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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, this is my first post here. I have 92" TV and live in a small studio apt. I have a high end PC GTX680 and Creative souncard.

I need directional audio for gaming (creative speakers I used did that job very well). I also need excellent quality. I don't need volume as I am in a studio apt and dont plan to move to big house. My apt transmits bass to neighbors but not other frequencies. I know this because most of my neighbors play speakers very loud and I hear only their subs. I also dont care about my neighbors since they dont care about me. But I don't want subs to be too loud though. I dont want to win the competition of being the most noisy person.


I went to best buy near my house. I saw they have lots of high end speakers. The salesman told me that B&W is the best for directional audio as many of the other speakers have back ports. He played CM1 (small speakers) and 684. They both sounded good to me. I liked 684 a lot because they are cheaper than cm1+ stands. He also had a center speakers with name starting with HTM and a subwoofer which costs 499. All from B&W. This would cost me 4*650 per floor standing speaker + 650 for center and 500 for subwoofer. Comes to 3.85k . This is a lot.


My questions about the speakers are

1. CM1+stands is more expensive than 684 although it is smaller. The saleman told me that the difference is only in the cabinetry. It is more aesthetic and can hold all bad sound inside. I dont know what that means. Is 684 a good choice?

2. I read in some speakers website that floorstanding speakers should be alteast 4 feet away from everything. In the store he play it with 3 sides surrounded with inches gap and played well. In my apt, the speakers will be near a wall at most half foot away. So is this a problem?

3. My TV manual recommends polk audio. Are they good for gaming and directional audio?


I have the biggest problem with amplifiers. They all have these fancy decoders and controls. I dont need them, as they are connected to a PC with all decoding capabilites and only lacking amplification. These receivers only have L & R input which is wierd considering I have 3 3.5mm outs on my speaker for front left & right, rear left & right and center&sub. No receiver had these inputs. They all had this TOSLINK and my sound card has this one too. Wont I be forced to use Dolby Digital Live then? This will add lag, create loss etc. Is there no other way around it. Also, how much amplification do I need for these speakers.


I would be grateful for any useful input. Feel free suggest any better and cheaper alternatives for speakers as well.
 

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- You can use 3.5mm to RCA adapters to hook your PC to a receiver.


- There is an advantage to AVRs. They have room correction software that helps to smooth the in room response to your speakers. Since it is EQing the speakers, this should help with directional audio.


- Look into using HDMI out for the sound. The graphics card on your receiver can decode the audio and send it to the receiver.


- I've heard B&W owners complain about the matching center channel for the 60x series. The best setup for your front sound stage is to use three exact matching speakers. Can you use a vertical speaker for your center?


- Unless you are getting A LOT off MSRP, the best sub values typically come from Internet direct retailers like HSU Research, Rythmik, Outlaw Audio, Power Sound Audio, and SVS Sound.


-- If you want good sound without spending a fortune, I recommend the Ascend Acoustics CMT-340 SE mini towers for front, the CMT-340 SE center, and the CBM-170 SE for your rear speakers. That would cost a little over $1200 shipped. Then get an SVS PB12-NSD , and your room would be jamming for gaming and movies
 

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If you don't like the receiver, you can skip it altogether and get powered speakers. Check out some of these . I really like the JBL and Mackie monitors. They sound almost as good as the Adams but for half the price. Those type of speakers can sound very good. However, if your sound jacks are on a motherboard or cheap soundcard, you would NOT want to use the 3.5 mm outs on your computer to send them signal. You need a good, low noise sound card for that. Take a look at the Asus Xonar Essence or HT Omega Claro cards. They are about $150 to $200 but they will output a very clean, high quality sound through the analogue jacks.


Another thing is, if you don't want to bother the neighbors, one thing I recommend is near-field placement, if you can accommodate it. This is where you place the sub very close to the listening position, like an endtable type placement, or also right behind your seat. This way you do not have to have the bass volume up nearly as high to get a nice punchy bass sound. The further away the sub is from you, the louder it must be for the same level of sound at your listening position, and the more your neighbors will hear it. One of my favorite subs for this type of setup is the Hsu VTF3 , its side-firing woofer makes it ideal for this application. It's a big sub though, about the size of an endtable itself. If you need something smaller, check out the Hsu ULS-15 or Rythmik F15HP . They are more expensive, but it takes higher power to get more output from a smaller size. Also, if wiring a sub close to you is awkward, the ULS-15 has wireless connectivity, and you could just get a wireless adapter for the others like this one .


Another reason a near-field sub would be a good idea for you is because studio apartments tend to be quite spacious, and spacial volume is the enemy of bass SPL when you are seated away from walls and surfaces. You can have a good sub, but if you are seated around a large room's center, it can completely sap the sound, even if the sub is blazing hard. By placing the sub close to the listening position, it dramatically lessens the influence of the room on the bass sound. You will get full impact from the sub, and since you don't have to run it as hard as you normally would, it will last longer and also play with less distortion.


Here is a system that will work for you:

3 x JBL LSR2328 active speakers for the fronts: $1050

2 x JBL LSR2325 for surrounds: $400
HT Omega Claro II : $180
Hsu VTF3 mk4 subwoofer : $770

Total: $2400 shipped


I'll wager that setup will rock the B&W setup, and it costs a lot less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
cel4145, thank you so much for replying. I am currently quite overwhelmed by all this because making decision on purchasing such expensive speakers puts a lot of pressure on getting it right the first time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145  /t/1468114/5-1-setup-for-pc-budget-2k-to-4k#post_23200898


- You can use 3.5mm to RCA adapters to hook your PC to a receiver.


- There is an advantage to AVRs. They have room correction software that helps to smooth the in room response to your speakers. Since it is EQing the speakers, this should help with directional audio.
What is the room correction software? Also, how does it help with directional audio? My PC outputs a good surround sound from my games. It is perfect and I am scared to mess with it.
Quote:
- Look into using HDMI out for the sound. The graphics card on your receiver can decode the audio and send it to the receiver.
I thought about it. The problem is that I can either send the audio directly to graphics card which will lack all the good stuff added by soundcard or send it to soundcard. I can't take the output from soundcard and feed it through graphics card's HDMI. I have spent quite a lot of time searching on internet to see if this was possible. I play older games and my soundcard is required for EAX positional audio in games.
Quote:
- I've heard B&W owners complain about the matching center channel for the 60x series. The best setup for your front sound stage is to use three exact matching speakers. Can you use a vertical speaker for your center?
Thank you so much for info. Unfortunately I cannot use a vertical speaker unless its shorter than 23". My TV is huge and cannot be wall mounted.
Quote:
- Unless you are getting A LOT off MSRP, the best sub values typically come from Internet direct retailers like HSU Research, Rythmik, Outlaw Audio, Power Sound Audio, and SVS Sound.
Thank you again and I will look into those.
Quote:
-- If you want good sound without spending a fortune, I recommend the Ascend Acoustics CMT-340 SE mini towers for front, the CMT-340 SE center, and the CBM-170 SE for your rear speakers. That would cost a little over $1200 shipped. Then get an SVS PB12-NSD , and your room would be jamming for gaming and movies
The speakers seem to have good reviews. Why did you suggest different speakers for front and rear? I have seen this in many HTIBs and other package speakers. When I was playing games with my old 5.1, I felt really bad that my rear speakers were inferior to my front speakers. But I also saw that many movies don't have much to output on rear speakers that differs from front speakers. In games often it happens that only your rear speakers are playing most of the audio, especially when moving away from the action. It can be very irritating when you have awesome audio coming from front speakers and you do a 180 and crappy audio starts playing from rear. Is it just to keep costs down?
 

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For speakers that offer good sound quality and have NO ports, I suggest the NHT Classic speakers. These are a sealed acoustic suspension design, and thus can be placed anywhere with no problems. They should be the perfect solution for your situation.


They have been around for a number of years, and are relatively compact and yet deliver big sound. They have always had rave reviews. These are excellent speakers!!


To be specific, a pair of NHT Classic Two speakers for the front, a pair of NHT Absolute Zero speakers for the rear, and the NHT Absolute Center speaker. That matched set will cost around $1600 and will give you wonderful sound. NHT speakers have exceptionally linear frequency response and minimal room interaction (compared to most other speakers).


You definitely should have a matched set of speakers, not a mixed bag. I use the NHT B-12D subwoofer, which is also one the best (and a sealed design), and only $700. It is also more compact than comparable ported subwoofers with similar performance (a 14-inch cube).


In my opinion, any B & W speaker for under $5000 is not particularly good, especially for their price. There are MANY better speakers out there at any given price point.


For top sound quality, I suggest the Harman-Kardon 2650 receiver, which IMO is one of the best-sounding on the market, bar none (except for Cambridge Audio receivers, which are quite expensive). The typical HT receiver has marginal power supply capabilities and a marginal ability to drive 5 speakers well. Harman-Kardon and Cambridge make a much better product (don't even LOOK at most of the manufacturer power ratings, because they are almost all totally phony and misleading).


All you need to connect the 3.5mm output jacks to the receiver is an adapter cable with the 3.5MM plug on one end and RCA plugs on the other end; these are available everywhere in any length you need.


That whole system will cost around $3000 or less, and you should be very pleased with it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdithyaG  /t/1468114/5-1-setup-for-pc-budget-2k-to-4k#post_23201531


cel4145, thank you so much for replying. I am currently quite overwhelmed by all this because making decision on purchasing such expensive speakers puts a lot of pressure on getting it right the first time.

What is the room correction software? Also, how does it help with directional audio? My PC outputs a good surround sound from my games. It is perfect and I am scared to mess with it.

I thought about it. The problem is that I can either send the audio directly to graphics card which will lack all the good stuff added by soundcard or send it to soundcard. I can't take the output from soundcard and feed it through graphics card's HDMI. I have spent quite a lot of time searching on internet to see if this was possible. I play older games and my soundcard is required for EAX positional audio in games.

Thank you so much for info. Unfortunately I cannot use a vertical speaker unless its shorter than 23". My TV is huge and cannot be wall mounted.

Thank you again and I will look into those.

The speakers seem to have good reviews. Why did you suggest different speakers for front and rear? I have seen this in many HTIBs and other package speakers. When I was playing games with my old 5.1, I felt really bad that my rear speakers were inferior to my front speakers. But I also saw that many movies don't have much to output on rear speakers that differs from front speakers. In games often it happens that only your rear speakers are playing most of the audio, especially when moving away from the action. It can be very irritating when you have awesome audio coming from front speakers and you do a 180 and crappy audio starts playing from rear. Is it just to keep costs down?

Room acoustics can greatly change the perceived response of each individual speaker at the listening position. Read this on Audyssey MultEQ room correction software . It's available in Denons, Marantz, and Onkyo receivers. You'll use a microphone with it at the primary listening position, and then the receiver will play test tones from each speaker and set the channel levels and phase, and then also apply individual EQ filters to each of the speakers to better match the frequency response of each. This can improve the smoothness of the surround experience, which in turn is going to help directional audio. Audyssey MultEQ also EQs the sub (much other room correction software does not have EQ filers for the sub), which is a plus for SQ.


In addition to saving money, a lot of people don't use floorstanding speakers for rears because they can't place them properly; some of the driver sound is often blocked by furniture, etc., and/or the tweeters are not at ear level. And as you pointed out, not as much sound comes from the rear. The Ascend CBM-170 SEs have a similar driver/tweeter design--only without the extra driver--so they are a pretty close match for the CMT-340 SE.


The Ascend Acoustic CMT-340 SE are less than 23" in height, so you would be able to stand a third one up as a center (they will sell you just one if you call them). However, their matching center channel is the same speaker only adjusted for horizontal placement, making it a better match to the left/right than many center channels. Might work better to use it, depending on whether or not you have a coffee table or other furniture that would block the vertical version.


And yeah. I wasn't sure if the graphics card audio would support the older EAX audio. You could still use the HDMI output for newer games and/or movie watching.


Also, you might consider two smaller dual subs. Dual subs have the benefit of being able to create a smoother frequency response throughout a wider seating area. If this setup is just for you sitting in one main position, then that is less important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I wanted to give more details on my current setup and what my use cases will be with new speakers. The TV is 92 inches diagonal and 82" wide.


My audio will stress both rear and front and hence I need them to be symmetric. So I will be buying the same speakers for front and rear. I have two scenarios of usage

1. Playing games: I will place a small table for keyboard and mouse and a chair in the center of my room and play the game.

2. I will remove the table and chair and lay or sit on a comforter on the floor while watching shows.


Now I understand the reason to have av receiver. So I have dropped the idea of getting the JBLs. Now I have to choose between NHT and Ascend. I also need to add speaker stands to cost.
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman  /t/1468114/5-1-setup-for-pc-budget-2k-to-4k#post_23201655


In my opinion, any B & W speaker for under $5000 is not particularly good, especially for their price. There are MANY better speakers out there at any given price point.
I never heard that before. I want to listen to these speakers. Where do you go to test these speakers? I was able to test b&w in magnolia. Where will I be able to try out other speakers such as NHT or JBL or Ascend? I live in San Diego, CA.
Quote:
For top sound quality, I suggest the Harman-Kardon 2650 receiver, which IMO is one of the best-sounding on the market, bar none (except for Cambridge Audio receivers, which are quite expensive). The typical HT receiver has marginal power supply capabilities and a marginal ability to drive 5 speakers well. Harman-Kardon and Cambridge make a much better product (don't even LOOK at most of the manufacturer power ratings, because they are almost all totally phony and misleading).
I read somewhere that lot of people had problems with Harman-Kardon. I dont know if its for the same receiver or not.
 

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I like my Harman Kardon receiver for music. But HK is not known for their room correction software, which is definitely worth getting. Look into the Onkyo TX-NR818. $799 on Amazon. Has the multi channel inputs for connecting your computer to the receiver and the top model Audyssey MultEQ XT32.


That space doesn't look that big. How many sq feet is it? I would think a 10" sub will be more than enough. No need for duals if it's just you. Look into the SVS PB-1000 .


The CMT-340 SEs (with center) would work very well for the 5 speakers. You'd have 10 6.5" drivers aimed at you
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you cel4145 for suggesting some receivers.


My room space is 30 feet * 12 feet. This includes kitchenette from where I took the photo. But my speakers will surround a space of 12 feet * 14 feet. I almost never have guests. So, all this is for me. I can move the sub woofer around if required. I don't care about aesthetics as the photo of my room clearly shows. I don't play audio loud like they do in showrooms. I play it at a good volume to hear everything and yet being comfortable with long term listening.
 

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Subs see the whole room. The PB-1000 might be challenged at very loud volumes in that size space, but then you've already said that you don't want to chase away your neighbors. I would think it would be fine unless you end up running your system very loud.


If you change your mind later and decide you need more sub, SVS will let you ship it back and trade it in any time in the first year: http://www.svsound.com/bill-of-rights


You could also call them and see what they recommend.
 

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My bad. I was thinking it had them all. But it has the pre-outs, not the inputs.


I'm pretty sure the Denon AVR-3313CI has them, but it's another $300. This used to be a feature you could find on mid-level receivers. My five year old Denon AVR-888 has it.


Might be best to start a thread in the AVS Receivers/Amps forum and let them know your needs.
 

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