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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning to purchase my first 5.1 setup within the next few weeks and need some advice. It seems every time I consider a different speaker option, it just raises more questions as to what I will need to run the speakers. I have already made 2 purchases:


1) AVR: HK AVR 254

2) Sub: Martin Logan Abyss


My usage will probably be around 85% HT, 10% music, less than 5% gaming. I will probably be moving within the next year so I cannot predict the size of the room, but it will probably be used in an average sized living room. I am also a new father so for the foreseeable future, I will rarely, if ever be listening to movies or music at high volumes. I’m thinking normal, moderate volume levels. Also, WAF is a consideration.


I have not yet had an opportunity to listen to any speakers, but am planning to in the weeks ahead. However, based solely on my research online, I am currently considering a handful of setups.


1) Energy RC-70s, RCLCR, RC-10 surrounds

2) Paradigm Studio 60s, cc-590, Studio 20 or 10 surrounds

3) Monitor Audio RS8 (and matching center/surrounds)

4) PSB Image T65 (and matching center/surrounds)

5) Infinity Primus 362 (and matching center/surrounds) – only considering this option if I can steal them for $129 or $99 at Frys.


Ideally, I’d like to spend under $2k for all 5 speakers, and am currently leaning slightly (of course, this is before I have heard any of the speakers) toward the RC-70 setup, though I am considering all speaker options in that price range. That said, although the Paradigm setup is in a different price range, if they blow me away in terms of sound quality and WAF compared to the other options, they will be strongly considered.


I know now that I would like my mains to be floorstanders, but when I bought my AVR, my thinking was that I was going to go with bookshelves. If I knew that I was going to be considering spending $2k+ on a 5.1 setup with floorstanders as mains from the beginning, I would have done even more research on the AVR and possible power issues. As it is, I bought the HK AVR 254 (refurb) on ebay so it obviously cannot be returned. I got a good deal on the ML Abyss ($550 new) and have 20 days if I decide to return it. I obviously cannot test the unit at home since I do not have any other speakers to test it with. However, based on the research I have done, I will probably keep it due to the reviews and high WAF (other subs are too big and the SVS SB12+ is apparently more of a sidegrade that would just cost me more coin).


The question is, assuming I keep the ML Abyss and cross it over at 80 hz, will my HK AVR 254 be able to power all of the speaker setups I am considering, or will certain speakers require an amp? If an amp is needed (or strongly recommended), from what I have seen, I will need to factor in another $1600 or so for the amp, which would be a major factor in my speaker decision.


Other than the amp, is there anything else that I am not considering that I should factor into the equation for my speaker setup?


Also, for surrounds (ie the Energy and Paradigm setups), is it better to go with the speakers that are designated as surrounds by the company, or would it be ok (or even better) to use the bookshelves as surrounds?
 

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Reciever is only rated at 50WPC. Speaker choices will be severly limited as you will not have enough power to drive them. You should be able to sell it for close to what you paid for it. Buy a nice used reciever, I may have a Marantz SR8400 if you are interested as I am going to upgrade. If you are interested in the SR8400 it is in 9/10 condition due to age aprox 3 years old now. 7.1 I believe 110WPC and drives my Vandersteens well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yaga /forum/post/16962784


I am planning to purchase my first 5.1 setup within the next few weeks and need some advice. It seems every time I consider a different speaker option, it just raises more questions as to what I will need to run the speakers. I have already made 2 purchases:


1) AVR: HK AVR 254

2) Sub: Martin Logan Abyss


My usage will probably be around 85% HT, 10% music, less than 5% gaming. I will probably be moving within the next year so I cannot predict the size of the room, but it will probably be used in an average sized living room. I am also a new father so for the foreseeable future, I will rarely, if ever be listening to movies or music at high volumes. I'm thinking normal, moderate volume levels. Also, WAF is a consideration.


I have not yet had an opportunity to listen to any speakers, but am planning to in the weeks ahead. However, based solely on my research online, I am currently considering a handful of setups.


1) Energy RC-70s, RCLCR, RC-10 surrounds

2) Paradigm Studio 60s, cc-590, Studio 20 or 10 surrounds

3) Monitor Audio RS8 (and matching center/surrounds)

4) PSB Image T65 (and matching center/surrounds)

5) Infinity Primus 362 (and matching center/surrounds) - only considering this option if I can steal them for $129 or $99 at Frys.


Ideally, I'd like to spend under $2k for all 5 speakers, and am currently leaning slightly (of course, this is before I have heard any of the speakers) toward the RC-70 setup, though I am considering all speaker options in that price range. That said, although the Paradigm setup is in a different price range, if they blow me away in terms of sound quality and WAF compared to the other options, they will be strongly considered.


I know now that I would like my mains to be floorstanders, but when I bought my AVR, my thinking was that I was going to go with bookshelves. If I knew that I was going to be considering spending $2k+ on a 5.1 setup with floorstanders as mains from the beginning, I would have done even more research on the AVR and possible power issues. As it is, I bought the HK AVR 254 (refurb) on ebay so it obviously cannot be returned. I got a good deal on the ML Abyss ($550 new) and have 20 days if I decide to return it. I obviously cannot test the unit at home since I do not have any other speakers to test it with. However, based on the research I have done, I will probably keep it due to the reviews and high WAF (other subs are too big and the SVS SB12+ is apparently more of a sidegrade that would just cost me more coin).


The question is, assuming I keep the ML Abyss and cross it over at 80 hz, will my HK AVR 254 be able to power all of the speaker setups I am considering, or will certain speakers require an amp? If an amp is needed (or strongly recommended), from what I have seen, I will need to factor in another $1600 or so for the amp, which would be a major factor in my speaker decision.


Other than the amp, is there anything else that I am not considering that I should factor into the equation for my speaker setup?


Also, for surrounds (ie the Energy and Paradigm setups), is it better to go with the speakers that are designated as surrounds by the company, or would it be ok (or even better) to use the bookshelves as surrounds?
 

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Going from 50W to 110 W is only a 3.4 dB gain, hardly worth the hassle to going back in time to pre-HDMI receivers. Plus hk real real specs and drive 4-ohms loads. If he finds he lacks power, he can always spend a few hundred dollars on a pro amp to hook up to the pre-outs of the hk receiver. He couldn't sell the hk for more than $250 anyway because you can get a full-warranty refurb at that price from the Harman Audio ebay store.


My only comment was the opposite... the receiver has little bearing on the choice of speakers in this case because it can drive difficult loads and is not a limitation. Listen to them and buy what you like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responses guys. I would prefer to keep the HK AVR 254 if at all possible so I am hoping that is psgcdn is right and that it will be able to drive any of the speakers I am considering.


psgcdn, you said that if I find I lack power, I can pick one up for a few hundred dollars. How will I know if I need more power - will the sound get distorted at high levels? How can you tell if a speaker is "clipping", which I understand could occur without the proper power supply?


Also, is it true that an appropriate amp (if necessary after I buy the speakers and test them out) would only cost a few hundred dollars? Do you have any affordable recommendations? I was under the impression they were a lot more than that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by psgcdn /forum/post/16965334


Going from 50W to 110 W is only a 3.4 dB gain, hardly worth the hassle to going back in time to pre-HDMI receivers. Plus hk real real specs and drive 4-ohms loads. If he finds he lacks power, he can always spend a few hundred dollars on a pro amp to hook up to the pre-outs of the hk receiver. He couldn't sell the hk for more than $250 anyway because you can get a full-warranty refurb at that price from the Harman Audio ebay store.


My only comment was the opposite... the receiver has little bearing on the choice of speakers in this case because it can drive difficult loads and is not a limitation. Listen to them and buy what you like.
 

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The hk receiver runs (by default) on a dB volume scale. If you find that you need to hit zero dB on the volume dial (i.e. maximum) to get the sound level you want, then you need another external amplifier. You will hear clipping as distorted higher frequencies. That would also call for external amplification.


As for external amps that don't cost an arm and a leg, they exist if you stay out of audiophile territory (where people expect to pay a lot), and shop for pro amps. You will find many recommendations in the amplifier section of the forum. I have an older hk avr 325, also rated at 50W per channel, (and purchasing a used hk avr-254 right now) and rarely need more power; only for brief high-dB occasions. However my speakers are very sensitive and don't need much power. I do most of my music listening using a fraction of a single Watt.


That's another thing... if you to avoid having to buy external amplification and you are happy with the sound of two different speakers and undecided about which to buy, then take a look at the sensitivity rating. An decrease of 3 dB in sensitivity requires a doubling of power to reach a given sound level. So a speaker rated at 88 dB at 1W and 1m will require 100 Watts to sound as loud as a speaker rated at 91 dB driven with 50 Watts. A speaker rated at 98 dB sensitivity requires a tenth of the power as the 88 dB sensitivity speaker, and so on. It makes a huge difference if you want loud music without straining the system.
 

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I have the same receiver hk 254, infinity primus 362's, pc350 center, and energy c-r100 bipole for surrounds. I was worried going with a different brand for surround, but they sound great together.


You will get different opinions on direct bipole dipole, but i like the choices i have made.


Sounds fantastic to my ears, but then again i'm a noob, only had htib before.
 

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I noticed you have a budget of $2000 for all five speakers, but some of the speaker packages that you listed cost more than that. Are you cool with that? If so, I vote for the Paradigm Studio 60's that you mentioned. They are efficient and will have good dynamics for movies (get loud without compression or distortion). And the new cabinet design is pretty darn good looking, in my opinion.


Best wishes to you in your search. Just remember to audition everything you can before you purchase. Let yours ears decide which speaker is right for you.
 

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HK has a much more realistic rating on their power ratings than many other manufacturers. They rate them "all channels driven" and over the full bandwidth rather than like many other manufacturers that may be rated at 110 or 100 wpc, but that's on a single channel and only with pink noise.
 
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