Need help with speakers for music/HT

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by vasia, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. vasia

    vasia Stunt Coordinator

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    I am trying to put together a HT system for my 13X18 living room. I am primarily interested in it for music right now, but would like to have an option for HT in the future. So, basically I want to get a great 2 mains+receiver set and upgrade other things later. I already got Marantz SR8300 receiver and I absolutely love it. I am also thinking about getting a pair of Axiom's M60Ti's. What other floorstanders are in that range worth considering? I know Rocket RS550's are basically the same price and they look great, but do they compare sonically? I am looking for balanced, clean sound with good soundstage.
    M60's leave me with 200$ left on my budget, so I am considering starting to upgrade my other speakers and getting a new center channel. I currently have Onkyo HT760 and plan to use surrounds and sub from that set for HT, however, I do not particularly like center in that set up. I am looking at Axiom VP100 and read good things about it. However, guy at Axiom suggested VP150 instead, which is out of my price range and toobig to put on top of my small TV anyways. Would getting VP100 for this room be a reasonable thing or should I save my money and get VP150 later? Other good centers in 200$ range?
     
  2. Glenn Verde

    Glenn Verde Extra

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    I was currently looking at the Axiom m50ti and m60ti and decided on the PSB 5T. PSB is also a Canadian company with excellent sounding speakers for the money. I am very happy with the sound of the Image 5T line and I currently use their 8C for center and 1B for surrounds. The 5T's have a warm natural sound and very good soundstage. They also produce good bass from a 6.5" woofer. Look at audioreviews, they receive good marks. I am also impressed with their 8C center channel. The sound and dialogue is crystal clear. PSB also make a 6T with a additional 6.5" woofer for more midrange and bass. The 5Ts list for $800 but DMC-electronics.com has new 5Ts for $549 a pair and 6T's for $649.
     
  3. vasia

    vasia Stunt Coordinator

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    Great! Thanks.
    I guess my list right now is:
    Axiom M60Ti
    Rockets RS550
    Paradigm Monitor 11
    B&W 603
    PSB 6T
    All of them have very good reviews, which makes it very confusing.
    I am willing to spend 700-950. Unfortunately, the only one I can audition is B&W, others are not available in my area.So, I really need help in figuring out which way to go. Could anyone compare any of these? How do others compare to B&W, since I can listen to it and figure out how I like it. Are there any particular strengths and weaknesses?
    Thanks a lot!
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    You might try audioenvy.com to see if there are any Rocket owners in your area. Also a post on the AV123 website might be helpful in getting a demonstration. You can do the same with Axiom.

    It will probably come down to your listening preferences. Axiom has a reputation of being ‘brighter’ than the Rocket 550s, but I’ve never done an A/B comparison, so I can’t state this as a fact. Both companies have generous return polices, but you would be out the shipping.

    As to the center, I don’t think that there will be a $200 center with which you will be pleased—at least when married with speakers the caliber of the M60s or RS550s. Since you are moving to speakers of this quality, I would suggest delaying purchasing a center until you can afford the outlay for the VP150 or RSC200. In your case, I would not use a center speaker at all—don’t use your old center, which will also not be up to the task.

    For music you won’t care about the absence of the center and for movies, your receiver will create a ‘phantom’ center channel that will be superior to a $200 alternative. Upgrade your system when you can afford a comparable center. It is the most important speaker in HT—you won’t be sorry for the wait.

    Also this strategy avoids the problem of ‘timbre matching’ the center to the mains.
     
  5. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    FYI, there is a of B-stock signature RS750s for sale right now for $880 plus shipping on the AV123 site. You could go B-stock RS550 and save some money that way.
     
  6. vasia

    vasia Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, this B-stock sounds pretty good. Has anyone had any experience with it?
     
  7. Bill Blank

    Bill Blank Stunt Coordinator

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    This post is almost identical to what a friend just asked me at work today. He's considering the following speakers:

    Axiom M60Ti
    Swan 5.2
    Polk RTi12

    I recommended he add the following to his list:

    Paradigm Reference Studio 60
    Paradigm Monitor 11
    Rocket RS550
    B&W DM603

    The only speakers I've ever heard in person are the B&W(series 2) and both Paradigms. A few years back I was in your exact situation and auditioned the B&W's and Paradigm Studio 60's at the same dealer. My priority is music, rock music dominating my CD collection.

    The Paradigms got the "message" of the music across better IMO. They had more weight down low, drums sounded very real, the midrange was clean and the highs spot on.

    The B&W's were lacking down low (for me) and this seemed to make the midrange sound slightly more forward. The mids were still clear and the highs very nice, just a tad further up front.

    I ended up with a pair of Vienna Acoustics Mozarts after getting a job at Tweeter shorty after that audition and they lived in my system for over two years. Within the past year I just found myself not sitting down like I used to, enjoying my rock albums. I was seeking out "audiophile" recordings in different genres. While that did broaden my music horizons quite a bit it wasn't the music I loved, not the music that brought me to this hobby.

    About one month ago I went and auditioned the Paradigm Reference Studio 100v3. I came home with a pair and matching CC-470/Studio 20's. They still had that same effect on me with my music that I had remembered.

    I should also mention that prior to my audition of the Studio 60's and B&W DM603's my current speaker was a pair of B&W DM601s2. Those are still part of that system and are set up in another room.

    I like the fact that Paradigm does everything in-house. I think that's a large part of the reason they've gotten consistent critical acclaim over many years. They owe a lot of what they do/know today to Canada's NRC. It's an incredible resource to PSB and Axiom among other Canadien brands for R&D. Canadien speakers represent some of the best value in their categories. IMO, Axiom (who's been around much longer than I'd known) is the up-and-coming Paradigm and PSB of the world.

    The Rockets and Swans have gorgeous cabinetry and their owners rave about them. In-home auditions of all three internet-only companies is very attractive though with floor-standers of this size return shipping won't be cheap.

    I'd try for an in-home audition of the B&W's if possible since they're the only brand you can find close to your home. Maybe order one of the three internet brands at the same time for a comparison.

    The $1000 price range is very competitive and very subjective. Your findings may differ completely from mine but that's the beauty of this hobby.

    Have fun and good luck to you!
    Bill
     
  8. vasia

    vasia Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Is it possible to find Paradigm Reference Studio 60 close to 900? I could only find them for 1200-1300$.
     
  9. Bill Blank

    Bill Blank Stunt Coordinator

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    I was offered $1100 without any negotiation. I'm sure you could get them for $1000 or less if you bargain with them.

    Bill
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    vasia--you have a private message
     
  11. vasia

    vasia Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,
    I did some auditioning today and listen to NAD and Rotel receivers (763 and 1056 respectively) coupled to B&W 603 and 604 as well as Paradigm Studio 60 v3. Rotel was a clear winner over NAD IMO, the sound was just richer with Rotel. Also, Paradigm beat B&W by a wide margin. Unfortunately, that's about all I can audition for right now. However, I really liked Rotel+Studio 60's combo, got a price quote of 2300$ for the combo and really considering getting it.
    I still have two questions though.
    1) I got a Marantz SR8300 on clearence and have to decide whether to keep it or return right now. Unfortunately, I have no way to compare it to Rotel, since I do not have good speakers at home and would not get them till at least a month from now. The only negative about Rotel is the lower nominal power rating, but I am not listening to music loud anyways and the room is pretty small (13X18). So, can someone comment on Rotel versus Marantz in terms of quality, sound, etc.
    2) I really liked Paradigm Studio 60's good soundstage, positioning, decent and tight bass. THe sound was a bit bright, but not anything annoying. How would it compare to Axiom M60Ti's or Rocket RS550 or 750. What else would be similar/better?
     
  12. vasia

    vasia Stunt Coordinator

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    Also, please keep in mind that I can get Rotel+Studio 60s as a package, but Marantz+Studio 60s will be out of my price range.
     

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