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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm building an HT setup with which I'll spend a lot of time listening to music... My budget for the two main speakers (front left and front right) is around 2,000 usd


I've been to different showrooms to listen to speakers. So far I've tried the following:
- Bowers and Wilkins 606
- Focal Aria 906 (sounded much better than the B&W 606)
- Polk L200 (great speakers, I think I like them more than the two above)
- Bowers and Wilkins 705 s2. I found the highs to be nice and detailed if maybe a bit fatiguing but the bass not enough (but then wouldn't a subwoofer correct that? ). I wanted to try to 706 s2 but they weren't available
- Dali Epicon 2, I really liked those but they are way outside my price range (they are double my budget).


One of the problem of the demo is that I couldn't bring my own music and none of the music were music that I knew intimately which makes it very hard to really have a basis of comparison. The seller also would take 5 minutes to switch between each speaker which makes it a bit difficult for me to really be sure of my experiences.



He is pushing the Polk L200 as being the best in term of quality to price ratio and from what I've heard I have to say they are pretty great.


I have some questions:
- Would a Bower and Wilkins 705 s2 (or 706 s2) sound significantly better with a subwoofer which could get me the great highs but much better bass since it's lacking? In that case what subwoofer would you recommend? So far I've heard good thing about SVS, Hsu and Rythmic but none of those are available in my country for a demo... So I would have to buy them sight unseen (or rather unheard?), I don't have much space so bonus point if it's not huge (part of the reason for a B&W in the first place.

- Since it'll be for both for Home Theater and music, they'd be hooked up to a receiver, so far I was looking at the Denon AVR3600H. The seller told me that it wouldn't be strong enough to power anything but the polks and focal arias, what do you think? From the specs the power requirements for the Bower and Wilkins seems to be higher than the polk (likewise sensitivity of the B&W is higher), so I'm a bit confused as to why he would say that?

- For receiver, the denon AVR 3600H is significantly cheaper, for yamaha, I can get the RXA3080 but it's 2.5x the price of the denon. I can also get the onkyo TX-Rz840 for around 200 usd more. I have a hard time knowing what would be the best receiver given that I want to use it both for music and Home Theater?

- The Polk L200 has a 4 ohm impedance, is it ok if I have that and use 8 ohm speakers for everything else? It also has lower sensitivity than most speakers, will that cause issues if the surround speakers I use have a higher sensitivity?
- I'm concentrating on good audiophile speakers for the Front Left and Right and planning to spend a lot less on the surround speakers. What would be good surround speakers to complement that?

- I looked at the SVS Ultra Surround as surround speakers because with duet mode, it would allow me to get 7.1 with 2 rear speakers instead of 4, does that sound like a reasonable idea?
 

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One of the problem of the demo is that I couldn't bring my own music and none of the music were music that I knew intimately which makes it very hard to really have a basis of comparison. The seller also would take 5 minutes to switch between each speaker which makes it a bit difficult for me to really be sure of my experiences.

He is pushing the Polk L200 as being the best in term of quality to price ratio and from what I've heard I have to say they are pretty great.

I have some questions:
- Would a Bower and Wilkins 705 s2 (or 706 s2) sound significantly better with a subwoofer which could get me the great highs but much better bass since it's lacking? In that case what subwoofer would you recommend? So far I've heard good thing about SVS, Hsu and Rythmic but none of those are available in my country for a demo... So I would have to buy them sight unseen (or rather unheard?), I don't have much space so bonus point if it's not huge (part of the reason for a B&W in the first place.

- Since it'll be for both for Home Theater and music, they'd be hooked up to a receiver, so far I was looking at the Denon AVR3600H. The seller told me that it wouldn't be strong enough to power anything but the polks and focal arias, what do you think? From the specs the power requirements for the Bower and Wilkins seems to be higher than the polk (likewise sensitivity of the B&W is higher), so I'm a bit confused as to why he would say that?

- For receiver, the denon AVR 3600H is significantly cheaper, for yamaha, I can get the RXA3080 but it's 2.5x the price of the denon. I can also get the onkyo TX-Rz840 for around 200 usd more. I have a hard time knowing what would be the best receiver given that I want to use it both for music and Home Theater?

- The Polk L200 has a 4 ohm impedance, is it ok if I have that and use 8 ohm speakers for everything else? It also has lower sensitivity than most speakers, will that cause issues if the surround speakers I use have a higher sensitivity?

- I'm concentrating on good audiophile speakers for the Front Left and Right and planning to spend a lot less on the surround speakers. What would be good surround speakers to complement that?
Crutchfield.com has the L200 for $1800/pr shipped, and you get 60 days trial period, after which they give you $10 flat rate return shipping for bookshelf speakers. If that is the same price as the dealer, it's a no brainer to do an in-home trial through that website---their customer service is excellent and they're 100% legit unlike your dealer who sounds a bit shady with all this scaremongering about receivers.

First off: How loud do you listen? Download a free SPL Meter app to your smartphone and find out. Most people are in the 60-75db range...if that describes you, then the x3600 will be fine with the L200.

Yes, since you plan on having a sub, do NOT pick your speakers based on how much mid-bass they produce unless you intend to listen in 2.0 mode (sub turned off). That would be extremely silly.
 
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Where are you located? This will help us find you some good options.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Where are you located? This will help us find you some good options.
I'm in Taipei. So unfortunately, there's no way for me to buy and try the L200 at home.



The only speaker I can try at home are the Bower and Wilkins, I can try them for 45 days.
 

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Crutchfield.com has the L200 for $1800/pr shipped, and you get 60 days trial period, after which they give you $10 flat rate return shipping for bookshelf speakers. If that is the same price as the dealer, it's a no brainer to do an in-home trial through that website---their customer service is excellent and they're 100% legit unlike your dealer who sounds a bit shady with all this scaremongering about receivers. .

So, it was scaremongering. It's weird though, the B&W are more expensive so it would seem to be in his interest to sell those but instead he was using the receiver argument to push the polks. He said that the polks would be fine with the 3600h but not the others. What really confused me was that when I looked at the specs, the polks are less sensitive and it says steady state recommended 30-200W whereas the Bowers and Wilkins are much lower. He went on to use the fact that the bowers and wilkins don't have much bass as proof (when I think it's just a characteristic of the speaker, and it means that speaker needs a subwoofer to complement it)


First off: How loud do you listen? Download a free SPL Meter app to your smartphone and find out. Most people are in the 60-75db range...if that describes you, then the x3600 will be fine with the L200.
I just tested, I very rarely go over 70 according to the SPL meter and I tend to be mostly in the 60-65 db range. In general with both headphones and speakers I tend to dislike listening too loud...





Yes, since you plan on having a sub, do NOT pick your speakers based on how much mid-bass they produce unless you intend to listen in 2.0 mode (sub turned off). That would be extremely silly.

So it would be much better to actually be able to test with a sub, I wonder why those merchants don't do that?
 

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So, it was scaremongering. It's weird though, the B&W are more expensive so it would seem to be in his interest to sell those but instead he was using the receiver argument to push the polks. He said that the polks would be fine with the 3600h but not the others. What really confused me was that when I looked at the specs, the polks are less sensitive and it says steady state recommended 30-200W whereas the Bowers and Wilkins are much lower. He went on to use the fact that the bowers and wilkins don't have much bass as proof (when I think it's just a characteristic of the speaker, and it means that speaker needs a subwoofer to complement it)



I just tested, I very rarely go over 70 according to the SPL meter and I tend to be mostly in the 60-65 db range. In general with both headphones and speakers I tend to dislike listening too loud...



So it would be much better to actually be able to test with a sub, I wonder why those merchants don't do that?
That dealer would have a bigger sale if he got you to buy BOTH the Polks and a pricier receiver. The bigger the total sale, the bigger his % commission will be. He's aiming big is all.

60-65db range means you'll be fine with the Polks.

If you're in the US, I'd go through Crutchfield.
 

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That dealer would have a bigger sale if he got you to buy BOTH the Polks and a pricier receiver. The bigger the total sale, the bigger his % commission will be. He's aiming big is all.

60-65db range means you'll be fine with the Polks.

If you're in the US, I'd go through Crutchfield.
Yeah but he somehow told me that the polks didn't need a pricier receiver and the B&W would need one which is the complete opposite of what the numbers say... Plus the polks were cheaper... But maybe he has a higher margin on them I guess...
 

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That dealer would have a bigger sale if he got you to buy BOTH the Polks and a pricier receiver. The bigger the total sale, the bigger his % commission will be. He's aiming big is all.

60-65db range means you'll be fine with the Polks.

If you're in the US, I'd go through Crutchfield.
He said he's in Taipei.
 

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Yeah but he somehow told me that the polks didn't need a pricier receiver and the B&W would need one which is the complete opposite of what the numbers say... Plus the polks were cheaper... But maybe he has a higher margin on them I guess...
If you liked the Polks in the demo room then you'll most likely like them in your home so that is the direction you should probably go.
 

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Yeah but he somehow told me that the polks didn't need a pricier receiver and the B&W would need one which is the complete opposite of what the numbers say... Plus the polks were cheaper... But maybe he has a higher margin on them I guess...
yeah, that's likely...the L series are relatively new, so right now they are being sold basically at full price which means a much bigger margin than in a year or two when they start getting discounted more widely as always happens to models that are longer in the tooth.

One detail you should also consider before pulling the trigger is the price of the "matching" center---the Polk L400 in the US goes for a whopping $1800, same as a pair of the L200! Absolute price gouging...but if you are a "timbre matching" believer then that's what you're going to be stuck with, unless you are willing to go with a center from a different model line (see if your dealer carries the LSi-M 706 or 704 and ask about pricing).

Check around and see what other 3 way centers are available. For comparison, the SVS Ultra center in the US is $700, and the Infinity RC263 is $500. There are internet-direct speaker companies in the US that can give you an excellent center for as little as $250-300.

Why pay attention to center speakers? Because the center speaker does 70-80% of the HT/TV output and 98% of the DIALOGUE. It is *the* true workhorse/backbone of any HT setup and thus the absolute LAST place you should ever cut corners. But I sure as hell would NEVER blow $1800 on a stupid center speaker.
 

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Why pay attention to center speakers? Because the center speaker does 70-80% of the HT/TV output and 98% of the DIALOGUE. It is *the* true workhorse/backbone of any HT setup and thus the absolute LAST place you should ever cut corners. But I sure as hell would NEVER blow $1800 on a stupid center speaker.
I've read here a few threads of people who ditch the center and just switched to both of their front speakers... I wonder how practical is that? Does it work better with good quality bookshelves with good midrange? And would the receiver impact how well this works?

For the timbre question, that's actually something I was wondering, is it really such a huge issue to mix and match?

EDIT: This is the thread I read before https://www.avsforum.com/forum/91-audio-theory-setup-chat/3036568-no-center-speaker-better-sound.html
 

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I've read here a few threads of people who ditch the center and just switched to both of their front speakers... I wonder how practical is that? Does it work better with good quality bookshelves with good midrange? And would the receiver impact how well this works?

For the timbre question, that's actually something I was wondering, is it really such a huge issue to mix and match?

EDIT: This is the thread I read before https://www.avsforum.com/forum/91-audio-theory-setup-chat/3036568-no-center-speaker-better-sound.html
It costs nothing to experiment for yourself and see if YOUR ears like running a "phantom" center. Some people prefer it, but most prefer having the ability to increase the volume of a physical center independent of the L/R speakers.

===

To see how multiple people are finding out FOR THEMSELVES just how silly the whole "timbre matching" hoopla is, start with post #19 of this thread:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/3146268-emotiva-c2-stock.html#post59669338

There are many more threads like that:

Infinity RC263 used with JBL 590s
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/1595817-infinity-reference-owners-thread.html#post59799132

Emotiva C2 with multiple bookshelves:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/2542817-official-emotiva-airmotiv-speaker-thread.html#post59620902

Klipsch RC-62ii with JBL 590:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/3158468-center-channel-match-jbl-590-a.html#post59901722

Emotiva C2 with Revel F35, and with JBL 530:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/3158468-center-channel-match-jbl-590-a.html#post59900832

Polk 706C with Legacy Signature II:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/3160092-trouble-understanding-dialogue-using-my-5-1-4-setup-no-matter-what-i-do.html#post59940548
 

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From what I’ve read the L400 is the real deal.
Well, it would be hilarious (and untenable) to make a $1800 center speaker that completely sucks. :)
 
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It costs nothing to experiment for yourself and see if YOUR ears like running a "phantom" center. Some people prefer it, but most prefer having the ability to increase the volume of a physical center independent of the L/R speakers.
If I do have a center, it would be significantly behind the 2 front left and right speakers (about 1.5 meters), would that cause issues? There's no other place I can put it in...


To see how multiple people are finding out FOR THEMSELVES just how silly the whole "timbre matching" hoopla is, start with post #19 of this thread:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/3146268-emotiva-c2-stock.html#post59669338
Ok, I'm convinced that's silly, what would the best price/quality ratio relatively small (no higher than 15cm) center I could use? I don't want to invest too much in that compared to the speakers I use for actual music
 

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If I do have a center, it would be significantly behind the 2 front left and right speakers (about 1.5 meters), would that cause issues? There's no other place I can put it in...

Ok, I'm convinced that's silly, what would the best price/quality ratio relatively small (no higher than 15cm) center I could use? I don't want to invest too much in that compared to the speakers I use for actual music
Yes, that would be a problem...you want the front edges of the front 3 speakers to be roughly on the same plane, or as close as possible to it. If not, it's better to have the center slightly FORWARD rather than BEHIND the L/R.

Consider using a center speaker stand as in the photo below...this has the HUGE benefit of not condemning you to some crazy height restrictions, which will make it extremely difficult to find a decent center speaker. 15cm = 6 inches which is insane, you'll be stuck with tiny 3" or 4" woofers.

But first, see how you like it without any center speaker at all.
 

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I have some questions:
- Would a Bower and Wilkins 705 s2 (or 706 s2) sound significantly better with a subwoofer which could get me the great highs but much better bass since it's lacking? In that case what subwoofer would you recommend? So far I've heard good thing about SVS, Hsu and Rythmic but none of those are available in my country for a demo... So I would have to buy them sight unseen (or rather unheard?), I don't have much space so bonus point if it's not huge (part of the reason for a B&W in the first place.
Those B&Ws would definitely sound good with subwoofers. Any bookshelf benefits from a subwoofer or two. But I bet you have not tried them loud at the store. I have the 705s2 and I found that its tweeter tend to surpass its mid-woofer at loud volume making it sound bright. If you want your speakers to screech at the crescendo of your movies, those speakers are for you. But be warned its woofers would also bottom out just doing mid-bass duty at loud volume. It's not often you hear (or read) anyone bash his own speakers in this forum. I'm doing it right now. But the 705s2 sounds nice and warm with lots of detail at low to moderate volume - in a small room. Driven by a good amp and fed with clean front-end, the 705s2 scale well with good source. I don't recommend it for HT though.
 

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I've read here a few threads of people who ditch the center and just switched to both of their front speakers... I wonder how practical is that? Does it work better with good quality bookshelves with good midrange? And would the receiver impact how well this works?

For the timbre question, that's actually something I was wondering, is it really such a huge issue to mix and match?

EDIT: This is the thread I read before https://www.avsforum.com/forum/91-audio-theory-setup-chat/3036568-no-center-speaker-better-sound.html
The problem with just two speakers is that you need to sit in the center. going to the side will move voice and everything to that side. If you sit far enough its less of a problem. Visuals dominate your perception so you might notice it less during films.
With 3 speakers its easier to move from side to side. There is no problem with dialogue or anything with just two speakers, its just that 3 speakers have advantage in that "spatial" factor, if your speakers are good. Maybe voice with two speakers is slightly less focused.

As for if it is a "huge" issue, personally I think it is important. Matched speakers offer better immersion, less fatigue, etc. I won't bother with multichannel if speakers are unmatched and stick to 2 channels.

If you plan to use bookshelf speakers than the problem solves itself - just use 3 identical speakers. The "problem" solves itself. You'll have to go from "there absolutely MUST be a rack under TV" mindset. For some reason quite a lot of people seem to find it hard to do, even if they have enough space.
With some floorstanders that are not very high and have more of "old school" format (shorter and wider, designed to be put on a small stand) it is also easily possible, if you put your TV a bit higher. Some of them allow to rotate their mid + tweeter section (JBL 6332, Neumann KH 420, Some of genelec larger models for example)
 

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Matched speakers offer better immersion, less fatigue, etc.
"Better immersion" is somewhat arguable (with identical and vertically aligned fronts I might grant you that), but "less fatigue" is straight out of left field.

"Fatigue" is caused by a speaker having an inordinate amount of treble energy and the individual listener being sensitive to that. It has zero connection to "timbre matching" or not.
 
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"Better immersion" is somewhat arguable (with identical and vertically aligned fronts I might grant you that), but "less fatigue" is straight out of left field.

"Fatigue" is caused by a speaker having an inordinate amount of treble energy and the individual listener being sensitive to that. It has zero connection to "timbre matching" or not.
Fatigue is certainly not caused only by treble energy (if you have any proof in the form of studies, not just your opinion, that it is the only case - please do show them).
I'm just telling you mine.

The one related to unmatched speakers is probably related to the larger amount of data your brain needs to process to blend sound field together, but that is just my theory. It's pretty much similar to slightly uncollimated binoculars - brain is extremely good at correcting it, people who don't use binoculars a lot won't even notice it, if they don't do special tests, but your eyes (brain really) will get tired fast.


No reasons exist to not get a matched speaker if one doing his HT from scratch anyway, not sure why it is even a topic for discussion.
 
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