciated the design and the bass would likely be enough except for at the extreme low end)
Monitor Audio Silver 300's (open box/on sale) - Highly rated and nice design aesthetic
Canton Chrono SL 596 (On Sale for $1500/pair at accessories4less, high quality for value, good design, should be enough bass)
Canton Chrono 509.2 (On Sale for $1300/pair, high value, good design)
Q Acoustics Concept 40 or 3050's - probably not enough low end to get rid of the sub, but would timbre match the 3020's I already have and are visually appealing and I could buy a wireless conversion kit for RSL sub for more discrete placement.

Sorry for the long post, and thank you in advance for all advice!
Come on man, dig you heels in, and just say NO to your wife about getting rid of the sub! That Speedwoofer 10S is already small and pretty, for Chrissakes---it's the bare minimum sub for someone doing 80% movies/gaming!

The built-in subs of the 9060s are somewhat passable for fill-in bass during music, but a complete joke for HT. Built-in subs in general are just a stupid sales gimmick when in comes to HT...there is no substitute for a free standing sub's larger enclosure and ability to be positioned anywhere in the room for maximum boundary reinforcement, and having a freestanding sub right next to the mains is often the worst possible spot in the room. Physics is physics; marketing BS is not.

For HT, that Speedwoofer plus even a $400 pair of speakers (bookshelves or towers) would easily run circles over any towers alone at any price being powered by a normal AVR.

Of course, if you seldom watch big budget action/thriller movies then you can ignore all of the above.
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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 #3 of 22 Old 04-29-2020, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, sounds like the def techs are out. The physics makes sense, and while I am not in a position to do a legit HT setup I will keep doing demos and research to find the best form and function for me.
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post #4 of 22 Old 04-29-2020, 09:21 PM
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Get the Concept 40s and keep the sub.
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It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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post #5 of 22 Old 04-29-2020, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Totten View Post
Hi everyone,

Canton Chrono SL 596 (On Sale for $1500/pair at accessories4less, high quality for value, good design, should be enough bass)
Canton Chrono 509.2 (On Sale for $1300/pair, high value, good design)

!
These two Canton options come with free center channel speaker so excellent value.
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post #6 of 22 Old 04-30-2020, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cocrh View Post
These two Canton options come with free center channel speaker so excellent value.

Are you going to be able to keep a center? You said there was no place to mount your current one due to the depth. It is rather deep at 14+ inches according to the specs. Those Canton centers that A4L is throwing in free (models 505 or 555 I think) are slightly over 12 inches deep, so not much different from your current one.
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post #7 of 22 Old 04-30-2020, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Come on man, dig you heels in, and just say NO to your wife about getting rid of the sub! That Speedwoofer 10S is already small and pretty, for Chrissakes---it's the bare minimum sub for someone doing 80% movies/gaming!



The built-in subs of the 9060s are somewhat passable for fill-in bass during music, but a complete joke for HT. Built-in subs in general are just a stupid sales gimmick when in comes to HT...there is no substitute for a free standing sub's larger enclosure and ability to be positioned anywhere in the room for maximum boundary reinforcement, and having a freestanding sub right next to the mains is often the worst possible spot in the room. Physics is physics; marketing BS is not.



For HT, that Speedwoofer plus even a $400 pair of speakers (bookshelves or towers) would easily run circles over any towers alone at any price being powered by a normal AVR.



Of course, if you seldom watch big budget action/thriller movies then you can ignore all of the above.
Agree completely. No sub - no HT. You may even need a better sub or two subs.

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post #8 of 22 Old 04-30-2020, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Totten View Post

Canton Chrono SL 596 (On Sale for $1500/pair at accessories4less, high quality for value, good design, should be enough bass)
Canton Chrono 509.2 (On Sale for $1300/pair, high value, good design)!
The difference between these two with respect to sound quality is minimal at best. Main difference is aesthetics ( I own the SL 596).

If your not in a hurry to buy, hold off and keep an eye on the prices daily. During the last few months I’ve seen the SL 596 for $599.99 ea.

However, if you need a center speaker too...the 509 deal is pretty good.

And the prior comments about a quality sub or two are spot on.
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post #9 of 22 Old 04-30-2020, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Get the Concept 40s and keep the sub.

Why the concept 40's? Would the sandwich/gelcore construction really match my 3020's?
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Originally Posted by Boombox13 View Post
The difference between these two with respect to sound quality is minimal at best. Main difference is aesthetics ( I own the SL 596).

If your not in a hurry to buy, hold off and keep an eye on the prices daily. During the last few months I’ve seen the SL 596 for $599.99 ea.

However, if you need a center speaker too...the 509 deal is pretty good.

And the prior comments about a quality sub or two are spot on.
Thanks cocrh, tuba4me and boombox13 re: the Cantons. I will only have access to a mantle that is 6.5'' deep so only a thin center would work, and it is a bit too high for an ideal listening positiong anyways. Just thinking outside of the box: I could go with the Cantons and then sell the center to help fund a sub upgrade.
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post #11 of 22 Old 04-30-2020, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Totten View Post
Thanks cocrh, tuba4me and boombox13 re: the Cantons. I will only have access to a mantle that is 6.5'' deep so only a thin center would work, and it is a bit too high for an ideal listening positiong anyways. Just thinking outside of the box: I could go with the Cantons and then sell the center to help fund a sub upgrade.
Best idea I've heard all day! Though it's probably a long shot, getting a 2nd Speedwoofer would be even better.

Kef LS50,Q200C, Q100, Kef Kube 10B (X2) , Denon AVR-X3400H, Emotiva A-300, Panasonic 50" Plasma, Xbox One.
Bedroom: Kef Q100 ,JBL Loft 20, SVS SB-2000, Denon AVR-S710W, PS3, 32" Insigna LED.
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post #12 of 22 Old 04-30-2020, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Brad Totten View Post
Why the concept 40's? Would the sandwich/gelcore construction really match my 3020's?
Personally, I'd stick with the 3050i. Gives you a little more mid-bass and costs less.

The Concept series is more neutral and holds up under high high volumes better if running full range; crossed over to a sub the difference is subtle at best. Basing that on my experience of home auditioning the Concept 20 vs 3020 side by side a couple years 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 #13 of 22 Old 04-30-2020, 08:43 AM
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Speaker choices are many, so I'll leave the recommendations to others. I would urge you to audition at least two, in home, before deciding. Buying blind off recommendations may lead to disappointment. ID companies, Crutchfield, Q Acoustics, SVS--all offer generous return policies so your risk and expense are negligible.

But please, don't lose the sub. Get a wireless kit and hide it if you must. You may end up with a position that is not necessarily optimal, but that will still be far superior to no sub at all. That Speedwoofer is a great little sub--I auditioned it and was impressed.

BTW, as for WAF, the finishes on the Q Acoustics are top notch--you may really, really like the white or gray ones.
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post #14 of 22 Old 04-30-2020, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Brad Totten View Post
Why the concept 40's? Would the sandwich/gelcore construction really match my 3020's?
Like the 3020, only better. QA voices all their speakers similarly. If you want to stay in the same ballpark, and given only 20% music usage, you can save some $ by getting the 3050, which they are still selling, or upgrade to the 3050i. Again, all the options will "match" just fine to your 3020s.

I'm going to pile on with the other folks and tell you to keep the sub. Find a good place for it audibly (make sure your wife is not sitting in a large peak) and visually (it can hold up a plant or piece of artwork, or hide it under an end table, or behind the couch, or .... think creatively!).

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 04-30-2020 at 10:50 AM.
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post #15 of 22 Old 05-01-2020, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Speaker choices are many, so I'll leave the recommendations to others. I would urge you to audition at least two, in home, before deciding. Buying blind off recommendations may lead to disappointment. ID companies, Crutchfield, Q Acoustics, SVS--all offer generous return policies so your risk and expense are negligible.

But please, don't lose the sub. Get a wireless kit and hide it if you must. You may end up with a position that is not necessarily optimal, but that will still be far superior to no sub at all. That Speedwoofer is a great little sub--I auditioned it and was impressed.

BTW, as for WAF, the finishes on the Q Acoustics are top notch--you may really, really like the white or gray ones.
I am in agreement with all of the this, both my wife and I are impressed with the finish on the QA 3020's I have. I plan to try the 3050i's and SVS Prime Pinnacles. I know there is a significant price difference but I hope that will give me a good feel for if I can be satisfied closer to the $1,000 mark (or below on sale/open box) and then could use the extra cash for upgrades elsewhere. So many decisions, so little money!
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Like the 3020, only better. QA voices all their speakers similarly. If you want to stay in the same ballpark, and given only 20% music usage, you can save some $ by getting the 3050, which they are still selling, or upgrade to the 3050i. Again, all the options will "match" just fine to your 3020s.

I'm going to pile on with the other folks and tell you to keep the sub. Find a good place for it audibly (make sure your wife is not sitting in a large peak) and visually (it can hold up a plant or piece of artwork, or hide it under an end table, or behind the couch, or .... think creatively!).
Thanks RayGuy - everyone has convinced me to at least keep my current sub, the wife wasn't demanding I get rid of it so we can work out a spot for it in the new layout. Do you have opinions on the highest bang for your buck sub that still has a discrete footprint that would out perform the RSL 10"? My floor plan is open in the back of the living room so having extra low end would be helpful. I have mainly been looking at the Monolith 10'' for the increased power.
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Personally, I'd stick with the 3050i. Gives you a little more mid-bass and costs less.

The Concept series is more neutral and holds up under high high volumes better if running full range; crossed over to a sub the difference is subtle at best. Basing that on my experience of home auditioning the Concept 20 vs 3020 side by side a couple years ago.
I appreciate the advice!
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post #18 of 22 Old 05-01-2020, 09:55 AM
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the highest bang for your buck sub that still has a discrete footprint that would out perform the RSL 10"?
Smallest footprint with bigger oomph would lead you to a cylindrical subwoofer, which only SVS still makes AFAIK:
https://www.svsound.com/products/pc-2000-pro

Or dual woofer subs like this:
http://www.rythmikaudio.com/L22.html

However, since these cost over double a single RSL sub, it might be a better idea to simply get a second RSL. Subs interact with ALL CONTIGUOUS space, not just your actual LISTENING AREA.

One nice feature of the RSL subs is that you can add a wireless module for just $50 apiece.
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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 #19 of 22 Old 05-01-2020, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Brad Totten View Post
Thanks RayGuy - everyone has convinced me to at least keep my current sub, the wife wasn't demanding I get rid of it so we can work out a spot for it in the new layout. Do you have opinions on the highest bang for your buck sub that still has a discrete footprint that would out perform the RSL 10"? My floor plan is open in the back of the living room so having extra low end would be helpful. I have mainly been looking at the Monolith 10'' for the increased power.
Outperform the RSL with a smaller footprint? I'll give it some thought, but I'm not optimistic in that price range. The RSL is very well regarded. Small and powerful costs plenty. One guy just ordered an OSD 8" sub with a box < 12" square, but hasn't yet reported on it's performance. I seriously doubt it outperforms or even equals the RSL, but it is significantly smaller and half the price.

https://www.amazon.com/OSD-Audio-PS8.../dp/B0085OB5PW

The Rythmik L12 would be about the same size, and have tighter and cleaner bass, but more expensive.

http://www.rythmikaudio.com/L12.html

The XTZ 8.17 is smaller ... significant savings with current promotion:

https://www.xtzsound.eu/product/sub-8-17

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 05-01-2020 at 08:18 PM.
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post #20 of 22 Old 05-01-2020, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Totten View Post
Thanks RayGuy - everyone has convinced me to at least keep my current sub, the wife wasn't demanding I get rid of it so we can work out a spot for it in the new layout. Do you have opinions on the highest bang for your buck sub that still has a discrete footprint that would out perform the RSL 10"? My floor plan is open in the back of the living room so having extra low end would be helpful. I have mainly been looking at the Monolith 10'' for the increased power.

the RSL has a footprint of about 15"x16". considering that:


- Rythmik L12 14"x15"
- Rythmik F12 15"x17"
- SVS PC-2000 pro 17" diameter circle
- Monolith 10" sealed 13"x16"
- PSA is supposed to be coming out with a value 12" sealed sub that should be a good option, no details yet
- HSU ULS-15 18"x18"


There are some great options for you.

Front: Polk S55
Center: Polk S30
Rear: Polk S10
Sub: P̶L̶-̶2̶0̶0̶I̶I̶ | (̶2̶)̶ ̶F̶V̶X̶1̶2̶ | V1812
AVR: Denon AVR-X3500H
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post #21 of 22 Old 05-01-2020, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Smallest footprint with bigger oomph would lead you to a cylindrical subwoofer, which only SVS still makes AFAIK:
https://www.svsound.com/products/pc-2000-pro

Or dual woofer subs like this:
http://www.rythmikaudio.com/L22.html

However, since these cost over double a single RSL sub, it might be a better idea to simply get a second RSL. Subs interact with ALL CONTIGUOUS space, not just your actual LISTENING AREA.

One nice feature of the RSL subs is that you can add a wireless module for just $50 apiece.
Thanks for the advice I will look into these options, it doesn't have to be smaller....just comparable in size would be preferable.
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post #22 of 22 Old 05-25-2020, 07:53 PM
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I have a center from 2004, Canton karat CM70. This has performed well with a Denon AVR -3805 120 wpc. With ceiling mounted and a Velodyne SPL-800 for a sub. Sub just went out, and I moved into a new house and left the ceiling mounted speakers in the old house.

I have currently upgraded To Chrono SL 526.2 and 536.2 with the same center. Had them for about 6 months and enjoy the clarity of the Cantons.

I just recently purchased the Xhrono SL 596.2, they will be here on Thursday can’t wait!!!

Will update you as they come in.
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