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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been on a quest to improve the sound in my living room. I have asked the question should I replace my Denon AVR4800, add side surround speakers, and I am just not sure either of those will solve my quest.


I currently have Klipsch Reference Series speakers (RF-3 & RC-3) for my fronts and center. MTX in the rear. The room is 17' x 24' with 14' ceilings. This my living room, so I can't add wall treatments to improve the sound.


I have bet I have read over 100 threads trying to figure out what everyone thinks are the best speakers. Each time I come across one, and look for a local retailer, there are none around.


So, what would you think would be a step up from the Klipsch Reference speakers, and how do you make a selection without being able to audition?
 

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Kathy, I try to learn things about the experience and goals of forum members. When I have a good idea that I've found somone with similar goals to mine plus they have experience greater than mine, I put some weight on what they have to say. Particularly, I try to find someone that I have a common reference point. No doubt you can find many people that have upgraded from the RF3's and pick there brain on what they thought of their upgrade.


You state, "improve the sound". That could mean practically anything, and surely something different to everyone. Can you define exactly what it is you're trying to improve? If you're happy with the Klipsch sound but want more impact, then moving up the Klipsch line would be logical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony123
Kathy, I try to learn things about the experience and goals of forum members. When I have a good idea that I've found somone with similar goals to mine plus they have experience greater than mine, I put some weight on what they have to say. Particularly, I try to find someone that I have a common reference point. No doubt you can find many people that have upgraded from the RF3's and pick there brain on what they thought of their upgrade.


You state, "improve the sound". That could mean practically anything, and surely something different to everyone. Can you define exactly what it is you're trying to improve? If you're happy with the Klipsch sound but want more impact, then moving up the Klipsch line would be logical.
You are right, I do need to be more specific. My Klipsch speakers are certainly loud enough, as is the SVS powered sub.


I remember loving my NHT classic speakers with NHT sub, but I replaced them with the Klipsch shortly after building my house, close to 10 years ago.


I don't feel surrounded my music, or that crisp tight sound that l like. Same thing when watching movies.


Both places I used to go to audition speakers are out of business. Although, I am not convinced that speakers that sound so good in a small room, with proper acoustics, will sound as good is my large open room.


I will continue to search for other owners that have upgraded from their Klipsch Reference speakers.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy
I don't feel surrounded my music, or that crisp tight sound that l like. Same thing when watching movies.
I'd wonder if a good listen to some Heritage (horn loaded woofers) would be more to your wants?


Do you have the room for Khorns/LaScalas/Belle's?


In case you've never seen them, yes they're all big but, the Khorn might be the most counterintuitive speaker of them all with regard to space.


I would suggest to you that (if you have the proper corners) the Khorns would take up LESS usable room space than a pair of HPM 100's or Mach Ones that are 1/10'th the size.


They have got to be one of the most space efficient formats ever made. Not to mention that they sound pretty incredible.
 

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Corners on the 24-foot wall would be awesome for Klipschorns alright! It's also an affordable high-end speaker on the used market.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy /forum/post/19552049


You are right, I do need to be more specific. My Klipsch speakers are certainly loud enough, as is the SVS powered sub.


I remember loving my NHT classic speakers with NHT sub, but I replaced them with the Klipsch shortly after building my house, close to 10 years ago.


I don't feel surrounded my music, or that crisp tight sound that l like. Same thing when watching movies.


Both places I used to go to audition speakers are out of business. Although, I am not convinced that speakers that sound so good in a small room, with proper acoustics, will sound as good is my large open room.


I will continue to search for other owners that have upgraded from their Klipsch Reference speakers.

Sometimes just repositioning the speakers and adjusting the toe-in can solve the problems you describe. Ofcourse I don't want to discourage you from stimulating the economy.
 

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Part of your problem may be room acoustics and part may be that you just don't care for the sound of horn speakers in that room as much as you thought you might. It's not a sound everyone likes, and as you've probably heard many times Klipsch is very much a love'em or don't love'em speaker. I'm in the latter camp and find them a bit harsh for my taste. Compound the horn sound with an untreated and reflective room and well they might not be for you. On the other hand maybe they are and you just need to experiment with placement.


Starting with room acoustics you might be surprised how decorative some room treatments can be. You don't have to make your living room look like a recording studio. You can buy printed fabric panels, custom panels with fabric to match your furniture, photo printed panels, and micro suede panels. I bought micro suede panels and arranged them in a decorative pattern.


Getting back to speakers, being well off the beaten path I've started buying internet direct to improve selection and bang for the buck. That was really a huge leap of faith for a guy that for decades always spent hours and hours listening first. So far it's been a good experience but I research the heck out of each purchase and while researching you get to know reviewer tastes. Some companies like Salk have fan bases of customers that will let potential customers come to their homes and listen. Others like Ascend and EMP have generous return options.


What I would not do is change out the receiver unless there is some specific feature it's missing that you want.
 

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I agree that room treatments may help considerably.


I disagree that there is a horn sound. It's saying that all horn-loaded speakers sound alike, which can't possibly be true. Some may have common traits, like high impact dynamics, but that's about as far as I'd go. Some that have only the high-frequencies horn-loaded need to have less low-end frequency response so that the bass can keep up with the highs. That can yield a thin sound, sometimes also described as harsh. This certainly isn't true of fully horn-loaded speakers in which the bass is also horn-loaded and of high sensitivity, such as the Klipschorn suggested above. Maybe someone in your area has such a setup that you could listen to. That sort of thing is often requested on the Klipsch forums.
 

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To answer the title question... for my (in order of purchase) JPW Mini Monitors, Dynaudio Audience 42s and PSB Alpha B1s I used reviews and user comments in general to get a feel of how good they are in general. The Cambridge Audio S70 was more of a stab in the dark, since I couldn't really find much to base my opinion on - mostly I just took the good reviews of the S30 bookshelf model, and hoped the tower wouldn't be worse. I wasn't dissappointed with any of these purchases, but then I have very forgiving ears :p
 

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This is very subjective because there are so many attributes to judge speakers and everyone has a different preference. Not to mention your tastes may change as well. Last weekend while I was waiting to get into a demo room to listen to some higher end in-walls, I listened to some $21k speakers (no where near the cost of my speakers) and thought my system does x better than this and this is better than mine at y. There was a huge list of things like dynamics, volume, bass extension, detail, imaging, transients, how large is the sweet spot, etc. Then I started wondering about how much the room came into play. My room is heavily treated, while the demo room was not. The point is you should really think about what you want from the system. Before asking for general opinions and the room does play a huge roll in how you enjoy the sound. You might want to look at how the layout is (vaulted ceiling going the wrong way?) Or if there is some unobtrusive room treatments that you can implement (throw rugs, Heavy curtains in front of a glass slider, etc). Real Traps even offers a bass trap that looks like a potted plant. If you can't listen to speakers, maybe you should try to work with what you have.
http://www.realtraps.com/p_planter.htm
 

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Pick 3 or 4 of the speaker systems that interest you the most - make

sure that they have a 30 day return policy. Start with the one that

stands out the most to you - then order it. Put NHT back on that list.

You said that you liked NHT, and you have done a lot of reading. Now

try to go ahead and make a decision.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldoCombs /forum/post/19553785



What is your room like? Hardwood floors? Floor to ceiling windows? Glass couch, leather coffee table?


Ron

Kathy has another thread under - surround speaker options for a

difficult set up - the picture of the rooms are there.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy /forum/post/19551927


I currently have Klipsch Reference Series speakers (RF-3 & RC-3) for my fronts and center. MTX in the rear. The room is 17' x 24' with 14' ceilings. This my living room, so I can't add wall treatments to improve the sound.


I have bet I have read over 100 threads trying to figure out what everyone thinks are the best speakers. Each time I come across one, and look for a local retailer, there are none around.


So, what would you think would be a step up from the Klipsch Reference speakers, and how do you make a selection without being able to audition?

What city are you in? Your room could be better but didn't look awful, did the Klipsch speakers ever sound good to you?


Ron
 

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CHT PRO/SHO-10's. It sounds like you want more dynamic speakers. These would fit the bill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by sholling /forum/post/19552881


Part of your problem may be room acoustics and part may be that you just don't care for the sound of horn speakers in that room as much as you thought you might. It's not a sound everyone likes, and as you've probably heard many times Klipsch is very much a love'em or don't love'em speaker. I'm in the latter camp and find them a bit harsh for my taste. Compound the horn sound with an untreated and reflective room and well they might not be for you. On the other hand maybe they are and you just need to experiment with placement.


Starting with room acoustics you might be surprised how decorative some room treatments can be. You don't have to make your living room look like a recording studio. You can buy printed fabric panels, custom panels with fabric to match your furniture, photo printed panels, and micro suede panels. I bought micro suede panels and arranged them in a decorative pattern.

My room is very challenged when it comes to adding acoustic panels, as you can see below. Really the only wall that anything can be placed upon is the half wall where the TV and speakers are. The sub is in the back right corner is that photo. Moving around the room clockwise, is a wall of tall windows & a door. I don't see anywhere I could add treatments there. Now to the rear, where the only wall begins at 9' and goes up to 14'. That is where my rear speakers are mounted. The last side of the room, there isn't very much wall, and is mostly open to the dining room.


Another poster indicated maybe I could move the furniture around to be opposite the vaulted ceiling. My ceiling is not vaulted.









I do appreciate all your suggestions and recommendations, please keep them coming.
 

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Once again, I think Pro/SHO-10's would help greatly because they are a high dynamic/high directivity speaker. It's interaction with the rest of the room before getting to your ears would be minimized.
 

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I am sure you understand - for 5.1, your surrounds need to be to the side

and angled towards you. The MTX high on the rear ceiling as is, will not

give you much, and will not surround you with music. It looks like you have

some options to mount for side surrounds and be able to angle.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy /forum/post/19554246


My room is very challenged when it comes to adding acoustic panels, as you can see below.

That's a very nice room & space you have... but indeed, very difficult for audio setups
To an extent, any speaker setup will of course have some issues in a space like that... it's not "symmetrical" and as you said, can't really be properly acoustically treated either. And in even actually placing the TV and speakers properly isn't easy. In such a tricky space, really the best way would of course be being able to test any prospective speakers at your home, but that of course isn't always possible. So, given my distinct lack of expertise, it's hard to say more
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It just keeps getting more interesting. Yesterday, when the Magnolia guy was here, the sound on my receiver kept going up and down. It was so strange, as neither of us was touching anything. He had pulled the receiver out to look behind it. I had never heard that before, so I thought he must have disconnected something. After he left, I pulled the receiver out and one of the center channel speaker wires was disconnected resting against the back panel. I reconnected, and thought all was well because I no longer heard the sound going up an down.


After reading the responses to my thread, I decided to sit down and listen very carefully. I was watching a football game, and moved down to sit in front of the right speaker. The center was just fine, but the voices coming from the right speaker kept going in and out. The receiver was on the Dolby Pro Logic setting. I changed it to 5 channel stereo, and the voices were consistant. Next, I checked the speaker connections to be sure they were not loose.


Then I moved over in front of the left speaker, put the receiver back on Dolby Pro Logic, and the same thing happened, the voices kept going in and out.


Maybe this is part of the reason the speakers are not sounding good to me. Does this sound like a receiver problem, or something to do with my DirecTV HD-DVR? I think I will try a Blu-Ray movie later to see if the same thing happens.
 
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