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Need recommendations on good two-channel sat-sub sets (1 Viewer)

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

Senior HTF Member
Aug 5, 1999
Corpus Christi, TX
Real Name
Hello everyone,

I’m doing a little “consulting” for some friends and I’m looking for some advice/recommendations for some speakers

Here’s the situation: They have nice older equipment from the 70s. They’re not interested in home theater, only stereo, so they won’t be replacing the Sansui model 7 receiver. They do want to replace the speakers with something more modern and smaller. Their current speakers are a pair of JBL’s from that era – I don’t remember the model, but it was a three-way with a paper cone tweeter, perhaps a 3” midrange and a 10” or 12” white-coned woofer. These speakers actually sound quite nice, and they like the way they sound, so they don’t want anything that sounds worse.

I told them about the current sat-sub trends in speaker design, and the idea of small mains and a separate sub that can be tucked away somewhere sounds great to them. The problem is, most sat-sub sets are for home theater, and we only need two mains for stereo.

So, the million-dollar question: Can anyone recommend some two-channel sat-sub systems that I can point my friends towards? The didn’t give me a budget, but I’m going to hazard a guess at $600 or less out the door – and of course, less is always better. Hopefully I can find a local dealer (Houston area) so they can hear them in person.

Other details: They only play at moderate volume levels or lower, so high power capability is not a concern. However, their receiver is only rated at about 45 watts/8 ohms, so we can’t have terribly inefficient speakers.

Also, the sats should be capable of wall-mounting, as that will be the new arrangement.

Thanks in advance!

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

Bob Kavanaugh

Second Unit
Jan 17, 2003
I bet all of you guys are going to be tired of me "plugging" Energy Speakers here, but I am convinced that they are some of the best sounding small speakers out there. They amaze me every day.

Wayne, the Energy Take 2.2 satellite speakers are 1) wall mountable, 2) come in white, black, and maple/silver, 3)great sounding in 2 channel when matched with a sub IMO, 4) ~150 dollars for the pair, which leaves plenty of dough for a nice sub. I have not listened to the 8.2 sub by energy but I have heard the previous 8" version and was pleased.

All of this, along with energy's reputation as an efficient speaker (the takes are rated at 89db 1w/1m) might make these worth looking at.

Hope this helps.

Mark Dickerson

Stunt Coordinator
May 10, 2003

I just posted this info on another thread and it seems appropriate here, so everyone forgive me if you have already seen this info.

I have heard two, wall mountable, systems that you can get in a two speaker set up, and I was impressed with the sound of both systems. They are also avaialbe as two speaker setups with subwoofer rather than getting the whole 5.1 system:

1. Aperion Audio-These are available through mail order/internet only, but come with a 30 day trial period. Sound is excellent and they look too good to hide them, although at only 11.5" tall, it is easy to do. Have been reviewed byy almost all of the major A/V and audio magazines and have gotten rave reviews (see the ecoustics.com website and click the link for Product Reviews, then click on Home Theater Speaker Systems Reviews for all reviews of the Aperion Audio system. See their website at www.aperionaudio.com and see what you think. You can order any combination of speakers, so getting two plus a sub is easy.

2. JM Labs Sib & Cub (which refers to the satellites as sibs, short for siblings and the cub is the subwoofer). This is offered by JM Labs through local dealers. Satellites are 10" high, and come with an articulating wall bracket built into the unit. A very efficent speaker which would have no trouble with the 45 wpc of your friends' receiver. In showing it off to me, my local dealer specifically mentioned that the speakers were so good that the manufacturer was offering it not only as a 5.1 system, but that he could get it as a 2.1 system as well. I am unsure as to the price of the 2.1 system (I was concentrating on the 5.1 system), but I think it was around $700. You may well be able to negotiate a better price. You should have no trouble finding them at a high end stereo store in Houston. You can see these on a website at www.focal.tm.fr I think. If not, do a Google search.

Finally, if you want something less expensive, go to www.onecall.com for the following speaker specials to make a good 2.1 package for $600:

One Call has the NHT SuperOnes on sale for $137.50 each, or $275/pr. Then add a Phase Technology Power 8 Subwoofer for $325. If you call, you may be able to get the price down on the sub a bit since you are buying a system. Even if you don't, it still come in at $600 for the whole thing and it will look and sound great. The SuperOnes are being closed out in favor of a new model (the SB2s), but you should have no trouble finding NHT at a good audio store in your area. I have the Phase Tech sub and it is a great value. If this is still too high, get the NHT superZeros for $175/pr., also at One Call and put them with the Phase Tech sub. They won't sound as good as the SuperOnes, but they are smaller with very good sound, and they might fit your budget better. NHT come in a beautiful black or white piano type laquer finish.

Marc H

Second Unit
Aug 22, 2001
Our shop in Canada is clearing out all the Axiom speakers and we have some of their MZero Micro speakers (about the size of a pound of butter) left in stock in maple or Boston cherry finish. The come with little wall clips to hang them up. We also have a display model of their 8" sub in maple (looks in mint shape).
A pair of the satellites and demo sub would tally up to $463.00CAD including shipping to Texas. That's roughly about $343.00USD.
Please shoot me an email if those might do the trick.

Rob Rodier

Supporting Actor
Jul 11, 2002
The wall mount version of the Triangle Titus would be worth a listen. As you may know the Titus @$495 was rated class "B" by stereophile. Its wall mount sibling the Aliote 202 comes in around $450. The dealers are few and far, but mail ordering is easy and often you can get them 20% under list. Add a small "fast" velodyne sub and they would be in for sonic bliss. The triangles can be driven by just about anything, and IMO are very nice looking.

As of right now there is a demo pair for $299 on audiogon.
(reply to "wanted")


Leon O

Stunt Coordinator
Feb 2, 2002
Wayne, Marc at the Audioshop is great to work with. You might also ask him if he has a Dahlquist setup that might work for your friends.

Also, Onix/Rocket (AV123.com) is working on a small 5.1 system called the ELT. It will also be available as 2.1. My understanding is that it will be very affordable. If your friends are not in a rush, you might want to wait for the reviews on the ELT.


Chris Quinn

Jan 12, 2003
I'll add Ascend Acoustics 170s to the other good suggestions given.

Oops read the $600 budget. These would be more likely $800 with the sub. A good sub unless from a kit or a builder is going to run min $4-500. Also don't forget to budget for stands or brackets.

John Garcia

Senior HTF Member
Jun 24, 1999
Real Name
I'll throw in an unusual system:

Mains: Mordaunt Short MS902s = ~$250/pr shipped from www.Accessoriesforless.com - Very nice bookshelf for the price. These are geared more towards music, IMO. Very simple speakers with quality components and construction.

Sub: Mordaunt Short MS907 = $259 + shipping from AC4l as well (only one left...)


There is a review comparing the 902's smaller brother, the 302, to the Energy's, and the 302's outperformed the Energys (for less money I might add).

Alternate sub: Adire Rava - $399 + shipping. This is just a bit above the budget, but is about as good as it gets for the $$.

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