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Discussion Starter #1
Complete novice here trying to put together a home theater on a shoestring budget. I'd be willing to spend more, except (as my S.O. correctly points out) the system probably won't get used more than a couple of times a month, as we're not huge TV/movie watchers and I prefer listening to music over good headphones. Curious about whether my ideas for buying new speakers/reusing existing ones even makes sense.

Anyways, my living room is perhaps a bit larger than ideal, 16' x 20' with a sloped ceiling rising from ~10' at the low side (where I plan to hang my TV) to 18' at the high side. Carpet flooring. On the high side, a second floor game room is open to the living room (overlooks over a railing). My idea was to mount the rear surround speakers on the wall, below the railing, and aim them downward.

I already have the following equipment (hand-me-downs from friends and family):
-Onkyo HT-S790 HTIB 7.1 system. Unfortunately, two of the surrounds were lost in a move and the other two are so beat up as to be not worth reusing IMO (previously had them on a couple of speaker stands that kept getting knocked over - at least I learned my lesson on some cheap speakers!) Front speakers and sub are in good shape, sound okay but not great to my untrained ears.
-Definitive Technology Powerfield 1500 sub.
-Definitive Technology C1 center.

I'm not too keen on reusing the front Onkyo speakers in the new setup, but figured that the receiver is serviceable until I upgrade in a year or so (around the same time that I upgrade my ancient HP LCD TV). The Def Tech sub packs a serious punch (again, to my untrained ears) and may be worth reusing. Not sure about the C1 center.

I've found good reviews of the Energy Take Classic 5.1 system so started looking there. I've found an Energy Take Classic 5.1 system and an Energy RC-Micro 5.1 system for sale nearby, both very cheap, but both missing subs. Was wondering:
1) Would these systems likely be strong enough for my large-ish room? If I'm completely barking up the wrong tree, any suggested alternatives that I could get for under $400 or so (assuming that I reuse my existing sub)?
2) Would it make sense to pair these with the old Def Tech sub, or would it be difficult/impossible to get the big sub to coordinate well with the other speakers? Or would I be better off using the big Def Tech sub anyways, since my room is so large?
3) (less important) any value in keeping the Def Tech C1 around, or should I toss this antique into the garage sale pile?

Sorry for the long post...look forward to your feedback!
 

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Welcome to AVS, Grant. You have several problems going on. First and foremost is the volume size of your room (that, and there is an opening to your game room). Your room alone is on the top side of large (4,480 cu. ft.), and with the opening, you are now in extreme room territory for a subwoofer. Second may be the age and condition of your subwoofer (plus Def Tech hasn’t been known to make very good subs for the money they charge). Only you can say if you are pleased with it, but I don’t think you are (correct me if I’m wrong). Third, same for your speakers (at least those you still have). It doesn’t seem like you are thrilled with those either. And finally, your budget for that size room is ridiculously low. And no, the Energy Take Classic isn’t the system to buy. Might be fine for a small room or bedroom, but will be lost in your room.

I believe that you need to rethink this. I’d wait until you save the money needed to give you a system that you’ll be happy with (think along the lines of 2 grand). The subwoofer alone will be well over your $400 budget.
 

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Grant go ahead and pick up the Take Classic or RC-Micro. Yes they are not ideal for the size of your room. But they will sound a hell of a lot better than that Onkyo HTIB. I used to have the RC-Micro in my 11x15 room with 3 openings and it was fine.

Like drrussell said, def tech subs are known to be overpriced for what you get. But that sub was over a grand in the 90's I believe. It is rated to 125Hz on top so it may not blend perfectly with those speakers since you'll need to cross them over at probably 120Hz. So there may be some frequency gap there. You will probably find it sounds best if you can place the sub between the speakers.

So is it an ideal setup? Definitely not. But will it get you by for a year? Of course. At some point you'll want new, powerful receiver, larger speakers, and 2 new subs.
 

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I had the Energy veritas mini and those speakers play louder than those energy that you want ,remember the larger the room the more you need to push the speakers ,more volume ...
you don't want a distorted sound. right ? I recommend to rethink about your purchase.

if you still want the speakers,speaker placement and seating distance will play a key.

set the speakers very close to your seating area also the sub close to your sofa.
 

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Lots of options... either save up and redo everything at once, or you can piece together a decent system. If you're not opposed to buying refurb, check out DefTech's unofficial refurb seller (HERE).

Here's one option for a decent 5.1 system:
Keep the Onkyo front L/R speakers, but move them to the side/rear.

Get a pair of SM45s for the new L/R. Keep the DefTech center OR pick up a ProCenter 2000 now too. Both of those will put you around $400.

Keep the DefTech sub (I wouldn't use the Onkyo) - google 'sub crawl' for optimal placement so you can get the most out of it.

Like I said though, lots of different options you have. You'll just need to think about your usage and how much you want to spend.
 

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1) No those Energy products while will make the S.O. happy in terms of looks they will not do your room justice.

2) If might be difficult pairing them with older Def Tech 15" subwoofer as the Energy Takes require a 120hz crossover and the RC-Micros require 150hz. That subwoofer probably isn't designed for it and not able to get to the higher frequencies it needs.

3) I would keep your Def Tech C1 center and try it out with a pair of Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 350 Bookshelf/Stand Mount Speaker (Black) OR Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 450 Bookshelf Speaker (Black). Keep your subwoofer as well.
 

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I use a Denon AVR-1613 with the Energy Take Classic in a larger living room, and they do just fine. It is plenty loud and I usually have the receiver around -45dB, with a +3dB gain on all my inputs. I didn't get the energy sub, but a Klipsch 10" sub. What does help a lot is the Audyssey calibration.

I have a Denon AVR-2313 with Klipsch Reference Series all around in the game room, that is of course better,. But, take it from someone that has the Energy Take, for a sub/satellite setup that system is hard to beat even at far higher prices.
 

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+1
This will make a difference for now - then build/change later.

The Definitive 350 are some nice speakers - to work with your center

And that Definitive sub, is better than some of them cheapy subs that
tend to get recommended around here.
 

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The Def tech SM350/450 speakers, overpriced at list, have been a good buy from New Egg periodically. I was able to get the 450 for 200/pr about 2 years ago, although 249/pr is the cheapest I have seen them since. good smallish speaker, hits pretty low for a little guy!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all of the feedback, folks. I appreciate that my room setup isn't ideal, and that I won't get an amazing sounding system without spending serious money, but I'm more after getting decent performance (ie the best that I can get with a limited budget). I'd rather avoid really large (ie floor-standing) front speakers in the living room (to be honest, I think these would bother me more than they would bother my wife), but larger bookshelf speakers would work. I'm thinking along the lines of the following two options:

1) As suggested, reuse the sub and the C1 center and look for a pair of Def Tech SM350/450s. There is a set of 450s for sale locally for a decent price. If I went down this route, any suggestions for good rear surround speakers? Using my current Onkyo fronts as rears probably won't work because they're not designed to be wall-mounted. I might use the Onkyos for a simple 2.1 system in the upstairs game room (once I upgrade my receiver, and free up the old one for use upstairs).

2) Take my chances with an Energy Take Classic system (there's one available really cheap locally, without the sub), pair it with my sub and see if I can live with the sound. If I'm unhappy with the sound in my big room, use the front speakers for a 2.1 system upstairs, and use the rears as surround speakers for the main living room system. Spring for Def Tech SM350s/450s at that point, and pair them with my C1 center. Does this idea make sense? (I guess the question comes down to: does pairing SM350s/450s as fronts with Energy Take Classic surround speakers make sense?)

In any case, sounds like I shouldn't mess with the Energy RC-Micro since it wouldn't pair well with my sub.
 

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The Energy take classic will pair equally poorly with a sub, btw! Small sattelite speakers just don't hit low enough on their own, forcing one to set the crossover too high for the sub, causing it produce a freq that will allow a listener to localize the sub. At the very least, you want speakers that can hit 100hz (or lower...)!
 

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There is a set of 450s for sale locally for a decent price. If I went down this route, any suggestions for good rear surround speakers?

In any case, sounds like I shouldn't mess with the Energy RC-Micro since it wouldn't pair well with my sub.
I would get them Definitive SM-450 - they are pretty much a no-brainer.

Plus, look at these Sound Appeal speakers for surrounds - I also own them,
and they are some nice speakers for the price.
http://www.amazon.com/Premium-Books...=8-1&keywords=sound+appeal+bookshelf+speakers
 

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1) As suggested, reuse the sub and the C1 center and look for a pair of Def Tech SM350/450s. There is a set of 450s for sale locally for a decent price. If I went down this route, any suggestions for good rear surround speakers? Using my current Onkyo fronts as rears probably won't work because they're not designed to be wall-mounted. I might use the Onkyos for a simple 2.1 system in the upstairs game room (once I upgrade my receiver, and free up the old one for use upstairs).
Since you stated there is a set of 450s locally, can you audition them first? If they are anything like the Def Tech SM-45s or SM-55s, you may like them and they should work very well for you. For speakers, it’s a matter of distance between the listening position and the speakers. For subwoofers, it’s all about room volume and subwoofer location.

Take it one step at a time. Get your front stage worked out. Locate your subwoofer correctly via the subwoofer crawl test, and the rest should be gravy. You’ll know soon enough whether to replace your sub down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks again for all of the tips. I just picked up a pair of SM450s while traveling over Memorial Day weekend. Haven't tried them in my living room yet, but they sounded awesome during the audition.

Any other suggestions for inexpensive rear speakers? I'm planning to wall-mount the speakers within a couple of inches of the back wall of my living room, so guess I should avoid rear-ported speakers? Reviews of the Sound Appeal speakers seem mixed, some reviewers (on sites other than Amazon) cite quality concerns?
 
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