Building 2nd system

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Mike Co, Oct 22, 2003.

  1. Mike Co

    Mike Co Agent

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    Hello all, first post! I have a home theater in an attic room using a Yamaha A-1 with Boston speakers, Mirage sub. Am considering setting up my "great room" (cathedral ceiling, way too much reverb) with a more modest surround setup, primarily for music but some DVD and lots of TV. Will need a bang-for-buck amp/receiver (thinking is surround may improve acoustics of room) and 5.1 or 6.1 speaker set-up.
    I have a couple of decent, redundant subs (15" passive, and a JBL 12" passive, and a Mirage 8" or 10" active) that could be used, so am looking primarily for center, surround, and mains preferably bookshelf size.
    Keyword is Bangforbuck!
    Any comments appreciated.
     
  2. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    Got a budget?
     
  3. Mike Co

    Mike Co Agent

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    For speakers,
     
  4. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I'd say Swan's Diva 2.1 bookshelfs ($299 a pair) and a C2 ($167) or C3 ($299) center (all in black cherry from www.theaudioinsider.com ), and a Pioneer Elite 43TX receiver (~ $500 online).

    Rocket ELT/Denon 1804 combo ($1299 from www.av123.com) would also be a solid choice for your budget and includes what is supposed to be an amazing sub for it's 8" size. Compared to the 2.1/C2 or C3/43TX combo i feel the ELT/1804 would be a taking a hit in speaker AND receiver performance to gain the rosewood finish. That said, the ELT center is supposed to be great as well, while the Diva C2 is acceptable and surprising for it's size, it's not great... The C3 however is a very strong center, but noticeably larger.

    The other internet direct brands (Axiom, Ascend, etc...) are also great choices, but I don't have any first hand experience with them. Speakers are a great example of how the internet direct brands can offer a much higher performance/dollar ratio.

    If you do go internet direct for a small system, watch out, because it might not be long before you find yourself wanting a similar larger system for your main HT [​IMG]
     
  5. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Stephen....have you heard the ELT's or the ELT Sub?

    Mike, if you want to try the internet direct route, in that budget range, try to have a listen to Ascend Acoustics. Five CBM-170's would be $770 shipped.

    For B&M, I have heard the Monitor Audio Bronze B2, and I think it is something worth looking in to.
     
  6. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Mike if you want to keep your present sub, you can get the ELT satellites and center for $700. The 1804 would be another $350, I am guessing. The ELT center as Stephen suggests is an outstanding speaker. I would place the sub in the very good category, considering that it is an 8 inch speaker priced at $250.

    The Ascends would also be a good choice, although I think that the ELT center is a bit better than the Ascend 170 used as a center (I know that Curtis prefers the 170s to the ELT satellites). Ascend makes a larger speaker that can be used as a center, the 340, but I have not heard that, so I can’t compare.

    In any case, although I think that the ELT system is an outstanding value, I would not recommend it for HT without a sub. Butn you already have one, so that is no problem.

    I have not heard the Divas, so I can’t make a comparison.

    One minor correction to Stephen’s post, the ELT cabinets are cherry stained birch, not rosewood. Rosewood is used for the more expensive Rockets. Cabinetwork is quite good however.
     
  7. Mike Co

    Mike Co Agent

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    Thanks Stephen & Curtis,for your input.
    I've done some burrowing(?) on the web and have checked out Ascend and ELT, both of which seem to be well regarded on this forum and at attractive price levels. Specific question: which bookshelf speaker systems can run high levels (DTS, high SPL's in music, etc)without breaking up?
    I don't expect high sensitivity in a bookshelf, but power is cheap and I'm wondering which high quality/low priced speakers can "handle the pain" at high levels.
    I'm veering towards Ascend 170's at the moment.
    Receivers: I seem to remember a deal on Onkyo 700 series receiver at Circuit City recently. Any comments re Onkyo in general (vs. HK, Pioneer, etc).
     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I have heard both the Ascend 170s and ELTs played at reference levels. Of course the size of your room is going to be a part of the equation.
     
  9. BobAlbano

    BobAlbano Second Unit

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    Mike Co, I have spoken with Sean over at AV123 and the price of a ELT system without the sub would be $699.00. The ELT center is among the best that I have heard in the $500.00 and below range. I would venture to guess that the ELT center will outdo a CBM-170 for movies as the ELT center is a 3 way designed to be used as a center. The CMB-170 was designed to be used as a main or surround. While I'm sure that it would be good for a center as well I just have a feeling that the ELT center would hold it's own very well against it. From most accounts that I have read the ELT's cabinetry is a step above the Ascends. I have heard the ELT mains with and without a sub and they definitely need a sub with them.

    AV123 is also offering the Denon 1804 for $400.00 so the total package price on the ELT/Denon combo would be 1099.00. Good luck with your decision! [​IMG]

    One additional note, the ELT sub is a 200 watt 10inch sub....[​IMG]
     
  10. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    At the risk of sounding even more biased, I have heard the ELT's and CBM-170's in my 14x18x9 room on my HK 525. The ELT's did get harsh sooner. But they got loud enough before that. Like Lew said....the room is a big part of the equation.

    The ELT's center is the strong point, it is very nice. I think the weak link in the system, IMO, is the sub. It integrates well with the satellites, but does get boomy as the volume goes up. The fit and finish on all of it is top notch, as is with all of the AV123 gear I have seen. Lew says "quite good", but at that price point, I would say it is outstanding.

    Lew mentioned the Ascend CMT-340 center channel. Also a nice center channel, but including that with four CBM-170's would put you closer to $900. The CBM-170 as a center does quite well.

    Both fine products, but I lean towards the Ascends, especially when it comes to music.

    For receivers, I am an HK, NAD, Marantz, and Pioneer Elite fan.
     
  11. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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  12. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  13. BobAlbano

    BobAlbano Second Unit

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    It's all good Lew!! [​IMG]

    Hey Curtis, seeing as you have heard both the ELT center and the 170 mains what do you think would make a better center channel?
     
  14. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    hectic,

    I have not done a side by side, and I have not heard the 170 as a center in a long while. But I think I would give the edge to the ELT center...if for anything, at least for its horizontal dispursion and off center characteristics.

    One thing to remember though, voices and midrange clarity are some of the Ascends' strong suits (CBM-170 and CMT-340). The mid driver on the ELT center certainly seems to help with voices and mids compared to the ELT mains.

    A system of five ELT centers and a good sub would be interesting to listen to.

    IMO, the ELT center is clearly the best piece of the ELT system.
     

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