Budget Audiophile Speakers

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by BradScott, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. BradScott

    BradScott Auditioning

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm putting a home theater in my basement — the dimensions are 20' x 16'. I currently have an HK AVR-335 as my main receiver, with a pair of NHT SB2s for fronts, SB1s for surrounds, an NHT SC1 for a center and a Dayton 10" sub. I'd like to eventually upgrade all of these components, starting with the front speakers.

    As much as I want great movie sound, I'd almost rather have the speakers for quality music listening also. Budget's a bit tight at $300 - $400, but for that price, what's my best bet for great-sounding budget audiophile front speakers?

    Thanks,

    Brad
     
  2. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1998
    Messages:
    2,943
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    You already have "audiophile" speakers.[​IMG]

    You could upgrade to SB3's, and there are sure to be smoking deals on those with the new NHT Classics coming out in October, but the extra bass extension would be wasted since you have a sub.

    I use SB3's with a Klipsch sub for my 2CH system. For the amount of money you are talking about, I don't know how much better sound you are going to find. You may find speakers that are voiced differently, but that does not mean better.

    Actually, if I were in your shoes, I would probably look to upgrade the sub to the SVS PB10.

    Brian
     
  3. Aaron_Mum

    Aaron_Mum Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Magnepan MMGs. Search for Alan Z's thread detailing his switch from higher end paradigms to the maggies for more info.

    However you probably don't want to ditch all your NHT gear so I agree with Brian, buy a nicer sub.
     
  4. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,127
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Ascend Acoustic 170 is about the only thing in your budget to look into. Otherwise I agree with these guys to spend the money on a better sub.
     
  5. dan-0

    dan-0 Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I doubt you can best the SB2 in the $300-$400 price range. Those are great speakers.

    I went from the Super Ones to the Model Two. I lost some imaging from the monitors but the towers throw out a lot bigger soundstage. You can the get a 'cherry' pair of model two's for around $250 if you wanted stay with the NHT line-up.
     
  6. BradScott

    BradScott Auditioning

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for the responses so far. How do the SB-2s stack up against the Ascends, Axiom M3ti, or B&W DM-303? Those were the others I was considering.

    Also, how do the offerings from Fluance and HTD compare? They look nice, but are they just out of these other speakers' league?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
    IMO, the SB2s are better than the B&W 300 series or the Axioms. The Ascends will give them a run for the money though. I like the Ascends, but since you already have the SB2s, I'd probably stick with them. To get a considerable upgrade, you're going to have to go with the CMT-340s, and they are out of your budget. At the $400 price point, you're better off saving up for MUCH better mains than you already have IMO, rather than going for something that is similar or just a small upgrade.

    Bass isn't going to be wasted at all with the SB3. They're perfect for an 80Hz x-over.
     
  8. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1998
    Messages:
    2,943
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Depending on the characteristics of his crossovers, he may well be better off with the SB2, and have a slightly smoother blend to the sub.

    Here is a link to a write up that Brian and Colin did at Secrets on the subject.

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...es-6-2005.html

    Brian
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
    Like I mentioned, even the SB3 isn't really an upgrade. It sounds basically the same with more bass. Since you already have the SB2s, I wouldn't say the upgrade to the SB3 is worth it unless you got a great deal. The natural roll off of the SBs is pretty steep already, due to their sealed design, so even the SB3 should work with most receivers using an 80Hz (non THX slope, likely less steep) x-over.

    I use an 80Hz THX x-over in my system with mains that are -3dB at 55Hz (obviously not THX) and roll off moderately after that. They blend amazingly well with my sub with this scheme.
     
  10. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,127
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The only review I know of with NHT and Ascend is linked here. The 170 is better than the Axiom M22 IMO. Search B&W on the Ascend forum and I think you'll find them being compared favorable with the 600 series.

    John is not the only person to recommend the SB2 over the SB3.

    I'd save $ome more or get a better sub.

    Fluance is behind all these speakers. I've only heard the previous generation HTD Level III w/o the ribbon tweeter. The Ascend 170 was better in my opinion. Also the HTD III needs tons of good clean power to reach its potential.
     
  11. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,588
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    The HTD level III speakers with the ribbon tweeters were not quite dynamic enough for me. After a good break-in, the treble was still a bit weak. I ended up returning them and now, I'm just waiting on my refund.
     
  12. BradScott

    BradScott Auditioning

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Part of the reason for changing out the SB2s/SB1s is that they're the gloss white finish. We currently have them in our family room where they fit the decor, but now that I'm building a dedicated HT room, I'd much prefer the black. I know it's a trivial aesthetics thing, but . . .

    It's really kind of moronic, but I'd almost rather sell the white SBs and get another set in black. That's what got me thinking that since I'm considering doing this, I may as well look at other possible options while I'm at it.

    Color aside, I really like the NHTs; I just thought I'd see what else was out there. I've got to admit - I'm intrigued by the Ascends.
     
  13. Kean-Hock Yeap

    Kean-Hock Yeap Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Any possibiity of doing after market paint job to turn those white speakers black? [​IMG]
     
  14. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
    They are Piano gloss, not likely that you would want to ruin them by painting them.
     
  15. GarySI

    GarySI Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 27, 2002
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would take a look at the EPOS EL-3's. These were put on Stereophiles Budget Component of the year list for 2004. They can be had for $299 a pair.
     
  16. Kean-Hock Yeap

    Kean-Hock Yeap Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ah. . . pardon my ignorance then.
     
  17. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,588
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    Even less on places like Audiogon. [​IMG]
    I don't think of it as used gear, but, rather, gear that someone took the time to break in for me. [​IMG]
     
  18. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John

    Not really, I've been keeping my eyes out for a pair of these just because I want to hear them. They still seem to be up around $250 or better on average.

    They can be had for $296 including shipping to continental US from www.hcmaudio.com
     

Share This Page