Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo

Electra, Rockets or Thiel?


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
38 replies to this topic

#1 of 39 OFFLINE   Hisham Harun

Hisham Harun

    Extra



  • 15 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 2002

Posted December 01 2002 - 12:37 PM

Hi, this floundering newbie needs help. Just ordered a B&K ref50 and ref 200.7. Now looking for speakers and subwoofers.

After going through a whole load of literature (on the HTF and AVS forums) I've narrowed things down to JM Labs' Electra 936, Onix's 750 Rockets and Thiel CS1.6 or maybe 2.3.

My budget is around US$10,000 for the works -- 7.1. Wish I could afford more but really need to put the cap on... somewhere.

I love to dream with Anita Baker when she sings "Sweet Love" and experience total breakdown when Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli insist its "Time To say goodbye"

However, I equally like getting thoroughly embroiled in a good fight without pulling back on the punches... Dush, Dush, Dush... (Ouch that really hurt! Hey, did I really feel it?)

You get the drift.

So, what could it be for me?

I would really appreciate any input from all you experts out there. Thank you so much!

#2 of 39 OFFLINE   PomingF

PomingF

    Second Unit



  • 343 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2000

Posted December 01 2002 - 02:10 PM

That's a pretty good budget esp if you shop around here in the US, not knowing if you're actually doing this in Malaysia though. For speakers @ that price range you really have to listen for yourself to decide.

FWIW there's a brand new review on the Rockets just went up on the Audio Revolution website for your reference. Sorry I had not listened to neither the JMLab nor the Thiel but they are both by very reputable companies known for making very good speakers. In my own comparison with other speakers I have (B&W, Magnepan, Def Tech & Swan Diva) the Rockets did a more than admirable job.

PF

#3 of 39 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

Chu Gai

    Lead Actor



  • 7,270 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 29 2001

Posted December 01 2002 - 02:15 PM

what's available in your area that you can listen to and hopefully be able to audition in your home?

#4 of 39 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

Kevin C Brown

    Producer



  • 5,713 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 03 2000

Posted December 01 2002 - 02:45 PM

Thiel is a time-aligned/phase correct design. Neither of the other two are. Some people believe that you can get better sound because of that. I have Vandersteens, which also subscribe to that design methodology, and I would agree. But only you can decide what will sound better to you in your system. Posted Image

I came across this site www.audiovideoreviews.com which has awesome speaker reviews (the reviews with the NRC logo next to them).

www.Audioreview.com and www.ecoustics.com also may be good sites to check out.
If it's not worth waiting until the last minute to do, then it's not worth doing.

KevinVision 7.1 ...

#5 of 39 OFFLINE   Hisham Harun

Hisham Harun

    Extra



  • 15 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 2002

Posted December 01 2002 - 02:49 PM

PomingF and Chu Gai. Sorry, so, so sorry for not having replied earlier. Very new to this and didn't really know that the response would be like super prompt.

Firstly, thanks PomingF for your opinion on the Rockets. But that still leaves the question of comparison among the three systems...

Chu Gai, I've listened to the Electra and loved them. But I just want to be really, really sure. What with such fantastic reviews of the Thiel and Rockets...

Help!

#6 of 39 OFFLINE   Hisham Harun

Hisham Harun

    Extra



  • 15 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 2002

Posted December 01 2002 - 02:54 PM

Kevin,

Thanks for the site add. Will definitely look it up. Will welcome more input though.
Posted Image

#7 of 39 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

Chu Gai

    Lead Actor



  • 7,270 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 29 2001

Posted December 01 2002 - 04:36 PM

I haven't heard the rockets but regarding that particular brand, consider for a moment that the new kid in town always gets a lot of attention. My general understanding regarding these speaker is that they sound decent and the fit and finish is quite good. Mr. Mike Knapp, who has a site over at www.hometheatertalk.com spoke most favorably about them. Perhaps because I haven't looked very hard, I've yet to see a real in depth review involving instrumental measurements in addition to the usual listening evaluations. The cabinetry is made in china with the crossover network having been developed by a Mr. Richard Pierce, a very intelligent and knowledgeable individual. I've no idea if the development work on these speakers involved any significant amounts of instrumental testing. Myself, I'm not a big fan of speakers that don't have research behind them, but that's just me.
Being as you're in Malaysia, I'd hazard to say there are probably a large number of speakers that are local to your area that I'd be looking at especially when one considers that there are companies here in the US buying speakers made in China and then reselling them here at ten times or more than their chinese retail. You've got a lot of money there...take your time.

#8 of 39 OFFLINE   Alex Prosak

Alex Prosak

    Supporting Actor



  • 765 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 2001

Posted December 01 2002 - 06:07 PM

Being that you're in Kuala Lumpur and I have no idea what speakers are available for audition, I'd recommend not buying the Thiels based on reviews unless you're very familiar with the reviewer and their tastes match yours. You really shouldn't buy any speakers based on anyone else's review besides your own.

I couple of months ago I auditioned the 1.6s at a dealer and loved them, thought they would definitely be my next speaker. I brought them home for a weekend and could only listen to them for half an hour. They have excellent imaging and sound staging but I found them to be very bright and had my ears ringing for a couple of hours after listening to them.

Everyone has different tastes and a lot of people love Thiels. They may be just what you're looking for but they didn't suit me.

Good luck.


#9 of 39 OFFLINE   Hisham Harun

Hisham Harun

    Extra



  • 15 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 2002

Posted December 01 2002 - 06:29 PM

Thanks Chu Gai.

Went to the recommended site and discovered that I'd read the review before. Thanks all the same... also for the extra info about the speakers having parts made in China.

Interesting indeed. Maybe that's how the company's been able to price their speakers a tad lower than others in the category.

As for Malaysia having a wide array of speakers... yes, there are plenty, that's why I'm relying heavily on input from people like you. Also, because I'm so greeeen.

You know what? The very people I ordered my B&K combo from, had quoted their Energy 936 (7.1) at RM60000.

Thank God, yours truly, a usually gullible fool, had the foresight to do a little research and found that another dealer is retailing the same stuff for US$5000 less! Yup, you're counting the zeros right my friend. It's daylight robbery!

I must have SUCKER written all over my forehead, or something huh?

Sorry we're digressing here a little.

Now that I've got that off my chest... To the issue at hand; hasn't anyone really auditioned all the three systems?

#10 of 39 OFFLINE   Hisham Harun

Hisham Harun

    Extra



  • 15 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 2002

Posted December 01 2002 - 06:37 PM

Hi Alex,

I had read somewhere about that problem with the Thiels too. But someone said it needs some breaking in. And they swore that the Thiels started blossoming and blooming with time.

How else would you explain the way they sounded at the showroom?

I take it that you didn't keep the 1.6s. So what did you get. Or what are you contemplating?

As for the reviews, I do really rely on the reviews by some of the magazines I've read online. They don't mince their words. If the setup is crap. They say so.

Also, I bought the B&K based on Jeff Fritz's recommendations. Tested the receiver, loved the thing and bought the version that came after.

Thanks for your concern Alex. Posted Image

#11 of 39 OFFLINE   Mike_Ch

Mike_Ch

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 248 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 26 2001

Posted December 01 2002 - 07:31 PM

Hisham,

Why in particular are you limiting yourself to these three brands only? There are many, many speaker systems out there in this price range. Among them- B&W Nautilus, Magneplanar 3.6/1.6 system, Tannoy Definition/Dimension series, Proac Responses, Dynaudio Contour, ATC, PMC, Kef Reference, Martin Logans, Revel Performa series, Monitor Audio Gold Reference... the list goes on. Any of these sound excellent, but which one sounds the best to you can only be answered by one person. Posted Image

As for relying on reviews for speakers, everyone (yes, even reviewers) have their own tastes, and what one person's trash is another person's treasure. This also applies to all opinions expressed on this board- which is why you should rely on your own ears, after getting suggestions from the boards. I would strongly recommend finding out what dealers in your area stock, and listening to these speakers in a proper demo with your own music/dvd's, and then narrow your list down to three speaker systems. I don't know how much it costs to ship the Onix's to Malayasia (including customs), but I am pretty sure you can do better value for money with a local purchase.

If I can make a suggestion with the JMLab's- you can probably get a 7.1 Utopia setup (their Mini/Micro Utopia) for not much more than the Electra 936's since they are on run-out (a new series is being released with the Beryllium tweeter)- these are better sounding, better built speakers than the 900 range.

Cheers,
Mike

P.S. The issue of paid advertising in magazines (online too) has been raised before so I won't go into it, but its another reason why you should audition thoroughly before you buy. To be frank, I find some reviews to be BS. $10K is a big sum of money to be spending in any man's language.

#12 of 39 OFFLINE   Hisham Harun

Hisham Harun

    Extra



  • 15 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 2002

Posted December 01 2002 - 08:42 PM

Mike,

I just have to rely on the reviews. To audition all those speakers would just kill me. Look at your list alonePosted Image
And now, I'll surely have to add to the three, this other JM Lab line you've suggested. Oh dear... when is this going to end...
But I'm also concurrently elated to know of this new model. Trust my dealer to keep this information from me! Or maybe he too didn't know about it...

Could you steer me in the right direction. Or maybe I should give JM Lab a call?

I also didn't know that the Mini Utopia was within my grasp. Again, thanks for telling me this. I thought everything under the Utopia line, like the Grande model was out of reach for have nots like me.

Then again, will need to check this out. You know how some dealers are. If they can squeeze you to a pulp...Posted Image

#13 of 39 OFFLINE   Hisham Harun

Hisham Harun

    Extra



  • 15 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 2002

Posted December 01 2002 - 09:00 PM

Mike,

About my trust in reviewers, call it a journalist's intuition or just gut feeling, but I am of the opinion that only when a person is passionate about something can he or she really express himself/herself completely, honestly and whole-heartedly.

Should he/she not be enthusiastic about the speaker system in question, his/her style of delivery would "tell" on him.

The way a person expresses his likes -- the words he chooses -- would indicate if he is aggressive, a go getter sort or the genteel, articulate, very fine, distinguished type.

Translated into HT, for the former, this would spell action, lots of strong, tight base, power and strength with no compromise. (also read: this person likes his coffee strong)

And for the later, silent strength, a measure of soothing, refinement (also read: this man loves his music very neutral, as they come. A purist if you must)

And I, unabashly, fall in the first category.

Am I making any sense? I dunno. I'm getting giddy myself... haha!

Thanks anyways, sir! Cheers
Posted Image

#14 of 39 OFFLINE   Mike_Ch

Mike_Ch

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 248 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 26 2001

Posted December 01 2002 - 10:14 PM

Hisham,

I am guessing I should have read your profile before I typed that P.S, no idea you were a journalist too- no disrespect intended :b.

Quote:
I'm getting giddy myself... haha!

Yes indeed, some reviews have what I call a big "drool-factor" Posted Image

I'm not sure about the prices in Malaysia, but the Micro Utopia sold for about US$5K new (per pair), and are US$4K now. The Mini Utopia sold for about US$7K, and is now US$5K. These prices are for the standard (wood) finish, and the black ebony is US$500 cheaper for both. I was under the impression that the 936's slotted in between these price points (US$6K), so at the new prices, the Utopia series would be a bargain indeed. And if you get a 7.1 package, expect a discount on top of those prices (well, maybe not, depending how anal your dealer is Posted Image).

Quote:
Thanks anyways, sir! Cheers

No problem, this is why we're here Posted Image

Cheers,
Mike

#15 of 39 OFFLINE   Mike Knapp

Mike Knapp

    Supporting Actor



  • 637 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 04 1997
  • Real Name:Mike

Posted December 01 2002 - 10:42 PM

Hisham,

Dont let the price of the Rockets dissuade you in any way. They are severely underpriced in my opinion. I am a music lover first and a home theater lover second...by a nose Posted Image I have heard many speakers but none in the price ballpark with these Rockets can hold a candle to them. To get better speakers at a lower cost you would have to DIY them.

For music they were fabulous. I like jazz mostly and these speakers shone with the acoustic instruments. For home theater the set was some of the best, cohesive sound Id heard.

Honestly, I have heard Theils and they do indeed sound incredible, but they arent cheap. If auditioning the speakers you want to hear is not an option, I can only offer my opinion of the Rockets. I dont think you would regret their acquisition for a moment.

It is doubtful you will find someone that has heard all three speakers you are asking about in the same room with the same equipment. You may need to make a leap of faith.

Welcome to Home Theater Forum, you are in good hands here, there are many knowledgeable members to offer you sound advice! Posted Image Best of luck on your choice.

Chu, The specs for the Rockets are published on their website as are some of the developmental details, in case you were interested.

Mike

#16 of 39 OFFLINE   Mike_Ch

Mike_Ch

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 248 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 26 2001

Posted December 01 2002 - 10:54 PM

I forgot to add, don't be put off by the small size of the Utopias, they have pretty decent bass by themselves (much more than you would expect) and since the B&K has an electronic high-pass crossover, you can easily integrate them with a good subwoofer.

Mike

#17 of 39 OFFLINE   Hisham Harun

Hisham Harun

    Extra



  • 15 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 2002

Posted December 01 2002 - 11:16 PM

Here I am again, at a crossroads only this is three pronged. Sigh!

Mike Ch, I was so excited about the prospect of reviewing the Mini that I called the dealer immediately. (Got this Audio book with all the addresses)

Total cost for seven speakers and a woofer is shy of US$25,000 by a mere couple of hunderds!!! Gasp!

I told him point blank that that was way out of my league.

So I guess I'm back to the Electra 396, which is not really bad.

Mike Ch, you put it at US$6K. I wish! It's US$10K for the 7.1. And that is a real bargain!

Anyway, here's some extra info I got while talking to the dealer. He said the center piece is usually the most expensive coz in an HT unit it provides 58 percent of sound, followed by the sides at 24 percent and back - 18 percent.

Anyone know this to be fact or fiction?

Mike Knapp,

Will be back. Gotta pray a while. See you soon (ie if you're still around in about an hour or so.) Thanks all!

#18 of 39 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

Chu Gai

    Lead Actor



  • 7,270 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 29 2001

Posted December 01 2002 - 11:19 PM

Thank you Mike. I'll certainly take a look over there. I'd hazard to say that Mike is correct in his estimation of their actual worth were they sold by another company.
There are a few companies in China, as well as in your part of the world, that have some fairly sophisticated testing facilities as well as being ISO certified. The benefit (hopefully!) of this is ensuring consistency in manufacturing along with predictable and 'optimal' performance given marketing constraints. A rather highly regarded speaker system from Australia can be seen at http://www.vaf.com.au/
Personally, I'd rather that you took some time, maybe a LOT of time, before you made your selections. During that time, I'd probably opt for a decent set of headphones and audition speakers.
For what it's worth, there are several trade shows in Malaysia that are coming up, and if you can hold on, it might make for a fun time in seeing what's available over there. Here are some but you should contact whomever to confirm dates and to ensure they're still scheduled as planned.

Malaysia Audio Show- An audio show exhibiton at the Legend Hotel from 21st-23rd July 2000

Kuala Lumpur International AV show at the JW Marriott Hotel July 26-28 Read about it here

#19 of 39 OFFLINE   Mike_Ch

Mike_Ch

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 248 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 26 2001

Posted December 01 2002 - 11:42 PM

Hisham,
That is very very expensive for a 7.1 setup. In the States, a 7 speaker setup of Mini Utopias would cost around US$13,000, and with discount would be around US$12K. Add a good subwoofer (not necessarily the Utopia sub) and you are looking at US$14K. Pretty good for some of the best speakers in the world Posted Image. However, your dealer is asking for almost twice the price of this- highway robbery IMHO. Perhaps the Utopia series is being phased out in the US now, and Asia at a later time? If this is the case, it would make sense that he would want to sell them at this price to you now- if you wait a few more weeks/months, the prices will probably go down.

Quote:
Mike Ch, you put it at US$6K. I wish! It's US$10K for the 7.1. And that is a real bargain!

I should probably clarify myself- looking at the PositiveFeedback.com review of the 936's, the price was US$6K for a pair. This is NOT for a full Electra 7.1 setup, which as you have said, would be around US$10K or more.

Chu,

WOW!!! Somebody outside Australia has actually heard about the VAF'S!!! Unbelievable, in a good way Posted Image. The Signature series use the SEAS Excel drivers, and have top notch sound from what I've read (haven't heard them personally). If you are ever in Adelaide, have a listen to them at the factory- they are mated to Halcro (whose factory is across the road btw) monoblocks there. Philips actually had a demo of their multichannel SACD player last year with 5 VAF I-93's mated to 5 Halcro monoblocks at the Sydney Opera House- wish I was there, the sound (and price tag!) must have been amazing Posted Image.

Cheers,
Mike

#20 of 39 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

Paul_Scott

    Lead Actor



  • 6,546 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 18 2002

Posted December 02 2002 - 12:36 AM

i had a chance to hear the theils while i had a set of rockets at home (250s, 200 center).
the theils were nice speakers, and imaged really well (which i liked), but i prefered the rockets for a number of reasons including overall sound and value.
i actually didn't end up keeping the rockets, as i found some other speakers that i liked the sound of even more, and better fit into my budget & room to boot.
however,
the 30 days i had them, left me with a very positve impression of the rockets.
a 7.1 system with 750s, a 200 center, and either 550s or 250s for the sides and rear would sound tremendous.

value-wise , i found everything you hear about them to be pretty much right on the money.
a superb value.





Forum Nav Content I Follow