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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of researching speakers for a 2.0 bedroom stereo. I have oredered a Virtue Audio VirtueOne integrated amp and an Oppo 980 dvd/cd player. The challenge now is deciding on speakers. I am new to high-end audio, but would like to enter the the world of audiophile goodness. My musical tastes are extremely varied (rock to classical). My objective here is to get a set of "best bang for the buck" speakers with the highest level of imaging and detail (non-fatiguing) with a large soundstage (width and depth). Of course I am merely regurgitating what I have read that makes up a good audiophile speaker.


As a newb, experienced opinions are very important as I rely on them to help guide me. I have been reading a lot of reviews and threads on tons of different speakers. It is very overwhelming, but a few seem to stand out to me. I would like opinions and comparisons from people who have heard or owned speakers from the list below:


Onix x-sls Encore (plus ninja master upgrade) $439 + $332 = $771

Odyssey Epiphony $595

Ascend 340 $568

PSB Image B25 $400


Based on professional reviews, Odyssey's sound like they could be the best option. However there is a very limited number of write-ups on these, and I have not been able to find any opinions from people who own them. I am also very interested in the Onix x-sls.


I realize that these do not necessarily cover the low end, so a sub will probably be in my future. Probably not until next Christmas though. The wife is already rolling her eyes at me. She thought I was just going to get an all-in-one mini stereo from somewhere like Best Buy...Silly Wife!



Thanks!
 

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People here are going to tell you that purchasing the amp before the speakers is almost always a bad idea.


I don't know if you bought the optional power supply upgrade for the Virtue, which increases the power output from 30w to about 50w, but either way you're going to be on the low end in terms of the recommended power input for any of those speakers.


I'm not sure how important this will be in practice. The Virtue looks like a solid little amp. You just might want to choose the more efficient loudspeaker.
 

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"highest level of imaging and detail (non-fatiguing) with a large soundstage (width and depth)"


These things are determined by how you place the speakers within the room and the room furnishings as much as the speaker itself. I know you mentioned you are new to this and I wanted you to understand that room acoustics and how sound waves behave in enclosed spaces is important to understand at least on a low-level.


Speakers interact with anything near them including but not limited to the wall that is behind them, windows near them, furniture nearby, the floor etc. These interactions affect the qualities that I quoted from you. In addition, the speaker design also effects these qualities based on their dispersive behavior.


I have no doubt that many speakers within your budget range can be made to work for you, but this depends greatly on your care when you set them up. If you have to make compromises on their setup (as is the case with bedroom setups most of the time) realize that the bar you have set may already be too high based on the physical nature of where the speakers are ending up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmuell /forum/post/15565846


People here are going to tell you that purchasing the amp before the speakers is almost always a bad idea.


I don't know if you bought the optional power supply upgrade for the Virtue, which increases the power output from 30w to about 50w, but either way you're going to be on the low end in terms of the recommended power input for any of those speakers.


I'm not sure how important this will be in practice. The Virtue looks like a solid little amp. You just might want to choose the more efficient loudspeaker.

I did get the 30v/130w power supply upgrade, and Virtue Audio says that it should boost the amp output to 60 wpc. I will be listening at low to moderate volumes and will not be cranking it. I think I should be ok, but I will have a 30 day window to return the amp if it is not powerful enough.


Question: I have noticed that a lot of the tube amps have pretty low output, like 5 to 10 wpc. How do these amps drive speakers? Is it that they are constrained to driving ultra efficient speakers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega /forum/post/15565955


"highest level of imaging and detail (non-fatiguing) with a large soundstage (width and depth)"


These things are determined by how you place the speakers within the room and the room furnishings as much as the speaker itself. I know you mentioned you are new to this and I wanted you to understand that room acoustics and how sound waves behave in enclosed spaces is important to understand at least on a low-level.


Speakers interact with anything near them including but not limited to the wall that is behind them, windows near them, furniture nearby, the floor etc. These interactions affect the qualities that I quoted from you. In addition, the speaker design also effects these qualities based on their dispersive behavior.


I have no doubt that many speakers within your budget range can be made to work for you, but this depends greatly on your care when you set them up. If you have to make compromises on their setup (as is the case with bedroom setups most of the time) realize that the bar you have set may already be too high based on the physical nature of where the speakers are ending up.

Thanks for this insight. I had read a little about this. My plan is to start by placing the speakers about 8 ft apart, about 10 ft from the listening position, 8 inches from the back wall and angled in slightly. Then I can tweak their placement to hear what sounds best. I will also elevate the speaqkers on stands so that the tweeters are at ear level.


I guess I will find out how the room and furniture affect the speaker's characteristics. I was not sure how ideal this bedroom setup would be for 2 channel listening, but it is what it is. I just need to get the best speakers that I can for the budget that I have and hope for the best. Anything is better than what I am listening to now.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snodwog /forum/post/15566505


I did get the 30v/130w power supply upgrade, and Virtue Audio says that it should boost the amp output to 60 wpc. I will be listening at low to moderate volumes and will not be cranking it. I think I should be ok, but I will have a 30 day window to return the amp if it is not powerful enough.


Question: I have noticed that a lot of the tube amps have pretty low output, like 5 to 10 wpc. How do these amps drive speakers? Is it that they are constrained to driving ultra efficient speakers?

I was going to recommend going with the Sierra-1 over the 340SE, but then saw the tiny amp and worried that 30W might not be enough. But with 60 you pass the 50 recommended watts so if you can spend a little more, the Sierras have better bass than the 340SE, better resolution, better soundstage and imaging... Definitely worth it.


tubes: When amps run out of juice, they start to clip. But tubes clip differently than solid state, in a less harsh way if you will... So even if they clip it doesn't sound as bad as SS clipping, so you can run them louder with the same watts as SS. (soft clipping; both clip, tube will sound much better). Tubes are somewhat ridiculous today, way more distortion than SS, costs a lot more, and the clipping is somewhat irrelevant since your amp shouldn't clip anyhow (since SS will have a lot more power for a fraction of the price of tubes)...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snodwog /forum/post/15566884


Thanks for this insight. I had read a little about this. My plan is to start by placing the speakers about 8 ft apart, about 10 ft from the listening position, 8 inches from the back wall and angled in slightly. Then I can tweak their placement to hear what sounds best. I will also elevate the speaqkers on stands so that the tweeters are at ear level.


I guess I will find out how the room and furniture affect the speaker's characteristics. I was not sure how ideal this bedroom setup would be for 2 channel listening, but it is what it is. I just need to get the best speakers that I can for the budget that I have and hope for the best. Anything is better than what I am listening to now.

Obviously, the more you can bring the speakers away from the wall behind them, the better since you want to minimize the reflection off of that wall. But, you will have to experiment with this as if you cannot bring them 2-3' away from the wall (I dunno any bedroom that would allow for this), the distance will pretty much set where the null occurs in your upper bass (100-300hz). Depending on some music you listen to, this null could be perceived readily. Rock music tends to show this null as a missing grunge of the electric guitar for example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have read some people who suggest plugging the port to achieve lower and tighter base response. It seems like to me this would negatively affect the base, like moving the speaker too close to the back wall (but worse). Are these people hearing some kind of side effect from the woofer being stiffled, or is there some real benefit gained from doing this? If there is benefit, then maybe I need to better understand what the port is there for. I always thought a ported encloseure was meant to reduce the pressure within the speaker allowing the woffer to move more freely and increasing its range of movement.
 

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I have a Virtue Two and Ascend 340SEs and am pleased with the results. Definitely has sufficient power (the 30V/130W) power supply is standard with the Two) and bass. I listen at fairly low levels but regardless of volume the detail is astonishing. My speakers are spaced much like what you propose...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snodwog /forum/post/15579606


I have read some people who suggest plugging the port to achieve lower and tighter base response. It seems like to me this would negatively affect the base, like moving the speaker too close to the back wall (but worse). Are these people hearing some kind of side effect from the woofer being stiffled, or is there some real benefit gained from doing this? If there is benefit, then maybe I need to better understand what the port is there for. I always thought a ported encloseure was meant to reduce the pressure within the speaker allowing the woffer to move more freely and increasing its range of movement.

You are not stifling the bass at all. You are changing the loading from 4th order ported to 2nd order quasi sealed. Its a different bass roll off. When the port is plugged, the bass will roll off sooner, but more gradually.


It is not necessarily "worse" than putting the speaker too close to the wall, it is just a different sound. Speaker too close to the wall causes a null in the 80-300hz region depending on the distance. This is always a negative effect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks!...That's one for the Ascend 340.


It's also nice to hear from someone who owns a Virtue Audio amp. How do you like the amp so far? I kind of took a leap of faith when I ordered it. I was almost ready to pull the trigger on the KingRex T20 amp, and then I saw a few reviews that favored the VirtueOne.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega /forum/post/15580324


You are not stifling the bass at all. You are changing the loading from 4th order ported to 2nd order quasi sealed. Its a different bass roll off. When the port is plugged, the bass will roll off sooner, but more gradually.


It is not necessarily "worse" than putting the speaker too close to the wall, it is just a different sound. Speaker too close to the wall causes a null in the 80-300hz region depending on the distance. This is always a negative effect.

Jonomega - Thanks for the info...I can't say that I understood all of it, but I think I get the basic idea.


I have seen a lot of references to the 'order' of various speakers during my research and never understood what it meant. This sheads a little more light on it. However it also reinforces the fact that I have a lot more to learn.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snodwog /forum/post/15580688


Thanks!...That's one for the Ascend 340.


It's also nice to hear from someone who owns a Virtue Audio amp. How do you like the amp so far? I kind of took a leap of faith when I ordered it. I was almost ready to pull the trigger on the KingRex T20 amp, and then I saw a few reviews that favored the VirtueOne.

The amp has loads of punch, great clarity, seems to reveal everything in a recording (good if that's your cup of tea...). Very nice build quality. I'm looking forward to their next product, the "Sensation". If that product is as good as the Two, I'll grab one sight unseen, or rather ears unheard...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airite68 /forum/post/15582392


The amp has loads of punch, great clarity, seems to reveal everything in a recording (good if that's your cup of tea...). Very nice build quality. I'm looking forward to their next product, the "Sensation". If that product is as good as the Two, I'll grab one sight unseen, or rather ears unheard...

Sweet!
 

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Have you listened to the Usher S-520? I bought a new pair last week and I'm loving them. They may not be as wide as some other speakers in your range that have bigger woofers, but the mids on them are unbelievably smooth and sweet. I don't know if you're planning on adding a sub anytime soon, but the Ushers also layer very well with a sub (I don't have one yet, but may get one in the near future), and I see that your Virtue amp has a sub out. What sealed the deal for me was the impeccable finish. You can't find another speaker that is built this sturdy and looks this good for under $1k. It would match pretty well with your Virtue
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmuell /forum/post/15591772


Have you listened to the Usher S-520? I bought a new pair last week and I'm loving them. They may not be as wide as some other speakers in your range that have bigger woofers, but the mids on them are unbelievably smooth and sweet. I don't know if you're planning on adding a sub anytime soon, but the Ushers also layer very well with a sub (I don't have one yet, but may get one in the near future), and I see that your Virtue amp has a sub out. What sealed the deal for me was the impeccable finish. You can't find another speaker that is built this sturdy and looks this good for under $1k. It would match pretty well with your Virtue

I have not hade a chance to audition any speakers yet. I can't find an audio dealer in my area that has any of the speakers that I am interested in. Plus the more I research the longer my 'short' list gets. Here is my list at this point:


Onix ELT525T Towers - $699

Onix x-sls Encore (plus ninja master upgrade) - $771

Totem Dreamcatcher - $525

Totem Mite - $675

Odyssey Epiphony II - $795

Epos M5 - $650

PSB B25 - $400

Ascend 340 SE - $568

Ascend Sierra-1 - $848

Usher S-520 - $479


I have not been getting as many opinions about the actual speakers here as I thought I would. I may need to post this in the more general speaker forum where there is more traffic.
 

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There's no "best" answer, you'll never get a consensus, most haven't heard all the speakers on your list, haven't heard them together or in the same room, so it's hard to compare them together...


Out of those I've heard, I'd go with the Ascends. (which i own... 340SE & Sierras...) Then, I'd have a hard time picking up a pair... The Usher 520s aren't bad, but overall I'd think they end up a bit short vs the 340SE. Not bad for
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Grandarf - That's exactly the type of post that I've been looking for. Thanks for the opinions and great advice.


Question about the Ascend Sierra 1's...Considering that my amp will put out 60 watts per channel, and the recommended power range for the Sierras is 45 - 200 watts, does that mean that I will have to crank the amp up almost all the way just to drive these speakers at moderate levels? Do you think this amp will be adequate?
 

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Nah, quickly, the sensitivity rating is more important for answering "how loud will they play". Sierra is 87dB, which is similar to the Totems (mite&DC 87), the 520 (86dB), Epos m5 (87). Just means that with one watt, it'll play at 87dB at one meter. Pretty usual for a bookshelf... (double watts, add 3dB, so 2 watts = 90dB, 4 watts 93dB, etc.)


dB tabel: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/educ...mon_sounds.asp


so 87dB = louder than vacuum cleaner, lawnmower, etc. Pretty damn loud. People usually don't use more than like 5-10 watts when listening normally I believe.


Give a call to Ascend (or another of the speaker manufacturers you're interested in), and ask for info, they should be able to give you more details.
 
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