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Discussion Starter #1
So I asked these questions in the EMP Tek forum but I thought I would also try getting a general opinion from other forum members. I am somewhat of a novice when it comes to home theater systems but I truly enjoy piecing together a quality sound system without completely breaking the bank. I really appreciate "bang for the buck" equipment. I have been fighting the upgraditis bug for some time but I fear I may lose that fight soon.


I'm contemplating upgrading my 5.1 home theater's Polk Audio speakers to some EMP Teks. I am getting ready to move and my new movie room is about 26X16 with standard 8 foot ceilings. Along with upgrading my speakers, I'm hoping to get a projector with either a 106 or 120 inch motorized screen.


I currently have Polk Monitor 60s for my front mains, Polk Monitor 50s for my rears and a CS1 for my center all being powered by a Pioneer VSX-1120 receiver. I also have an SVS PC12-NSD for my sub which I love. I am tempted to upgrade to EMP E55Tis for my front mains and a EMP E56Ci for my center. I take it I would notice a substantial difference in the sound quality when comparing my current Polks to the EMPs I am considering? I just want to make sure that if I spend the money that I'm going to hear a considerable improvement between the sets of speakers. If I were to purchase the EMPs, would my SVS sub work well with those or would I need to consider the SVS PC12-Plus? Is my Pioneer VSX-1120 sufficient in pushing the EMPs?


With those questions asked, I am having trouble deciding on my surrounds. What are the general feelings on the EMP E55WIs? Would those be better than my Polk Monitor 50s that I'm currently using as surrounds? I have been considering ceiling mounting my rear speakers. Is that an option with the E55WIs or are they strictly for wall mounting only? Would I be best with sticking with EMP for my surrounds or could I go a different route?


I have to appease my fiance so the better looking the surrounds the better. I decided I would rather fight the battle of having her accept the larger cabinets of the E55Tis and E56Ci and give in a little when it came to the surrounds. While the E55WIs aren't ugly, I don't know how well they would blend in if mounted from the ceiling. With that said, I'm not quite sure what other speakers would play well with the EMPs up front. I have looked into the Axiom QS8 v3 and ordering them in all white. I feel those might blend in better than the E55WIs but would they work well paired with the other EMPs? I know some don't care for Axiom but how are the QS8 v3s for surrounds? My main issue with that route is that I'll likely pay around $300 more for the white Axioms (with 2 $60 ceiling mounts) as I would with the E55Tis.


The only other route I have looked in to is in-ceiling speakers. Are there some that would go well with the EMPs up front? The Speakercraft AIM8 was one I've run across but wasn't sure how well it would sound with the EMPs. What would you all recommend regarding the surrounds?


Does anyone know how often EMP has B-stock available in the E55Ti or the E56Ci? It appears that they currently don't have B-stock available in any of their models or finishes.


If you feel the EMPs aren't the way to go, are there any other speakers for around the same price of the EMPs that I may be overlooking? I guess I would like to keep the entire speaker purchase under $2,000 and the closer to $1,500 the better. Is there something that would offer a significant upgrade from my current Polk setup for that price range?


I really value any opinions that are provided. Thanks for any input you may have.
 

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In-wall/in-ceiling speakers have relatively poor audio compared to free-standing speakers. They're also problematic when using Audyssey or other room equalization software.


The best way to find the best speakers is to audition them. Visit your local audio/video stores (not Best Buy!) and take your favorite music with you so you know what to listen for. Although brick&mortar prices are higher than internet prices, they provide services that internet resellers can't. Typically you should plan to spend 2/3 or more of your audio budget on speakers, 1/3 or less on electronics.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the tips Selden! Sounds like I'll look to avoid going the in-celing route. I will definitely be sure to audition some different brands before making a decision. Any suggestions on ones to consider?
 

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Sorry, I don't have any particular speaker model suggestions. A lot depends on speaker design, room acoustics and your own hearing. I happen to have NHT 2.9 fronts -- they sounded much clearer to me than the somewhat less expensive speakers I was auditioning at the same time. In comparison, the others sounded almost as if they had towels wrapped around them.
 

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There are several companies that make good in-wall speakers. In fact an in-wall speaker system behind an acoustically transparent screen has some advantages over in room speakers behind an AT screen. The problem is you have to use a speaker that has a designed enclosure, not just a back box stuck on an open baffle design. The problem is, you are not likely to find this type of speaker at your price point. RBH and Triad design in-wall speakers designed with enclosures and these speakers match their in-room counterparts. As an example:
http://www.rbhsound.com/si760r.php
http://www.rbhsound.com/sx661r.php
 

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I used the Axiom M2 and M3 on-wall speakers for my surrounds. They are unobtrusive and sound great. Here is a picture of the M3 onwall in black:

 

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Since your reciever already has pre-outs, I would say add a 7 or 5 channel amp along with another SVS PC12-NSD.
 

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IMO there are better speakers for the money than what you are considering; MUCH better for that budget.


Check out the KEF Direct website and look at these speakers:


A pair of iQ70 speakers for $399 each (this is an excellent price for some Class A speakers!!), plus a Q200c center speaker for $449. They are very nice-lookng and only 34 inches tall, so that should pass the WAF test...lol.


I suggest that you install those 3 speakers and then consider further options from there. First things first.


This will be a huge upgrade in sound quality for your system. They will definitely put a big smile on your face.


The Monitor 50 speakers will probably work OK where they are for the time being; give that a try. The center speaker you have is the weakest link of the system at present, and getting those 3 speakers will put things in good order.


I advise you to stay away from in-wall or in-ceiling speakers; the sound quality and power-handling are very limited unless you get some that are quite expensive. PSB has some that are good, but they are $300-400 each.
 

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I have the emp e55's, and i like them very much, very detailed sound without being overly bright. the e56 center is quite good as well, but it is quite large! I reccomend giving them a serious listen!(good return policy) Also I think they look absolutly georgeous!

walker17
 

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Discussion Starter #10

Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5  /t/1417317/speaker-upgraditis-polk-emp-axiom-etc#post_22167615


There are several companies that make good in-wall speakers. In fact an in-wall speaker system behind an acoustically transparent screen has some advantages over in room speakers behind an AT screen. The problem is you have to use a speaker that has a designed enclosure, not just a back box stuck on an open baffle design. The problem is, you are not likely to find this type of speaker at your price point. RBH and Triad design in-wall speakers designed with enclosures and these speakers match their in-room counterparts. As an example:
http://www.rbhsound.com/si760r.php
http://www.rbhsound.com/sx661r.php

Thanks for the suggestion AV! I haven't heard of those. I'll be sure to do a little more reading on them to see if they are something I'd be interested in.
 

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Discussion Starter #11

Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage  /t/1417317/speaker-upgraditis-polk-emp-axiom-etc#post_22167875


I used the Axiom M2 and M3 on-wall speakers for my surrounds. They are unobtrusive and sound great. Here is a picture of the M3 onwall in black:

Well I was aware of the Axiom QS8s but I did not realize they offered the M2/M3 in an on-wall option. That is definitely something for me to consider, especially since I can get them in white to appease the WAF. Not to mention they are quite a bit cheaper than some white QS8s. I assume these probably don't perform quite as well as the QS8s but I take they can act as a quality surround option? Thanks for the input!
 

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Discussion Starter #12

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_M  /t/1417317/speaker-upgraditis-polk-emp-axiom-etc#post_22167910


Since your reciever already has pre-outs, I would say add a 7 or 5 channel amp along with another SVS PC12-NSD.

I have definitely considered another SVS PC12-NSD or possibly selling my NSD down the road in order to upgrade to one Ultra. While adding an amp is not my top priority, it is something I'll likely do in the future. I've read that Emotiva amps are a pretty competitive option. Do you feel it is beneficial to put the surrounds on an amp along with the fronts and center channel? I would likely be deciding between the XPA-3 and the XPA-5 depending on if I felt the surround also needed to be driven by an amp.
 

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Discussion Starter #13

Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman  /t/1417317/speaker-upgraditis-polk-emp-axiom-etc#post_22167951


IMO there are better speakers for the money than what you are considering; MUCH better for that budget.

Check out the KEF Direct website and look at these speakers:

A pair of iQ70 speakers for $399 each (this is an excellent price for some Class A speakers!!), plus a Q200c center speaker for $449. They are very nice-lookng and only 34 inches tall, so that should pass the WAF test...lol.

I suggest that you install those 3 speakers and then consider further options from there. First things first.

This will be a huge upgrade in sound quality for your system. They will definitely put a big smile on your face.

The Monitor 50 speakers will probably work OK where they are for the time being; give that a try. The center speaker you have is the weakest link of the system at present, and getting those 3 speakers will put things in good order.

I advise you to stay away from in-wall or in-ceiling speakers; the sound quality and power-handling are very limited unless you get some that are quite expensive. PSB has some that are good, but they are $300-400 each.

Commsysman,


I had never really considered the KEFs but after you mentioned it, I took a closer look at them and they seem to be a very viable option. The appearance is very nice and should pass the WAF test. I take it since these are older models my only option for colors is black? These are one of the cheaper options suggested although from the few reviews I read, it doesn't sound like you sacrifice much in performance. Even the iQ90s are tempting at only $100 more for the pair. Should there be a local dealer that carries these that will allow me to audition them? My whole goal of upgrading is putting a big smile on my face while impressing family and friends in the process. I want to create a home theater experience that makes me want to stay home to watch a movie instead of going to the theater. As you said, my main focus is finding my fronts and center channel first and then turning my attention to surrounds and other equipment. Thanks again for the suggestion!
 

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Discussion Starter #14

Quote:
Originally Posted by walker17  /t/1417317/speaker-upgraditis-polk-emp-axiom-etc#post_22169526


I have the emp e55's, and i like them very much, very detailed sound without being overly bright. the e56 center is quite good as well, but it is quite large! I reccomend giving them a serious listen!(good return policy) Also I think they look absolutly georgeous!

walker17

The EMPs are what got me interested in upgrading in the first place and I am still very much considering them on my short list of possiblities. While I know sound performance is most important, I was definitely drawn to their imposing appearance. With their great return policy, I won't feel at risk for giving them a chance. Thanks for offering your experience with the EMPs.
 

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EmpTek's parent company is RBH which is a higher end speaker line that is only sold through custom installers. I have owned numerous RBH speakers over th years and have had the pleasure of touring their facility and speaking with designers and engineers. Really hard to go wrong with EmpTek at the price point they sell the speakers at.
 

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Discussion Starter #16

Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk  /t/1417317/speaker-upgraditis-polk-emp-axiom-etc#post_22170327


EmpTek's parent company is RBH which is a higher end speaker line that is only sold through custom installers. I have owned numerous RBH speakers over th years and have had the pleasure of touring their facility and speaking with designers and engineers. Really hard to go wrong with EmpTek at the price point they sell the speakers at.

Good to know! Thanks for offering up your opinion. From everything I have read thus far, the EMPs seem to be very quality built speakers and good performers, especially for the price.
 
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