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Final decision time - Would appreciate your input

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian_B_inswfla, Feb 5, 2002.

  1. Brian_B_inswfla

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    Hello all,

    I am replacing a Bose Lifestyle 12 system and want to do this right the first time. It was hard to convince the wife to let me do it since we've only had the Bose for 5 months or so. Frankly, it was only after making her read some of the posts here that she let me so I suppose I owe some of you a debt of gratitude.

    Well, I purchased my receiver (Denon AVR-982) which I'm hoping will turn out to be a good decision. It has the features I wanted and I've only heard good things about Denon. Besides, the price was right.

    Now it's time to get speakers. This is where my "small" problem comes in. The speakers I get can't be much bigger than the Bose per the wife. This won't allow me to get to the sound quality level I wanted but it should still be better than the Bose. The main problem will be the size of my room. It is approx. 15'x24' with the seating and television at opposite ends of the 24' length.

    I showed the wife many different pictures of speakers and the only ones she approved of so far were the Axiom Micro Surround System, Energy Take5.2, and the Anthony Gallo Micro speakers. I've gotten prices on the Axiom and Energy speakers but I can't seem to find the price on the Gallo's so I don't know if they are in my price range. I'm looking in the $500 to $700 range but could possibly stretch to $900 if it was truly worth it.

    I should mention that I already have 2 powered subwoofers. One is the Sony SAWM40 (I think that is right) and the other is a Yamaha YST-90 (Once again, I think that is right). I intend to set the receiver crossover at 120Hz, crank up the crossover on the Yamaha so it's bypassed, and set the Sony to handle the deeper stuff below around 60~70Hz.

    I guess my main question is what do you think of the above speakers sound quality? Will they be able to fill my room with quality sound? Will I notice a difference from the Bose? Are there other small speakers in that range that I should check out? Will my idea work for the subs?

    I appreciate any input that may be provided.

    Thanks,

    Brian B.
     
  2. Brian_B_inswfla

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    Wow, over 60 views and no one has an opinion. I'm shocked.
     
  3. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    I haven't spent much, if any time listening to the speakers you mentioned, but I have been impressed with the Mirage AVS-Series Micro system. www.miragespeakers.com
     
  4. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Brian,

    I have an opinion, but don't know how much good it'll do ya.

    IMO, (and not very expert opinion), your WAF (wife approval factor) limitations are severely restricting your options.

    I can understand if she doesn't want to mess up her living room with HT gear. Is there another room available to you for use as HT (I presume your intended purpose)?

    If not, I think you're gonna have a tough task ahead of you finding speakers that can meet anticipated performance levels from 20+ feet away and still be small.

    How high is the ceiling in that 15x24 foot room? If 8 ft, you're pushing 2900 cu ft.. which is nearly triple what my HT room is (~1100 ft^3). And I'm running tower mains (Axiom M60Ti) and SVS sub.

    You're likely to be asked how close to ref level you like to listen. (ref level roughly equals movie theater volume)In my room, I comfortably listen at 10 under ref. At night, we like 20 under ref. (unless I can get away with more!)

    Also, I hope you have a BIG screen at the other end of that 24' room! I watch a 32" DV set from 8 to 9 feet.. and it could be bigger.. especially when I play a 2.35:1 DVD.

    This is only one data point. Hope you find it helpful.
     
  5. Brian_B_inswfla

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    Rick:

    I agree. Use of small speakers is not the way I want to go. I'm still working on her a bit so maybe she'll see the light. I can guarantee that I will NOT be able to get towers though. We just do not have a place to put them. My entertainment center is 112" wide on a 120" wall.

    Sadly, I do not have another room to use for HT. This is our family area so I don't get to have my way with it. Not only that but it has a cathedral ceiling so room design is probably not very good for my HT aspirations. THe biggest problem I've had is creating a unified sound field. There is a gap between the front image and the rear image.

    I'm not sure how close to reference level I like to listen because I've never known enough about this stuff to even know there was a reference level until recently. I do tend to play it louder than anyone else likes it but who knows how loud that is. Once my receiver arrives and I get a set of speakers I plan to get an SPL meter and do it right.

    I don't know if this is considered big or not but I have the Sony 51" widescreen HDTV. Obviously sitting as far away as we do we don't get the same impact some others might but it's big enough for our purpose.

    I'm trying to talk the wife into the Axiom M3Ti bookshelves. They have a 6.5" woofer which should do alright. I believe they have a pretty good sensitivity rating also. Something like 93dB. The other choice would be possibly Klipsch SB1 bookshelves. I would think that either of these should do a decent job in my room.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Mark:

    Thanks for the suggestion of the Mirage speakers. I'll check them out.
     
  6. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Brian,
     
  7. Brian_B_inswfla

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    Rick,

    Yeah, my entertainment center is huge. Selling it is not an option since we just got it about 1 month ago. Besides, I really like it. Very nice. Plenty of storage. I have DVD's, CD's, Xbox games, Gamecube games, Dreamcast games, NES games, VCR tapes and various other software to store. Obviously I also have all the systems and hardware to go with it. I needed the large center.

    Location for the mains is a bit of a problem but I have three viable options though they may not be the best options for speaker imaging.

    The first option is to put them on top. This would work great for the WAF but the center is tall also (about 6.5'). They would be about 3 feet higher than the center channel which isn't the best.

    The second option is on a builtin shelf in the center. This is going to put them about 1 foot higher than the center channel.

    The last option is behind 2 doors at the bottom of the entertainment center. The doors have acoustically transparent pieces. This would put them close to the floor and about 3 foot below the center channel.

    Given your example of a movie theater for reference level I'd guess I don't listen that loud. It's hard to say though. The movie theaters around here are not very good.

    For example, I went to see Black Hawk Down on Friday (which was good, btw) and was totally unimpressed by the sound. I think my system sounds better than the system there (keep in mind I have Bose for perspective).

    On the other hand, I went to see Dinosaur when it came out at a different theater and the sound was great but much too loud. If that was reference level then I'm not concerned about it but I have a feeling it was just set too loud. To give you a point of reference I've grown up going to loud rock concerts, etc. and I felt it was too loud.

    Either way, I don't think volume will be my issue. While the sound is only average at best the Bose system does reach the volume I would need. From that, I think it's pretty safe to say that a Denon AVR-982 paired with any decent speaker set should give me the needed volume. The real problem is going to be finding smaller speakers that can give me a proper home theater image so that I feel drawn into the movie.

    I think I will take your advice and post over on the Axiom site. Perhaps they can give me some good suggestions. I will also see about doing the in home trial option locally also.

    I'm not particularly in love with the subs. They get the job done but could absolutely be better. I will most likely upgrade to an SVS or something similar but it will have to wait a bit. The wife only lets me spend so much. If this was my only hobby then it might fly now but I like to spend lots of money elsewhere also. FYI, my other major hobby is my Mustang GT. I take it to the track on occasion and it is a large money pit.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to offer your observations.

    Brian
     
  8. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Brian,
    Methinks it's time for some real experts to step in here. IMO, placement of your mains is going to be a challenge w/r/t acoustics.
    I also think the size of your room would benefit from dual SVSs. I found out a week ago that my small HT definitely likes dual SVSs. ;-)
    Money pit? Heheheheh. We'll see how serious you get about HT, then we'll see whether the Mustang or the HT becomes the bigger money pit!
    BTW, regarding theater sound systems, I've found myself listening critically when we go out now that I've gotten into HT. IMO, I don't think I've found one yet that tops my modest setup. Then again, we don't get out much. [​IMG]
     
  9. Brian_B_inswfla

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    Rick,

    Placement of the mains is surely going to be a pain. I'll figure it out somehow though. It may not be perfect but I'll get it close enough for my ears.

    I'd love dual SVS subs. If funds permitted I'd have them right now. I keep hoping to find some used for a good price but that hasn't happened yet.

    I have to admit. For right now, the HT is the bigger money pit. Particularly if you include all my games systems, games, movies, and other misc. stuff. Man, I just tried to estimate in my head how much I've spent and had to stop because the number got too big. I hope my wife never does it. She'll kill me.

    Now, if I get my way, I'll be getting a supercharger and some suspension goodies for the car. Need to beef up the tranny too. Then I'll head to the track and see what breaks.

    The best sounding theater I've heard in awhile was at Universal Studios in Orlando. They have the SDDS setup there. It's pretty nice.

    Regards,

    Brian
     
  10. Brian Bowles

    Brian Bowles Second Unit

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    Someone will probably think this is not the best but have you looked at Polk? I know you are on a budget. Right now the Polk RT 600i speakers are on sale for $199 each at Circuit City. That is a good buy in that price range for a tower speaker if you ask me. I know there are better speakers out there but these sound nice and keep you well within your budget. You could get the rt25i's for the rear at $99 each and then the center would be the cs 400 ($399) or the cs 245 ($199). If you are only going to get two speakers in the price range the Klipsch reference series are great too but more money. I really like the PSB speakers as well. They fall between all of these in price. At least you could go to a Circuit City to hear the Polk. Good Luck!
     
  11. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    I had a similar problem with the WAF. We didn't have Bose, but she wanted them. We had an old set of JBL micro speakers. I wanted to upgrade, and she told me if not Bose, then it must be something of similar size. Absolutely nothing bigger than those cubes. Well we had a tremendous battle of wills over a period of several weeks, in which I agreed no towers ever unless we get a decidated room, and no speakers on stands (on bookshelves only) and no speakers that she did not esthetically approve of. In return, I got permission for bookshelf sized speakers. Although I gave up quite a bit, I can tell you that the difference between bookshelf and micro sized speakers for home theater applications is *immense*. MUCH wider soundstage. The difference in moving from bookshelf to towers based on my demoing was not nearly as significant, unless you are thinking primarily of music rather than HT.
    That said, here are two basic (and common in this forum) recommendations in your price range if you can get your wife to approve of speakers up to about 16" H x 8"W x 10"D:
    Two pair Paradigm mini monitors ($600)
    CC-370 center ($300)
    This assumes you can get about a 15-20% discount from MSRP.
    www.paradigm.ca
    Here is another option, available only online:
    HTD Level 3, 2 Pair Lvl 3 bookshelves ($400)
    Level 3 Center ($139)
    http://store.yahoo.com/htd/levthrespeak.html
    And here is another online option at a higher price point, but I think there is a sale going on:
    Divas by Swans, 2 pair 2.1 ($800)
    C3 Center ($500)
    http://www.av123.com/divaswans.html
    All three options have above average esthetics, and the Divas are particularly attractive. Most importantly, all three have gotten consistently favorable amateur and profressional reviews.
     
  12. Pep Guidote

    Pep Guidote Agent

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    A little pricey, but something you might want to consider is the M&K Xenon line recently reviewed at Secrets. They seem to like it.
    They are about the size of a wine glass, so that should be right along your wife's alley. The only problem here is the price($1700 for LCR and surrounds), but you might find it cheaper somewhere. Good Luck!
    -Pep
     
  13. Brian_B_inswfla

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    Pep:

    I read about the M&K speakers. It's an option though I don't think I can get the wife to spring for the costs. We'll see what she thinks about them.

    Eric:

    I've done a lot of reading about the Swans and the HTD speakers. I truly love the look of the Swans but for some reason the wife thinks they are ugly. Go figure. The HTD speakers are a nice inexpensive option. Paradigm is the unknown for me. I need to read up on them more.

    Brian:

    I've looked into the Polk. I'd have to pass on the towers though. I just don't have any place to put them. I'll have to head to Circuit City and check them out.

    Everyone else reading:

    I intend to spend some time this weekend auditioning. Hopefully the wife will go and I can show her what we gain by going with bigger speakers. Maybe she'll see the light.
     
  14. Tony Meconiates

    Tony Meconiates Stunt Coordinator

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    haha.. I never knew what WAF meant
     
  15. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    hmmm, I'm no longer married (no, HT had nothing to do with it) but let's see here. IMO it's unwise to let this decision become a battle of the wills. We're talkin' about your HOME and its decor, and generally the wife has a 90/10 say-so in this department.

    But marriage is all about sharing and respecting each other. Now you can argue, excuse me, point out, the benefits of larger, boxy speakers, but that may not penetrate the WAF psychology as she's looking at the bigger picture in the room -- the decor.

    Obviously, there will be a compromise down the line. To start with, I urge you to find speakers that offer wood veneer -- light cherry, rosewood, etc. The speakers have to look ATTRACTIVE. And there are flat speakers wires and other types beside bulky, dark-colored wires running across the carpet. You know that you dont want to park the speakers inside the ent. center for your sound field, but she doesn't know that yet. After a while, the room-based spkrs aren't so visible. If you went for Paradigm Mini-Monitors in veneer, for example, you then wud opt for their open-type stands for a lesser massive look.

    Another strategy is to bring demo speakers home if you can, before paying for them, so she might get accustomed to them. And play some nice CD music that she likes during the day.

    just some thots...
     
  16. LowellG

    LowellG Stunt Coordinator

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    Disclaimer: I don't own anything yet, but I have been doing a ton of research.

    I have been looking at the JBL S-36 and the S-Center. They get great reveiws at audioreview.com and others here have recommended them as well. Here are the S-36 specs:

    Maximum Recommended Amplifier Power: 150 Watts

    • Impedance: 8 Ohms

    • Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1m): 90

    • Frequency Response (–3dB): 60Hz - 20kHz

    • Crossover Frequency(ies): 800Hz, 3200Hz

    • High-Frequency Driver: 1" Pure-titanium dome with EOS™ waveguide

    • Midrange Driver: 4" PolyPlas™ cone

    • Low-Frequency Driver: 6" PolyPlas™ cone

    • Dimensions (H x W x D): 10-1/4" x 14-5/8" x 5"

    (260mm x 371mm x 127mm)

    • Weight: 11 lb (5kg.)

    • Reference Price: $449.99 (You can pick them up on the web for $250-275 a pair. Use pricegrabber.com or pricescan.com search for JBL and you will find them.)

    They are only 5" thick and are made to mount on the wall. The reveiws rave about their clarity and sound quality. Much better for music which is one of my approaches on the WAF. Your room size really sounds like you will need larger spearkers.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  17. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    I think I should point out the Gallos again, they seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle.
    I'm strongly considering a move to Gallos myself, partly for the looks. I've recently discovered I hate having black boxes everywhere, and that's what my my HT setup consists of at this time. [​IMG]
    Check out some reviews?
    http://www.ecoustics.com/s.php?search=gallo
    Just make sure you get a Nucleus Micro review, there are some older types there too.
     
  18. Brian_B_inswfla

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    Hello all,

    Sorry for bumping this back up but I thought you might be interested in the final outcome of my situation.

    I'll start with problems I had with my receiver then tell you what speakers I ended up with. I purchased 2 B stock Denon AVR-982 receivers from Ubid. I hooked one up and it seemed to be great until I hooked up my sub. After much troubleshooting it appears the sub preout was not working. I can only assume none of the other preouts are working.

    I grabbed the second one hoping for better luck. Hooked it all up and the sub worked perfectly. Checked out some radio stations and everything sounded great. Switched over to DVD, threw in Star Wars EP1 and jumped to the pod racer scene. The receiver detected the digital signal, played for about 2 seconds, then it shut off. Went through everything looking for problems and couldn't find anything. It never turned on again.

    Debated for a bit and decided to just send them back for a refund and find something else. Called around to locate a Kenwood VR-510 or an Onkyo 595 and could not find either in stock anywhere. Called the local Sound Advice store and the guy suggested the Yamaha RX-V620. Quickly researched it and thought it might fit my needs. Headed that way, checked it out, listened to it, and decided to come home with it. I got it for just over $400. You can get it a bit cheaper online but I wanted it right then so it was worth it to me.

    After a day with it I am quite happy with it. The sound is nice and not overbearing. The setup procedure leaves a lot to be desired though. Overall though, I'm happy with it for the money I paid. It'll take care of me for awhile.

    Ok, on to the speakers. I talked to the wife at length and came up with a good news/not so good news situation. She agreed to go with bigger speakers which was a definite plus. The downside is I had to use a pair of speakers I already had laying around. Namely, a pair of Yamaha NA-A1638 towers. In reality they aren't that bad and I've actually been surprised at the sound when paired up with the Yamaha receiver. I powered them previously with a Kenwood VR-207 and the sounded like garbage.

    In an effort to do the best I could with what I had I looked around and found the Yamaha NS-AC40X center channel. I've actually been pleasantly surprised at the sound that speaker can put out. Also, it seems to match the towers quite well to my untrained ears.

    I briefly considered just getting some Yamaha speakers for the surrounds but I know at some point I'll probably be changing the towers and center for something better. In the end I went to Sound Advice and listened to everything they had near my price range.

    After boring my wife to death I finally decided on the Klipsch SS-1 surrounds. I enjoyed the sound they put out and the price was right. I got the pair for $262 which seems to be a fairly good deal anyway.

    When it was all said and done I really enjoy the sound from my new system. I'm not through tweaking it so I'm sure it will get better. Sometime this year I will probably upgrade to Klipsch in the front and hopefully an SVS sub but for now I have a totally enjoyable system that blows away the Bose Lifestyle 12 I'm replacing. And as an added bonus, the total cost including cables is slightly less than I paid for the Bose.

    Thanks for all the input.

    Brian
     

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