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Budget setup Fluance, JBL NSP1, Onk SKSHT510, or Acoustic Research HC6 (1 Viewer)

DaveGTP

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2002
Messages
2,096
Hi all,
I am on the verge of ordering a cheap surround setup. My budget basically consists of whatever overtime I work (I'm working a 12 hour shift of it right now), so, basically, probably about $500 at max. I am willing to wait a month or so and pick up the sub to go with it if needed. Expandability to add the 6th timbre-matched rear speaker for DTS-ES (for LOTR) at a later date when I have a few bucks is very important. I am probably going to pick up an Onkyo TX-SR600 receiver to use as the receiver (I wish I had the cash for the SR601 or the HK 525, but I don't. I don't even have enough cash for this setup). I have a Panny CP72 DVD player (optical digital out only). The setup will be being used for HT and anime watching (a lot of anime is Dolby Digital 2.0, that's why I mention it), and for rock/classical music listening (my fiancee listens to everything). I have done a lot of forum research. I am still undecided which setup to get. I am currently in a small house, so the living room isn't huge. I WILL get a 6th speaker within the year for DTS-ES/DD-EX (we're talking LOTR here!!). I was hoping for some input.


Contenders:

FLuance AV-HTB 5 speaker setup
pros - forum and cnet have good things to say about them, I like the full towers and large speakers for the price, within my budget
cons - unknown brand name, need to add sub

JBL NSP1 or NSP1II setup
pros - forum and other locations have good things to say about them, good name
cons - need to add sub

Onkyo SKS-HT510 setup: pros - decent comments from forum, good cnet review for the $$, comes with sub - good price!!
cons - Ooglier than the NSP1 (not that I care much, I am the practical engineering-student type), not as much raves on the forum

Acoustic Research HC6 setup
pros - good comments from a few people, big % off original price, comes with subwoofer
cons - I don't know much about them, the recent Best Buy price drop JUST put them in my price range.

My leanings are towards the Fluance and the NSP1. I could get the Onkyo 5.1 setup for $180 refurb direct from onkyo, which is tempting on the wallet. I would love some comments from people who have audtioned any of these or have them - I am spending money I probably shouldn't, so I am being very careful to be happy with the purchase :). Thanks ahead of time for your input!
 

Skyler

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Mar 13, 2003
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150
I have the AR HC6 in my bedroom. I cannot possibly IMAGINE getting more performance for $300! These speakers are unreal! Hell, the finish on these alone is worth $300. Equal money, the JBL NSP is not even close (forget the glowing magazine reviews) to these.
I couldn't run fast enough to return my NSP1's after I got these on a whim.
 

DaveGTP

Senior HTF Member
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Jul 24, 2002
Messages
2,096
So you had both the NSPs and the HC6's, and preferred the HC6s, Skyler? +1 to the HC6's. I liked the looks myself, and the fact the HC6s come with a sub. Can I hunt up a 6th timbre-matched one to complete the 6.1 set at some point? The HC6s are new to me, the others I have read about pretty thoroughly. The only thing I didn't like too much about the HC6s was the size. The wife approval factor doesn't exist - (the fiancee is a movie-buff). The bigger speakers appeal to me, but the reviews on the HC6s seem to say they are very decent @ $800, so @ $300 they would seem to be a good value.

What I also didn't really mention, is that I am admittedly in the blank on where to pick up some speaker stands to go with whichever speakers I decide on. So, any suggestions there too would be appreciated.
 

Brett DiMichele

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Real Name
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I am sure that as soon as Phil Iturralde catches wind of
this post he will be all over it, preaching how good the
JBL NSP1 package is, and how it has won so many awards for
it's revolutionary, award winning sound and such and how
JBL is just the bestest thing since sliced bread.

Listen with your ears.... Reviews are one thing, but what
is pleasing to your eyes and ears is a whole different
story. The HC-6 is certainly lightyears ahead of the NSP1
in terms of finish, build quality. Sound is completely up
to your ears.

Either system would serve you very well. Which one sounds
better is up to you, but the HC-6 is a better built product
that is not in question.
 

DaveGTP

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2002
Messages
2,096
LOL @ Brett - I have lurked enough looking for good budget speakers that I recognize Phil's posts (I've seen the posts). I consider him a biased opinion :) Still, even a biased opinion is always an interesting listen, so I am willing to read it :) I think, honestly, that the 2 main contenders here are the Fluance and the AR HC6. If the HC6 set hadn't dropped to $299 it would be the Fluance and the JBL set, honestly, with my budget. The JBLs are kind of a HTF standby, which is always good, and the Onkyos are my budget choice.
 

DaveGTP

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2002
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Kutta, the link wasn't working (although the firewall here at work is iffy sometimes). My budget for the speakers alone is about $300, with about $200-$250 for the receiver ($500ish total). I was reading your thread for input as well.
 

JerryCulp

Stunt Coordinator
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Mar 28, 2003
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76
Have you considered the Onkyo HT-S760? It's right at your 500 dollar limit with receiver and 6.1 speaker set.

I too would like to hear some comments as to how the Onkyo speakers compare with others in the same price range.
 

DaveGTP

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2002
Messages
2,096
I thought about the Onkyo set (since it has the speakers), but I really prefer the SR-600 receiver. I like the extra watts and specifically the extra surround sound modes and video inputs. I have a lot of video game systems (PS2, gamecube, 8-bit Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Saturn, and Dreamcast). Athough I have been dealing with a repetitive stress injury in my wrists this year, I hope to go back to playing again by the end of the year (at least some). I work in I/S, so I can't really escape the keyboard for quicker healing. My original search for a receiver (and stumbling across the HTF) stemmed from the need for a lot of video switching. I have a radio shack switcher I use now.

I am particularly fond of the TX-SR601 since it converts back and forth between s-video and composite, but my budget says to deal and stick with the TX-SR600. I can't seem to find many people on the forum with firsthand experience with the Onkyo speaker set, but it has been reviewed as very good for the $$.
 

Dennis Ellis

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 2, 2001
Messages
73
I have been kicking around the idea of getting 5 new speakers for the new house. I currently have the NSP1's and honestly am not "blown away" by them at all. The hc6 setup is top on my list.

I just wish I could have them sent to Best Buy so I could use my $100.00 gift certificate when Ipick them up.
 

terence

Supporting Actor
Joined
Nov 8, 2002
Messages
985
Go with the AR HC-6! For what they are going for now some would say it's a steal, i on the other hand say it's like taking candy from a baby and slaping his daddy for even trying to take it back! You wont regret it.
 

Phil Iturralde

Screenwriter
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Oct 7, 1998
Messages
1,892
Reviews are one thing, but what is pleasing to your eyes and ears is a whole different story.
True to a degree, but those trained to hear the differences have agreed that our hearing can be fooled and eventually, we will want to upgrade to improve what we have.

IMHO, after personally auditioning the AR HC6 with some friends*, using my personal well known Jazz CD's & other ones that they brought along just proved to my friends why I opted for the more neutral & dynamic** JBL NSP1 sound!

2-channel: The brass, trumpet instruments and cymbal crashes SPL sounded artificial, to upfront above the average mid's, and the voices had a slight honky tone about it. It also seemed that the lower mid's of the male singer voice (George Benson) lacked the authority and weight compared to the JBL N24's.

Home Theater (DVD's): After REF Calibrating the setup using Sound & Vision's HT Tuneup DVD, we all felt that the AR HC6 sounded OK, but the Center levels were audibly lower overall vs. the Fronts and Surrounds and required some added SPL above the REF Calibrated point . It overall HT SPL didn't quite match the JBL NSP1's ability to sound like the better Cinema Theater in SPL dynamics and evenly distributed sound across the frequency band. The HC6 display an easily heard audible peaks with certain sounds, lowering the overall soundtrack orchestration resolution and surround effects seamless blending.

Some liked the sound, but after 2-hours of auditioning, the group* thought the cost didn't justify the better cabinet finish because the HC6 sonic attributes paled overall vs. JBL NSP1's w/sub.

One of the key's to the NSP1's sound, was how well balanced across the 100 Hz to 10 kHz frequency band it was with the 2-channel Music CD samples we listened too!! The JBL N24's didn't pierce the hearing @ certain frequencies showing that the JBL designers controlled the NSP1's SPL characteristics across the 100 Hz to 10 kHz*** frequency band to be almost as flat as the Studio Monitor's they were designed after.

*About 5 friends - 2 later bought the NSP1's via the internet afterwards.
**JBL N24's 4" woofer out SPL'd the HC6 3" woofer!!!

----

Now, going forward about 2 to 3-months after this audition, Sound & Vision verified what we all heard when they published the Objective Benchmarks (by Tom Nousaine) for the AR HC6,...

AR HC6 (or if GeoCities is shut-down / screen capture - AR HC6)
Frequency Response
HC6 front left/right.... 125 Hz to 20 kHz ±5.1 dB
HC6 center.............. 110 Hz to 20 kHz ±4.2 dB
HC6 surround............ 125 Hz to 20 kHz ±4.9 dB

The Plotted graph visibly shows what we heard!

Now compare that to the JBL NSP1's
JBL NSP1 (or if GeoCities is shut-down / screen capture JBL NSP1)
Frequency Response
N-24 front left/right... 89 Hz to 18.9 kHz ±2.7 dB
N-Center................ 89 Hz to 20 kHz ±5.5 dB
N-24 surround........... 89 Hz to 18.4 kHz ±3.2 dB

One nice thing about S&V Standard Objective Test, you can't fool the Calibrated MIC and Acoustic Computer Software like you can fool the human hearing!

Audition, audition, audition and choose what delights your ear. But if after a time something seems lacking, ... you might find out what your speaker of choice is lacking, if it's fortunate enough to be a candidate for an Objective Test.

Phil
 

JeremyFr

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
794
I'd steer clear of fluance now knowing they are manufactured by the same company in china as the infamous "white van speakers" other than that sounds like you've got some very nice systems in mind.
 

david*mt

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 11, 2002
Messages
306
I picked up the Onkyo SKS-HT510 at Circuitcity last week and have been very impressed. I am using them with my Yamaha HTR-5560 and movies sound great. I watched LOTR last night in DTS-ES and was extremely impressed. I doubt you will find a better system for under $300.
 

Ben_Ly

Agent
Joined
Jun 25, 2003
Messages
48
Pround Owner of Fluance speakers and from first hand experience I would have to say you cannot spend your money in a better way. They arrived in 3-4 days, have a good warranty, and came double boxed. Also they don't look cheap at all. I had friends over the other day (of course they weren't audiophile) but they guessed that I had spent $1k on them. The only thing I can compare them to are polk RTI's 700's and I would say there pretty comparable. My opinion is biased however so take it how you will.
 

Rives Elmore

Stunt Coordinator
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Dec 15, 2000
Messages
130
I'd steer clear of fluance now knowing they are manufactured by the same company in china as the infamous "white van speakers" other than that sounds like you've got some very nice systems in mind.
I believe it was confirmed they are NOT the "white van" variety...

EDIT: Doh..read other thread...so Fluance ARE from the same folks that make Dogg Digital??
 

Todd Terwilliger

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 18, 2001
Messages
1,745
I have the JBL NSP1 and I am very happy with it. When in doubt though, I would audition. I know the JBLs, at least, should be in your local Best Buy.
 

Jed M

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Oct 2, 2001
Messages
2,029
I'd steer clear of fluance now knowing they are manufactured by the same company in china as the infamous "white van speakers" other than that sounds like you've got some very nice systems in mind.
If this is the company you are referring to, http://www.goldsky.com , I wouldn't look that deep into it. Sony makes 25 dollar walkmans and 10,000 dollar projectors. Just because a company oem's one cheap product doesn't mean they are all cheap. I don't own Fluance and if it makes you feel better than steer clear by all means, but its like Easttech who makes outlaw's stuff, there are just so many products Easttech makes its hard to lump it all together.
 

DaveGTP

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2002
Messages
2,096
Thanks for the replies, guys. I have trouble auditioning speakers around here, since basically I have to drive about a half hour out to Circuit City and Best Buy. I work 3-11 every day, so it ends up being weekends when I can get out and oogle stuff (like my Panny plasma TV). I guess ABC warehouse has some stuff as well, perhaps I should stop there and try some out.

I have never had money to be an audiophile, really (and still don't :) ) so I listen with ears used to cheap ass TV speakers. Ironically, the best speakers I have are in my Grand Prix GTP - the insanely expensive Bose 8-speaker setup that comes stock in GTPs. Luckily I bought the car used and did't have to pay for it. It certainly sounds better than stock AC Delco speakers, though. I did audition some of the JBLs at a Best Buy this weekend, and they did sound pretty good to me (definitely better than my car's Bose :D. I wish I could hear the Fluances or the AR HC6 - does Best Buy B&M have the AR speakers in their demo area somewhere? I was reading the white van thread - the similiarity of manufacture is a little scary, but, every company can make crap and still make good stuff. I think I am leaning towards the HC6 because of the perceived 'good deal' (% off regular price).
 

Brett DiMichele

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Brett
Dave,

Another thing to consider is your room size. Honestly if
the room is anywhere near midsized to large then neither
the HC-6 or the NSP-1 will produce enough SPL without
straining the speakers. (I would consider a mid to large
room to be say 20' x 15' x 8' or larger). There is only so
much small speakers can do.


The biggest drawback with the HC-6 in my opinion is the sub
that is included. It's not a bad sub but it's not large
enough to create decent levels of bass. The NSP-1 does not
come with a sub so you can pick and choose what you want.

But alternatly the HC-6's are selling so friggen cheap
compared to what they sold for a year ago you could still
add on a Sony SAWM-40 (or whatever the newer model is) and
have one heck of a great setup for a smaller sized room.

I just wish you could demo both the HC-6 and the NSP-1. The
NSP-1 may have less of a missmatch between the center and
the satelites than the HC-6 (but in either case it's minor
for both systems) but the HC-6 certainly has the upper hand
in consuctrion and beauty, well to me anyway. Looks are
subjective :)

Like I said before I don't think you would go wrong with
either setup.


Ohh and Hey Phil *waves* :D
 

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