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Speaker advice for a newbie

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14 replies to this topic

#1 of 15 OFFLINE   RandyWebb



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Posted September 14 2003 - 08:55 AM

I am a newbie and I need a lot of advice...

The more I read the more confused I become. Every positive review I read I think "Okay those are the speakers I will get", then I read the next post and change my mind again.

I've taken to heart that listening to the speakers is most important, but before I seriously audition I'd like to narrow my list a little, if possible.

I am moving into a new house at the end of this year and this will be my first HT Setup. I 'm looking at a budget of around 2K or less for everything (Receiver,Speakers,Stands, Cables etc.) Buying the house limits the budget already. I will use my current dvd (Toshiba)and TV (35"), until I can afford to upgrade to HD. I also plan to start at 5.1, again with hopes of a future upgrade. The room is about 17' x 11' and opens to the kitchen at the back; tile floors and cathedral ceilings.

The following are the speaker systems which have caught my attention, in no particular order. (Am I wrong to be focusing on the sets instead of putting together seperate fronts, centers, surrounds and subs, they seem a little more economical or I am just being lazy?) As usual, there is a wife involved who wants the speakers to be as small as possible, so I am focusing on Sub/Sat systems. I made the mistake of showing her the bose cubes. I've obviously learned here that I don't want to pay big bucks for hype...but she loved the size. I also included the prices I've found the systems for (comments on that would be appreciated too!).

What are your comments on:

Energy Encore's $1095.00
Energy Take 5.2 $695.00
Paradigm Cinema 90's $936.00
Klipsch Synergy System 6 $867.00
Klipsch Synergy Qunitet II $594.00
Infinity Modulus $1035.00
Athena Point 5 $800.00
Polk RM 6700 $600.00

I know how subjective sound can be...maybe the real help I need is to decide which ones to take off my list because the value/dollar doesn't compare with the others.

As far as receivers, after first listening to the Onkyos, I think I am leaning toward either:

Marantz SR-6300 $565.00
Denon AVR -2803 $545.00

I know this is a speaker forum, but if a particular combination sounds better please let me know.

I will probably use the system 70% of the time for HT and 30% for music. I am replacing a 15 year old Pioneer stereo system (combination receiver, EQ, Cassette) so even pretty good speakers will be huge progress for me. I really don't mind spending more (Encore vs.Take 5.2's) if the sound is really worth the difference in price.

I planned to spend about 1k on the speakers and $600 on the receiver using the rest for accessories.

Also, can any recommend a good store in the Ft Lauderdale/ Boca area for comparisons!

I've read so much in the last 3 days my head is spinning Posted Image but I am really looking forward to your input. This forum Rocks!!!

#2 of 15 OFFLINE   RandyWebb



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Posted September 14 2003 - 09:41 AM

Uh-Oh I've been reading more and just finished Bruce Judys review of the ascend/Hsu system... Ascend will package CBM-170's for front and center with HTM-200's in the rear and a Hsu VTF-2 sub; shipped for about $1200. This makes it the most expensive set-up on my list...Is it that much better?..Is it worth the extra dollars? I think I'm out of control....somebody stop me!

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   ChrisLazarko


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Posted September 14 2003 - 09:54 AM

Both Klipsch systems are nice. I do own the Klipsch Quintet system but with a Polk Audio PSW250 subwoofer instead of the one Klipsch provided (didn't have the money then). Klipsch is a very efficient speakers and a bright speaker as well. It is great for movies but only ok for music. I like mine and I don't think I will purchase anything but Klipsch in the future.

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   david stark

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Posted September 14 2003 - 10:14 AM

I've got the denon AVR-2802 (last years model) and I'm very happy with it. As for speakers I haven't had experience of the ones you mention, but if possible I would go for bookshelf speakers as opposed to the sattelite systems, but this may not be an option. If it is then you can put off buying a sub until later. The beauty of buying seperates is that you don't have to buy it all at once.

#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted September 14 2003 - 10:43 AM

The ascends and for that matter JBL's are also worthy of consideration. Search the speaker forum for various posts made by Phil Iturralde regarding the JBL's. They really are a bit underestimated. The thing is, with some of the brands you've chosen, while they have their loyal following, and likely rightly so, can only be heard by seeing if a person nearby has them, or by mail order. Now there's a money back guarantee, and that's good, but you'll have to eat s/h...that eats into your budget. So I'd begin my search locally with brands that you can hear and if possible, hear in your home with the expectation of full money back if you're not satisfied. Cables ought to run you well under $100 so I wouldn't sweat those.

#6 of 15 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles



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Posted September 14 2003 - 03:31 PM

You should just spend some time and go listen to what's out there. Tastes differ widely, as do sound. I love paradigm, everyone else is gonna say they love some brand, it really doesn't matter, you need to go listen, and listen to EVERYTHING that is remotely in your price range.

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   CurtisSC



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Posted September 14 2003 - 05:28 PM

I'm with Chris on this. After comparing a lot of stuff, I became a fan of the value of Ascends. That said, it is extremely important to get out a listen to a variety of speakers and know the sound you like.
Manhattan Beach, California

#8 of 15 OFFLINE   andre-k



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Posted September 15 2003 - 05:09 AM

Im from the Boca area and unfortunately I find myself going to SOund Advice for my stuff, although I don't like most of the salesmen that work there. If you are going to go with the quintent, you should try best buy. I would take the quintent over the athena point 5 (I put a set of quintents in my fathers home theater room and they sound great) If you were sold on the energys from brandsmart, make sure they take a nice chunk off before you buy them. They work commission so they usually will sell close to cost just to get a few bucks in there pocket.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Mike_Gr


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Posted September 15 2003 - 03:10 PM

Randy, I suggest you find a dealer in your area who carries Wharfedale and then give their Diamond series an audition. The Diamond series fit your budget nicely and are one of the best values in the industry,IMO. I personally favor them over anything you listed in your post...aside from the Ascends (havn't heard them yet). At their price, they are very hard to beat. Take a look at audioreview.com and see for yourself how just how highly rated they are. The Ascends are also well-reputed for being of outstanding value and are definately worth looking into. Another solid internet-direct company worth taking a look at is Axiom.
Knowledge is power

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   RandyWebb



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Posted September 16 2003 - 12:06 AM

Thanks for all the help, guys. I've started the audition process. Last night I listened to the Infinity Mod's, Infinity Entra's and the Energy Encore's. I definitely preferred the Mod's (seemed like a much fuller sound to me). I'm really intrigued by the rocket ELT deal at AV123. The 5.1 system and the Denon 1804 for $1250 seems great. I just wish I could hear them. Can anyone compare the Mods, the ELT's and the Ascends. Are they a similar value? Also, any feedback on the RBH CT or the Rad Micro's? Thanks Mike I'll also try to check out the Wharfdales.

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted September 16 2003 - 02:30 AM

I’ve heard both the Ascends and the ELTs, but at different times—both are very fine systems at their respective price points. I know that Curtis has listened to both in an A/B fashion, but not for HT. In my opinion, the ELT center is what sets it apart (really just such a fine speaker), but I have not heard the Ascend 340, that I think is being advocated for the center now and makes it better for HT. For me, both the Ascends (at least the 170s) and the ELTs need a subwoofer, even for music. The ELTs are a bit more forward than the more expensive Rockets. I would say that while I think that the ELTs are very good looking (the cherry stained birch looks great and the cabinetwork is better than any speakers I have seen in their class), there are many who prefer the black box look. If you are in that group, I have no hesitation in recommending the Ascends. BTW, that Denon receiver and ELT combination was what I heard demonstrated in Dallas. Outstanding value.
¡Time is not my master!

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   CurtisSC



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Posted September 16 2003 - 02:44 AM


Lew is right about the ELTs, they do look very good. They sound much more forward than the Rockets I have heard.

I have posted my thoughts of them compared to the CBM-170 here with some pictures as well. There is also another thread here

I am hoping to listen to the ELT center channel soon as well.
Manhattan Beach, California

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   JamieS


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Posted September 16 2003 - 03:29 AM

I own paradigms, I like Paradigms I would not bother with the Cinema series.

As was mentioned if you are looking at NO HDTV yet all you need for cables and wires is:Speaker wire (Home depot cut to length of 12 or 14 GA should be fine), optical/coax for DVD, some rca cables from TV to receiver and maybe 2 S video cables. Stands for the front speakers and (if you can) wall brackets for the rear.

You should be well under $500 for all these.

The Denon 2803 is very nice for the price.

Some of the speaker choices I can't and won't comment on. I live in Canada and will probably never order Internet speakers. Too expensive with shipping and duty etc.

I have heard the Klipsh Quintet my buddy has hooked to his Yammi receiver. His wife loves how small they are. he loves the "detail" on movies. Personally the bight speakers with the bright AVR gives me a headache after an hour or 2 on movies. I really don't care for it on music. I find SUB Sat systems just are not very good for music. The sub ends up being less sub and more woofer becuse of the small drivers in the sat speakers.

Showing tour wife the Bose Cubes was a huge mistake. They think you can get decent sound out of little bitty speakers and how long will it be before she says "You know if we hide them behind a plant, put the others behind the shelf and that big ugly sub in the wood box no one will know there are speakers" YIKES now your 2000 $ system sounds like CRUD.

If you can't get a room of your own you have to turn the whole WAF to your advantage. Get bookshelves of some type . not huge ones the ELT or Acend ones are fine but not little bitty sats. If the wife says they look ugly give her a choice between the big ugly ones or spending more $ on smaller or nicer wood finished ones. You will be amazed how much you budget can grow if it makes the room look the way she wants it. Most sat systems come with ugly looking black subs. If you want a nice wood finish sub that looks like furniture you need a better sub

Posted Image

It sounds like you have an opening (probably at back of room) to the kitchen. Since you can't put a wall in try to convince her that a curtain you can draw across for watching movies etc will have so many advantages. We have an opening to the stairs in the basement. We may put a wall in but I wanted to cover it (for sound etc). Wife said that will be too expensive and look bad. I don't see the use. Well we spent 5$ on some wire and hardware and hung some tabs curtains from our ould hose. Cost $5 and 10 minutes of time. Now my wife LOVES it. The room is more closed in for movies (you feel like the theatre), the room stays warmer (curtains keep the heat in) sound doesn't travel upstairs as much meaning I can watch louder and longer, it makes the room darker and most of all it cuts down on reflections. Best $5 I ever spent.

I'm done rambeling now. Good luck. Remember if you wife complains about how big the speakers are you can drown her out cause you got big speakers ! Posted Image

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Karim_J



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Posted September 19 2003 - 11:49 AM

JamieS, What do you mean by the "NO HDTV yet" recommendation? If I am planning on getting HDTV (or at least the few channels that are offered) does the Home Depot speaker wires and all others make a difference? How/why? Thanks Karim

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles



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Posted September 19 2003 - 04:40 PM

I think he meant that you needn't run Component Video Cables. The rest, the audio cables and speaker wire is totally irrelevant to the HDTV part. If you had an HDTV, you'd want to get a progressive-scan DVD player, which then requires Component Video cables to carry it, rather than just the regular composite(single yellow video cable) or the S-video connections.

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