Tower speakers for sm-med room on $6k budget - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 153 Old 04-30-2020, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Tower speakers for sm-med room on $6k budget

Hi, just joined but have read tons of threads here to help inform past purchases!

(to clarify based on some people's confusion, $6k is the budget for the speakers, not total budget)

I'm currently working on a setup for a 12x14 finished basement with 7ft ceiling and one 6ft wide opening on one side that leads into a larger room. It will be mostly home theater but wife also stipulates it must be good for "dance parties"... lol

I'm finally at a point in life and finances that I've started getting back into high-end audio. I was mostly into car audio in my youth but now that I have a permanent house to fill with equipment, I've started delving into home audio / theater. Admittedly, I'm a noob when it comes to the acoustic considerations of designing around a room, placing speakers, bass traps, panels, etc... it's a bit overwhelming and honestly, I don't know how technical I'll have time to get.

One concern I have with the space is that the towers I'm looking at could be too much for the room? I honestly don't really understand that but I've read enough posts to have seen people mention a concern being how distance you need from a speaker or space for it to perform well?

Anyway, the current quandary is what front speakers to get.

I already got a Seaton Submersive HP for the sub, which is probably overkill. I'm a bit of a bass junky and like to feel some serious base on occasion but I listen to a wide range of music from classical to EDM and also want to have good SQ.

I ordered an A3080 yamaha receiver. (I have a Denon X4500 upstairs and it sounds great but the controls and App are not my favorite).

For towers, after much research I (think) I've honed in on Revel, Focal, Dynaudio and Kef. For models, I guess I'm looking at Aria 948, Revel Performa3, Kef700 or the X44 / Countor30?

I have Klipsch RP-8000F upstairs and they're great for HT but a little bright / harsh for my taste at times when listening to music. Upstairs I also have a SVS PB4000 sub and between the towers and sub, I feel like the "mid bass" is missing. That term seems sort ambiguous as far as how people apply but what I mean is the higher frequency punchy feel. The SVS produces lots of rumble and you feel like you're getting punched in the back by impacts in action movies but for music, it seems like unless the song has really deep base hits, there is a gap where it feels like something is missing.

So, I'm looking for towers that will be less bright than the klipsch but also fill out the mid-bass? or whatever, where the subs roll off and it feels like the klipsch leave a gap.

I don't think I have golden ears, so I feel like spending more than $6k would be wasted on me and maybe I could do with something less expensive but money isn't exactly tight, so I do want to treat myself to something that is at least higher end than I've experienced before.

One last consideration - I need to be able to order them online. I've excluded some brands, like Dali, because they seem tough to order without a dealer.

I welcome any suggestions or experience that might help narrow in on a decision. Thanks!

Last edited by Brodor; 05-01-2020 at 09:59 AM.
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post #2 of 153 Old 04-30-2020, 03:17 PM
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I am partial to Revel. With a substantial discount you could afford the Revel PerformaBE 228Be.

For much less you can get the Ascend Sierra RAAL towers.

Since you don't have enough posts I can't send you a private message. If you post your email address I can send you interesting information.
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post #3 of 153 Old 04-30-2020, 03:38 PM
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I'll second the Revel recommendation. The new JBL HDI series are also very good sounding. HDI-3800 is due to arrive in a few weeks.
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post #4 of 153 Old 04-30-2020, 04:07 PM
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JTR might be something to seriously consider. Chane has two new series of speakers coming out soon that might be worth checking out too.
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post #5 of 153 Old 04-30-2020, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brodor View Post
So, I'm looking for towers that will be less bright than the klipsch but also fill out the mid-bass? or whatever, where the subs roll off and it feels like the klipsch leave a gap.

I don't think I have golden ears, so I feel like spending more than $6k would be wasted on me and maybe I could do with something less expensive but money isn't exactly tight, so I do want to treat myself to something that is at least higher end than I've experienced before.

One last consideration - I need to be able to order them online. I've excluded some brands, like Dali, because they seem tough to order without a dealer.

I welcome any suggestions or experience that might help narrow in on a decision. Thanks!
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post #6 of 153 Old 04-30-2020, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wnydel2 View Post
JTR might be something to seriously consider. Chane has two new series of speakers coming out soon that might be worth checking out too.
Haha, was hoping to narrow things down instead of come up with more options but I appreciate the suggestions.
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post #7 of 153 Old 04-30-2020, 06:00 PM
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Three of these: https://www.powersoundaudio.com/coll...oducts/mtm-210
Combined with your SubMersive (you really should have two of them) it will be difficult to find anything better for the price.
If you have any woodworking ability, you could look here: https://www.diysoundgroup.com/ specifically the Titan-615 or 1299 speakers.
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post #8 of 153 Old 04-30-2020, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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My woodworking skills are fairly non-existent and one thing I have little of these days is free time unfortunately.

Also, I should have said, I need something with a nice wood finish - wife would probably not be happy about some big black speakers.
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post #9 of 153 Old 04-30-2020, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brodor View Post
My woodworking skills are fairly non-existent and one thing I have little of these days is free time unfortunately.

Also, I should have said, I need something with a nice wood finish - wife would probably not be happy about some big black speakers.
You want mayo with that?



Actually, you sound like a candidate to get in on the ground floor of the new Chane 700 series. They will play loud, clean, and look good doing it. Of course, there are no free lunches, as these have not been introduced to the market as of yet, except in various tweets and posts here and on the Chane site. That said, if you can wait, they sound like the perfect solution for you. And no, no ETA, as of yet.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

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post #10 of 153 Old 04-30-2020, 09:57 PM
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Ascend Sierra towers with RAAL tweeter, and don't look back.
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post #11 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 02:35 AM
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For a nice finish, Sierra towers, JTR has finish options, I believe the Chane 700 will, Salk is also a good option (sound and finish). Sorry to keep adding to your list!
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post #12 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 04:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wnydel2 View Post
For a nice finish, Sierra towers, JTR has finish options, I believe the Chane 700 will, Salk is also a good option (sound and finish). Sorry to keep adding to your list!
I've been considering the current Chane lineup for several weeks but just haven't bit the bullet. While reading through the Chane owner's thread the 700/L series intro goes back 3-4 years and they still have not released. I wouldn't hold my breath on them. Not hating at all. They are trying to perfect the finished product that they want, not to mention all of the global manufacturing disruptions due to the coronavirus.

Also as I understand that Salk are built to order, which again is going to be quite a wait. Just depends on what kind of timeline the OP is looking at.
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post #13 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 05:03 AM
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Revel F226Be or F208 will be within your budget with standard discounts. The walnut finish is nice if you want wood, but I would choose metallic silver for the F226.
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post #14 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 05:33 AM
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The 4 brands you’re looking at would be great if you got anything from any of them. The new Dynaudio Evoke 50 is supposed to have some thump and with the newer designed tweeter offer a very transparent sound.
Revel is always nice as well as focal, I prefer Focal a touch more sound-wise, but again this is all very personal taste preferences.
Kef is nice but I don’t think they tend to hit as hard as the others when I’ve auditioned them, they have good bass, but I’d say the bass is t as strong and the sounds very linear. But very nice speakers as well.
I own Contour 20s, absolutely love them. I use a HSU VTF3 mk5 sub, Naim SuperNait 3, with or without the sub the system is impressive for all types of music.

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post #15 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 05:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brodor View Post
My woodworking skills are fairly non-existent and one thing I have little of these days is free time unfortunately.

Also, I should have said, I need something with a nice wood finish - wife would probably not be happy about some big black speakers.
Salk should satisfy all of your criteria. http://salksound.com/

Problem is you will have to be prepared to wait. He builds every speaker to order which normally takes about 4-5 months but he's shut down right now being in MI.
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post #16 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Brodor View Post
Hi, just joined but have read tons of threads here to help inform past purchases!

I'm currently working on a setup for a 12x14 finished basement with 7ft ceiling and one 6ft wide opening on one side that leads into a larger room. It will be mostly home theater but wife also stipulates it must be a "baller system for dance parties"... lol

I'm finally at a point in life and finances that I've started getting back into high-end audio. I was mostly into car audio in my youth but now that I have a permanent house to fill with equipment, I've started delving into home audio / theater. Admittedly, I'm a noob when it comes to the acoustic considerations of designing around a room, placing speakers, bass traps, panels, etc... it's a bit overwhelming and honestly, I don't know how technical I'll have time to get.

One concern I have with the space is that the towers I'm looking at could be too much for the room? I honestly don't really understand that but I've read enough posts to have seen people mention a concern being how distance you need from a speaker or space for it to perform well?

Anyway, the current quandary is what front speakers to get.

I already got a Seaton Submersive HP for the sub, which is probably overkill. I'm a bit of a bass junky and like to feel some serious base on occasion but I listen to a wide range of music from classical to EDM and also want to have good SQ.

I ordered an A3080 yamaha receiver. (I have a Denon X4500 upstairs and it sounds great but the controls and App are not my favorite).

For towers, after much research I (think) I've honed in on Revel, Focal, Dynaudio and Kef. For models, I guess I'm looking at Aria 948, Revel Performa3, Kef700 or the X44 / Countor30?

I have Klipsch RP-8000F upstairs and they're great for HT but a little bright / harsh for my taste at times when listening to music. Upstairs I also have a SVS PB4000 sub and between the towers and sub, I feel like the "mid bass" is missing. That term seems sort ambiguous as far as how people apply but what I mean is the higher frequency punchy feel. The SVS produces lots of rumble and you feel like you're getting punched in the back by impacts in action movies but for music, it seems like unless the song has really deep base hits, there is a gap where it feels like something is missing.

So, I'm looking for towers that will be less bright than the klipsch but also fill out the mid-bass? or whatever, where the subs roll off and it feels like the klipsch leave a gap.

I don't think I have golden ears, so I feel like spending more than $6k would be wasted on me and maybe I could do with something less expensive but money isn't exactly tight, so I do want to treat myself to something that is at least higher end than I've experienced before.

One last consideration - I need to be able to order them online. I've excluded some brands, like Dali, because they seem tough to order without a dealer.

I welcome any suggestions or experience that might help narrow in on a decision. Thanks!
I'm a Revel, JBL Synthesis, KEF, & Klipsch dealer and can give some insights & suggestions based on experience in designing these types of systems....

To make sure I understand correctly

- Your $6,000 budget is for all of the speakers (I would assume 9 because of the receiver)
- Must be able to hang with "baller dance parties"
- Towers preferred for the fronts (can in-walls be done in the back?)
- Not much faith in Klipsch

In order, I would recommend (everything below can work within your budget with the right dealer)...


1: JBL HDI 3600 tower, matching 4500 center, & Revel in-wall/in-ceiling surrounds https://www.jblsynthesis.com/product...es/hdi-series/
2: Revel M126Be (bookshelf model), matching center, & Revel in-wall/in-ceiling surrounds https://www.revelspeakers.com/produc...es-performabe/
3: Revel Performa3 F206, matching center, & Revel in-wall/in-ceiling surrounds https://www.revelspeakers.com/produc...ies-performa3/

Well under budget option
4: Revel Concerta2 series https://www.revelspeakers.com/produc...ies-concerta2/ & matching Revel in-walll.in-ceilling.

^ All of the above are very very capable loudspeaker systems and also very very pretty. Read: BALLER LEGIT. The HDI system is beautiful, but a totally different aesthetic than the Revel systems. I put the Be bookshelf model in there as a suggestion as well. I think that is an amazing speaker and your room is on the smaller side so you don't HAVE to have towers. With that in mind, feel free to substitute the HDI-3600 out for the smaller HDI-1600. In that size room, the benefits of the towers may not be realized. Depends on listening volumes/habits. The price of the towers can be worked down to be close to the bookshelf model so maybe the cost/savings is worth the bigger speaker.

- Being super honest, in my professional opinion and as a KEF dealer, I don't think that the similarly priced R series can hang with any of the above, save for the Concerta2 stuff, but that is at a different price point. At the Concerta2 price point, it trumps the Q series from KEF in a great many ways so that would be my "budget" choice if you had to step down.

ClemsonChad & BigCoollJesus have the HDI systems and are thrilled. BigCool replaced PSAs with the HDI 3600 & Revel surrounds, FWIW, & ClemsonChad auditioned a ton of speakers (many - close to all - mentioned in this thread). Spyboy's recommendation is excellent as well. He knows his stuff!

Hope this helps! Fee free to let me know if you have any questions about my recommendation.

Last edited by PrestigeAudio; 05-01-2020 at 06:46 AM.
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post #17 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 08:12 AM
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I have a similar room shape as you, with large openings to one side. I’m smiling as I read you comments on your upstairs system, yup that missing mid bass you refer to is something I’ve heard often and I find takes away from a system being able to put a grin on your face. I call that HT focused sound, not that they all do that but too much boom and sizzle, not enough in the middle.

I also for the first time had enough to consider buying some great speakers for my only music/HT system, and started with the center channel. My goal was clear, full mid bass and great off center sound, so that means getting away from MTM to a proper 3 way. With a centered tweeter and midrange, woofers to the side now you can sit l/r of center and not be getting a different sound than right in the middle.

Why did I start with the center? Well I wanted a front soundstage that would be a matching LCR setup, and to be honest realizing that few centers were proper 3ways, narrowed down the options considerably. I then setup a Tidal playlist of select tracks me and the wife are familiar with to start listening.

We were lucky to hear the F208 and C208 center which is a proper 3 way design. Nice looking cabinet, but there was no life. I know from seeing the measurements and tests that it should be great, but it failed the put a smile on your face test for both of us. I even repeated a visit to try again, even with the speakers in another room and still the same result.

Then the KEF R700 and R600C, with their concentric drivers. I’ve always been interested in what kind of pinpoint imaging you could get from a concentric design, and the center should be even better as the TM is one with flanking woofers. This was another sat up that went back and forth to, but short version is that the trade offs of a recessed tweeter radiating from within a mid are noticeable and the clarity for us was just not there.

Tried a number of the Focal series, alas they don’t make proper 3 way center, but wanted to hear what the 9XX models had to offer having had listened to them in a 2.0 setup, we both liked the sound and again returned to hear them more than once, but while pleasing they again lacked the last bit, fun. When it came to looking for center to match, the CC 900 was so bad even the dealer apologized after it was played, I think the look of disappointment was pretty apparent on my face.

At that point what do we try now, so started to look at speakers at higher price brackets and oddly some were more colored, or left saying wow that’s all you get (sound wise) for 2x and 3x the money? Keeping this short(er) the only contender up there was the Monitor Audio PL300 II. They offer a matching PLC350 II center, and I’ll say that the 300’s filled the fun to listen box but there was some harshness in the upper midrange that was evident only one a couple of our test tracks, oh then there was the price, even with discounts these were getting way above where we started, but they did get closer to our goal, a technically competent speaker can exist that can also be fun to listen to.

In the back of my mind there was also Ascend, kept hearing great things about them for years, spoke with both Dina and Dave and was impressed with their passion. Nice cabinets, wide choice of finishes, well engineered drivers and the RAAL tweeters. after spending hundreds of hours listening, reading and comparing it was time to try ordering the Sierra Towers and Horizon center all either RAAL tweeters. I’m not going to give you first impressions but rather I’ll say this, I don’t read about speakers anymore If I was stranded on a desert island or stuck at home (oh ya like now...) and only had one set of speakers to live with these tick all the boxes. Fun, toe tapping, great imaging, excellent dialogue with full midbass, even on the center.

The Horizon RAAL center is so good, I never need to turn up the sound to hear lines in movies anymore, the width of the sound from it easily covers the width of the room. And it puts out great midbass, deep make vocals sound rich without being boomy.

The Sierra RAAL Towers are great at imaging, sitting at my usual off center chair listening to music, I have had to get up on numerous occasions to confirm that the center is not playing the vocals, that’s crazy! It really is that convincing that I get up to double check I don’t have it playing accidentally via upmixing in my pre-pro, but it’s not playing at all when I put my ear to it. The midbass of these also not boomy at all, there are no gaps in the frequency range (I’m looking at you Paradigm F95), there is no harshness in the mids or highs. The RAAL tweeters really do have fast, detailed but never harsh done just right sound.

I will end that the true test is what happens when I came home late from a long day working yesterday, the wife had the stereo cranked listening to her carefully built playlists while doing dishes with a smile on her face, perfect! That says it all, she really does enjoy them as much as I do.

Summary is buy a system that makes you smile, uses well engineered parts and is put together by people passionate about enjoying music. Even after the new gear honeymoon, the Ascends have remained as satisfying as they were the day they arrived some 2 years ago. The value proposition is also there, the full LCR setup with RAAL, premium finishes (we have satin espresso and they look great) and shipping still leaves you with $1300 that would be better put to use for sound treatments vs paying for marketing departments. They are also an easy load to drive, so your Yamaha would work very well with them too.

Enjoy your journey whatever you decide!

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post #18 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 08:25 AM
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Haha, was hoping to narrow things down instead of come up with more options but I appreciate the suggestions.

JTR is great for home theater with very sensitive speakers (not alot of power needed for clear and loud) as well as meets your wifes dance party criteria in spades =) Musically I think they sound great, but ymmv =)

Often on here people in your area with speakers you are looking at are happy to have you over to hear the speakers in question before you buy. And with the money you are spending I would spend the time to do so.
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post #19 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 08:31 AM
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Is that $6K just for towers? I ask because your post is "all over the place" and I don't mean that as an insult but your post does not convey exactly what you're wanting to achieve other than speaker recommendatons. I'd recommend backing up and nailing down your room design and exactly how you want to use it. With $6 for two towers you have almost too many higher end options so you should not be worried about that at this point. What kind of display do you envision? Seating? Do you want a surround sound system to go with that or just two towers and a sub? It kinda sorta sounds like music and dance is a priority over a theater system.

If you just want to know how to spend $6K on towers that accel at audiophile music reproduction, you have the current " best list" of contenders already....Revel, B&W, Ascend, Focal, Klipsch Heritage? If you want high volume speakers that accel at HT you have that list as well. As always you might not prefer what any of us would choose so take the recommendations and absolutely let YOUR ears make YOUR decision for YOU.

Another reason I recommend nailing down your design/use objectives you actually touched on in your post...that room is not very big and you certainly do not need towers to light-up a room that size with either super high end audiophile quality music reproduction or loud HT...in fact depending on how you want to use the room most of those towers except the Ascends might just end up as "floor space eaters" that are not necessary to achieve your goals. Sorta' sounds to me like you want to dance in the adjacent room? Is that correct? If I'm interpreting this correctly, then I'd recommend planning a separate "zone 2" speaker system in that adjacent room for dancing and most likely I would recommend something like two opposite corner subs with 4 decent bookshelf speakers aiming down to center room that you can run in "all channel stereo" mode to maximize dancing space and sound best throughout the room rather than using big audiophile quality towers for dance music. Really flat audiophile speakers don't make for good "dance speakers" for a myriad of reasons first of which is they are standing on the floor aimed at humans moving around.

You also say you're finishing your basement, now is the time to nail down your design and use. The single biggest factor to good sound is the ROOM, so now is the time to plan and build those spaces so they will sound great....materials, insulation, sound proofing, flooring, wiring, and most importantly best possible speaker locations. This is a good place to start: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...-construction/

Getting folks here to tell you what speakers they would buy with your money is the easy part but I don't think you're near that point yet. Hope this helps

Last edited by JonfromCB; 05-01-2020 at 08:39 AM.
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post #20 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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- Your $6,000 budget is for all of the speakers (I would assume 9 because of the receiver)
- Must be able to hang with "baller dance parties"
Sorry, to be clear, I mean $6000 just for the tower speakers. My budget is sort of whatever but I feel like since I spent $1000 on my last speakers and they seem fairly high quality, just maybe not turned to my personal preference / a bit lacking on the higher end bass, $6000 cap seems like it should get me a step or two up without getting too crazy. Then I'll have speakers I can be happy with forever (until in two years I decide they're not quite enough and decide to blow more money).
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post #21 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 08:50 AM
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I have a similar room shape as you, with large openings to one side. I’m smiling as I read you comments on your upstairs system, yup that missing mid bass you refer to is something I’ve heard often and I find takes away from a system being able to put a grin on your face. I call that HT focused sound, not that they all do that but too much boom and sizzle, not enough in the middle.

I also for the first time had enough to consider buying some great speakers for my only music/HT system, and started with the center channel. My goal was clear, full mid bass and great off center sound, so that means getting away from MTM to a proper 3 way. With a centered tweeter and midrange, woofers to the side now you can sit l/r of center and not be getting a different sound than right in the middle.

Why did I start with the center? Well I wanted a front soundstage that would be a matching LCR setup, and to be honest realizing that few centers were proper 3ways, narrowed down the options considerably. I then setup a Tidal playlist of select tracks me and the wife are familiar with to start listening.

We were lucky to hear the F208 and C208 center which is a proper 3 way design. Nice looking cabinet, but there was no life. I know from seeing the measurements and tests that it should be great, but it failed the put a smile on your face test for both of us. I even repeated a visit to try again, even with the speakers in another room and still the same result.

Then the KEF R700 and R600C, with their concentric drivers. I’ve always been interested in what kind of pinpoint imaging you could get from a concentric design, and the center should be even better as the TM is one with flanking woofers. This was another sat up that went back and forth to, but short version is that the trade offs of a recessed tweeter radiating from within a mid are noticeable and the clarity for us was just not there.

Tried a number of the Focal series, alas they don’t make proper 3 way center, but wanted to hear what the 9XX models had to offer having had listened to them in a 2.0 setup, we both liked the sound and again returned to hear them more than once, but while pleasing they again lacked the last bit, fun. When it came to looking for center to match, the CC 900 was so bad even the dealer apologized after it was played, I think the look of disappointment was pretty apparent on my face.

At that point what do we try now, so started to look at speakers at higher price brackets and oddly some were more colored, or left saying wow that’s all you get (sound wise) for 2x and 3x the money? Keeping this short(er) the only contender up there was the Monitor Audio PL300 II. They offer a matching PLC350 II center, and I’ll say that the 300’s filled the fun to listen box but there was some harshness in the upper midrange that was evident only one a couple of our test tracks, oh then there was the price, even with discounts these were getting way above where we started, but they did get closer to our goal, a technically competent speaker can exist that can also be fun to listen to.

In the back of my mind there was also Ascend, kept hearing great things about them for years, spoke with both Dina and Dave and was impressed with their passion. Nice cabinets, wide choice of finishes, well engineered drivers and the RAAL tweeters. after spending hundreds of hours listening, reading and comparing it was time to try ordering the Sierra Towers and Horizon center all either RAAL tweeters. I’m not going to give you first impressions but rather I’ll say this, I don’t read about speakers anymore If I was stranded on a desert island or stuck at home (oh ya like now...) and only had one set of speakers to live with these tick all the boxes. Fun, toe tapping, great imaging, excellent dialogue with full midbass, even on the center.

The Horizon RAAL center is so good, I never need to turn up the sound to hear lines in movies anymore, the width of the sound from it easily covers the width of the room. And it puts out great midbass, deep make vocals sound rich without being boomy.

The Sierra RAAL Towers are great at imaging, sitting at my usual off center chair listening to music, I have had to get up on numerous occasions to confirm that the center is not playing the vocals, that’s crazy! It really is that convincing that I get up to double check I don’t have it playing accidentally via upmixing in my pre-pro, but it’s not playing at all when I put my ear to it. The midbass of these also not boomy at all, there are no gaps in the frequency range (I’m looking at you Paradigm F95), there is no harshness in the mids or highs. The RAAL tweeters really do have fast, detailed but never harsh done just right sound.

I will end that the true test is what happens when I came home late from a long day working yesterday, the wife had the stereo cranked listening to her carefully built playlists while doing dishes with a smile on her face, perfect! That says it all, she really does enjoy them as much as I do.

Summary is buy a system that makes you smile, uses well engineered parts and is put together by people passionate about enjoying music. Even after the new gear honeymoon, the Ascends have remained as satisfying as they were the day they arrived some 2 years ago. The value proposition is also there, the full LCR setup with RAAL, premium finishes (we have satin espresso and they look great) and shipping still leaves you with $1300 that would be better put to use for sound treatments vs paying for marketing departments. They are also an easy load to drive, so your Yamaha would work very well with them too.

Enjoy your journey whatever you decide!
I appreciate reading about your journey to finding the right speaker for your system!

It's interesting to read how different people have different experiences. AVS member ClemsonChad did direct in-home trials & comparisons of RAAL Sierra's & the JBL HDI series (bookshelf model). These were L/R & Center comparisons with a Denon receiver in the same room and within the same time frame. His take was that, while the Sierra w RAAL was excellent, the HDI was immediately the winner and presented a much larger, better imaged, clearer sonic image and experience. He also had on hand the Revel M106 Performa3 & matching center along with a host of other pieces. I give all the credit in the world to ClemsonChad, he went all out!

Ribbons have some limitations as HF drivers and I choose to not deal with them much because I think the compromises outweigh the benefits. You mentioned the width of the image and you're right! Horizontal width is an amazing benefit of both ribbons & AMT tweeters. However, the drawback to them is that vertical image height is severely limited with those types of drivers. That being said, in the right implementation ribbons like the RAAL can be outstanding performers and I can absolutely see how people would choose them depending on what they value in a speaker and the installation type. Having different choices to accomplish a goal is what makes this stuff so interesting to me!

Last edited by PrestigeAudio; 05-01-2020 at 08:55 AM.
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post #22 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 08:56 AM
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You dont need to spend that much money on the towers. Get Canton GLE 496.2 new or used. Or Sonus Faber Toy Tower used.
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post #23 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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I ask because your post is "all over the place" and I don't mean that as an insult but your post does not convey exactly what you're wanting to achieve other than speaker recommendatons.
Haha, fair enough. It was one of those 3am posts that "sounded good at the time" but it definitely rambles. So yeah, the $6000k seems like a reasonable cap for just the tower speakers.


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I'd recommend backing up and nailing down your room design and exactly how you want to use it. With $6 for two towers you have almost too many higher end options so you should not be worried about that at this point. What kind of display do you envision? Seating? Do you want a surround sound system to go with that or just two towers and a sub? It kinda sorta sounds like music and dance is a priority over a theater system.
It's actually a bit hard to say exactly what we'll really end up doing most in the room. I'm guessing though it will be more 70% watching movies, 30% blasting music but it is the room adjacent to the sort of game room where we're putting in a shuffleboard table and such.

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If you just want to know how to spend $6K on towers that accel at audiophile music reproduction, you have the current " best list" of contenders already....Revel, B&W, Ascend, Focal, Klipsch Heritage? If you want high volume speakers that accel at HT you have that list as well. As always you might not prefer what any of us would choose so take the recommendations and absolutely let YOUR ears make YOUR decision for YOU.
That is sort of what I'm looking for guidance on - I know these are good brands, I guess I am at the point where I am having anxiety about pulling the trigger on something. I understand taste is personal but I was hoping to get some insight into the tonal qualities of the brands listed above. In my research, I did eliminate some brands and focused in on these based on what I heard people saying about them and seeing how they compared to the klipsch I already have.

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Another reason I recommend nailing down your design/use objectives you actually touched on in your post...that room is not very big and you certainly do not need towers to light-up a room that size with either super high end audiophile quality music reproduction or loud HT...in fact depending on how you want to use the room most of those towers except the Ascends might just end up as "floor space eaters" that are not necessary to achieve your goals. Sorta' sounds to me like you want to dance in the adjacent room? Is that correct? If I'm interpreting this correctly, then I'd recommend planning a separate "zone 2" speaker system in that adjacent room for dancing and most likely I would recommend something like two opposite corner subs with 4 decent bookshelf speakers aiming down to center room that you can run in "all channel stereo" mode to maximize dancing space and sound best throughout the room rather than using big audiophile quality towers for dance music. Really flat audiophile speakers don't make for good "dance speakers" for a myriad of reasons first of which is they are standing on the floor aimed at humans moving around.
I don't know if I need towers, I think I just have some sort of weird personal bias against surround systems because they didn't exist when I was younger and I don't have much experience with them.

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You also say you're finishing your basement, now is the time to nail down your design and use. The single biggest factor to good sound is the ROOM, so now is the time to plan and build those spaces so they will sound great....materials, insulation, sound proofing, flooring, wiring, and most importantly best possible speaker locations.
Ah well, the room is finished already, so the ship may have sailed there. We did put rockwool insulation in all the walls though. I don't know that I'm looking to achieve perfection on the first go and, honestly, I'm just sort of getting into this, so I expect whatever I do now, I'll make changes in the future anyway if I inevitably find I want to improve my setup / learn more about how to do that and the considerations involved.

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Getting folks here to tell you what speakers they would buy with your money is the easy part but I don't think you're near that point yet. Hope this helps
It was, thank you.
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post #24 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 09:12 AM
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Sorry, to be clear, I mean $6000 just for the tower speakers. My budget is sort of whatever but I feel like since I spent $1000 on my last speakers and they seem fairly high quality, just maybe not turned to my personal preference / a bit lacking on the higher end bass, $6000 cap seems like it should get me a step or two up without getting too crazy. Then I'll have speakers I can be happy with forever (until in two years I decide they're not quite enough and decide to blow more money).
I do these types of systems for a living. Being 100% brutally honest, it would be a total waste of money to go to that pricey of a tower given the size of your room IN A MULTICHANNEL SYSTEM WITH A SUB (I used CAPS there because that is an important notation). As an example, the HDI 3600 tower vs the larger 3800. That's $3,200 MSRP pair vs a $5,000 pair. The only difference is woofer size. In your room & seating distance, that difference in size = ZERO performance benefit after calibration. Literally ZERO.

^ The above will be true until you get into very large rooms. BigCoolJesus (AVS Member) replaced huge PSA towers that had much larger woofers with the HDI-3600 and he was blown away. People grossly underestimate what these higher end loudspeakers are capable of, even with the midsized 6 1/2" drivers (over 8" ones).

Lets drill this down even further and use a different model speaker and different price point....

The Revel Be bookshelf speaker at $4,000/pair when setup with a subwoofer is going to be similar to the much more expensive F226Be tower (again, in your room). Not exactly equal, but the value of spending the extra $$$ on the tower would not be = to the benefit, IMO. If you were doing JUST 2 channel stuff or JUST 2 speakers, then I would not be saying that because the towers would be being asked to do more work. However, with multi channel and movies the subwoofer is going to pick up all of that low end work the extra or larger drivers in the bigger, more expensive speakers would be doing.

- The Be bookshelf speaker is going to be a better speaker for music than the HDI. No question. For movies? Ehhhhh.... I would probably go with the HDI 3600 tower over the Be bookshelf. Now, as Spyboy pointed out, there are the Be towers (I referenced above). That being said, read my thoughts below...

That isn't to say I am recommending only bookshelf speakers. I am saying, however, that I'm not sure you would realize any benefits of a $6,000 tower speaker overa $3,200 pair in your exact room. You would be FAR FAR..... did I say FAR(?)... better off with something like the HDI 3600 system and using the remaining money on room treatments than just a more expensive pair of speakers.

^ Hope that makes sense!
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post #25 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 09:13 AM
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[quote=Brodor;59577972]Sorry, to be clear, I mean $6000 just for the tower speakers. My budget is sort of whatever but I feel like since I spent $1000 on my last speakers and they seem fairly high quality, just maybe not turned to my personal preference / a bit lacking on the higher end bass, $6000 cap seems like it should get me a step or two up without getting too crazy. Then I'll have speakers I can be happy with forever (until in two years I decide they're not quite enough and decide to blow more money).[/quot


lol, OK, we've got a "no brainer" here. If it's as simple as $6k for two floor standers you can order online and have in a couple of days, that absolutely accel at everything (music, HT, Dance, Highs, Mids, Lows), clean sounding low distortion, high efficiency, as compared to the "all around capability" of anything mentioned so far; AS WELL AS being "speakers you can be happy with forever" order two Klipsch Cornwall IV's (Corner/Wall by design) ($5998 with free shipping) from Amazon and if you don't like them you can easily send them back....you Won't send them back and you WILL keep them more than two years. IF you have cold feet about blindly ordering $6K speakers, then take a day to find a dealer and listen to them with full expectation they will sound as good or better in your home.

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post #26 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I do these types of systems for a living. Being 100% brutally honest, it would be a total waste of money to go to that pricey of a tower given the size of your room IN A MULTICHANNEL SYSTEM WITH A SUB (I used CAPS there because that is an important notation). As an example, the HDI 3600 tower vs the larger 3800. That's $3,200 MSRP pair vs a $5,000 pair. The only difference is woofer size. In your room & seating distance, that difference in size = ZERO performance benefit after calibration. Literally ZERO.

^ The above will be true until you get into very large rooms. BigCoolJesus (AVS Member) replaced huge PSA towers that had much larger woofers with the HDI-3600 and he was blown away. People grossly underestimate what these higher end loudspeakers are capable of, even with the midsized 6 1/2" drivers (over 8" ones).

Lets drill this down even further and use a different model speaker and different price point....

The Revel Be bookshelf speaker at $4,000/pair when setup with a subwoofer is going to be similar to the much more expensive F226Be tower (again, in your room). Not exactly equal, but the value of spending the extra $$$ on the tower would not be = to the benefit, IMO. If you were doing JUST 2 channel stuff or JUST 2 speakers, then I would not be saying that because the towers would be being asked to do more work. However, with multi channel and movies the subwoofer is going to pick up all of that low end work the extra or larger drivers in the bigger, more expensive speakers would be doing.

- The Be bookshelf speaker is going to be a better speaker for music than the HDI. No question. For movies? Ehhhhh.... I would probably go with the HDI 3600 tower over the Be bookshelf. Now, as Spyboy pointed out, there are the Be towers (I referenced above). That being said, read my thoughts below...

That isn't to say I am recommending only bookshelf speakers. I am saying, however, that I'm not sure you would realize any benefits of a $6,000 tower speaker overa $3,200 pair in your exact room. You would be FAR FAR..... did I say FAR(?)... better off with something like the HDI 3600 system and using the remaining money on room treatments than just a more expensive pair of speakers.

^ Hope that makes sense!
Thanks, that does make sense and was one of the things I was concerned about.

I see the HDI-3600 has a horn though and I've read horns can tend to be harsher sounding and I wonder if the horn is part of what I don't like about the Klipsch RP8000

Last edited by Brodor; 05-01-2020 at 10:06 AM.
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post #27 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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lol, OK, we've got a "no brainer" here. If it's as simple as $6k for two floor standers you can order online and have in a couple of days, that absolutely accel at everything (music, HT, Dance, Highs, Mids, Lows), clean sounding low distortion, high efficiency, as compared to the "all around capability" of anything mentioned so far; AS WELL AS being "speakers you can be happy with forever" order two Klipsch Cornwall IV's (Corner/Wall by design) ($5998 with free shipping) from Amazon and if you don't like them you can easily send them back....you Won't send them back and you WILL keep them more than two years. IF you have cold feet about blindly ordering $6K speakers, then take a day to find a dealer and listen to them with full expectation they will sound as good or better in your home.
Thing is, I have Klipsch RP-8000s upstairs and, while they're nice and seem high quality, I feel like they're a bit harsh in the upper range and lacking in mid-bass (although the latter could be due to the more open room upstairs).

I'd like something that is maybe a step up from those but a little less bright and perhaps a bit punchier on the lower end. PrestigeAudio may be right though, that I don't need that big of a speaker to fill that smaller room. Given the room is not enclosed though and has a 6ft opening, I wonder how much effect that will have.

And yeah, I should probably listen to some speakers but for some of these brands there doesn't seem to be a dealer very close and my state is under lock-down at the moment.

Last edited by Brodor; 05-01-2020 at 10:10 AM.
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post #28 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 10:05 AM
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Just be be clear....I'm not familiar with Chad.... sounds like he went about doing things the right way... but I do know BCJ... he was open minded and uses dual 21s" from a small ID manufacture and not from a dealer or showroom such as yourself * @PrestigeAudio *.
He came to this conclusion based on testimonials, chart measurements(ie:graphs), research or folks sharing their experiences...in dealing with ID vendors....with the likes of Funk ( BCJ case), Ascend, Salk, JTR just to name a few.

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post #29 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrestigeAudio View Post
I do these types of systems for a living. Being 100% brutally honest, it would be a total waste of money to go to that pricey of a tower given the size of your room IN A MULTICHANNEL SYSTEM WITH A SUB (I used CAPS there because that is an important notation). As an example, the HDI 3600 tower vs the larger 3800. That's $3,200 MSRP pair vs a $5,000 pair. The only difference is woofer size. In your room & seating distance, that difference in size = ZERO performance benefit after calibration. Literally ZERO.

^ The above will be true until you get into very large rooms. BigCoolJesus (AVS Member) replaced huge PSA towers that had much larger woofers with the HDI-3600 and he was blown away. People grossly underestimate what these higher end loudspeakers are capable of, even with the midsized 6 1/2" drivers (over 8" ones).

Lets drill this down even further and use a different model speaker and different price point....

The Revel Be bookshelf speaker at $4,000/pair when setup with a subwoofer is going to be similar to the much more expensive F226Be tower (again, in your room). Not exactly equal, but the value of spending the extra $$$ on the tower would not be = to the benefit, IMO. If you were doing JUST 2 channel stuff or JUST 2 speakers, then I would not be saying that because the towers would be being asked to do more work. However, with multi channel and movies the subwoofer is going to pick up all of that low end work the extra or larger drivers in the bigger, more expensive speakers would be doing.

- The Be bookshelf speaker is going to be a better speaker for music than the HDI. No question. For movies? Ehhhhh.... I would probably go with the HDI 3600 tower over the Be bookshelf. Now, as Spyboy pointed out, there are the Be towers (I referenced above). That being said, read my thoughts below...

That isn't to say I am recommending only bookshelf speakers. I am saying, however, that I'm not sure you would realize any benefits of a $6,000 tower speaker overa $3,200 pair in your exact room. You would be FAR FAR..... did I say FAR(?)... better off with something like the HDI 3600 system and using the remaining money on room treatments than just a more expensive pair of speakers.

^ Hope that makes sense!
Thanks, that does make sense and was one of the things I was concerned about.

I see the HDI-3600 has a horn though and I've read horns can tend to be harsher sounding and I wonder if the horn is part of what I don't like about the Klipsch RP8000
Great question!

The horn tech in and if itself is not the reason you don't love your Klipsch speakers, rather the implementation of the horn and how it's done on that model is where the issue lies.

The HDI series uses a very high end compression driver and is modeled/based off of ultra high end products. The HDI is horn loaded, yes, but the implementation is different than just a tweeter stuck in the throat of the horn like the Klipsch, which is done in a much more cost conscious way.
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post #30 of 153 Old 05-01-2020, 11:57 AM
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Thing is, I have Klipsch RP-8000s upstairs and, while they're nice and seem high quality, I feel like they're a bit harsh in the upper range and lacking in mid-bass (although the latter could be due to the more open room upstairs).

I'd like something that is maybe a step up from those but a little less bright and perhaps a bit punchier on the lower end. PrestigeAudio may be right though, that I don't need that big of a speaker to fill that smaller room. Given the room is not enclosed though and has a 6ft opening, I wonder how much effect that will have.

And yeah, I should probably listen to some speakers but for some of these brands there doesn't seem to be a dealer very close and my state is under lock-down at the moment.

It would be a very mistaken assumption to associate how your Klipsch mass produced foreign made models sound and perform compared to anything in their "Heritage " line hand built in Arkansas in regards to quality, design, components, cabinet construction and materials, voicing, response, dispersion, yada yada yada.

I agree that you don't need "big" to light-up a room that size. With all due respect, I detailed that subject in my first reply. I think you need to figure out exactly what kind of speaker, performance and sound you do want. And more importantly know and understand why....then get a few contenders into your room and then you will know "how much effect that will have". Frankly and respectfully I wonder why you are asking what towers you should buy "ONLINE" at the $6K price point and in the next post "wonder" how they will sound or if you need them or not????

Work around the pandemic. Get on the phone to some speaker companies with great designer/builders that are known for great customer service and tell them what you want, ask what they think/recommend. Have all your known information ready... room dimensions, cubic size, use, configuration, amplification and source equipment, and your prefered sound characteristics.....Klipsch customer service, Jim at Salk Sound, Dave at Ascend Acoustics, Selah Audio, etc etc and get their take on what they would do if they were you. The "good ones" will give you lots of information and perspective without trying to "sell you". Personally I would narrow things down a lot before engaging a "dealer" in any way.

I recently did just that, and it wasn't the first time I've done it. Then I spent lots of time from last December until mid April seeking, finding, and traveling to listen to 5 speakers I narrowed my choice down to before I actually ordered any, being fully prepared to send them back if they didn't sound better in my home than the ones I listened too....luckily that process worked for me but only because I knew exactly what I was wanting and expecting.

If you're just itchin' to get something, order a few for comparison and let us all know what you think. It ain't easy or simple but that's how most do it.
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