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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greeting's all. I recently found this site and have to say I'm very impressed with the wealth of knowledge available here. So here's my question. I'm shopping for a set of speakers for an Onkyo TX-SR507. Basically the crossroad that I've come to is, what's more important, speaker quality or speaker size? Given my budget and the comparable costs, the two speaker sets I'm comparing are the Onkyo SKS-HT540 and the Energy Take 5 Classics. The Onkyos provide a larger surface area and double the drivers, but I'm to believe the Energy's are of a better quality. I think (from personal experience) that I would prefer the more emcompassing sound of the Onkyo's but I keep hearing great things about the Energy's. I have no doubt that I would probably be tickled to have either set, but I keep coming back to the thought that if I went with the Energys, I would be missing some mid-range due to their size. Thoughts?


Here's a photo of where the speakers would be set up. You can see it opens up to the kitchen and the hallway makes it offset a bit, but would still be centered to the TV and viewer. The home is actually pre-wired for surround, would I be dissatisfied with the result if the speakers were to be hung from the ceiling versus at ear level?

 

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At that level of speaker size won't make a difference. Never heard the Energys, but the Onkyo speakers have always been pretty bad. I personally would go with the Energy set (even never having heard them) OR preferably invest in a good set of bookshelf speakers that use your entire budget now (Paradigm Atoms/Minis, Wharfedale Diamonds, Energy RC10, etc) and add as you go later. A set of bookshelves and a sub (next piece I'd add, either from SVS or HSU) will most likely outperform either of these sets by a good amount, especially if it's going to be used for music at all. Then just add over time as your budget allows. The used market can also have some awesome deals if you're patient.
 

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What are the dimensions of the Great Room, including height? If it's not too high, you should be okay with ceiling mounted surrounds, as long as they are directed to the listening area. You definitely want your frontstage (L+R/C) to be at ear level, though.


Regarding of the two speaker choices - it looks like the room is too big for the speakers.


I'm going to copy and paste this from Audioholics :

Quote:
4. You went for those attractive little cube speakers because they're so tiny and unobtrusive, but when things get loud with home theatre, the sound gets strained or muddy.


They may look cute and almost disappear into your room's decor, but those tiny satellite speakers can move only so much air. They're okay at quiet background levels but the little 2-inch cones inside get rattled when things start to rock and roll. Nor will a subwoofer fill in all the important upper bass and lower midrange sounds that the 2-inch cubes can't handle.


Any speaker with any claim to authentic high fidelity, even a fairly compact model, must divide the sound spectrum into at least two segments, the bass/midrange for the woofer, and the treble for the tweeter. A single cone just can't do it well in normal rooms. As the price climbs, the best speakers divide the spectrum into three parts--bass, midrange, and treble--and use multiple drivers for each part to achieve very clean high-level high-quality sound.


5. You saved money by getting two compact speakers you thought would be just fine to fill your 25- x 20-foot cathedral-ceiling living room with high-level sound. But they sound strained and edgy when you turn up the volume .


A speaker is a kind of electromagnetic air pump, and a modest single woofer and tweeter can't be expected to fill a big room with wide-range sound at high listening levels. Too many shoppers expect a "bookshelf" speaker to produce deep, resonant bass. Unfortunately, the laws of physics dictate otherwise. Sure you can get listenable pleasant bass to about 50 or 40 Hz from a shoebox-size enclosure, but if you want the resonant, deep and satisfying sounds that a big rock band or orchestra makes or the deep rumbling of movie soundtracks, you must get a subwoofer or floorstanding speakers--or both!

What's your budget? If you're starting off pretty small, you may want to first invest in a 2.1 or 3.1 system with larger bookshelves or towers, and then add the surround later in order to get a sound that will be pleasing.
 

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 Wharfedale Diamond 9.4s might fit your budget too and you wouldn't have to worry about stands. However, the 9 series is being discontinued right now so it might be in your best interest to go for the matching center now while you can still get it. I know this is about double what you're looking at now but this will ultimately be much better than either of those sets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackzarg /forum/post/18232806


What are the dimensions of the Great Room, including height?

I'm guesstimating here but I believe the great room to be about 27x14x10. Like you mentioned, I think the Energy's would be too small. I guess my problem is finding a good middle ground for size and price. I'm certainly not opposed to towers but my goal was to get a 5.1 set-up for $400-500.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jprier /forum/post/18232832


I'm guesstimating here but I believe the great room to be about 27x14x10. Like you mentioned, I think the Energy's would be too small. I guess my problem is finding a good middle ground for size and price. I'm certainly not opposed to towers but my goal was to get a 5.1 set-up for $400-500.

IMO that budget is unrealistic for 5.1 for that room.


Ron
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jprier /forum/post/18232832


I'm guesstimating here but I believe the great room to be about 27x14x10. I'm certainly not opposed to towers but my goal was to get a 5.1 set-up for $400-500.

Another suggestion: Polk Monitors from Newegg. You can get 40s for the fronts ($150), a CS1 center ($90) and 30s for the rear (about $110). You can get a Polk sub for $120 but you'd probably be better off saving until you can get the PSW505 for $250 or something else with more power.


Good luck.
 

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Okay,


I have a similar budget, but I'm working on $750. I am approaching this in a different way. I'm willing to buy from alternate sources.


I have already bought a Cambridge Soundworks PSW1 subwoofer for $190 used (originally $600) and 13 years old. However, it was one of the best subs I ever heard for both music and movie crossover use. Regardless of age, that's a great deal for a great sub that I love.


Also, if you're thinking about buying 'used', email the manufacturer support staff online and make sure they are able to provide replacement drivers and/or repair services. Do this for ANY used product you buy. Make sure the manufacturer will still service/repair that product if you need it.


For instance, Cambridge Soundworks can repair my PSW1 subwoofer for $75 and ship it back to me if it needs fixing. That's cheep! It's a major reason why I was willing to buy this used. The only thing I was worried about when buying this is to make sure the cabinet isn't all beat up because Cambridge Soundworks won't repair "cosmetic" scars and bruises, only swap in a woofer or repair the amplifier. With the PSW1, you could take your time and find one on Craigslist where it's cabinet is in mint condition but it's amp/woofer are broken. Buy it for like $25 and have the seller ship it to CSW for $50 with YOUR name and address as the return address. You call CSW and tell them the serial# and you pay the cost to refurb/repair the subwoofer. Then when it's all fixed up, CSW ships you a completely refurbed and tested subwoofer for the total cost of $150! And you won't find a sub under $500 that is as nice or sounds as good for both movies and music as this does.


You could likely find some great deals on used speakers with craigslist but set aside a little of your budget for possible 'repair' if someone ships you a speaker with a glitch or problem. Remember, when buying used there are no guarantees that you won't discover a problem after a week or so.


That's my advice.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by boulderdashcci /forum/post/18232770


At that level of speaker size won't make a difference. Never heard the Energys, but the Onkyo speakers have always been pretty bad.

I've heard the Energy speakers. Horrible for home theater use because they have no midbass output and are 'thin' sounding at low volume and screechy sounding when you crank up the volume (because they can't handle high output).


It's better to buy larger driver based speakers, even if they aren't the best sounding. If your receiver has an auto-tune, it's going to help out the speakers upper mids and highs a little, but NOTHING can help anemic dynamics and bass performance. No EQ or processing can make a small speaker perform like a larger one at high volume (perhaps at low to medium volume until it runs out of xmax, then it sound like it's dying).

Quote:
I personally would go with the Energy set (even never having heard them) OR preferably invest in a good set of bookshelf speakers that use your entire budget now (Paradigm Atoms/Minis, Wharfedale Diamonds, Energy RC10, etc) and add as you go later. A set of bookshelves and a sub (next piece I'd add, either from SVS or HSU) will most likely outperform either of these sets by a good amount, especially if it's going to be used for music at all. Then just add over time as your budget allows. The used market can also have some awesome deals if you're patient.

I wouldn't rule out a set of old-school Model 6 bookshelves from Cambridge Soundworks. 2-way with nice 8-inch woofers for $99 a pair and I can't find any bad reviews on them. Many people report great music performance when paired with a subwoofer. I haven't ever heard these before but I am considering trying them out after reading all the good reviews. I mean, $99, free in-home trial, if I don't like them, I can send them back.


I'm thinking of ordering a more expensive pair of speakers from Aperion or Emotiva when they are on sale and at the same time order a pair of Cambridge Model 6's. Then I'll hook each set up and compare them head to head. Then send the loser packing back to the maker. The speakers I end up with will hopefully be the best bang for the buck possible.
 

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Everyone is giving you good advice so take into consideration what they say or go out and demo some speakers listen to them and see what you like. PLEASE don't buy Onkyo speakers, I have a 7.2 setup all with Onkyo speakers and I'm left wanting. Onkyo makes great receivers but their speakers are crap.
 

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+1 for the Polk Monitor series, its got alot of bang for the buck if you need to have 5.1 right now.


I find myself in a similar situation. I just got rid of a 5.1 sony home theater in a box. And I'm going to be running with a 3.1 setup with the Polk RTi series. So far I've only gotten bookshelf fronts, but even in a 2.1 setup I like it more than the 5.1 sony's.


Edit: Really the best advice is to go into a best buy or frys and listen to some speakers.
 

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Quote:
I guess my problem is finding a good middle ground for size and price. I'm certainly not opposed to towers but my goal was to get a 5.1 set-up for $400-500.

jprier -- a big question you have to settle is what your expectations are? if you are thinking of building a HT setup that will rock the house and give you that kick-ass, immersive HT experience in a room that size, the posters above are correct and $500 for a full 5.1 setup is simple not realistic for that room.


However, if you aren't a real critical listener and are just looking for the "better than the TV speakers" experience, and small discreet speakers (aesthetics) is more important than huge sound, you can get it done with a small sub/sat package. But just know that it's going to start to sound like garbage the louder you turn it up, as those tiny speakers will quickly hit their limits in a room that size trying to produce any significant volume.


If your expectations are for a "real" home theater experience, you will need to start with full-sized bookshelf speakers at the minimum. They don't have to be towers necessarily (although that will help) but you will need a good subwoofer. Skimp on the surrounds for now if you need to, but get those front 3.1 speakers up to par.


One option is to wait for Fry's to put the Infinity Primus P362 speakers on sale, you can sometimes get a pair of the towers for well under $300. These are very sensitive, easy-to-drive speakers (good for your entry-level receiver) that will fill up the room with sound. They are an excellent value for the money.


The used market is also a perfect idea...
 

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Energy RC-10s, Infinity Primus P362, Paradigm, Wharfedale and lots of good suggestions here. For music Polks were too bright for me. I had to change the stock tweeter to one that wasn't so bright.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by batpig /forum/post/18234947


jprier -- a big question you have to settle is what your expectations are?

While I would like a "real home theater experience", I'm not sure I would know one if I heard it. All I've ever owned have been $200-300 HTIB, and since I've lived in small places, they always seemed to "do the trick". But now that I'm making a little more money and I have more open space to fill with sound, I'm fully prepared to upgrade.


I do have a point of reference though as I used to install car stereo systems for a living (10 years ago) so I know how important good speakers and amplifiers can be and can tell a difference between a high end system and junk. I don't have the same tuned ear for home theater yet but what I have noticed is the smaller HTIB sized speakers never sounded complete.


The Polk monitors have been getting a lot of play on these forums and the prices are certainly right. I keep coming back to the size issue though. Is there an appreciable difference between the 5.25" drivers and the 6.5"? In car audio, and I'm assuming here as well, the 5.25's were a little more crisp with vocals and the 6.5's provided a touch more bass. I guess one could mix and match as well, maybe getting the 5.25's for the center channel and the 6.5's for the towers?


Decisions decisions...
 

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If you can, try to find a place to listen to them. I believe Best Buy carries the newer versions of the Monitors, the TSi or something like that. Ask if you can take a couple pairs into the Magnolia demo room and see if you like them. But most importantly, don't bias yourself by thinking the size of the drivers is going to be the biggest determining factor. Just go in thinking that they're two different sets of speakers with two different sounds.

Quote:
I wouldn't rule out a set of old-school Model 6 bookshelves from Cambridge Soundworks. 2-way with nice 8-inch woofers for $99 a pair and I can't find any bad reviews on them. Many people report great music performance when paired with a subwoofer. I haven't ever heard these before but I am considering trying them out after reading all the good reviews. I mean, $99, free in-home trial, if I don't like them, I can send them back.

I am very familiar with Cambridge Soundworks speakers and have heard the Model 6 on many occasions. They are excellent for their price point, however the speakers I mentioned are a step above. The Paradigm Monitors are more directly comparable with now discontinued CSW Newtons, like the M60 and M80 (which I own). The Model 6 doesn't exactly have the best aesthetics either....They aren't something I'd really want in my living room, as good of a value as they are.

Quote:
It's better to buy larger driver based speakers, even if they aren't the best sounding. If your receiver has an auto-tune, it's going to help out the speakers upper mids and highs a little, but NOTHING can help anemic dynamics and bass performance. No EQ or processing can make a small speaker perform like a larger one at high volume (perhaps at low to medium volume until it runs out of xmax, then it sound like it's dying).

Strongly disagree here. While I don't like the idea of tiny little cube satellites, I would not let size of the driver influence my decision if I liked what I heard. If I heard a 4-5" bookshelf outperform what I use now (6.5"), I wouldn't not get it just because it's smaller. I also moved from the aforementioned M80s (8") to my Wharfedale speakers (6.5") and I feel like I get much better balance out of the latter.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by boulderdashcci /forum/post/18235693


If I heard a 4-5" bookshelf outperform what I use now (6.5"), I wouldn't not get it just because it's smaller. I also moved from the aforementioned M80s (8") to my Wharfedale speakers (6.5") and I feel like I get much better balance out of the latter.

This was kind of a debate that was had in a thread I created. I pretty much proved beyond all doubt that smaller woofers don't have the surface area to move enough air to outperform larger woofers. There are a few exceptions like the material the driver's cone is made from. You might be able to use a really heavy material on an 8-inch driver to remove enough efficiency that a very light 6.5-inch can get louder. The reality 95+% of the time is, the smaller the cone area, the more it has to move and the more amplifier power that is needed to create the same amount of air. Smaller drivers perform better on higher frequencies but not on bass.


BTW, if you want to sell the M80's, I'm interested in buying a set. I would love to have my L-C-R front array to be the CSW M80's. But for now I'm still fishing for ideas. At the moment I'm fancying the idea of buying used another brand of speaker possibly using 3 large center channel speakers for my L-C-R's.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy91 /forum/post/18235968


This was kind of a debate that was had in a thread I created. I pretty much proved beyond all doubt that smaller woofers don't have the surface area to move enough air to outperform larger woofers. There are a few exceptions like the material the driver's cone is made from. You might be able to use a really heavy material on an 8-inch driver to remove enough efficiency that a very light 6.5-inch can get louder. The reality 95+% of the time is, the smaller the cone area, the more it has to move and the more amplifier power that is needed to create the same amount of air. Smaller drivers perform better on higher frequencies but not on bass.

material has zero to do with how much air is moved!! Well, I guess if a woofer has holes in it then...



displacement simply is a function of Xmax and Surface area. If a smaller driver has Xmax that equals the difference in the surface area then it will great the same output as the bigger driver.


I will agree that when we are talking about bass, nothing small is remotely good.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy91 /forum/post/18235968


This was kind of a debate that was had in a thread I created. I pretty much proved beyond all doubt that smaller woofers don't have the surface area to move enough air to outperform larger woofers. There are a few exceptions like the material the driver's cone is made from. You might be able to use a really heavy material on an 8-inch driver to remove enough efficiency that a very light 6.5-inch can get louder. The reality 95+% of the time is, the smaller the cone area, the more it has to move and the more amplifier power that is needed to create the same amount of air. Smaller drivers perform better on higher frequencies but not on bass.


BTW, if you want to sell the M80's, I'm interested in buying a set. I would love to have my L-C-R front array to be the CSW M80's. But for now I'm still fishing for ideas. At the moment I'm fancying the idea of buying used another brand of speaker possibly using 3 large center channel speakers for my L-C-R's.


A debate that you proved hu?? you may need to go back and read your thread!!!
 
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