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$2500 to Spend - Please help

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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Chad Potter

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Posted August 25 2006 - 11:00 PM

I'm planning on building my first home theater system. I will probably significantly upgrade in 2-3 years, so I don't want to go overboard at this point. I have about $2500 to spend and was thinking of spending roughly $1900 to $2000 on the speakers. I'm planning on purchasing the Yamaha RX-N600 network receiver for around $600. The theater will be placed in our basement. The ceiling is roughly 8'. The basement is in the shape of an L. The home theater/sitting area will be placed in the larger part of the "L" which measures roughly 19' x 16'. The remainder of the "L" measures 26' x 12'. I listened to some Klipsch speakers at a local audio store (RB61, RC52, and RS42). I liked the sound very much.

However, I have found may positive reviews on Axiom speakers and I am now leaning in this direction (but not sure). I plan on contacting Axiom tomorrow to get their input. I am currently thinking of the following 6.1 setup:

Center - VP150
Fronts - M3 (or potentially M22)
Surrounds - QS4
Rear Center - QS4

I was initially considering the Axiom EP350 for a sub; however, most people on the forums I've seen seem to support the SVS PB-10 or Rocket ULW-10. Given the size of my room, it may be advisable to get a larger sub such as the SVS PB-12.

I would love to hear your recommendations. Thanks in advance for the help. Chad

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   BrianTwig


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Posted August 27 2006 - 01:01 AM

No question, get the larger sub. The area you are in is above the PB10's abilities most likely. The SB12 or PB12 from SVS would be a better match.

Also, the guys at SVS are more than happy to take a look at your floor plan and make recommendations to you for what product best suits your needs.
My budget system constrained by WAF

Panasonic DVD-S52K
Marantz SR5600Marantz CC4300NHT IW3s all aroundPureAV PF60SVS PB12-NSD/2

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Arthur S

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Posted August 27 2006 - 04:09 AM


Speakers are by far the part of your audio system that will make the most audible difference. It is one thing to "read" electronics components before buying, it is much trickier to buy speakers that way.

Most important, speakers will always sound different in your room than they will in a showroom. Usually brighter at home. Klipsch and Yamaha may make for a very crisp combination. I would like that, you may not.

Buying speakers via internet is very cost efficient, but you have to rely on the opinions of others as to their sound.

Please scan the speakers/subwoofer threads in this forum about internet brands, as one make has received a good bit of discussion in the past month or so.


#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Chad Potter

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Posted August 28 2006 - 04:15 PM

Unless something major happens, I've made a decision regarding speakers. I found multiple posts on the Ascend series and decided to find out all the info I could on them. The Ascends (3 CMT-340 SE, 2 CBM-170 surrounds , and VTF-3 MK2 sub) and Axioms (2 M22, VP 150, and 2 QS4)/ SVS PB12 sub are basically identical in price (when adding the matching Ascend/Axiom stands for the front speakers).

I pretty sure I'm going to go with the Ascends. My reasoning: I investigated many, many forum posts. I'm sure both are great speaker sets. Several people though the Axiom M22 and CBM-170 were similar in quality, with the CMT-340 actually being an upgrade over the M22. I know the only way to know for sure would be to demo both sets in my room. The Axioms are supposedly more bright and the Ascends more neutral. But to be entirely honest, I would be happy with either. Either is going to be a major upgrade over what I have at this point which is nothing.

Aesthetically, the Axioms are a better looking speaker from what pictures I've seen online. However, I found at least one post that commented on the poorly constructed speaker stands that are designed for the M22's. The stands for the Ascend fronts are supposedly much more sturdy and even allow you to fill with sand. This is kind of important in our house as I have 3 children under the age of 5.

So, if nothing changes, the package will be:
Front L/R: - CMT-340 SE
Center: CMT-340 SE
Surrounds: CBM-170 SE
Sub: HSU VTF-3 MK2

I think I'm going to purchase the matching stands from Ascend for the 340's that turn them into a "tower". For the surrounds, I think I would rather mount them too the wall instead of buy stands for them. With that being said, I found at least one post with a very positive review of the B-Tech BT77 Wall Mount. I think I prefer this over the Ascend wall mounts (Omni Brackets), but not sure.

My main questions at this point:

1) Some posts I read have suggested that the CBM-170's are overkill for surrounds and that you can get away with the HTM-200. However, I'm a little leery of going with the smaller surround given the size of our room and the fact that we will be using it at least 80% for HT.
2) Which mounts for the surrounds and where to exactly mount them? I know the CBM-170's are rear ported. I'm not sure about the HTM-200, but I think they are rear ported as well. So, you would not want to place them flush against the wall. Will the 2 speaker mounts I suggested give enough "gap" between the speaker and the wall? Also, in the Dolby diagram the surrounds look like they are mounted parallel with the back of the couch and angled in about 20 degrees. Is this the correct location (parallel with the back of the couch)? And will both mounts give enough room to angle in at 20 degrees?
3) I'm starting from scratch. I will need speaker wire, sub cable, and power strip. What are reasonable choices for these items? And do you have suggestions on where to buy them online? I do not need to break the bank on these items, but don't want to skimp either.

Thanks again for the help. Chad

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Seth=L



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Posted August 28 2006 - 04:40 PM

I would get the Ascends but would go in favor of the SVS subs vs. HSU. So Ascends + SVS PB12 = Big Smile.Posted Image

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Chad Potter

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Posted August 29 2006 - 05:16 AM

Seth. Thanks for the advice. Just checked. The SVS PB-12 is actually cheaper ($660) shipped. I thought the HSU would be cheaper in the Ascend package deal, but it is actually more ($740). Chad

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Seth=L



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Posted August 29 2006 - 05:29 AM

The SVS should be better for your needs anyway, a win/win for you.

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Chad Potter

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Posted August 29 2006 - 02:13 PM

I am certainly a novice to this process. Over the past week, I've done extensive research online. And from all I've read, I really like the things that have been said about the Ascend series. I know that it would be ideal to hear them first, but this will not be possible.

So, I guess at this point, I want to stay with the Ascend lineup. If I don't like the sound after purchasing, I can send them back and eat the shipping charges. I have made other posts and some have suggested that the SVS PB12 sub is not enough for the room size and the CMT-340's may be overkill given the relatively short viewing distance of approximately 10.5'. Currently we have a 32" flat tube TV, but may upgrade in 1 to 2 yrs to a larger plasma. Given the above and my $2000 budget for speakers I think I have the following options:

1) CMT-340 x 3 (C/F/R) including CMT-340 stands for F/R
CBM-170 x 2 (Surround)
SVS PB-12 Sub
BT77 Mounts for Surrounds
Total $2110

2) CMT-340 (Center)
CMT-170 x 2 (L/R)
HMT-200 (Surrounds)
BT77 Mounts for Surrounds
??? Speaker Stands for fronts (?? Approx $100/pr)
Total without sub: $1128

Would then have about $1000 to spend on the sub. I could then upgrade to the PB12-NSD/2 or PB12-Plus.

Scaling back the center speaker from a CMT-340 to a CBM-170 could be done. However, from what I know you don't want to skimp on the center channel for HT and this would only save about $100 which would not allow another major upgrade on the sub.

A third possible option would be to go with a setup someone suggested (SBS-01 5.1 system with SVS PB12-Plus/2 sub). I know this would be an upgrade for the sub. However, I found at least one forum post over the weekend that detailed a direct A/B comparison of the Ascend 170's and SBS-01 system. At least in that review, the 170's were much preferred.

One other point. If I do go with option 2, both the 170's and 200's COULD be wall mounted. I am planning on definitely wall mounting the surrounds. Someone posted the Dolby suggested surround sound layout and spoke of putting the center/L/R in an arc with all 3 speakers equidistant from the listening position. If I were to mount the front L/R speakers, this would put them at a longer distance from the LP and less optimal. Am I correct in assuming this? I am assuming it would be better to purchase speaker stands for the front L/R if going with option 2.

BTW. Before making any purchase, I plan on contacting both Ascend and SVS for their recommendations; however, I thought it would be a good idea to get a less biased opinion first from those on the forum.

Would love to hear your thoughts regarding the options presented above given my goals, room dimensions, and budget. BTW, the ceiling is 8' throughout the room. Thanks again. Chad

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   CaptDS9E



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Posted September 02 2006 - 09:48 AM

Chad if you buy the Ascends and the SVS sub definatly post your opinions please. Ive been definatly thinking the last few weeks of doing the first combination myself in the next month or so.

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Chad Potter

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Posted September 04 2006 - 02:05 PM

I'm going with the Ascends. Going to place the order tonight or tomorrow. They are backordered however. Will probably get them at the end of Sept.

Going with:

CMT-340 x 3
HMT-200 x 2 for surrounds (talked to Ascend about this. They thought it was appropriate if doing primarily HT. CBM-170's would be recommended if listening to multi-channel music)
Sub - SVS PB12.

Will let you know how it sounds. Looking for a receiver now. Need something that has 2 zones and is under $500. Right now, the Yamaha RX-V659 is the front runner.


#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Pagash



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Posted September 07 2006 - 08:33 AM

That is what I am about to order, except for 4x HTM-200's for 7.1. I'm a little undecided about the sub, maybe the VTF-2 MK 2. So many of the recommendations for sub are overkill IMHO, so I need to do some more research. Please give us some feedback when you have your speakers up and running.

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Chad Potter

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Posted September 07 2006 - 01:13 PM

My room is about 5000 sq feet. I need a big sub. Chad

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   frog



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Posted September 08 2006 - 02:44 AM

I am also looking at a speaker system similiar to what you ordered so I am anxious for your opinion on what it sounds like. For the receiver I am currently leaning towards the Denon 2307CI, whenever it comes out.

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   CaptDS9E



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Posted September 09 2006 - 12:28 PM

Im going to be going the same exact route you are chad. Same speakers, same sub. Im going to be ordering this week as well