1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

Hsu Ventriloquist vs. Mirage Nanosat vs. Orb

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Drew.Ri, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. Drew.Ri

    Drew.Ri Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Looking for a little speaker advice, of course.

    After diligently reading through as many posts and threads as I could find that discusses the HT speaker sets I am interested in, I have decided that I needed to start my own thread. I am currently running a hodge podge of old speakers donated from family and friends (low end KLH center and surrounds with old Technics towers for front left and front right), they sound horrible and I have decided that enough is enough. It's time to buy my own.

    I will be using this set for 95% movies (DVD's) with the occasional use for music. I am using a Denon receiver.

    Though I would like tower or bookshelf speakers, they are out of the question due to wife considerations. She really likes the Bose cubes because of the small size. I have convinced her that I can find something that sounds better than the Bose, is just as small (or pretty close), is cheaper, and while not being as tiny will look better anyway. So, she has given me the green light to find some new speakers.

    I have considered many different speakers but keep coming back to three different sets (speakers and sub).

    1) Hsu Research Ventriloquist VT-12 with STF-2 sub for under $650 with shipping
    2) Mirage Nanosat with Nanosub for somewhere around $800 at Tweeter
    3) Orb MOD1 with Super Eight sub for about $700 with shipping

    The most expensive of the three is really pushing the upper limits of my budget, so please don't recommend anything more expensive.

    Right now, vocals and dialog are muddy and get lost so that I end up turning the volume up constantly, then back down quickly when talking stops and something blows up. This really pisses the wife off, especially when I am watching a movie late and she is asleep. So, one major consideration will be getting clear vocals so that they can be heard without turning up the overall volume.

    I also have a less than ideal room setup for surround sound. The room is open on one side with the sofa against one wall with the tv in the corner in front of and to the left of the sofa. Unfortunately the open end of the room is not in the back but is along the side.

    I was trying to find if anyone had heard more than one of the speaker sets listed above so that they might be able to offer some comparison? I have only been able to listen to the Nanosats. I have heard that the Nanosats give a bigger sound stage, but are less accurate in the sound imaging. I have also heard that the Orb's and Hsu's are very accurate but give a smaller "sweet spot."

    That being said, I guess my first question is if anyone has heard these systems and can offer some comparisons on how they sound.

    Second question is, with an odd room setup, is a bigger soundstage and less accurate sound imaging better or should I still look for better sound imaging and hope I can get the speakers setup well?

    Any comments, advice, etc. will be greatly appreciated. Sorry to throw such a long question at everyone, but if I waded through any more posts/threads myself my head was gonna explode.

    Thanks for any input offered.
     
  2. Ray Tsui

    Ray Tsui Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 1999
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You should be able to do better than that for the Nanosats in term of price.

    I would go with front firing satellites over the Nanosats.

    How small do you really need? Have you consider the Energy Take series?
     
  3. Drew.Ri

    Drew.Ri Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, I really need to stay as small as possible unless the speakers are really nice looking and have some "style", meaning they don't just look like typical speakers but something interesting that will either match decor or look interesting by themselves.

    I will look into the Energy Take speakers tonight.

    One question though, why do you suggest I should look at front-firing instead of the Nanosats? That might be a really stupid question, but I'm not sure what the advantages of front-firing speakers would be as compared to the Nanosats.

    I know the Nanosats give a very big sound stage, is that due to the fact that they are not front firing? If so, will front firing be better (more accurate sound imaging)for surround sound and movies than the big sound stage?
     
  4. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Messages:
    1,412
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have heard the Energy Take 5's and the Ventriloquists. First.....the subs in the systems, there is no comparison, the STF-2 is much better by far. Sound wise, the Take center leaves much to be desired IMO and overall sound quality of the surrounds is not up to the Hsus.

    I have never heard the Nanosats, and have read mixed things about the Orbs.
     
  5. Ray Tsui

    Ray Tsui Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 1999
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That's funny, I've heard the VT-12 also, and thought that the Energy Take 5.2's were better sounding. They sounded smoother and clearer to me.

    So.....who's right? No one. Only your own ears can tell.

    Energy has a new series of Take speakers which are supposedly even better. Definitely worth checking out. http://www.energy-speakers.com/v2/pr...age.php?id=35#

    As for my front firing comment, just get traditional speakers (nothing like the Mirages which send the sound in a near 360 pattern). It's a nice effect but I think a more traditional speaker gives you a more precise imaging for home theater (sounds can be pinpointed in location easier). Also, the Nanosats do sound a bit thin at times, I would recommend you move up the more expensive Omnisats if you want the Mirage omnidirectional technology (but they would be out of your budget)

    I do like the Hsu sub over the Energy though, but I would skip the VT-12's myself.
     
  6. Drew.Ri

    Drew.Ri Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Do you know where you saw the mixed review about the Orbs? I haven't found many reviews or comments on them on the net or in the forums, but in everything I found people said that they were very happy with the sound and that they sounded better than they expected. Of course, I don't know what sound they were accustomed to beforehand, and of course none of them compared the sound of any similar products, but still all the reviews I saw were positive. If you have seen mixed reviews (i.e. some negative also) please let me know where you saw them, it might be some place that I have not checked or a forum that I was not aware of.

    Again, thanks for the opinions.

    Does anyone know where I might be albe to listen to the Hsu's or the Energy Take's, or the Orb's for that matter?

    I realize that the bottom line in speaker shopping is finding the ones that produce the sound you like the best. Unfortunately, I haven't found any place to listen any of these (except the Nanosat's).
     
  7. Drew.Ri

    Drew.Ri Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I know it all comes down to listening to them, but since I can't do that (or until I find a way to) I thought I would continue to solicit the advice of folks who have some experience with these products and know more about speakers and home theater than I do. Thanks again.
     
  8. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Messages:
    1,412
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    Ray...where did you hear The VT-12....do you know if they were set up properly? Please don't say you heard them at CompUSA. [​IMG]

    I heard the Take 5.1's

    I think the Orbs are consumer direct. Sorry...I don't recall where I read comments about them, but I did talk to an Orb rep out here on the west coast...very nice guy.
     
  9. Greg Thomas

    Greg Thomas Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 3, 1999
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
  10. Ray Tsui

    Ray Tsui Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 1999
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My friend bought the VTF-2 and picked up VT-12 set at the same time, and I heard them briefly in his own home.

    I have heard the Take 5 and Take 5.2, Nanosats, but never heard the Orbs. I do like the Omnisats, and I am considering picking them up for my rear channels.

    I do recommend the subs, Hsu is at the top of my list right now. I will probably pick up a VTF-3 myself next month once I know more about the upgrade path.
     
  11. Ray Tsui

    Ray Tsui Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 1999
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    More...

    Based on what I heard, the VT-12 isn't bad, they did sound a bit thin to me. Dialogue clarity was pretty good, but I think the sats let them down overall. They did play pretty loud and I suppose you could do worse, and you do get their awesome sub in the package.

    For the original poster, I personally would never buy a speaker I can't hear first. I'd make an exception with subs since I think they are more easily quantified. Speakers all sound so different that the chance of getting the best one for your ears by ordering based on reviews is quite low. As I posted before, I heard Axiom and didn't like them *at all*, but I could not have guessed that had I taken blind faith in the reviews.
     
  12. tony^v

    tony^v Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I had the VT-12 and STF-2 setup.
    I bought them at Compusa.
    VT-12 $130 manager special
    STF-2 $200 floor model

    I was very impress with the sound and pretty happy but I always wanted Paradigm speakers so I kept the sub and returned the speakers.
    Now I have Atoms for fronts and CC170 for center. I kept my old bookshelf's for surrounds until I can replace them later.
    The VT-12 sound very good but it might be lacking in highs a little. I should point out that I did not calibrate the VT-12 so I don't know how it would have sounded after cal.

    I think you would be happy with them but you may want to check out the cinema series from paradigm as well.
     
  13. Drew.Ri

    Drew.Ri Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, I hit up thre different stores to listen to what they had to offer in terms of small sat/sub systems.

    I listened to a Boston Acoustic System 515 and the Canton Movie CD1's at the first store. Both sounded great, though they are more expensive ($1000 for the BA and $1100 for the Canton).

    Then I went and listened to the Nanosat's again. Though the sub was kinda weak, I preferred the nanosat's sound to the Boston Acoustic or Cantons. Tough call though, liked them all and my ear just doesn't remember the differences that much with a 20 minute drive in between.

    Then for the fun of it I went and listened to the Anthony Gallo Adiva's, with Due center. They sounded great, though again their sub was less than impressive. I'm not sure what the price is on the Adivas with Due center (the salesman was so crappy that after wandering around for a bit after listening to them I just left) but I'm pretty sure it's out of my price range.

    I listened to them because I have seen the Orb's favorably compared to them, for much less money.

    After further research, I have decided to knock the Ventriloquist system off my list. Though, I might still end up with their sub.

    Once I get taxes done, so that I know what my return will be, I will look at floating the Orbs on my credit card to get them home and give them a good listen. Will let you know how they sound, look, set-up, etc.

    Thanks for sharing your opinions, they have all been helpful.
     
  14. Thomas Dekany

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What ever you end up with - enjoy! I am sure the other speakers are great deals as well. I have 2 sets of VT12s. They replaced my NHT speakers that were highly recommended by Stereophiles.[​IMG]

    I will admit that I am a huge Dr Hsu fan so I tend to trust his ears blind. The reason? People with very good and trained ears say that the Dr has unbeliable hearing. That is enough for me. Very happy with the setup and the VT12s sound huge! It is true, that if someone likes the Canton types of highs, they wouldn't be impressed by the VT12.

    In any case, let us know what brand you picked up and how you like them at home.
     
  15. Drew.Ri

    Drew.Ri Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That's really what I'm hoping for, enjoyment once this is done. I am taking my time shopping becuase I won't be able to buy new speakes again for a long time. This is really going to be my first set, and I want to make sure I get something that I will continue to enjoy even after my ear gets better. Honestly, right now anything sounds good, my mix-match set of speakers is so bad. I just want a system that, when I get used to hearing great sound, will still sound great and won't leave me wondering why some things just sound off a bit.

    I actually may have spoken too soon when I said that the VT-12 was off the list. Once I figure out the taxes, it might be the only one left on the list since is it the cheapest I am looking at. I am sure I will be more than satisfied with it though. One reason I am looking at the others as well is that, if I can afford something with slightly better sound now, I should probably get it as I won't be able (allowed by the wife) to upgrade for a long time. The wife also prefers something that looks cool and either won't be noticed in her living room or looks cool on its own. She kinda prefers something that doesn't necessarily look like a speaker.

    I think I actually need to stop looking for a while and just let my mind focus on something else. A couple times a day I end up convinced that I know exactly which speakers I want, only to change my mind again later and be convinced I am buying different ones.

    I think I'm gonna lose my mind trying to find speakers. It would be so much easier if I could just listen to them somewhere instead of having to troll all the forums tyring to gather tiny bits of information at a time.
     
  16. Thomas Dekany

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    the STF2/VT12 is $559.00 shipped. You also get a 20' subwoofer cable free.

    You really have to hear them - and since they are factory direct, you want to compare them against system costing twice this HT package. An equally priced mini system from a retail store can't match it's performance.

    You will not be dissapointed with the sound that comes out of the VT12s. Plus they do go down to 80hz so the sound is much fuller then other small speaker setups. m2c

    Where do you live?
     
  17. Drew.Ri

    Drew.Ri Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Noted.

    I am actually pretty excited about the VT-12's and the Orbs. Not sure if that is just the excitement of the search and the anticipation of finally buying.

    The Orbs are only $708 shipped, not sure about taxes, but probably comparable tax to the VT-12's. So I'm not looking at anything twice as expensive, well, I have looked at some, but just for comparison.

    Do you notice any effect from having the center go down to 80 Hz while the other speakers don't? Not sure how that would effect the sound.

    Also, do you have to set the crossover on your receiver to 80 Hz? Is there anyway to have the sub play up to, say 100 Hz while having the center play down to 80 Hz so that the 80-100 Hz range will be more spread out as it will be coming from more than one source? Or is that a bad idea. I can never remember.
     
  18. Thomas Dekany

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I meant performance wise you want to compare the VT12s to twice the price.

    If the sub is close to the mains 100hz should be just fine.

    Set speakers to small, and the Xover to 80hz (or 100hz if that is the lowest setting) and leave it at that.

    Having the VT12 go down to 80hz is one of it's selling point.

    read these reviews & see if they help you make a decision.

    http://www.hsustore.com/vt12.html
     
  19. Drew.Ri

    Drew.Ri Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sorry, had to cut that reply short, had to stop and do some work. So, to continue...

    I know that having the VT12 go down to 80Hz is a selling point, but I didn't know how it would sound only having that lower end produced by the center speaker while the higher range is produced by all the speakers. In theory it seems that it would really help out with dialogue problem I currently have (too quiet unless the entire system is turned up loud enough to piss of the wife upstairs).

    Does the wiring configuration (having the front left and front right wired through the center) present any difficulties if adjusting the individual speakers?

    As to your previous post, I live in Northern Virginia.

    Thanks for the info.
     
  20. Thomas Dekany

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    wireing is easy and I live in Fairfax [​IMG]
     

Share This Page