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Acoustic Researchers, help!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Lawson, Nov 8, 2002.

  1. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    I've been on the fence about the Acoustic Research HC-6 for a few weeks now; its major appeal (besides aesthetics) is the high reviews and the ability to upgrade every speaker in my 5.1 setup at once.

    Lately, however, I find myself listening to a lot more music (to the point where music/movies is about 50/50), so I'm thinking that a compact speaker system may not be the way to go. I priced out some separate AR speakers at a local store and came up with this:

    Mains: AR PS2262 (towers)
    Center: AR PSC25
    Surrounds: AR PS2052

    That comes to $450 or so, which is just under the best price I've found (shipped) for the HC-6. I don't have a problem with using my existing sub since I'm in an apartment and am not looking to cause too many rumblings.

    I tried to resist the temptation to upgrade everything at once, but I know the mediocrity of my existing center and surrounds would begin to bug me the instant I upgraded the mains, and I'm not sure if I'm patient enough to upgrade the speakers in stages.

    I know this is pretty much the lowest-end setup as far as AR goes, but my budget is rather tight. I could upgrade the center to the SC2 and the surrounds to the Stature S10s for another $100 or so, which I would be comfortable with doing if it's a noticeable improvement. Thoughts?
     
  2. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    What is your budget?

    Curious I own AR's HI RES stuff...and got it all for a decent price.
     
  3. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    David,

    It seems that your budget is in the $500-$600.00 range
    for all the drivers, correct?

    I really wish I could get you into Hi-Res components but
    there just is no way to get into Hi-Res on that affordable
    of a scale.

    I got such a tremendous deal on my AR9's ($999.00 retail, I
    paid $560.00 + $80.00 S&H) but that was just for the 9's and
    you would be looking at another $100.00-$200.00 for the center
    and at least $150.00 for a set of AR15 or AR17 bookshelfs
    for the rear surround.

    Even if you went with AR11's front and rear, that would still
    be $800.00 + (not including a center)

    The HC6 sounds fabulous for it's size but with any size limitation
    you introduce other limits as well. They lack the sheer dynamics
    that a larger speaker will have, they need the sub to produce
    all of the low frequency information and without the sub
    they couldn't handle much of the music spectrum. That's not
    a bad thing since they do come with a sub, but I am used to
    having mains capeable of below 30Hz with audible output.

    I haven't heard the Stature Series but I do own the Performance
    Series BookShelfs and I even has a Performance Series Center
    Channel.

    Infact I will sell you my PS C225 Center for $50.00 mint in
    the original box. I bought it and used it for maybe a week
    and didn't care for the sound (it didn't integrate with my
    AR9's well enough for my liking so I went out and bought the
    Hi-Res AR4C)

    I am using my PS215's as my rear surround but I do plan to
    upgrade those to AR15's soon because again they don't timbre
    match the Hi-Res gear.
     
  4. Steve Black

    Steve Black Auditioning

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    Did you audition the Performance series stuff and did you like it?

    I've had the HC6 for a couple of weeks now and am happy with them. I'm still adjusting placement a little bit and getting used to the sound (I had a pair of Paradigm Phantoms for 10 yrs, so my ears try to tell me that anything else sounds wrong)

    For HT they are a huge improvement over the Phantoms and paradigm center they replaced. Dialogue is precise and clear. Dynamics are good. Bass is not muddy.

    For music, their size limitations do show a little bit

    -although I'd argue that 80-20,0000 Hz does count as MUCH of the music spectrum, Brett :] Do you listen to humpback whale songs or what?

    Like most sub/sat systems they deemphasize the mid-bass which are the same freqs my old bookshelves emphasized. They just won't sound as BIG as towers will.

    FYI: Recoton has been selling about 1 set of new HC6 per week on Ebay for the last month or so. They are saying the boxes are 'scratched', but I think that's just to justify selling on Ebay in case any dealers complain. They've been going for about $360 +$20 s&h. full warranty, 30 day return period without any restocking fee (you'd be out S&H).

    Don't forget to figure in the cost of mounts/stands into your budget when considering your options.
     
  5. terence

    terence Supporting Actor

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    I own the the Staure Series and i love it! I'm talking 360 degree seamless surround sound, the Stature Series is very dynamic,detaied and natural. They also are great with 2ch material as well.
    The S10's have gotten great reviews over seas, so i don't think you will be disappointed with their sound and the SC2 center will match the S10's perfectly.
    My speakers are:
    Mains: AR S50 (towers)
    Center: AR SC2
    Surrounds: AR S20
    Sub: AR 112PS (2)
    My suggestion is for you to shop on UBid, they have great deals on AR speakers (i.e) the local dealer here in Atlanta wanted 360.00 pair for the S20's, i got them off of UBid for 92.00 that's with shipping!!! No lie! i still can't believe i got them for that price brand new in the box with full warranty, 30 day return period.
    Like Brett said you really do need a powerd sub, you won't believe what you are missing. When you do get one, you are going wonder how you went so long with out one.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Steve,

    What I meant was that since the HC6 comes with a sub you
    are hearing the full spectrum (well, Ok maybe not the very
    lowest of the low end like 20hz or so..) but if you took
    the sub away then it would be a major problem. The small
    satelites don't provide all of the musical information like
    a near or full range tower can.

    Also due to the size of the satelites they will lack the
    dynamics a larger bookshelf even has. But from what I heard
    they sound smooth for thier size and I have no complaints
    recommending them.
     
  7. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    I'd like to stay in the $500-$600 range if possible (which excludes stands, since I already have some). I'll have to check uBid more often, obviously. [​IMG]
    I guess my main question was whether the individual Performance and/or Stature speakers would outperform the HC-6 series, and if a combination of Performance and Stature speakers would match well. I have gone to the local store and listened to the Performance stuff, but no one locally has stock of an HC-6 for me to compare it with...not yet, anyway.
    It's probably not the best idea to buy Performance mains and Stature surrounds and center, as the mains will be responsible for most of the music I've suddenly been listening to...unless, of course, the quality of the Performance towers isn't drastically lower than the Stature ones. I'm not totally opposed to bookshelves for mains, but I do like the idea of not having to worry as much about a sub to "fill out" 2-channel listening (which is what I'm currently doing with my SACD player).
    Thanks for the replies so far!
     
  8. Steve Black

    Steve Black Auditioning

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    Brett,
    - I knew what you meant, your phrasing just struck me as funny [​IMG] (also I think my tastes lean away from a lot of low bass compared to most on this forum. My sub level is set really low and every system I auditioned I had to turn the sub way down from what it was set at.)
    David,
    As Brett's said the sound from a sub/sat system is definitely different than from a large bookshelf/tower system. Since you can't hear the HC-6 locally, I would say the next step would be to take some of your music around to some local dealers and spend some time with other sub/sat systems to see if the tradeoffs are likely to be too much for you.
    I spent several hours listening to Energy, Paradigm, DefTech, JBL, Polk, etc systems to see if I could make the switch. While none of them really satisfied me (except the Energy Encore which was way beyond my budget), I did become comfortable enough to order the HC-6.
    You know with your budget, you can almost get the HC-6 for HT use and still have enough left for Ubid/Ebay Stature bookshelf or Performance tower(watch out for shipping $). Does your receiver have A/b for speakers??
     
  9. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Steve, it doesn't have A/B. I have a Kenwood VR-517 (which is basically a VR-506 without the subwoofer out) that came with my HTB-354. As a result, I wouldn't be trading off by going with a sub/sat system like the HC-6, just trading up. [​IMG]
    The more I think about it, the more I find I'm considering this upgrade from a musical perspective. As far as movies go, I was never horrified by the sound of the bundled speakers, although the center always felt lacking in terms of how discernable I felt dialogue should be. The speaker inferiority was abundantly clear once I started listening to music more and more often. Upgrading to a SACD player pretty much clinched it. As a result, I'm not as enthusiastic about an all-in-one speaker set, regardless of how much of an improvement it might be.
     
  10. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    David,
    Another thing to consider (since this is from a musical
    standpoint) is the fact that most actual "Center" channel
    speakers cross off above 80hz some go down to 70hz but the
    majority are no where near full range, not even close.
    Now I don't own a SACD player so I don't know the specifics
    of it all. My question is this, does SACD require full range
    on the center channel. Or I should say, does SACD send full
    range to the center. If so then you may want to consider
    running an identical L/C/R setup using bookshelves this way
    you DO get full range all the way across (need the sub of
    course to do the lows) You can find Bookshelvs that will do
    well into the 45-50Hz range and that will sound more full
    than most centers.
    Just something to think about..
    For movies I think the HC-6 system would be superb and for
    most music I think it would do very well also, but for SACD
    or DVD-A (both technologies I am not yet into) I can not say
    one way or the other... [​IMG]
     
  11. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Brett, as far as the center channel mix goes for SACD, it depends on the disc, as I've been finding out. I'm just getting into it myself. [​IMG]
    I think I will take you up on your C225PS offer. I'll send you a PM about it as well.
    After going to listen to the PS2262 mains again this weekend, I think I'm going to go with those. As for the surrounds, how critical is frequency response? The PS2052's response is 55 Hz - 20 KHz, whereas the PS2062's go down to 45 Hz. Does the extra 10 Hz make that much of a difference in surrounds? It looks to be a $60 + shipping difference for the pair, since no one has them locally...which is also the difference between the PS2052's and the S10's, come to think of it.
    Damned timbre match uncertainty. [​IMG]
     
  12. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    An update...
    Thanks to the generosity of Brett and uBid, I have a C225PS center for $50 shipped and a pair of new PS215 bookshelves for $60 shipped en route. I'll likely be purchasing the PS2262 towers tomorrow, which shouldn't be over $225 for the pair...we'll see how negotiations go. [​IMG]
    It looks like a powered subwoofer may fit into my budget after all, but I'll hold off until I see how my existing passive one sounds in conjunction with the upgrades.
    Thanks for all the help!
     

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