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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,


I'm new to the forum - but have been reading some of the threads and FAQs - which naturally leaves me a lot more informed and confused...


I'm an American expat presently in India and am looking to setup a home theater with a budget of about $600 towards the subs and about $2200 towards the speakers.

The above budget is based on the best/sale prices in the US. The piece of **** Indian govt – taxes these things to death, therefore including customs duty and transportation etc I might end-up spending close to $7000.


I'm not an audiophile - but do want a high quality system that I can be proud of and show my sensible and discerning taste. I realize there is a best buy in each price band and the improvement in quality vs price gets narrower as you go up the price ladder.

We get what we pay for but with some brands we end-up paying more for their marketing, brand equity and over-heads than you do for the components, performance and quality. I sometimes find it helpful to compare a brand’s position to the relative brand positions of various cars brands – For. Eg. Rolls Royce, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini etc are great but less than 0.001% of us can afford them – whereas the BMW 3 Series or the Subaru WRX etc are the perfect brands with good quality, styling, technology etc offered at a reasonable price point (IMHO).

I would like to hear the forum’s opinion on which Subs and Speakers are notionally equivalent to the BMW 3 series


I've narrowed down some requirements:

1. Need only a 5.1ch setup - I am fairly certain I'll never need a 7.1 setup or two zone ability.

2. The surrounds speakers will be added later - preferable wireless and active...Is there any point in considering wireless speakers for the surround speakers - as this will greatly increase the WAF. Is the potential loss of fidelity worth it? If so which brands and models do I consider and which receivers or attachments do I need for this?

3. All videos & music will be played via a desktop/laptop with HDMI out. I do not plan to use a Blu-ray player as it is already outdated with the new 4k player being released. Besides who has the space to store plain old discs - when I can have about 2000 movies on my 4TB harddisk.

4. Is THX-certified essential?

5. WAF: "Anything you want but not too loud, not too big and not too ugly..."

6. All speakers have to be rated for 220volt/50hz supply

7. The living room is about 15' x 16' & is open to the dining area which is 11' x 11'. Its a high rise apartment with good noise protection but need to consider WAF and NAF.

8. Prefer speakers that are actually made in North America, Europe or Australia...


Some brands of speakers I've been considering:

1. AVI, PMC, ATC

2. Genelec, Focal, Mackies, ADAM, Event

3. DynAudio, RCF, Behringer, M-Audio, KRK

Is the ranking/bracket about right?

any other makers? Which specific models?


I apologize for the long-winded post and thank you all for reading and never can thank you enough for any tips and guidance.
 

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Regarding WAF, I find I turn the built in TV speakers up loud in an attempt to understand the dialogue. With better clarity, I believe separate speakers will actually result in a net decibel decrease (or at least permit the possibility).
 

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WAF is always a factor unless you have a man cave. Take a look at Aperion Audio. You could get the Intimus 5C center ($350), two 5T towers ($475 each) and a pair of Allaire Zona wireless speakers for surrounds ($399 for the pair). That leaves $800 for a sub. Lot of good choices in that range from SVS, Powersound Audio, Hsu, Outlaw, and Rythmik.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Why am I inexorably drawn to the Bowers and Wilkins - Nautilus or the 800 Diamond series - much like dreaming about a Ferrari most men would like to own.
http://www.ehifi.com.au/brands/b-w/prestige-series/nautilus.aspx
http://www.thestereoshop.com/bowersWilkins800.php


Would I be wrong in going for their 600 series - the price of the following comes to about (684, HTM62, 686, ASW608 = USD 2700)


The WAF on the B & W could be higher than the Ascend - which looks good but I don't know if it looks as good as the B & W 600 series.

There is a local retailer in Bangalore for the B & W but need to locate one for the Ascend, Klipsch, KEF, Paradigm etc.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnsr  /t/1480568/seeking-guidance-on-best-5-1-speakers-for-2500#post_23505485


Why am I inexorably drawn to the Bowers and Wilkins - Nautilus or the 800 Diamond series - much like dreaming about a Ferrari most men would like to own.
http://www.ehifi.com.au/brands/b-w/prestige-series/nautilus.aspx
http://www.thestereoshop.com/bowersWilkins800.php


Would I be wrong in going for their 600 series - the price of the following comes to about (684, HTM62, 686, ASW608 = USD 2700)

There's nothing wrong as long as you enjoy the way they sound. Whether others love them or hate them is inconsequential. All that matters is you love the way they sound.


Check out as many brands as feasible - B&W, Revel, KEF.
 

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You definately want to go with controlled directivity horn tweeters if you want to watch alot of movies in 5.1.


I definately recommend the HSU with a VTF15H or a VTF 3.4 sub. Maybe you can give the JBL's a try as well.


If you are gonna be doing alot of listening of music rather than movies, I'd definately recommend the B&W's. When I heard them with music, they sounded pretty damn good.
 

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Since you're looking for about the same thing as I am, I'll post my list of speakers I'm looking at:
  • Boston Acoustics A360
  • psb Image T5
  • psb Image T6
  • KEF Q500
  • Heco Aleva 400/500
  • Canton Chrono 507.2 DC
  • Canton GLE 496
  • Epos Epic 5
  • Magnat Quantum 657
  • Focal Chorus 716 V
  • DALI Zensor 7
  • DALI Lektor 6


These speakers, with their matching centers and rear surrounds, should about match your budget. Favs right now are PSB Image T6 or the Dali speakers.


If it comes to looks, the T6 and all of the B&W speakers are my favorites.


As for receivers, I was looking at Marantz SR5007 or Denon AVR 3313 or the new X2000/X3000 (all with Pre-Amp-Outs if I'm not mistaken). I've read the brands do sound differently, so personally I'm looking first for the front speakers, and choose a matching AVR from there.


And I'm guessing speakers within 1000 - 1500 $ a pair would somewhat represent a BMW 3 series, as they are by no means cheap hardware, but they are still affordable and, as far as I can see, have great value for their money
 

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Can you get around some of the tax issues by buying used? There is a strong market for used high end audio equipment, especially speakers. People like to trade up speakers and they don't wear out or become obsolete like electronics do.
 

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How tall are your room/rooms? The total cubic feet of the sealed/enclosed space will provide a good idea as to how much subwoofer/speaker output you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@NewHTBuyer - Checked out Aperion and they look nice - its also good that they have listed some convenient options for international shipping...


@AcuDefTechGuy - in Revel and KEF - which particular models should I consider - that are in the same league as B&W (684, HTM62, 686, ASW608 = Total USD 2700 excluding taxes, duty, shipping etc)


@Salamandro - nice to know you are looking for pretty much the same.. and agree with you on the looks of PSB - T6 (the T5 will do for me) being quite similar to the B&W 600 series. So why isn't the B & W 600 on your short list? Among the brands you listed - what is the total price running to for a basic 5.1 setup. If you are considering Marantz vs Denon - I believe they are from the same parent company - and I'm being lead to believe that Marantz gives slightly more serious and better specs than Denon. Do keep me posted on which of these speakers/receivers you finalized and why.. I may not have the option of the vast selection here in India but will try...


@GTA Beancounter - the ceiling is 10' high throughout and the floors are polished ceramic. The living room is about 15' x 16' & is open to the dining area which is 11' x 11'.

The system will be used primarily for movies or streaming videos played via PC or Hard-disk. Occasional Music too will be through bluetooth or via USB.


@BarnacleBill - I wish I could avoid the taxes but even for used items they charge some customs duty and even the new item I'd have to somehow try to see if it can be shown as used so as to reduce the duty... Needless to say I don't know of any place in India to find good used items for this kina hi-end audio - as the market is simply too small..

I am not comfortable ordering used, pay for duty, taxes, international shipping etc only to find out after it arrives that its not what was promised.

Similarly DIY especially for the subs is not an option - as I have the interest but do not have the time or tools that may be needed - although considering there are no good local hi-end speaker makers in India - this might be a good first step to start a sub and speaker company in India Anyways enough with the pipe dreams - back to reality...


WAF for noise is going to be a lot tougher than I imagined - the space is an aptmt Living/dining room and she may even say "why not a HTIB and be done with..." but I'd rather not have a HT at all than go with these puny HTIB setups. I want something that is somewhat of a driver's car like my BMW 3 series that I can rev, toss and turn into the curves when I'm driving alone or with my bros and can look classy and elegant when going with the family. I will have to go for something that can be accurate and amazing at low volumes and the only chance I'll get to crank-it up is when she is away...
 

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That's also in my excel
Keep in mind, these prices are Swiss Francs (CHF) and for a 5.0 setup. I'll probably be adding a SVS SB12 to that 5.0 setup.
Code:
Code:
[CODE]Speaker              Price (Pair)    Price 5.0
Boston A360             1100            1766
psb Image T5            880             1850
psb Image T6            1230            2200
KEF Q500                1100            N/A
Heco Aleva 400/500      1340            2381
Canton Chrono 507.2 DC  1260            2187
Canton GLE 496          880             1576
Epos Epic 5             1400            2750
Magnat Quantum 657      1116            1974
Focal Chorus 716 V      1180            2150
DALI Zensor 7           1000            1664
DALI Lektor 6           1189            2046
[/CODE]


As for B&W.. I'm not sure
I've read that you can get more bang for your buck than what the 684 offer, and I wasn't initially considering the 683 because they seemed out of my budget. Also, they seem a bit mainstream to me, but that's probably just because my roommate is such a big fan and has been going on and on about them. But by any means, do try them out if you like them!


Yes, Denon and Marantz are D&M(?), while Marantz is aimed a bit more at the audiophile community. The features fit my requirements and I really like the looks of the Marantz AVRs. Pretty much aiming for one.


I you'd like to follow my progress, here's my thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1474565/completely-lost-new-speakers-avr-sonos
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnsr  /t/1480568/seeking-guidance-on-best-5-1-speakers-for-2500#post_23506061


@NewHTBuyer -

@GTA Beancounter - the ceiling is 10' high throughout and the floors are polished ceramic. The living room is about 15' x 16' & is open to the dining area which is 11' x 11'.

The system will be used primarily for movies or streaming videos played via PC or Hard-disk. Occasional Music too will be through bluetooth or via USB.

That's over 3600 cubic feet, you should probably budget $1000 US before duties/tax (or more) for your subwoofer/woofers alone and some would recommend much more. WAF may preclude it but with that type of space you would benefit from having a pair of subs to smooth out response.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@AcuDefTechguy - Revel F12 seem quite good - will try to see if they have dealers in India

@Salamandro - thanks for the list and prices... wow I was thinking the same thing KEF - Q500 might fit the bill perfectly... however all these brands are challengers to the B & W 600 - as somehow in my mind it has set the benchmark that one of these brands will have to match or beat in looks, specs, performance and price.... also pl. let me know which speakers you are considering in each of these above listed brands for the center channel, surrounds and the subs.

@GTA Beancounter - I'm thinking to go easy on the subs due to WAF and NAF - subs can be heard from anywhere and that can bother the wife or be heard next door and can mean frequent interruptions.



To all those reading this thread:

I'm just curious as to how there are so many speaker brands out there...seems like something that a passionate and handy fellow can get started and create a brand...the barriers to entry seem low - except to establish a long standing reputed brand takes time and consistent quality..

If people here are recommending DIY for subs - I'm sure once you THINK you can do that.... the leap from there to floor standers is probably natural for those enterprising types...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Attached below is the Layout of my aptmt - flooring will be polished marble, brick walls covered with cement plaster, concrete ceilings with cement plaster.. not sure what wall/floor treatments will be needed...

Any guidance on speakerplacement - bipole-dipole etc would also be helpful...will have to see and if somehow I can keep the sound perfect within the sound-stage without it getting out of there I'm happy - as that can mean I can set it to a decent volume even when the wife is around somewhere in the house...

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnsr  /t/1480568/seeking-guidance-on-best-5-1-speakers-for-2500#post_23507049


@Salamandro - thanks for the list and prices... wow I was thinking the same thing KEF - Q500 might fit the bill perfectly... however all these brands are challengers to the B & W 600 - as somehow in my mind it has set the benchmark that one of these brands will have to match or beat in looks, specs, performance and price.... also pl. let me know which speakers you are considering in each of these above listed brands for the center channel, surrounds and the subs.
Sorry, can't really provide you with that. Mostly I was just looking at each line and pulled one of the smaller bookshelves and the matching center out. I think that's what you'll hear often here; stick to on line (timber match). Surrounds aren't all that important, so usually the smaller bookshelf from the same line will do...

Have not been looking too much at subs, since the SVS SB12 was highly recommended to me. No need to stay with the same line or even brand when it comes to subs...
 

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If your floors are marble, you may want to stay away from bright sounding speakers ie those with metal dome tweeters. I think a rug is a must if you have marble floors.


It is my understanding that Wharfedales are somewhat popular in India, more so than they are in the states. The Wharfedale Diamond 10 is being discontinued, so there are bargains to be had. These speakers have a warm, but very clear sound that should work better with marble floors. I have heard the PSB Image and B&W 600 series, and I prefer the Wharfedales over the other 2. A pair of DIamond 10.7, a 10.CM, and a pair of 10.1 or 10.2 for surrounds should be around $2000. If you don't mind stand mounts, you can look into the Jade 1's or Jade 3's and matching center and use the 10.2 for surrounds. This should cost around the same as the Diamond floorstanders and give you much better performance when mated to a sub. Jade 1/3 plus sub : Diamond 10.7 plus sub :: M3 : 335i sport.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannybenz  /t/1480568/seeking-guidance-on-best-5-1-speakers-for-2500#post_23507945


If your floors are marble, you may want to stay away from bright sounding speakers ie those with metal dome tweeters. I think a rug is a must if you have marble floors.

.....

Metal dome tweeters are not necessarily bright. And bright speakers don't necessarily use metal dome tweeters. There might be a correlation between the two, but in general it's the implementation, not the tweeter type, that determines whether or not a speaker seems bright.
 
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