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Small Satellite 5.1 speakers with good sound ?

5333 Views 52 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  mingus
This is for my low end downstairs HT the family uses. This room is a living space and we have dedicated theater upstairs with massive 100 lb Mark Seaton Cat 12s. I know the small speakers wont be great I just want something a decent step up from the crappy Bose speakers I am using presently.

The Bose are white 4.5 inches tall and 3 inches wide. Nearly invisible in the room. (I'll try and post a picture.)What would be ideal is something up to 6-8 inches and white. Haven鈥檛 had luck finding anything yet that would be an upgrade in sound quality that small.


I was very impressed with the Martin Logan motion 4 inch speakers I listened to at Magnolia. A bit bigger that I want. Only 6 lbs but they are 12.5 tall 5.5x5.5. The 3 inch version was a bit smaller at 9 inches and still sounded great but there was a noticeable jump when comparing to the 4 inch. They are $180 and $250 each. Neither is available in white. 馃槦. Going by sound alone these would be a HUGE upgrade in sound quality over the Bose. Clarity was amazing and sounds were very full and rich.

I was looking at the Cambridge Minx Min 22. Reviews are good. $150 each and available in white. 3.1 x 3.4 x 6.1 inches.


Intrigued by the Focal Dome 5.1 I found for $800. Speakers sell for $400 individually ....

Wasn't at all impressed by the Def Tech or Bower Wilkins speakers I listened to in the showroom.

Other ideas/ options ?

Thank you


Update

Narrowed down to these.

Monitor Audio Radius 90 White 7.8 X 4.8 X 6.5 4.6 lbs $75 each (good used)

RSL CG3 White 9.5 x 6.5 X 5 X 6 lbs $140 each

Gallo A'Diva. White 5 inch round 3.5 lbs $240 each.

Focal Dome 5.1 setup new for $800

Cambridge Minx Min 22s White 6 x 3 x 3 1.6 lbs $150 each

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Side Rant : Ughh, in day light the wrinkles in screen look terrible. :( We only watch in this room at night time and I assume the wrinkles are less after it has been down for a while. Still a $3K tab tensioned screen shouldn't do this :mad:
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This is for my low end downstairs HT the family uses. This room is a living space and we have dedicated theater upstairs with massive 100 lb Mark Seaton Cat 12s. I know the small speakers wont be great I just want something a decent step up from the crappy Bose speakers I am using presently.

The Bose are white 4.5 inches tall and 3 inches wide. Nearly invisible in the room. (I'll try and post a picture.)What would be ideal is something up to 6-8 inches and white. Haven鈥檛 had luck finding anything yet that would be an upgrade in sound quality that small.


I was very impressed with the Martin Logan motion 4 inch speakers I listened to at Magnolia. A bit bigger that I want. Only 6 lbs but they are 12.5 tall 5.5x5.5. The 3 inch version was a bit smaller at 9 inches and still sounded great but there was a noticeable jump when comparing to the 4 inch. They are $180 and $250 each. Neither is available in white. 馃槦. Going by sound alone these would be a HUGE upgrade in sound quality over the Bose. Clarity was amazing and sounds were very full and rich.

I was looking at the Cambridge Minx Min 22. Reviews are good. $150 each and available in white. 3.1 x 3.4 x 6.1 inches.


Intrigued by the Focal Dome Flax 5.1 I found for $800. Speakers sell for $400 individually ....

Wasn't at all impressed by the Def Tech or Bower Wilkins speakers I listened to in the showroom.

Other ideas/ options ?

Thank you



.
The Focal Dome Flax may be your best option. They have a full size tweeter and 4" driver. They won't blow your head off and be super dynamic, but with a decent sub, they should easily trounce the Bose cubes.
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This is for my low end downstairs HT the family uses. This room is a living space and we have dedicated theater upstairs with massive 100 lb Mark Seaton Cat 12s. I know the small speakers wont be great I just want something a decent step up from the crappy Bose speakers I am using presently.

The Bose are white 4.5 inches tall and 3 inches wide. Nearly invisible in the room. (I'll try and post a picture.)What would be ideal is something up to 6-8 inches and white. Haven鈥檛 had luck finding anything yet that would be an upgrade in sound quality that small.


I was very impressed with the Martin Logan motion 4 inch speakers I listened to at Magnolia. A bit bigger that I want. Only 6 lbs but they are 12.5 tall 5.5x5.5. The 3 inch version was a bit smaller at 9 inches and still sounded great but there was a noticeable jump when comparing to the 4 inch. They are $180 and $250 each. Neither is available in white. 馃槦. Going by sound alone these would be a HUGE upgrade in sound quality over the Bose. Clarity was amazing and sounds were very full and rich.

I was looking at the Cambridge Minx Min 22. Reviews are good. $150 each and available in white. 3.1 x 3.4 x 6.1 inches.


Intrigued by the Focal Dome Flax 5.1 I found for $800. Speakers sell for $400 individually ....

Wasn't at all impressed by the Def Tech or Bower Wilkins speakers I listened to in the showroom.

Other ideas/ options ?

Thank you



.

Focal dome flax for sure if they're actually the "flax" version.



Maybe return the screen. A $3K it should be perfect.
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Maybe return the screen. A $3K it should be perfect.
It doesn't appear to be hanging flat - it looks like it's bent forward, likely because it's draping across the fireplace mantle...
It doesn't appear to be hanging flat - it looks like it's bent forward, likely because it's draping across the fireplace mantle...

It clears the mantle by several inches.
Focal dome flax for sure if they're actually the "flax" version.



Maybe return the screen. A $3K it should be perfect.
Not the Flax version. I found the Previous Focal Dome 5.1 with a more round subwoofer for $800 new. The newer Flax version are $2K. I cant find a good deal on the white ones though. Even the previous Gen are almost $2K as well.
It clears the mantle by several inches.
It still doesn't look like it drapes straight down in the photo - what is the black part behind the screen?
It still doesn't look like it drapes straight down in the photo - what is the black part behind the screen?

It hangs straight down and doesn't touch anything. Not sure what black part you are talking about ? Below is the fireplace.

$500 per speaker is a bit much for what I want to do downstairs.

I listened to the Bower Wilkins at Magnolia and they left a lot to be desired. The Martin Logan Motion 3 and 4s blew them out of the water when I switched back and forth. So much clearer and richer sounding.

Sight unseen the Focals sure look good. Well the deal for $800 does anyway.

Thinking about just replacing the front three speakers and leaving the two Bose in the rear. Have two Bose setups one is 3 speaker the other a 2 speaker. Then again would be nice to have a matched set and ditch both the Bose Subs.

Size wise those look good. Price wise they are good too. Sound quality is the only question.

Wow found those for as low as $75 each used good condition.....

Right now the only benchmark I have for Sat speakers are my Bose and the ones I tried at Magnolia. The Motion Flow 3 and 4s were both very impressive.
Size wise those look good. Price wise they are good too. Sound quality is the only question.

Wow found those for as low as $75 each used good condition.....

Right now the only benchmark I have for Sat speakers are my Bose and the ones I tried at Magnolia. The Motion Flow 3 and 4s were both very impressive.
I read somewhere that these were significantly improved a few years ago. Make sure you get the new version. Apparently these are loosely based on the Silver series...should sound WAY better than the Bose.
It hangs straight down and doesn't touch anything. Not sure what black part you are talking about ? Below is the fireplace.
I mean the black border around the screen. You can clearly see that it drapes forward, and the wrinkles in the screen corresponds to that forward draping.
This is for my low end downstairs HT the family uses. I know the small speakers wont be great I just want something a decent step up from the crappy Bose speakers I am using presently.

What would be ideal is something up to 6-8 inches and white. Haven鈥檛 had luck finding anything yet that would be an upgrade in sound quality that small.


I was very impressed with the Martin Logan motion 4 inch speakers I listened to at Magnolia. A bit bigger that I want. Only 6 lbs but they are 12.5 tall 5.5x5.5. The 3 inch version was a bit smaller at 9 inches and still sounded great but there was a noticeable jump when comparing to the 4 inch. They are $180 and $250 each. Neither is available in white. 馃槦. Going by sound alone these would be a HUGE upgrade in sound quality over the Bose. Clarity was amazing and sounds were very full and rich.

Other ideas/ options?
1. It won't be hard to beat out the Bose cubes in SQ...but make no mistake, you will NOT get any huge leap if you are determined to stay in such a miniscule size range, at ANY budget...physics is physics. That you easily heard a big difference going from the 3" to the 4" ML models makes perfect sense...around 4" is the bare minimum woofer size to get halfway decent sound out of any speaker, IMO.

2. I'm partial to AMT tweeters, so I'm sure the MLs did sound very good esp. compared to what else was available at Magnolia. And there's no denying that the glossy finish and stylish curvy shape of the cabinet looks great.

3. However, in the same size ballpark as the ML4, you can actually get a great (for HT, equal or better) speaker for just a little over half the price! The speaker I'm thinking of is the Ascend 200SE, which I once had on loan for an extended period and was very impressed with given its size and modest price, and which I think is really the hidden gem in the highly-regarded Ascend lineup. While actually being 1.6" SHORTER than the ML4 and only about 0.7" wider and deeper, you get TWO 4" woofers giving you a much bigger sound in a similarly sized package! The only area where it clearly loses out to the ML4 is aesthetic: it's just a plain rectangular box, without even the benefit of a nice glossy finish...not ugly so much as totally functional/utilitarian-looking. Oh and it's not available for in-store audition, Ascend being an internet-direct company (the ID companies all give you a 30 day trial though, you just have to pay for return shipping which I'd guesstimate to be around $40 for a pair of small speakers like this).

And like most really high bang-for-the-buck speakers, you can have it in any color you wish as long as it's black. :p

Here's a direct comparison of the two speakers, on paper:

Martin Logan Motion 4i
5.7 x 5.6 x 12.6 in
Drivers: 4" woofer + AMT tweeter
Mid-bass extension: 70Hz (not specified if anechoic or in-room)
Sensitivity: 90db (not specified if anechoic or in-room)
Impedance: 4 ohms
Recommended power: 20-150 watts
Rear-ported cabinet
Weight: 6lbs
$250 each

Ascend HTM-200SE
6.5 x 6.4 x 11 inch
Drivers: twin 4" woofers + 1" tweeter
Mid-bass extension: 68Hz in-room, 74Hz anechoic
Sensitivity: 89db in-room, 87db anechoic
Impedance: 8 ohms
Recommended power: 25-200 watts
Sealed cabinet = much more placement options
Weight: 10lbs
$322/pair shipped (also available in singles)
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RSL CG3/23 comes in white. Top of your size range, but you'll need to go there (or similar) for a significant improvement (in your price range).

Other options include Gallo Micro/A'Diva or Q Acoustics 7000i series. However, these get you back into the 3" driver range where you will need a sub with good output in the 150-250 Hz range. Kef Eggs are available at accessories4less, but beware the draconian return policy.
RSL CG3/23 comes in white. Top of your size range, but you'll need to go there (or similar) for a significant improvement (in your price range).

Other options include Gallo Micro/A'Diva or Q Acoustics 7000i series. However, these get you back into the 3" driver range where you will need a sub with good output in the 150-250 Hz range. Kef Eggs are available at accessories4less, but beware the draconian return policy.
Those Gallo speakers sure are nice and small.


I didnt like the Def Tech 5.1 I listened to in the showroom compared to the Martin Logan motion Flows which sounded much cleaner and fuller. Are these other ones a step up from the Def Techs and at least on par with the Motion Flows ? If I could get the MF sound from a compact speaker I'd be all over it. I was impressed by the sound they produced.
I looked at a lot of the other speakers mentioned and the poly Focals are a steal.
First class construction. I bought the 5.1 set for $1k to get four ceiling speakers for Atmos. I listened to them as bookshelves before installing and definitely could be happy with them for a quality small lifestyle system. Plugged in the sub to make sure it worked and it was much more usable than I expected, although made in China and not in the same class as the French made satellites.


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