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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been primarily listening to a 2 channel full range setup for both music and video for almost 25 years of my life. I want to set up a system in my bedroom office (12'.5 x 11'). I'll be listening to mostly CDs and FM radio and occasionally HDTV through a 2nd monitor attached to my computer networked to an HTPC (with HDHomerun networked dual channel Cable/OTA HD tuner). I'd guess 90% music, 10% TV. Being my office space, there isn't room for floor speakers. I am thinking of going with a 5.1 HT satellite/sub setup, using my 10 year old JVC884VBK 5.1 DD 5x100 watt receiver which I'll move from the living room to this room. Is that the best option for mostly music, or should I shop for a 2.1 bookshelf/sub or even a 3.1 bookshelf/center/sub setup or 5.1 bookshelf/center/surround/sub setup?


I know someone local selling a KEF 2005.2 speaker system for $400 and that sounds like a deal, but I want to listen to a few speaker systems first, and need to know what kind of setup to listen to.


I've only ever had my receiver hooked up to 2 speakers and am unsure of how it will handle 2-channel sources into a 5.1 setup. The manual mentions Dolby Digital and Dolby Surround as well as Dolby Pro Logic (1, I'm guessing, which isn't even described on Dolby's web site. but the manual seems to equate this with Dolby Surround, neither of which seems to convert 2 channels into 5.1). There are a few DSP modes as well: Theater, Live Club, Dance Club, Hall, Pavilion, Headphone, 3D Theater, 3D Drama, and 3D Action, but I don't think any of these will convert 2 channels into 5.1. I'm guessing the R/L signals get passed to the rears just like in a 4 speaker car, and the low frequencies get passed to the sub. What about the center channel? Is it simply a combo of the R/L signals? Will it equalize the levels so the center does not overpower the FL and FR speakers? Will it lower the rear signals in relation to the fronts? Or because it doesn't have any equivalent to Dolby Pro Logic II to spread 2 channels to 5.1, it simply won't use the center channel, and I'll have to use the A/B speaker switch to send sound to the rears?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
My budget is roughly $1000, out of which I'm thinking of spending about $500 on the Denon AVR1910/790/1909/789 to replace the old JVC receiver for the living room. I'm willing to go upwards of $1000 just for speakers though...
 

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I wouldn't do it if this is mostly for music and TV. There's little need for surround sound if you aren't watching DVDs encoded with Dolby/DTS and 2 channel music sounds like crud through small satellite speakers. I personally didn't care for listening to music through five satellite speakers (I tried a bunch, including the KEF 3005) because I felt it was mucking up the detail in the music and it just plain got annoying. One exception though, I liked the open airy sound some small Mirage V2 SS speakers created in my room. However, I still prefer 2 channel music through two speakers.


In any case, I would go for a nice 2.1 bookshelf/sub setup. How about a pair of mini monitors like Usher S-520, era D5, Ascend Sierra, etc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Finally a response - the silence was deafening (I figured I rambled too much in my other thread, so posted this one).


Yes, my main concern was the sacrifice that small satellite speakers give up. Any suggestions for a matched 2.1 system? Or quality subs? For this size room, should I consider a 12" sub, or should 10" be sufficient? I think I have enough room under my professor size desk to fit a hefty size sub like the 16" x 16" KEF 2005.2.


With a 2.1 system, I might also be able to save some by buying up an older receiver for this room since I don't need all the bells and whistles of the latest A/V receivers. I really do like the concept of Audussey Dynamic Volume for TV watching in my living room however...(but maybe I can continue living without it for $300 savings)...
 

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The participation in this forum really drops off over the weekend - heck, I'm gettin out to enjoy the weather right now
Maybe a new thread later asking for specific 2.1 recommendations will get more response.


Have you been to any speaker dealers in Denver to have a listen? If you find something you like then it would be easier for people here to give you alternative recommendations or something you hadn't thought of before.


Check out refurbished Harman Kardon receivers from the Harman Audio eBay store: http://stores.shop.ebay.com/Harman-A...34Q2ec0Q2em322

They come with a full warranty and they're very easy to work with if you have problems. An AVR 254 or 3490 goes for around $200 at auction. Or buying used is good too...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I posted my other message early yesterday morning in the hope that I'd at least get 1 day of responses.


I wanted to narrow it down to either 5.1 or 2.1 so I'd know what to listen to at the dealers. I've been messing with my HTPC trying to get it to tune more than a handful of TV channels and cleaning and moving furniture all morning and afternoon, so don't think I'll make it to the high end audio store before they close at 6. Maybe I'll hit up the Magnolia (Best Buy) and Ultimate Electronics this evening, but I wanted to start off high end and work downwards.


I'd consider used speakers, but probably not a used or refurbished receiver. I believe speakers can last indefinitely, but electronics go bad over time. My floor standing speakers have lasted almost 25 years including one being knocked on it's face way back in my college dorm! My first receiver, a JVC RX500B 2x100 watt, lasted about 10 years before one of the amps gave up; my 2nd generation Sony CD player started having problems with the drawer not opening after only 6 years and eventually died a few years ago. A subwoofer, having an internal amp, might also be questionable, used. I suspect it's the heat that kills electronics, especially amplifiers. I had a pair of quality Rockford Fosgate amps just driving a pair of 6.5" coaxial Polks and a pair of 6.5 coaxial Phase Linear speakers in my first car die after a few years, but they were in an unventilated compartment behind the front seats of a CRX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I stopped by Ultimate Electronics and they had Klipsch, Bose, and Definitive Technologies. I'm still not a fan of the Klipschorn tweeters - they have the megaphone effect coloring the sound. Bose's still do not have the tight bass even for mid-upper bass, still a bit muddy, but not as bad as I remember the old 701s and 901s. Surprisingly enough, a smaller pair of DT speakers (2x4.5" drivers), seemed the clearest, but I did notice a they were a bit lacking in mid-base. They were about $329 each and the salesman said DT does have a larger model, but only available on special order. At Best Buy, the salesman pushed a set of $1500 Vienna Acoustics, which were good, but I don't think worth three times, or even twice the cost of a set of DTs (8" & 6.5" woofers, larger than the UE model). There was a set of Klipsch's (4.5" woofers) that was quite close to these DTs without much horn coloration, but lacking a bit of mid-base extension. These DTs were $500 and fairly good, but I'm hoping I can find something just a bit tighter and clearer and yet cheaper...


Unfortunately UE and BB aren't set up well for listening. The subs at UE weren't matched and the salesman cranked one up so much to get it to work that it was distorting and when I pointed out the rattling, he thought the bass was just making the plastic price placards rattle, but eventually went over and turned down the gain, noting that it was distorting. At BB, there was only one cable hooked up to the subs, so the salesman had to manually disconnect and reconnect to different subs - not a good A/B comparison. I think I can find a decent sub for about $500. Does a 10" or 12" match better with bookshelf speakers? I liked some DT and Klipsch subs. There was a 10" Martin Login sub for $500 that the BB guy recommended, but it seemed too boomy until I had him turn it down. That kind of surprised me as I had thought ML was a very respected high end manufacturer (at least for regular floor standing speakers).


I'm going to stop by Listen Up (our high end store) on Tuesday to listen to more (I think their selection is better, albeit not sure much in my price range). I'm looking forward to listening to some NHTs.
 

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I agree a 2 or 2.1 system will be perfect for an office. I would recommend cheching out the NHT Classic line of speakers. Very neutral sound with some very fine classic piano black looks. The Classic Three is a nice bookshelf for around 700 for the pair. http://store.nhthifi.com/Classic;jse...4Pa38Ta38Rbxz0 There are many fine speakers out the so do yourself a favor and do a bunch of listening. Happy hunting and keep us posted. P.S. I just purchased the Classic Fours myself and love them!! Big improvement over the sat. sytem I had, which wasn't too bad for a sat. system.
 

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I have the Omnisat V2 CC center, with four Energy RC-mini's as surrounds, with a 12" sub. This has worked great for both TV, movies and music, all paired up with a new Pioneer 1019.


The RC-mini's are great speakers in a small package, if you have room issues, and want a 5.1 system, I'd look at those. I know some blanch at combining a center from one technology with satellites from another, but I have to say that the combination works wonders for me.


I'm playing a combination of sources, from hip hop to jazz and just about everything in between, and this has handled it well. I've also tested it with HD-DVD sources, and it managed the advanced codecs well. The mirage and the energys didn't miss a beat.
 

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Missed the post mentioning the NHT you will have a chance to listen to. Check their site for pricing though as I have seen some people who have their prices cranked up when their site is selling them cheaper. My local dealer sells them at the same or lower. Just be ware!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Last night I took the CD that I've been auditioning speakers with and played it in my living room 2-channel system (DCM QED 1A, 2-way 8" woofer front transmission line ported floor speakers that I bought way back in '85) and cranked it up and they sounded great. Pretty good for $800 speakers that I bought at closeout for $400.


This evening I listened to a pair of B&W 685s ($650/pair) at the high-end store. The bass was tight, but they seemed kind of dull. I do like the rear input setup where I can bi-amp the tweeter and woofer separately using 4 channels of a 5.1 receiver to get 200 watts to each speaker. There was only a smaller set of more expensive B&Ws to compare with (brighter, but more limited range), and a smaller pair of NHTs. The NHTs sounded really dull compared to the B&Ws. There was also an NHT3, but the left speaker was missing so I wasn't able to compare them. Now I'm perplexed. I thought B&Ws were supposed to be way up there and really highly respected, but I think the DT350s ($500/pair) were livelier, but perhaps not as clear and accurate. I just wish I could have A/B compared them to each other. When I got home, I listened to my living room system, and it was definitely a more expansive presence with amazing detail. I guess a bookshelf speaker just can't match up to the volume of a floor standing speaker, but floor standing speakers are out of the question in this room as bookcases and my huge desk take up all the wall space and even putting a set of floor standing speakers in front of the bookcases would bring them forward too close to the plane of my chair. Listen Up was even more disappointing as their switchboard for the subs was not working so I was not able to listen to any of the handful of subs (including a matching cherry B&W 10") in the room. I did go to another room and listened to another pair of B&W 685s combined with a little Velodyne Microvee Subwoofer. A sub definitely extends the range of the bottom end that floor standing speakers can't come close to. I'm even thinking of adding a sub to my living room to make it 2.1, but the budget for my office bedroom system just keeps bursting...


I think I'm going to try going to the another BB in the other direction from my house and see if they have a different selection. Ultimate Electronics, if there is another one close by as well. In another thread, someone posted a Vanns special for Energy RC10 for only $299. There is a local dealer, but I'm not even sure they have a showroom to listen to these.
 

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Many are happy with their SVS surrounds. Not real small, but could be considered as "satellites". Meets your $1000 budget (with a sub). Unfortunately they are ID only, so no chance to hear them in advance (unless there is someone near you who has a set).


I'll second the HK rec, too. Ignore the low watt ratings. They have dynamics well beyond their specs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Last night I went back to BB and listened to the Vienna Acoustics and DT350s again, this time volume matching them as I switched since the VAs are noticeably less efficient. The VAs are noticeably clearer and cleaner than the DTs. Ok, so I think they're worth twice as much, but not 3x, which is still way over my budget.


I'm going to return to Listen Up on Saturday, by which they should have their switchboard fixed, and listen to the B&W685s again. Hopefully they will sound close to the VAs as their price is $150 more/pair than the DTs.
 
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