Home Theater Direct Level Three

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Justin*Smith, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. Justin*Smith

    Justin*Smith Agent

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    Has anyone heard or does anyone have these?

    I'm planning on building a surround package complimented by an SVS PB12 Ultra or HSU VTF 3HO. What I'm looking at is possibly getting four bookshelves and the center. I realize that that is not optimal for pairing with one of the above mentioned subs, but I plan on keeping the sub for quite some time and the speaker package will be upgraded in two to three years with a new house.

    I've been giving serious consideration to Axiom, which most likely will greatly outperform the HTDs. How about the SVS 5.1 system or the Ventriloquist paired with the above mentioned subs? I know those that heard the CES demo thought that the Ventriloquist system was quite unimpressive when played with the 3HO. Just looking for some ideas.

    htd.com is the website for the Level Threes. Thanks for any and all input
     
  2. Brian D H

    Brian D H Second Unit

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    I have a set of the "older" HTD Level Threes. (With the 1" silk-dome tweeters instead of the new ribbon tweeters). I jumped at the chance to get these on clearance so that I could pair them with Level Two surrounds which still have the same older silk-dome tweeters.

    Anyway, I love these speakers. Nice Cherry finish, very full sound, not too bright, but not muddy either. Good highs and mids. I think these are some of the best speakers for the price. In my current situation (two small children, limited money and a living-room theatre) I have no desire to even upgrade right now. To be honest I don't think I'd upgrade even if I had the money - I'm that happy with them.

    Of course, you need to remember a few things:
    1) Opinions are subjective - But I think that everyone agrees that HTD has some of the best service anywhere. In other words, order a pair and return them if you don't like them.
    2) While these are some of the best speakers for the price, there are some more expensive speakers that many in this forum prefer: Swan, Rocket etc.
     
  3. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    Not sure how you arrived at this conclusion, but I doubt that this is the case. Which axioms are you planning to get? Also, are you talking about the newer Level 3s or the older models? The newer models are more laid back than the older models, but in some ways superior.

    Both axioms and HTD have different sounds to them.
     
  4. Justin*Smith

    Justin*Smith Agent

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    Sorry, just a generalized statement from everything I've seen and heard about them. I've heard absolutely nothing about HTD and anyone I've asked usually shrugs their shoulders. I can't believe that I even made that statement as much as I hate people generalizing, unless of course it's about Bose, haha. Again, sorry to put that in there, I'm just looking for some info about them.

    Yes, I'm talking about the new Level Threes with the ribbon tweeters.

    Compare those to the M22Ti and the V150 from Axiom.
     
  5. Justin*Smith

    Justin*Smith Agent

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    Brian,

    Do you run HT at a high volume? What about music? I will probably only listen to 10% music at most seeing as I have my Vega VS150s in another room. God, I love those things!!! Anyway, I'm really interested in how they do for your HT. Thanks again
     
  6. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    Hi, Justin. No need to apologize. I was just wondering what your thought process was.

    I've only listened to the new Level 3s once, so it's not enough for me to give a full assessment. I do own the new Level 3 center, but have not put it to good use in a while. It's now in my parents HT, waiting for my Yamaha RX-V2200 receiver to come in and take control of everything [​IMG]

    While I had it here in my HT, I really like the smoothness of the ribbon tweeter. I felt that my Yamaha could not really do it enough justice. However, I've tested it with movies and music and it did really well with both. Compared to the older model this one's more laid back, but smoother at the same time. Some people may not like this type of presentation, but we all have different taste. It took me a while to get adjusted to the new sound, but I like it.

    To answer your question about matching the speakers with the SVS or HSU, it depends on the capability of the receiver, as well as how low the speakers can go. Generally, people would like to see bookshelves go down to about 45-60 Hz.

    There's tons of axiom fans and axiom does make some fine product. I've not listened to their entire line, but have heard the M60s and M22s. The one time I heard the M22s, I wasn't too impressed by them. I thought they were OK, but there were better speakers for the money.

    Here's a thread comparing a bunch of internet-direct speakers:

    http://av123forum.com/showthread.php...g&pagenumber=5

    Here are some pictures I took of the GTG in the above thread:

    http://community.webshots.com/myphot...ecurity=kaSkLf

    Here's a bunch of threads that mention things about HTD:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htf...tby=&sortorder=
     
  7. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I am glad this thread came up- I just had an excellent experience with HTD. I set up small home theaters for people, and I ordered the 'Middies' from HTD for the customer to look at.
    For aesthetic reasons only(the Middies sounded better), he went with Gallo Micro-Nucleus instead for surrounds.
    I contacted HTD and was immediately sent the necessary return label for UPS, and my account was credited as soon as they received them.
    So, if you had any hesitation about trying the HTD's, don't sweat it.
    I will definitely deal with them again.
     
  8. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    Thanks for sharing. I own a couple of those Gallos, which my brother is borrowing for the moment. They sound damn good for their size. The middies do sound better, but the Gallos are down right sexy [​IMG]

    Now that HTD's come out with their Flat Speakers (for matching with Plasmas and LCDs), you might want to get some of those to show your prospective customers.
     
  9. Justin*Smith

    Justin*Smith Agent

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    How do your Level 4s sound? I didn't realize that those things were that big until I saw your pics.
     
  10. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    Yea, the Level 4s are very heavy speakers. Their build quality and finish are first-rate!

    Here's my comparison between the Rocket 550s and HTD Level 4s (towers):

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...t=HTD+Level+IV

    My brother owns the towers and center. I no longer own the Level 4 bookshelves. It's found a good friend at a former co-worker's home. I just ran out of room for them, so it was sad to see them go.

    With the 4s, as well as the new 3s, you'd have to consider a good power source to make them shine. I wouldn't use them with tube amps.
     
  11. Justin*Smith

    Justin*Smith Agent

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    Just so you know, I plan on running a Yamaha RX V2500. As for the speakers, HTD has the Level 4s for $250 a pair on clearance right now as compared to $280 a pair for the new Level 3s. What do you think?

    Also, will the Level 3 center only work with the Level 3s seeing as it has the ribbon tweeter or will it work with the Level 4s? Would you suggest a different center(I really like the Bigfoot, but don't know how well it would match the HTDs), or even just going with the Level 3s? I think I'd like to go with four Level 4s, a center(not sure which one) and a sub as a 5.1 set-up, with the potential of all four bookshelves eventually becoming surrounds in a 7.1. Just wondering what you think.
     
  12. DavidNighorn

    DavidNighorn Stunt Coordinator

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    I have spent considerable time with both the Axiom m22's and the HTD L3 (older version). Both are good speakers but they are very very different! The HTD's are quite laid back - I would even say veiled. My speaker preference is to have highs and mids that are very revealing. I want hear the artist breath between phrases (if it was on the recording) and to hear the metallic slide of the finger over the guitar strings. The HTD's masked some of these details and left me wondering where the high end went.

    The Axioms are the polar opposite. The highs and mids are fantastic with voices gaining a huge amount of presence. This helps with the imaging as well. The big knock against the m22's is that there isn't a whole lot of bass available. This is true. Mid-bass is pretty good but there isn't much below 60 Hz. However, you have indicated that you'll have a quality sub - mostly eliminating this weakness.

    In the end, speakers are so subjective that it is impossible to really rate them in a meaningful way. The good news is that both of these companies offer a free 30-day trial. My advice is to order a pair of each and then to listen to music with both. Then send back the one that you don't like as much.

    David
     
  13. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    I've not heard them head-to-head, so I can't say which is better (and I've not that much experience with the 3s). But the yamaha should have sufficient power to drive either.

    Like David suggested above, the best way to find out is to demo both in your home. I believe HTD will pay for shipping 1 way should you decide to return them within the 30 day period for whatever reason. As you can see from David's and my opinions, people's hearing are very subjective when it comes to speakers.
     
  14. Justin*Smith

    Justin*Smith Agent

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    What do you think about matching the center to the Level 4s? What would be a good compliment to them? Again, thanks for all your help guys.
     
  15. DavidNighorn

    DavidNighorn Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a very strong bias toward identical speakers for LRC. If that is not possible, then make sure that the tweeters, mids, and woofers are identical across the front.

    There is nothing more distracting (other than house fires, tornados, earthquakes....) than a sound that changes character from Left to Right or the reverse. A non-matching center channel will take you out of the movie faster than a Star Trek transporter!

    David
     
  16. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    The L4 would be the best match (obviously). The L3 center, although voice a little bit similar to the 4s, are more recessive, so you'd have to increase the level trim on the center speaker to get them level-matched. If you're interested in getting the 4s, you should give them a call to see if they have any more center channels available.

    They would know more about their speaker voicing than I would, so your best bet would be to just give them a call and discuss your options.
     
  17. Justin*Smith

    Justin*Smith Agent

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    Actually, I decided on just what you suggested. When I get out of class this morning, I'm going to give them a call to see if they might have a Level 4 center available. I like the Level 3s, but I just keep coming back to the Level 4s for some reason.

    While I'm playing the waiting game for some reviews of the new subs that were at CES, I figure I'll just get the Level 3 sub, if I go with the Level 3s. I know this is the "weak link" but have also heard that the quality is much improved in the new models.
     
  18. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    Cool.

    Re: the L3 sub. Don't read into those epinion reviews too much. The sub's been revised and substantially improved several times since that review. I don't think it will compete with the SVS Ultra, but that's a HUGE price difference.
     
  19. Justin*Smith

    Justin*Smith Agent

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    I talked to a gentleman today at HTD for about half an hour discussing options and basically shooting the sh*t about certain things. He told me that his last center is being held for someone else, but if he doesn't want it, then I get it. He also told me that the Level 3 center would work very well with the Level 4s. I got more service in a half an hour from this one guy than I have in my last ten trips combined going to B & M stores in my area, including a couple high-end shops just a couple of blocks from my house. So, needless to say, I'm putting in my order today. Again, thanks for all your help everyone. I'm glad I stumbled across HTD.
     
  20. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    Glad it worked out for you. The HTD guys are really nice and helpful every time I've contacted them. So their customer service with you is not an anomaly (believe it or not [​IMG]

    Be sure to post your impressions of the speakers when you get them. What did you order, btw? I'm guessing the L3 mains and L4 center?
     

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