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Secondary theater for 3D Blu-ray / budget 7.1 speakers


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted May 04 2011 - 03:46 AM

I'm thinking of doing a small secondary theater build in a spare room. This room is very small, about 10x11, and would only seat 2-4 people at most.


This secondary theater would be for 3D Blu-ray and/or games. I already have a 3D-ready TV (Mitsubishi 73737) that I would move into this secondary theater. Primary theater would return to being a 2D FPTV setup (Panasonic AE3000).


If I go forward with this, I would probably get the Denon AVR-1911 receiver. HDMI 1.4, 7 x 90W amps, HD audio format decoders, and Audyssey MultEQ for $400. Looked at Onkyo, Pioneer, and Yamaha but their offerings are inferior in this price range (only 5.1 amps or no Audyssey MultEQ).


What speakers to use? I've read about some options but don't have a way to audition all of them. For my main setup I have Maggies, which have spoiled me rotten with their sound quality. Any other options I should be considering?


Option 1: Onkyo HTIB speaker set to pair with AVR-1911. There are three models, the SKS-HT540, SKS-HT750, and SKS-HT870, street prices of $185, $230, and $290 respectively. Reviews of all three sets are nearly the same: Best option in the $300 price range, but you get what you pay for (decidedly mid-fi sound). The advantage with any of these sets is that a sub is included. Any reason to go with the 750 or 870 over the 540?


Option 2: Fluance SX-HTB+, sells for $300 in a 5.0 configuration or $380 in a 7.0 configuration. I'd want 7.0. Is this significantly better than the three Onkyo HTIB options above? No sub.


Option 3: Stick with Maggies and slowly build out 7.1 over the course of several months. Start with a pair of MMGs ($600), then add two more pair of MMGs ($1,200) for side and rear surrounds, then finish off with an MMGC ($300). This is the audiophile option, but -- ka-ching! -- $2,100 plus shipping, about 6-7X the price of the other options, and no sub. I like the Maggie sound a lot but think a $2,100 7.0 speaker set may be overkill for a $400 receiver. Maggies are also inefficient and 4 ohms, best driven by dedicated power amps. But part of me thinks I will not be happy with anything less for sound quality. (Wall-mount side/rear surrounds, the MMGW are $350/pair and would knock $500 off the total but the room doesn't have in-wall wiring. That would make installation more difficult / ugly.)



Colin Dunn

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted May 04 2011 - 04:13 AM

Sorry in advance for not having much constructive to offer except that IMO, for a 10'x11' room with a 73" display, it's not worth it to even try cramming a 7.1 sound system in there.  It would be tricky to even get 5.1.  If gaming is going to make up any significant portion of use, then I would focus on creating a killer 2.0 or 2.1 system instead.


Also, in my mind, $300 for 5.1 does not even qualify as "mid-fi" - it will get you a basic entry-level system.  Double that budget and you'd be talking mid-level/upper entry level.  You'd need to quadruple it, IMO, before you start talking about decent quality.  Of course, in a room that small, you wouldn't NEED much...


I don't see the point in pairing a nice big-screen, 3-D display with such compromised surround sound quality.


Just my two cents.  I'm sure others will offer additional opinions.


Are you new to the Home Theater Forum? Stop by the New Member Introductions area and introduce yourself! See you there!


#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted May 04 2011 - 04:24 AM

Audyssey does help the sound quality of Onkyo HTIB type setups. I set up an Onkyo HTIB for a friend a couple years ago and was surprised how good it was for an entry-level system. But I wouldn't ditch Maggies for it by any stretch of the imagination...


I agree that 10x11 is a very small room to cram a 7.1 system into, which is why I was looking at small speaker systems. A system with 6 small monitors or slim floor-standers, a center, and a sub would be perfect for this space.



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#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted May 04 2011 - 08:23 AM

Found another option ... SVS sells a bookshelf monitor for $200/pair and a matching center for $150. The three pair of bookshelves would also needs stands at $55/pair.


That would be $915 for a 7.0 setup.



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#5 of 9 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted May 04 2011 - 10:22 AM

SVS would be so much better than the Onkyo's (I like the 540 best out of those three) or the Fluance (good rep for the price). $165 is a lot to pay for stands. I built my own out of would bought from Home Depot. They have a wide assortment of custom pre-cut trim pieces to really finish things off nicely.


Also look at the Polk-Monitor series from Newegg.com. A pair of Monitor-40's ($119/pr), 30's ($119/pr) and a CS1 ($64) plus a sub from PartsExpress.com would be about 1/2 the price (well, maybe a little more than 1/2) than the SVS system but, of coures, wouldn't sound quite as good. Stll a great deal theough. And the 3 driver Monitor 60 towers are only $119 a piece as well.


Infinity Primus series, if you can find them for a good price.


But if you're comfortable spending the money on SVS then that's the thing to do.


"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted May 04 2011 - 04:16 PM

The build-out of the theater has begun! After looking at reviews all evening, I went with the Newegg sale on Polks in a 7.0 configuration:


Front: Polk Monitor 70 (Series II) - $340/pair

Side / rear surrounds: Polk Monitor 50 (Series II) - $160/pair

Center: Polk CS2 (Series II) (open box for $80)


A full-range 7.0 speaker configuration with real two- and three-way speakers for $740 plus shipping (total of $776.44). Should be a respectable step up from an Onkyo HTiB and do justice to 3D Blu-ray / 73" DLP. I'm not expecting these to equal the refinement of Magneplanars, but hopefully I will get reasonably good sound quality (after Audyssey MultEQ) without breaking the bank.


Why didn't I go with Monitor 30s or 40s for surrounds? By the time I factored in the cost of speaker stands ($50+ / pair), the Monitor 50s were comparable in cost. Reviews tell me they may not have much more bass than a Monitor 40, but the "stand" is included in the price. :)


Next, I'll have to track down good deals on the receiver (Denon AVR-1611 or -1911) and 3D Blu-ray player (LG 670). I'll have to listen to the Polks before deciding whether or not to add that sub from Parts Express. Their subs look like they are decent and affordable, though a "real" sub in a small room may be a bit overwhelming. I expect the Monitor 70s will have plenty of bass for a small room.



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#7 of 9 OFFLINE   winniw

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Posted May 04 2011 - 07:12 PM

Wow.  You sure make decisions quickly.  I was... and still am, going to recommend the Mirage NanoSat 5.1 system for situations like yours.  They are relatively small, rather omni-directional and very transparent sounding.  This makes them great for a small room, easy to place and no boxey sound (kinda like Maggies).

  http://www.amazon.co...04578495&sr=1-1


I drive mine with a Marantz SR7005 and they sound very good... they look good too.  They do not have the scale for large orchestral music but they are not floorstanders after all.  They are excellent for movies.


Well, I know that I got here too late to help you but no doubt there are others who read this thread and may benefit.  I'm sure that the Polks are decent units, but I fear that you will hear the box and never be truly satisfied with them, having been spoiled by the Maggies.


I think with the 1911 (which would be my top pick for a receiver under $500) you get HD radio (which I think is a must have) and a iPod/USB/flash drive port, which may come in handy.  Also, you get 90 watts instead of 75, pre-amp outputs for zone two, video conversion... video scaling and well, that's about it.

Nick



#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted May 05 2011 - 04:10 AM

I thought about sub-sat systems like the Mirage, but the problem with ultra-compact and bookshelf speakers is stands / mounting. The room isn't prewired for wall-mount speakers, and stands for the Mirage add $67/pair to the cost. Two pair ($134) would be needed for a 5.1 setup, a third pair and an extra couple of cubes for 7.1. But for people whose rooms can accommodate this type of speaker they can work very well.


Fortunately, the Polks are for a secondary setup so I'm not giving up the Maggies.


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#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Al.Anderson

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Posted May 05 2011 - 10:58 PM

I'm late, but I have a secondary system in a 12x13 room (well secondary for movies, primary for music), and I agree that 7.1 is overkill, although I'm glad I went 5.1.  I use Axiom speakers on shelves for the front, and Advent mini's on shelves for the surrounds.