Building House - Spending ~ $20K on HT - Best sound for the money?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dougie, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. Dougie

    Dougie Extra

    Nov 12, 2002
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    I'm building a new house next summer which will include a Home Theatre in the basement. Sound quality for playing music in CD and DVD format is the most important thing to me. I want an incredible sounding system but don't know where to spend the money. I could potentially spend $20,000 or more on the HT components. I guess I'm willing to spend whatever it takes to get the quality I'm looking for but I don't want to waste money either.
    First, let me tell you what I have currently (some of which I might consider using in the new HT, definitely will use the TV):
    Amplifier: JVC RX-7010V
    Receiver/amplifier(currently not using): Sony STRD1011S
    Speakers: Paradigm 7seMk3, both fronts with the corresonding center channel speaker, these are mid-height tower speakers (not the reference series)
    Kenwood rear speakers - bidirectional firing with ~41/2" mids plus the tweeters (~$140/pair last year)
    subwoofer: Sonance "The Sub"
    TV: Hitachi Ultravision 61" HDTV
    This is a pretty good system but I want much better sound quality.
    I recently auditioned some speakers:
    -B&W 800's - the sound was incredible as was the price (~$18K/pair). Some other B&W's, like the 802's, sounded great too but nothing like the 800's
    -Dyne - mid-height tower speakers, very good sounding for ~ $3000/pair
    I auditioned some amplifiers as well:
    -B&K 507 with 7 channels ($4000)
    -Arcam AV* and P7 ($8600)
    -Bel Cantro Pre 6 and Evo 6 ($8400).
    It's tough to compare the amplifiers as they are all powering different speakers.
    Is there any way to come close to the sound quality of something very close to the B&W 800's without spending as much money? I was only listening to all this very high-end stuff, I would have liked to compare the speakers with other speakers which cost less (e.g. Polk, Kenwood, whatever....).
    Also, does it matter much what else is in the room as far as sound quality is concerned, things like windows, a fireplace? The HT will be located in an area about 17' wide and very deep.
    Any good sound advice is greatly appreciated (no pun intended), especially from some of you seasoned pro's.
    I'm a little confused [​IMG] about where to begin, especially when I here that some well respected people in the audio business don't believe that one can tell the difference between different amplifiers.
  2. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

    Oct 23, 2002
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    for speakers you might want to look into some jm me they sound amazing but out of my pocket range..
  3. Brandon Blair

    Brandon Blair Stunt Coordinator

    May 28, 2002
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    If at all possible try to demo some JM Lab Utopia speakers, I promise you will be VERY impressed. I used to own a pair of B&W Nautilus 805's and an HTM-1, which I very much liked and thought that they were about as good as it got, boy was I wrong! I demoed some JM Lab speakers and was absolutely blown away by how much better I liked there sound compared to the B&W's. I then sold my B&W's and purchased a pair of JM Lab Electra 906's and an 901 CC, and couldn't be happier that I did. To me they sound better in every way than my B&W's did, and this is not to say that the B&W's sounded bad because they didn't. I just wish I could have afforded some JM Lab Mini Utopia's instead.
    Here is another example of where I've seen the JM Lab speakers beating the B&W's. At a local shop here in town they have pair of B&W Nautilus 801's ($11,000) hooked up to a Conrad-Johnson PV 14L tube preamplifier ($1,995) and Conrad-Johnson MF2500A 250 w/ch solid state amp ($3,695) with a Cambridge Audio D500 CD player ($479). In the same room next to it they have a pair of JM Lab Mezzo Utopia's ($14,000 now onsale for $10,000 nationwide) hooked up to a Conrad-Johnson PV 10BL tube preamplifier ($1,295) and a Conrad-Johnson MF2250A 125 w/ch solid state amp ($2495) with the same Cambridge Audio CD player. As you can see they put the better electronics on the B&W's, yet there was no comparison what so ever in the quality of sound. The Mezzo Utopia's blew away the B&W's in every way you could imagine. I spent an hour going back and forth playing the same song on one then the other, and for every single song the Mezzo's to me sounded at a minimum of ten times better. Now this shop is an authorized JM Lab dealer and has this setup with the better electronics on the B&W's for this very reason, to show people just how much better the JM Lab speakers really are. Now I realize this is just my own opinion and everyone hears different speakers different ways, but there is no question in my mind which are better. That's why I'm suggesting you try to find a JM Lab dealer and decide for yourself.
    JM Lab has four lines of speakers with a very wide variety of prices. They start with their enty Chorus line which is fairly enexpensive, then go to their Cobalt line, then their Electra line (which has also gotten VERY good reviews), and finally their top speakers in their Utopia line. Each line has anywhere from four to eight different speakers in them. I posted a link to their website if you're interested in checking them out.
    Good Luck,
  4. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

    Aug 30, 2001
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    Real Name:
    Magneplanar does a great Home Theater setup now with the back speakers on easy to attach wings for the wall.
    They have also started making a great center channel.
    Plus with either the 1.6s or 3.6s you will get a great audiophile quality (and reliable) two channel system.
    Plus, it is less expensive than some of the speakers mentioned here so you can spend money on a good receiver or controller/amp combo.
  5. How about the North Creek Vision system?
  6. Tim Ranger

    Tim Ranger Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 22, 2002
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    If I had your bucks to put together a system I'd start with ACI's new Veritas or Essence series speakers. Easily competitive in sound and quality to Aerials (some of my favs) and the better B&Ws. ACI is a very successful high-end direct company. Terrific customer service and support.
  7. Chris Bone

    Chris Bone Agent

    May 31, 2002
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    I have auditioned most of the speakers mentioned so far and I can say that the VMPS RM40 bested them all in my opinion. I know several people who have sold their JM Lab and Wilson speakers to purchase the RM40. Do a little research and you will see why. They one "Best In Show" at Cedia -and that was in competition with speakers up to $100,000! These 269 pound monsters retail for just $4600.0 a pair. This makes them the best price to performance deal out there. Do yourself a favor and research these speakers. They will compete with any other speaker at nearly any price point.


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