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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. Long time lurker, first time poster…..

I need some help updating the speakers for my home theater. I know a little bit about video;) (ex Teranex) but relatively nothing about the modern day speaker landscape. Many years ago my wife purchased a Bose Acoustimass 15 5.1 (well -0.1) and it served us well in our original tiny living space. We have since moved to a bigger house with an open floor plan and she now understands there are better sounding options than the AM. While the AM has as many holes as Swiss cheese it still serves its intended function, poor as that may be.

We are looking to upgrade. Well I am. WAF is an issue as well as space. Even after a tour of the local BB Magnolia room with lots of ‘wows, and I had no idea’ floor standing is out. So bookshelves it is. I am not allowed to change the height of the bookshelf so L/R have to fit in 13.24H x 11.25D. No, I am not allowed to turn the L/R on their side. Center has to fit in 29.75W x 13.5H x 10.5D.

As I said it is an open floor plan with the TV and couch at one end of the great room, dining room, then then ½ back wall, ½ open to the kitchen. The viewing area is roughly 17x14. Total volume in the great room with vaulted ceiling is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3300 cubic feet (plus the kitchen). There is little flat space on the walls or floor. We apparently believe in filling in all available space… Shoehorning in a Sub is going to be fun. I have 1 spot for a sub. Against an outside wall with a low window. No, not ideal, but it is the only option I have for a traditional cube style sub.

We recently swapped an old HK for a Denon AVR-X3100W. I think the Audyssey DSX opened her eyes a bit as to what might be missing. :) The current plan is 5.1 with zone 2 on the porch. That might change later to 7.1 height only.

We watch TV/movies mostly, with a bit of music. Probably 80/20.

Cost is always a factor, but we are willing to spend money. I don’t yet have a total dollar limit as I do not have a firm grasp on what the options are. I like the SVS Prime specs. I hear Klispch is good, and not so good…. HSU’s HB-1 looks interesting, but it won’t fit like the Klispch RP won’t. Funds are low so I plan to do this in stages. My thinking is center, L/R, sub, surrounds. My dollar goal is for the best value. We are not audiophiles, but we appreciate quality sound. I guess the inverse to that is that we do not believe in spending money on something for the sake of brand, bragging rights, or for the sake of spending money! At some point the higher cost of speakers reaches a point of diminishing returns and I would put us in the lower half of that nonlinear curve. Yeah, I know I need to audition and decide for myself. Nuance between options is not as important as value assuming the quality is there.

I assume staying in the same family of 1 brand is critical for LCR, and it is a good idea for the surrounds as well.

Enough rambling. Any pointers to manufactures, specific speakers, things I need to read/know would be appreciated.
 

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If you must have bookshelf speakers on or in a shelf (never a good idea), make sure that the front of the bookshelf speaker overhangs the shelf by about an inch. I think both the SVS and Hsu systems are very good, so it’s too bad the Hsu won’t fit. SVS also has free shipping both ways, so you can try them out for 45 days, and if you are not thrilled, ship them back for a full refund.

The following are speakers I pretty much always recommend on a limited budget:

$225 / pair (includes shipping) EMP Tek R5Bi bookshelf speaker (formally E5Bi): http://emptek.com/r5bi.php (I own these)
Andrew Robinson's video review:

Add a third R5Bi and turn it on its side for a center channel (as I do), or purchase the R5Ci center channel for around $80 more. Add a couple of R5Bi’s for the surrounds (if you listen to a lot of 5.1 concert videos), or get their E3b’s for $125 / pair.

===

The subwoofer is a big problem. One must be flexible with subwoofer location. If not placed properly, it may sound either bloated or you may not hear any bass at the listening position. And the EMP Teks need a good subwoofer to round out their sound.
 

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^ Is that the SuperOne 2.1's? Nice price.
 

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Hey, zieg. I just noticed your new avatar. Yeah, I'm sometimes not observant ;). Anyway, I like it!
 

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Hi all. Long time lurker, first time poster…..

I need some help updating the speakers for my home theater. I know a little bit about video;) (ex Teranex) but relatively nothing about the modern day speaker landscape. Many years ago my wife purchased a Bose Acoustimass 15 5.1 (well -0.1) and it served us well in our original tiny living space. We have since moved to a bigger house with an open floor plan and she now understands there are better sounding options than the AM. While the AM has as many holes as Swiss cheese it still serves its intended function, poor as that may be.

We are looking to upgrade. Well I am. WAF is an issue as well as space. Even after a tour of the local BB Magnolia room with lots of ‘wows, and I had no idea’ floor standing is out. So bookshelves it is. I am not allowed to change the height of the bookshelf so L/R have to fit in 13.24H x 11.25D. No, I am not allowed to turn the L/R on their side. Center has to fit in 29.75W x 13.5H x 10.5D.

As I said it is an open floor plan with the TV and couch at one end of the great room, dining room, then then ½ back wall, ½ open to the kitchen. The viewing area is roughly 17x14. Total volume in the great room with vaulted ceiling is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3300 cubic feet (plus the kitchen). There is little flat space on the walls or floor. We apparently believe in filling in all available space… Shoehorning in a Sub is going to be fun. I have 1 spot for a sub. Against an outside wall with a low window. No, not ideal, but it is the only option I have for a traditional cube style sub.

We recently swapped an old HK for a Denon AVR-X3100W. I think the Audyssey DSX opened her eyes a bit as to what might be missing. :) The current plan is 5.1 with zone 2 on the porch. That might change later to 7.1 height only.

We watch TV/movies mostly, with a bit of music. Probably 80/20.

Cost is always a factor, but we are willing to spend money. I don’t yet have a total dollar limit as I do not have a firm grasp on what the options are. I like the SVS Prime specs. I hear Klispch is good, and not so good…. HSU’s HB-1 looks interesting, but it won’t fit like the Klispch RP won’t. Funds are low so I plan to do this in stages. My thinking is center, L/R, sub, surrounds. My dollar goal is for the best value. We are not audiophiles, but we appreciate quality sound. I guess the inverse to that is that we do not believe in spending money on something for the sake of brand, bragging rights, or for the sake of spending money! At some point the higher cost of speakers reaches a point of diminishing returns and I would put us in the lower half of that nonlinear curve. Yeah, I know I need to audition and decide for myself. Nuance between options is not as important as value assuming the quality is there.

I assume staying in the same family of 1 brand is critical for LCR, and it is a good idea for the surrounds as well.

Enough rambling. Any pointers to manufactures, specific speakers, things I need to read/know would be appreciated.
The Klipsch Synergy B-20 should fit in your bookshelf:

http://www.klipsch.com/b-20-bookshelf-speakers-pair/details

Offers/reviews:

http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-Synergy-B-20-5-25-Inch-Bookshelf/dp/B003XRD9UA

And so should its revision, the Klipsch Synergy KB-15:

http://www.klipsch.com/kb-15-bookshelf-speakers-pair/details

Offers/reviews:

http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-KB-15-4-Inch-Bookshelf-Speakers/dp/B00AS3X740/

Some side-by-side comparisons:

http://bookshelf-speakers-review.toptenreviews.com/
 

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Shoehorning in a Sub is going to be fun. I have 1 spot for a sub. Against an outside wall with a low window. No, not ideal, but it is the only option I have for a traditional cube style sub.
Then maybe you should consider a non-traditional style.

Cylindrical subs, like the SVS PC-2000

Bill Fitzmaurice's Table Tuba disguised as furniture

On-wall subwoofer, like the Sunfire SubRosa

In-wall subwoofer, such as Velodyne

Multiple small, but powerful subwoofers, something like I have in one room - Sunfire True Super Jr (a 9" cube - just an example ... they don't make it anymore)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey, zieg. I just noticed your new avatar. Yeah, I'm sometimes not observant ;). Anyway, I like it!
For a tight budget - I would put the SuperOne 2.1 on a short list.

If one could do 15 to 16 inch tall bookshelf speakers and needed a receiver
Then I would put this Focal system on a short list
If you must have bookshelf speakers on or in a shelf (never a good idea), make sure that the front of the bookshelf speaker overhangs the shelf by about an inch. I think both the SVS and Hsu systems are very good, so it’s too bad the Hsu won’t fit. SVS also has free shipping both ways, so you can try them out for 45 days, and if you are not thrilled, ship them back for a full refund.

The following are speakers I pretty much always recommend on a limited budget:

$225 / pair (includes shipping) EMP Tek R5Bi bookshelf speaker (formally E5Bi): (I own these)
Andrew Robinson's video review:

Add a third R5Bi and turn it on its side for a center channel (as I do), or purchase the R5Ci center channel for around $80 more. Add a couple of R5Bi’s for the surrounds (if you listen to a lot of 5.1 concert videos), or get their E3b’s for $125 / pair.

===

The subwoofer is a big problem. One must be flexible with subwoofer location. If not placed properly, it may sound either bloated or you may not hear any bass at the listening position. And the EMP Teks need a good subwoofer to round out their sound.
Fantastic suggestions! Thanks. Regarding the critical speaker placement on the shelf what is the reasoning behind the overhang?

In your experience, cost aside for the moment, would you consider any of the speakers listed (NHT, EMP, SVS) to be superior to the others? I appreciate they are different and we all hear things differently. In your mind a clear winner so to speak?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Then maybe you should consider a non-traditional style.

Cylindrical subs, like the SVS PC-2000

Bill Fitzmaurice's Table Tuba disguised as furniture

On-wall subwoofer, like the Sunfire SubRosa

In-wall subwoofer, such as Velodyne

Multiple small, but powerful subwoofers, something like I have in one room - Sunfire True Super Jr (a 9" cube - just an example ... they don't make it anymore)
Thinking outside the box now! Fantastic suggestions I had never consider these options as I had no idea they existed. Are there any turnkey solutions that might reclaim the volume underneath an entertainment center or do the in wall solutions cover that?
 

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In your experience, cost aside for the moment, would you consider any of the speakers listed (NHT, EMP, SVS) to be superior to the others? I appreciate they are different and we all hear things differently. In your mind a clear winner so to speak?
Speaker listening is subjective - there is no real superior speaker - a lot of times
it tends to come down to some small yet meaningful and noticeable differences,
based on the individual preference/taste.

No one can guarantee or promise anything.
 

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Fantastic suggestions! Thanks. Regarding the critical speaker placement on the shelf what is the reasoning behind the overhang?

In your experience, cost aside for the moment, would you consider any of the speakers listed (NHT, EMP, SVS) to be superior to the others? I appreciate they are different and we all hear things differently. In your mind a clear winner so to speak?
I'll repeat what zieg just said, especially when talking about the three good companies you listed. It's far too subjective to determine what is better. And there is a good possibility that what I like, you or someone else may think, "What the heck is he talking about?" Just know it's hard to go wrong with the products listed from those companies. I suspect you could love those and speakers from a dozen other companies.
 

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Fantastic suggestions! Thanks. Regarding the critical speaker placement on the shelf what is the reasoning behind the overhang?

In your experience, cost aside for the moment, would you consider any of the speakers listed (NHT, EMP, SVS) to be superior to the others? I appreciate they are different and we all hear things differently. In your mind a clear winner so to speak?
if you put speakers recessed in an enclosure, you change the dispersion pattern of the speaker and can cause audio reflections off the side of the enclosure. By puttung the speaker to the front of the enclosure, you eliminate or reduce this...
 
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I agree with what has been said about personal preferences...you are talking about three really good budget speaker companies and I think you would do fine with any of the three (like Dsrussell, I am an owner and big fan of the EMPtek speakers)...but only you can decide which one is better. You either take a chance on one and see if you like, then don't look back...or best case scenario, order two or more of the ones you are considering and then just budget for some return shipping costs! Compare side by side, then ship the loser back (all three companies have nice return policies, the only difference is you might pay the return shipping).
 
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if you put speakers recessed in an enclosure, you change the dispersion pattern of the speaker and can cause audio reflections off the side of the enclosure. By puttung the speaker to the front of the enclosure, you eliminate or reduce this...
Just to add, rear-ported speakers tend to do poorly in these situations. Look for front ported or sealed.
 

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Thinking outside the box now! Fantastic suggestions I had never consider these options as I had no idea they existed. Are there any turnkey solutions that might reclaim the volume underneath an entertainment center or do the in wall solutions cover that?
The subwoofer will still want to go where it sounds best, not necessarily where you want it to go, so I can't say whether somewhere in relation to your entertainment center would work. I'm not experienced with in-walls. If you're like most sane people you probably don't want to hear all the technical mumbo-jumbo involved with positioning a subwoofer, so your best bet is to go to the subwoofer forum and describe your situation, room and subwoofer budget. They will probably try to talk you into bigger and more subwoofers in lieu of things like ... furniture, because, well, that's just what they do. They're obsessed with bass :). But it's an exceptionally knowledgeable forum, so stick to your guns about your needs and you'll get your answer.

If you do want to learn why subwoofers are such a pain to position correctly, here is all the technical mumbo-jumbo (jump to page 23 to skip the mind-numbing theoretical stuff).
 

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I have to agree with this! In my family room, where we watch daily, I am constantly impressed with my trio of Absolute Zeros with a couple of decent (not great, but corner loaded) subs. I watch a lot of music videos with the kids and it sounds so good. Blends super well and I have zero treatments. Where as my theater (heavily treated), with 3 gigantic, active bi-amped cinema speakers (9.2), 6 x 18" subs and 2 x12" subs horn loaded, never has the balance of the smaller, simpler system. Power response and absolute chest pounding sound yes....
 

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Good point about the ports! Rear ported speakers may not work, or need to be plugged in an enclosure! EMP and SVS prime, both rear ported...
 
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