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Looking for a small good quality speaker system.


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27 replies to this topic

#1 of 28 OFFLINE   JohnHa

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Posted November 17 2003 - 05:24 AM

I'm 18, just moved out on my own, and am looking to put together my first HT. I live in a fairly small apartment, so I'm not wanting something that will go to ear bleeding volumes. I value quality more so than quantity. I've looked at the athena micra 6 speakers, the klipsch quintets, and at the klipsch reference rsx series, just to give you an idea of the size I'm looking for. I work at Best Buy, so I get big discounts on athena and quintets. Unfortunatly, BB doesn't sell the klipsch reference series, so I don't get a discount on those. However, I have been looking at the rsx series on the klipsch web site. I might be willing to spend the extra cash if those really have that much better quality than the athena micra's do. (In my opinion, of the brands Best Buy carries, athena's have the best clarity, followed closely by the quintets). If anyone has any other suggestions or ideas of speakers in the $400-800 price range of this size that they would recommend it would be greatly appreciated. Also, I haven't decided on a receiver just yet, but most likely these will be paired with a yamaha htr-5660. (85w RMS x 6) Thanks in advance for the help.

#2 of 28 OFFLINE   Nhan_H

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Posted November 17 2003 - 06:19 AM

How many are you looking for? I assume 5? What about the sub? Is it included with the Athena/Klipsch package (I didn't see it as part of the package on their website)? Out of those 2, I'd pick the Athena. I'm not a Klipsch fan, but I've listened to both the Athena (AS series) and Klipsch Synergies. I'm more impressed with the Athenas, but have not listened to their Point 5 MKII system, so I can't say whether I like them or not. The specs on the BB website tends to favor the Point 5 over the Quintets. I don't know what the Micras are, can you post a link? At BB, I was most impressed with the Yamaha speakers they had. Seems like they were fuller sounding than either the Athenas or the Klipsch.

Try going to a high(er) end shop and listen to the Klipsch Refs to see how you like them. They won't make a fair comparison to either the Quintets or the Point 5s, since you'll be comparing apples and oranges. BTW, have you heard the KEFs that BB is carrying now. I don't know how they sound, but for the same price ($300) as the Athenas/Klipsch, they look a whole lot better. But let your ears determine the sound that you like.

Other speakers that you might want to consider (comparing to the two mini systems above) are:

1. Rocket Tykes (5.1 for around $400-500...can't remember which).
2. Hsu Ventriloquist (6.1 for around $500-600).
3. AR HC6 (5.1 for around $400....BB used to have them for $300, but don't carry them any longer).
4. Hometheaterdirect Middies (5.1 for around $500)
5. Energy Take 5 system
6. Ascend 170s (everyone who's heard them loves the sound, but looks are definitely not a top priority) Posted Image

I'm sure others will jump in and make more/different suggestions. But demo as much as you can and go with what you think is the best sound for your money.

#3 of 28 OFFLINE   JohnHa

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Posted November 17 2003 - 06:30 AM

Yes, I'm wanting a 5.1/6.1 system. The only problem is most speakers come in pairs so I couldn't just buy 1 rear center speaker for the 6.1. I'd have to buy another pair and then I'd have a spare speaker not being used. The quintets do not have a sub, nor do the athena mk IIs. (The micras are on athenas web site, and they are little so I assumed that's what bb has.. but apparently they have the mkII instead. my fault, that's what I meant) The klipsch rsx speakers also do not come w/ a sub. So, I'm looking at $400-800 for the speakers and then buying a sub later. The only reason I'm even considering the rsx speakers is because I found a web site where I can get all five rsx speakers for under $1000, so I figured I might just piece the system together as I get the cash over a period of a couple of months if they are really going to sound that much better in the long run.

#4 of 28 OFFLINE   Nhan_H

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Posted November 17 2003 - 09:10 AM

You might want to consider space limitations with a 6.1 configuration. Remember that you'll have to place the rear center directly behind your seating arrangement. For some people with a couch against the back wall, this won't be possible. Plus there's an extra speaker wire to run. If you're upping the budget to $1k, try some ELTs from AV123. They have a 5.1 package for $899 plus shipping. I don't know what their packaging for the system without the sub would be. This system has gotten great reviews so far from new owners. If you like the Athena sound, give their SF series a shot. Quite a few people have posted that they thought these speakers are a steal for the full price that BB charges. With your discount, they should be even better. Like I said before, I like their sound, but thought the Yamaha setup was better.

#5 of 28 OFFLINE   ChrisLazarko

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Posted November 17 2003 - 10:09 AM

I own the Quintets and I love them. I thought the Athena's weren't as detailed and it just seemed like they didn't cut it, but everyone has there own opinion. The reference satellites are pretty expensive and will cost you a pretty penny and of course being the reference series they are going to sound pretty nice, but I think for what you are looking for you should stick to the Athena or Klipsch. Another idea might be to look at the Klipsch SB-1's. If you work at Bestbuy you should get a nice deal on them, followed with an SC-.5 and a SS-1.... that would make for a nice setup... By the way, how much does BestBuy charge you for something like the SB-1's if you can find out? My friends works there but he is in the computer department... if you could find out for me that would be great.

#6 of 28 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted November 17 2003 - 10:14 AM

If you are looking for 5 speakers at under $1K, there are a lot of worthy systems out there.

Speakers are very subjective, you should get out a listen to speakers and find your tastes.

That said, I would say have a look at Ascend Acoustics . Highly respected speakers in the industry. You can have an outstanding package for under your budget.

Here is a recent review of the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170:

http://goodsound.com/equipment.shtml

I own them myself, and extremely pleased with the sound.
curtis
Manhattan Beach, California

#7 of 28 OFFLINE   JohnHa

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Posted November 17 2003 - 02:25 PM

I went to Sound Systems Ltd. (The only nearby high end home audio shop, they sell pioneer elite, etc, mostly stuff out of my price range). But they showed me the Paradigm Cinema series I belive it was. It was a satellite system anyway. $750 for the package including the 10" sub. Sounded way better than anything BB carries. Seemed like a steal for $750. I must also consider the fact that Sound Systems Ltd. is one of those stores with separate living room-sized sound proof rooms with complete home audio systems in each one. So it's not really a fair sound comparison to the athena and klipsch speakers in the big open, echo-filled best buy building. But I will say that they sounded really really good, especially for that price. This is for ChrisLazarko, klipsch offers bb employees what's called employee accomodations, meaning that I purchase the speakers directly from klipsch w/ an employee order form and I get them much cheaper than my BB discount even, and klipsch sends them directly to my residence. I can get the complete quintet system (not quintet II) for $200 w/ out the sub. The KSW "12 swf is $200. The sb-1's are $100 a pair. Sb-2's are $140 a pair. The sb-3's are 180$ a pair. In fact, I just figured it up and I get get a pair of sf-3's, and sc-3, and a pair of ss-3 for a grand total of $900. Not too shabby for a system that retails for $2K. I don't know if I really have room for a system that big though. I could get the klipsch quintets and a "10 sub for a grand total of $360. Or get the athena 5 piece speaker system for around $300, plus my discount on their swf. (Not sure how much it costs). Or I could spend about twice as much on that paradigm system I heard today. Tough choice. I really want that Yamaha receiver I listed above. (85w rms x 6). It retails for $499. I get it for $315 w/ my discount. So it also depends on which system will do that receiver justice the best.

#8 of 28 OFFLINE   JohnHa

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Posted November 17 2003 - 03:37 PM

The more I think about it, the more I think that it would probably be dumb to get the Paradigm's and not take advantage of that klipsch discount. I'm in a weird predicament because I could either spend $300-400 all at once on a satellite 5-piece system and be done w/ it, or I could take my time and spend $200 here and $300 there and piece together a better system over time. The later requires more patience, but if spending extra is actually going to be worth it, if I'm actually going to hear where that extra money went, I'd probably do it. I'll explain something else, I have enough room for floor speakers and a good sized center speaker, however, I don't know if I could really hang big surround speakers. (The hardware required would probably create big holes in the wall and when I move out that's no good as far as getting back my deposit on the apartment, unless you guys know of a quick easy way to patch screw holes so that I can fill them in when I move out in a couple of years. I'd like to be able to hear the synergies and athenas in a sound proof room in an a/b comparison w/ the paradigms, but Sound Systems Ltd only sells the klipsch reference series and they don't sell athena speakers at all. Another way to look at it is, for $750 I could get the paradigm cinemas, but w/ my discount for $780 I could get the klipsch sf-2s, the sc-3, the ss-3s and the ksw-10. So based on that, in the $750 price range I might be better off to still go with klipsch since I get such a great discount. I do appreciate the other ideas such as ascend accoustics, but I won't buy a speaker if I've never heard it. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

#9 of 28 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted November 17 2003 - 04:00 PM

[quote] I do appreciate the other ideas such as ascend accoustics, but I won't buy a speaker if I've never heard it. [quote]
Totally understandable...but that's why most of the internet direct companies have a 30 day no question return policy. And the best way to hear speakers is in your own home.

Or you could find folks with the speakers and ask for an audition.
curtis
Manhattan Beach, California

#10 of 28 OFFLINE   John Robert

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Posted November 17 2003 - 04:25 PM

You don't say what your discount is, but the Athena Audition system with AS-F2, AS-C1, AS-R1 and AS-P400 sub has a MSRP of $1430. Discounted to $1000, this would give you a "big boy" setup that you could live with for a long time...

#11 of 28 OFFLINE   JohnHa

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Posted November 17 2003 - 04:37 PM

I just went to ascend accoustics web site. I like the fact that there are stands available for the surround speakers. That would prevent me from having to drill holes and also would probably give me a good way to make the speaker wire inconspicuous if not conceal it altogether. I also like the fact that ascend accoustics recommends identical speakers for the front and surround speakers. I'm not a sound accoustics or physics expert, but logic would tell me that having identical speakers all around would make the sound more even throughout rather than having smaller or different shaped speakers, such as the klipsch surround speakers. Also, I bet having matching speakers all around would probably also be better for music. Am I right in all these assumptions? Also, are the ascend subs good?

#12 of 28 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted November 17 2003 - 05:31 PM

They are not Ascend Subs....Ascend sells Hsu Research subs which are excellent.

Yes, having the same speakers all the way around is ideal for multichannel music, such as SACD's and DVD-A, but it is less crucial for HT. You could also buy identical speakers from Klipcsh as well.

visit www.ascendforum.com and maybe you can find someone in your area willing to give you a demo.

I myself own the CMT-340l/r(not on their website), CMT-340c center channel, and CBM-170's for surrounds, and the Hsu VTF-3 subwoofer. Could not be happier, and the people that I have had over for auditions have been impressed, some have posted on the Ascend forum(which I help moderate).
curtis
Manhattan Beach, California

#13 of 28 OFFLINE   Chris Quinn

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Posted November 17 2003 - 05:32 PM

John- The Klipsch sound is one that people love or hate. I recommended that you take a pair home to listen to in your environment before you order a full setup.

Ideally, I'd do the same with the Athenas.

I don't know what part of the country you are in but try going to www.ascendforum.com and see if their is someone local who will let you hear their Ascends. Or get a pair under the thirty day trial. Shipping for just one pair if you don't keep them is around $25. Ascend doesn't charge the full shipping costs when sending them that is why it isn't just double the $8.

If you do decide that the Klipsch are for you I'd recommend a different sub. For budget considerations I'd look at the HSU STF-2 and Adire Rava. If you want to spend a little more on a sub check out SVS and Hsu higher lines.

#14 of 28 OFFLINE   JohnHa

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Posted November 17 2003 - 05:53 PM

I've been reading about the ascend accoustic speakers and it seems to me that ascend has made high end speakers, put them in plane looking boxes, cut out the middle man, and are selling them for much less than they are worth. Seems like a great deal. If I go the ascend route, which I'm strongly considering now, I would buy a pair first to see how they sounded. If pleased I would buy a center channel very soon, and keep that setup for a while. Then piece together the rest of the system over time. If I did that, I could get a much more high end system in the long run. I like the idea of buying from a smaller company. Alot of times the support is better than a large corporation. I noticed on the web page they recommend htm-200s for the front and surrounds, or if you get cbm-170s on the front, they recommend htm-200s for the surrounds. Why not have 5 cbm-170s all the way around?? Are they too big for surrounds? If I piece a system together by buying a pair at a time, that's probably what I would want to do, I'm just wondering why they don't recommend it as a package?

#15 of 28 OFFLINE   ChrisLazarko

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Posted November 17 2003 - 10:38 PM

dude if you can get that system for $900 it's a steal... I tink i'm gonna gonna have to ask my friend to order me some SB-2's... they are a steal at about $140! Damn... Thanks for tellin' me. Good luck with your audio setup.

#16 of 28 OFFLINE   BrentC

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Posted November 18 2003 - 01:07 AM

FYI on Klipsch discounts. When I used to work for Best Buy I struck up a conversation with a Klipsch rep who was there hawking their pro-media stuff. Anyway I lamented BB not having the reference series and he said "wait a minute" and came back from his van in a few minutes with a form and said just fill it out send it to him and he would get me factory direct prices on anything klipsch sells! Of course i moved to London a month later so i never took him up on it. But i still have his card. So the moral of the story is "Suck up to Reps!"

#17 of 28 OFFLINE   ericSchirm

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Posted November 18 2003 - 01:47 AM

BrentC- Could you hook me up with his contact info?

egschirm@yahoo.com

Thanks,
Eric

#18 of 28 OFFLINE   CurtisSC

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Posted November 18 2003 - 02:46 AM

John, The only reasons to go with HTM-200's are for budget reasons, or if you may have problems with the CBM-170's and placement (since they are rear ported). Five CBM-170's and a good sub would make an excellent system IMO and worth a try. Give Ascend a call, they will answer your questions honestly. The Ascend Forum is also becoming a good resource as well. As much as I think the Ascends are a great choice, you should definitely get out a listen to speakers as much as you can. Like Chris said, ideally it would be great if you could get the speakers home to listen and compare.
curtis
Manhattan Beach, California

#19 of 28 OFFLINE   Jon_Krug

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Posted November 18 2003 - 03:33 AM

i agree with curtis. i have not heard ascends myself, but i know the speakers that he has compared them to. trust me, they should be better than any speakers that u can get at best buy. axiom and onix r 2 other companies u may want to consider.
www.av123.com is the website that carries onix.
axiom i think is www.axiomaudio.com (not sure)
and ascend u already have.
goodluck

#20 of 28 OFFLINE   JohnHa

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Posted November 18 2003 - 06:07 AM

Thanks for the info everyone. With my BB discount I can get "top" (meaning biggest and most expensive) Klipsch synergies, which retails for about $2k, for around $1k, which is the same price as the Ascend Accoustics set. A little less actually. So basically, the question is, is a $1k set of Ascend Accoustics as good or better than the $2k set of Klipsch? I noticed some of you are still recommending Ascend Accoustics even after I explained about my klipsch discounts. That obviously says something good about them. Also, would it be a good idea to use the 30" stands that Ascend accoustics has for the surround speakers as well, or would that be too low? The reason I'm asking is that I don't want to screw wall mounts into the walls. (I live in an apartment).




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