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Sub $2K 5.1 home theater speaker shootout

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Joe Skibinski, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. Joe Skibinski

    Joe Skibinski New Member

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    Well I've finally narrowed down my choices so far for a 5.1 speaker setup...but would like some feedback on which is better or what changes need to be made based on people's experiences. I live in Sioux Falls, SD so listening to speakers at a nice audio store is not an option (unless you consider BB or CC nice).

    Ascend
    CMT-340m (fronts)
    CMT-340c (center)
    CBM-170 (surrounds)
    VTF-2MK2 (sub)
    $1,673

    Paradigm
    Phantom (fronts)
    CC-270 (center)
    ADP-170 (surrounds)
    PDR 12 (sub)
    $1,806

    Rocket
    RS 250 MKII (fronts)
    RSC 100 MKII (center)
    RS 150 (surrounds)
    SV PB10-ISD sub
    $1,728

    Anyone care to comment on these three choices or other options available?
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Well-Known Member

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    I like that first package, though I'd go with another 340 for the center rather than a 170. Is there a reason for that?

    For the $$, that Paradigm package is not going to compete well with the others.
     
  3. Joe Skibinski

    Joe Skibinski New Member

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    Oops, I edited my typo to the first post. I had the center and surrounds switched in the Ascend package.
     
  4. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Well-Known Member

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    I'd take the Ascends. Both the Ascends and Rockets easily outperform the Paradigm package listed. The 340s with that sub I'd be willing to put in a blind test against Paradigm 100s. The 250 is a nice speaker, too. Again my personal preference is the 340. The 550 is the Rocket to compare with the 340. The 550s and 340s sound very similar.


    Maybe order a pair of 340s and 250s to start with to decide which sound you like better and return the one you don't prefer and order the rest.
     
  5. Alex Prosak

    Alex Prosak Well-Known Member

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    I've never heard the Ascends but I can say that the Paradigm package won't hold a candle to the Rocket package. I think Chris's advice of ordering a pair of Rocket 250's and Ascend 340's for your own comparison is great.
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Well-Known Member

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    Will you get a deal on the VTF-2 with the Ascend package? If not, I might recommend going with the PB-10 instead. I just picked up a PB-10 and sold my VTF-2 (ver 1). For the price, the PB-10 is a better deal. Performance wise they are close, but the PB-10 is more potent and extends deeper.


    [​IMG] I was going to say 340s all the way around would be a nice setup, but I think 170s will work just fine as surrounds. My setup is very similar with 3 identical MTM speakers up front and 2 matching 2-way surrounds and it works great.
     
  7. paul clipsel

    paul clipsel Well-Known Member

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    I just did my bedroom with this setup except I got the STF-2 instead of the VTF so it ended up a bit cheaper. I am really very impressed with the 340's, as I had my doubts about them being worth it for the bedroom. Glad they talked me out of getting the smaller 170's.

    PC
     
  8. ChadLB

    ChadLB Well-Known Member

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    I have the older Rocket 250s and I did alot of 2 channel listening with a sub while I debated this is the route to go and I really enjoyed the sound they produced with my SVS.
    I think your best bet is buy a Rocket 250 and Ascend 340 and decide for yourself.
     
  9. Eddie Horton

    Eddie Horton Well-Known Member

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    I own the Ascend 340/170 combo, but have the VTF3-MkII. I am extremely pleased with my setup, and for the money could not have done better. The Paradigm combo will not compete with the Ascends at, or substantially more than, the same price. Having listened to many Paradigm speakers, this is not a slam at them, just an observation.
     
  10. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
    HW Reviewer

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    I'd give a look at a Swans/SVS combo. You could do 2.1 mains and surrounds, C3 center, and and a PB-12 ISD for under $1600, or you could do 5.2 mains, 2.1 surrounds, C3 center, and PB12-ISD for just under your $2k limit. I've heard the Swans, the Rockets, and the Paradigms mentioned. The Swans are an extremely neutral speakers, the Paradigms being a bit forward and the Rockets being a bit laid back. The packages i've mentioned include a better sub from SVS and one includes a great set of floorstanding mains that are a dead match for the C3 center over their shared range. Even with the packages you've described you could step up to a PB12-ISD and stay under your $2k budget.

    Also, the rocket center you've chosen doesn't have the same tweeter as the mains you've chosen, so i'd step up to the RSC200 if you decide to go with the rockets. The RS150s also have a different tweeter than the mains, but this is of less concern than the front soundstage.
     
  11. AlanZ

    AlanZ Well-Known Member

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    Magnepan MMGs (fronts) $550
    Magnepan MMG-Ws (surrounds) $299

    Phantom Center $0
    - or -
    Magnepan MMG-C (center) $299

    SVS PB-10 ISD $429

    Total = $1278-1577

    Factory direct....60 day in-home trial

    *If you happen to try these speakers, allow them plenty of break in time.
     
  12. Nathan Gillmore

    Nathan Gillmore Well-Known Member

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    I almost have the same setup as the first package, here is mine:

    CBM-170 x4
    CMT-340c
    VTF-2 (ver 1)

    I bought this after almost going with Axiom and auditioning Paradigm. I actually bought the Ascends based solely on recommendation for the various HT forums. Both the price and repuation sealed the deal, and I couldn't be happier. You just can't go wrong with Ascend/Hsu that's for sure.
     

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