Help picking a pair of floorstanding speakers

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Agent WD-40, Feb 11, 2007.

  1. Agent WD-40

    Agent WD-40 Extra

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    I'm looking for some advice on buying some speakers for my home theater. I currently don't own anything so I'm starting fresh. I wanted to start with a pair of floor-standing speakers and then add the sub, center, and surrounds a little later.

    My first question: How important is it to get "matching" components. I listened to the B&W 704 speakers and really liked them. They were a little more than I wanted to spend at $2200 MSRP. I was hoping to keep it closer $1500. I wouldn't mind spending a bit more on the L+R front speakers if I didn't need to buy the rest of the expensive 700 series center, sub and surround speakers. Would this be a mistake if I didn't stick with the rest of the speakers that matched? What cheaper options would work with the 704's?

    Second, what other speakers should I consider in the $1500-2000 price range. I will be using my setup for home theater and music. I would put more emphasis on getting good speakers for music over the home theater portion. I listen to mostly rock (alternative, classic, punk) some pop, a little hip hop, country, and just about everything else. I really liked the open smooth sound of the B&W 704 compared to the more direct sound of the Klipsch reference series.
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Well, matching speakers are pretty important. At the very least you need to match your front three speakers.

    You might also want to audition Paradigm, Polk and Definitive Technology -- those are a few good offerings you should be able to find locally.
     
  3. og33

    og33 Auditioning

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    Timbre matching is important...whatever speakers you end up getting make sure you get speakers with the same drivers...most manufacturers offer 'series' of speakers with matching centers, surrounds, and subs (even though subs don't have to be matched to your specific brand of speaker) that are timbre matched. If I had your budget ($1500 for mains) and was looking for floorstanders I'd buy NHT Classic 4's...depending on how much bass you like you may not even need subs with them. You could also look at PSB or Totems, or Paradigm. Lots of excellent choices out there in your price range....good luck in listening....we can make recommendations but you have to listen and decide....
     
  4. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Hi Eric

    HTD Level 3 Towers and the other Level 3 speakers...or for for a really excellent pair of front L&R, the AV123 Strata Mini....Please keep in touch with me.
     
  5. Shane Harg

    Shane Harg Second Unit

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    B&Ws are excellent speakers for music (and HT) and if you liked them, I would buy them and forget about any compromises. If music is more important to you, then I would offer that a GREAT 2-channel music setup is much better than a fair multi-channel one. If you go a little over budget on speakers you like, save a little longer or take it one step at a time. That is, start with 2-channel and build up to full 5.1 or 7.1. I agree with the person who said that the front 3 speakers should be well matched.

    One solution would be to go with the 704s as your mains, get the HTM7 center speaker later on and then go with perhaps the more budget (but still B&W) DM600, DM601 or DM602s for the rest, depending on what you want to spend. I would also recommend either an SVS or HSU sub over B&W subs. They are likely better subs, with more impact, for a fraction of the cost.

    I personally have the DM600s all the way around in 7.1 and the LCR60 as the center, but they work great for HT. I am currently saving up, to get me a pair of 804s for a dedicated 2-channel audio system. Good luck!
     
  6. aht3

    aht3 Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm going to jump in and reccommend the JBL Studio L Series L880 or 890s. I have the 880, have ordered a pair of the 890s and love them. For a center channel, I reccommend the LC2. For surrounds, the L820 and L810 for rars unless you want another pair of 820s. all of these except the 810s are four way and the 810 is a 3 way I you want to look into them, I can show you where to get decent prices. I have a 7.1 setup (2 880s, 1 LC2, 2 L820s and 2 L810s in the rear with a HSU 2.3 sub powered by a pio 84 140 wpc. I tried the HTD towers and center and liked them but like the JBLs better. My room is 12x11x10. I truly believe that are a lot of speaker for the money. Very clean, crisp and open sound. These are not the BB or CC variety. Well made.

    thanks for listening.
     
  7. Joe S.

    Joe S. Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll second the Strata minis, I am looking to upgrade myself and they may be the best all around $2k set of tower speakers I've ever seen. They look to do everything for music and HT, even have their own integrated amp!

    They are really, really nice. Check em out.
     
  8. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    I can't recommend the Vandersteen Model 2Ce Signatures highly enough. For about $1700, they are the best sub-$2500 or even sub-$3000 full range speaker available, IMO.

    Of course, speaker selection is highly personal and the only thing that really matters is what you like. But I think you would be doing yourself a big disservice if you didn't try to hear these speakers before you make your decision.
     
  9. Agent WD-40

    Agent WD-40 Extra

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    I appreciate all of the input thus far. I have auditioned a few different speakers (Paradigm, B&W, Klipsch, Definitive Technology, etc) so far and will likely be listening to a few more.

    How much will I be giving up if I went with a pair of good bookshelf speakers in front with a good sub to help out. Something like the Paradigm Studio 20's and some sort of SVS sub. That compared to say a floor stander from B&W (say 600 or 700 series) or Paradigm Monitor or Studio series?
     
  10. aht3

    aht3 Stunt Coordinator

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    Agent,
    I am still going to recommend that you go to a Tweeter and take a minute to listen to the JBL L890s. I truly believe that they are a bargain. I have not listened to the other speakers listed in the other posts, just stating that for the money, they are a great value. I work with a reasonable Dealer if you are interested.

    Happy Hunting
     
  11. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I'd do some internet shopping to find a better price on the JBL L series... they're great speakers but Tweeter's prices are high (unless they've gone on sale recently). Tweeter is currently selling them for $700 EACH while they go new-in-box as low as $800/pr on eBay when they're available.

    I'll second the reccomendation for the HTD Level 3 Towers and associated bookshelfs and center as well as the Swans 6.1s, 2.1s, and C3. I'll especially reccomend the Swans if you enjoy the B&W sound and asthetic. In a comparisson I did a few years back my Swans 2.1 bookshelfs sounded better to myself and a B&W dealer than the 602s, CDM1NTs (predecessor to the 705) and were only slightly less open and accurate than the 805s.
     
  12. Greg Gable

    Greg Gable Stunt Coordinator

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    PSB image series
    Monitor Audio gold series
    Paradigm Studio series
    KEF

    Remember; if you are using a sub you dont need to spend a lot of money on speakers that will go low. Always match your center and mains. I am a firm believer that you dont need to spend a lot on your surrounds.
     
  13. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    I am in complete agreement with Stephen Hopkins...please don't let Minimalists and Purists who want to divert you to unnecessarily expensive B&W speakers...some of them like to sit around with rowing machines and $2,200 receivers and think about driving their BMWs...but do not have what it takes to actually make double blind listening tests so that they are actually in a position to speak intelligently about the real differences among receivers and speakers...they should find a store where you can switch receivers using the same pair of speakers...there are any number of stores where he could actually do this...however, they prefer to dwell on "intangibles" such as the "feel of the remote control"..just avoid taking advice from Minimalists and Purists. All in good fun of course.
     
  14. Greg Bright

    Greg Bright Second Unit

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    You'll find good prices on Infinity Beta series speakers that will fit your budget and your sound requirements as well. A pair of Beta 50s can be had for well under you budget and will make you smile as well. Infinity strives for a neutral, balanced sound. I think they succeed. Don't let my 10 year love affair with this brand influence you.

    Greg
     
  15. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    What about the Swans or Axioms?
     
  16. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Swans and Axiom are both great choices but with noticably different sounds. The Swans are a very neutral speaker, not overly bright or warm, very uncolored. The Axioms are a much brighter speaker (one of the brightest non-horns I've heard). Your listening preferences will determine which is a better choice for you.
     
  17. Luis Gabriel Gerena

    Luis Gabriel Gerena Second Unit

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    While I really like the HTD level 3 towers, if you are considering a stereo setup fopr $2000 I havent heard anything close to the Rocket Strata Minis.
    Regards
     
  18. aht3

    aht3 Stunt Coordinator

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    O have listened to the Level 3s and I will say IMO hands down, they do hold a candle to the JBL 890s and the LC2 center blows the Level 3 center out of the water. They are four way speakers and have a Kapton voice coil. They are also extremely clear and also IMO I believe they are one of the most understated speaker lines around. I like the Level 3s. I just like the JBLs much better. Especially at the price I got them at. I know where to get them for right at 1,000 for the pair.

    Thanks,
     
  19. Steve_Corrick

    Steve_Corrick Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Agent WD-40

    Agent WD-40 Extra

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    Thanks all for the help. I decided on the Revel Concerta F12's. It was down to the F12's and the Paradigm Studio 60. Listening back to back these speakers sounded quite similar. The Paradigm's sounded a bit more airy and open than the F12 but I really liked the midrange on the F12 as well as the better bass response. Given the price difference the F12 won me over.
     

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