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post #1 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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LCR Speaker ($500 each)

I am looking for three speakers to use across the front of my basement home theater system. I am currently using some older Athena speakers but I find they are not great for dialogue and they sound a bit muddy for music.



Price Range: $500 or less per speaker
Use: 50/50 Music/HT
Room: The listening position is about 8 feet away, but could be up to 11 feet away if I were to ever rearrange the room in the future.

Other Details: I plan to use a subwoofer, ideally crossing over at 60-80 Hz, so they do not need to be full range towers. Vocal clarity is really important. I appreciate good mid-bass for music, but I would not want to sacrifice mid-or-high frequency detail.


I would appreciate any recommendations. I was looking at the NHT C3, Chane 2.4, Ascend 340, Revel M16. Anything I am missing or any I should avoid? Are some of these in different leagues? I have some RBH R-515e that I use for a setup in a different room, and I like them, so I was hoping to get something of similar quality.



Other Questions:
  1. I was avoiding bookshelf speakers with single 5.25-inch woofers. I had gotten some feedback that a single 5.25-inch woofer might struggle a bit with home theater when pushing the volume, at least in this price range. Is this a good idea or are there some single 5.25-inch speakers I should consider?
  2. I really like the look of the NHT C3, but I read some reviews that the sensitivity was on the low side when measured in the real world. At what point should I consider a speaker sensitivity to be too low?
  3. The Revel M16 looks great, but the matching center seems like it would need to be crossed over higher than 80 Hz, which I assume could lead to some subwoofer localization.
  4. How important is the upper frequencies above 20 kHz? I see some speakers advertise going into the mid 30 kHz range while others cut off at 20 kHz.
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post #2 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 12:57 PM
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Any interest in DIY ?
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post #3 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
Price Range: $500 or less per speaker
Use: 50/50 Music/HT
Room: The listening position is about 8 feet away, but could be up to 11 feet away if I were to ever rearrange the room in the future.

Other Details: I plan to use a subwoofer, ideally crossing over at 60-80 Hz, so they do not need to be full range towers. Vocal clarity is really important. I appreciate good mid-bass for music, but I would not want to sacrifice mid-or-high frequency detail.
  1. I was avoiding bookshelf speakers with single 5.25-inch woofers. I had gotten some feedback that a single 5.25-inch woofer might struggle a bit with home theater when pushing the volume, at least in this price range. Is this a good idea or are there some single 5.25-inch speakers I should consider?
  2. I really like the look of the NHT C3, but I read some reviews that the sensitivity was on the low side when measured in the real world. At what point should I consider a speaker sensitivity to be too low?
  3. The Revel M16 looks great, but the matching center seems like it would need to be crossed over higher than 80 Hz, which I assume could lead to some subwoofer localization.
  4. How important is the upper frequencies above 20 kHz? I see some speakers advertise going into the mid 30 kHz range while others cut off at 20 kHz.
Just get 3 dual-woofer bookshelves, these are around $300 apiece, shipped...the first 2 are a frequent choice around here and enjoy uniformly glowing user feedback. The Chane would have a slight WAF advantage due to the slimmer cabinets...am using one as a center and it's excellent.
  • Ascend 340SE (highest sensitivity, 6.5" woofers)
  • Chane A2.4 (5.25" woofers)
  • Hsu HC-1 (currently on sale, 6.5" woofers)
Hetfieldjames and mevansmusic like this.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #4 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
  1. I was avoiding bookshelf speakers with single 5.25-inch woofers. I had gotten some feedback that a single 5.25-inch woofer might struggle a bit with home theater when pushing the volume, at least in this price range. Is this a good idea or are there some single 5.25-inch speakers I should consider?
  2. I really like the look of the NHT C3, but I read some reviews that the sensitivity was on the low side when measured in the real world. At what point should I consider a speaker sensitivity to be too low?
  3. The Revel M16 looks great, but the matching center seems like it would need to be crossed over higher than 80 Hz, which I assume could lead to some subwoofer localization.
  4. How important is the upper frequencies above 20 kHz? I see some speakers advertise going into the mid 30 kHz range while others cut off at 20 kHz.
What are you using for power?

The NHT C3 were not high sensitivity but if you have decent power that shouldn't be an issue.

Soundstage: Sensitivity: 85.5dB (averaged 300Hz-3kHz, 2.83V/1m)

Great measurements.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me...classic_three/

Reviewer used 40 watt per channel tube amps.

http://www.soundstagenetwork.com/rev...ssic_three.htm

https://www.audioconnect.com/product...o-amplifier-2/

Geoff A. J., California
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post #5 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
What are you using for power?

The NHT C3 were not high sensitivity but if you have decent power that shouldn't be an issue.

Soundstage: Sensitivity: 85.5dB (averaged 300Hz-3kHz, 2.83V/1m)

Great measurements.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/me...classic_three/

Reviewer used 40 watt per channel tube amps.

http://www.soundstagenetwork.com/rev...ssic_three.htm

https://www.audioconnect.com/product...o-amplifier-2/
I think that was for the older Classic 3, I think that same publication looked at the newer C3 (carbon fiber) and found the sensitivity was a little lower. I don't really know when a speaker sensitivity is 'too low'.

I have not selected a receiver for the setup yet. I have an older Denon 1612, but will probably be replacing it with something that can handle HDMI 2.0 routing.

Last edited by WarpSpeed2013; 06-03-2020 at 08:58 PM.
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post #6 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Just get 3 dual-woofer bookshelves, these are around $300 apiece, shipped...the first 2 are a frequent choice around here and enjoy uniformly glowing user feedback. The Chane would have a slight WAF advantage due to the slimmer cabinets...am using one as a center and it's excellent.
  • Ascend 340SE (highest sensitivity, 6.5" woofers)
  • Chane A2.4 (5.25" woofers)
  • Hsu HC-1 (currently on sale, 6.5" woofers)
Thanks Zorba, I was hoping you would reply as you helped me out a lot when I was looking for my last speakers a few years ago! I'll definitely look at those 3. What about the HSU CCB-8?
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post #7 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Any interest in DIY ?
I have never looked into it. Could be a fun project.
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post #8 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
I think that was for the older Classic 3, I think that same publication looked at the newer C3 (carbon fiber) and found the sensitivity was a little lower, around 84.5 dB (maybe that is not significantly worse). I don't really know when a speaker sensitivity is 'too low'.

I have not selected a receiver for the setup yet. I have an older Denon 1612, but will probably be replacing it with something that can handle HDMI 2.0 routing.
The reviewer of the NHT Carbon C3 also used a 40 watt amp, less power than your 1612 which is a very nice older receiver.

https://www.soundstageaccess.com/ind...r-loudspeakers

Again good measurements but not a high sensitivity speaker which might be an issue if you are looking for reference levels, which most of us don't listen to in the real world.

BTW, human hearing for adults is usually below 17khz, at 63 I'm closer to 15khz.

Sensitivity: 84.53dB (averaged 300Hz-3kHz on Listening Window, 2.83V/1m)

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153

Geoff A. J., California
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post #9 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
Thanks Zorba, I was hoping you would reply as you helped me out a lot when I was looking for my last speakers a few years ago! I'll definitely look at those 3. What about the HSU CCB-8?
Great choice if HT is your main usage and you have placement flexibility---they need to be severely toed in so that they cross each other a couple feet in front of the MLP. I find them too treble-forward for my musical tastes, but I'd expect them to do very well for movies.

~ 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 #10 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 01:43 PM
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I would keep the Revel M16 on a short list

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post #11 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
I have never looked into it. Could be a fun project.
I've personally built several kits from diysoundgroup, but there are a few others just as worthy of a look. For $300 a speaker your money goes VERY far in DIY. The only downside is the finish will only be as good as you are. This my setup, and every speaker here is in the $300-500 cdn range.

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post #12 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
The reviewer of the NHT Carbon C3 also used a 40 watt amp, less power than your 1612 which is a very nice older receiver.

https://www.soundstageaccess.com/ind...r-loudspeakers

Again good measurements but not a high sensitivity speaker which might be an issue if you are looking for reference levels, which most of us don't listen to in the real world.

BTW, human hearing for adults is usually below 17khz, at 63 I'm closer to 15khz.

Sensitivity: 84.53dB (averaged 300Hz-3kHz on Listening Window, 2.83V/1m)

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153
I doubt I'd be listening at reference levels, but just out of curiosity, does that mean they can't hit reference levels? Or does it mean they can reach reference levels but would need a powerful amplifier to reach it, where more sensitive speakers can reach reference levels with more modest equipment? I'm just wondering if I wanted to play louder in the future, is it just a matter of getting a more capable amp, or will the speakers always be a limitation with lower sensitivity?
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post #13 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Great choice if HT is your main usage and you have placement flexibility---they need to be severely toed in so that they cross each other a couple feet in front of the MLP. I find them too treble-forward for my musical tastes, but I'd expect them to do very well for movies.
Good to know. I like mid-to-high detail, but I do get annoyed when things are too treble-forward for music. For example, I really love my R-515e speakers I have setup in another room, but I do find when I play music at higher volume the mid-to-high range can be a bit forward. So I wouldn't want anything more treble-forward, although I do love the detail the R-515e provides. Note: the R-515e speakers are not being replaced, they are in another room.
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
I would keep the Revel M16 on a short list
Thanks, I've heard great things about those. My only hesitation is the matching center would need a cross-over above 80 Hz, but maybe that is not an issue.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
I doubt I'd be listening at reference levels, but just out of curiosity, does that mean they can't hit reference levels? Or does it mean they can reach reference levels but would need a powerful amplifier to reach it, where more sensitive speakers can reach reference levels with more modest equipment? I'm just wondering if I wanted to play louder in the future, is it just a matter of getting a more capable amp, or will the speakers always be a limitation with lower sensitivity?
Here's a calculator for you.

https://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html

Geoff A. J., California
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post #16 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
Good to know. I like mid-to-high detail, but I do get annoyed when things are too treble-forward for music. For example, I really love my R-515e speakers I have setup in another room, but I do find when I play music at higher volume the mid-to-high range can be a bit forward. So I wouldn't want anything more treble-forward, although I do love the detail the R-515e provides. Note: the R-515e speakers are not being replaced, they are in another room.
I think the Chanes would be a solid choice for you, in that case.

Or the Wharfedale Evo series: the 4.2 or 4.1 with the 3 way 4.C center. $10 flat rate returns from Crutchfield.

~ 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 #17 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
I think the Chanes would be a solid choice for you, in that case.

Or the Wharfedale Evo series: the 4.2 or 4.1 with the 3 way 4.C center. $10 flat rate returns from Crutchfield.
Thanks! I'll add those Wharfedale Evo to the list too. I like a lot of detail in the treble, I actually like the way the R-515e sounds, but I wouldn't want anything MORE forward than those.

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Thanks! I was also look at that publication's other reviews and it seems common for their sensitivity measurements to be a little lower than the manufacturer stated measurements. So perhaps the NHT C3 does compare well with other speakers rated at 87 dB by their manufacturer (obviously it probably varies by manufacturer). I was just trying to figure out if the NHT C3 was unusually low or not.
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post #19 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 03:07 PM
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Polk LSiM703 would be one worth checking out. It is a 3-way with good frequency range (50Hz lower -3dB) and will take up to 200W of power.

Front: Polk S55
Center: Polk S30
Rear: Polk S10
Sub: P̶L̶-̶2̶0̶0̶I̶I̶ | (̶2̶)̶ ̶F̶V̶X̶1̶2̶ | V1812
AVR: Denon AVR-X3500H
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post #20 of 49 Old 05-24-2020, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
I am looking for three speakers to use across the front of my basement home theater system. I am currently using some older Athena speakers but I find they are not great for dialogue and they sound a bit muddy for music.



Price Range: $500 or less per speaker
Use: 50/50 Music/HT
Room: The listening position is about 8 feet away, but could be up to 11 feet away if I were to ever rearrange the room in the future.

Other Details: I plan to use a subwoofer, ideally crossing over at 60-80 Hz, so they do not need to be full range towers. Vocal clarity is really important. I appreciate good mid-bass for music, but I would not want to sacrifice mid-or-high frequency detail.


I would appreciate any recommendations. I was looking at the NHT C3, Chane 2.4, Ascend 340, Revel M16. Anything I am missing or any I should avoid? Are some of these in different leagues? I have some RBH R-515e that I use for a setup in a different room, and I like them, so I was hoping to get something of similar quality.



Other Questions:
  1. I was avoiding bookshelf speakers with single 5.25-inch woofers. I had gotten some feedback that a single 5.25-inch woofer might struggle a bit with home theater when pushing the volume, at least in this price range. Is this a good idea or are there some single 5.25-inch speakers I should consider?
  2. I really like the look of the NHT C3, but I read some reviews that the sensitivity was on the low side when measured in the real world. At what point should I consider a speaker sensitivity to be too low?
  3. The Revel M16 looks great, but the matching center seems like it would need to be crossed over higher than 80 Hz, which I assume could lead to some subwoofer localization.
  4. How important is the upper frequencies above 20 kHz? I see some speakers advertise going into the mid 30 kHz range while others cut off at 20 kHz.
For home theater, ONE center channel SPEAKER will take 80+ percent of the sound. So make sure that is a hefty speaker. Quality can suffer a little. As long as they are good between 350 hz and 1 kHz (dialog range).

For music, all the load will come to the left and right speakers. But since music is often not played that loud, smaller bookshelf speakers will do with uniform frequency and wide directivity. Since you would have a sub, don't worry about low-frequency extensions for any of the three speakers. A frequency response till about 80 hz may suffice.

Hope this helps.



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post #21 of 49 Old 05-25-2020, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone tried the NHT C LCR for the two main channels? I can’t find any measurements on it.

Also - I would be willing to go for floorstanding speakers too, but it seems like bookshelf speakers are a good “bang for your buck” in this price range, especially if I have a subwoofer.
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post #22 of 49 Old 05-25-2020, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
Also - I would be willing to go for floorstanding speakers too, but it seems like bookshelf speakers are a good “bang for your buck” in this price range, especially if I have a subwoofer.
In that case, I'd take a close look at the Emotiva T-Zero (2.5 way, dual 5.25" woofers, $400/pr) and T1 (3 way, $700/pr) or T2 (3 way, $1K/pr). The TZs are an especially amazing bargain...costing less than dual woofer bookshelves from Chane, Ascend, and Hsu.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
Has anyone tried the NHT C LCR for the two main channels? I can’t find any measurements on it.

Also - I would be willing to go for floorstanding speakers too, but it seems like bookshelf speakers are a good “bang for your buck” in this price range, especially if I have a subwoofer.
You'll probably need to get some stands too if you go bookshelf, so you'll have to take them into account in your budget. Zorba as always has some good suggestions right there

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post #24 of 49 Old 05-25-2020, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
Has anyone tried the NHT C LCR for the two main channels? I can’️t find any measurements on it.

Also - I would be willing to go for floorstanding speakers too, but it seems like bookshelf speakers are a good “bang for your buck” in this price range, especially if I have a subwoofer.
You'll probably need to get some stands too if you go bookshelf, so you'll have to take them into account in your budget. Zorba as always has some good suggestions right there [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG]
Thanks all! All good choices. I think I have a good pool to select from. I’ll check out the Emotiva towers and Chane towers too. And I will consider the Chane 2.4, NHT C3 or C LCR, Ascend 340SE, Revel M16, and Wharfendale.
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The new Chanes are right around the corner.
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Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
Thanks all! All good choices. I think I have a good pool to select from. I’ll check out the Emotiva towers and Chane towers too. And I will consider the Chane 2.4, NHT C3 or C LCR, Ascend 340SE, Revel M16, and Wharfendale.
I just recently purchased the Chane tower+center bundle. They replaced some Energy C-series towers and centers that I used for over a decade. So far I’ve watched about half a dozen movies through them. I typically watch the blockbuster action types (Fast and Furious, 007, Marvel, etc.)

The energy speakers had aluminum dome tweeters. The Chane’s planar tweeter in comparison reminds me of a silk dome. More relaxed sounding but still detailed when it comes to glass shattering, tires squealing, etc. I sometimes noticed a hollow sound in dialogue on the Energy center which is why wanted to try something else. The Chane eliminated that on a couple of particular movie scenes where I compared them.

One of the reasons I picked Chane over the same ones that you mentioned was that they had the most active owner’s thread over the past x amount of years.
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post #27 of 49 Old 05-25-2020, 06:24 PM
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The Monoprice Monolith THX speakers fit your budget and work great.

Tony
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post #28 of 49 Old 05-26-2020, 04:56 AM
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The new Chanes are right around the corner.
And have been for years.
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post #29 of 49 Old 05-27-2020, 02:53 AM
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And have been for years.
It's actually happening this time...
https://twitter.com/ChaneMusiCinema/...811776/photo/1

There's also a limited edition series of subwoofers, based on Snell subs.
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Last edited by AlexLac; 05-27-2020 at 10:36 AM.
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post #30 of 49 Old 05-27-2020, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone used the Sierra 1 as LCR?
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