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post #1 of 16 Old 05-04-2020, 01:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Moving from 21 to 5.1 - help me choose LCR

Hello AVS! Lookin to upgrade. Here are some details:

Current Setup:
  • Front: PSB Imagine XB Bookshelves
  • Sub: SVS PB-1000
  • AVR: Yamaha RX V383

I love my XB's. They have almost the perfect sound my ears are looking for - neutral, slightly warm yet extremely detailed. However, I wish the treble were just a little more emphasized. I use them for 50/50 movies and music (gaming in the future). I find they're not aggressive enough for movies, especially action movies.

Given the kind of sound I'm looking for, it probably seems natural to upgrade to the PSB X2T or T towers, but I came across the following which caught my attention. I plan to audition when possible. Anyone who's heard any of these, which would you recommend to me? (The XB's will be moved to side surrounds). Also, will I need to upgrade my AVR? I don't know if I'm missing out on anything with an entry level Yamaha. I'm also open to suggestions not listed below. *I tried to link the URL for each speaker but my post count is too low lol

OPTION 1 - B&W 704 S2

OPTION 2 - Monitor Audio Silver 300 or 500 Since I already have a sub, maybe the 500 isn't necessary?

OPTION 3/4 - PSB Imagine X2T or Imagine T The X2T is 3-way, while the newer generation T is 2-way...I don't know which would be better

OPTION 5 - KEF Q750 or Q950
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-04-2020, 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by slowmac89 View Post
Hello AVS! Lookin to upgrade. Here are some details:

Current Setup:
  • Front: PSB Imagine XB Bookshelves
  • Sub: SVS PB-1000
  • AVR: Yamaha RX V383

I love my XB's. They have almost the perfect sound my ears are looking for - neutral, slightly warm yet extremely detailed. However, I wish the treble were just a little more emphasized. I use them for 50/50 movies and music (gaming in the future). I find they're not aggressive enough for movies, especially action movies.

Given the kind of sound I'm looking for, it probably seems natural to upgrade to the PSB X2T or T towers, but I came across the following which caught my attention. I plan to audition when possible. Anyone who's heard any of these, which would you recommend to me? (The XB's will be moved to side surrounds). Also, will I need to upgrade my AVR? I don't know if I'm missing out on anything with an entry level Yamaha. I'm also open to suggestions not listed below. *I tried to link the URL for each speaker but my post count is too low lol

OPTION 1 - B&W 704 S2

OPTION 2 - Monitor Audio Silver 300 or 500 Since I already have a sub, maybe the 500 isn't necessary?

OPTION 3/4 - PSB Imagine X2T or Imagine T The X2T is 3-way, while the newer generation T is 2-way...I don't know which would be better

OPTION 5 - KEF Q750 or Q950

Of those options: I would choose number 5

Most likely need to upgrade receiver and subwoofer.
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-04-2020, 02:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmac89 View Post
Hello AVS! Lookin to upgrade. Here are some details:

Current Setup:
  • Front: PSB Imagine XB Bookshelves
  • Sub: SVS PB-1000
  • AVR: Yamaha RX V383

I love my XB's. They have almost the perfect sound my ears are looking for - neutral, slightly warm yet extremely detailed. However, I wish the treble were just a little more emphasized. I use them for 50/50 movies and music (gaming in the future). I find they're not aggressive enough for movies, especially action movies.

Given the kind of sound I'm looking for, it probably seems natural to upgrade to the PSB X2T or T towers, but I came across the following which caught my attention. I plan to audition when possible. Anyone who's heard any of these, which would you recommend to me? (The XB's will be moved to side surrounds). Also, will I need to upgrade my AVR? I don't know if I'm missing out on anything with an entry level Yamaha. I'm also open to suggestions not listed below. *I tried to link the URL for each speaker but my post count is too low lol

OPTION 1 - B&W 704 S2

OPTION 2 - Monitor Audio Silver 300 or 500 Since I already have a sub, maybe the 500 isn't necessary?

OPTION 3/4 - PSB Imagine X2T or Imagine T The X2T is 3-way, while the newer generation T is 2-way...I don't know which would be better

OPTION 5 - KEF Q750 or Q950
If you are able to audition the X2T, Silver 300 or Q750, those would be the three on your list I'd look at.

You probably won't need to upgrade the AVR, but I would recommend looking at a different brand as the lower SKUs force you to use one universal crossover point, which is not ideal for bass management if you happen to need different crossover points for each speaker type.

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post #4 of 16 Old 05-04-2020, 05:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmac89 View Post

OPTION 1 - B&W 704 S2

OPTION 2 - Monitor Audio Silver 300 or 500 Since I already have a sub, maybe the 500 isn't necessary?

OPTION 3/4 - PSB Imagine X2T or Imagine T The X2T is 3-way, while the newer generation T is 2-way...I don't know which would be better

OPTION 5 - KEF Q750 or Q950
My option 6, which is absolutely 100% a better choice than option 1 - B&W 704 S2.

Canton Chrono SL 596 - available at A4L for significantly less than the B&W.

Unfortunately you won’t be able to demo them, but you can read opinions from several members who recently purchased Canton speakers in the Canton Owner’s thread.

Their purchases range from the entry level GLE to the higher end Vento. The Chrono SL is one step below the Vento.
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-04-2020, 08:42 PM
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Try just adding just a center channel, with the more aggressive style you prefer for HT. No reason to have to listen to more aggressive treble during your music sessions, when the issue is only present during movie watching. Plenty of options, from Dali to Kef, Paradigm to Def Tech, Triangle to ELAC Debut Reference. Any of these would give you a more aggressive treble signature.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 05-04-2020 at 08:45 PM.
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-04-2020, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmac89 View Post
  • Front: PSB Imagine XB Bookshelves
  • Sub: SVS PB-1000
  • AVR: Yamaha RX V383

I love my XB's. They have almost the perfect sound my ears are looking for - neutral, slightly warm yet extremely detailed. However, I wish the treble were just a little more emphasized. I use them for 50/50 movies and music (gaming in the future). I find they're not aggressive enough for movies, especially action movies.

Given the kind of sound I'm looking for, it probably seems natural to upgrade to the PSB X2T or T towers, but I came across the following which caught my attention. I plan to audition when possible. Anyone who's heard any of these, which would you recommend to me? (The XB's will be moved to side surrounds). Also, will I need to upgrade my AVR? I don't know if I'm missing out on anything with an entry level Yamaha. I'm also open to suggestions not listed below. *I tried to link the URL for each speaker but my post count is too low lol

OPTION 1 - B&W 704 S2

OPTION 2 - Monitor Audio Silver 300 or 500 Since I already have a sub, maybe the 500 isn't necessary?

OPTION 3/4 - PSB Imagine X2T or Imagine T The X2T is 3-way, while the newer generation T is 2-way...I don't know which would be better

OPTION 5 - KEF Q750 or Q950
For the price of the above, you could just try out some center speakers with more of the treble spark you're looking for PLUS get a small sealed sub to put right near your main listening position to get some really great bass during your 50% music listening.

Center speakers I'd try:
  • HTD Level 3, $250 shipped (free return shipping)
  • RSL CG25, $425 shipped (free return shipping)
  • Klipsch RP600C, on sale for $431 shipped ($10 flat rate returns from Crutchfield)
  • Hsu CCB-8, $420 shipped

The small sealed sub I'd try is the Rythmik L12. Or if budget allows, the Hsu ULS15 which has an MBM mode.

The PB1000 is a solid HT sub, but for music I often hear people say that there's plenty of room for improvement.

~ 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 #7 of 16 Old 05-05-2020, 05:34 AM
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Slowmac,

In the price range you are shopping you could consider the GoldenEar Triton 5 and the Revel Concerta F series too.

Options are good.

I can share my experiences via email so not to derail your thread.

Enjoy the hunt!

Mike Miles
[email protected]
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-05-2020, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Boombox13 View Post
Of those options: I would choose number 5

Most likely need to upgrade receiver and subwoofer.
I've heard really good things about KEF's uni-q driver. Q350 were on of my choices when I was buying my XB, but when I heard them in the store, they had no detail at all...I'm thinking the tweeters were probably broken. Definitely wanna hear the q750s sometime
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-05-2020, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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If you are able to audition the X2T, Silver 300 or Q750, those would be the three on your list I'd look at.

You probably won't need to upgrade the AVR, but I would recommend looking at a different brand as the lower SKUs force you to use one universal crossover point, which is not ideal for bass management if you happen to need different crossover points for each speaker type.
Never realized some avrs had that option. I'll consider upgrading if i feel the need!
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-05-2020, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Boombox13 View Post
My option 6, which is absolutely 100% a better choice than option 1 - B&W 704 S2.

Canton Chrono SL 596 - available at A4L for significantly less than the B&W.

Unfortunately you won’t be able to demo them, but you can read opinions from several members who recently purchased Canton speakers in the Canton Owner’s thread.

Their purchases range from the entry level GLE to the higher end Vento. The Chrono SL is one step below the Vento.
Never heard of that brand but ill check it out. Unfortunately i dont think im willing to blind buy speakers
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post #11 of 16 Old 05-05-2020, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by slowmac89 View Post
I've heard really good things about KEF's uni-q driver. Q350 were on of my choices when I was buying my XB, but when I heard them in the store, they had no detail at all...I'm thinking the tweeters were probably broken. Definitely wanna hear the q750s sometime
Odd. There's an incredible amount of detail with the Q150s I have.

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post #12 of 16 Old 05-05-2020, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Try just adding just a center channel, with the more aggressive style you prefer for HT. No reason to have to listen to more aggressive treble during your music sessions, when the issue is only present during movie watching. Plenty of options, from Dali to Kef, Paradigm to Def Tech, Triangle to ELAC Debut Reference. Any of these would give you a more aggressive treble signature.
An option that never occurred to me...i thought only dialogue came from the centre? Also wouldn't there be timbre mismatch issues?
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post #13 of 16 Old 05-05-2020, 03:03 PM
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An option that never occurred to me...i thought only dialogue came from the centre? Also wouldn't there be timbre mismatch issues?
Yes, there could be timbre mismatch issues, or not, depending on how your receiver integrates the speakers, the room, your ears. The question becomes, how important is that in an HT setting? My priority is always the music, so it would be considered a necessary evil in my world. In your world, your priorities may be different. Might be worth trying a few options, before spending the big money on an entirely new system (and, perhaps, liking it less for music). This all assumes you listen to music in stereo (i.e. L&R speakers, with or without sub).

Alternatively, think of it as a stepped upgrade, where you are upgrading just the center for now, with the eventual progression of the entire system at some point in the future (assuming the center lives up to your expectations).

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 05-05-2020 at 03:18 PM.
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post #14 of 16 Old 05-05-2020, 03:11 PM
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An option that never occurred to me...i thought only dialogue came from the centre? Also wouldn't there be timbre mismatch issues?
For HT applications the center channel is delivering up to 80% of the information, and the importance of timbre matching LCR is, in the opinion of many, myself included, exaggerated. For HT your center and your subwoofer are the two most important elements.

I second the suggestion to start by improving your center, and I would include the Emotiva C1+ at $250. Very highly regarded and that ribbon tweeter may provide the sparkle you're seeking. Those PSB's are fine speakers and you seem to really enjoy them, so don't be too hasty to discard them.
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post #15 of 16 Old 05-05-2020, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by slowmac89 View Post
Also wouldn't there be timbre mismatch issues?
1. I've had a "matching" LCR of 3 identical front speakers, with the L/R vertical and the C horizontal.
2. I've had a "quasi-matching" LCR of 2 bookshelves and 1 horizontal center from the same brand and model family.
3. I've had a "mismatched" set of a horizontal center from a completely different brand and different tweeter type than the L/R speakers.
4. I've had a "mismatched" set of 2 bookshelves with a 3rd bookshelf of a different brand in the center position standing up, aligned with the L/R.
5. I've had a "mismatched" set of 2 bookshelves with a 3rd bookshelf of a different brand in the center position on its side.

And the only two conclusions I can derive from my experience with any degree of certainty are:
I. #4 usually sounds a bit better than #5 . And even then, #5 doesn't apply if all 3 speakers are of a concentric design.
II. The perceptible SQ difference between #1 , 2, and 3 are negligible as long as the horizontal center speaker is a good one.

There are however 3 rough "working" rules that I have inferred from my experience:

a. A crappy center speaker (mainly one lacking in adequate voice clarity) is a crappy center speaker which will severely hamper your HT enjoyment, whether it "matches" the other speakers or not. Do not suffer with a crappy center speaker merely for the sake of some ivory-tower ideal.

b. A very good bookshelf speaker used in the center position that is identical to the L/R bookshelf speakers, will sound very good...BUT at moderately loud or louder volumes, it will still not sound quite as "big" (involving, dramatic, vivid, immersive, etc.) as a very good horizontal center speaker that has double or more the surface area in woofers, esp. a 3-way design that minimizes lobing such as the Emotiva centers. The exceptions might be with very high-sensitivity single woofer designs like the PSA MT-110 which are already extremely dynamic and clear by themselves.

c. If #3 best fits your budget and WAF requirements, by all means do it. Don't overthink this silly hobby, it's not worth it...just get the best you can with what budget you have, then sit back and (gasp!) ENJOY what you have. Don't become a chronic, obsessive gearhead...that will only suck the life and joy out of everything.
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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 #16 of 16 Old 05-20-2020, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
1. I've had a "matching" LCR of 3 identical front speakers, with the L/R vertical and the C horizontal.
2. I've had a "quasi-matching" LCR of 2 bookshelves and 1 horizontal center from the same brand and model family.
3. I've had a "mismatched" set of a horizontal center from a completely different brand and different tweeter type than the L/R speakers.
4. I've had a "mismatched" set of 2 bookshelves with a 3rd bookshelf of a different brand in the center position standing up, aligned with the L/R.
5. I've had a "mismatched" set of 2 bookshelves with a 3rd bookshelf of a different brand in the center position on its side.

And the only two conclusions I can derive from my experience with any degree of certainty are:
I. #4 usually sounds a bit better than #5 . And even then, #5 doesn't apply if all 3 speakers are of a concentric design.
II. The perceptible SQ difference between #1 , 2, and 3 are negligible as long as the horizontal center speaker is a good one.

There are however 3 rough "working" rules that I have inferred from my experience:

a. A crappy center speaker (mainly one lacking in adequate voice clarity) is a crappy center speaker which will severely hamper your HT enjoyment, whether it "matches" the other speakers or not. Do not suffer with a crappy center speaker merely for the sake of some ivory-tower ideal.

b. A very good bookshelf speaker used in the center position that is identical to the L/R bookshelf speakers, will sound very good...BUT at moderately loud or louder volumes, it will still not sound quite as "big" (involving, dramatic, vivid, immersive, etc.) as a very good horizontal center speaker that has double or more the surface area in woofers, esp. a 3-way design that minimizes lobing such as the Emotiva centers. The exceptions might be with very high-sensitivity single woofer designs like the PSA MT-110 which are already extremely dynamic and clear by themselves.

c. If #3 best fits your budget and WAF requirements, by all means do it. Don't overthink this silly hobby, it's not worth it...just get the best you can with what budget you have, then sit back and (gasp!) ENJOY what you have. Don't become a chronic, obsessive gearhead...that will only suck the life and joy out of everything.
This is extremely helpful. I used to think it was a hard rule that centers (brand) absolutely must match L/R. I love sound so much and I will never stop enjoying and appreciating it!
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