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Speaker Budget up to 15K

841 Views 34 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  adidadi
Home Theather in Progress

I need help in terms of what speakers I should be listening to to match my tentative system

Denon Receiver AVR4800

HDTV Pioneeer Elite 710

Pioneer Elite Progressive DVD Player(when available)

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The Triad Platinum series will fall right into that price range.


D. Erskine

DEsign Cinema Privee

Imagine what you could do, if you could do all you imagine.
You're asking us about speakers, but lots of question arise given your equipment configuration and speaker budget -- you simply do not want to put $15,000 speakers together with a receiver.

Also, we need to know more details: what %music, %movie?

Size of room?

What kind of music do you listen to?

Are you willing to lose the receiver for some separates?

Do you want 5.1, 7.1, 5.2, 7.2?

Room configuration -- can you use dipoles or do you want monopoles, etc...

the list goes on.

Regards, Mark



Mark C. Davis

[email protected]

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I agree with the other members completly!! I used a Denon AVR-5700 for the last year. I just recently added a Cinepro 3K6II amp to the system. The 5700 is doing processor duty. The improvement is dramatic. I think most speakers in the price range you are looking at will sound best with more power than the 4800 will give you, IMO.



Rick & Carey's Home Theater
Hi, John!

I'll second that motion for the Dynaudio's. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif



Rick & Carey's Home Theater

[This message has been edited by RickS (edited July 28, 2000).]
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First, I would like to echo the statements of needing more information. You don't want 15K speakers with equipment like what you mentioned, but rather seperates. Also, they need to match the rest of your gear too. It's like buying the tires of a BMW and putting them on a Ford truck, they just don't go together. If you want true reference quality with that kind of speakers you need different gear for seperates to perform or else you will never know what the speakers "truely" sound like in the system.

I will third the motion on Dynaudio speakers, they are fantastic. You can 3.3 in front and 2.5 in back or 2.1 too. Also, I really like the B&W Naut. 801/802 series a lot from what I've heard. Either of these two are top notch and will even match or beat some of the Digital speakers out there at two times the cost.

You should put a lot of research into this to find what matches best and certainly demo the gear. Happy shopping.


I also lend my voice to echo the mismatch between the eqipment mentioned and the potential speaker budget. while the equipment mentioned is good and speakers are critical, this is a mismatch.

- Jerry
Here's yet another vote for separates over the Denon, and a very enthusiatic vote for the Dynaudios! My home theater would never be the same without them http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

Bob (a recent owner of the wonderful Dynaudios)

With that kind of generous budget, I'd definitely consider B&Ws all around, with probably Nautilus 802s in front, and a decent Krell amp. You'll get great sound, great looks (though you're wife may demure) and terrific resale value.

I would also very seriously consider Revel Studios, and an REL or B&W sub. But the Revel center and surrounds may make the bill higher than your budget (even assuming a healthy 20 percent discount).

Lastly, Wilson's new Cubs are very sweet and there's now a center and surround channel speakers to go with them. The nice thing about these speakers, aside from their ultimate high end cache and resale value, is that they require very little power to drive them, and will sound good with separates or the Denon receiver you listed. And as you upgrade your front end equipment over time, they will let you hear every nuance of your improvements. I believe they will fit your budget if the dealer gives you a similair 20 percent package discount on the surround set up.

Have fun.
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I would second SVS subs, for about $1000, you would have something that

would trounce anything for about 2-3X the price. This would leave

more of your budget for the rest of the speakers. The Revels are very good


What in the Wide Wide world of Sports is goin' on here
Seems like a lot of dialog here about price. $15000 for five speakers plus a sub is hardly out of line. $10,000 for a down payment on a house? Where?

These things are relative. Look in a yachting mag and you will see pages and pages of adds for boats in the 10s of millions dollar price range, and pages of boats that charter for $50,000 to $200,000/week. From the perspective of someone living on the streets of Calcutta owning a TV is pretty frivolous, why not spend the money on food for your children. For someone who spends $200,000/wk on a vacation, a $15000 speakers system is so inexpensive it would be like finding 15 cents on the sidewalk.

I don't see how we can help chalucky find the speaker system he is looking for by commenting on his price range and comparing that to our individual economic situation. Now if you beleive that all speaker systems in that price range are to revealing for his electronics, that is another thing. Although I can't help but remember how many people here insist that all amps and players and cables sound alike so from that perspective his electronics must be good enough for even the most expensive speakers.
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Having been through many speaker systems: B & W Matrix, Von Schweikerts, Full 7.1 with Martin Logan Requests, I can whole-heartedly add my full endorsement of the best possible recommendation: Dynaudio is the way to go. My only second guess would be a full fledged Meridian Reference system.

I loved the Martin Logans, however, once I heard the Dynaudios; Game Over. No more upgrading. I have the Contour 3.3's as mains driven by a Levinson 336, Contour center channel(1st version), custom Dynaudio sides(two Contour 1.3's fused into Dipolars), and Contour 1.3's for rears. All remaining speakers driven by Sunfire Cinema Grand. Bag End-18" sub is an amazing canon of a sub. Processor is a Lexicon MC-1.

I have no complaints with the system. The Cinema Grand could be improved upon, but I doubt I would hear a big difference since it performs flawlessly. I think that the Dynaudio speakers can not be topped by anyone. I would call it an accoustic bubble. Great, even surround. Very realistic, and it can crank to stupid levels. You'll lose your hearing before the drivers.

A great system might be the Dynaudio Cinema package, but with a Bg End 18" sub instead of the Dynaudio Sub. There is definitely something to be said about having the same, identical speaker all the way around. Talk about timbre matching...

Good luck.
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What a specious argument. Your component parts are mostly water. So does a human being merely have the modest value of a few gallons of Poland Spring? Of course not. Your true value is your human capital -- the depth and breadth of your experience and knowledge and wisdom gathered over your lifetime. It's exactly the same for these companies: they have learned how to source and buy components, research, develop, and build terrific products, and market them (no mean feat, that last bit). And in return for the capital they have invested in themselves, they get to earn a hopefully nice profit.

Come on. Save the socialist preachings for the weekly Party meetings in Burlington.
To tm311, there are more costs to produce a speaker than parts. Just like any other business. Labor costs, insurance, waste, rent or mortage, interest on loans, well you get the idea. I'm not saying that some prices aren't to high but there is always two sides to the coin.


Sorry, if I came on strong but a rock-ribbed conservative Republican abides by the primary directive: The marketplace and only the marketplace shall decide. You seem to have forgotten this.

Slighting manufacturers, as you did, because one doesn't have an appreciation for their businesses and their costs is cheap criticsm that must be countered by fair minded souls. These companies have earned their place. You try to do what they do. It isn't easy, and it's absolutely none of our business what their mark up is.

Furthermore, it's not as much as one would think looking at your erroneous equation. You've forgotten that the dealer gets half (approximately) of the retail selling price for himself. And please don't suggest that's also too much -- if they can get it, they've earned it, too. Retailing is a brutal, risky, essential component of market economies.

Hey, this is supposed to be fun. If I guy wants to spend $15K or $150K on enjoyable and sometimes even enriching toys (I'm thinking music here more than HT) and can afford it, let him. We're all the richer for it, actually.

Of course, one can always think of better ways to spend one's money -- and who is to say that your choices are better than his. You may think that your example of saving it for a grand kids college fund is a better choice but there are those who think that a parent's best role is to guide in life, not pay for it all, and that paying your own way through college builds character and teaches self reliance.

I see I've gone on too long. Just my $0.02 (anbd that's what it's worth).

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I see your point. What is the rest that could possibly make 5 speakers and a powered sub worth more than, what?, $5000? By the way don't forget the crossovers for the speakers and a power supply for the sub (was left out of your earlier equation). Clearly we are naive and are being taken to the cleaners by these snake oil salesman.

I propose a challange for you. You really seem to know your stuff when it comes to construction and cost of parts. You should come up with a speaker system of your own original design that sounds as good as the $15,000 ones! I bet at most it wouldn't take you but 20 tries and a few years of work and study. Then you go out and rent or buy the facility to manufacture them. Purchase the tools and raw materials needed. Hire the workers that build them. Get yourself a secretarial staff. Build a sales staff who will then build a client base for you. Convince store owners that your speakers both sound great and will make a profit for them. Man, you are a shoe in! When will we be seeing these babies?! I will be the first to line up to buy your speakers that sound as good as the set Steve Dodds suggested but, at your price point!

I know I had better be first because you will be out of business before the second 5 are built.
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Actually, I think tm311 raises a good, if somewhat specious, point. While it's true that HT component's price is rarely (if ever) reflective of the raw material costs, it's difficult to judge value without figuring it into the equation. Just look at some of the advertising literature for high-end pre/pros and amps - phrases like "glass-epoxy circuit boards" and "copper-clad machined-aluminum chassis" are meant to convey that more went into the component than simple stamped sheet-metal and knobs from Radio Shack.

The central trouble is that there isn't much to objectively measure the "value" of a speaker. If a set of B&W 801s are quoted to you at 10k for the pair by a local dealer, how do you evaluate whether 1) the asking price of the dealer isn't out of line. 2) The extra "value" offered by the speakers is worth it over a pair of klipsch speakers that are $1600/pair? In my particular case, the dealer I talked to about the B&W 801s profferred a frequency measurement graph - I compared that to frequency test reports of the Klipsch, and could find no significant (greater than one decibel) difference. Does that mean I wouldn't want the B&W's? No, but it does mean that I'll look long and hard at various speakers before I'll spend the 10k, as that is quite a lot of money for me.
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<< Lexicon's processing is supposed to work best with non-di/tripole speakers, which is what they recommend. >>

This is completely untrue. There is nothing about the Lexicon's processing that favors one type of surround over another--all the effect modes work equally well with either dipoles or monopoles. And Lexicon takes no position on what kind of speakers to use. You might find someone at Lexicon who prefers one or the other and will tell you so, but this is not an official line.

Dipoles and monopoles each have their strengths and limitations for surround use. This question has been exhaustively discussed on SMR forums in the context of Lexicon processors, if anyone is interested.


Philip Brandes
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I agree with the separates crowd. Plus, you can get OUTSTANDING sound for $15,000, separates, speakers and sub included. The key is that you can't purchase any one high-end-from-a-purely-expense-standpoint item. But consider any number of variations with the following electronics:

Proceed (only the AVP)

Theta (only the Casanova)



Sony (great value)


Llano (great value)







Aerial Acoustics (not the 10ts)

Definitive Technology

Ruark (if you find them, buy them)


There's a hundred others. But I would be thinking value, and, after the dust settles, you'll find very little difference between yours and any other high-end system. With the Mirage and the Definitive Technology speakers, you can avoid buying a separate subwoofer, since their better models have them built in. I would personally opt for a model without a built-in sub, since I've done it both ways, but that's a personal preference. You've got enough in your budget to do just fine across the board.
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In response to your e-mail, I guess someone else addressed one point. The Lexicon is fine with dipolar surrounds. When this all started: THX, dipoles were used. With Dolby Digital arriving on the scene, people thought that since the rear has its own dedicated channel, the whole principle of the THX surround should change. The dipolar arrangement works incredibly well. It creates an enveloping sound, and the rears are direct firing. With my arrangement, I essentially have the two front 3.3 Contours, the center, and a total of 6 Contour 1.3's for surrounds. These Dynaudio dipoles were custom built for me by an audiofile who specialises in making custom High-end products; eg: big subs... One pair of 1.3's were fused into one dipolar, requiring 4 to make both sides. They are as beautiful as the original Dynaudios with identical matching wood. They have incredible bass and could only pass as OEM by looks and sound.

I have never auditioned the 1.3's as sides, but I can tell you that dipolars have produced probably the best surround I have heard. Meridian reference system with 5500 direct firing as sides not with standing. That was also an incredible set up.

As far as my system goes, I can't recall having ever heard better. It is loud, clean and pans beautifully.
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