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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there! I need help. I’m so lost. I am building a new HT setup:

60% tv/movies
30% music
10% games
**biggest want: super crisp, powerful, clean center channel dialogue
*second biggest want, amazing, clean bass (thinking of the SVS 4000)

*won’t be in dedicated home theater room — this is for open living room unfortunately but it does mean the room will be quite large

So i have zero brand loyalty — i just want best bang for the buck.

So far, I’ve got recs for:

JTR
PSA
Ascend (raal)
Klipsch RF7

Anyone want to cut to the chase and just tell me what to get? =)
 

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I mostly watch tv using 2.1, I like Focal. Depends on how many speakers you are buying, do you mean 2 front, 2 back, center and sub?

Depends on how high quality the speakers you want, if you want high end, consider used also as you are talking about 6 speakers all together. I would spend a lot on the front L and R pair of speakers. Go cheap on the back two as it only fill the back side. I had 5.1 before, I used a pair of real cheap Infinity small speakers for back, I did not feel it is inferior for the back. I would spend at least half the budget if not more for the front L and R. Still don't rule out used. I just got a pair of used Focal for $5,500 that was $18K new. It worth every penny.

I would not go with Klipsch, you can do better. Go for the real high end brands even if you go used like what I did.

As for sub, I have a Rythmik F12SE, I am not going to say it's the best as I don't know, it's about $1100, in the ball park of your $10K budget if you go with $5K+ front. I have seen used Focal Utopia center for about $2K, cant' say one way or the other as I hate center speaker. I hate the voice from the center.
 

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Easily:

Ascend Sierra towers w/RAAL
Ascend Horizon w/RAAL
Ascend Sierra 2EX

Dual PSA V1512 or Dual Rythmik FV15HP or Dual HSU VTF-15 MK2

Done. Don't look back.
 
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At your budget I would consider the Revel Performa 3 series. I am going to stretch the budget just a touch...

L/R - Revel Performa 3 F208 $5000 pair
C - Revel Performa 3 C208 $2000
Surround L/R - Revel Performa 3 M105 $1500 pair
Subwoofer - Dual Hsu VTF15H Mk2 $1750

Total $10,250
 

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I am very happy with my PSA setup. The speakers are large and not that pretty, but they have terrific sound!
 

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Revel have proven them selves again and again in measurements and are most likely far superior to anything else suggested here. I see that Klipsch is being recommended quite often both here and on many youtube videos but looking at the measurements and real world efficiency ratings it does tell a different story.

Revel:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/revel-m106-bookshelf-speaker-review.14363/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/revel-m22-speaker-review.12279/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/revel-f35-speaker-review.12053/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/revel-f208-tower-speaker-review.13192/

Ascend:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/ascend-sierra-2-speaker-review.11813/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/ascend-cbm-170-se-speaker-review.11839/


Klipsch:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/klipsch-r-41m-bookshelf-speaker-review.11566/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/klipsch-rp-600m-speaker-review.12138/

Measurements are out there which I think is a good starting point.

Speakers is something really worth investing in as you can keep them for a very long time. That and dedicated amps. I think you're doing the right thing here with starting out with a proper 5.1 system. A properly good 5.1 system with multiple subs is really where you want to be at before investing in any more speakers and amps, expensive AVRs and other electronics.
 

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Hi there! I need help. I’m so lost. I am building a new HT setup:

60% tv/movies
30% music
10% games
**biggest want: super crisp, powerful, clean center channel dialogue
*second biggest want, amazing, clean bass (thinking of the SVS 4000)

*won’t be in dedicated home theater room — this is for open living room unfortunately but it does mean the room will be quite large

So i have zero brand loyalty — i just want best bang for the buck.

So far, I’ve got recs for:

JTR
PSA
Ascend (raal)
Klipsch RF7

Anyone want to cut to the chase and just tell me what to get? =)
I'd be glad to "cut to the chase" if I knew more. What are the dimensions of your room? That would help us know what speaker distance and floor/wall space is available. What kind and size of display are you using? If PJ, what size and type of screen. Even though you say its a large room, what will your seating distance be?
Will your music listening be at the seating positions or will you want the best possible sound throughout the room? How will the system be powered? Efficient speakers need less power. What are your listening levels? Do you have a preference for certain type of tweeter?....soft domes, metal domes, ribbons, Raal, CD/horn? How important is the speaker finish? Are you looking for veneers, lacquer, or a certain color? Lastly, and especially in a larger room, two or more subs will always provide superior low end frequency response throughout the listening space than one can no matter how big it is. What someone else likes or has is probably the last question you should be asking at this point. In the end, let your ears decide what you like best.
 

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Not enough information,

I have a big living room and I want the bestest sound with X amount of money! That is akin to playing darts with a blind fold on--you might get lucky but generally will just put a bunch of holes in the wall.

First thing up--bass response and SPL. How low in frequency do you want to go? 20Hz, 16Hz, 10Hz or ???Hz. How many subwoofers do you want to deal with? Two, three, four or more? How large can these subs be? 4 cubic feet, 8 cubic feet, 16 cubic feet or whatever it takes? Be aware the lower in frequency they do, the larger they become as you increase the amount of SPL you desire. Don't forget you can't use four 4,000 watt subwoofers off a single outlet--there are power limits.

How LOUD does the system have to be? Half as loud as a regular theater, the same loudness level as a THX theater or I want IMAX---cuz, IMAX! :cool: How far away will you be sitting? 2 to 3 meters or 7 to 10 feet? 4 meters or more? Be aware that if you want IMAX levels at 6 meters (20 feet) you won't get it with speakers that use dome drivers--you must match the speakers to your SPL requirements and distance is key there.

Speaker size! Yes, it matters so don't expect a beer keg of performance out of a speaker the size of a beer can. If you go to a movie theater, look at the speaker designs--same holds true with concerts or speaker systems used for musicals--they are not that way because of style. If a touring band could get the performance they required out of a cone and dome 6.5" two-way--they would use that! Trust me, hauling around massive speaker systems is not something people do for fun for very long.

Speaker design--this gets more complex as certain speaker designs work better in less than perfect acoustical spaces or why there are so mny designs available. Do you have carpets or hardwood floors? Is the room open on one side with a wall of windows on the other side? Is your ceiling low or a very high cathedral ceiling? If you use a very high dispersion speaker, say a small coaxial type in a highly reflecticve room with bare floors, windows and sit back 16 feet--you will have an acoustic echo chamber--wrong speaker design! Other speaker designs will be wrong because they have too narrow of a sound dispersion--Dolby has guidelines what those will be. Be aware if you want to jump to Atmos in the future, those speakers should be related to the mains so bipoles, ESL speakers etc. are out.

The first step to consider is speaker size and the amount of subwoofers you can deal with in your room. Figure out the maximum size and that determines the cost, SPL capabilities and in some cases the dispersion of the speakers. If the size is very small, that limits the efficiency of the speaker and the power handling to some extent--OK if you don't need THX/IMAX but a huge problem if you do. If you have a highly reflective room wih hardwood floors, low ceiling and sit at a distance--and demand clear voices--that usually indicates limiting vertical dispersion to prevent reflections which can be achieved by large waveguides, large AMTs and such--but those are not small!

Since you seem to want to hear the voices clearly, not only does room acoustics and speaker size play in--so does the type of video display. If it is a regular flat panel, you will need to put the center below or above the TV which creates new probems. If your display is a large screen for a projector, you can use the same speakers across the front three--easier to get better results when they are matching behind a screen IF the three speakers have the correct dispersion, SPL capability and accurate frequency response/disttortion you require.

That being said, you are on the right path by demanding the most critical thing--voices be clear across your seating range. This requirement is dominated by the center channel speaker, it's location, room acoustics and so on. Bass response is next, knowing and understanding the frequency response, how much SPL you require and low many seats you desire to get it correct depends on such things like total room size and how many subs can be placed in your space. It sounds complicated because it IS complicated--mo stuff = mo problems as life dctates.

The issue most people have is they think it is a 2 channel with additonal speakers--that causes confusion. The best way to wrap your brain around it is a center channel speaker with a support cast of other speakers used to either widen the front stage (left/center/right) or add effects (surrounds/Atmos) The bulk of the responsibilty of vocal clarity in a multi-speaker array called HT system is one speaker--your center and to get that depends on acoustics, distance, setup and your limits for size--first! Same applies to PA systems, since a PA system must have clear vocals for people to speak--you would test the speaker with the spoken word--first! Put the Diana Krall songs away, put ONE speaker on a pole and listen to it for vocal clarity by either speaking through it on a microphone or have a vocal track recorded properly in glorious mono as your first step. You then go off axis until the sound field turns to rubbish, note that angle then determine if it meets your needs--first! Listening to music in stereo with you in the sweet spot as a way to test out PA speakers then complaining that the vocal clarity is very poor when listened with voices off-axis during actual use as a PA is a common trap. For this reason, I tend to evaluate center channels in mono with vocal recordings in mono--if it passes the vocal clarity test then I worry about such minor things like cymbal crashes or whatever.

Enough foot stomping about center channels? Well, that is your #1 demand and without knowing your room size, seated distance, how many seats you need to cover, how many rows of seats, your basic room acoustics, projector screen VS OED screen, horizontal center VS regular, how much amplifier power available or your SPL requirements--I can't recommend anything at this point. I would assume at 10 grand, you would want to get the best match for your needs which are not defined--figure at that price level you might want to learn more the hows/whys these systems work the way they do and how to get the best out of them. At this point, concentrate on your limits for size, orientation, how/where it is mounted and get the center channel nailed first. The vocal clarity is the pass/fail go/no go point with HT and is your top concern. The forum can assist but with one data point, a large room, it is real world impossible to recommend anything. Since you did not provide those additional data points in your post, this implies you need more knowledge about how this works first--before you start spending money. There are "stickies" on AVS to help you define your needs and other websites (data-bass.com, Audio Science Review, Audioholics, Dolby.com) and others to help you narrow things down to fit your needs.

For clarity, I generally don't recommend speakers, amps and such--I recommend speaker designs or speakers that provide a specific SPL, dispersion or frequency response by listing a few examples for my buddies to choose from. This is not Lord of the Rings, there is no one speaker, amp or processor to rule them all. :D Glad I could muddy up the waters for you--good luck! :)
 

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AVS Forum is a great place to find information so you can do your own research as well as get opinions from people. Others have recommended Revel and I do as well, they were my choice before I started working for a dealer that sells them and other brands as well. Revel and many JBL speaker designs are based on the research done by Doctor Floyd Toole that shows most people prefer speakers with neutral on and off axis response. In your price range in addition to the Revel Performa3 series, you might also consider the JBL HDI series.

Watch the Floyd Toole video in the first link:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/2907816-speaker-shootout-two-most-accurate-well-reviewed-speakers-ever-made.html

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/3038828-how-choose-loudspeaker-what-science-shows.html

https://www.revelspeakers.com/products/series/series-performa3/

https://www.jblsynthesis.com/products/loudspeakers/series/hdi-series/

https://routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/9781138921368/
 

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Revel have proven them selves again and again in measurements and are most likely far superior to anything else suggested here. I see that Klipsch is being recommended quite often both here and on many youtube videos but looking at the measurements and real world efficiency ratings it does tell a different story.

Revel:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/revel-m106-bookshelf-speaker-review.14363/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/revel-m22-speaker-review.12279/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/revel-f35-speaker-review.12053/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/revel-f208-tower-speaker-review.13192/

Ascend:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/ascend-sierra-2-speaker-review.11813/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/ascend-cbm-170-se-speaker-review.11839/


Klipsch:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/klipsch-r-41m-bookshelf-speaker-review.11566/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/klipsch-rp-600m-speaker-review.12138/

Measurements are out there which I think is a good starting point.

Speakers is something really worth investing in as you can keep them for a very long time. That and dedicated amps. I think you're doing the right thing here with starting out with a proper 5.1 system. A properly good 5.1 system with multiple subs is really where you want to be at before investing in any more speakers and amps, expensive AVRs and other electronics.
Both Klipsch links were for $149/pair and $600/pair (?) speakers. Hardly a fair means to veiw the entire product line.

To us old timers there is only one true Klipsch series and that is the Heritage and possibly the RF7iii. Other models are built to meet a big box retailer price target.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Not enough information,

I have a big living room and I want the bestest sound with X amount of money! That is akin to playing darts with a blind fold on--you might get lucky but generally will just put a bunch of holes in the wall.

First thing up--bass response and SPL. How low in frequency do you want to go? 20Hz, 16Hz, 10Hz or ???Hz. How many subwoofers do you want to deal with? Two, three, four or more? How large can these subs be? 4 cubic feet, 8 cubic feet, 16 cubic feet or whatever it takes? Be aware the lower in frequency they do, the larger they become as you increase the amount of SPL you desire. Don't forget you can't use four 4,000 watt subwoofers off a single outlet--there are power limits.

How LOUD does the system have to be? Half as loud as a regular theater, the same loudness level as a THX theater or I want IMAX---cuz, IMAX! :cool: How far away will you be sitting? 2 to 3 meters or 7 to 10 feet? 4 meters or more? Be aware that if you want IMAX levels at 6 meters (20 feet) you won't get it with speakers that use dome drivers--you must match the speakers to your SPL requirements and distance is key there.

Speaker size! Yes, it matters so don't expect a beer keg of performance out of a speaker the size of a beer can. If you go to a movie theater, look at the speaker designs--same holds true with concerts or speaker systems used for musicals--they are not that way because of style. If a touring band could get the performance they required out of a cone and dome 6.5" two-way--they would use that! Trust me, hauling around massive speaker systems is not something people do for fun for very long.

Speaker design--this gets more complex as certain speaker designs work better in less than perfect acoustical spaces or why there are so mny designs available. Do you have carpets or hardwood floors? Is the room open on one side with a wall of windows on the other side? Is your ceiling low or a very high cathedral ceiling? If you use a very high dispersion speaker, say a small coaxial type in a highly reflecticve room with bare floors, windows and sit back 16 feet--you will have an acoustic echo chamber--wrong speaker design! Other speaker designs will be wrong because they have too narrow of a sound dispersion--Dolby has guidelines what those will be. Be aware if you want to jump to Atmos in the future, those speakers should be related to the mains so bipoles, ESL speakers etc. are out.

The first step to consider is speaker size and the amount of subwoofers you can deal with in your room. Figure out the maximum size and that determines the cost, SPL capabilities and in some cases the dispersion of the speakers. If the size is very small, that limits the efficiency of the speaker and the power handling to some extent--OK if you don't need THX/IMAX but a huge problem if you do. If you have a highly reflective room wih hardwood floors, low ceiling and sit at a distance--and demand clear voices--that usually indicates limiting vertical dispersion to prevent reflections which can be achieved by large waveguides, large AMTs and such--but those are not small!

Since you seem to want to hear the voices clearly, not only does room acoustics and speaker size play in--so does the type of video display. If it is a regular flat panel, you will need to put the center below or above the TV which creates new probems. If your display is a large screen for a projector, you can use the same speakers across the front three--easier to get better results when they are matching behind a screen IF the three speakers have the correct dispersion, SPL capability and accurate frequency response/disttortion you require.

That being said, you are on the right path by demanding the most critical thing--voices be clear across your seating range. This requirement is dominated by the center channel speaker, it's location, room acoustics and so on. Bass response is next, knowing and understanding the frequency response, how much SPL you require and low many seats you desire to get it correct depends on such things like total room size and how many subs can be placed in your space. It sounds complicated because it IS complicated--mo stuff = mo problems as life dctates.

The issue most people have is they think it is a 2 channel with additonal speakers--that causes confusion. The best way to wrap your brain around it is a center channel speaker with a support cast of other speakers used to either widen the front stage (left/center/right) or add effects (surrounds/Atmos) The bulk of the responsibilty of vocal clarity in a multi-speaker array called HT system is one speaker--your center and to get that depends on acoustics, distance, setup and your limits for size--first! Same applies to PA systems, since a PA system must have clear vocals for people to speak--you would test the speaker with the spoken word--first! Put the Diana Krall songs away, put ONE speaker on a pole and listen to it for vocal clarity by either speaking through it on a microphone or have a vocal track recorded properly in glorious mono as your first step. You then go off axis until the sound field turns to rubbish, note that angle then determine if it meets your needs--first! Listening to music in stereo with you in the sweet spot as a way to test out PA speakers then complaining that the vocal clarity is very poor when listened with voices off-axis during actual use as a PA is a common trap. For this reason, I tend to evaluate center channels in mono with vocal recordings in mono--if it passes the vocal clarity test then I worry about such minor things like cymbal crashes or whatever.

Enough foot stomping about center channels? Well, that is your #1 demand and without knowing your room size, seated distance, how many seats you need to cover, how many rows of seats, your basic room acoustics, projector screen VS OED screen, horizontal center VS regular, how much amplifier power available or your SPL requirements--I can't recommend anything at this point. I would assume at 10 grand, you would want to get the best match for your needs which are not defined--figure at that price level you might want to learn more the hows/whys these systems work the way they do and how to get the best out of them. At this point, concentrate on your limits for size, orientation, how/where it is mounted and get the center channel nailed first. The vocal clarity is the pass/fail go/no go point with HT and is your top concern. The forum can assist but with one data point, a large room, it is real world impossible to recommend anything. Since you did not provide those additional data points in your post, this implies you need more knowledge about how this works first--before you start spending money. There are "stickies" on AVS to help you define your needs and other websites (data-bass.com, Audio Science Review, Audioholics, Dolby.com) and others to help you narrow things down to fit your needs.

For clarity, I generally don't recommend speakers, amps and such--I recommend speaker designs or speakers that provide a specific SPL, dispersion or frequency response by listing a few examples for my buddies to choose from. This is not Lord of the Rings, there is no one speaker, amp or processor to rule them all. :D Glad I could muddy up the waters for you--good luck! :)
Appreciate the detail and advice! I completely understand there is no “best” However i do believe there are “better” and “not worth the extra money”

That’s reallly what i am trying to get to. I just demo’ed full range of Dynaudio from the Encore 50 to the Confidence 60. Amazing to see the growth but once I get above the Countor 60, i didn’t see a big jump into the confidence (especially not worth 20k, IMO)

Appreciate all the help!! Ill post some more details
 

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Appreciate the detail and advice! I completely understand there is no “best” However i do believe there are “better” and “not worth the extra money”

That’s reallly what i am trying to get to. I just demo’ed full range of Dynaudio from the Encore 50 to the Confidence 60. Amazing to see the growth but once I get above the Countor 60, i didn’t see a big jump into the confidence (especially not worth 20k, IMO)

Appreciate all the help!! Ill post some more details
It's good that you are auditioning and you make an important point about diminishing returns that I'd like to elaborate on. Even the best speakers you hear might not be what you expect when you get them in your space. Sure, measurements are great indications of a speaker's performance, BUT room acoustics, placement, space, and listening position ( as well as source material and power) are all very important elements contributing to how a speaker will sound differently in a showroom vs your space. My best advice as you are auditioning is take note attributes you prefer...ie, two ways, three ways, horns, metal domes, soft domes, AMT's etc and narrow things down as your preferences become more evident to you. Also think ahead about where you will be placing them. Will you have enough space to move them in/out from walls to make them "sing". $10K is a budget worthy of some really great sounding speakers so I recommend calling a few of the renowned speaker makers like Salk, Legacy, Ascend Acoustics, and others to discuss your situation... you have nothing to loose and at a minimum I'd bet you get some helpful information and insights. In the end let your ears decide in your listening space because it will have a substantial effect on how a speaker sounds...and that's where it really counts, It will be interesting to hear your updates as you move towards your selection. Good Luck.
 

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Appreciate the detail and advice! I completely understand there is no “best” However i do believe there are “better” and “not worth the extra money”

That’s reallly what i am trying to get to. I just demo’ed full range of Dynaudio from the Encore 50 to the Confidence 60. Amazing to see the growth but once I get above the Countor 60, i didn’t see a big jump into the confidence (especially not worth 20k, IMO)

Appreciate all the help!! Ill post some more details
I have some clients with Contour (not the “i) and love them.

Deals are available especially b-stock from time to time.

Others to consider:
GoldenEar Triton 1r, SC XXL, AON3
JBL HDI 3800, HDI 4500, HDI 1600
Klipsch RF7iii
Many, many more...
 

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Too difficult to give a recommendation without knowing the room size. If the room is quite large, you could put together a killer system with JTR speakers and JTR or Rythmik subs (the JTR option may be a bit too expensive). For a smaller room, Revel and JBL HDI speakers are both very good options.
 
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