Best Main/Center Channel Speakers for $1,000

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Jim AZ, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. Jim AZ

    Jim AZ Auditioning

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    OK, I've decided on the SVS 25-31PCi subwoofer. But, I'm still on the fence with regard to which main/center channel speakers I should purchase. Unfortunately, the room cannot accomadate surrounds so I'm not considering them at this juncture. I've read a gazillion reviews (both amateur and professional) and went to the local BB to audition some speakers, but still can't decide.

    Plus, I'm a complete novice when it comes to HT and I'm not really sure what to look for soundwise. I have recently purchase a Denon 1804 which I am extremely happy with.

    So, in your experience, what are the best sounding speakers at this price point. Aesthetics are important, so I'm looking for the traditional wood veneer or quality wood grain laminate. The speakers will be used 80% movies/20% music.

    I sincerely appreciate your recommendations.

    Jim

    Jim
     
  2. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    You may want to consider finding an Audio/Video store other than Best Buy. If you are going to spend $1000 you can get some pretty nice speakers in my opinion. I think you will find better speakers and you will have more options for wood finishes at a higher level store.

    Try to find a mid-level place like a "Tweeter". That is where I bought my speakers. If the AZ in your name is for Arizona, Tweeter owns a chain there called "Showcase Home Entertainment". According to tweeter.com they have locations in Chandler, Glendale, Phoenix and Scottsdale. They probably all carry the same lines. You can get an idea of some of their lines on their website, but check out their stores for more. Places like that will have listening rooms set up with multiple sets of speakers. Take a favorite CD and DVD with you. Don't let them demo with their own choices b/c they will likely use something that will make that particular piece sound better. Take something you are familiar with and something that represents the type of music/movie you will be using at home. Select the speakers in your price range that you like best.
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    You might check out some of the Rocket line. AV123.com has several from which to choose. Two RS250s and a RSC 200 (an outstanding center speaker) would be right in your price range. Call for recommendations.

    Their cabinetwork is funiture grade--but you have to like either rosewood or ebony. Very fine value.
     
  4. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    If you like the looks of the Rockets you may also want to consider the Swan's Diva line from www.theaudioinsider.com . A pair of 5.2 towers and a C3 would bre a great use of $1k. The C3 may be slightly less assertive than the Rocket RSC200 (it's also a little smaller), but the Diva 5.2s would more than make up for it, especially compare to the Rocket bookshelves. To get the Divas i mentioned for under $1k you would have to go w/ the black cherry finish (1/3 the cost of the rosewood), but you still get the piano black top and bottom pieces and the performance is identical. I actually prefer the black cherry since it's easier to integrate with todays black/grey/silver electronics (TVs, Receivers, etc...). In medium and low light beside something black or grey the black cherry doesn't jump out as being out of place as i worried it would when I purchased mine. I love the sound and just wish I had the money at the time for the 5.2s (I have 4.1 mains, also great speakers).
     
  5. Jim AZ

    Jim AZ Auditioning

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    Hey guys, thanks for your responses.

    Yes Tim, you are correct. I live in AZ. I would like to audition some nice speakers at a place a tad more upscale than Best Buy. Unfortunately, I live in a rural area and a trip to a Phoenix, is 6 hours round trip. AARGGGHHH!!! Oh well, I'll probably have to do it.

    Holy smokes, those Rocket and Swan speakers are sweet. Man, they are absolutely beautiful. I'm assuming their performance is top notch compared to other speakers on the market?

    Jim
     
  6. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    Well Klipsch makes some very nice speakers. There reference line is absolutely awesome. They all sound incredibly... see which you can afford and pick them up, not to mention Klipsch has some of the nicest center channels out there IMO.
     
  7. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    The Rocket's and Swan's are top notch performers. The Rocket Center is amazing, but the bookshelves didn't overly impress me, but it may have just been in comparrison to the towers. With the Rocket towers out of your price range when combined with the large center, I think your best option is the Swan't 5.2 towers and the C3 center.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    You are going to need some efficient speakers to be driven by the 1804. Axiom and Paradigm offer speakers in your price range that will be easy to drive.

    From Axiom, you'll want to consider the M22ti and VP150.

    From Paradigm, Monitor 5 and CC370.
     
  9. Mark Dickerson

    Mark Dickerson Stunt Coordinator

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    Jim:

    I don't know if you would be interested, but the NHT line of speakers are a superb value. They come in a gloss black "piano" finish that looks beautiful (yes, they look like the finish on a high quality black piano). Better than their looks, the sound is quite good and a very good match for your Denon receiver.

    I would suggest that you look them up on the One Call website (www.onecall.com) which has an excellent description of the speaker. Click on the "Products" tab at the top of the page and you will get a drop down menu. Then click on "Audio" and you will get a large page full of links. Go down to near the bottom for "Speakers" and click on "Stereo" which is under the "Speaker" heading. This will list about 115 pairs of stereo speakers. Scroll down to the NHT section and check out the NHT SB-3s, which are priced at $300 each. These are incredible speakers for the money and Stereophile has made them their bookshelf reference speaker. They can be had for about 20-25% off the MSRP price shown by One Call.

    Now, in addition to a pair of SB-3s, you can add a NHT SC-1 center speaker. It is also priced at $300, but I have a price of $235 for that speaker. In all, this is a first rate front three speakers that you can get for about $700 and they would be worthy of your SVS sub and a good match for the sound of your Denon receiver.

    If you need a source for these speakers, check with Kiefs (www.kiefs.com).
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    An approach that many have taken, is to begin with bookshelves and a center. And when you have a new budget, add floorstanding speakers up front, moving the bookshelves to surround duty.

    I’ve never done an A/B Swan/Rocket comparison, so I really can’t comment on a preference. Other than the Rocket 200 is an amazing center. I’ve never heard a better one (or one as good) in that price range.

    I’m sure that you would be pleased with either choice. Both have very fine cabinetwork.
     

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