Need Opinions on this HK and CSW Setup

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MikeEckman, Aug 11, 2002.

  1. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    We will be building a home theater with an estimated budget of around $2000 for the speakers and receiver, and all necessary cables for hookup. I recently was able to hear some Cambridge Soundworks speakers and was very impressed at their performance and their price level (at hifi.com). In addition to being a competent HT setup, the fronts must also substitute well in 2 channel music performance. I did some research and after reading countless reviews over at Audioreview.com, I came up with this hypothetical setup.

    I would like any and all opinions on this setup and any changes you would make if necessary. Here goes:

    Receiver:
    Harmon/Kardon AVR225 Receiver (55wx5) $377 at etronics.com
    Center Channel:
    CSW MC300 Center Speaker $199 at hifi.com
    Fronts:
    CSW Tower IIs $599 a pair at hifi.com
    Rears:
    CSW Newton S200 $229 a pait at hifi.com
    Subwoofer:
    CSW BassCube15 $350 at hifi.com

    This hypothetical setup would run around $1760 before shipping and all cables, etc. I dont have my heart totally set on an all Cambridge setup, but I would like everything to be matched.

    Like I said, any comments would be appreciated, but my two biggest concerns are:

    Is the BassCube 15 overkill for bass?
    Is the 55wx5 power output of the HK receiver insufficient to drive these speakers (especially the Tower IIs).

    Thanks in advance to anyone who would give me any insight!
     
  2. Bill Street

    Bill Street Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not familiar with the sensitivity levels of your CSW speakers, but I don't think you'll have any trouble with your H/K pushing enough power to drive them.

    H/K has resisted the urge to overstate their power ratings, so when it says you get 55 watts you get 55 real world watts.

    I have an H/K 120 that is listed at only 40 watts per channel, yet it plays cleaner and louder than my former JVC 6020 rated at 100 watts per channel.

    Bill Street
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  4. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the input. We will not have enough money to fit in the Newton series floor speakers (they start at $1599.99 a pair) so the Tower IIs are as high as I'd like to spend on front channel speakers. I could probably get the S300 rear speakers instead of the S200 because the S300s have tweeters, and Im undecided about the subwoofer.
    Hifi.com has a HT package which contains 3 M300 speakers for the center and front left and right speakers. It also comes with the S300 surrounds and the P500 subwoofer whcih has dual 8 inch subs. Im worried that the P500 wont be able to go that low. The reviews sound positive. The lowside is that I really like the Tower IIs, and Im not sure if the M300s will be sufficient for front channel music speakers.
    Heres the package which is $1599.99.
    http://www.hifi.com/store/category.c...5xx&type=store
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I saw that package on there. I just happen to be in one of the states where Cambridge has actual stores, and I know the manager at one of them, so I have listened to their stuff a fair amount.

    I also knew you wouldn't be interested in the Newton towers based on price, which is why I suggested the M60/M80 as mains. The M60 and M80 sound better than any of the M/MC models, at least as mains. There are a few on here who own various Newtons, so maybe they will chime in sooner or later.

    I was surprised at how much bass the P500 actually put out for a dual 8" drivers in a fairly small enclosure (gotta be that BASH amp), but for the price, the SVS put out a noticable amount more (but is also much larger).
     
  6. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    Hmm, well, I really appreciate the feedback, John. Its too bad there arent any Cambridge stores near Chicago that we can listen for ourselves. They do have a package for $1800 which is the same as the one I posted the link to, except it has the P1000 sub (whcih is dual 10" subs) and a 1000w BASH amp. It also has the remote controlled gain and crossover controls, which could be very useful.

    Decisions, decisions...if anyone else wants to chime in here, feel free!!
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I have a remote for my sub, and it was one of the main reasons I bought it. This feature is DEFINITELY worth it. Calibration is a snap, without me ever moving from the listening spot. I have 3 memory settings that remember phase, volume and x-over which is ideal.

    FYI: I'm pretty sure the module that is used to do this can be used with the P500 also.

    For alternatives for a sub, consider Adire Audio's Rava, and HSU's VTF-2 or VTF-3. (search should turn up plenty of info on them). Good luck.
     
  8. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    $2K for everything. Not bad at all.
    HK AVR225 - $400
    nOrh4.0 video package - $850
    HSU VTF-2 - $500
    Around $1,750 total, leaving you with plenty of money for cable, stands, etc.
     
  9. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Mike, as above, stick with one line or the other - get the Tower II's and CenterStage center speaker, or go all Newton.
    BTW, there's a cheaper option for the Tower II's and CenterStage if you decide to go this route. HiFi.com sells factory refurbs on eBay for excellent prices. You can do a "Buy it Now" for the Tower II's for $420, and the CenterStage for $110. I believe the reserve price for the Tower II's is about $400, and probably around $100 for the CenterStage. HiFi.com sells tons of these factory refurbs on eBay - just do a search. Here are two such auctions:
    Tower II's (black) http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=1372494083
    CenterStage http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=1372736124
    And since I'm sure you'll ask: [​IMG]
     
  10. Mark Ro

    Mark Ro Agent

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    I originally had the MC300 as my center channel with a pair of the M80's as my mains. I recently replaced the MC300 with the MC500, and I am very happy I made the move. The MC500 is head and shoulders above the MC300 and the centerstage. It also matches very well with the M80's up front.
     
  11. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Mike, John's right - stick with the Newton line. I own Newtom M50 bookshelf speakers which are the littler cousin of the M60 and M80s. I also own a pair of S300s for surrounds and an MC300 for center. When in direct mode, the S300 is identical to the MC200. I did some tests between for 2 channel music between the S300 in direct mode and the M50s and I concluded that the MC200/300s are noticeably brighter than the Newton bookshelf line. Overall, I like the setup.

    As for subs, they now have a P200 I believe. I have a friend who picked up a Newton P500 and likes it a lot. It also comes with a remote control. My room for a sub was limited and the Newton subs were all too expensive/big for me and I didn't like the BassCube line and hadn't heard good things about it so I went the Paradigm route for my sub.

    If you go another route for your sub, you should be able to get the M80s ($300/pair), S300s ($300/pair) and MC300 $150 each) for $750 total. That leaves you with $1250 for subwoofer, receiver and misc. cables. You may also want to look at other receivers that CSW carries - the Onkyo and Marantz lines - if you're interested in a package deal.

    cheers,


    --tom
     

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